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.

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.

 

About Padlet Permissions

(Who is using Padlet? Chris R and Liza F, for starters.)

If you’re using Padlet in class, make sure you’re using NCPA’s subscription so you aren’t limited in the number of boards you can make. You’ll want to change the permissions of your padlet, though. By default, boards are private and no one else can see them. To change that, click the “Share” button in the top right:

Then, click on “Change Privacy”

The best option is to choose “Secret.” This will let you share a link with students and they won’t need to log in.

If you choose “Org wide,” students WILL have to log in to see the board, AND everyone at NCPA will see the padlet show up in their feed. You don’t want that.

If there is a situation where you want the students to have to log in, then contact the Tech Ambassadors (learninginnovation at ncpachina dot org) to learn about how students access their accounts.