Posts tagged "online"

January 23, 2013

Interesting Developments on the WordPress Front

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbWith so many of us working on collaborative projects like the Gamified Curriculum Delivery System that Mike Skocko’s Mega Students of the Mac Lab developed, many of us are looking at getting a more global presence with our course materials. Others of us just lose every sheet of paper that hits our desks (myself a prime example) and want to eliminate paper from the classroom and have the curriculum available 24 hours to our students. For many of us, WordPress has proven itself a great solution. In fact, here at the educationleaders blog, we’re running a wordpress back end also.

 

WordPress is amazing. Take a look at this list of benefits:

  • It’s free, So it fits a teacher’s budget
  • It’s easy, so we have time to focus on content rather than the construction of our sites
  • It’s scalable, so we can ramp it up to a school wide or even district wide enterprise
  • It’s extensible, so you can add cool features easily, like Skocko’s students
  • It’s popular, so there’s a TON of help, lots of free plugins (add features) and themes (the layout and look)

 

What’s been missing is a great plugin that does all the classroomy, traditional stuff that we’re used to… traditional assessments for pre- and post-tests, monitoring of student access to the site, gradebook incorporated online, etc. I used to run a moodle install alongside my WordPress install for assessment and tracking of student work, but I found it cumbersome to have to manage 2 sites that acted like one.

A screenshot of my class site running on WordPress with Skocko's Plugins

A screenshot of my class site running on WordPress with Skocko’s Plugins

Finally, there’s a solution that is looking pretty good and it’s exiting beta soon. Don’t have details on prices yet, but it may be a great all-in-one solution for the classroom. I’m mainly looking for something that can track the users and provide pre-and post tests to help find where the kids are not completely comfortable with the content yet… I use tests not to see where the kids failed, but where I’ve failed the kids. If everyone’s missing a certain question, then it’s feedback to me that I haven’t covered this concept well enough yet or they’re still not comfortable with the terminology (and let’s face it… our industry LOVES it’s terminology and acronyms!).

I’ve been keeping an eye on this LMS plugin to replace my missing moodle functionality. I really want an online gradebook so that the kids can monitor themselves… Whether it’s self-reported (easy to do with a test) or actual, traditional testing and assessment, this plugin seems to fit the bill without sideloading moodle in my sites.

LearnDash is the plugin and the plugin’s author, Justin, has been very helpful and responsive- which is great for a plugin that is running your classes! Don’t have to worry about no support at all (which is common with wordpress plugs… you get what you pay for.) I encourage you to sign up for his newsletter and grab a copy when it’s time to test out on your wordpress site for class.

And if you HAVEN’T yet set up yourself with a wordpress blog for class yet… what are you waiting for? Even signing up with a free wordpress.com blog is a great way to get started in sharing your content with other educators across the globe.

And don’t forget to cross post your stuff at the Adobe Ed Exchange!!! It gives you great visibility to teachers that might not find your site elsewhere… but posting to your own blog ensures that all your students and parents can access your classroom resources easily.

Keep your eyes open for a series of blog posts here on setting up wordpress for your classroom and helpful plugins, themes, and tips for keeping it innovative and awesome!

6:56 PM Permalink
December 9, 2011

Connecting with Teachers

A few weeks ago one of our teachers I had trained came up to me at a science curriculum meeting and asked if there was any training planned for Adobe Connect Pro.  She had been in one of my training courses over a year ago and quickly became one of our most avid users.  Her IB class met for reviews before tests during after school hours and often collaborated with teachers and classes at other schools around the country.  She had colleagues at Suncoast High School (one of the top public high schools in the country) that were interested in learning how to do the great things she did with her classes.

Participants with cams test the system.

Participants with cams test the system.

I told her I would create one and invite other schools and departments that had expressed interest.  Within a couple weeks I had a class of 17 coming from diverse backgrounds and needs.  My class is run online through our Moodle installation, but the actually training is done completely through Adobe Connect Pro.  Participants log into the system and I use the desktop share to immerse them in the program as they learn about it.  It increases their comfort level immediately when they see how easy it is to get started.

Before our third class an IB Economics teacher in the course called me with some questions about Connect.  As we talked, she expressed that she wasn’t sure how she might use it in her class.  I told her about my favorite use, bringing guest speakers into the class via Connect.  We talked about contacts she had and found that a friend of hers works in the Federal Reserve.    Suddenly, the lights went on in her head and the excitement in her voice told me that her class would be doing many field trips through Adobe Connect Pro.  Recording a session like that can make the experience available for other classes and schools any where in the world.

A little over a week ago I was doing a short presentation about Adobe Connect Pro at another local high school.  I mentioned the free app for Connect and within minutes several teachers were raising their IOS and Android phones in the air showing the online meeting.  They were amazed that students that were out of school for extended illness or attending events could still participate in class with nothing more than a smartphone.

While Adobe has so many great products, I really feel that Connect Pro is the best educational tool in their arsenal.  With it you can demonstrate any program as we often do with our AEL meetings.  You can bring in guests to speak from any where in the world and excite students about topics with collaborative projects.  Adobe has also made some very great pricing structures for K-12, making it a bargain in tough economic times.

5:50 PM Permalink
April 24, 2011

CodeBass Radio: Runtime Expectations Interview with Joseph Labrecque

Adrian Pomilio interviews Joseph Labrecque at 360|Flex in Denver, CO – April 2011.

I was interviewed for the Runtime Expectations internet radio show while at 360|Flex in Denver. It was great chatting with Adrian and we touched upon many subjects over the course of the interview. Quite a bit of the discussion focuses on education and the challenges that come with teaching technical subjects and the complications that come with teaching online classes. Jump to around 19:50 in the recording to listen to that portion, specifically.

Also discussed during the interview: music composition, book and tutorial authoring, the AEL and ACP programs with Adobe, mobile development, and the sad state of tech journalism.

I encourage anyone interested to  check out the other interviews from 360|Flex including John Wilker, the Nielsen Company, and Mollie Rusher of On3!

What is Runtime Expectations?
Join Ben Farrell, Adrian Pomilio, and Bucky Schwarz as they broadcast live from Cuban Revolution in downtown Durham, NC with a beer in one hand and a mic in the other.  They’ll be covering all the aspects of software development that compel them to put a beer in that first hand. Shows feature both live guests and call-ins.


Follow Joseph on Twitter: http://twitter.com/josephlabrecque

Follow Adrian on Twitter: http://twitter.com/adrianpomilio

5:58 PM Permalink