I am pleased to announce that I have been accepted as part of the first official cohort of Edmodo Certified Trainers! This means that I get to advertise using the aforementioned title and the Edmodo trademark logo. As an Edmodo user pretty much from day one, and someone who has been the administrator of a District Subdomain as well as presented at regional conferences, this is a natural next step for me. If you are a teacher or district administrator interested in learning more about Edmodo, I'm available via Google Helpouts or contact me here to consult or set up a training for your team.
I had been waiting with much anticipation for Google to finally open up Google+ for K-12 Apps for Education domains. They finally did so just a few weeks ago and I quickly had our domain administrator open it up for staff (after checking with the CTO of our district, of course). The main reason I wanted to open it up for staff was to take advantage of Hangouts, the multi-point video conferencing feature that is only available to those with a Google plus account. My vision for this was to be able to record conversations among our district staff who have been using iPads over the past year, so that teachers who are new to using them this year can watch and learn a thing or two. I was able to make this vision a reality as you can see here:
It did require quite a bit of planning on my part: scheduling time with the experienced iPad teachers, making sure they had a webcam, helping them enable their district Google plus account (which is an issue itself as now folks may have two Google Plus accounts) and making sure we were in each others' circles.
All in all it worked well for staff, but it made me think about how this could be used for/with students. When our domain administrator reviewed the settings for Google Plus in the Apps control panel, it was quite clear that there is no way to keep posts private, so at this point we have no intention of opening it up for students. But that doesn't mean we can't still use Google Hangouts for students. What I am thinking about here is the feature of Hangouts on Air that allows you to embed a hangout. When you copy the embed code and paste it in an Edmodo group message stream, the hangout can be watched live or asyncronously right there, and perhpas even more importantly a secure, private chat can occur below the post. Here is an example of en embedded Hangout:
It would also be possible for students using a personal Google Plus account, or one of their parents', to actually join the hangout as well. But I haven't fully fleshed out the security/legal/ethical ramifications of that yet. So, what do you think? In lieu of opening up Google Plus for students, might the combination of Edmodo and Google Hangouts be a viable alternative?
This past Saturday, October 20th, was a sad day for me as
, one of my favorite phone-casting services, went dark for good. I had been using cinch (formerly cinchcast and a spin-off of
) since early 2009 as a way to keep my students and parents updated on class happenings. I would wear a bluetooth headset on my drive home from work and call in to record a brief message, which then automatically posted to a widget on my class website and to the class Edmodo stream via the rss feed. I've attached an example in case you want to listen.
In addition, on a personal note, I would sometimes record my two children if I wanted to capture them laughing or reading or just enjoying life. I would call in, enable the speaker phone and set it down near them to record without them even knowing. Thankfully, I was able to download all of the audio from cinch to iTunes before they shut it down Saturday.
As an alternative to cinch I now use
which offers live phone-casting. It offers more features the Cinch ever did, the main one being audio transcription.
Anyway, thanks for a few good years cinch. It was fun to be on the cutting edge of educational technology together....
Justin Talmadge - Posted On 2/12/2010
by Mr. Talmadge