App of the Week: 12 New Apps Added to our Embed the Web Library

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In this weekly blog, our own Emily Jeanes gives readers the lowdown on web apps that educators can use inside Haiku Learning. Emily is the very first Haiku Learning Sales Engineer. Edtech ninja, sci-fi writer, and proud transfer from our award-winning Client Services team, she brings with her a passion for researching, playing with and integrating awesome educational tools into Haiku Learning. Like Haiku Learning, she likes to think she plays well with others.

Just in time for the new school year, we've added 12 new apps to our Embed the Web library, in addition to the 42 we added this summer! We now have 225 total apps in our library — which gives you more choices to inject some web 2.0 into your class!

12 New Apps in our Embed the Web Library

  • Buncee: Students and teachers alike can create free, engaging, multimedia presentations using Buncee. Add sound, embedded video, animation, or any of their adorable custom drawings! We also just did an App of the Week on Buncee!
  • Gynzy: Create and embed interactive whiteboard activities using Gynzy!
  • Knowmia: Use Knowmia's free iPad app to create classroom-ready video presentations and plan lessons, or search their inventory of wonderful, rated, subject-area-tagged lessons, made by teachers like you!
  • Moovly: Students and teachers can create (then embed!) animated videos using Moovly, a "cloud-based digital media and content creation platform."
  • Pathbrite: Pathbrite makes creating a beautiful web portfolio easy. Display achievement and work, then track analytics on hits, allow for comments, and more.
  • Pixiclip: Pixiclip is "an online canvas that lets you communicate using a webcam or a mic." Record your sound, video, and onscreen writing, too!
  • Random Name Selector: Need to pick a student at random from your class? Paste your class list into Primary Technology's Random Name Selector, then share and grab that embed code. You can even remove a student from the list after they've been selected!
  • TodaysMeet: Give your students a voice with this backchannel chat platform. Designed with students and classrooms in mind, TodaysMeet gets you ready for synchronous discussion and collaboration.
  • Twiddla: Twiddla is web-based whiteboarding collaboration tool. Surf the web, upload documents, chat with text and audio. All in your browser. All for free. Get twiddling!
  • Vialogues: Talk about a conversation starter! Vialogues (video dialogues) allow you to upload or select videos from Youtube, then pose questions, have discussions, and even create polls all together.
  • Vibby: Vibby is "the best way to highlight, share and discuss the best parts of any video." Explore their inventory, or upload and clip your own!

Keep an eye out for more updates like this on all of the new goodies in our Embed the Web Library!

Did you miss our new additions from the summer? They came in four batches. Catch up on them now:

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Question of the Week: How Can I Help Students Keep Track of their Work?

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Getting — and staying — organized is one of the biggest classroom management challenges for many educators. And just as students have unique needs, teachers have unique teaching styles, and schools have unique learning goals.

With the new school year around the corner, we'll spend this month providing tips on all the great ways you can organize content in Haiku Learning to help maximize learning, increase efficiency, and get your year started off on the right foot!

5 ways to help students stay on top of work and manage their time

Gone are the days of simply telling students what their homework is and writing it on the board.

Of course, you probably still tell them what their homework is. But Haiku Learning also gives you so many other ways to reach students about those oh-so-important dates and events.

1. Mini Calendar

The Mini Calendar content block gives students a summary of any month's schedule. Students can click in the calendar to see the upcoming activities for that day. They can also go to the assignment from within the calendar.

2. Upcoming Assignments

The Upcoming Activities content block provides students with an easy-to-read list of upcoming assignments with links to the assignments.

In a previous post, we recommended having a home page at the top of your pages list that includes blocks like a Mini Calendar and Upcoming Assignments, so students always have one place to go in your class to find track work.

However, others may prefer to also put a Mini Calendar and/or Upcoming Assignments block on each page. If so, we recommend keeping it in the same place on each page, probably near the top, so students always know where to go to find it.

3. Announcements

Announcement content blocks are great visible reminders that help students (and parents) stay up to date with not only assignments, but also other important happenings like events and field trips. Most teachers place Announcements in a prominent place, and it’s easy to move them with our drag and drop interface.

A screenshot of a Home page with Announcements, Mini Calendar, and Upcoming Assignments
Here's a screenshot of a class with a home page that includes Announcements at the top left, a Mini Calendar in the top right and Upcoming Assignments right below that.

4. Email reminders

Send reminders via email or text message for specific assignments from your Assignments area. Click on the Unsubmitted column, and you’ll have the option of sending a message to all the students who haven’t submitted the assignment yet, or manually select students yourself. We make it easy by providing a default reminder message, but you can edit the message to your liking.

A reminder in Haiku Learning

5. To Do Lists

Students have lots of freedom to create a tailored To Do list if they use our iPad app. They can create tasks, assign them to specific classes, set due dates, and add any other relevant info they need to know. They can easily show, hide, delete, edit, rename, and reorder with a quick swipe. Their To-Do list is the first thing they’ll see when they sign into the app, so it’s staring them right in the face!

A To Do list in our iPad app

Hope you found all this helpful! In case you missed our series this past month on getting set up for the new school year, here are all the other posts:

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EdTech Weekly News Roundup - August 30, 2015

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Being an educator means you probably have very little time to read the news during the week. Here are some interesting edtech articles from this past week that you might find useful.

"Back-to-School Night 2.0” — Edutopia

Inject the traditional back-to-school night with some modern technology to set the tone for what it means to be a part of your class. Start with video self portraits of the students to display, walk parents through the communication technology like Remind that you may be using, and save your presentation in Google Slides or Haiku Deck for access later on by attendees and non. BTW, Remind and Haiku Deck are in our Embed the Web library, and we just did an App of the Week on Haiku Deck! And if you’re a Google Apps school — well, you know how easy it is to embed those in Haiku Learning!

"A Guide to Producing Student Digital Storytellers” — edSurge

Use technology to transform projects previously done with posters and dioramas and give students a bigger, more authentic audience to share those stories. The article includes 5 tips, suggestions for apps, and ideas for different subjects.

"Using New Technology to Rediscover Traditional Ways of Learning” — Edutopia

“Rediscover” the following traditional modes of learning using new, more mobile, interactive technology: the oral tradition; gestures, dance, and the body; and visual learning. Podcasts are included for the oral tradition and there are great options for embedding podcasts using the Embed the Web Library in Haiku Learning.

"3 Ways Mobile Technology Is Transforming Learning Spaces” — THE Journal

When we think mobile technology, we tend to first think of how mobile devices are transforming learning. But what about how they’re transforming learning spaces? (Of course, that ends up affecting learning, so it all comes full circle!) Included are 5 tips for redesigning K-12 classrooms. Plus, several districts are profiled, so you can get examples of what others have done on different types of budgets.

"How To Plan Better Professional Development” — Tech & Learning

Co-author of the upcoming book Building School 2.0, the author has 5 tips for structuring PD at your school. One common running theme is making the teachers the center of PD as opposed to just the receivers of information.

“Indiana Names Five Spotlight Award Winners at Companies to Watch Ceremony” — IN.gov

We are so happy — and so humbled — to be honored as a Spotlight Award Company in the annual Companies to Watch Awards from our home state of Indiana. Just had to share the good news!

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App of the Week: Haiku Deck

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In this weekly blog, our own Emily Jeanes gives readers the lowdown on web apps that educators can use inside Haiku Learning. Emily is the very first Haiku Learning Sales Engineer. Edtech ninja, sci-fi writer, and proud transfer from our award-winning Client Services team, she brings with her a passion for researching, playing with and integrating awesome educational tools into Haiku Learning. Like Haiku Learning, she likes to think she plays well with others.

What is Haiku Deck?

From their site: Haiku Deck helps you make "presentations that inspire. Meet Haiku Deck, a completely new kind of presentation software. We make telling your story simple, beautiful, and fun."

In Haiku Learning: Use Embed the Web to embed a Haiku Deck for any presentation, then hit play to scroll automatically through your beautifully-crafted deck, or use the arrow keys to move from slide to slide. Haiku Deck is responsive, SSL, and looks like it was made to fit inside a content block.

Haiku Deck embedded in Haiku Learning
Here's what Haiku Deck looks like embedded into a Haiku Learning content block. Perfect fit.

How do I get the embed code?

When viewing any Haiku Deck through the web application, hover over the little + sign icon to reveal additional sharing options, on the left hand side. This should present an Embed <> option. Copy/paste the code into a new Embed the Web content block, and you should be all set!

Haiku Deck embed code
Getting an embed code from Haiku Deck.

Why should I try it?

At every conference I've been to representing Haiku Learning (every one!) we've had some super-excited folks come up to our booth, all ready to talk some mad love about how much they adore Haiku Deck. And we always say, "We love Haiku Deck, too! Did you know you can embed it into Haiku Learning?" For a moment, they're a little sad when they realize they're at the wrong booth...but then they get excited when they see how cool we work together. It's like we were meant for each other, Haiku Learning and Haiku Deck. And hey, we're always happy to be associated with such a wonderful tool.

Ditch the PowerPoint, I say! Haiku Deck is a presentation tool, yes. And there are lots of alternatives out there, yes. But Haiku Deck stands apart (to me, at least) for its focus on clean design. The awesome readily available themes created by the Haiku Deck team combine with some modern and streamlined slide Types and Layouts to simplify the "good design" part of creating your deck, letting you focus on your content.

Customize your colors. Customize your fonts. Add charts, search for images, or upload your own. But really, they help you stick to just a few items on any specific slide (one image, perhaps, with a title...or a background image with one text box pulling the focus of the slide). Add your talking points in the background. And that's it. Well, of course, then you embed it into Haiku Learning, and you'll see why we think Haiku Deck is pretty awesome!

Be sure to check out their gallery of featured and popular Haiku Decks for some great examples and this video for an introduction to Haiku Deck.

Until next time, embed ALL the things!

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Question of the Week: What Are Some Tips for Organizing Content Blocks?

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Getting — and staying — organized is one of the biggest classroom management challenges for many educators. And just as students have unique needs, teachers have unique teaching styles, and schools have unique learning goals.

With the new school year around the corner, we'll spend this month providing tips on all the great ways you can organize content in Haiku Learning to help maximize learning, increase efficiency, and get your year started off on the right foot!

5 tips for organizing and using content blocks

Pages are the heart and soul of Haiku Learning. It’s where you course really lives! Sure there are other tabs like “Connect” and “Assess” are great for keeping running lists of items like Assessments when you need that at-a-glance view, but learning happens in Pages. Pages provide your students with a highly visible, engaging, integrated learning experiences.

And what makes Pages come alive? Content blocks! From text to videos, from Google Drive docs to apps from the Embed the Web library, from Assessments to Discussions...you have an array of content blocks to integrate and truly differentiate your instruction.

Teachers, especially those newer to Haiku Learning, are always asking us for things like tips and best practices when it comes to setting up their classes. So, here are five tips that we've learned from our customers over the years when it comes to organizing content blocks — well, here's Part 1 at least because we have so many tips to offer!

Beginnings: content blocks that provide purpose

If you create weekly lesson plans, you’re probably putting the learning objectives and/or state standards that you’re covering somewhere at the top of those plans. You may also start each class with some brief intro into what you’ll be covering that day and why.

Turn that important information - the information that gives students a sense of purpose — into content blocks at the top of a page for that lesson or day, depending on how you organize your pages.

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TIP 1: State Standards: At the top of each page, include an On Page Text content block with a hyperlink to the state standards you're covering for that day or lesson. Some teachers preface these with the acronym SWBAT aka "Students Will Be Able To" (see screenshot below).


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TIP 2: The Big Idea: Related to above, some teachers include a text block called “The Big Idea” to provide some real world context. “So, my big idea usually relates to life. How are we going to relate this to life? Where is it going to be purposeful?” April Anastacio, Special Ed teacher, West Morris Regional High School District, NJ


In both cases above, you’re giving:

  • students a sense of purpose to their learning (especially helpful if they were absent);
  • administrators proof — and assurance — that you’re covering the standards; and
  • parents insight into what their students are learning and why.

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Here's a content block at the top named "Objectives 9/19." It includes the reading standards covered with a hyperlink to the exact standard.

Endings: handling homework efficiently

We all know students need to be told things multiple times in multiple ways to remember them. It’s especially important when it comes to homework!

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TIP 3: “Homework” Assignment blocks: On the same page as the work for that day’s lesson, create an Assignment content block using the Connect & Assess tab in the Add Content Block menu. Title it “Homework” and include the date. Be consistent about placement, so students always know where to find this block, like in the top right corner of the page (see screenshot below).


Why an Assignment content block as opposed to just an On Page Text block? As we said before, students need to be told things multiple times and reminded of things to really remember them.

When you create an Assignment content block, it “automatically” lives in three places for students to find it.

  • On the page you put it on, surrounded by related classwork. This is helpful to students because it’s contextually placed alongside the work to which it corresponds. It’s also easier and more convenient for students to make connections between what was learned in class and what they have to do on their own at home.
  • In the Dropbox, where students turn in Assignments.
  • On the Assignments page, which keeps a running list of all the Assignments for the class.

Homework content block on a Page
Here's a "Homework" assignment content block in the top right. Note the link to the Dropbox where they turn in work.

Homework shows up in the Dropbox
Here's that Homework 6/1 assignment in the Dropbox under the Connect tab.

Homework shows up in Assignments in the Assessments tab
Here's that Homework 6/1 assignment under Assignments in the Assess tab.

In between opening and closing: other "Connect & Assess" content blocks

In addition to Assignments, there are other “Connect & Assess” content blocks including Assessments, Activities, Polls, WikiProjects, and Discussions. Rather than other content blocks that simply provide students with information, these typically require students to do or interact with something.

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TIP 4:Like Homework/Assignments, when you want to add an Assessment, Activity, Poll, WikiProject, and/or Discussion, create it as a content block on a page where it's relevant. These "deliverables" will also show up automatically on the Connect or Assess tab for students who find it helpful to see an isolated list of each activity type.


Think about it. How convenient is it for a student, who has to take a quiz on sentence fragments, to have that quiz live on a page with practice exercises, examples, and notes on sentence fragments? And if they’ve been absent, they can go to the Assess tab and see a running list of other quizzes they have to make up.

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Here's a quiz on the 1960s in the bottom right, surrounded by notes, a video, images, an activity, and flashcards to help review and contextualize the learning.

Make it pop! Use visual cues to get their attention

Let’s be honest. Students have a tendency to skim things and “overlook” reading directions. But they are pretty visual, and Haiku Learning is the perfect platform for visual learners.

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TIP 5: If you really want to call attention to a content block, for example, one that has a practice quiz, use Badges to create “symbols” to grab students’ attention. See the Tip icons in this blog? Those are customized versions of Haiku Learning Badges! Really, you can embed any image you want, but our badges are super easy to customize. BTW, textbooks have been doing this for years — using icons to signify a regular feature so students instantly recognize it.

How do you do it? In the Detail box in any content block, there’s a full toolbar with editing and formatting symbols, including the option to add an image. Easy peasy. Need help creating the badges? That's easy too! Here's a Knowledgebase article for you!

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Here are a few badges-turned-icons we created in our "Haiku Learning How To" class for teachers! Feel free to borrow, and keep checking, as we may add more!

Hope you found all this helpful! Next week, we’ll discuss how to instill some time-management skills with your students using content blocks like the Mini Calendar, Announcements, and Upcoming Activities.

For Haiku Learning customers: Do you have any of your own tips for how to best use content blocks? Share what works for you in the Community Forum!

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