Digital communication ebbs and flows for most adults. Many people go through waves of efficiencies or their lack of when it comes to their email inbox. We all have had the feeling of being overwhelmed, time to clean it up, inbox zero, and then falling back to where we started. The cycle can be so defeating. Just think about how our students feel.
We must create a new habit for our students when it comes to their email communication practice. This may be one of the most important skills we can teach. Online communication and directions are the means to which they, the students, will get their information for the foreseeable future. It is time to make it better and available for ALL learners, regardless of their reading comprehension level.
Set the FORMAT for your organization for efficiency and consistency. There are many learner management systems that use their tools of communication. Email is the one consistent means that can reach almost everyone. The goal is for students/staff to be more productive and separate important must-read emails from a lot of digital noise.
MY 5 W’s FOR EFFECTIVE EMAILS
These 5 W’s will help everyone to be more effective in their email communications. Seems simple, but young and old craft some horribly confusing emails. The inbox shouldn’t be a burden, but another means to share ideas, ask questions, and give direction. Email is still the most powerful, cross-platform machine in our technology toolbox.
We just finished making history in our classrooms, wherever that learning site is. On March 17th we were all thrust into a distance learning mode. The next 10 weeks were filled with many lessons that went well and those that were horrible. We were all forced to actually look at all learning through the students’ eyes. Educators improved their teaching craft due to more realtime reflections and modifications.
Many students thrived in the academic side of distance learning. I’m not saying those students liked it, just that they found their learning path that was effective on their own. The path was theirs, not the way I feel students should learn or a friend does. That is probably the most powerful learning, in one’s self and style. Here is my list of positives from distance learning.
My blog has been an attempt to "Share the Learning" and give something back to those who the message has value. I have gained much from my favorite blogs, podcasts, and vloggers. The sharing intentions are good, but this educator doesn’t like to write and the process gets pushed to the back burner. The gap between blog entries goes from weeks to months. Then I get frustrated and disappointed in myself. This process shouldn’t be that challenging, but it ends up being that way.
Here comes a new direction in my “Share the Learning” spirit. When reading, listening or watching people I respect and enjoy, they have energy beyond the content. It is clear that these influencers truly enjoy what they are doing. I searched within my head and heart for that passion of what I enjoy sharing. I landed on video, which I use regularly in my classroom and for family life events. So here we go and thanks in advance for watching!
I have created an introduction video. The content is focused on laying the foundation of where I hope to take you and most important, “Share the Learning” along the way. My website and blog will partner with my YouTube channel, for resources. The landing page will house links to the tools, tips, and tricks, I use on a regular basis. I love to “Share the Learning”, for we can all grow together and it is pretty fun.
Rocketbook is so slick and easy to use. The design just makes sense to use and syncs with my Google Drive world seamlessly. Well, I have stumbled onto another great use case in the classroom.
To give some background, I have a few Nexus 7 tablets that I use for student Rocketbook submission. The tablets are connected to our school network, safely linked to my school Google Apps for Education account and still work perfectly. The students think the device is just cool, pretending it is a phablet.
As mentioned in earlier blog entries, I have a library of FREE Rocketbook pages. For our multi-view drawing assignment, I enlarged the Rocketbook A4 Graph blank sheet to 11” x 17”. I like this sheet for a place to write their name on the top and larger format to fit the drawing assignment, with grid lines to reinforce the alignment expectation.
I then create a “Summative Assignment” folder on Google Drive. I share that folder via Google Classroom for all of my classes. The one extra step is that students must add that shared folder to their Google Drive account. However, once there all assignment submission flow to that spot.
After completing the assignment students fill in the appropriate destination charm on the bottom. Then using the tablet, scan the assignment and review for accuracy in the app. If acceptable, change the generic file name to the student and send it.
Google Classroom is the easiest tool for students. Click on the assignment > add > Google Drive> shared assignment folder > student file > turn in.
Schoology adds a few steps. Click on assignment > submit assignment > resources > apps > Google Drive > shared assignment folder > student file > import.
Beyond the authentic means to submit handwritten assignments digitally, a student can view all files in the folder. I love the share the learning approach with peer-to-peer community viewing and conversation. In addition, I really like the clean copy, vs. trying to have the student take a legible image with their device. Rocketbook is such a great tool for my classroom.
A few years ago it was suggested to me to use musical alarms for the beginning and end of class time together. Our school is a “No Bell” school beyond the beginning and end of our day. Yet the audio cues are important to me and my students. I found a Chrome Extension tool called “Cool Clock” that fits my need perfectly and has emerged as a major classroom management tool for staying on task.
I have “Cool Clock” set to go off at the beginning and end of class, playing the tv theme song from Friends. The length of the song is 43 seconds which works perfectly for the students and class to be reminded it's time to get ready for the instruction. This reminder extension has become part of my beginning of the year routines. The music encourages students to have their device closed and focus on our agenda screen for what learning lies ahead. It is slick and works surprisingly well.
I have created a short video on how to set up this Chrome Extension tool for your classroom. It is fairly fast, efficient and easy to turn on/off as needed with a modified schedule day. Here is the Setup Video for the Cool Clock Extension. I hope you find the same success in your room.