WeChat Blocking MS Forms and Sway (Updated)

Update: WeChat and Microsoft resolved this issue on Monday, Jan 13.

WeChat’s browser appear to be blocking both Microsoft Forms and Microsoft Sway. Forms and Sway are both accessible in China; it is WeChat in particular that is blocking them. This will affect you if you use Forms with a QR code to collect event registration sign-ups – users will be blocked from the sign-up when they scan the code.

Unfortunately, there’s not a good workaround except to avoid using QR codes for event registration. Instead, make a short link. You need to use a Chinese service because Western shortlink services like bit.ly are blocked. Use the Chinese website http://sina.lt. This will prompt people to open a web browser, type in the URL, and the page will then load correctly in their web browser.

WARNING – do not email links created using http://sina.lt because they may be marked as spam. Instead, email the original link.

How can a student with two Es and a P have a P overall?

How can a student with three standards scores of E, E, and P end up with P as an overall grade? PowerSchool calculates grades based on the scores of the underlying assignments. See the PowerPoint below for an explanation, and use this grade calculator spreadsheet (download it to your computer before opening) to input a student’s individual assignment standard scores to see how this translates into overall standards scores and the overall course grade.

Saturday Certificate Session 03 coming February 8, 2020

The third #issedu Saturday Certificate Session is coming up in a month on Saturday, February 8 at the Level 5 in Shekou! SCS is a chance to work through self-paced modules and achieve a certificate to boost your skills and your resume. To date, over 100 ISS faculty and staff have attended. This time around you’ll have a choice between a Microsoft Innovative Educator and an Apple Teacher certificate – start a new one or continue work you started in a previous session. Lunch is provided; free registration is required by Wednesday, February 5 at 4pm.

Tech in the Toilet: Tech for Co-Teaching (Andrea Honigsfeld Edition)

In this edition of Tech in the Toilet we celebrate Andrea Honigsfeld’s visit to campus with a rundown of tools that support co-teaching.

After objectives, materials, roles, and responsibilities have been established, each teacher completes various lesson planning tasks such as scaffolding activities, differentiating materials and assessments, finding alternative resources, creating learning centers/stations, and so on.

To support this framework, co-teaching teams must first establish how they are going to communicate and how they are going to secure and organize the materials and resources needed for the co-planning process. (Dove & Honigsfeld, 2018, p. 39)

 

Use your Microsoft Team’s Sharepoint Site to Secure & Organize Materials

Sharepoint Site is a powerful function of Office 365 that provides a web-based collaboration and sharing platform. Every staff member is able to access it through the school email account. Setting it up to work takes almost no effort at all – you can simply create a folder and then share it with the recipient’s email.

How does it work? 

  • Centralizes collaborative work
  • Provides a record of collaboration
  • Easily share and save resources
  • Useful location for storing lesson plans for future, sharing or in case of sub
  • An efficient method of collecting, saving and sharing student work/projects
  • Ensures continuity of materials – files are not lost when a team member moves on

How do you access it?

Office 365 Waffle > Sharepoint > choose your site

   

OR Office 365 Waffle > Teams > Choose your team > Files

  

OR Office 365 > OneDrive > select your team in the left nav bar menu

      

Use Microsoft Teams’ Chat Feature to Communicate

As part of Office 365, Teams’ Chat is an instant-messaging platform that also integrates with Outlook Calendar, Planner, and Sharepoint/OneDrive. It’s the “one ring to rule them all.” 

How does it work?

You can use CHANNELS within the team to chat about topics. For example, most conversations might be in the “General” channel. You can create channels for specific events. For instance, a channel for the course fair you are planning. The Grade 9 team might also have its own channel to talk about lesson planning and reflection. Each channel has a folder where you can store files.

How does it help?

If  your team agrees to use Teams for online communication:

-Three key advantages over e-mail: it’s informal, it’s threaded, and it’s easy to see the conversation history.

-Easy to share images and documents – you don’t run into attachment limits

-Includes voice and video chat features for those rainy days when you don’t want to go across campus for a meeting

How do you access it?

Office 365 Waffle > Teams > Choose your team

   

Use Microsoft Planner to Track Various Lesson Planning Tasks

Microsoft Planner is a to-do list function for your team in Office 365. Each team has a planner board where you can add cards for different tasks that need to be completed. Each card can be assigned to a team member and include a due date, checklists, links, attachments, and comments. 

How does it help?

  • After collaboration meetings, add the action items to Planner so you get reminders of when they’re due.
  • Use the “Group by Progress” view to see what your team members are currently working on and what hasn’t been started
  • Helps prevent “I need an update on this task RIGHT NOW” syndrome – it should be in planner once your team is in the habit of using it.

How do you access it?

Office 365 Waffle > Planner 

Use SeeSaw as a Portfolio to Manage Student Work Arising from the Co-Planning Process

Seesaw is a web / App-based online portfolio. Teachers can create assignments and students can reply using a variety of methods, including video, drawing, photo upload, and typing. Students can see their peers’ work and provide feedback. Parents can also be added so they can view student work.

How does it help?

When using SeeSaw or other websites to collect student work, make sure to give access to all co-teachers. This allows all members of a collaborative team to see student work and give feedback in real-time.  Especially with language, it is helpful to get teachers with different expertise to give feedback to students. 

How do you access it?

Go to App.seesaw.me to sign up!  

Use Microsoft OneNote as a Shared Team Notebook to Record Team Norms, Objectives, Materials, Roles, and Responsibilities

Microsoft OneNote is the collaborative notebook function of Office 365. It can be used on web pages or with an app; also it can be used personally or collaboratively as a notebook sharing platform. Create a new notebook or share an existing one. The user can create new sections for different subjects or tasks. This is shareable within working groups, student groups, peer review, and more.

How does it help?

  • Collaboratively share work, ideas, and up to date information.
  • Dictate ideas without typing, no need to write notes.
  • Set group norms and easily have a reference for them.
  • Record keeping in one unified location.
  • Add file links, photos, or instructions to your notes easily

How do you access it?

Office 365 Waffle > One Note 

  

My Simple Show – Presentation Tech Tool

I came across https://www.mysimpleshow.com/  when listening to a podcast from https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/ 

I made a quick video to check out how it works. Here’s the gist. It’s an online platform that converts your PPT or written script into a movie. The software reads your script or PPT and adds the words to a storyboard. The software then reads the words and searches for images that relate to your words and auto-populates the picture part of the storyboard. You can modify sequences and pictures easily throughout the process. Once your text and pictures are set you choose audio features and finishing touches. Audio features on the free version include selecting the type of voice, the speed of the voice, and some background music, for example. The paid version includes the ability to embed subtitles, but I wasn’t able to explore this feature. I could definitely see this working in any class that involves student presentations. You could use it to change up the style of presentations and/or an option for those students who aren’t able to produce oral English yet, or those that are too shy to present. Just another tech tool that could add some extra student engagement into your classroom. Let us know if you have any questions and we’re happy to help you try this out! Thanks for reading! Trish

 

 

Tech Tools for Reading

As our schools delves into how to address reading strategies with our students, we thought we would add a few suggestions of Tech tools and tips that may be useful to achieve this goal!  There are many websites, apps, and add-ons that help engage and support students in reading. Here are four that we think are useful:

 

  1. Immersive Reader in Word 

What is it?   Feature already available in online or desktop Word. Many other tools also include text-to-speech features.

What does it do? Reads aloud text that students have typed or that a teacher has prepared in a Word document. Useful to understand handouts and proofread during peer review.

How does it help with reading? “Text-to-speech tools helps students access content that’s difficult for them,” says Emily S. This means you can maintain rigor when the content requires reading. But text-to-speech “will not actually improve a student’s reading skills,” so be intentional about how you have students use this tool.

How do you access it? Go to the View tab > Immersive Reader in online or desktop Word.

 

 2. Insert Learning

What is it?   Chrome extension

What does it do? Lets you transform a webpage to support instruction by adding annotations, questions, discussion questions, videos, and more.

How does it help with reading? The variety of ways that Insert Learning transforms a webpage lets you scaffold website reading without having to print a huge number of different handouts and version of your classroom materials. The comprehension questions you can add promote analysis and critical thinking about the reading.

How do you access it? Install the extension from the Chrome Web Store or go to https://insertlearning.com/

 

 3. Rewordify

What is it?   A text-modification website

What does it do? It allows teachers to simplify a paragraph with easier vocabulary.

How does it help with reading? It increases the accessibility of a piece of text.

How do you access it? Copy-paste the text you need to adapt into the website https://rewordify.com/index.php

 

4. Britannica Schools

What is it?   Website Database available from Canvas or

What does it do? Students can use it to look up any information, just like a traditional encyclopedia. However, they can select which level they would like to read at and switch back and forth between languages.

How does it help with reading? It helps students to understand complex subjects and build content knowledge by reading it in both languages.  It is great for research projects or for students to strengthen their understanding of a topic.

Pro Tip: Encourage students to read it in English first to get the big ideas. Then switch to Chinese to understand more fully. Finally, switch back to English again to build academic language.  Some students may also prefer to read both in English and Chinese side by side.

How do you access it? Students and teachers can access Brittanica School directly from your Canvas account or they can go to https://school.eb.com/ . If they are on the school network, they will be logged in automatically.

 

Read Aloud Any Text in Mac!

Have you ever wonder what is the use of the “Speech” function in Preview? Well, literally, it can read you the selected text of the document.

 

Why should I listen to a text?

It may because you are tired of reading after a whole day’s work or you just want to try something new. Listen to a text activates a different part of your brain for decoding and comprehension. Listening to something also requires you to be focused in a different way than reading.

Why should my students listen to a text?

Although the computer-generated voice may not be the ideal choice for mimicking, students can adjust the speed, volume, gender and many more features of the sound so that they can follow along.  Also, if you ever have encountered a situation that after a whole unit of study on a certain topic, students still can’t say the key vocabulary out loud – it is reminding you to create more listening and speaking practice opportunities. The Speech function is easy and quick – when switched on from the system setting, the computer can read any selected text in Word, Preview, Browser, etc. It allows students to figure out the pronunciation by themselves in a very short time. Not even necessary to copy, open a dictionary app, paste, click for reading aloud. The keyboard shortcut can make it possible in a second.

How can I enable Speech function?

Step 1: In System Preferences, search Speech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Click on Speech, then enable the function by selecting the box. The default shortcut is Option+Esc, which I personally feel very easy to use. You can change to your preferred combination by clicking on the Change Key button.

Step 3: Select your preferred voice feature. Gender, region, speaking speed are all changeable.

Now, select any text on this page and try it out! Once you press the shortcut to speaking, you can switch to a different app/page and the text does not need to remain selected.

Endnote: If you have a student who struggles to speak any English, show him/her this feature and encourage him/her to use it outside the class. Language production requires a massive amount of input.

Happy reading/listening!

Tech Tools Inventory

As you go into planning a lesson, do you always go back to the same strategies? Are you getting tired of using the same programs every week?  Or do you ever get stuck just wishing you had a new way to engage students? Whether you are stuck in a rut or just needing a refresher, check out our new Tech Tools Inventory to get some new ideas!

Various Tech Tools are organized into categories by how they might be used in class. Looking for a new way to do an Exit Ticket? Try Poll Everywhere, Mentimeter, or Go Formative! Looking for a new way for students to process information? Try Mindmeister or Padlet! Wondering how you can have students present information in a new way? Try using CoSpaces or FlipaClip. Your NCPA Tech Ambassadors are always adding new ideas to the Tech Tools Inventory, so check back later for some new ideas.

We want to hear from you! Do you have a Tech Tool you want to share? You can also add to the Padlet with your ideas! Also, contact a Tech Ambassador if it is something you would like to share on the EdTech Blog or in a Breakfast Slam.