Latest teaching and learning ideas

The Latest in Tech, Tools and Toys for Teachers.  Lesson Plans, Classroom resources and ideas for busy teachers.  iPad Apps and Android Apps for teachers and students.

Setting up a school Facebook page to communicate with parents

Schools utilise a range of traditional and technical platforms to communicate with parents and students including websites, newsletters, mobile apps and SMS messaging.

One option that is often overlooked by schools is creating a school Facebook page.  Facebook is by far the most popular social network platform and the majority of parents are familiar with it in some capacity.

School Facebook pages can be created for free by a member of staff in well under an hour, and used as a platform to broadcast information to parents which they can access on mobile devices and computers.  

Just remember that nearly all of your parents are sitting up at some point of the day with Facebook on their phone.  Whether it's the school car park, office or home.

You can tailor the level of interaction parents have with the page, from a completely one directional conversation being lead by the school, through to varying levels of interaction and feedback by parents.  As the creator of the page you also have the right to remove and moderate content.

Getting the setup process right is essential as you would not want to create a platform that could breed negativity about the school from parents and external sources.

I have put together this video which walks you through the set up process and highlight the areas of most concern to schools.  I hope you find it useful.

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Staff -

How Apple are hoping to rejuvenate the iPad's place in education in 2015.

Once upon a time the iPad changed the way in which we used technology in Education.  This shiny new device with a single button, easy to use interface and unrivaled 'App' store could do no wrong in the eyes of teachers and students and made us seriously rethink about what a computer was.

Since the iPad launched in 2010 we have seen the iPad's phenomenal rise and now it's slow fall as tough competition from Chromebooks and budget PC's and tablets closed the technology gap.  Poor decisions from Apple in regards to educational pricing and any significant improvements over six iPad generations aside from the obligatory faster processor, better camera and screen have left many schools questioning it's place in education as it is increasingly being used as a learning toy as opposed to a productivity tool.

Of all the big three tech companies (Apple, Microsoft and Google) Apple's future in education would be the most unenviable.  

Google's marriage of highly effective and cheap Chromebook's with Google Apps for Education productivity suite has bought them hundreds of millions of converts, and they are now the single biggest player in education.  The zero cost model of Google Apps for Education has been a roaring success for Google which will pay long term dividends when today's students are running tomorrow's economies.

Microsoft took a double hit in schools from the iPad initially and then Chromebooks.  They have regained some credibility with the integration of surface tablets and Office 365 for Education.  Surface tablet sales have grown year on year since release unlike the iPad which have fallen over the last two years.

Currently Apple's options for students are either an overpriced tablet or an overpriced laptop.  iTunes U is a poor curriculum delivery platform in comparison to Office and Google Apps and iCloud offers very little in the way of innovation and collaboration for educators.  The iPad is a train wreck when running Google apps for education and Office although both Microsoft and Google have deployed apps on the iPad to allow access to their productivity / learning platforms.  

In an attempt to re-energize the iPad's future in education Apple are planning to allow schools to manage iTunes accounts for students improve the deployment process for the iPad. 

They are also revisiting the manner in which iPads are managed when used by shared users in a school.  Unfortunately it does not look as though Apple are prepared to allow multiple logins on a single iPad yet, but we can live in hope.

The full details of this proposal can be read at 9to5Mac and it is expected to be rolled out in September 2015.  

Education is a huge space for technology companies and I am sure Apple will be working towards a product or policy change that will place them back at the top of the class.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


A month of teachers pay teachers: Blast Off

I often hear a lot of teachers talk about as a great place to get teaching resources.  I heard about it about two years ago and took a brief look at it.

A few things jumped out at me when I first encountered TPT.

  1. It's is very Americanised. (This is not a problem as such, but TPT Curriculum is mainly targeted at the U.S, and most of my content is designed for the Australian system..
  2. You can sell your digital teaching resources for REAL money...  I have thousands of these on my site here and also other things I have collected over the years. (PS.  Don't worry Edgalaxy will always stay free..)
  3. The sellers and buyers are both pretty passionate about it.  There is a very active community around TPT.
  4. Someone made 1 million dollars selling their teaching resources here...  Yes it's true her name is Deanna Jump check for yourself

So back in 2013 I thought I'd give this thing a shot.  Maybe I'd become an instant millionaire too... And  I posted the grand total of two products up on TPT.  One was a free poster about Roman Numerals (your first item has to be free.) And the second was a set of 3 printable angle posters that I asked $1.49 

I just set up a free account and then sat back and waited for my millions to come in...  

Well I am here to announce that last month I checked my TPT account again... And I have made the princely sum of $41.91 and after teachers pay teachers took their cut I was left with $19.11  that was my total for two years.

When I checked out the stats behind this I saw that over 1100 people had downloaded my Roman Numerals poster and 10 people actually took the time and effort to rate it for me.  Quite highly too.  But not too many buyers unfortunately

So my millionaire dreams weren't looking so flash at this point.  But to be honest I had been terribly committed to this process and pretty much got the outcome to reflect my effort.

So I am going to start a reboot as of today.  Where I am going to research TPT to death and give it thirty days to see if I can make $100.00 from it in 4 weeks.  ( I never really expected to be a millionaire as a teacher anyhow ) but let's see if this entrepreneurial experiment can pay off enough for me and my family to go out for dinner on it at the least.

Essentially I already have enough resources right now and I will begin adding them this week.  But this time I am going to research what makes all those 'Power Sellers' on TPT just that, and see what comes of it.

I will document my actions each week and post any expenses and sales that come of it.  

At least then I can say I gave it a decent attempt and decide whether it is a complete waste of time or something worth pursuing.  And share the knowledge with you.

So my first action for this week is to add another ten products, sign up as premium seller that will cost me $59.95 for 12 months.  This means I will actually earn more commission when and if anyone buys something and research, research research. 

I'll be back next week to reveal my efforts and hopefully be able to tell you I have sold something.  

I would love any direction or advice form others around this so please feel free to leave a comment below.

The current score is....

Teachers Pay Teachers owes me:   $59.95 in membership fees and around 2 hours in time thus far.

Teachers Pay Teachers has earned me:  $19.11 in income for 2 years.

Meaning I am $40.84 behind at startup 2.0 Day 0  - Things can only get better.