Free Things Teachers Would Love

So… as a teacher, I know that budgets are thin at schools and for districts.  However, there are still *some* free things out there in this world.  Here are two of my latest favorites…

PermissionClick.com: This website offers permission slips for FREE!  They’ll even collect your money (but I think there’s a charge for that service).  My district won’t allow PermissionClick for field trips (yet), but I use this for when I go present places.  This way, I can get parent permission to show their kids’ work and their names (as I often present on Google Apps for Education) and although I have samples for the adults, I still like to share the actual work of the kiddos so the attendees can see what “real” kid work looks like.

KidBlog.org: So, to be honest, I tried this website a long while ago.  It was cumbersome and I had issues with how it worked.  However, I tried the site again this past week and I really like the evolution the site has gone through to be more user friendly and much more manageable.  There is a free version (with paid options to upgrade – of course) and that is what I signed up to use this next fall.  I will be using my online PLNs to promote the kid work and seek responses to what they’re doing.  I am starting with everything private and branching out once I’m convinced they can “handle” the public process.

I can’t wait to *really* put these to work next school year!

Cheers!

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Screencasting – What to Do and What NOT to Do

So, I tried my first screencast earlier this week.  I used Jing (which is *FREE*) and made a short video (less than 5 minutes – because that’ all the time you get with Jing).  I’m going to share the video here… I’d really like for this to be a NON-judgement zone (unless you like the video 😉 ).

Now, what TO DO: (1) DO TRY!!  I was afraid to try for fear that my voice would be weird, that my voice would be crackly, that I wouldn’t explain something right and I’d have to do the screencast over and over and over.  Well, I did try three or four times, but that was all it took – for my FIRST one EVER!!  (2) Plan ahead.  Plan what you want to say.  Plan your props (if you need them).  Plan your windows/clicks.  Plan.  Plan. And PLAN some more.  (3) Have fun!  I think this tutorial for my kids will be more useful than I anticipated!

Now, what NOT TO DO: (1) Don’t freak out.  They are YOUR students (unless you put your video out there for the word to see, like I’m doing) and they will love you.  They might laugh at you, but that won’t be anything new if you have fin with your kids and are as bluntly honest with them as I am with mine.  (I do try to limit their giggles at me, when I can.)  (2) Don’t try and shove EVERYTHING into one video (that’s what I did).  I will be going back and separating this video into about 4 or 5 different shorter videos.  This way, I think I can get better explanation.  I am keeping this video, however, so my kids can see how long this project should take them in class.

So, go on!  Try your own screencast!  You’ll be glad you did!

Cheers!!

Trying Something New

Hey all!  So, this blogging thing is kind of new to me, at least being on this side of the laptop… of a blog… is new.  I’ve read blogs.  I commented on blogs.  I’ve even helped others write blog posts.  But, this is new for me.  So, I figured with all of the learning I’m doing this summer in regards to technology and literacy, why not start a blog!  (Oh, yeah, and it was a requirement for one of my courses. 😉)

Some of you might wonder why the name Tech-Know Learning… it is a play on words.  Tech (for technology), Know (for knowledge – but combined sounds like “techno”), and Learning, well that one is obvious.

I am participating in book studies this summer, taking a gazillion courses, and trying to keep up with my PLNs that I discovered about 5-6 weeks ago on Twitter.  And, summer JUST started for me, this week.  With all of that happening, I also plan on spending quality time with my ever SO busy 2 year-old daughter who is always busy with something.

So, here’s to a great start of something wonderful and TRYING SOMETHING NEW!!

Cheers!