Posts Tagged "parents"
Ten years ago, health and nutrition curricula were required to focus on the attainment of knowledge related to healthy consumption. We heavily relied on the obtainment of factual knowledge that would later be used to recall the nutritional value of foods; this was the method employed to insure that what we were consuming was nutritionally sound. Since lack of awareness was a contributing factor influencing poor eating habits, knowledge attainment was the natural first priority.
The problem with this approach? We forget facts, and reported nutritional values evolve as new research emerges.
In today’s world, there’s an abundance of organized, dynamic information readily accessible at our fingertips. Resulting from the cultural revolution of mobile devices, access to information is no longer isolated to specific demographics and isn’t contingent upon location. This considered, schools should move along the continuum and shift their focus from knowledge acquisition to the employment of tools that utilize this knowledge.
We learn best when learning is most relevant; mobile services provide opportunities for meaningful and timely learning. Here are three outstanding services that leverage the power of mobility to provide valuable, on-the-spot nutritional information:
The pass-back effect, as defined in Learning: Is There an App for That?, occurs when a parent or other adult “passes” their mobile device to a child. Findings suggest that of the parents that own an iPhone, a significant percentage aren’t passing back the phone to their young children.
Specific findings from this report reveal areas of interest that should be considered for mobile learning to flourish with children. The parentheses following each bullet point references the location of the findings within the report.Read More
Until Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking tools are more prominent with our current generation of parents, there are excellent free voice blasting services that offer an excellent alternative for teachers wishing to make effective and consistent parent contacts.
Voice blasting can send thousands of phone messages by sending a pre-recorded message to a list of selected contacts. It’s like sending a mass text message, only you’re using your voice to send the message instead of your fingers. Many school districts already use these services to broadcast major school announcements, such as school cancellations and delays. However, this is often restricted for administrative purposes. This is understandable since the service your district is using likely costs money. Monthly costs for your district would skyrocket if they had to foot the bill for announcing every single teacher’s upcoming tests, projects, and due dates. But for individual teachers, there are free options available for those wishing to integrate voice blasting into their classroom.
Using free voice blasting from Phonevite, I am able to deliver effective communication to all of my students’ parents while respecting my free time outside of the classroom. The alternative for making verbal parent contacts would be to individually call every single one, which would end up taking quite a while, especially if I’m just intending to get a quick message across. Although there is a premium version available, the free version will suit most teachers just fine. The free version is limited to voice blasting two messages every 30 days, with a maximum capacity of 25 people per call. So, that equates to 50 calls per month… but hang on, it’s possible to utilize free voice blasting to call more than 50 parents per month.
Another notable free service that offers free voice blasting is DialMyCalls. Although lacking in the free extra features that Phonevite offers, DialMyCalls still offers a great service that allows you to contact 25 people per week. Both services have the following restrictions for the free version, but I don’t really think it’s that big of a deal:
Free version restrictions of Phonevite and DialMyCalls
- DialMyCalls is limited to 30 seconds; phonevite is limited to one minute
- DialMyCalls has a broadcast limit of 1 per week at 25 calls each (25 per week, 100 per month); Phonevite has a broadcast limit of 2 per month at 25 calls each (50 total per month, but can be placed within the same day)
So, if you have a class of 75 students, you can combine the two services together to contact the most parents possible in the least amount of time possible, all for free. Here’s the strategy:
- Use DialMyCalls to contact 25 parents
- Use Phonevite to contact 25 parents
- Use Phonevite again to contact another 25 parents
What if you have more than 75 parents? You’ll have to plan ahead a little more and strategize the timing of your messages. A week from the first day you used DialMyCalls, you’ll be able to place another broadcast to another 25 parents. That does require a little more planning, but keep in mind that an ounce of preparation will save you a ton of time! If it turns out to be too difficult to coordinate your messages, then you may be interested in checking out their premium services, which have reasonable rates.
These are two free voiceblasting companies that I’m aware of. Do you know of more, or do you have any questions? Feel free to comment below.Read More
Like many teachers, I want to provide my school blog in as many accessible formats as possible. One trending outlet for blog reading is through the Kindle; however, as it stands now, you cannot provide your blog free of charge through Amazon. It’s free for you to provide the content, but not free for your subscribers to receive the content through Amazon.
Until that changes, I’ve found a few ways to attain the end results I’m looking for, which is quality-Kindle access to my blog. Although Amazon does a fantastic job of converting blog content for reading on the Kindle, I don’t feel right about asking my students and their parents to pay a monthly fee to access my blog content on their Kindle, no matter how small that fee may be. It’s the principle of the matter I suppose. By searching and experimenting, I several different alternatives for publishing your content for reading on the Kindle for both free and reduced costs.
These are the methods I’m aware of. Below, I describe 3 ways you can publish your content for free, and then provide 3 resources where there’s a fee involved for sending content to the Kindle. If you know of more or have any other ideas, feel free to comment in the comments section at the end of the post.
3 Ways to Publish For Free:
Method 1: Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
Here’s what you’ll need:
In my opinion, this method is the simplest alternative to Amazon’s subscription-based blogs and provides quality delivery.
How to use it:
- Log in to your WordPress blog and access the Dashboard
- Active the WordPress Mobile Pack plugin
- Direct users to navigate to your website on the Kindle by clicking Menu
- Select Experimental
- Select launch browser
- Type in the URL of your WordPress blog
- Use the cursor to access the “go to” button in the url box
- Click the 5-way button
- That’s it! This is what K12mobilelearning.com looks like on the Kindle using this method:
With this method, I highly recommend having your students and their parents adding your blog site as a bookmark on their Kindle so you don’t have to type in the URL every time.
Method 2: Google Reader
By default, this lists all of your subscriptions. Initial access is a little bit clunky, but once you’ve logged in, the text cleans up well.
Recommendation: Have your students,students’ parents, or anyone else accessing your blog create a separate Google account that only has the RSS feeds related to your class or school. This will prevent too many of your subscriptions displaying, which can be a slight nuisance.
How to do it:
- Set up a Google Reader account if you don’t have one or would like to create a new one.
- Add your RSS feeds by clicking “Add a Subscription,” and then search for the blog you’re looking for.
- Turn on your Kindle and access the Home Page. Click the Menu button, and then select Experimental
- Select launch browser
- From the browser page, click “Menu” and select “Advanced Mode”
- Type the Mobile Reader URL (http://www.google.com/reader/m/) into the “Enter URL” bar at the top of the browser.
- You’ll have to log-in to Google Reader on your Kindle now, which is kind of a pain the first time. You’ll probably want to ensure that the box is ticked to remember your settings so that you don’t have to do this frequently.
Method 3: Instapaper (using your USB cable)
I really like this way of accessing my personal content. Not only can your students or parents use Instapaper to access your content, they can aggregate web pages of interest to them by “clipping” their web pages, which will then automatically show up in their Instapaper account. Follow this link to Instapaper’s site to learn more.
How to do it:
- You don’t have to set a password, but I highly recommend doing so. You don’t want anybody being able to just type in your username to access your clipped pages.
2. Follow the instructions on the page that displays after you register
- (All you need to do is just drag the “Read Later” bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar)
3. Now, when you (or your students, parents, other teachers, etc.) access a page they’d like to save and read later, simply click the “Read Later” button as shown in the picture below:
4. Plug your Kindle into your computer using the Kindle’s USB cord.
5. After you have all the articles you’d like to read on your Kindle, log back in to Instapaper and select the “Unread” link in the to menu. From there, you should see a Download section that says Kindle (see the picture below).
6. Click this icon, and save the file to your Kindle folder titled documents. That’s it! Now when you turn your Kindle back on, this Instapaper download should show up as a new download.
Free is always great, but some of us don’t mind paying a little bit for added convenience. If your students and parents are downloading multiple news feeds and blog posts, methods 3 and 4 will almost certainly be cheaper than paying Amazon’s fees. Here are two great alternatives that still require a little bit of money:
3 Ways to Publish With Pay:
Method 4: Instapaper (wireless transfer option)
Instapaper is great because they allow two options. Admittedly, I’ve liked the wireless transfer option – it routinely sends my clippings to my Kindle without me ever having to modify settings beyond the first time. But beware – Amazon charges (at the time of this posting) $0.15 to have files sent to you wirelessly.
How to do it:
- Follow these instructions on Instapaper’s website. With new Kindle editions being released, instructions may change, which is why I’m directly linking to Instapaper’s instructions. It’s a very straightforward process, just read carefully and make sure you understand that you’ll be paying $0.15 per delivery through your Amazon account.
- You have the option to receive deliveries at multiple intervals, which is great if you’re looking to receive downloads every day or just once a week.
Method 5: Kindlefeeder
Kindlefeeder is a service that allows you to aggregate your selected feeds and then have them delivered to your Kindle. They have two plans – a free basic version (their service is free, but you’ll still have to pay the $0.15 delivery charge to Amazon from what I understand), which allows you to subscribe up to 12 feeds and have it delivered to you free of charge from them, or a premium service that offers unlimited feeds and extra service features.
Even though it can potentially be a little pricer than Instapaper, it’s still likely to be cheaper than Amazon’s blog subscriptions if you download several news feeds.
How to do it:
- With new Kindle models being released that carry new features, I invite you to read the up-to-date instructions hosted on their website.
- Please, please, please be aware that every time you have a file sent to your Kindle through services like this, you will pay $0.15 (the rate at the time of publishing this post) per transfer!
And lastly… if none of the above methods are appealing to you…
Method 6: Just host access to your blog through Amazon…
Even though your students or parents may have to pay a very small monthly fee (as little as $0.99 per month), Amazon delivers your blog content to the Kindle in high-quality fashion. Maybe your students and parents are less technically inclined, and this route may get you from point A to point B quicker. Again, for me, it’s the principle of the matter that’s turned me off to this method. Perhaps you can justify it by reinvesting your blog’s profits back into your classroom?
Those are just a few methods I’ve seen that will help increase access to your blog through the Amazon Kindle. Are there any other methods you’re aware of that maybe I missed? Feel free to comment in the comments section below.Read More
Do you want to create a free social blogging network for your school while maintaining control of what goes on? In the video below, I’ll show you how.
Some of the things you can do by developing your own social blogging network by using the setup I’ve used in the video:
- Collaborate amongst teachers and students on statewide testing standards
- Benefit from free plugins that WordPress plugin developers distribute
- Easiliy customize your network to take advantage of mobile technology
- Integrate familiar technology in a safe environment
- Develop a social network that’s inclusive to your school’s needs
- Encourage writing in the classroom
- Give your students a voice in the classroom (and parents, if you want them to)
- Allow parents easy access to a directory of teacher blogs
- Allow customization beyond what you can do with other paid-for services
- Host a detailed breakdown of your students’ grades
- Maintain control
- Save your school district a lot of money!
This 30-minute video is a great resource that’ll show you how to do it (for just about free!) This is great for any teacher, curriculum technologist, or technology coordinator seeking to both integrate social media in school while maintaining a sense of control. The video is embedded below, but you may click this link if it’s not showing up properly.
You may have to view it in HD quality in order to see everything you need. Feel free to contact me or comment below with questions or feedback.Read More