Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Not a Broadcast but a TouchCast

One of areas I felt I could grow the most as a professional was my ability and effort in communicating with parents. In the past, looking up phone numbers and contacting home was usually more work than it was worth. I say this because all too often, I would call and get an answering machine never knowing if the message was received or deleted. Over time, Infinite Campus (IC) was introduced in my school district and this tool greatly increased my communication with parents. I found IC to be a useful tool, but again, it limited what I was actually able to communicate to parents to nothing more than a basic group email and maybe an attachment.

Last school year I was given an iPad and I began to explore and find useful apps in my professional life. What I found and began to implement was an app called TouchCast. TouchCast is an iPad app full of functional, useful tools to help broadcast information, ideas, surveys, documents and much more. As a presenter, you are able to add sound effects, incorporate live news and sports feeds, change the lighting, use a whiteboard and my favorite, type out your ideas into the teleprompter to use during your TouchCast, just like the pros.

Some of the ways I have used TouchCast so far include:

1. An introduction to TouchCast and ways that teachers could leverage this tool:

2. I flipped parent/teacher conferences by sending out this TouchCast a few days before conferences covering the basic parts of my classroom leaving more time to discuss each student and their performance in class.
Regular U.S. History http://www.touchcast.com/bosch/The-Latest-on-US-History/
A.P. U.S. History  http://www.touchcast.com/bosch/The-Latest-on-AP-US/

3. I participate in a Twitter book discussion on the third Tuesday of each month related to the book Flipping 2.0 Practical Strategies for Flipping your Class, of which I wrote a chapter. I was asked to make a brief video of some sort introducing my chapter. I used TouchCast to make this brief video.

In my classes, I encourage students to use technology to share with the other classes and the world what they have learned (See three part blog below). I will introduce them to TouchCast this year and show them a few projects as exemplars. In my A.P. class I am thinking of a new project where students will use TouchCast to present a news story from any time period they choose. One example could be: students dress in Colonial Era clothes and present a news broadcast of the Boston Massacre or Boston Tea Party.

If you have an iPad, look into TouchCast and experiment with ways in which you and your students could incorporate this great technology into your course.