Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Flipped Professional Development: Animoto

A teacher's time is very precious.  There are so many meetings to attend and lessons to plan that little time is left for professional development.  Flipping professional development in the same way that teacher's are flipping their classrooms is a great way to embed professional development into a teacher's regular work day.  

Below I've included a link to a Google Hangout Air cast that I published on how to use Animoto.  Animoto is a free, cloud based service where teachers (and possibly their students) can create short videos. It like taking Power Point or Prezi's to a whole new level.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Engrade Introduction and How To

Heading down the tech integration road can be a daunting one and very overwhelming.  There are many things to think of from where to start, how to add technology, and how to train students to use the technology.  I suggest starting small and Engrade can help you with that.

In the blog post, it is estimated that teachers use approximately 30% of their time on grading and other administrative tasks. Engrade helps teachers to reduce this time. Engrade is a free, online gradebook and also includes, attendance, behavior tracker, color coding of data, the ability to post online assignments and quizzes (and have your students take them online), and online resources for your students to use. Click on the link below to learn how to use Engrade.

Engrade Introducion and How To

As the video shows, Engrade can do many things. Once you have created your account then your students and their parents can create accounts for themselves. A code will be generated for you to give to your students and their parents. The students can complete online assignments and assessments. You can link pre-made flashcards for your students to use to practice many skills and attache wikis that will help them to complete homework assignments. Parents can keep up to date on how their children are doing and what assignments are missing.

There are many things that I like about Engrade.  I like the color coding of grades.  At a glance I can see whom is struggling and how I'm doing teaching.  This data analysis will allow me to work with other teachers to improve student learning outcomes. I also like the behavior tracker.  As a music teacher, I see every student in the school twice each week.  I can easily pull up the class and make any comments about behavior that I need.  It allows me to have concrete data to show parents.  I also like the online assignments and assessments.  Our students need practice taking assessments online before the SBAC begins in the Spring of 2015.  The more practice I give them then the better off they will be AND it inputs the grades directly into my gradebook.  I don't need to hand enter any online assignments or assessments.

I suggest starting with 1 subject or one period that you teach and only 1 feature.  Remember starting small will help you learn the software and gain confidence. You can always add other subjects, periods, or features later.

Here are 2 links that will help you get to know Engrade better.