Monday, October 29, 2012

Tech Tips: Dropbox

Tech Tips
Issue 3

This Tech Tip is one my all time favorite add-ons to any computer, phone, tablet, or iPad.  Dropbox is perhaps the most used application by many teachers including myself.  It replaces your “Documents” on your computer and allows syncing to any device.  I have not used a flash/usb drive in over 2 years since I started using Dropbox.   This is a great for working on files at school, home, and anywhere.  Best of all it is FREE and easy to use!  

Works On Your PC/Mac or iPad
All you have to do is download a program to your computer (and any device you want to sync files with) and log into or create an account.  You will then put all your documents that you usually store in your Documents folder into your newly created Dropbox folder located on your desktop.  This will now be your saving location for all files.

Instantly Sync Files
When you install and log into Dropbox on another computer all the files will automatically sync. In other words, whatever is in your Dropbox folder at home will also be in your Dropbox folder at school, on your laptop, or any other computer you have Dropbox installed (I sync 4 computers, 1 phone, 1 tablet, and my iPad).  Every change I make to a file at school will also be made on the documents on the other devices.

What Does This Mean For You?
As teachers we all work at school and home.  If you are like I was before Dropbox you have a flash/usb drive that you work off of or are constantly emailing files from home to school to work on.  With Dropbox here is how simple life is.  Let’s say you start a newsletter at school and realize there is no way to finish it.  You close out like normal and shut down your computer.  You drive home and turn on your home computer.  You open your Dropbox folder and there is the newsletter you started.  You finish from where you left off and save it as normal.  The next day at school you open the Dropbox folder on your school computer and “ta-da” there is the finished newsletter all ready to print.  In addition to the convenience of auto syncing and accessing files from anywhere, Dropbox acts as a web based back up location.  You can also set up “shared Grade Level Folders” to work as teams. 

With the free account you get 2 GB of free storage, but you will get more if accepting referrals and giving referrals.  Get a referral from me or another Dropbox user and get an additional 500 MB of free space!

If you are interested in using Dropbox, let me know and I will help you with the set up/install.

As always, if you have any questions or need help, feel free to stop by, call, or email me.  I am here to help you!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Tech Tips: We Want Apps

Tech Tips
Issue 2

This Tech Tip is a great app to find educational apps.   Who would have thought there would be an app to find apps?  You will want this on your iPad to discover other apps you may want pushed to the student iPads.

 Download from the Apple App Store

This is a great tool for easily filtering through the App Store to find the perfect app for what you need.

First, go to the App Store on your teacher iPad.  Search for WeWantApps! in the store.  It will look like the image to the right.

Install the app.  When you open it, you will need to create an account.  I just used my account and created a password. I have never been asked to log back in again, but you need an account to run the app. 

Once it opens you can begin your search.

Age:  select the age (or more than one age) that you are searching to use an app with. 

  choose the type of app you are seeking.

Language:  choose the language you want the app to be written in.

Platform:  you can use both iPad and iPhone.

Price:  select free.
When you do the search, on the right you will see all the apps that fall under your filtering.  At the bottom there will often be “More…” to tap on.  This will load more found apps.

Download WeWantApps! from the App Store to get started.

As always, if you have any questions or need help, feel free to stop by, call, or email me.  I am here to help you!

More Tech Tips At: 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tech Tips: Class Dojo

Tech Tips
Issue 1

This is the first of many Tech Tips to come.  My plan is to try to send one out each week (or so) with a quick tip, trick, site, or app to help you integrate some fun and useful technology into your elementary classroom.  These will be archived (I know you would never lose any of my wonderful tips, but it could happen) on the Tech Coach web site as well.   

This is a great tool for classroom management. I used it last year and have told many of you about it.

Instantly Reinforce Good Behavior.
Easily award feedback points for behavior in class in real-time, with just one click of your smartphone or laptop. This actually improves behavior.

Engage Students in Minutes.
ClassDojo provides instant notifications for your students (‘Well done Josh! +1 for teamwork!’). All fully customizable for your classroom.

Get Hassle-Free Data and Reports.
ClassDojo gives you behavior-tracking analytics and reports that can be shared with parents and administrators, all with just one click. No data entry needed, ever.

What Are the Benefits of ClassDojo?

For Teachers: in some classrooms, more than 50% of class time is spent managing behavior rather than delivering instruction; ClassDojo aims to greatly reduce this so teachers can do more teaching and less crowd control! In addition, for the first time, teachers have a painless way to focus on developing positive behavior over time, rather than just logging referrals once it is too late to intervene.

For Students: research suggests the shorter the time period between an action and feedback for that action, the greater is the effect of the reinforcement. Specific positive reinforcement helps students develop a sense of purpose in the classroom, enhancing intrinsic motivation over time. By giving students visibility and data on their own behavior, ClassDojo makes class less disruptive and creates a more positive learning environment.

For Parents: ClassDojo makes it easy to engage parents in their child's development, by allowing teachers to provide real data from the classroom to them with just one click.
Visit ClassDojo to get started:

Please see me if you would like help setting up your own Class Dojo!

As always, if you have any questions or need help, feel free to stop by, call, or email me.  I am here to help you!
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