Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blog Post Reminders

When writing a blog post, remember the following:
  • Write your text first 
  • Block Style - no indents 
  • Short paragraphs - this does not mean fewer words, just shorter paragraphs 
  • Blank line between paragraphs 
  • Same font, style, size and color 
Add hyperlinks next
Add small integrated pictures last
  • They should accent the post, not rule it

Monday, April 13, 2015

Edmodo I - Getting Started with a Teacher Account

Move over BlackBoard, Moodle, Schoology and Haiku, Edmodo provides a sound Learning Management System combined with a Facebook and Twitter style interface to give students and teachers a safe and secure way to use Social Networking for instructional purposes in the classroom.

For the teacher who wants to go solo or is an early adopter in a school of district, Edmodo is FREE and easy to use.  The Edmodo Teacher manual, available under the Help section, provides step by step instructions for the most basic tasks.  Help is also available for students.  In addition to the Help section, there are Professional Development and special interest groups available for teachers to join so asking questions and staying current is almost automatic.

Another great feature of Edmodo is that parents can be provided an account that enables them to keep up with what their child is doing and how he or she is progressing in class.  Although other systems may also provide this functionality, keep in mind that Edmodo is using a Social Networking style interface rather than that of a typical Learning Management System.

One of my favorite settings is Notifications!  Properly setting up Notifications allows you to receive a text or email message for alerts, new posts, assignments, and polls when they are created.  This prevents the need to constantly login and check for new information.

The addition of integrated apps (both FREE and for nominal fees) make Edmodo a complete package that is definitely worth exploring.   As with any new adoption, do not feel like you have to do it all at once.  Start simply and slowing and get comfortable with each feature before moving on to the next.  While on the subject of apps, yes, there is an app for that and it is great!  Just search for it in the iPad App Store or follow the link directly from the login screen for Edmodo.

If you are new to Edmodo, check out the tutorial below to get started with your first class experience and then let me know what you think.

The next blog post will be on using the Gradebook with Edmodo.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Do You Symbaloo?

Symbaloo is an online webmix tool that allows you to organize your bookmarks into an attractive and easy to access group of tiles.  How does it work?  Once you have signed up (for FREE), you can search for previously created webmixes or make your own.  When making your own webmixes, you can search for tiles (links to websites already created by other users) or make you own using Symbaloo or personally provided graphics.  With color coding and the ability to include a name on each tile, organization is both easy and intuitive.  Some of the other features that make Symbaloo attractive include the following:

  • Ability to create and organize multiple webmixes
  • Ability to share webmixes via Facebook and Twitter
  • Ability to embed webmixes into a blog or Google Site (this is one of my favorite options)
  • Ability to make webmixes public or private (could be of use for schools)
  • Presence of an active Teacher Forum for educators
On April 9, 2013, a new version of Symbaloo will be released and it promises to be even easier to use than the current release.  Check back for updated tutorials a couple of weeks after the new release!

In the meantime, use the tutorial below to help you get started with your first Symbaloo!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Why I Love Google Drive

Google Drive is a tool that has made my list of favorites since I first tried it in October, 2012.  It is very similar to iCloud; however, it has a warm fuzzy feeling for PC users and works equally well on both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Google Drive has many features that make it an ideal solution for students and faculty.

  • Files can be directly uploaded to Google Drive.
  • A Google Drive App (for lack of a better term) can be downloaded to a computer and files placed in the Google Drive folder synchronized with the online component of Google Drive (there are specific settings that control this).
  • Files uploaded or synchronized to the online Google Drive can be shared with others in multiple ways.  The easiest way to share a file is to email or submit the link to the file.
Google Drive comes with 5GB of storage for FREE and additional amounts of storage can be purchased for very reasonable prices.  For example, 25GB of storage is only $2.49 per month (less than $30.00 per year).  Use of Google Drive for submission of video files and large assignment files can easily consume 5GB in a semester; however, files can be added and removed from the drive at any time so with a little file maintenance running out of space is not an issue.

To get started using Google Drive, you should do the following:
  • Login to your Google Account - if you do not have one, you can easily get one using your current email address - no Gmail account required!
  • Go to  You can do this first and login when prompted.
  • Sign up for Google Drive and download the computer portion.
  • Adjust the settings for your Google Drive.
  • Get started using it.
It may be a good idea to view a tutorial on getting started with Google Drive before you take the plunge.

Once you feel comfortable with managing Google Drive online, you may want to download the computer component and begin synchronizing files.

As with any new technology, go slowly, practice, and never put anything you absolutely have to have on it until you feel comfortable with its use!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!