Monday, August 29, 2016

First Days: Setting a Positive Climate

As the first days of school approach, we aim to set the tone for our classes and to get to know our students. Many have shared ideas about ways to approach these initial days.

  • Shaelynn Farnsworh, an educational blogger with a focus on literacy, shares these ideas Kicking Off Back to School With Camera Fun. As a camera buff, I illustrate one of her ideas, creating a 6 Word Memoir alongside a personal photo. 

November Learning, an organization founded by famed educator Alan November, provides these videos of educators offering their ideas found on this website page,  "First 5 Days of School."

Why Use Voxer, the Messaging App

For the last few years, I have been an avid user of the Voxer app. When I mentioned the app to new users, they often want to know more. Here I explain some of its uses for professional development and integration with students.

Professional Development

The app offers the ability to send text, audio, images, videos messages to a single user or a group. If you have an interest in a special area, such as English Language Arts or the Flipped Classroom, you can join a group with others with the same interest and pose questions and learn of suggestions others offer. Planning on attending a conference or presenting at one, you can start a Voxer group to coordinate plans.

Here is a screen capture of just a few of the Voxer groups I have joined.

Integration with Students

In lieu of sending class emails or individual emails, Voxer can be used to send messages regarding course work. A class chat group can be set up with all class members. Once that is done, messages can be shared back and forth with all members in the class or separately to individuals by side voxing them. If a student has a question about an assignment, they can post it to the class chat or send it individually to the instructor.

Some Recommended Setting

  • I turn off alerts and just check the app regularly throughout the day for new messages. 
  • I prefer to have the audio message set to use the start and stop option instead of using the default option which requires holding down the audio button the whole time while audio recording a message.
  • For long audio messages spoken slowly, I will sometimes use the option to listen at a faster speed, usually setting the speed to 2X. This is done by hitting the speed button at the bottom of the screen when listening to a message.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Livestreaming with Periscope for Professional Development

Cross posting:

At the end of July, EdCamp Global ran a series of professional learning events. Given the series was all online, the Periscope app was an excellent way to bring the sessions to a live, interactive audience.

Here's a sampling of some of the sessions offered via the app, and you'll be able to see the broadcast via the Twitter tweet in which they are embedded. Be sure to hit the volume icon in the lower corner to turn on the sound while watching.

What suggestions do others have for offering online professional development? What tools do you think work best for reaching a global audience during the EdCamp Global and similar events?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Protect Yourself Online

At the Digital Citizenship Summit held at the University of Saint Joseph October 4, 2015, Sarah Thomas, a teacher from the Washington DC area, did a session on tips for protecting oneself in age of online fraud and hacks. Several people have asked about her session, and I had the opportunity, with her permission, to video the presentation with the Periscope app. The video was automatically saved on, and I was able to get the embed code to share the video in this post.

Happy to share with others. The video is of nearly the whole session, so it is long, but you can fast forward and rewind as you like.

Note this post also appears on my blog, Integrating Technology and Literacy.

Any comments about Sarah's presentation are welcomed.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

School Media in Schools

Presentation on Social Media in Schools

Many people have asked for information following the "Social Media in Schools" session that Marialice Curran and I lead for an educational event, EdCampCT.

Given, I used the Periscope app to livestream the session and archived the stream, I'm able to share out the video and texted in comments.

Beside face-to-face attendees, about 125 people watched and interacted virtually. We projected the live broadcast (using Apple TV) for in-person attendees who didn't have a chance to download the Periscope app.

Session Questions

Prior to the session, we tweeted discussion questions:

Replay of Periscope "Social Media in Schools"

To find the replay of the Periscope on Katch.em, click on image.

Here are two screen captures from the broadcast showing a few text comments. 

Additional Resources About Periscope

For the session, I shared in Google Document prior blog posts I wrote abut the app.

1)  “Around the World in 24 Hours with Periscope” on Integrating Technology and Literacy Blog :

“Blabbing about Periscope with Colleagues” on Technology for Learning: Blog

For more information, contact me on Twitter at @JudyArzt, and try the Twitter hashtags #PeriscopeEDU and #PeriscopeTeachers. 

Follow-up Discussion 

We had a lively discussion of educational applications of the Periscope app and came up with these ideas.
  • Virtual field trips
  • Mystery Locations (comparable to Mystery Skypes or Mystery Google Hangouts)
  • Bringing experts into the classroom such as National Park Rangers, NASA astronauts, weather reporters, and authors 
  • Immediate access to breaking news stories 
  • Cultural tours from places around the world
  • Class cultural and geography exchanges
  • Access to hearing world languages and reading comments texted in the languages
  • Watching an artist or scientist at work
  • Attending professional events (as we modeled by Periscoping our session)
  • Doing Periscope Chats instead of Twitter chats (as some educators have already done)
With app being new (released in late March 2015 with updates since), educators will continue to seek ways to use it. For use in K-12 classrooms, we suggested broadcasters set the stream so only specified viewers can join. 

Other Thoughts

What are your views on the use of social media in schools?
What social media do you find effective for school use?
Would you use an app like Periscope in school, and if so, how?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

How Periscope is Adding a New Twist to Twitter Chats

Several innovative educators, Angie Olson and  Ashley Schroeder, have taken the idea of Twitter chats and transformed them into Periscope chats. The benefit of this method is that you see and hear the moderator while texting comments.  Luckily, the moderators use, a site for archiving Periscope video streams and comments.

Click on image for a recap of one of the recent Periscope chats, which attracted 127 live viewers and 1675 chat comments.

Check Angie's blog post, "Periscope Chat and TPT Cha"t to learn more about the concept, by clicking on image below.

What is your take on the idea of Periscope live streamed chats with video and the ability to text comments?  How can this social media platform elevate the way educators share ideas for professional development and forging a Personal Learning Network (PLN)?

This post is cross posted on my other blog Integrating Technology and Literacy.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

New Spin on Mystery Location Game with Periscope

The Basic Concept

The conventional Mystery Hangout or Mystery Skype has two classes simultaneously using the platform of choice, Google Hangout or Skype, to guess the location of the other school using yes/no questions. Many are familiar with the concept and plenty of information can be found online for running these class activities. Now Periscope offers a new spin on the idea.

Screen shot from the Twitter feed of the app

Two colleagues in advance who both have the Periscope app on their devices (iPhone, Android, iPad, etc.) make arrangements in advance. One colleague at Location 1 is in a place that does not obviously give away the location but has some hints available to show as the game progresses. In the classroom where students will be trying to guess the location, the teacher, library-media specialist, or IT coach has the selected device hooked up for projection and joins the Periscope just as the colleague starts the broadcast.

Some Tips

1) In advance of the Mystery Periscope (aka Mystery Scope), the "scoper" could put on a website or blog some pictures that won't give away the location but offer some enticement to generate student interest. This step can also be skipped.

2) The "scoper" is on site at the location. The beauty of using the app as opposed to the standard Mystery Hangout or Mystery Skype is the "scoper" can easily move around, be on location out-of-doors, and make adjustments of what to show on the camera as the guessers text in questions.

3) The "scoper" could be prepared as the guessers come close to identifying the location to show a famous landmark at the site of the scope. Once the location is guessed, the "scoper" can tell about the landmark and more about the location. At this point, the students can continue to prepare questions or responses for the person showing the broadcast, who can text in to the "scoper" the students' suggestions to keep the momentum going.

4) ** Important** The "scoper" needs to turn off Location setting in Periscoper before starting the broadcast.

See the first icon (up arrow) in the below image. The "scoper" would click and toggle until "precise location is turned off " before the broadcast is started.

The second icon can be tapped if the "scoper" wants the broadcast private and wants to select who can see it from the list of followers, with the list popping up of followers once the icon is tapped. The third icon allows the user to determine who can chat (text in comments): anyone or just those selected by the "scoper."

5) Time zones, which are often a hangup in organizing Mystery Location events with Skype or Google Hangout are less of an issue when using Periscope. The person doing the broadcast can go live any time that is convenient. Granted, this is just one class or perhaps more joining in to guess the location, but the person doing the broadcast is not in a school setting and nor should the person be at home. A setting convenient for the "scoper" that will be of interest to the students should be used. For instance, if I were doing the scope for young students in elementary school, I might be at Monterey Aquarium or the Bronx Zoo. For older students in a social studies class, I might be on the mall at Washington DC ready to show and speak about the Lincoln Memorial after the students figured out the location from me just standing on the mall but not showing any of the monuments until the location were identified.

How I Can Help

I am willing and able to go to landmarks, places of interest, and places that will generate discussion for the students viewing the scope. For instance, I could be on site at one of the landmarks in my own state or a neighboring state and because I travel often, I could arrange the scope per where I will be and input from the person who will be showing the scope to the specified audience.

Guess the Location

I am throwing in some screen captures from recent Periscopes I have done. Most of my broadcasts start with my location, but I would change  the format for a Mystery Location and not use that as a opening.

So here are some images from places I recently scoped with Periscope. See if you can figure out where I was.

Not quite enough information to figure out the location, at least in most cases, but images like these can be put on a blog in advance to pique student interest before the Mystery Location Scope. They can also be captured afterwards in a blog post to continue the discussion and add more information based on student interest and comments during the scope.

For more ideas about using Periscope, see my blog post, "Around the World in 24 Hours." That post suggests ways to use the app for cultural experiences, studying famous places, and learning about natural wonders of the world.

For now, I simply offer the idea of a new spin on the conventional Mystery Skypes and Google Hangouts by using Periscope, which gives the person on the other end the freedom to move around and decide where to go based the comments texted in during the scope. The use of Periscope's hearts can also figure in, with the person who is showing the broadcast tapping on the screen to send hearts based on how well the students are guessing the location.

So have you used Perisocpe yet? What are your thoughts and ideas for using this app? Do you think the app could put a new spin on Mystery Location games? 

Here are two examples of a Periscope I created and uploaded to YouTube, while in DC. Now the app also offers a way to save both the scope and comments, but at the time that I created these two, was not yet launched. I offer these two example to point out how a scoper working with a class on a Mystery Location game can offer insights into historical places and monuments. 


This post is crossed posted on one of my other blogs.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Is Being a Connected Educator Addictive?

This post is cross posted in my other blog Integrating Technology and Literacy

Now that I'm using an increasing variety of tools to stay connected as an educator, I am wondering if the allure is addictive. Do I need to check each of these daily, or even more than once a day, and oh, sometimes hourly or admittedly even more often? Here are just s few I check throughout the day, and sometimes into the wee hours of the night, way beyond midnight.

  • Twitter
  • Voxer chat groups
  • Periscope
  • Instagram

With ease of access to all of these on my iPhone, I am wondering what is overkill, and I have named just a few of the apps I use daily. Each leads me somewhere else via posted links or live streamlining videos. A Twitter chat alone can be not just the hourlong, but far longer if I check all the links to resources shared or decide to do an archive of the chat with Storify such as this ones I do of a #Read4Fun Twitter chat, one I follow weekly on Sundays, 7-7:30 pm, or the #teacheredchat, for which I am an organizer.

Watching a Periscope and texting in comments is another half hour or hour shot.

Look all those hearts coming in from a recent Periscope I watched and did some screen captures from, tweeting out to the broadcaster my appreciation in this example.

In the short time I have had the Periscope app on my phone, I have watched live stream broadcasts of the National Parks in Utah, taken a tour of Rome and Milan, checked several live-streams of Paris, and watched streams of a class using GetKahoot in Hawaii and an AP Lit class in Queens, New York writing and research with school-issued laptops.

We say we want to be connected educators and it helps us grow professionally and connects us with educators and resources globally. We tout that we become better educators because we are connected and learn from many others and the resources shared that are at our fingertips.

But do we go through withdrawal symptoms when we need to disconnect?

Last week, I dropped my iPhone in a park when taking photos. The phone was lost for a few hours. I had used iCloud to lock the phone and put out a text message alert on the phone to call a number if found. At first, I was somewhat relieved to know my phone might be gone for a day or two while I waited to decide if I wanted to buy another one and upgrade to an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6+. I almost felt a sense of relief to be without the phone, though I would still have my laptop and iPad to connect, but the phone really functioned as my quick 24/7 access, anytime, any place. 

Well, my dilemma ended when about two hours later I got the anticipated call my phone was found. Did I rush to get it? You bet. After all of this debating, I decided if I had to have one addiction (other than coffee in the morning) being a connected educator was the one.

Now another commitment I need to make is to do more blogging. But every time I look at one of my blogs, I am reminded they need a makeover. Look at all those Blogger messy "Labels" hanging out on the side (Index) and likewise all the accompanying, dated "Gadgets" that just need to go. But instead of spending time cleaning up my blogs, I am off to another online place to stay connected.

I thank my PLN (personal learning network) for getting me to this point increasingly over the time of being a connected educator 24/7, or at least almost 24/7. So is it a complete addiction when the first thing I reach for in the morning before the cup of coffee is the phone to check notifications!

Oh and I do promise to clean up all "Labels" and "Gadgets" on the sidebar if I can just break myself away from checking Voxer messages, tweeting on Twitter, checking Instagram posts, and tuning into Periscope broadcasts. Oh, and I did I mention Flickr, where I need to get to now to find a Creative Commons images to add to this post.

flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

So how do others feel about being a connected educator? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Do you take a tech sabbatical sometimes and disconnect?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Blog a Month

So it is Blog a Month time. Glad to participate, and above is the prompt. Because I have been teaching Educational Research this year, and not my regular educational technology courses, I have not been posting to this blog with my frequent regularity. Thus, it is good to see a challenge presented and to set aside time to do another post.

Yes, this quotation does resonate with me, especially the first two sentences. Each day, I do focus on purpose, especially when I'm teaching. Even when not in the classroom, am thinking of ideas for the classroom, which is one reason why I turn to Twitter, with a steady stream of tweets for gathering and prompting new ideas. I like to be creative, and sometimes just any tweet will spark an idea. So many wonderful educators share ideas and links to blogs, websites, and tech tools on Twitter. Twitter chats keep me even more focused. Just last night, I happened upon the #Read4Fun chat, a new chat, which garnered over 1200 tweets. How do I know that number? Well, after the chat, I went to Storify to gather them. I collected all of them, but the free version of Storify only allows for 1,000 entries in creating a Storify. Later, I joined the California Educators chat, #CAedchat. The topic was on "pimping your lesson plans," with links to Google Docs to submit a plan for feedback and suggestions.

Tonight, I will be on #teacheredchat, one of the Twitter chats for which I am an organizer. Being an organizer means I am always in search of good guest moderators. All of this reminds me how critical it is to be a connected educator. Why am I a connected educator? I guess it is because I stay focused every day on my purpose as an educator.

Would love to know how the above quotation resonates with others. Hoping you'll leave a comment, and if you are one of the participants in the Blog a Month challenge, leave a link to one of your posts.

I have several blogs and will cross post this one on one of those.

Looking forward to making connections and learning about how others stay focused.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Multi-Genre Projects

This presentation was shared at the National Council of Teachers of English Convention, November 21, 2014, and offers excellent suggestions for implementing multi-genre projects.

View in full screen mode.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's September: Time to Connect with Other Classes

September is a great time to plan global projects. 
Here are a few I recommend to teachers.

1) International Dot Day

Although the title says "day," the concept extends far beyond. Numerous ways to connect based on the Dot Day phenomenon exist.

Check the International Dot Day site.

These videos offer a quick overview of ways to connect.

Two Libraries One Voice DOT Day Celebration

2) Global Read Aloud

This amazing project, going into its fifth year, connects classes through literature. Visit Pernille Ripp's blog, Global Read Aloud blog, to keep current, and follow the project through Twitter, Edmodo, and other channels.

Here's a run down on the books for this year's project.

And a whole bunch of Peter Reynold's books, which Pernille lists:

For those using Twitter, the hashtag #gra14 will put you in touch with others.

3) Comments For Kids on Twitter

You don't need to be on Twitter to search with #comments4kids, but if you want to share your class's or students' blog, you need an account to post links.

Check these twitter posts for a sampling.

4) Blog Rolls

Once you find other classes to blog with, use a blog roll, making it easy for your students to find the other classes. When visiting other classes' blogs, look for their blog rolls for further connections.

Here is a sample of a blog roll from one teacher's class blog from 2013-2014.

5) Skype in the Classroom

Perfect way to find classes, guest speakers, and virtual field trips. 

Find lesson plans, participate in a Mystery Skype, and even check the Skype in the Classroom Facebook page.

6) Google Mystery Hangouts

This Google Community is another way to find classes to do mystery location video calls.

Also, check the Mystery Location Call Google Community to make quick connections with teachers and others looking to link up for class projects.

7) Quad Blogging

The Quad Blogging project has been around since 2011, and every year teachers sign up to participate with three other classes, with each class responsible during the weeks of their cycle. It is a great way to share information about cultures and geography, and learn about the beliefs of people who live in other parts of the world.

8) Voice Thread

VoiceThread as an online image, voice recording, video recording, and drawing app that makes it easy for classes to collaborate. The educator's account is free, and the classes can use a teacher's account to make connections. A VoiceThread Google Community posts periodic updates.

9) Special Projects Centered on Subject Areas

Here is one example of a Global Math Project.

The possibilities for connecting one's classroom globally increase daily as the technology continues to find its place in classrooms worldwide.

Personally, I use the Twitter hashtags #globaled and #globalclassroom to keep current of projects as they develop and to learn about conferences focused on making global classroom connections.

Sample of some recent tweets from #globaled:

How important do you believe it is for us to integrate global connections into our teaching? Does your curriculum allow for the possibilities? If you have connected globally, leave a comment to tell how an to extend the conversation.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Look Up: What's the Tech World Doing to Us?

This video, though it used tech to create it and post it to YouTube to share, has a powerful message about how we are glued to our devices. The narration is done as a poem and questions us about how tech is isolating us.

You've heard the message before, but wanted to share the video because of the interesting way it was done and the images that were used.

Have you thought of disconnecting from tech? Does it take a storm (e.g., hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster when we lose power) to disconnect? Do you agree with the message in the video?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Twitter in the Classroom

I posted this graphic on Twitter about a week ago, and it has had close to a 100 retweets, which makes me think Twitter is gaining popularity in classrooms. Have you joined in using Twitter with students? What do you think of these suggestions?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Digital Learning: What Do We Know About the Future?

Steve Wheeler shared this comprehensive slide show that says so much about technology over the course of time. Although the presentation has many slides, surely several will speak to you.

Leave a comment to say which speak to you and why. To view, check: Digital Learning Futures: 3 Things About Future Learning or click the below image, which will direct you to SlideShare to see the presentation there, but don't forget to leave your comments here in a reply to this post. Thanks.