Jul 142010

First off, feel free to view and download the presentation for today’s session.

Here are some great resources out on the web to harness the power and engagement potential of cell phones:

Poll Everywhere: PollEverywhere is a service that you can use during class discussion to get instant feedback from your students via text message or web polling or voting. The results are instantly updated on the website, or you can embed a poll into a PowerPoint presentation (now Keynote in iWork on the Mac as well!). A basic teacher account will allow for 32 responses for an unlimited number of questions. Questions can be either multiple choice or open-ended in nature. Students LOVE the instant and anonymous feedback that they get, and the teacher can know at a glance what the students are understanding, and what they still have questions about. If you want to try a student response system like this without the phones, Student Response Network is a non-handheld solution for a computer lab setting. Poll on student response systems. Poll on cell phone tools.

TextMarks utilizes the main form of communications for today’s students – text messaging – and allows for instant alerts and reminders for your students, or their parents for that matter. Create an account at TextMarks, and then set up different groups that you intend to communicate with – different class periods, subject areas, parents, etc. and assign them a unique keyword. Once students or parents subscribe to the group, you can send out any message or reminder needed from the TextMarks website. Reminders and messages to your students that they will actually READ! Text “ITEAM” to 41411 and join the iTEAM TextMark group!

TalkShoe brings a recording studio to your classroom with any phone and a computer with web access. TalkShoe might be the fastest, easiest way to create a recording of your lecture. Here’s a step-by-step of how to start a new podcast recording. Once you have some episodes recorded, your students can ‘sign up’ for your podcasts in many ways – traditional RSS, via iTunes, or by subscribing via feed readers or text! Wait! I have a SmartPhone! Can I do it all from there? A SmartPhone, or an App Phone like the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry – any phone that can use Apps, can handle this task directly. On my Droid, I have downloaded an app called Voice Recorder that has one simple job – to record what comes through the microphone and allow that recording to be ‘shared’ via email, text message, or some other service. In this case, I chose to email it to my Posterous blog, and in just a few steps, I am podcasting

ChaCha is basically a web search with your voice anywhere, anytime. Call or text-message a question to ChaCha, and the answer will be texted back to that phone. Very handy to resolve any question that comes up during class discussion or for research away from the computer lab or Library.

Google SMS – Ahh, Google. The good folks at Google will let you search for the information that you need the most from your phone. Text “weather 84720” to 466453 (‘GOOGLE’ on most devices) and you will get the current weather and forecast for Cedar City. Text “define asymptote”, and Google will give you the definition! Very handy and useful! Here is a more complete list of what Google SMS can answer for you.

As I present this and as time goes on, I’ll add great alternatives that are similar to the tools that I’ve detailed above, but might work differently/better/cheaper etc. Here we go:

  • GroupMe – Alternative to TextMarks, free for groups of 25 or less, built for group discussions via text messages an not so much for 1-to-many alerts.
  • Talk ShoeBeefier alternative to GabCast, and it’s free.
Jul 142010
View the presentation from the session here:
Seven Deadly Sins of PowerPoint, and How To Avoid Them:


Avoid PowerPointLessNess in your Classroom:



Tips for Effective Presentations:
  • Stay Consistent:
    • Each slide has the same look and feel
    • If transitions are used, use the same throughout
    • Only deviate to make a point of emphasis
  • Keep it Simple:
    • Use a single, easy to read font.
    • Never let the font size auto adjust to a smaller size
    • Use dark backgrounds with bright text
  • Follow the 6×6 Rule:
    • Only 6 bullets per page
    • Only 6 words per line
    • Never more than 6 images/slide
  • Space and the number of slides are unlimited, so don’t crowd the slides!

I’ve written about Animoto before, but let’s take a closer look…
Animoto videos/presentations are created in 3 easy steps:
  1. Upload pictures, add text, and arrange them in the order you want.
  2. Pick your music – upload your own or choose from their many options.
  3. Select your animation theme, and let the site do the rest.
All of the hard part – putting in the motion, transitions, music and effects, are done automagically by the site. Don’t like the results? You can remix it as many times as needed. You can also go back and edit the project to add to it or correct mistakes once it’s produced.
Here’s an example that I created in about 10 minutes – National and State Parks in Maui
  • Prezi is a whole new approach to presentations
  • Size and scale are used to show??heircachy, not slides and bullets
  • You work in a presentation ‘space’??and create the flow of the presentation with simple and intuitive tools.
  • The trick is to??start to think??in multiple??dimensions!
  • Great Prezi example -??Mixing Mind and Metaphor
  • Make sure you??sign up for the “Edu Enjoy” account, which is the $59/year account that is free for educators (Thanks, Prezi!)??
  • Prezi is a little different than any other presentation method you may have seen before. Take the time to??learn how to use it to it’s full potential.
Google Presentations:
Google Docs in Plain English:
  • The only thing that is Light Years ahead of anyone else here is the Collaboration.
  • 10 people can edit a presentation at the same time. However, you can share a presentation with up to 200 people!
  • The Good News???You probably already have it!
  • Teachers in the SEDC region??have Gmail-based Email, and??have email along with:
    • Presentations with Docs, Spreadsheets, and Forms
    • Calendars
    • Sites
In the classroom….
  • Teachers can set up presentation ‘templates’ where each student (or small group) is in charge of one or many slides.
  • Students become the CONTENT EXPERTS for that topic during slide(s) creation
  • The process takes what would have been multiple files on multiple topics, and transforms it to ONE DOCUMENT.
  • Student Content Experts then teach their concept to the rest of the class
  • We have done collaborative projects with:
    • Rock Identification
    • Math Story Problems
    • Writing Across The Curriculum
  • View examples on the SEDC Site
Jul 142010

Welcome, and thank you for attending our panel discussion today. Our session today is meant to be an open dialogue of ‘best practices’, which means ASK QUESTIONS! Let’s introduce our panel members:

  • Moderator: Clint Stephens – Technology Integration Specialist & Former Middle & High School Science Teacher, Southwest Educational Development Center
  • Glen Westbroek (via Skype) – Science Department Head, Orem Jr. High School
  • Mary Janice Richmond – Math & Science Teacher, Hurricane High School
  • Joy Coates – Math Specialist, Iron County School District
  • Brandon Coates – Elementary Teacher, Cedar City East Elementary

First, I’d like to hear from our panel members and let them introduce themselves:

  • What subject(s) do you teach?
  • How many years have you been teaching?
  • Tell us about any awards or distinctions you have earned. (it’s OK to brag!)
  • What’s your favorite finger???

Now, let’s address each of these questions:

  • What is the most important technology utilized in your classroom right now? What could you not live without?
  • What is the next thing “on your list” of things to learn or explore? What has caught your eye recently that you’d like to know more about?
  • What is your classroom missing? What is the next thing you’ll add to your instruction?
  • What are your thoughts on mobile devices (iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad, smart phones, mobile phones)? Do they belong in the classroom? Are they used in your classroom???
  • What’s the best thing you are doing with technology with your students?
  • What long-term technology projects are your students working on, if any? (blog/journals, media creation, electronic portfolios, etc)
  • How did you get your ‘stuff’? What grants or funding opportunities have you earned, and how did you get funded?
  • What grants are out there for teachers to go after?

Questions, comments, additions?


Please log into the Google Wave for this discussion and help take notes and add resources and links discussed today, or follow along here!