10 tips to more meaningful Skypes in the classroom

Skype is a powerful tool that can bridge a gap of a thousand miles between schools. It can make conversations and activities happen that never could exist otherwise. It can also fall apart and lead to wasted classroom time and opportunities because of certain pitfalls. I’ve missed Skype calls altogether. I’ve seen entire class periods […]

About Mystery Skypes/Hangouts and why we need more

One of the most transformative effects the Internet can have on classrooms is opening them up to the world. Before the Internet, global communication was expensive and slow. Think long-distance phone calls and letters, even world travel. Now, the world is at our classrooms’ beck and call:  Social media can connect us to anyone. Video […]

Great Expectations April 2018

Find this page: DitchThatTextbook.com/GE

 

 

Slides presented using Pear Deck (peardeck.com)

1. Take students there

2. Create

3. Boost critical thinking

4. Build collaboration

5. Get connected

Some social media resources to check out:

6. Go global

7. Make it a game

8. Highlight student voice

Learn smarter, not harder

Other great resources

I do keynotes, full-day workshops and presentations at conferences. Get more information about my presentations by clicking here!

Tech to the Next Level (University of Central Missouri)

Find this page: DitchThatTextbook.com/ucm

Sharing with an audience

Anchor (anchor.fm) — Anchor lets students create a podcast that’s distributed to all of the top podcasting platforms. Record all audio from the app on a mobile device or on a laptop or Chromebook. Take calls from guests, add sound effects and more. Help students develop their voice and build an authentic audience before they even leave school! Here’s my case for why students need their own podcasts AND how to do it with Anchor.

Google Sites (sites.google.com) Student work doesn’t have to be created for an audience of one — their instructor! When students put what they’re learning on the web, they’re helping anyone around the world that finds it. And when they share it with others (or with a bigger audience), more people can be helped. An audience can be a huge motivating factor for students. Here’s a quick guide to publishing educational websites (for educators and students).

Blogger (blogger.com) — This adds a layer of interactivity to student writing. Instead of writing for just their instructor, students can share their work with others. Plus, anyone who reads it can respond with a comment, giving them direct access to their audience. This is a great way to gauge people’s reactions to what they wrote, prove a concept or see things from a new perspective. Here’s a post with 20 ideas for solid student blogging.

Connecting with others

Skype (skype.com) — This video calling platform has been around for a long time. But that doesn’t make it any less relevant. It’s a powerful, engaging tool to connect students to experts in your field and mentors that can advise them. If you know of an expert that you’d love to have your students hear, it never hurts to reach out and ask for a 15-minute Skype call. It’s hard to say no to students. Here’s a post about where to find the perfect virtual guest speaker for your class. And if you’re looking for the how-to of using video calls in class, this post may help.

Skype in the Classroom (skypeintheclassroom.com) — This site has a great searchable database for virtual guest speakers — those experts that can speak to your students. Everyone on this site is free! Of course, if you can’t find whom your looking for on this site, you can always do a Google search and reach out to someone directly.

Creating to make meaning

Sketchnotes — Sketchnoting, or visual notetaking, combines visuals and text in a powerful, brain-friendly way. You don’t have to be an artist to get the memory benefits of sketchnoting. It’s about ideas, not art. Check out my sketchnoting resources (ditchthattextbook.com/sketch) for ideas to get started.

Infographics — These highly visual info products can produce the same great brain benefits as sketchnoting. They incorporate visuals and text, playing to that verbal/visual channel into the brain. They use less text, teaching students the art of brevity. My favorite tool for creating them is Google Drawings (drawings.google.com), Google’s “digital poster board.” Canva (canva.com) is another great graphic design platform that’s made for infographics. Check out my resources on creating infographics at ditchtahttextbook.com/infographics.

Slides animations — Slide presentation tools can be used for so much more than oral presentations in the front of class! They can be used to create easy stop-motion animation. The beauty of this concept is that if students can visualize it in motion in their minds, they can put it into motion on the screen. Here’s a student slides animation describing muscle contraction/relaxation. Check out this post about creating Google Slides animations to get started. And if you need more, here are 11 tips for creating great animations.

Have questions?

Feel free to be in touch with me!

  • Email: matt@DitchThatTextbook.com
  • My Twitter handle: @jmattmiller
  • Twitter hashtag: #DitchBook
  • YouTube: youtube.com/ditchthattextbook
  • Facebook: facebook.com/ditchthattextbook.com

Also, feel free to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter with lots of tips like those today! Just use the sign-up form in the top right corner of this site. You’ll also get a free ebook!

My books:

Student connections WORLDWIDE: Practical ideas to get started

Genny Kahlweiss, a teacher in southern California, wanted more for her students … more than she could provide for them. She started digging into resources at SkypeInTheClassroom.com to get her students connected to experts and new places with video calls. She had no idea how far it would take her students — or their work. […]

Ditch That Textbook workshop (Rockford, IL)

Find this page: DitchThatTextbook.com/Rockford

ENGAGE STUDENTS IN PRESENTATIONS.

If you need to deliver content to students, presentation slides can be dry, boring and ineffective if they're used just for giving information. Create easy interactive presentation slides with Pear Deck to get students engaged in what they're learning.

Get FREE Pear Deck Premium through the end of the year! Click here to activate it!


TAKE STUDENTS THERE.

Maps and mapping tools can reach so many content areas and grade levels:

  • Distances and scale in math
  • Geography in social studies
  • Locations of settings of literature in English
  • Physical science (environment, weather, etc.)
  • Culture in world languages

These mapping tools can take students places the bus can’t. Go to: DitchThatTextbook.com/mapping

Google Maps: http://maps.google.com

Google Maps Treks: https://www.google.com/maps/about/treks/#/grid


GIVE STUDENTS A VOICE.

If students are going to make big changes in the world, they have to be able to articulate themselves. Plus, when they know that their thoughts and ideas are important, they’re encouraged to share more of them!

Flipgrid: Flipgrid (flipgrid.com) lets the teacher create a question or prompt. Then, students respond to it with short video clips. They can then watch each other’s videos and react to them. This is a great way to let students hear from each other AND practice their communication skills.

Our Flipgrid topic for today: Hello, new teacher …

Bronwyn Joyce’s “What If” Flipgrid: flipgrid.com/whatif

15+ ways to use Flipgrid in class

Get free premium Flipgrid Classroom for 45 days! Create an account, click to upgrade and enter code "MATTMILLER"!

Anchor: Anchor (anchor.fm) is an audio publishing tool. It runs on the web or through a mobile app. It lets students record audio and save it as an episode, which can be published as a PODCAST on iTunes, Google Play and more! Terms of use are 13+, so if you have younger students, you could always create a class podcast.

Erik Palmer's PVLEGS for performing a speech (from Well Spoken):

  • Poise: Appearing Calm and Confident
  • Voice: Making Every Word Heard
  • Life: Putting Passion into the Voice
  • Eye Contact: Engaging Each Listener
  • Gestures: Matching Motions to Words
  • Speed: Pacing for a Powerful Performance

... and his five parts of building a speech:

  • Audience: Understanding the Listeners
  • Content: Making the Message Valuable
  • Organization: Making the Speech Easy to Follow
  • Visual Aids: Enhancing the Words
  • Appearance: Dressing for the Occassion

COLLABORATE.

Communication and teamwork skills are always at the top of the skills employers seek in new job candidates. Let students work together in digital spaces to practice those skills.

Shared slides. Create a presentation with one slide per student. Use the Share button to create an “everyone can edit” link. Stick it in your class notebook where students can access it. Then assign an activity — some quick Internet research, a writing prompt, an image search to find an example, etc. When they’re done, show the presentation on a projector. It’s student work instantly on display.

Shared slides: If your last name starts with A-M, click here!

Shared slides: If your last name starts with N-Z, click here!

Padlet. Padlet (padlet.com) is a great place for gathering ideas, sharing them and modifying them later. It’s like a living, breathing webpage. Users can add links, YouTube videos, files and images to Padlet notes. They can move and arrange them. A link to a Padlet can be shared and Padlets can be embedded into webpages.

Padlet lets students add sticky notes have images, links and videos AND be available with practically any Internet-ready device. Plus, recently, Padlet has added the ability to add pictures, audio, video, maps, Google searches and MORE to Padlet walls!

Click here for our Padlet for today! (It's about TV shows ...)

Blog post: 20 ways to use Padlet in the classroom!


SHORTEN THE FEEDBACK LOOP.

If we want students to practice new skills with homework, the feedback loop is pretty long … often two days or more from assigning to returning to students. Shorten the feedback loop with some of these great tools to assess your students. Plus, they’re a lot of fun!

Kahoot!: kahoot.com

The “blind Kahoot”: Click here for more info!

Quizizz: quizizz.com (You can TEACH with Quizizz, too!)

Quizlet Live: quizlet.live


CONNECT TO THE WORLD.

The tools

Google Hangouts: hangouts.google.com
Skype: skype.com
Facetime (iPad, iPhone)

Mystery location calls

Finding video chat partners

Other resources


MAKE LEARNING A GAME

When you can incorporate a game into class, it always makes it more memorable! 

I created a Family Feud game with data I gathered from teachers. You could use this game for anything with a data set (census data, student surveys, etc.) AND could include follow-up activities with that data.

Here's how to create a Family Feud-style game!


MAKE CREATORS, NOT CONSUMERS.

Animation. This is a great hack (i.e. non-traditional use) of Google Slides that could take some time to complete but yield amazing results. Check out this video, where the creators made an impressive animation with 450 slides in a Google Slides presentation just by clicking through the slides quickly.

Interactive posters. Google Drawings are great for bringing images, text and shapes together. Those elements combine for a great digital poster. But these digital posters are way better than a regular one made of poster board. Various elements in the poster can be clicked, delivering webpages and other online content to viewers.

Make video. These tools will help students use their creativity to make and share good-looking video.

Photo comic strips. Take photos of students using a webcam and add them to a Google Drawing. Add speech bubbles to the photos. Then save those images and add each one to a different slide in a Google Slides presentation. Here’s a Google Site about Comics with Google Tools and Creativity Games for examples and more details.

Graphic organizers. Drawings gives users a blank canvas where they can add text, shapes, lines, etc. When done, they can save their work as image files or PDF files and can add those images to documents, slides and spreadsheets. It’s a perfect medium for creating graphic organizers. I’ve created 15 of them that can be copied, saved, changed, tweaked or completely redone to fit your needs and your students’ needs.

Ditch That Textbook Speaker’s Bureau

The core of Ditch That Textbook is technology, creativity and innovation. It's at the heart of Ditch That Textbook founder Matt Miller's keynotes, workshops and presentations.

These presenters believe in the same kind of transformative, engaging education.

They lead engaging, relevant, meaningful professional development and provide keynotes, workshops and presentations that teachers will LOVE -- and start using right away.

Topics include technology, happiness research, creativity, brain-friendly learning, motivation and more. Check out what they have to offer below.

Interested in booking one of these speakers? Need more information? Email us at hello@DitchThatTextbook.com to learn more!

Click the information box next to each presenter's image to drop down all of his/her presentation options.

Kim Strobel is the owner of Strobel Education. She is a highly sought-after consultant, speaker, and happiness coach who works with K-12 teachers and schools throughout the country.

Jed Dearybury is 16 year veteran of education in the early childhood classroom in South Carolina, and now the current Director of Professional Development & Communications for the Palmetto State Teachers Association (PSTA).

Stephanie DeMichele has been a high school English teacher, a designer of gifted and talented courses, a technology teacher/coach, and a district technology integration coordinator. She now serves as an educational consultant in Northeast Ohio. .

Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D. is an expert in the field of cognitive science. She has conducted learning and memory research in a variety of classroom settings for more than 10 years. Passionate about evidence-based education, Pooja has extensive teaching experience in K-12 and higher education, as well as expertise in education policy at state and national levels.

Noah Geisel is a World Languages, EdTech and Digital Badges consultant and speaker passionate about helping educators and students make awesome happen. He has 15 years of experience teaching high school Spanish, English and Technology and was recognized as the 2013 ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year.

Ditch That Textbook workshop (Bath Co. Schools)

Find this page: DitchThatTextbook.com/bath


Welcome! Let’s get started by taking a quick look at our students. Who are they and what are they looking for in their education?

The Voice of the Active Learner – Education From a Digital Native’s Perspective (YouTube)


TAKE STUDENTS THERE.

Maps and mapping tools can reach so many content areas and grade levels:

  • Distances and scale in math
  • Geography in social studies
  • Locations of settings of literature in English
  • Physical science (environment, weather, etc.)
  • Culture in world languages

These mapping tools can take students places the bus can’t. Go to: DitchThatTextbook.com/mapping

Google Maps: http://maps.google.com

Google Maps Treks: https://www.google.com/maps/about/treks/#/grid


CAPTURE THEIR LEARNING.

With screencasting tools online, it’s super easy for students to capture their learning and demonstrate what they know by recording video.

Screencasting is recording what’s happening on your screen. You can also record your microphone and a little webcam video, too, if you want.

Screencasts work really well with …

  • Presentation slides (PowerPoint, Google Slides, etc.)
  • Any website you want to demonstrate or provide a tutorial with
  • Google Maps — create virtual walking tours

Students can create screencast videos, download them, and then turn them in to you!

Some screencasting tools:


CREATE TO LEARN.

Students make meaning when they create (constructivism). By letting them make something with what they’ve learned, they can make their thinking visible and put the pieces of new material together in their minds.

Caption This! — This is a fun, low-prep, high critical thinking activity with PowerPoint. Have students add an image that deals with the content you’re studying. Then …

  • Annotate: Add tags, text and arrows to the image.
  • Caption This!: Add speech bubbles to show what the people in the image would say/think.
  • Caption This + Comment: Like Caption This! but also giving the people advice.
  • Picture This + Take a Stance: Find an image that fits the scenario and take a stand to agree/disagree with the character.

Click here for more information on this activity!

Interactive posters. PowerPoint and OneNote can be great for bringing images, text and shapes together. Those elements combine for a great digital poster. But these digital posters are way better than a regular one made of poster board. Various elements in the poster can be clicked, delivering webpages and other online content to viewers.

Graphic organizers. Drawings gives users a blank canvas where they can add text, shapes, lines, etc. When done, they can save their work as image files or PDF files and can add those images to documents, slides and spreadsheets. It’s a perfect medium for creating graphic organizers. I’ve created 15 graphic organizers in Google Drawings that can be copied, saved, changed, tweaked or completely redone to fit your needs and your students’ needs. Open them and go to File > Download as … > PNG to save them as an image file that you can use as a background in a PowerPoint file.


CONNECT TO THE WORLD.

The tools

Google Hangouts: hangouts.google.com
Skype: skype.com
Facetime (iPad, iPhone)

Mystery location calls

Finding video chat partners

Other resources


COLLABORATE.

Communication and teamwork skills are always at the top of the skills employers seek in new job candidates. Let students work together in digital spaces to practice those skills.

Shared PowerPoint. Create a presentation with one slide per student. Use the Share button to create an “everyone can edit” link. Stick it in your class notebook where students can access it. Then assign an activity — some quick Internet research, a writing prompt, an image search to find an example, etc. When they’re done, show the presentation on a projector. It’s student work instantly on display.

Shared PowerPoint: If your last name starts with A-M, click here!

Shared PowerPoint: If your last name starts with N-Z, click here!

Padlet. Padlet (padlet.com) is a great place for gathering ideas, sharing them and modifying them later. It’s like a living, breathing webpage. Users can add links, YouTube videos, files and images to Padlet notes. They can move and arrange them. A link to a Padlet can be shared and Padlets can be embedded into webpages.

Padlet lets students add sticky notes have images, links and videos AND be available with practically any Internet-ready device. Plus, recently, Padlet has added the ability to add pictures, audio, video, maps, Google searches and MORE to Padlet walls!

Click here for 20 ways to use Padlet in the classroom!


SHORTEN THE FEEDBACK LOOP.

If we want students to practice new skills with homework, the feedback loop is pretty long … often two days or more from assigning to returning to students. Shorten the feedback loop with some of these great tools to assess your students. Plus, they’re a lot of fun!

Kahoot!: kahoot.com

The “blind Kahoot”: Click here for more info!

Quizizz: quizizz.com (You can TEACH with Quizizz, too!)

Quizlet Live: quizlet.live


GIVE STUDENTS A VOICE.

If students are going to make big changes in the world, they have to be able to articulate themselves. Plus, when they know that their thoughts and ideas are important, they’re encouraged to share more of them!

Flipgrid: Flipgrid (flipgrid.com) lets the teacher create a question or prompt. Then, students respond to it with short video clips. They can then watch each other’s videos and react to them. This is a great way to let students hear from each other AND practice their communication skills.

Our Flipgrid topic for today: Hello, new teacher …

Bronwyn Joyce’s “What If” Flipgrid: flipgrid.com/whatif

15+ ways to use Flipgrid in class

Anchor: Anchor (anchor.fm) is an audio publishing tool. It runs on the web or through a mobile app. It lets students record audio and save it as an episode, which can be published as a PODCAST on iTunes, Google Play and more! Terms of use are 13+, so if you have younger students, you could always create a class podcast.


MAKE CLASS ENGAGING!

Use free technology tools and engagement hooks from “Teach Like a PIRATE” to create exciting learning opportunities your students won’t want to miss!

Go to: DitchThatTextbook.com/techpirate to get your copy of Matt’s free ebook, “The Digital PIRATE” and to see examples of several of the activities that YOU can use in your classroom.


It’s been a great day … thanks!

Click here for the end-of-day reflection activity!

Finding a class to partner with virtually AND activities to do together

Video calls can get your students connected to others just like them around the country and world! Here’s how to do it using Skype, Google Hangouts and others. (Graphic by Matt Miller)It’s a big, big world out there, and it’s easier than ever to reach out to someone.Does your class reflect that?We have access to […]

Hanging out with Google Hangouts (GTT038)

Using this free tool that most teachers have available to them, they can let their students see and hear from any expert, class or other guest from around the world. They can get in touch with a buddy classroom whenever they want, share their learning and work together. This tool has amazing power, and many […]