Archive for the 'texting' Category

Group Texting Programs: The Next Big Wave?

Group texting programs fall into two categories.  The first category consists of teacher- to-student text programs such as Reminder 101, . In these programs, the teacher sends out  text reminders, announcements, notes, etc. to the whole class with just a click of button. These programs are teacher -centered since the teacher pushes out information but the students cannot respond. Some program may allow for the teacher to send out  surveys or polls.

The other category for group texting progams is student centered. In programs such as Cel.ly,, any  student can respond.  Any student can create a new topic for discussion.  The class can have an online discussion, create a collaborative story, contribute their individual reactions, etc.  Students can interact with each other about a learning topic.

David Murphy wonders if  group texting is shaping up to be the next big battleground between the Web’s social (or search) superstars.

I would like to see the following in any new  educational group texting program that allow all users to participate:
– Students  can  easily join the texting group without the teacher having to put in each students’ number or name Teachers can just give out a code.
– The class texting is self-contained, private and secure.
– Teachers or students can create distinct  conversation topics.

-The teacher or students can go back and review the previous conversations.
– Each conversation topic has its own name.
– Each conversation is self-contained.
– Within each conversation, there can be threads so students can follow a particular topic.
– The teacher can choose from an open chat to a moderated chat.  Some teachers may want to start out with moderated chats  to help students learn how to better communicate.
– The texting will be free.  Students and teachers will not be charged texting units against their data plan since the class texting generates  so many texts. For example, if twenty five students make four comments each, that is 100 text messages.
– The program will allow students with a laptop or desktop  to text.
– Students and teachers can send pictures or images.
– The teacher can sort the participants  or see an alphabetical list of all participant within a conversation to see if all have participated.
– The teacher can privately text students to offer encouragement or to offer suggestions for improvement.
– The group texting program will be free to use.
– The texting program will connect to or allow easy transfer to other social media.

If you know of a group texting program that meets those characteristics, please let me know so I can share it with my readers.

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students begin to express themselves in the modern language and to  move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

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A Protocol for Conference and Class Tweets

Conferences or educational events should develop a  protocol for tweets.  The conference can set up two twitter hashtags, one for social comments and one for content comments.  The social tweets  include references to the weather, the crowds, the excitement, the food, the desire to see a famous speaker,  how great a speaker is, where someone will go for supper,  etc. The conference can simply add an “s” to the end of its usual hashtag such as “iste13s”.

For content, a  “c”, can be added at the end of the usual hashtag as “iste13c”.  These tweets would include specific content such as  something specific the speaker said  (“Tuttle says to put wireless on all of the campus, not just in the buildings”, questions about the speaker’s ideas “What mobile activities would students do outside the building?”, or connections such as “Yesterday Smith also  talked about mobile learning  being physically mobile”. If each tweeter tweeted just one content about each session, the critical ideas of the whole conference could be tweeted.

During and after the conference, attendees and others  can search for the “c” comments so that they can learn from others without having to sift through all the purely social comments. They can quickly learn powerful concepts from the conference.

In a similar manner, classroom teachers that use tweets can develop appropriate hashtag endings to represent the different categories, types of thinking or levels of thinking in the class. For example, an English teacher may add “p” at the end of English104 to indicate poetry analysis or an “e” to indicate tweets about the essay so the class members can quickly find the appropriate learning.

My ebook, 90 M0bile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml.  I have developed 25  Spanish activities  and 4 Modern Language Visual activities that allow students to begin to express themselves in the modern language and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

Criteria for selecting student mobile learning device (educational concerns)

As schools move toward mobile learning, they have to make decision about the type of mobile device that the students will use.  Regardless of whether the school supplies its own device or whether students supply their own,  there  are some basic minimal  requirements.

1) The device has to connect to the  internet so students can use qr codes, do internet searching,  bookmark commonly used sites,  watch educational videos and create online surveys.

2) The device should have enough memory for basic apps such as an  e-reader, a note-taker/ word processor,   spreadsheet,   media player, and a dictionary app.  The device will have other apps that help the students to climb the learning ladder from memorization to synthesis/evaluation  for their  specific learning goals.  There will be many more higher level learning apps (70%) than lower level ones (30%).  Those apps that simulate or duplicate real-world use of the subject area  learning will be the most useful apps.

3)  The device should have a camera and microphone so students can take pictures, record videos, and record audio. They will want to  capture and demonstrate their learning through images and sound (pictures, sound recordings, and movies).

4) Students need to be able to do texting  on the device so they can seek the perspectives of others and to learn from others outside the classroom.  As students learn to ask good  essential questions, they can seek the perspectives of others so they can go beyond the limited perspective of the textbook.  If we value diversity, let’s bring it into the classroom through seeing the opinions of others.

5) As students use their mobile device to explore concepts through productivity based learning, they will want to be able to call their experts such as their aunt or grandfather for things such as what is was like during the Depression,  how a farm business has been changed by technology, etc. so the mobile learning device needs to have phone capabilities.  Even better, if it can have videoconferencing.

6) Students need access to their social media sites on their mobile learning device so that they can distribute surveys.  When they want to receive many responses, they know they can distribute the surveys to their online friends.  The more people responding, the better the data to analyze and the more critical thinking involved.

If we want students to be prepared for their future in the real world, the world outside the classroom, then we need to start taking them virtually into that world and allowing them to bring that world into the classroom through their mobile learning device.

I have 20+ Spanish spontaneous speaking/fluency activities  available at Teacherspayteachers: 
http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Using Technology to Prepare Student to Do Well on Finals

We want our students to do well on the class final, department final, school district final, state final or national final.  However, often it is not what our  students know but how they will be tested that determines their grade.

Here are some techniques to use technology to help prepare students for finals so that they can perform well.

1) Give them self-correcting online assessments that mimic  parts of the final.  For example, students can do  several reading comprehension passages  in a program like Quia.  The program instantly tells them whether they are right or wrong. You can build in hints/strategies so that the students can learn  how to get the answer correct such as “Answer the question word ‘Where’ with a place.”

2) Have a wiki where students can post comments on their strategies for doing well in  each section of the test. One student might write “(For the reading passage) I underline the question word in the question and then I underline the answer in the passage.”

3) Have a texting-based program for the class where anyone can text questions as they do  final practice activities. Other students can explain how to get the answer.  For example, one student texts  “Can’t figure out the answer to ‘When do they go to the movies?”‘ since no time is given. and another student responds, “After eating supper tells when something happens; after is a time word.”

4) Use a Power-Point like program that not only quizzes students but then sends them to appropriate online resources if they have incorrect answers.  For example, if students incorrectly identify a math problem, the PowerPoint shows them to a math video explaining that concept.

5) Identify the most common errors that students will make on the learning goals in the final and have the students, in groups, prepare a short one to two minute video explaining those concepts.  They can make these videos not as full explanations but as cheat-sheet videos in which they emphasize the most critical parts.  For example,  Spanish students may review how to ask questions in the preterite tense in the “you” form and how to answer them in the “yo” form and they may review the most common verbs such as “to go” to get ready for a speaking final. They can post these on the school server so that other can access the videos whenever they want.

6)  Use a QR code to send them to a Google Form short 5-10 item quiz based on a final test section.  As soon as the students finish the mini-quiz, show them the class (not individual) results and go over, in class, strategies to overcome  the common mistakes that students made.

Do you know now how your students will do on the final?  Use technology to assess them and help them improve.

I have 20 Spanish spontaneous speaking/fluency activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook   Formative Assessment Responding to Your Students,   Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment  Successful, and  Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

Why Cell Phones and Smart Phones Differ from Previous School Technology

Cell phones and Smart phones differ drastically from previous school technology.

1.  The students know how to use these technologies. They use them daily. They text, they take pictures and send the pictures, they take videos/movies and send them, and they access the web. Teachers do not have to spend class time in teaching students the new technologies. Even when teachers “teach” a new program such as Yodio, the students already know how to take pictures, upload them to a program, know how to record their voice and how to send their voice files. Teachers save all the time they used to spend in teaching how to use a new technology which often was many days.

2.  The students always have these mobile learning devices with them. They may forget their notebook. They may leave their textbook home. They may be without a pen. Their dog may have eaten some critical papers. They may have lost their password onto the class website. However, they will have their cell phone or Smart phone with them.

3. The students can use their own mobile learning devices. The school does not have to provide it except possibly for a few disadvantaged students. Teachers can do lessons regardless of the various types of mobile learning devices (the various companies that produce the phones) and of the various carriers. The school does need to provide access to the school’s wireless.
4. With QR codes, students can be a click away from learning resources. Students do not have to turn on a computer, log in, and then type in a web address. Many students have trouble typing in a web address even when the web address has been shortened. The student instantly go from scanning in the QR code to clicking on the link(s). Class learning time is saved.
5. Students can easily be producers of information. They can take pictures to document environmental concerns in their community and make those into a multimedia story such as with Yodio. They can audio record the interview of various people as they talk about the importance of math in their careers. The students can make a movie about the various healthy habits of their family and friends for their physical education course. They have these tools on their phones and they know how to use the tools.

6.  Due to the richness of  web resources, teachers can move students to higher level thinking. Students can easily contrast two images of the same incident for an English class. They can evaluate the bias in reporting the same story as they read newspapers from around the globe in a Social Studies class.

7.   Students can be global in their learning.  Texting can be done  internationally. Students can text a science survey about using paper in school  to their friends in other states and other countries.  Elementary students can text math word problems  which students in other countries have written in terms of things in their country. For example, a school in Costa Rica migh offer this problem, “If you are really hungry and you buy a “casado” (rice and meat dish) for 2,500 colones and a fruit drink for 400 colones, how much do you spend? What is that in USA money?

Purposeful Web 2.0 -Texting

A grandfather and grandmother recently had their teenage grandson with them for the weekend.  The grandfather asked the grandson to help him straighten out the garage.  Two people were needed  to lift and move the heavy objects.  Just after they started, the grandson stopped, pulled out his cell phone, read a text, and then responded.  About five minutes later, he did the same.  About three minutes more, he repeated this pattern of pausing whatever he was doing to answer the text.  His grandfather mentioned that they could get the work done faster if the grandson did not stop so frequently to check his phone and text back.  The grandson did not see any problem.

We can use this story to help us think about Web 2.0 in the classroom. Texting can be valuable as long as it is focused on the academic  task.  If a student is texting about non-academic  things, then the texting is not productive.   Being connected does not always translate into being on task or even  into learning.  In addition, the text needs to move the learning  topic forward or at least  to clarify the learning.  Students need to  be able to express their deep ideas in short phrases that others can understand.

So how do your students use texting in class or for school work?

My  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book,  Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students


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