Sunday, April 22, 2018

Meet Them Where They Are

Yesterday I popped my earbuds in and turned on my podcast player while I took my dog for a walk. One of the podcasts I listened to was the Shifting Our Schools Podcast Episode 46: Teaching a Media First Generation.

There was a lot to think about in this episode, but what resonated with me was that we need to reach the community the way they like to be reached.

Until recently, I was of the mindset to have one or two places where the community (or students) can get information. In the past when I formulated that thought, there weren't the tools needed to create a "wide net" strategy. Now, with If This Then That (IFTTT), it is easier than ever. So really, there is no reason to not cast a wider net.

Every school I have been at has had a Facebook page. I haven't followed any FB pages of the schools I have worked for, and I have wished the schools were on Twitter (one was heavily on Twitter, one light, and the other is not). Since I am a Twitter user, I found it much easier to follow, receive, and interact with the information.

I know that I have resisted what I believed to be a school's push of one platform over another, so I wonder why I have, as a coach and teacher, pushed one platform over another.

Going forward, one idea I have is to survey the community, including the students, to ask them how they would like to get information. Then, use IFTTT to deliver the same message to different platforms. I am also rethinking how I communicate with my own students next year. Hopefully, I can meet them where they are.

Podcasts the got me thinking

Principal Matters Podcast
PMP:107 Positive Messaging with Parents and Communities

Saturday, April 21, 2018

What's This Useful Alternate Timezone in My Google Calendar?

Today I was putting something on my Google Calendar when I saw something I haven't noticed before. On the left side, next to the calendar in week view, were two time zones.

So I opened the calendar settings [hover the cursor next to the calendar name to reveal the three dots] and looked at my settings.

Here is what my settings looked like.

Right away I saw that there were two time zones (in the Time zone section). My first thought was to change the second one. But instead of having an option located inside the menu to not include it, that just allowed me to change it to a second time zone.

Instead, Google has added a tick box at the top of the section. 

 A little further down, Google has added a world clock function.

More really nice changes to Google Calendar.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

QR Codes in the School

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Aurasma and School Play Programs
When  I went to a PD event at Yokohama International School a few years ago, when walking through the building they had student work displayed, along with the Aurasma codes. It was awesome, but I couldn't see them because I had an iPod (with no internet connection). There was nothing I could do.

But the art without the explanations was nice nevertheless.

At another school, the administrator was telling the audience to access the concert program using a QR Code. I thought it was an awesome idea that saved paper, but again, how could I get a QR Code reader without having WiFi access?

The Seesaw Connection
We use Seesaw as our portfolios and parental communication. A few weeks ago I learned that student work can be printed with a QR code. This is a powerful way for students to share their work with students in other classes within the school.

We are currently in the WASC accreditation process and some of the criteria ask for ways we are teaching. In order to get that evidence, we are going to go into each other's classrooms to look for those criteria.

While I think we should be going into each others' classrooms, we could have more dynamic evidence right in the hallways.

Some ideas
  1. Not everyone has a QR Code Reader App installed on their phones, so why not open up the WiFi to the public? I understand why schools don't do this, I think they should, then how about changing the Guest password each week/month? The point is to give guests access to WiFi to download apps to access the learning.
  2. If you are going to go this route, it might be good to send a note to the community beforehand recommending a specific app for both Android devices and iPhones. While there are many, not all work the same, and some have annoying ads. Spend some time researching a few options, then give the community ample warning.
  3. Let's get the community into schools more often.