Don’t Have Clickers? Use Plickers!

Clickers are a physical device used with some software that helps you quiz and poll your students.  Sometimes, textbooks are bundled with clickers and questions to be used specifically with a given textbook.

What if you don’t have access to those?

Welcome, Plickers!  Plickers allow you to print out (or order) cards that students hold up to indicate their answer to a question or how they would vote on a given topic.  The teacher can then scan the room using an app on their smartphone to tally the results and display them on the whiteboard or computer projection system in the classroom (if they wish).

Picture of a Plicker Card

The Classroom Architect

The Classroom Architect is a tool that allows you to easily create a classroom layout with your learning goals in mind.  The only downside that I see for this tool, is that it uses Adobe Flash.  If they upgrade to an HTML version, it would be a super tool.

I have previously used the 4Teachers website for developing rubrics with RubiStar.  It looks like there are a few more tools to check out there.

screenshot of Classroom Architect

Presentations, Elevator Speech, Fear of Public Speaking

I had the privilege of meeting Fred Miller when he spoke at a National Collegiate Conference for the Association of Information Technology Professionals.  He had just written his first book, No Sweat Public Speaking!.  From his website (https://nosweatpublicspeaking.com/) I see that he has written a few more:  No Sweat Elevator Speech!, No Sweat! The Fear of Public Speaking.  He emphasized keeping slides simple.  He also showed how inserting a blank screen can immediately draw the attention back to the speaker.

I would recommend grabbing a copy of one of his books, or better yet; go and see him in person if he is presenting at any conferences you are attending.  At the very least, follow him on Twitter, and catch his videos on his website and YouTube Channel.

Check out his free speaker’s template mindmap.

Check out his free template for creating an Elevator Speech.

The Noun Project

Do you need a quick graphic?  Maybe the Noun Project is for you.  I was introduced to the Noun Project in Tony Vincent’s Classy Graphics class that I took last summer.  It is a great place to find very simple graphics.  I was able to use them in some projects, giving attribution to the Noun Project, but quickly found that I needed to get the subscription.  For $20/year (at the time of this writing) with an education licence, it seems more that worth it.

I particularly liked how I learned to create backgrounds in the Classy Graphics class using the icons from the Noun Project.  I find that really adds a “professional look” to my graphics.

Happy Halloween Graphic

Mom, Look at the Mountains!

Graphic of 53 open tabs across the browser

My daughter looked at the top of my Chrome Web Browser and said,  “Mom, look at those mountains!”  I gave her a puzzled look.  Living in Iowa, we don’t see many (actually, any) mountains when we look out our window.  She pointed to the top of my screen.  Yes, they did look like mountains.  I had so many browser tabs opened that you couldn’t even read what was in each tab.  I didn’t have that many open.  OK, maybe I did — I counted.  53.

Rather ashamed, I weighed how useful having so many tabs open was to me.  “If I close one of them, I might forget about it,”  I thought.  Chrome has a feature that you can decide to close tabs quickly if you right-click on one of the tabs.  You can close the current tab (Ctrl-W is the shortcut),  close other tabs — to keep what you are working on in focus), close tabs to the right of the one you are on,  restore the last tab you closed (Ctrl-Shift-T), and bookmark all of your tabs (Ctrl-Shift-D).  None of those appealed to me to make my mountains more manageable.

Enter OneTab.  One Tab is a Chrome Extension that will take all of your tabs (even in multiple browser windows — yes, I had that going on, too), and consolidate them into one tab with all of the open tabs listed.

Picture of browser bar after OneTab

Better?

If you are like me and get carried away with open tabs, give OneTab a try.

Automated Chat Worked Like a Charm!

Well, the Twitter Chat Using Twittimer worked great for sending out the automatic tweets with the questions.  I could not have asked for a better moderator!

Once again, I learned that with my classes; asynchronous communication is the best.  Like some of my online orientation chats where I am alone in that chat room, I was the only one participating in my Twitter Chat.  I didn’t mind because:

  1. I was going to answer my own questions anyway.
  2. I was testing out my first Twitter Chat.
  3. I was testing out my first Twitter Chat and using Twittimer to automate it.
  4. I am hoping others will join in “after the fact.”  If so, please make sure to use  #edu255fa17chat

I also feel that I timed it perfectly with the 5 minutes between questions for a small group.  The 1/2 hour time frame was quite doable.

Will I try this again.  You bet!

Twitter Chat Scheduled — Twittimer Set Up to Fire Off Questions

Well, it is time to experiment!  The Twitter Chat has been scheduled!

It has also been scheduled using Twittimer so that the questions will fire off in 5 minute increments.

I hope you will join me for this experiment, check it out live or “after the fact.”  Also, check back here tomorrow for a reflection post on how it went — and what tweaks I would make for next time.

Hosting an Unattended Educational Twitter Chat

I have attended several educational Twitter Chats in the past.  I decided to host my own.  My schedule is so unpredictable at the moment that I am not sure that I will be available online when I want the Twitter Chat to occur.  So, I am planning an “unattended” Educational Twitter Chat. Hopefully, I will be there to participate, but this allows me to do this without a moderator.  Here is the process:

  1. Set up Slides for the Chat.  Get the template here.
  2. Use the template and modify it with your Twitter Chat information.
  3. You can download each slide individually as a .jpg or .png (save this in a folder on your computer for ease of access when you want to start your Twitter Chat).  If you have access to PowerPoint, download to a PowerPoint.  Open up the Twitter Chat in PowerPoint, then select File/Save As — indicate .png or .jpg.  It will then ask you if you want to save one or all of the slides — Select All.  It will place all of your slides as individual pictures in a folder.
  4. Schedule your Twitter Chat.  Using Twittimer (free account allows you to do 10 scheduled posts) schedule to send out your tweets of your Twitter Chat Slides:  The following is a suggested time schedule:
    • 1 week before chat — send out announcement
    • 3 days before the chat — send out reminder
    • 1 hour before the chat — send out the hour reminder
    • time chat is to begin — send out welcome followed immediately by introductions
    • After 5 minutes (determine this on how many people you think will attend), send out 1st question
    • Schedule to send out the rest of questions at regular intervals 10 minutes or less apart (again, based upon how many people you think might answer).
    • Send out final thank you.
  5. Don’t forget to check back to see if anyone has replied late or after the live chat was done.

These steps allow you to concentrate on the chat itself if you are not fortunate to have a moderator.

Connecting Your Blog to Twitter for Automatic Posts

Wordpress to Twitter Plugin Graphic
https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-to-twitter/

I added the WP to Twitter Plugin to WordPress to automatically tweet when I have made a post. This is cheating in a way, because I challenged my students to create one educational blog post and tweet a day for the next seven days. I can now do this in one step.

To do this, I started reading this article How to Automatically Tweet When You Publish a New Post in WordPress.

The steps involved included:

  1.  Logging into Twitter and adding a new Application that attached my blog.
  2. Installing, activating, and configuring the Plugin in WordPress.
  3. Testing to make sure everything worked.

With this done, now a time-saving step has been added.  As blog posts are published, a link to them is automatically tweeted by @lwalljasper.

This might be something you may want to try.

When you need to Publish a Web Page FAST!! Pen.io

Sometimes, you need to publish a webpage fast without going through a web host, ftp, and publishing.  The solution?  Pen.io http://pen.io/  After specifying the name of your page and a password (used for later editing your page), you are taken to a security screen to make sure you are not a robot.  Then, you are taking to a beautifully simple page that allows you to create a webpage.  

I like to do a scavenger-type hunt using QR codes.  Pen.io makes this a very easy task.  I create my pages that have clues on them on Pen.io, generate QR codes for them, then use tupperware-like containers to hide the QR codes in around the school, or even outside!  The best part is when students create the QR code hunt on their own.