Monday, 20 March 2017

Think outside the box.


I am always amazed when I get to watch someone who is truly talented in their field, regardless of what that may be. One of my kids' favourite things is watching "people are awesome" videos on Youtube. The extreme dedication id takes to perfect your craft is something that I admire in extreme sports athletes.


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Automation for teachers - if you're not using it, you're missing out.

How long would you wait in line for a cup of coffee?

I'm pretty sure the average person's answer to that question would be different now than it would've been ten or fifteen years ago. These days, everything happens faster. We no longer have ridiculously slow dial-up connections for the internet, Amazon deliveries take mere hours to arrive and we can watch that movie now instead of waiting for it to come on after the news tonight. And it's great. But do you know what's even greater than things happening quickly? When they happen AUTOMATICALLY.

Today I'll share a few of my favourite ways to set up automated tasks that will shave valuable time so that you have more time to do the things that actually matter. Like finishing season 6 of Game of Thrones before the new season starts...


1. IFTTT (If this then that)
IFTTT

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Teachers: Unleash the power of your phone!

How to use cell phones in the classroom! 



OR 


Top 10 ways to engage students using their phones!


These are the kind of headlines you will find quite often when trawling the interwebs. But how often do we think about how a mobile device can actually make a teacher's life easier? Here are 5 ways your cell phone can save you time and energy...and maybe even allow you to squeeze in an extra cup of coffee!


1. Access your files in a pinch



Whether you use Google Drive (part of the newly named GSuite), Apple's iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive or any other cloud-based storage, these can all be accessed using your smartphone when you are not in front of a connected computer. This happens more often than you might think, especially if you are one of the unlucky "floating" teachers without their own classroom. Being able to jot down scores in a spreadsheet or quickly share a presentation with a colleague before a meeting without having to rush around to find a computer is a great time saver. Phones will never be as good for productivity as an actual computer with a keyboard, but are great in situations like this.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Tools for stunning visual presentations


I've written before about the importance of engaging your audience visually during a presentation, and I wanted to share a great way that makes it easy to include stunning visuals in your next PowerPoint, Keynote or Google Slides presentation.

When I taught presentation skills to groups of 17 year old high school students, I realised that these kids were never taught the importance of having a visual aid that helps to enhance the message you're trying to get across. Their first instinct was to include a lot of words in their slides, which of course means everyone was reading rather than listening.

I wish I had known then about the two platforms I want to mention today - Canva and Visme. I have used both of these recently with great success, and I think teachers and anyone looking to deliver a visually stunning presentation should look into what these products have to offer. Both offer a free service, with some added benefits when upgrading to the paid tier. Both offer a simple drag and drop interface and make it very easy to customize your elements by changing size, colour or font.