Category Archives for News

Orange Students head back to school with potential 3 phases including MobileMind

The following is taken from Orange Town News. Read the full report here.

Orange Town News, in Connecticut, are reporting that students are to return to the classroom from 31st August in a potential 3 phase approach having spent nearly a year out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under what the district refers to as ‘key mitigation strategies,’ there will be mandatory face coverings, cleaning/hygiene protocols, cohorting, social distancing, a thorough cleaning of the HVAC system and families encouraged to drive students to school.

Vince Scarpetti, Superintendent, said; ‘The summer always passes by pretty fast, but by no surprise, this summer went by in a flash and a blink of an eye...Administrators, teachers and parents were very busy getting ready for the beginning of the school year.’

He said parents had a big decision to make, whether to send their kids back to school and that one of the biggest concerns from parents was around what remote learning will look like in the first phase.  “Another question that’s come up is ‘am I able to change my mind?’  Absolutely, yes,” Scarpetti says.  “This is a personal decision that families need to make based on what’s right for them.  We support all of you throughout this process.  The decision to change will take place on Monday of the following week.”

“I hope that we don’t enter Phase 2, which is hybrid, or Phase 3, which is total remote.  Why do I hope that?  Because that means the metrics have changed.  But in case we do, we need to be prepared,” he says.

Evelyn Russo, curriculum director for the district says the plan, whether in school or not, focuses on social-emotional lessons with consideration of the well-being of all children.  “We have to teach students about the new protocols and procedures.  We will teach students how to work remotely if we do need to make that shift.  We know that student achievement is based on staff development,” she says.

Staff has spent the summer learning new tools and resources that they’ll need to use in today’s changed world.  “We are going to rely on MobileMind, which has learning paths and micro-courses that teach in minute-long videos and then a task which a teacher engages in and submits for feedback,” Russo explains. “They’re really internalizing the learning by actually doing it and then getting feedback. It will allow teachers to increase their knowledge at whatever level they are.  We needed teachers to become familiar with all of our distance learning tools and digital resources.”

Want to see how MobileMind can assist with your phased return to school? Simply click here to book a call with one of our team.

MobileMind in the NEWS: Electronic Education Report

Pandemic Highlights Connectivity and Preparedness

July 10, 2020: Volume 27, Number 14

The below is an exerpt from July 10, 2020: Volume 27, Number 14 of the Electronic Education Report.

Importance of PD

Tyce Miller, CEO at the personalized virtual professional development provider MobileMind (Atlanta), said many schools were not prepared for a distance learning environment because their teachers were not up to speed on how to leverage technology to teach remotely. The teachers need connection, equipment and the ability to use it effectively.

It is not just students who will need distance learning, according to Miller, teachers also will need anytime, anywhere professional learning assistance. Schools will need to be thoughtful and intentional with the goals they set for teachers, so they are not overwhelmed. Miller said teachers need to learn more than how to use a tool, they need to learn why the tool is necessary to how they instruct students.

Schools were thrust into survival mode when the pandemic hit, according to Miller, going into the new school year they need to advance to effective collaboration that engages students.

Noting any situation has a silver lining, Miller said what educators have experienced could propel them to the next level as they will not be able to go back to what they did before. For example, teachers who declined to use Google Classroom may now find it necessary. Leadership and culture will give some districts the edge; when the instructional departments and the IT departments are aligned, the results will be positive, Miller said.

The NEW MobileMind!

MobileMind is thrilled to announce the official launch of our new and improved personalized professional learning hub!  From distance learning to Google certifications, we have schools covered with the simplest and most effective professional learning solution for leaders, teachers, and staff!  We’ve already received some amazing feedback from those who are already learning in the new version of our platform, and we are excited to show you some highlights! 

With new streamlined onboarding upon logging in for the first time, learners tell us a little about themselves so we can point them in the right direction. 

We suggest a learning path to get our educators started, but learners are always welcome to explore on their own.

Another fresh feature is the personalized dashboard page, tailored for each learner!  The widgets on this page may change daily based on a learner’s achievements, progress, and feedback.  In addition, the dashboard provides learners with announcements from us or their leaders and updates from Google.  Learners can even submit a support ticket right form their dashboard, and our educator support team is waiting to help them as they progress through their micro-courses!

Our new filtering features make it easier than ever for learners to find what they are looking for.  From the Learn tab, educators can now search by Learning Paths, such as Distance Learning, Google Certification Level 1, or Special Education.  

Learners now have an at-a-glance view of which micro-courses must be completed in order to earn desired badges, which demonstrate competency of a particular skill or set of skills.

In the In Progress tab, courses are now separated by courses learners have begun, which courses need review, and which courses have been submitted and are awaiting feedback.

The Achievements tab displays all micro-courses completed, all badges earned, and all completed Learning Paths.

Learners will still see the challenge window appear when they launch a challenge, which contains the video and challenge instructions.  This box still follows learners as they complete their challenge, so the video and instructions are always at their fingertips.

After submitting a challenge, learners will even see a few suggestions for relevant courses so they can hop right into another micro-course to continue their learning!

Finally, leaders still have visibility into learner progress as educators engage with the MobileMind micro-courses.

We would love to give you a live tour of our platform and answer any questions you may have about our personalized learning solution.  Want to learn more?  Click here to schedule a call!

What School Leaders need to know about Distance Learning

Distance Learning is becoming the new normal. As schools and districts learn to adapt, we would love to share a few things school leaders want to know about transitioning to a distance learning model.  Below we’ve shared some highlights regarding what we know about how to successfully implement a distance learning or blended model.  In addition, we’ve included some things you might wish to avoid as you roll out your virtual or blended learning initiatives.

Do
✔️ Communicate clear and strategic professional learning goals and expectations to teachers, leaders, and staff

Don’t
❌ Leave it to teachers, leaders, and staff to wonder what it is they should be doing - or the "why?" behind it 

✔️ Meet educators and staff where they are, and create reasonable timelines to demonstrate competency and growth 

❌ Overwhelm teachers by trying to "boil the ocean" - or by expecting instant proficiency for all learners

✔️ Encourage educators and staff to personalize their learning in our platform when possible

❌ Require all teachers/staff to complete the same exact courses or learning pathways from start to finish

✔️ Reassure teachers and staff that we will all work through this challenging time together, and that imperfection is acceptable

❌ Allow the stress of our current climate to set a tone grounded in urgency, anxiety, and perfectionism

✔️ Consider incentivizing your top learners to share with and support others through this journey

❌ Immediately penalize those who aren't quite "getting it" without first offering support

Distance learning isn’t a prescribed formula, but we hope our recommendations help you get started on the right foot as we prepare our educators for a unique and potentially unpredictable 2020-2021 school year.

Click here to find our Distance Learning Resources for Google.

Distance Learning Essentials: Google Slides

What is Google Slides?

With Google Slides, schools have the capability to create and present wherever they are - and from any device. This web-based tool is integrated into your Google Drive and can be located when you select a new file, along with Google Docs and Forms. Slides is a great way to enhance standard-looking presentations - minus the convoluted process. Whether you’re new to Slides or setting up online presentations from scratch, you can choose from a vast array of themes and fonts, then embed videos and animations with ease. 

Like many tools in G Suite for Education, Google Slides is a highly-collaborative application. As long as you have an internet connection, Slides can be accessed from a remote location - ideal for carrying out virtual team meetings and lessons for training, demonstration and revision purposes via a Google Hangouts Meet session.

Benefits for Teachers

  • Save time by choosing from a wide range of presentation themes and templates
  • Proficiently format slides, change text, import images or videos and more 
  • Browse a variety of themes designed for use by schools - from notepad and blackboard to modern, science and technology - with fun and eye-catching graphics! 
  • Create and edit Slides from your smartphone, tablet or desktop
  • Ability to view Slides with both online and offline access
  • Edits are made in real-time and changes are auto-saved, so you’ll always operate from the most current version of Slides
  • Track previous versions of your presentation using the Revision History feature
  • Compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, allowing you to open, edit, save and convert to Google Slides 
  • Securely share Slides by email or as a Google Drive link, with controlled access to view, edit or comment
  • Chat with students or colleagues directly or post comments to their attention
  • Publish online using a secure link or embed Slides into your school’s website or blog

Google Slides for Distance Learning

Google Slides is a practical and creative solution to ramping up the engagements and collaboration levels. Teachers can create a slide deck to support video lessons they’re presenting via Google Hangouts Meet or assignments using Google Docs. In turn, students can produce their own Google Slides to accompany virtual presentations to their teacher or to small groups and entire classes online. Not only is this a more engaging style of teaching, it will stimulate your students’ creativity and communication skills.

Why not go even further to create interactive adventure stories and digital books for each subject? Another great idea is to get students involved in ongoing assignments, such as producing interactive journals and portfolios. With Google Slides, teachers can check on their students’ progress at regular intervals with the view and comment features. Your virtual class’ development during any distance learning period can also be shared by keeping department heads and parents informed with recurring presentation reports. 

We’re Here to Help You...

At MobileMind, we’re committed to supporting schools for short- and long-term distance learning. We understand it’s a difficult adjustment period - which is why we’re here to help. Take a look at our tips and advice on how practical and easy-to-use online applications, like Google Slides, will benefit your school.

Find out more about Distance Learning tools from Google

Click here to visit the MobileMind Live page

Distance Learning Essentials: Google Hangouts Meet

What is Google Hangouts Meet?

Google Hangouts Meet, or just Meet, gives educators face-to-face time with their students - the best alternative to teaching from a physical classroom. With Hangouts Meet, schools can maintain the flow of communication - between students, parents, guardians and fellow faculty members - across a secure platform. You may automatically associate video conferencing with the corporate sector, however; Google Hangouts Meet is an essential tool for educators when it comes to distance learning.  Individual, small groups or classes (up to 250 participants until September 30, 2020 for G Suite customers). 

Now, schools can broadcast live lessons amongst small groups or classes (up to 250 participants for free), run 1:1 or board meetings, as well as schedule calls with the aid of Google Calendar. That’s not all - schools can record training and instructional videos for offline access too. 

Benefits for Teachers

  • Simple to set-up regular classes via the Hangouts Meet, through a Calendar invite, or by using the Meet link within each Google Classroom
  • More than one way to add participants, either by video link or phone, with dedicated numbers and a unique PIN to keep the conversation secure
  • Ability to share your screen during lessons and to visually walk students through any issues during individual or small group sessions
  • Present Google Slides that can be shared as supplemental learning resources
  • Microphones and chat features allow students to actively participate 
  • Teachers can pre-record sessions and share these for future offline viewing - ideal for internet issues and revision purposes
  • Use Hangouts Meet to keep parents and guardians informed about their children’s progress, issues or concerns
  • Consider using Digital Training for Students - with free video lessons to increase their knowledge about using Google eLearning platforms
  • Encourage your class to become an online community by teaching them how to start a Hangouts Meet call so they can virtually collaborate on assignments in pairs or groups (this feature has to be turned on by your Google Administrator for your district)

Google Hangouts Meet for Distance Learning

To tackle the feeling of isolation and nurture a sense of community, Google Hangouts Meet allows teachers to see, listen and speak to their students, which effectively minimizes the distance in distance learning. Virtual lessons, demonstrations and catch-ups can be scheduled or conducted at your convenience, and sustain a free-flowing channel of communication. This will improve the level of engagement and understanding and help teachers recognize any gaps in learning - with real-time chats, Q&As and group interactions.

The major benefits for distance learning are the offline opportunities for schools. Hangouts Meet allows teachers to pre-record or share recorded sessions to avoid internet connectivity issues disrupting distance learning (Google Docs, Sheets and Slides can be accessed this way too - in offline mode). If students are unable to attend virtual classes, these recordings can be saved and watched at a later date. Simply organize these in clearly color-coded folders in your Google Drive, then send shareable links to view the videos via Google Classroom, email or your school website.

Google Hangouts Meet even benefits parents, guardians and caregivers who have been thrust into the interim teacher role - they will need a bit of support from schools too. 

We’re Here to Help You...

At MobileMind, we’re committed to supporting schools for short- and long-term distance learning. We understand it’s a difficult adjustment period - which is why we’re here to help. Take a look at our tips and advice on how practical and easy-to-use online applications, like Google Hangouts Meet, will benefit your school.

Find out more about Distance Learning tools from Google

Click here to visit the MobileMind Live page

Distance Learning Essentials: Google Forms

What is Google Forms?

Google Forms is a web-based app that schools can use to create forms for their own data collection needs. Teachers can use Forms for quizzes, insightful surveys and record online registrations for students who participate in video lessons via Google Hangouts Meet. Forms can be shared via a link, copied and pasted into an email or embedded in a page on your school’s website, like a blog or added to an announcement or assignment in Google Classroom.

It’s a simple tool to create forms, then analyze, summarize and report on the results you collect with charts and graphs as visual aids. Not only is Google Forms free - it doesn’t require any special or additional software to operate. All you need is a Google account - or access to your school’s G Suite for Education - then approximately 10 minutes to complete it and share with your class.

Benefits for Teachers

  • Teachers can create quizzes or surveys with both open-ended and closed-ended questions that are auto graded and give you options for when to release the grade to the students
  • Forms can include drop-down menus, check boxes, multiple choice, checklists, ratings and text box options to gather your answers
  • Get feedback about lessons and assignments from students, plus parents, guardians and caregivers
  • Easy-to-use interface so teachers can quickly create and organize forms with ‘drag-and-drop’ functionality
  • Add images to questions and response choices 
  • Add videos to questions
  • Customize your Forms with different colors and animated header options to make them more engaging and promote creativity! Plus, you can choose from 20 pre-set designs to add background images or upload your own
  • All the data collected will be saved and easy analyzed as Google Forms is integrated with spreadsheets
  • Teachers can preview the form to see how it will look to your recipients
  • You can add unlimited questions and receive unlimited answers at no extra cost

Google Forms for Distance Learning

Google Forms help you to continue meeting curriculum requirements for students - even in a distance learning environment. That’s great news for teachers who may see learn-from-home scenarios as a struggle to overcome due to an increase in distractions, upsetting typical routines and cope with short- to long-term change. Another significant change is that a physical presence to supervise and nurture your young learners has been transferred to parents and guardians. That’s why Google Forms is a reliable tool to engage, interact and keep virtual discussions going. You can release the scores to the students right away to give them and the parents immediate feedback.

Schools can create worksheets and customize their forms to reach out and ask meaningful research questions to a select group of students, parents or teachers and analyze the data to draw unbiased conclusions from - using graphs, data tables and pivot charts. Quizzes, tests and ‘midweek check-ins’ are ideal ways to assess levels of understanding from your distance learning lessons. Schools can also administer surveys to both students and parents with the aim to gain valuable insights so they can improve home learning techniques.

To manage your surveys easily from a remote location, teachers can add limits, like preventing participants from skipping any questions, adding a maximum character count to text fields, including a topmost number of checklist options to select, use response validation, or ggo to section based on answer features, etc. This will also improve the quality of your data. 

When they’re ready. Google Forms are easy to share with links via Google Drive, email or published on web pages for the parental community to see too.

We’re Here to Help You...

At MobileMind, we’re committed to supporting schools for short- and long-term distance learning. We understand it’s a difficult adjustment period - which is why we’re here to help. Take a look at our tips and advice on how practical and easy-to-use online applications, like Google Forms, will benefit your school.

Find out more about Distance Learning tools from Google 

Click here to visit the MobileMind Live page 

Distance Learning Essentials: Google Drive

What is Google Drive?

Google Drive is a cloud-based storage service that enables you to store and access files online. Any documents, photos, videos, presentations, etc you save will be synced to any device you access it from, including smartphones and tablets. Google Drive is also fully integrated with other useful distance learning tools in G Suite for Education, such as Google Docs, Slides, Forms, Gmail, Drawings, etc - as well as other platforms and online services like YouTube, Google Analytics and Google+.

It’s also FREE - and easy to start using while learning from home. You just need an existing Gmail account or recommend setting one up to parents and guardians for students who don’t already have one.

Benefits for Teachers

  • Great backup solution: store lesson plans and student assignments, plus photos and videos which won’t become corrupted over time like a USB device
  • Allows you to send large files: Teachers can send learning resources - from large documents to lengthy video files - to students or co-teachers via Gmail
  • Handy search options: You can quickly locate files (by owner) using the built-in keyword search feature or scan documents using the optical character recognition tool to find specific data sent by other users, such as students, colleagues, or parents
  • Share files easily: Teachers can share files and folders by sending a link to their students to access from their free Google Drive - ideal for creating assignments, work, and providing feedback 
  • Open and edit various files: If you’re experiencing difficulty opening documents or video files, Google Drive is compatible with most file types, including PDF, PowerPoint presentations, JPEGs, Word docs, WMV, MP4 and more

Did we mention how incredible Google Drive is as a storage solution for schools? With each Google Account, you get 1-TB of storage - which is included for free too. Because of the ample storage space, you can view images at full resolution, without the need to be compressed! This means your students benefit from the same number of gigabytes, with access to Google Drive (and other G Suite tools) when they use their student S Suite Gmail account.

Google Drive for Distance Learning

Google Drive is a great collaborative home learning tool because it’s so simple and straightforward to use. Teachers and students can quickly share files as well as create brand-new files- all with the ability to insert images, tables, links, and more! Google Drive is ideal for making learning and revision remotely interactive - and connecting with parents or guardians to show them their distance learning progress.

With Google Drive, you can:

  • Create Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, and even Sites to be used as part of virtual lessons or distance learning reports
  • Save and share docs and Gmail attachments in one safe place, conveniently organizing your files into color-coded folders and sub-folder categories
  • Access from your smartphone or tablet, which allows you to screenshot images of your documents, which can be converted into PDF format
  • Use the large amount of storage to keep a record/ archive of files during the distance learning period for completed assignments, email attachments for revision - plus it’s great to back up your photos and videos

We’re Here to Help You...

At MobileMind, we’re committed to supporting schools for short- and long-term distance learning. We understand it’s a difficult adjustment period, which is why we’re here to help. Take a look at our tips and advice on how practical and easy-to-use online applications, like Google Drive, will benefit your school.

Find out more about Distance Learning tools from Google 

Click here to visit the MobileMind Live page

Distance Learning Essentials: Google Docs

What is Google Docs?

Google Docs is a free web-based service which allows schools to collaborate with their students from a remote location - in real time! This versatile document authoring tool can be located within your Google Drive, simply by clicking create and choose Docs. It also brings the processed file to life with inventive tools to edit and style the assignments, tasks, and activities you create for your distance learning class. How? Choose from a variety of different fonts, insert images, drawings, add tables, and add links as well.

Google Docs is a paper-free formatting tool included in the G Suite for Education, enabling school work to be completed from home.

Benefits for Teachers

  • Multiple users can edit a document at the same time and view changes instantly
  • Teachers can create text documents and share with their peers or teachers
  • Access to view, edit, or comment on documents can be given to selected students, fellow teachers, or department heads to maintain secure sharing
  • Different access modes make it easy for teachers to grade work, provide feedback, or check progress and avoid any unauthorized changes
  • Schools can share documents with up to 200 people and collaborate with up to 50users in real-time - ideal to host virtual classes or participate in online staff meetings
  • If you need to share with more than 200 people, consider embedding it in a website or make the file public.
  • You can send shareable links for assignments, documents, and learning resources created in Google Docs instead of emailing them as an attachment
  • Documents can also be shared with contacts who don’t have a Google account, which is useful when communicating with parents or guardians regarding progress reports
  • Google Docs regularly auto-saves (everytime a change is made to the document) to prevent any loss of work
  • Teachers can install a variety of Add-ons, like highlighter tools, plagiarism search apps, word cloud generators and more
  • Schools can upload their own documents to Google Docs, directly from their desktop and convert them to the Google editing format if needed

Google Docs for Distance Learning

Preparing lessons and creating assignments with Google Docs helps teachers to save time with a stress-free platform that is easily adaptable for distance learning purposes. This can be done by creating new documents (with clear directions and instructions for students to follow) or uploading existing files you have on your computer. In addition to the bank of Add-ons you can install, there are templates for reports, agendas, meeting minutes and other types of documents you can choose from - to shake up the formatting styles without it getting too demanding and complicated. 

To make tasks even more engaging for a learn-from-home environment, teachers can turn their docs into ‘hyperdocs’, with links to Google Forms and videos, as well as insert tables or charts to organize the information and tasks more easily. Rest assured, everything can be shared via Google Classroom and Drive - or via email, school website and/or your LMS.

We’re Here to Help You...

At MobileMind, we’re committed to supporting schools for short and long-term distance learning. We understand it’s a difficult adjustment period, which is why we’re here to help. Take a look at our tips and advice on how practical and easy-to-use online applications, like Google Docs, will benefit your school.

Find out more about Distance Learning tools from Google

Click here to visit the MobileMind Live page

Distance Learning Essentials: Google Classroom

What is Google Classroom?

After closely collaborating with the education sector, Google created the free Classroom productivity tool. Bringing together email, documents and storage, teachers benefit from a streamlined, easy-to-use platform which enables them to manage coursework, organize classes and improve communication with their students. 

With Google Classroom, creating classes, assigning activities, grading and providing feedback couldn’t be easier - everything is in one place! This ultimately saves teachers time so they can focus their attention on how to use Google Classroom as a simple solution for their distance learning needs.

Benefits for Teachers

  • 24/7 access via web or Android and iOS Google Classroom apps
  • View, comment and edit students’ work in real-time via the Google Docs grading tool
  • Assign tasks and grade coursework for individuals and entire class securely
  • Create customized grading categories and view class grades in the Grades page 
  • Engage students in virtual discussions and post announcements on the Stream page
  • Share links, videos and images using the Share to Classroom extension in one click
  • Easily copy and reuse previous assignments or topics and post to new classes
  • Organize distance learning materials and resources within the Classwork page
  • Manage parents, guardians, carers, students, and teachers on the People page
  • Invite parental community to receive email summaries of class work and performance
  • Set fun activities, like quizzes or Digital Breakouts to avoid distractions in the home
  • If students are on the district network on school chromebooks you can use the locked mode feature

Google Classroom for Distance Learning

All these benefits for teachers can exist beyond the classroom in a distance learning scenario. With Google Classroom, schools can make the remote teaching transition as smooth as possible and continue to run classes with limited disruption. Switching to a distance learning environment at home can be distracting! However, the plethora of features combined with real-time communication enables teachers to create regular tasks (just as they would do in a physical classroom) and assess the progress of their class - maintaining meaningful connection. 

To get started, teachers can easily set up their free Google Classroom using their school G Suite account and add students, who can join your virtual class using a unique code - to keep it safe and secure. For multiple classes, teachers have the option to save time by sharing existing posts, announcements, assignments, activities and questions with all their classes at one time. The Archive Class feature comes in handy for reusing any relevant material. 

When it comes to distance learning, the challenge is to hold your students’ attention to prevent gaps in education. Teachers can keep up the level of engagement by enriching their content - whether it’s creating a new assignment or reusing an existing one. To do this, you can easily add YouTube videos, Google Forms quizzes or surveys, worksheets PDFs and other files or docs from Google Drive. Mix it up and make assignments fun and varied - not repetitive and reach all types of learners. With the Google Classroom mobile app, teachers and students can highlight, annotate and draw on documents too - including PDFs. 

As well as live teaching through your Classroom Meet link, you can efficiently prepare online classes in advance. Draft announcements and tasks, then schedule them to be posted at a set time. All tasks are completely customizable, so due dates and grade categories can be included. After tasks and assignments are complete, schools can monitor how well their virtual classes are performing with quick exit-tickets and polling through the Question feature and the grading options like rubrics and originality reports - using the feedback to learn from and optimize lessons for the future.  

Did you know Google Classroom allows teachers to teach together too? That’s right - schools can interact with fellow faculty members during a distance learning class - with up to 20 additional instructors. This way - schools are kept in the loop with each other for peer-to-peer support.

We’re Here to Help You...

At MobileMind, we’re committed to supporting schools for short- and long-term distance learning. We understand it’s a difficult adjustment period - which is why we’re here to help. Take a look at our tips and advice on how practical and easy-to-use online applications, like Google Classroom, will benefit your school.

Find out more about Distance Learning tools from Google

Click here to visit the MobileMind Live page

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