Subscribe to Edtech Elixirs! Enter your email address below.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

CheckThis

Note: as of 5/31/17 and after five years online, CheckThis has now gone dark. I will keep this entry online only for archiving purposes.  

As our district begins to explore deeper ways for students to apply their knowledge and demonstrate understanding (such as exhibitions and capstone projects), there is a greater need for presentation tools besides Google Slides and MS PowerPoints.  One of the newest ones I've discovered is CheckThis.  They use the term "social poster" to describe their published product, but it's really just a simple website creator.  It's free, extremely easy even for younger users, and students/teachers can log in with their Google account (Twitter and Facebook are also options) to quickly register on the site.

How does it work?   You can access CheckThis via a web tool or an iOS app.  Once you register your account and create your post, you can start by editing the title, subtitle and beginning text.   By hitting the green "plus" button, you can add more multimedia: text, images (uploaded from your computer or URLs from the web), video (YouTube and Vimeo URLs), website links (Google Maps, online sound files [SoundCloud, BandCamp], tweets, or any other site URL), and built-in CheckThis apps such as a poll.



When you are ready, you can publish your "social poster" and share the URL via Twitter and other social media.  One of the interesting functions of CheckThis is that not only can you see how many views the social poster receives, but you can also receive "likes" and comments.

I found this helpful video of a user making a social poster.  I like it because it effectively demonstrates how easy it is to click and add media:



It should be noted that CheckThis will allow you to publish a social poster without logging in, but there are many benefits to creating an account, not least of which is the problem of students putting work into publishing without an account and later not being able to find the URL to edit it further or share.


An example social poster I made about "Ideas for Nearpod" is linked here.

Note the embedded YouTube video at the top, the website linked at the bottom, and the commentary column on the right side.


How could you use it?   As I already mentioned, CheckThis could be a basic website page creation tool to go with digital presentations, especially for projects that wouldn't need the complexity of options that something like Google Sites or Weebly might offer.  It could also be a way of creating online multimedia personal notes, since you could easily switch from text to pertinent links, images and videos.  Lastly, the commenting feature might create an opportunity to have digital discourse, as students give each other feedback and perhaps have a running dialogue.

Downsides?  When I first tried CheckThis and created the social poster linked above, you had another option for creating an account by using an email and password.  Recently, however, they removed that option, which leaves my account in limbo because I can no longer log in via my email.  That's a personal problem, but I had to share, as I have tweeted CheckThis and not heard yet how to successfully merge my "email" account with another option.  Of course, if you are brand new to CheckThis, you won't have this issue.

It should be noted that comments cannot be turned off.  Since these social posters are completely public and cannot be moderated, monitoring of commentary (especially with younger students) may be a necessary burden for the teacher.

Do you already use CheckThis or see other ways it could be utilized?  Please share in the Comments below!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Free Tickets for Edtech Share Fair 2017!

Our third annual Edtech Share Fair is fast approaching!  Mark your calendar now for March 22, 2017, from 4:15 to 5:45 on the Southside Elementary campus.  Tickets are FREE but you do need to order them via our Eventbrite page.  We enthusiastically welcome educators outside of the Shelby school district to come.  In fact, we also welcome parents and other community members to see the innovative tools that students are integrating into their learning.

We may also have some Facebook postings on the Share Fair courtesy of my new Edtech Elixirs Facebook page.  (Hint, hint.  Follow and Like, my FB Friends.  End of hinting.)

Since our first Share Fair in 2015, the event has steadily grown and expanded. We have a few highlights to celebrate this year:
  • We have our first student-led panel discussing a web-based math learning tool, facilitated by East Middle School's Rachel Kinsey.
  • We have two library media specialists presenting!  (We had one present in 2015 and none last year.)
Already a third of the tickets are gone, so hurry and reserve yours today!

Here is our Smore flyer for the event:


And here is a widget where you can order the tickets directly:



Be sure to tweet and let others know you are coming by using the hashtag #SCShareFair!