What to Ask When Buying Edtech Products

Learning

When it comes to buying edtech products for the classroom, most educators are understandably hesitant to spend big money on software and devices without knowing exactly how they’ll improve the learning experience.

Thankfully, a recent article aimed at edtech companies reveals the questions teachers and administrators should ask before investing in any edtech product.

5 Questions Teachers Will Ask About Your Edtech Product” from The Tech Advocate offers plenty of good advice to not only edtech companies but also their prospective clients, namely educators.

It may seem obvious, but the first question you should ask is if the product will be useful to you or your students.

As the article points out, there’s a wealth of edtech products out there and teachers need to know if the product they buy is going to solve a specific classroom issue.

It’s always a good idea to ask for evidence that the product works, such as research studies or validation, and make sure to enquire about the products success rate in other classrooms.

Edtech products can vary greatly in terms of ease-of-use, so remember to find out what’s required to implement the product into your classroom, and if training is required to use the product.

Finally, ask about support for the product and what kind of customer service is available should you run into issues.

5 Tech Tips for Teachers

As children are learning to use technology at an increasingly young age, it makes sense that teachers should introduce

Infographic: AI and Academic Video

A recent survey conducted by Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite and University Business (via EdTech Magazine) notes how 90 percent of leaders from U.S. colleges and universities believe students will use some form of on-demand educational videos for learning purpose in the near future.

Referring to a potential platform for such videos as a “Netflix model for learning”, the article states that “recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence can help students find the best videos”.

The use of videos in the classroom is increasing all the time and it makes sense the developers of a on-demand service for educational videos would base their model on the likes of Netflix and YouTube, two tech companies who dominate the digital video space thanks to their large selections of videos and simple-to-use interface.

Sonic Foundry and University Business also provided an infographic detailing how college and university leaders in the U.S. believe artificial intelligence will impact educational videos.

Is Your School’s Website Making a Mark?

In today’s technology-focused world, school websites need to perform a number of functions to ensure they are drawing as much interest from the parents of prospective students.

There are a number of elements of a good school website, such as a clear and informative design, a simple to follow layout and intuitive user interface, a catalogue of school related content and of course basic details about the school and what it offers.

Your school’s website should also contain easy to access links to any social media platforms the school uses to stay in touch with parents, such as Facebook and Twitter, and it’s advisable that the website is optimised for mobile devices so parents can quickly find important info about the school whenever they need it.

iClassCMS websites are designed with practicality in mind and provide schools with an engaging platform and an integrated mobile app allows for free and instant messaging, saving the school money on parent-teacher communications.

If you’re concerned your school website is not ticking all the boxes then you should consider availing of our completely free school website review, which gives you feedback on everything you need to know from GDPR compliance, to usability, design and functionality.

To sign up for a free website review please visit the Review page and enter your details into the form, including your name, email and school website.
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Boring to Brilliant! Top Tips to Boost Your School’s Social Media Presence

Brilliant ideas to Boost Your School’s Social Media Presence

Teachers and schools alike can benefit from being active on social media. It’s a free networking tool, a place of inspiration, and a marketing resource. Teachers can find new ideas for their classroom, interface with fellow educators, and share top tips. Schools can connect with current families and recruit prospective students. It takes a small amount of effort to reap big rewards. Here are some tips to boost your social media presence.

 

 

  1. Hooray for Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to find what you’re looking for. Some we love are #edchat (learn about teaching trends from around the world) #edtech (keep up with the latest STEAM and tech news), and #educationforall (a movement started by unesco, powerful stories and tips). Hashtags can also be be used to promote your posts. Try searching for top education hashtags online and adding some to the end of your captions.

 

  1. Join the Conversation

Don’t be afraid to comment on other’s posts! Ask experts questions or congratulate people on their successes. The online community is vast and full of people to communicate with. Tap into the global network!

 

  1. Visuals

Did you know? Tweets and posts with visual media are more likely to be clicked on? This is an easy way to attract attention to your posts. Also, make sure your profile and header pictures are clean and easy to read. It’s a simple way to give your account instant cred! Use a free tool like Canva to create sleek graphics for your social media.

 

  1. Interact

Ask for feedback, retweets, or answers if something is important. This shows followers that their input matters to you, plus chatting makes it more fun for everyone. Interactions online are a great way to let your personality shine and show people that you care.

 

  1. Cultivate your feed

Curate your list of accounts you follow to develop a feed that is interesting and worth reposting! Search for accounts that inspire you as well as accounts that already have a big following amongst your audience.

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Must-Watch TED Talks for Educators

Linda Cliatt - Wayman

Looking for a way to be productive during breaks in your day? TED talks are a fantastic way to discover bite-size inspiration! Here are a few of our favorite talks for educators.

 

“Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about where inspiration can strike and the ways that she learned from her failures. She emphasizes the importance of staying true to oneself and learning from failures. Great motivation for Back to School!

 

“The difference between winning and succeeding” – John Wooden

UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden talks both coaching and teaching, providing profound insight into what he found was the best way to inspire both his students and his players. This is a talk with knowledge and wisdom everyone should hear.

 

“Help for the kids the education system ignores” – Victor Rios

Talking from personal experience, Victor Rios shifts the perspective on the way we think of children who do not finish school. He talks of a teacher who inspired him to stick with school and graduate with his class. This talk is inspirational and it has the capability to transform your thoughts and encourage understanding of every type of student.

 

“How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, Love hard” – Linda Cliatt-Wayman

School principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman has witnessed the struggles of urban public schools. But she is determined not to let the hardships deter her from giving her best to the students who show up to school each day. In this emotional talk, Wayman talks about what it takes to be an effective leader for the students who need it most.

 

“My story, from gangland daughter to star teacher” – Pearl Arredondo

In this emotional and personal TED Talk, Pearl Arredondo talks about her personal experiences, as well as how those specific experiences encouraged her to create a school with the specific purpose of reassuring students that they are cared for.

 

“Love letters to strangers” – Hannah Brencher

She’s not a teacher, and she doesn’t like technology. But she writes letters. She writes letters to strangers who need it. In doing so, she has inspired a movement whereby people write out how they feel instead of immediately resorting to social media. It’s an inspiring talk about the power of words and it might just inspire you to switch the smartphone for a pen and paper. 

 

 “Comics Belong in the Classroom” – Gene Luen Yang

Gene Yang, a secondary education teacher and comic book fan, noticed that there was a shortage of comic books in the education sector. He believes that comic books can have a place in education, especially for those students who learn better visually. In this humorous and innovative talk, Yang discusses the path he took to discovering that comics deserve a place in every classroom. 

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#MondayMotivation: Lead Like A Pirate

Motivation to lead

With Back to School season around the corner, it’s time to start reflecting on classroom leadership. We have heard the phrase “Be A Leader.” It’s fairly common, actually. Most people would rather be considered a leader than a follower. In schools, it is imperative that the administrators and teachers are leaders. The creators of Lead Like A Pirate, Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf, saw that effective leadership had many facets and introduced a new system of leadership training. They want you to lead…

 

Classroom leadership like a pirate: a pirate ship on the ocean with stormy skies above

 

…like a pirate.

So what exactly does that mean? What does it mean to Lead Like A Pirate?

The purpose of being a pirate leader is to make schools amazing with engaged students and empowered educators who know they are making a difference. The goal of being a pirate leader is to create a school environment where students are knocking down the doors to get in, rather than out. 

 

Do you have what it takes to be a Pirate Leader? 

Passion – both personal and professional

A willingness to Immerse yourself in your work

Good Rapport with your staff, students, and community

The courage to Ask and Analyze what is and isn’t working

The determination to seek positive Transformation

And the kind of Enthusiasm that gets others excited about education

A man in a suit makes a thumbs up.

To learn more about what it takes to Lead LAP, follow the conversation on Twitter (#LeadLAP), visit the website or read the book.

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Motivation Monday: 15 of Our Favorite Quotes on Teaching

Quote on future

1. “To teach is to learn twice over.” – Joseph Joubert

2. “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” ~ Henry Brooks Adams

3. “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.” ~ Goethe

4. “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” ―Malala Yousafzai

5. “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

6. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats

7. “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” – B.B King

8. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

9. “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

10. “Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and love of bringing the first two loves together.” – Scott Hayden

11. “A teacher has two jobs, fill young minds with knowledge, yes, but more important, give those minds a compass so that knowledge doesn’t go to waste.” – Mr. Holland’s Opus

12. “Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” – Rita F. Pierson

13. “If we are truly effective teachers, then we are creating autonomous, independent, and self-directed learners, not just successful test takers”. – Robert John Meehan

14. “If you really want to know about the future, don’t ask a technologist, a scientist, a physicist. No! Don’t ask somebody who’s writing code. No, if you want to know what society’s going to be like in 20 years, ask a kindergarten teacher.” – Clifford Stoll

15. “There is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers. Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools.” – Ken Robinson

Improving Parent-Teacher Communication: Strategies that Work

Improve your Parent-teacher Communication copy

Effective parent-teacher communication is crucial to student success. Students who feel their parents take an interest in their studies are more likely to succeed academically. There are many strategies that teachers can use to develop strong relationships with parents:

 

Let Students Show-Off

Students love to share their school successes with their parents. Take-home folders are a perfect opportunity for them to do so. Leaving notes or stickers on assignments that are well-done is an easy and low-touch way to maintain an open and positive communication channel with parents.

 

 

Classroom News

Share a weekly update from the classroom featuring class activities, new concepts learned, and any important reminders for the next week. Students can contribute, too! The newsletter will help facilitate parent-student conversations at home. Parents will feel more involved in the day-to-day activities of the class and more supportive of you as a teacher.

 

Check out some editable newsletter templates here and here.

 

Move to Mobile

Nearly all parents have a smartphone, making digital communication the ideal strategy for teachers. With a mobile solution like iClass, parents and teachers can engage in 2-way, dynamic conversation. The platform allows teachers to send free, instant messages to parents whether a reminder, sign-up, or even an emergency situation. Parents can respond immediately and directly, without going to any third-party sites. This ensures that communication is efficacious and on-time!