edshelf

edshelf Weekly - Time-Saving Tools

Time is a precious resource. Think of how much time is wasted everyday on mundane yet important tasks. Fortunately, technology can help you recapture some of that time. Or at least speed up those tasks. Here are some notable time-savers.

  • Permission Click - Send your first digital permission slip home to parents in as little as 15 minutes! Promo code EDSHELF gets you 2 bonus months! KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • Class Charts - Instantly create seating charts based on student behaviors, performance, and other factors.
  • GradeCam - Quickly grade multiple choice assessments using a document camera or webcam, like Scantron but easier.
  • Common Core Checklists - If you use Common Core, here are printable checklists to help you track your instruction.
  • FaceTime - This video conferencing app comes with all Apple devices by default and often has better connection quality than Skype.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by educators on edshelf.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


Congratulations to the Winner of an Apple iPhone 6!

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I would like to give a big congratulations to ICT facilitator and edtech enthusiast Steph Forrest, winner of a brand new Apple iPhone 6! I hope you are able to make good use of this new technology as you continue supporting your teachers and staff.

And thank you again everyone for taking the time to help me better understand the brilliant and talented people of the edtech community. Thank you so much!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


Permission Slips Graduate From Backpack to Inbox

Guest article by Chris Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of Permission Click

School events like field trips, hot lunch days, and fundraising campaigns are synonymous with #fun, plus an exclamation point and a few emoticons. But if you ask teachers about the process of organizing one, they might disagree. Probably because like any event, there is a lot of time and responsibility involved with keeping it all organized, documented, and stored. In most schools teachers are left to fend for themselves to collect permission, payments, and information from parents the old fashioned way.. on paper!

Stop us if this story sounds all too familiar!  It’s 7pm on a Thursday night and Sonja, a Phys. Ed teacher for over 17 years has just finished dinner with her husband Scott and their daughter Kiri. Sonja’s a dedicated mother and she loves her job teaching kids. She helps students make a habit of living a healthy lifestyle. A big part of this means coming up with fun ways to educate her students and promote healthy living, but when 7pm rolls around, she knows the next few hours at home will be spent organizing field trips and a rather large stack of permission slips, cheques, and cash she has received and comparing each to the 7 class lists she has. Time she’d much rather spend tucking in her adorable daughter! 

Matching up the permission slip, to the payment, to the student list, to the event is not exactly why most people signed up to be an educator.  Add in the task of transporting all these critical pieces to and from school and chasing parents down for items not yet returned and the joy of teaching can quickly be lost in event organizing.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a night just like this one is when Sonja and her husband had the idea to build Permission Click!  Sonja now uses Permission Click and has totally reclaimed control of her evenings, and now fully looks forward to events with her students once again.

So how exactly does Permission Click work to help Sonja collect permission and payments from parents?

Sonja has an upcoming event for her Phys Ed class where they will be traveling offsite to a local indoor trampoline facility.  There is an associated cost for the students attending of $25.  Sonja needs to collect permission from parents for their child to attend, collect the fee, and in this case, she also needs to know if any parents can drive their child or any additional children in order to book the correct size bus with her district.

In less than 5 minutes Sonja will have this event built and sent out to parents via Permission Click!  Here’s the steps Sonja will cruise through to make it happen:

  1. Log in to PermissionClick.com

  2. Upload her existing permission slip and event information in PDF format (or use our handy drag and drop builder to create one on the fly!)

    • She can optionally add links/pictures/files with additional information (think maps to the venue for parent drivers, supply lists, link to the venue website, etc)

  3. She will then use our drag and drop builder to collect information back from the parents.  She can add dropdown answers, checkboxes, text boxes etc.  In this case, she’ll ask parents if they can drive, and if so, how many students can they take in addition to their own.

  4. Sonja will add a paid ticket for $25 to collect the fees digitally with Permission Click.

  5. After the event is approved by her administrators, she can send out the link to the event to parents.  Parents can open on any device, anywhere, anytime!  No special apps to download.

  6. Sonja can now sit back and watch the responses roll in.  It’s not out of the ordinary to collect over 75% of the responses back within 24hrs.  Parents who pay online will receive a receipt automatically emailed to them.

Sonja can check out the event dashboard anytime to see which kids have approval, who’s paid, and the answers to her questions asked of the parents (in this case how many parent drivers).  She can print out or download to XLS a variety of reports to help manage the information as needed and on demand.  Funds collected from parents move straight to the school’s bank account, which means Sonja no longer has to worry about carrying around envelopes of cash and cheques.  Let’s not forget that parents absolutely love it.

In the end, Permission Click is a way to free up time for everyone to focus on the more important stuff… like having #fun! :P :D

Get going, with Permission Click!

Photo by wwworks.


edshelf Weekly - Educational Mac Apps

A lot of attention is given to Apple’s mobile devices (i.e. iPads and iPhones), though many schools employ Macs as well. Whether they are in a computer lab, laptop cart, or classroom, here are some notable apps to supplement your Macs.

  • Curio - Save 20% off this popular note-taking and mind mapping app for the Mac with EDSHELF coupon code (expires 10/31/2014). KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • LastPass - Always forgetting your passwords? This popular service will autofill your password on all web browsers.
  • Apple Configurator - Deploying a large number of iPads and iPhones? Manage all of those configurations with this Mac app.
  • Flame Painter - Looking for a simple alternative to Photoshop? Create neat effects with the various brushes in this painting program.
  • Reeder 2 - Want a way to aggregate all the blogs you read? Combine the feeds from those blogs into this single Mac app.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf

P. S. “Designed by and for educators”, Lea(R)n helps educators, schools, and districts make informed, data-driven decisions about the best education technologies to use in the classroom. Lea(R)n’s LearnTrials platform runs pilot programs that measure five types of data, including teacher “real use” feedback and public information, to create objective report cards on classroom learning tools.


Only 2 more days left for a chance to win an iPhone 6! →


edshelf Weekly - Parent/Teacher Collaboration Tools

Students with parents who are up-to-date on their child(ren)’s lives tend to perform better in school. Fortunately, technology offers a variety of ways that can save teachers time as well as keep parents engaged. Here are some notable tools used by teachers and parents.

  • Permission Click - Use promo code EDSHELF to get 2 free months added to your subscription (12 + 2 bonus months = 14 months) KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER
  • ParentSquare - Gives teachers a host of ways to collaborate with parents, like newsletters, calendars, fundraisers, and volunteer requests.
  • Kaymbu - Automatically shares classroom photos, notes, and other documents with parents for real-time updates.
  • Kidzloop - Helps parents meet other parents in their neighborhood for playdates, as well as share photos with relatives.
  • Kidfully - A new service that provides reviews and guides for local kids’ activities. Currently offered only in part of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by educators on edshelf.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf

P. S. Want to win an iPhone 6? Fill out this survey for a chance to win a brand new unlocked 16GB Apple iPhone 6 (a $649 value)! Feel free to forward this to colleagues so they can have a chance to win too.


Fill Out This edshelf Survey For a Chance to Win an iPhone 6!

To be able to build a good product, one must know the people who use it. Now that I have a second chance at edshelf (and thank you again for that), one of my priorities is knowing more about the smart and talented people who may need and are using a service like this.

This means I need your input. Please fill out this survey.

For your response and generous time, I will be giving away a brand new unlocked 16GB Apple iPhone 6 (a $649 value) to one lucky randomly-chosen winner! Woo hoo!

Thank you so much!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


edshelf Weekly - Tools for Creating Content

One of the most exciting abilities that technology can give educators and students is the ability to make stuff. Unlock a world of creativity and engagement with a computer program, interactive canvas, live presentation, bundle of content, or fun game.

  • Kodable - Teach programming in your school with a Kodable School Plan. Last chance to get 30% off using this link! KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • Drawp for Schools - Give your students a flexible virtual canvas for drawings, photos, sounds, and video with this mobile app.
  • Pear Deck - Use a Google Chromebook or Google Drive? This app allows you to create live, interactive presentations online.
  • Bundlr - Clip any kind of web content - like web pages, photos, videos, and tweets - into bundles that can be shared with colleagues.
  • Jeopardy Rocks - Tired of creating your own Jeopardy games from PowerPoint? Use this handy free online website instead.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


edshelf Weekly - Tools for Students

This issue of the edshelf Weekly newsletter is one that you can forward any student from middle school to college. With the dizzying number of student-focused web & mobile apps out there, here is a list of notable apps endorsed by teachers.

  • ClassOwl - Sign up here for free access to the simplest time management app to keep you on track! KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • NoteUtopia - Share, rate, and find class notes, handouts, study guides, and more in this free online community.
  • Trading Cards - Create versatile and visually-rich flashcards that can be printed or shared with others.
  • ClipUp - Track group projects or multimedia assignments with this app’s Pinterest & Evernote-esque features.
  • EasyBib - Construct a formatted bibliography for your papers automatically with this comprehensive website.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by educators on edshelf.

  • Start with these! - Curated by teaching & learning with technology instructional leader Julie Millan.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


edshelf Weekly - Tools for Makers

We are all makers, whether it’s a clay pot, apple pie, paper airplane, digital movie, personal essay, or computer program. Watch any toddler with a set of building blocks and you will see its earliest incarnation. Educators play an important role in fostering these skills. Here are a set of tools that will help you create an environment of makers.

  • Kodable - Teach programming in your school with a Kodable School Plan. Get 30% using this link. KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER!
  • DIY - Make everything from soap to leaf jewelry to sound-activated electronic signs in this student-friendly community.
  • CodeHS - Bring computer science to your high school students with video tutorials, code examples, and coding puzzles.
  • Booktrack Classroom - Add audio tracks to ebooks, like sound effects, music, or even spoken words to make the stories come to life.
  • GIF Brewery - Convert your video files into animated GIF images, which you can use on your blog or tweets.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.

  • MakerEd - Curated by technology activist Kim Wilkens.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

Want a fresh copy of the edshelf Weekly newsletter in your inbox too? Sign up with edshelf today!

- Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf


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