All posts by Zac Egnitz

Tweeting During Class…

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As far as social media is concerned, Twitter is one of, if not the most popular sites out there today. People often post little elements of their day, whats on their mind at the time or just something they thought was funny and wanted to share to the world. The fact that Twitter is available almost everywhere on many devices, there are so many opportunities for people to see and say what is happening in the world and stay in touch with their community. However, there are many teachers that are seeing how it can help students in and out of the classroom in terms of education and they are taking advantage of the social phenomenon.

Some teachers are beginning to use Twitter for their classes in a number of ways that benefit the students. Some of the benefits are just small assets; teachers tweeting out homework assignments and due dates, reminding students about upcoming events and other small helpful tweets. Some teachers also make use of Twitter’s direct messaging system (DM) to inform students of their grades for a test that they may have just completed and are worried about. These little (near insignificant) tweets do aid students in managing and keeping track of their classes, but Twitter has so much untapped potential that can be used to help students.

If teachers can realize the potential that Twitter has, it can truly benefit the students. Not only can teachers tweet out what homework assignments are, but they can also tweet out links, or even screenshots, of the homework so students have access to it if they were absent from class or just need to replace a lost assignment. If there is a difficult unit or book coming up in the curriculum; the teacher can post links to help guides, audio books, analyses, notes, answer keys or anything they have that can be helpful to students. Even if the teacher does not have any specific tools to assist students at home, (or they do not want students just using the answer keys and avoiding doing the real work) they can tweet ‘tips and tricks’ that they may have gone over in class that can act as reminders for the current lesson.

Twitter’s DM also has much undiscovered potential for the class room. Besides just letting students know grades early, the DM system allows students to ask teachers question when away from school. Teachers and students can have private one on one conversations over Twitter(something that is not always a possibility during school). Talking none face to face is easier for some students and teachers because it removes the intimidation factor and nervousness that some students might have that prevent them from speaking out and asking questions during class. Students can also check in with teachers when doing projects and other major assignments to see if what they are doing is correct and they are on the right path.

The other main advantages to Twitter are that it is free and simple. No one needs to pay for anything to use it and it is assessable anywhere. Students do not even need an account to see your tweets; so everyone can check to see updates about the class.  Also, some teachers that do not want to deal with the hassle of creating a class website, can just use Twitter which is much more simple than managing your own website.

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Schoology app for iPad

Schoology is a popular tool that is gaining much popularity in school systems. Now that there is an app for Schoology available on the iPad and other mobile devices, there are even more advantages to using Schoology in the classroom.

Now that our schools are getting access to new equipment for the classroom like iPads, this is a great time to start getting teachers and students on Schoology. Just like the desktop version, the app has all of the same features except it is in mobile form. If you are unfamiliar with Schoology in general, check out this video.

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Online Testing

The Pros and Cons of Online Testing

                 From a student perspective

 

Whether you are a fan of online testing or not, you can not deny that it is becoming a big part of schools. Many schools are beginning to use online tools for teaching in and out of the classroom. It may be online testing or classes that are done completely online but either way it shows how important technology is becoming in the schooling system.

The Pros

Online Testing is gaining much popularity among schools across the world and for good reason. When students are given tests online it completely changes the way that students look at the test. If the test is multiple choice, it is much quicker and enjoyable to take the test on a computer. Marking answers, although very simple on standard testing, is must easier on a computer. If an answer is chosen but needs to be changed it is much easier to simply click another answer than erasing and remarking. Then for short answer, they too can just be typed into an answer box on the computer. This also saves a lot of money on paper too.

Grading is also much easier and quicker than standard grading. Multiple choice can be processed immediately after a student completes the test so that they may get their results back as soon as possible. Short answer question will need to be graded individually by the teacher, but the fact that the multiple choice is automatically graded makes it much easier. Students like knowing their grades and getting them back as soon as possible and online testing make it that much better. Overall, online testing is a more enjoyable process than standard testing is.

The Cons

Online testing also has some fatal flaws that can be an issue. One of the drawbacks is the need for space and equipment. in order to be able to do online testing, there needs to be a place for computers to be set up for students to use. Then on top of that there needs to be enough computers for every student to use at once. If there is a class of 25 then there needs to be at least 25 computers which is much more expensive than 25 pieces of paper. Then if one of the computers breaks it will need to be replaced or repaired which will  cost more money. Even though complete computer failures are unlikely it is still an issue that needs to be considered.

There are also technical issues that can arise with the computers that can cause major issues. Although it is very unlikely, there is the possibility that a computer can fail to save a test or the results from a students test, in which case they would have to retake it. This would lead to major issues of when the student can retake the test and how they will do it. Also if a computer or the program being used for the online testing crashes during a test then the student would have to restart the test and possibly not have enough time complete it. Although these are very very unlikely possibilities, they are still possible and need to be considered.

Overall

Overall online testing is a much easier process that can be extremely helpful. It is a much more enjoyable process for students and the grading is much more enjoyable for teachers. Online testing, despite its flaws, is definitely a helpful tool in the classroom and should be considered for more frequent use in schools.

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Converting from SD to HD

So, you just upgraded to a new HD (high definition) television but you want to use you old media equipment? Not a problem, this blog will breakdown what you need and/or should do in this situation. Tape players: VHS-cassettehttp://subliminal2012.deviantart.com/art/VHS-PNG-305668502   If you have an old tape player it most likely uses composite AV(audio and video) which is a combination of three plugs that are RED, WHITE(Left and right audio) and YELLOW(video) or S-video(one cord). Most HD televisions still have the standard composite and S-video setup but they are slowly dying out in the movement from SD(standard definition) to HD. If your TV does not have either then you will need to either get rid of your tape player and search for one that fits your TV, or there is one alternative. A similar AV setup to Composite is Component, it consists of five different plugs (two for audio and three for video). Continue reading

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Week of troubleshooting

This past week Stephanie, Anthony and I have been very active in Schooldude, working with tickets this past week. We completed a number of different tickets this week including three computers that were having issues in the language lab. The problems included two computers that were having issues starting up and a third that had an issue with the audio and microphone. In terms of fixing the two computers with start up problems they just needed to be rebooted. Continue reading

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