Dec 6th, 2011 by Bill Sheskey
Thank you to Richard Byrne from Free Tech 4 Teachers for posting Class Pager.
This application is for engaging students with their phones and connecting with parents as well. To continue the search for tools to reduce the digital divide by interacting with students using their phones give Class Pager a try. Here are some problems and applications that were posted on their website:
Problem #1 : Students and parents keep forgetting about homework changes and schedule changes.
Solution: Use ClassPager to instantly message everyone’s phone — where you know they’ll read it.
Problem #2: Texting students directly from your phone violates their privacy — and yours.
Solution: Let ClassPager protect everyone’s phone numbers while you manage everything easily from the web.
Problem #3: Students in class are not engaged, and they’re too bored or too embarrassed to answer questions.
Solution: Use ClassPager to run classroom polls in realtime. Confirm everyone’s understanding.
Oct 28th, 2011 by Bill Sheskey
Our friends at Socrative have upgraded their web based student response system. I shared Socrative back in July and it just keeps getting better. It is the best free web based student response system I have worked with. They have added a teacher paced quiz function that allows the teacher to manage the pace of the responses from the students. They have now added the Android app along with the iPhone/iPad app. Again, this is an opportunity to engage students with their own devices and turn them into response systems for student engagement.
Socrative is so easy to use! Check it out…
Oct 12th, 2011 by Bill Sheskey
The Best Buy and Microsoft Corporations are partnering with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide help to people without Internet service. The following announcement will be made on Wednesday October 12, 2011:
The “Connect to Compete” public-private initiative, to be announced Wednesday (10/11/2012) by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, aims to assist the broadband-challenged — many of whom are poor, unemployed or live in rural areas — from falling behind in today’s tech-centric economy. Plans include offering Internet skills classes, digital tutoring and job certification programs online and on-site at Best Buy stores, libraries and schools.
It will be interesting to follow the progress of this program. Best Buy and Microsoft are to be applauded for taking these actions to reduce the digital divide in the United States.
U.S. broadband adoption (68%) currently falls far below that of countries such as Singapore and South Korea (each at 90%), Genachowski notes. “If we can take the broadband adoption rate to 100%, we will have doubled the size of the broadband market in U.S.,” he says. “That’s millions of more consumers online that will help boost our economy and our leadership position in the global economy.”
Click here to read the complete October 12, 2011 report in USA Today.
Sep 19th, 2011 by Bill Sheskey
It is a great pleasure to accept the opportunity to present at the EARCOS Weekend Conference in Tokyo, Japan this weekend. The St. Mary’s International School is hosting the conference. It will be wonderful to tour Japan and work with teachers and administrators from International Schools in Asia.
To prepare for the trip I found a voice translator app called Jibbigo. There is a popular Android phone TV add running now that features the voice translator. As I was working with the app I thought how useful it could be in foreign language classes. It is simple and fun!
Sep 7th, 2011 by Bill Sheskey
Can you as an instructional leader harness the power of a modern day social network and turn it into a classroom management and learning tool? Should teachers be guiding students today in how to work and learn in a social networking environment? Edmodo takes the FaceBook concept of online social communication and provides a secure and user-friendly social networking platform for classroom teachers and school leaders. The past six months I have been sharing Edmodo in all my workshops around the country and it usually is the most popular tool in the workshop. It is free, open to all students, teachers, and has a parent connection area. Students are engaged with message boards, assignments, class calendars, resource libraries, and even a phone texting notification option. Edmodo’s greatest features are simplicity and safety. I have worked with teachers at the fourth grade level and above who are successfully using Edmodo as a networking and learning tool. Teachers have the opportunity to engage and connect their students in a social learning environment. Try out Edmodo, your students will appreciate the opportunity!
Sep 6th, 2011 by Bill Sheskey
As an educational leader how really networked are you? My networking friends have shared with me what a “Klout” score is. It measures how connected you are in the social media world. My first thoughts are how can superintendents, principals, and administrators use social networking tools as part of their leadership strategies toolbox? How can we empower school leaders to use social media platforms to lead and market their schools and educational programs? Take a look at the Klout web site and find out what your score is. My Klout score was 31 a week ago and now it is 38 because I increased my blogging and Twitter activity. You will be hearing more about Klout and other networking measurement tools for education leaders. Anyone can grow a network of learners and work together to achieve. Think about how school leaders networking together could decrease the digital divide.
Aug 30th, 2011 by Bill Sheskey
Would you like to turn your smart phone into a school backpack? Do both teachers and students need an electronic backpack? It is certainly a lot lighter! Adam Bellow who is the author and manager of the very popular EduTecher blog has built an app called the EduTecher Backpack. It is available as an iPhone, iPad and Android app. In this backpack you have links to learning resources, videos, blog post, and forums all built into a visually pleasing interface. There is even a place where you can take notes inside the app! This application adds to our conversation about using smart phones to attack the digital divide. This “backpack” of learning tools for the smart phone is one way of doing that. Great work Adam!
Aug 26th, 2011 by Bill Sheskey
Why not engage the students smart phones as classroom response systems? Would teachers like the opportunity to deliver structured formative assessments to their students in a user-friendly online platform? This summer in my workshops I have been sharing the online assessment tool called Socrative. Teachers can create a variety of assessments in just minutes and then deliver them to the students on a website or mobile device. The developers provide a series of how-to videos that can be shared with the students and they will appreciate the opportunity to complete formative assessments virtually. Socrative allows for electronic assessment without the use of an expensive response system or complicated software. Many of the students already have their clicker/phone with them. Try it out and let us know what you think.
Aug 24th, 2011 by Bill Sheskey
Yesterday I posted questions about the digital divide. Today, I would like to share ideas presented by Patrick Larkin, who is the principal of Burlington High School in Burlington, Massachusetts. I met Patrick at the ASCD conference in Boston this summer and have been following his school leadership blog ever since.
Click here to connect with Patrick via his blog…
His post from Tuesday August 23rd is thought provoking for anyone who is in a leadership role in a school.
When we talk about the digital divide much of the rhetoric is about access to computers and the Internet. Students from all walks of life have the opportunity to connect with each other and learn using their cell phone. I understand the concerns of administrators with the use of cell phones in the classroom and how they could become a distraction. Why not train teachers to facilitate the power of the cell phone and change it from a distraction to a learning tool that is already in the classroom in a bag or purse? One of the strategies that could be used in attacking the digital divide is to empower teachers with the skills to allow students to use their phones as learning devices. As with any instructional technology tool the teacher requires the training to become a facilitator in the use of any of these tools. Patrick’s leadership allows for that type of teacher
Patrick’s interview with the Boston Globe last year on cell phones and technology in the classroom…
Vicki Davis did this amazing presentation about cell phones in the classroom at the ISTE Conference in 2009! Look at it again and reflect on where we are now in 2011.
Aug 23rd, 2011 by Bill Sheskey
It has been a busy summer and I want to thank my friends Silvia Tolisano, Angela Maiers, and Mike Fisher for encouraging me to get back to my blogging and posting on Twitter. The sharing of information is so important in classrooms, learning labs, and in virtual learning environments. When educators have the opportunity to share knowledge and empower others we need to do our best to lead that process.
In my work this summer I have had the opportunity to work in a number of Title I schools. Here are some questions that I would like to build a discussion around:
- Does a student that has an Internet connection in the home have an advantage over a student that does not have the Internet in their home?
- Do students that have access to mobile devices (iPad, Android tablets etc.) at a young age have an advantage in reading and computation skills?
Click here to access Edutopia Digital Divide: Where We Are?
The majority of the learning tools that are shared by leading educators require a high-speed Internet connection. How we can close the digital divide in our schools that struggle with academic achievement?