Friday, March 25, 2011

Piazzza - Online Q & A Forum For Classrooms

Primarily advertised for use with higher education, Piazzza is a viable option for replacing other forums and newsgroups to communicate with students.  Its sole purpose is to create a blackboard type area where students and teachers can interact online by asking and answering questions as well as participate in a discussion.  Teachers can easily create classes and add students one by one or in a large group.  The user interface is simplistic and provides an easy method of interaction for students and teachers.

As education moves more and more towards online interactions, a website like Piazzza provides a safe and valuable educational focused method for students and teachers to interact online.  On the software students and teachers can use hashtags to tag popular words or terms of interest.  Students can easily respond to questions and when new questions are asked they will appear in red.  Students can also receive feedback for asking a good question or providing a good answer.

Below you will find an introduction to the software.  When visiting Piazzza you will see several tutorial videos in the lower right side of the website.  I encourage you to watch them so that you can learn more.  I could really see this as a valuable tool for teachers of AP students.


I don't have a Kindle, but you might and so might your students.  SENDtoREADER is a bookmarklet that you can install on mostly all the main browsers out there: Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome, Internet Explorer.  You must register for an account to use the service, so I suggest that you do that.  When you use the bookmarklet it will automatically remove all unnecessary content including: ads, polls and banners but leaves the main content intact.

SENDtoREADER "retains all images that are part of the text you send to your Kindle reader so you don’t miss out on seeing them when you have the time to read the material you have saved.   If you have long articles, items you don’t have time to read, or you don’t want to strain your eyes by reading from the computer screen, you can send articles to your Kindle for comfortable, stress-free reading from its legendary e-inc display at your leisure.  You can keep track of every single item you have sent to your Kindle from any other source and can always resend items if necessary. This means you don't have to keep the articles on your Kindle once you have finished with them. This also eliminates the concern that you may have deleted something important."

As textbooks become more mobile, software and applications such as SENDtoREADER will become a valuable addition to reading various sources. 


TinyVox is an iPhone application that allows users to easily link to a recorded audio file to their Twitter, Facebook, and/or Tumblr feed.  If you are using Twitter with your students then TinyVox would be a great way to provide students information via an audio recording.  You could explain a homework assignment or project.  You could easily record an extra credit assignment as well.  Voice reminders work a lot better as well, so you could remind students to study or return a form the following morning.

When you complete your recording you can preview it so that you know it sounds like how you want it.  You can also provide a title for it.  You then easily can send it to your followers on Twitter.  With TinyVox you will be able to easily save your recordings to review later or record several at one time and then send them when you are ready.