Tech Tools for Connecting with Parents & Families

Education is a team effort. Often, we only think about 2 parts of this team: the educators and the students. But keeping the 3rd part–parents, guardians and/or families–connected and involved can have huge benefits.

Image text reads: 28+ Tools to Build Connections! Tech Tools for Parent, Guardian, or Family Communication or Involvement. #KidsDeserveIt x #EduDuctTape
Picture of the Miller family taken by Lauren Clifford Photography.

I think that most educators would agree that the rankings for “best ways to keep in touch with parents, guardians, or families” are:

      1. face to face communication
      2. phone calls
      3. everything else

But, sometimes, we just don’t have time to do #1 and #2 for all of our students’ families.

Enter #3: technology.

As you probably already know from the Educational Duct Tape podcast, I believe that edtech is at its best when it’s being used as a tool to solve problems, meet goals or address learning standards. So, if we know that it’s important to connect with and involve our kiddos’ families and we know that it’s tough to connect with all of them, how can we leverage technology to support us in this endeavor?

I discussed this with a group of awesome educators recently.

On February 5th, 2020, I had the honor of moderating the #KidsDeserveIt Twitter Chat (all tweets available here).  This chat is based on the book Kids Deserve It by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome.  In the book, Nesloney & Welcome zero in on a set of steps that educators can take to improve the educational experience for our students. Two of those steps are contacting parents regularly and getting them involved in the classroom.  So I asked the #KidsDeserveIt chatters 2 questions relating to parent, guardian and/or family contact and involvement:

In the book, @mradamwelcome & @techninjatodd explain why we should be contacting parents to praise their kiddos. What tech tool(s) would you use for communicating with parents? #KidsDeserveItAdam & Todd also share about the importance of family interaction and involvement in the learning community. What tech tool(s) can help us to not just communicate with parents/families but to get those families *involved*? #KidsDeserveIt

 

Here are some of the tools that the #KidsDeserveIt Chatters shared about! Continue reading Tech Tools for Connecting with Parents & Families

#EduDuctTape Episode 37!

Promo Image for Episode 37, shows a headshot of Andreas Johansson

In the 15th episode of Season 2, I am joined by Andreas Johansson to talk about things that we can do to support less tech-savvy staff members, especially non-teaching staff. Tools discussed include Google Forms, Sheets & Sites; the FormMule, AutoCrat & FormRanger Add-Ons; the VLookUp, Concatenate & Substitute Google Formulas; Lean Thinking and more!

See the Show Notes Here

BONUS CONTENT: This audio was not included in the regular podcast episode, but is available here for listening:

Andreas Johansson: "I have the fortunate now to work with a lot of what's called classified staff, or as I think of it, the other 50% of a school district.
GIF created by David Allan.

Video created by David Allan.

Live RoundTable Discussions with Parlay

This is a sponsored post. All opinions, however, are my own.

Recently, I shared about Parlay’s Online Discussions. Parlay has created a platform for rich discussions that has all of the important features for the teacher and the students. However, there’s also value in live, face-to-face discussions.

But, these can be difficult to manage. How do we know which student speaks next? How do we know which students are waiting to speak? How does the teacher communicate feedback or assign grades? There are even more questions but for most, if not all, of them, Parlay has the answer. Their Live RoundTable Discussion tool provides an awesome way to manage your face-to-face classroom discussions, including Socratic Seminars.

Let’s check out what it looks like:

The Student View

In the #EduGIF below you’ll get an overview of the student experience starting from how they plan their responses all of the way through viewing feedback and summary data.

This GIF shows the different stages of a Parlay Live Discussion from the student view.
Pausable version of this #EduGIF available here.

The Teacher View

So, now that we know what the experience looks like for the student, let’s check out what it looks like for the teacher!

This animation shows the teacher's view of a Live Online Discussion
Pausable version of this #EduGIF is available here.

Check out Parlay here.

Want to see more of the Live RoundTable Discussions? Here are two videos: Grade 8 student and Grade 11 students using the Live RoundTable.

#EduDuctTape Episode 36, Part 2!

Promo Image for Part 2 of this Podcast Interview with Manny Curiel

In the 2nd part of the 12th episode of Season 2, I continue my conversation with Manny Curiel.  We discussed reasons for and benefits of recording lessons as well as diving into some new features in EdPuzzle!

See the Show Notes Here

HyperPadlets & Padlet Timelines

On 1/29/20, in the #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat, 6th grade teacher Matt Meyer shared an idea that kind of blew my mind.

This is something that I like to refer to as the adjacent possible – by exposing myself to something new (adjacent) it opened up 3 new ideas (possible) for me.  Let’s explore them below.

Continue reading HyperPadlets & Padlet Timelines

16 Teacher Jokes from the Duct Tapers

Schools can be a stressful place for the staff & the students. So we all deserve a chance to 😃smile😃 and 😆laugh😆 every now and then. To help you out with that, here are some funny (or are they cheesy?) teacher jokes to brighten your day.

On 1/29/2020, a group of Duct Tapers (Educational Duct Tape podcast listeners) got together to have a Twitter chat.  Since the guest in the previous episode (Craig Klement) shared a teacher joke, I decided to have all of the chatters do the same!  Here are some of my favorites! (note: you can see all of the tweets from the chat here)

Continue reading 16 Teacher Jokes from the Duct Tapers

#EduDuctTape Episode 36!

Promo image for Manny Curiel episode. Includes a picture of Manny and the episode date.

In the 13th episode of Season 2, I talk with the wildly fun Manny Curiel about video in the classroom, green screen videos made with Chromebooks, WeVideo, podcasting with WeVideo and the upcoming enhancements to WeVideo for Schools.

See the Show Notes Here

"You can take one minute everyday to teach how we are being good digital citizens." - @MannyDiscoTech
– @MannyDiscoTech, when discussing why he loves @WeVideo’s “licensed- and royalty-free Essentials Library” on #EduDuctTape.

Awesome Classroom Uses of #EduGIFs Created with Screencastify

This is a sponsored post. All opinions, however, are my own.

I am absolutely geeking out about Screencastify giving users of its FREE plan the ability to export their screencasts as GIFs! For years, people have asked me how they can make GIFs like the ones that I make, but for free.  I’ve always had multiple tools to mention depending on the person’s goal and the tech that they’re using (Mac, PC or Chromebook).  But now I finally have 1 response that I can give to almost everyone!

You can export GIFs in the FREE Screencastify plan now!

I’m so excited to share with you about this.  In the post below, you’ll see an #EduGIF about how to do this followed by 19 different ways that you can use this in your school or classroom!!

The #EduGIF

This GIF shows the process of recording screencasts with Screencastify and exporting them as .gif files.

View a Pausable version of this #EduGIF here.

19 Uses of GIFs in the Classroom!

Continue reading Awesome Classroom Uses of #EduGIFs Created with Screencastify

#EduDuctTape Live Mini 007: Dr. Nicholas Sutton

In my 7th mini-episode, I’m sharing an interview with Superintendent and podcaster Dr. Nicholas Sutton from my time at the #TeachBetter19 Conference.  Nick shares about the technology that he and his co-host Matt Jacobson use for their podcast “Learning Through Leading” and about how teachers can use simple technologies to make learning exciting.

Episode Artwork, features a picture of Dr. SuttonNote: For the foreseeable future, mini-episodes, recorded live and on-location at a conference or event, will come out every other Wednesday morning.

 

 

 

Strategies for “Sticky” Vocab Learning!

Header Image for Post, contains post title and a picture of a dictionary

If you could be a fly on the wall of an average classroom, it’d be pretty likely that you’d hear something like “Don’t forget to study your vocab words tonight!” or “Remember to review your flashcards tonight!”

While there’s been a move away from the rote learning of yesteryear, most educators agree that having a firm grasp of content area vocabulary is still an important piece to the learning process.  I think that there are two important goals for learning vocabulary in content areas: (1) retention of the words (sticky learning) and (2) application of the words.

In Episode 34 of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast, I spoke with Dr. Jared Cooney Horvath, author of Stop Talking, Start Influencing, about both of these goals.

A week after that episode came out, I was joined by dozens of “Duct Tapers” in the #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat to discuss the podcast episode, including these two goals.

Below are some strategies that you can use in your classrooms to increase your students’ ability retain and apply their vocabulary learning.  Some come from the chat and others come from the episode. Continue reading Strategies for “Sticky” Vocab Learning!