Friday, September 28, 2012


It is rolling around to be Parent/Teacher conference time again, you may have even had them by now.  Have you ever had that conversation on those nights with parents who didn’t know that their student had a test the next day in class?  They respond with he/she never brings his/her book home.  What if there was a way to let parents know, and remind students when a test, quiz, or big assignment is due?  There is, it is called Remind101.

Remind101 is a FREE site for teachers to set up a “calling list”.  You get to set up to ten classes, so you would be able to have one for each class or subject.  A reminder is sent by either text message or email to those that have signed up.  Parents and students sign up using a code that you give them once you have the class set up.  You will not even know the phone number or email address of those that sign up.  If parents or students want these reminders, they can sign-up and you don’t have to remember all the parents you need to send the reminders to and remember to put in all the email address it needs to be sent to, or have to get their email addresses and make sure you put them in correctly.

With Remind101 you can even schedule when a message goes out so you don’t have to remember to send it out a couple of days ahead of time.  So when you are doing your lesson plans and know when a test or big assignment is due, put it into Remind101, set the date that you want it to send out the reminder and it will send out your reminder on that date and time.  You won’t forget to sit down and send the reminder, because it has already been done.

I used this for parents and students.  You will see who is signed up and how they are going to receive the message, email or text by the icon next to their name.  They can sign up for one or both ways.   The thing you don’t see is their phone number or email address.  Parents loved this service, some students even signed up to remind themselves.  However, there were also students who didn’t like it, but that was their problem.

Friday, September 21, 2012

YouTube Channel

Everybody now a day has heard of YouTube. But did you know that you could have your own YouTube Channel?  Did you know that ESU7 Technology Integration has it’s own YouTube Channel?  It is true for both questions.  I will include the link to the ESU7 Channel at the end of this post. 

Why would anyone want a YouTube Channel for school use?  This is a wonderful question with an answer that will be just as wonderful. 

It is a place for you to store all the YouTube videos that you use in class in one place.  You won’t have to bookmark each separate one, or remember what you need to search for to get the exact video you are looking for.  You can create playlists that can be for each different class that you have, or even topic within a given class.

It is easy to set up; all you need is a Google account.  If you school has a GAFE accounts set up for you it is already done.  You will just use that account for your YouTube sign-in.  You will get to pick what your channel is called and the address for it.  Once you have made the URL for it, it cannot be changed, but you can change the name that people see for the title of the channel.  You can then add playlist, featured videos, and other channels to follow or subscribe to. 

This is a great way of having a site that your students can go to just one place to find the videos that you want them to watch.  Also, it is a place that you have for the videos that you use all the time in one place without having to remember where you bookmarked it, or what to search for.

The ESU7 YouTube channel is for just that, ESU7.  If you have a video that you think is good and could be used by others in the ESU, let me know and I will add it to a playlist.  This just isn’t my channel; it is ESU7’s channel.

Friday, September 14, 2012

iPad App Sites

In the short amount of time that I have been at ESU 7 and during the travels to schools so far I have come across one question more than most: Where are good sites to find apps for the iPad?  So, for this post, I will actually give a few and what you can find on those sites.

Appitic is a site that has over 1800 apps for the iPad.  It is also categorized for your convenience.  The way this site is divided up is into Themes, Pre-School, SPED, Multiple Intelligences, Bloom’s, NETS, SEP, and Teachers.  It can be a little hard to find what you are looking for, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a breeze.

This is Apple’s site for their Education apps.  It will give you the basics and is divided by category as well.

This is a wiki that has apps organized by where they fit within Bloom’s Taxonomy.  This is just a basic list, but it is a place to get started.

This is another Bloom’s site, but deals more with the revised Digital Taxonomy.  It is a Livebider that you can go through and see the difference between the Original and the Revised Taxonomies.

This is a blog for Camera apps.  A good use for these types of apps is a picture dictionary for younger students.

Obviously, this is just a small list of what is out there on the web.   There are many more.  If you have some good sites that you use, please comment and leave the site that would be useful to others to use.  I would also like to keep adding to this list for those that ask about these types of sites.

Monday, September 10, 2012


In prior posts I have talked about Mystery Skype and Skype in the Classroom.  This post I will talk about something similar, yet slightly different.  You may have heard of Google+, a social network just like Facebook.  But there is one more part of Google+ that is new and can become a useful tool for teachers and classrooms.  The part of Google+ that can help you out is called a “Hangout”.  In a hangout, you can video chat with people, just like Skype.  However, in Google+ you can video chat with up to 10 other people at once, unlike Skype where you can only chat with one person at a time.

Having the ability to “Hangout” with up to 10 people lets you have the ability of collaborating on documents, presentations, professional development opportunities, and more.  I have been a part of several hangouts that we have recorded or shared our screens to work on a document or look at something that needed to be reworked.  This is a wonderful resource that allows this type and depth of collaboration in real time without having to email documents back and forth. 

There is one downside to Google+.  It really isn’t available in Google Apps for Education at this point.  There is the whole student privacy issue with student’s names, as Google+ requires first name, last name for an account.  If you try to turn Google+ on in your school’s Google domain, it will tell you that it is not available for your domain.  I have heard that Google is working on this issue.  Hopefully soon they will have it figured out for GAFE customers and then we can start using this more with our students in and out of class.

I feel the professional development and collaboration side of teaching benefits from Google+ Hangouts greatly.  What better way to get together, after a conference, or even during a conference with presenters or co-presenters who can’t be there, but still want to present or be a part of a bigger panel.  Where else can you talk to several people at once to discuss topics that benefit your school, share your screens, and record it to play back and remember what you talked about or share with others who weren’t able to attend.  You can make your own “conferences” during your in-service times for teachers.  You can even have discussions within an ESU with teachers in a grant that are at different schools and then they wouldn’t have to travel. 

You can even set up circles, like friend lists, of those you talk to the most, by organization, by topic, or by PLC.  You can even “Hangout” with your family who may be far enough away that you don’t get to see them very often.

As you can see, there are many benefits to Google+ Hangouts.  Hopefully, the benefits outweigh the shortcomings.  It is all in how you use it and what you are using it for.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Learn360 replaces PowerMedia Plus @ ESU7

PowerMedia Plus was not picked up by the statewide purchasing which includes ESU7. We are now subscribing to Learn360 which is very similar. 

You can now go to our SNAP catalog and login with that front page.

You can also get to the link from the ESU7 home page and look for ESU7 Services on the left and then SNAP Media Catalog.

Log in with your user number: found here
and password: school

We had to change passwords because the service no longer accepts characters like the &. If you do change your password, you will need to do that in both SNAP and in Learn360.

Once you are in SNAP, then you can enter a keyword search or click "I Want It All." From there you should see items listed that will allow you to go to Learn360. Click on that link and then you can search through Learn360.

Here is a link to a video about that talks about SNAP.