Category Archives: Hints, Tips & How To’s

10 + 1 Steps to Meaningful Student Blogging

* students blogging

Three years ago I started blogging with my 4th grade students on a whim. I knew three things at the start: I wanted to get them connected with each other; I wanted to give them a voice, and I knew I had to change the way they wrote. So I started blogging with them – fumbling my way through the how to and the when to.
What I had no way of knowing was how blogging would change the way I taught, how blogging would give my students a way to speak to the world, and how blogs would make it possible for them to create lasting global connections with other children.
Blogging has since become an integral part of my classroom. It’s a way for me to check the emotional temperature of my kids and a way for them to add their voice to the continuing education debate and reach out to other communities. We no longer just wonder how things are done in other countries. We blog and ask questions and get our answers.
So when I meet with any teacher who wonders how to lower the walls of their classroom and create more authentic learning opportunities, my first advice is to get students blogging.
If they’re interested, I share these steps. They grow out of my own experience working with upper elementary-aged kids, and I believe they can help any middle grades teacher successfully launch a blogging program and integrate it
Read more: 10 + 1 Steps to Meaningful Student Blogging | MiddleWeb.

Using Video in e-Learning: (Almost) Everything You Need to Know

Video Set for Episode 02 (Camera)
Credit: Racum

Not that long ago using videos in e-learning was pretty prohibitive due to the costs associated with it. Fast forward a few years and with everyone having access to video-cameras on their smartphones and laptops, it has become a lot more feasible for the everyday e-learning designer to use videos in his/her projects. However, just because video has become more commonplace, that doesn’t mean that adding video to e-learning is without its challenges or that every project merits it. I recently did some research into using video in e-learning for a course I’m presently designing and I thought I’d compile some of my findings into a blog post.
Read more: Using Video in e-Learning: (Almost) Everything You Need to Know « Flirting w/ eLearning.

3 Ways to Reconfigure an Old Computer Lab

New Computer Lab *

Bentley University transformed a largely forgotten, dreary lab space into a campus hotspot.
Not so long ago, Bentley University’s Computer Information Systems Lab was known affectionately as the “bat cave” because of its secluded location in a remote basement corner of a campus classroom building.
The CIS Lab, opened in 2000, was a typical computer lab for its time: 40 computers faced the walls and students went there to access the Internet and get help with homework. As wireless access grew, traffic declined, and tutors often spent more time doing their own homework than helping students or interacting with technology.
A fresh coat of paint and new furniture were the easy and obvious fixes when a Bentley team renovated the lab in 2011. More difficult was changing campus perceptions of what would take place inside. Rebranded in fall 2011 as the CIS Learning and Technology Sandbox, the new facility encourages students to learn both in person and online.
Read more: 3 Ways to Reconfigure an Old Computer Lab | EdTech Magazine.

8 Ways to Deliver More Bandwidth on Campus

Tablet Computer *
Credit: KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Colleges and universities can effectively and efficiently meet the explosion in demand for wireless networking on campus by following these steps.

  • Take time to redesign
  • Seek user input
  • Make capacity a priority
  • Plan for the unknown
  • Evaluate solutions onsite
  • Invest in robust radio-frequency management tools
  • Pay attention to I.P. pools
  • Think about 802.11ac

Read more: 8 Ways to Deliver More Bandwidth on Campus | EdTech Magazine.

Finding the Right Tech Tools Is Easy, If You Know Where to Look

Kathy Schrock has been a district tech director; an instructional tech specialist; and a school, academic, museum, and public librarian. She currently teaches online graduate courses for two universities and is an Adobe Education Leader, a Google Certified Teacher, and a Discovery Education Guru.
The common thread that runs through all of her work is her mission to help teachers keep up with the latest technology. Whether she is writing, speaking, blogging, or tweeting, her goal is to show educators where and how to find tech tools that will engage their students.
Read more: Finding the Right Tech Tools Is Easy, If You Know Where to Look — THE Journal.

Five Reasons To Love Using QR Codes in Class

QR Code *

There are so many tools that educators can use to get students interested and engaged in their work. Like most teachers today, I integrate technology into my instruction everyday. I’m lucky to work in a school with one-to-one technology and use iPads with my students throughout every school day. That makes it easy to use QR codes in my classroom — and there are many reasons I love using QR codes!
[Not sure what a QR code is? Read on to find out and get 5 great ideas for using them]
Read more: Five Reasons I Love Using QR Codes in My Classroom | Edutopia.

Teaching Kids to Curate Content Collections [ACTIVITY]

Coca-Cola
Image by DeusXFlorida

While there are a ton of essential skills that today’s students need in order to succeed in tomorrows world, learning to efficiently manage — and to evaluate the reliability of — the information that they stumble across online HAS to land somewhere near the top of the “Muy Importante” list.
Which is why I had a few of my students experimenting with Scoop.it this week. Specifically, they put together this collection of resources spotlighting the range of perspectives people have on New York City’s decision to ban the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.
Read more: Teaching Kids to Curate Content Collections [ACTIVITY] – The Tempered Radical.

PowerPoint: Create an Infographic

Infographics *

If you need to create an Infographic, there are better programs than PowerPoint that you could use. Photoshop would be a good choice, or maybe Fireworks. That being said, PowerPoint is likely on your office computer right now. Additionally, PowerPoint is often underutilized as a design platform and is surprisingly agile.
One reason PowerPoint isn’t the first program people think of for Infographics is that infographics are traditionally not the same size as a PowerPoint slide. To convey a hearty amount of information you’ll generally want it to be much longer. You can actually change the slide size pretty easily from within PowerPoint by choosing Design > Page Setup > Page Setup. From there you can adjust the width and height of the slide on the Page Setup dialog box. The issue with this is that it can be difficult to work within PowerPoint on that long of a canvas. Additionally, the proportions of any shapes you insert will automatically change if you change the slide size. If your infographic isn’t super big and if you know the size ahead of time and don’t change it, however, this might not be a bad option for you. Otherwise, if you’re willing to perform one extra step, there’s still no reason why you cant use PowerPoint. The following technique is similar to printing out slides on different pieces of paper and taping them together, but digitally instead.
First you’ll need to design your infographic. Think of it like any other presentation, but with a couple caveats, which I explain below.
Read more: I Came, I Saw, I Learned…: PowerPoint: Create an Infographic.

5 Steps To A PowerPoint Redesign

Paintbrush *

Years ago I felt a certain sense of pride because I didn’t know how to use PowerPoint. Those days are long gone. Now, PowerPoint slides are often the currency exchanged between subject matter experts and instructional designers and developers. I’ve accepted this protocol and probably, you have too.
The catch to this arrangement is the nearly guaranteed issue of poor slide design. We need a consistent process to transform messy slides into ones that will be instructionally effective. Here are some guidelines—with before and after examples—that you can use for PowerPoint makeovers.
Read More: 5 Steps To A PowerPoint Redesign: Instructional Design and eLearning.