Monday, June 29, 2015

You Can Book Me

In Rhonda Jenkins last post she talked about creating Appointment Slots in your Google Calendar. Rhonda has found another great tool to make this is even easier! Try You Can Book Me. It's a scheduler that creates appointments and integrates them with your Google Calendar.


The site does have a number of professional features that can be purchased. However, when you sign up, select the nonprofit category. The company will get back to you and grant you access to more of the advanced features for FREE! Other features are still available for a 50% discount.


The management of the appointments created for the one scheduling and for the teacher is easy. After scheduling an appointment, both parties will receive an email detailing the meeting. Cancellation is easy too!
You can customize each appointment page. Here's an example how Rhonda set up for her Fall Scholastic Book Fair Preview: http://bit.ly/1Kj8RUS


Powerful tools for powerful, busy teachers at the best price ever . . . FREE!

Learn more on their YouTube Channel: https://goo.gl/YhnnDK  



Post created on behalf of Rhonda Jenkins while she is on her China Trip.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Google Calendar's Appointment Slots

Google Apps for Education allows users to use a special feature in Calendar - Appointment Slots.

As an LMC Director, I use appointment slots so teachers can sign up a time for book fair previews, text book check out at the beginning of the new school year and at the end for textbook check in. As a classroom teacher, appointment slots can be used to let parents select a parent-teacher conference time slot. I'm sure there are many other uses for appointment slots!

Here's how it works;
Access your Google Calendar.
  • Choose the Daily, Week, or 4 Days view (appointment slots option will not show if one of these views are not used.)
  • Click on a day to add an event.
  • This menu box comes up with the Appointment Slots option. Select Appointment Slots. You can now choose the type of slot - a single appointment slot or slots of (you select time slot length) minutes. 
  • Now select Edit Event to continue making choices for your appointment slot.
  • Here you can add additional information about your appointment slots: Title, Time Block, Where, Description. 
  • A link to your appointment slots is also available on this menu. Be sure to copy that link so you can provide your desired audience with the link for choosing their preferred appointment slot. 
  • Visitors to this page will see a calendar showing the available appointments. They’ll also see their own calendar overlaid on the appointment page, making it easy to see what times work for them.
    To book an appointment, visitors simply click one of the available appointment buttons and click Save. Visitors can also edit other fields in the popup to make changes to the title, location, and event description.
    Appointments that have been booked won’t be visible to future visitors to the appointment page.
  • For a video on how this works, check out this link: www.freetech4teachers.com 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Supporting Critical Thinking Skills



In a previous post I discussed Collaboration as the first skill I think about when I evaluate possible uses of an online tool. If I can't find a way to use a tool in a collaborative way, I may not invest much in experimenting with it.
When I evaluate a new tool to share with staff or use in my classroom I want to know how it can support and build essentials skills before I think about content. I always try start with how a tool can support one or more of the 4Cs.
Critical Thinking is another of the 4Cs that is essential for lifelong-learners.
Critical thinking - Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students will:
  • Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
  • Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
  • Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  • Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.
With the help of my incredible PLN, I've compiled a list of tools that can support communication for students and teachers in classrooms.
Check out these resources in this collaborative Google Doc:

Please share other tools you recommend to build critical thinking skills with students and staff?

Sheldon Cooper on Critical Thinking


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Beautify Your Outlook - Online and Desktop Versions

Here's a Tech Tip for you! 
Ever wonder how certain individuals have fancy emails? Here's how you can beautify yours. 

We have two versions available to us - online version found at webmail.ipsd.org and a desktop version that is part of the Microsoft Office Suite. There are times and reasons for using them both. For now, let's see how to change the appearance of them with options you prefer . . . go a head and beautify your email messages. 

Desktop Version:



Online Version:

Remember, when using the desktop version of Outlook, if you frequently use more than one computer, the profile you established will not automatically transfer to each computer. You will have to recreate your choices on each computer. Your online version, once set, is always the same. 

Give it a try!

Wunderlist for Keeping Up With Your To Do List

I love to do lists. They allow me to empty my brain and stop obsessing about what I might forget to do. The only problem is that I can never remember where I put them. If I use the one in my e-mail program, I have to open my e-mail and go to do the to-do list. My phone's to-do list is limited to that app on the phone.

So I'm thankful for web based to do lists like Wunderlist. I can access it from an app on my phone or tablet, from the Wunderlist website or from the Google Chrome extension that features my list whenever I open a new tab. I could even print out my list, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't sync with the other copies of the list like these other options do automatically.

Here are some of the cool features:

  • Share tasks with other users
  • Create sub-tasks in each list item
  • Attach files to a list item (including audio notes)
  • Create folders for lists
  • E-mail in tasks to a list
  • Add comments, notes and reminders to list items
  • Use hashtags add context to the item
  • Syncing among all versions of the program
  • Add cool backgrounds to your lists. My current favorite is a friendly monster with a balloon.
This is all on the free plan.  A premium plan means that some of the features here are unlimited, but the free one should work for most school staff. It also might be a great tool to recommend to students to help keep them organized. It is simple to use and it works pretty seamlessly.


Note: The company was recently bought by Microsoft, so there may be some changes in the future, but they haven't reported what those changes might be yet.




Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Collaborate with Twiddla

Twiddla is a real-time based collaboration tool that allows many people the opportunity to gather at one time and communicate via text or video in order to make suggestions for changes on websites, documents, or images.

Twiddla has many useful functions:
1.       Whiteboard- use a blank page and create any type of text you would like. Communicate with others by writing, drawing, or using shapes, all on a page created solely by the group.
2.       Web page- upload a webpage URL and be able to use the website in real-time while communicating with the group about suggested changes, how to questions, or whatever other kinds of collaborative uses you can think of.
3.       Document- upload a personal document and have the group review
4.       Image- upload an image and mark it up!
5.       EtherPad- write text and share thoughts. 


Monday, June 1, 2015

Communication Skills to Support Teaching & Learning

In a previous post I discussed Collaboration as the first skill I think about when I evaluate possible uses of an online tool. If I can't find a way to use a tool in a collaborative way, I may not invest in using it.
When I look at new tool to share with staff or use in my classroom I want to know how it can support and build essentials skills before I think about content. I always try start with how a tool can support one or more of the 4Cs.
Communication is another skill critical for learners.
Communication - Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students will:
  • Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
  • Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
  • Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
  • Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.
With the help of my incredible PLN, I've compiled a list of tools that can support communication for students and teachers in classrooms.
Check out these resources in this collaborative Google Doc:

What other tools can you recommend to build communication skills with students and staff?