StackUp: Get professional development credit for Twitter edchats

StackUp: Get credit for everything you read and learn online

What it is: StackUp is a really neat new web app that automatically scores online reading and learning. As you work online, StackUp captures data through the free web app and plugin which can be used on Mac and Windows (iOS and Android coming soon). When active, StackUp captures and attributes a score time that is spent anywhere online. It then categorizes it into 60 different subject areas including: news, finance, engineering, fashion, technology, sports, and online classes. StackUp is a metric that can offer insight into the commitment and study of a certain field.

How to integrate StackUp into the classroom: In the increasing digital landscape of the world (and classrooms) it is important to offer the opportunity for students to research and direct their own learning. StackUp offers students a way to share the commitment of learning with teachers and other stake holders. So often, we think about time spent online as “wasted” because, let’s face it, there can be lots of moments of wasted time online. But, the Internet is also a rich landscape for learning and continued learning in areas of passion. StackUp is a way for students to offer proof of this time spent learning so that teachers can appreciate and offer credit for that learning. Often classrooms have certain parameters and reading expectations for students. What if instead, we offered kids the ability to spend time researching, reading, and exploring things that they are passionate about…and then offer credit for it! StackUp could be the catalyst for more independent learning opportunities and studies within areas of passion. One of the things that I find holds teachers back from allowing this type of reading, is the inability to measure whether a student has really spent time on task.

I’ve often lamented about how I wish that the time spent in online education chats and reading educational blogs, articles, and whitepapers counted as professional development and credit hours. Seriously, I rack up the hours and it is always time well spent. As an administrator, I would happily accept a StackUp record of the time that my teachers engage in online material and offer credit and professional development hours for that time. I’ve gotten more out of the connections, chats, and learning that I’ve done with all of you online, than most of the required professional development. This could be transformational for helping tell the story of the learning that we do independently.

Imagine “Stacking” up the learning from a young age in areas of passion, and continue throughout their lifetime giving students another way to distinguish themselves. Tools like StackUp could start to change the landscape of learning and how we decide who the “experts” are. Hint: it isn’t always the person with the most letters behind their name.

Tips: Worried that one of your students might be able to cheat the system and simply open a webpage and walk away? No need to worry! StackUp is built on a patent-pending software system that can detect the difference between a student who just opens a webpage versus the student who is actually engaged.

StackUp doesn’t always have to run in the background and record every single move you or your students make online, it allows users to turn it on or off at any time and delete time spent on a website or in any category…you know, for those of us who spend an embarrassing amount of time on Pinterest. 🙂


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ChitChat Educational Network

ChitChat Educational Network seems to have been shut down.  If anyone is aware of what happened to them or where they moved to, please leave a comment.  What a bummer!

What it is: ChitChat Educational Network is knocking my socks off right now! I cannot believe that such a comprehensive COOL site is completely free! This one is definitely a must see! ChitChat is “an educational network where teachers can share real course content, make free class pages, and develop interactive online assignments.” But thats not all…ChitChat also provides teachers and students with tools such as flash cards. Teachers can create flash cards for students to study with and automatically receive data on each student in the class. ChitChat also offers a place for students to submit assignments online. This is classroom 2.0 on steroids! After students have submitted an assignment, teachers can provide feedback right in the assignment along with the grade. ChitChat provides a secure “drop box” for teachers to collect electronic documents. Only the teacher and student who submitted the assignment have access to it.

How to integrate ChitChat into the classroom: ChitChat makes it easy to connect with your students and continue learning outside of your classroom. Students can learn, submit assignments, collaborate, and see scores online. ChitChat will also be well used as a place to share content with colleagues. Use as a professional development community within your school or to share lessons with teammates.

Tips: Blended Learning is a new buzzword you should know. A Blended Learning Environment mixes traditional classroom instruction with online coursework. ChitChat is the perfect tool to use for Blended Learning.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using ChitChat in your classroom.