Teacher Tip Video – Creating a Classroom Website with Weebly (Part 1)

Hello teachers!

At this day and age, a classroom website is always a good idea. Not only to integrate technology into the classroom and empower students to acquire tech skills, but also to make learning more accessible for everyone! Classroom websites are gateways to connecting with students, parents and colleagues. They offer an easy and quick method for communicating information (announcements, deadlines, school events, etc.), as well as collecting information (parent forms, student polls, electronic assignment submissions, etc.).

Site builders such as Google Sites, Squarespace, and Wix have made it increasingly easier to create a classroom website. Our favorite? Weebly–for its seamless interface, useful tools and beautiful themes! If you have yet to try Weebly, follow along with us this week and next week as we guide you through a two-part video series on how to create a classroom website with Weebly. Oh, and did we mention it’s absolutely free? Let’s get started!

This is part one of a two-part video series so stay tuned for the second half of this teacher tip next week!

If you have any suggestions for future videos, leave them in the reply box below or email julee@webteaching.com

PDI also offers online courses for teachers that can be found here: http://www.webteaching.com/. Including many courses on integrating technology into the classroom.

Or, click here to like us on Facebook!

Also, don’t forget to join our email list (Follow button on the left) to make sure you never miss a video!

Happy teaching,

The PDI Team

PDI Teacher Tip Video – Creating an Interactive PowerPoint Presentation

Hello teachers!

Last week, we discussed the importance of integrating interactive features into a presentation; and as promised, this week we show you how to create an interactive PowerPoint presentation. With just a few buttons and links, you can create an engaging presentation that allows for students to easily and flexibly explore content independently from home! Check out this week’s teacher tip video below.

If you have any suggestions for future videos, leave them in the reply box below or email julee@webteaching.com

PDI also offers online courses for teachers that can be found here: http://www.webteaching.com/. Including a course titled Using Microsoft PowerPoint in the Classroom.

Or, click here to like us on Facebook!

Also, don’t forget to join our email list (Follow button on the left) to make sure you never miss a video!

Have a great weekend and happy teaching,

The PDI Team

Using VoiceThread for Collaboration – Teacher Tip

Happy Friday teachers!

This week’s teacher tip video guides you through the steps for creating a VoiceThread. For those of you who aren’t familiar with VoiceThread, it’s an awesome web-based tool that allows you to use media (e.g., images, videos, documents, etc.) to create a presentation. What makes VoiceThread unique is the way it fosters collaboration through the use of text, voice, and video comments.

For example, suppose you created a slideshow presentation using various photos and shared the presentation with your students. Your students can then create an account/identity and comment on a specific slide in the presentation using text, their own voice, or a video recorded from their webcam. Students can also respond to their classmates’ comments, which creates an ongoing dialogue that can be done entirely from their home (or school) computer!

Check out our new 4 minute teacher tip video on how to use VoiceThread below.

If you have any suggestions for future videos, leave them in the reply box below or email julee@webteaching.com

PDI also offers online courses for teachers that can be found here: http://www.webteaching.com/. Including many courses that teach you how to integrate web-based tools such as VoiceThread into the classroom.

Or, click here to like us on Facebook!

Also, don’t forget to join our email list (Follow button on the left) to make sure you never miss a video!

Have a great weekend and happy teaching,

The PDI Team

Using Twitter in the Classroom

Hello teachers!

Today we’re going to discuss how social media, Twitter in particular, can help you connect with students, parents, and colleagues, as well as, provide instruction.

Many of us have, at one point of another, opened a social media account. Whether it was way back in the MySpace days or recently via Facebook or Twitter, social media can be difficult to avoid. While some teachers prefer to keep social media separate from the classroom, it can be a very powerful and beneficial way to connect with others on an academic level.

For example, in addition to the many professional athletes and celebrities that can be followed on Twitter, there are also many journalists, scientists, historians, and political analysts who pride themselves on posting only the most up-to-date and trustworthy information. Considering this fact, Twitter can be used as a medium to have valuable information delivered directly to you and your students.

If you’re new to Twitter, familiarize yourself with the Twitter lingo below before tackling this social platform.

  • Tweets: Messages or Twitter posts that accept a maximum of 140 characters. Tweets can come in the form of text or links to webpages, images, or videos. They can be about anything including thoughts, ideas, quotes, etc.
  • Follow: To follow someone on Twitter means to subscribe to their Tweets. The Tweets from those you follow are displayed on your home page. Others can follow you as well.
  • Hashtag (#): Hashtag symbols are used before keywords or phrases to categorize them within the Twitter community. Using hashtags helps users easily locate Tweets about a specific topic. For example, someone may post a link to an article about the Common Core State Standards and use the hashtag: #commoncore or #ccss. You click on or search for a hashtag to access the most recent Tweets from Twitter users who referenced the hashtag in their Tweets.
  • Mention (@): Using the @ symbol allows you to tag another Twitter user in your message. Perhaps the message you’re typing is relevant to another user or you think what you’re posting may be interesting to a colleague. In these cases, you can simply put the @ symbol before their Twitter username to mention them in the Tweet. They will then get notification of your Tweet.

Consider the idea of hashtags. They are used to categorize Tweets. However, you are not limited to using hashtags that already exist, you can create your own customized hashtags. For the following example, imagine you are Mrs. Jane Smith who teaches 7th grade at Garden Grove Middle School. Perhaps you want to create a general hashtag for the students in your classroom such as #smith7ggms or create different hashtags for specific lessons such as #sciproject-smith7ggms. You can create as many as you’d like!

Once you’ve chosen a hashtag, have students Tweet from their account and use the hashtag in their posts. Then, when you search for the unique hashtag in Twitter, you will see all of your students’ contributions. You and your students can then comment on one another’s Tweets.

A few things to note before you get started–First, get the OK from your administrator before using Twitter for any educational purposes. Second, keep in mind that though it is unlikely for someone to search for a unique hashtag such as #smith7ggms, Tweets are technically public. Take precautions as necessary. For example, you may wish to have students create separate accounts in which they do not include their full names (e.g., Robert E). Third, you will need to do a search for the hashtag you’re planning on having your students use. This is to ensure the hashtag is not already being used for a different purpose. If you search for the hashtag and no results appear, you are all set to use it with your students. Below are some examples of how you can use hashtags in your classroom.

  • Use hashtags for students and parents to post questions about school or classroom-related events and activities. You can create a general hashtag for questions such as #questions-smith7ggms or hashtags for specific events such as #openhouse-smith7ggms.
  • Create a hashtag to post announcements and reminders of due dates for assignments (#reminders-smith7ggms).
  • Create a hashtag for a question of the day that students need to access as a homework assignment each night, research the answer, and come prepared the following day for a class discussion (#qoftheday-smith7ggms).
  • Ask students to summarize news articles, textbook content, etc. under 140 characters (#summary-smith7ggms).
  • Using weekly vocabulary words, have students post a sentence a day on one of the words (#vocab-smith7ggms).

Have you ever used Twitter or any other social media in your classroom? Share your ideas with us in the comment section below! If not, hopefully this post will inspire you to maximize on the potential of social media with your students.

Happy teaching,

The #PDI Team

How To Use Prezi (Part 2) Teacher Tip

Hello teachers!

Part two of the teacher tip video series on how to use Prezi is up! This week, we provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to create your very own prezi. Be sure to sign up for a free Prezi account at http://prezi.com/ and follow along with us as we create a prezi from scratch.

If you missed the first video, you can find it at http://wp.me/p52XYO-15. We recommend watching part one first so you can learn the basics of Prezi before viewing the second video below.

If you have any suggestions for future videos, leave them in the reply box below or email julee@webteaching.com

PDI also offers online courses for teachers that can be found here: http://www.webteaching.com/

Or, click here to like us on Facebook!

Also, don’t forget to join our email list (Follow button on the left) to make sure you never miss a video!

Have a great weekend and happy teaching,

The PDI Team

Best Videos to Use in a Flipped Classroom

Happy Tuesday teachers!

This week we’re discussing the best resources for videos that you can incorporate into flipped learning lessons (or any lesson for that matter!). YouTube is well known for videos on any and all topics but it can be tedious to sift through YouTube’s bottomless reservoir of videos. We know this process first-hand. Here at PDI, we are currently developing a course on flipped learning which requires that we search the web for the best resources for teachers who are looking to flip their classrooms. We’ve done our research and figured, why not share these resources with everyone?

Below is a list of some of our favorite sites for quality educational videos. You can use them to integrate technology into any lesson. Plus, what better way to engage students than through videos? Just accompany these videos with some hands-on activities and you’re well on your way!

Teachers, if you have any other helpful sites for educational videos you want to share (or just want to say hello!), post a comment below. We always love hearing from you!

Also, keep an eye out for our flipped classroom course that is currently in the works and will be offered at http://www.webteaching.com very soon!

Happy teaching,

The PDI Team