2011 Classroom Technology Blog Review: 31 Posts to Help K-12 Teachers use Technology and Software More Effectively

bigstock Children Studying On Computers 3916009 300x200 2011 Classroom Technology Blog Review: 31 Posts to Help K 12 Teachers use Technology and Software More EffectivelyHappy holidays to you and your family from blog.classroomteacher.ca. If you’re a teacher that lives around here (Ontario, Canada), then chances are you’ve just begun your two weeks of winter holiday: A chance to spend time with family, loved ones, and friends… And hopefully a chance to work on some classroom technology projects, that you just haven’t gotten around to during the school year. 2011 has been a productive year for this site: 31 posts written to help teachers get more out of their computers. Here are some of the things happening behind the scenes on this site:

A year in review: 31 posts to help K-12 teachers get more comfortable with the digital learning environment

What is Dragon NaturallySpeaking? Dragon NaturallySpeaking is voice recognition software that types down whatever you say. Some students (with learning disabilities) use it as assistive technology to help them get their ideas onto paper. (If you are a student or teacher, you may qualify for an educational discount, but you should check out these 10 things to know about the Dragon NaturallySpeaking Education version before buying.) More and more teachers are creating classroom websites to engage their students. iPads are great tools for the classroom. How to use cloud-based services in the classroom How teachers can become more efficient by using classroom technology or software.

Here are some of the things happening behind the scenes on this site:

I’m hoping to tweak the look, feel and brand of ClassroomTeacher.ca.
  • It’s been the same theme since the site first came online in May 2008 and it’s time to give this educational blog a little makeover to make it more user-friendly.
  • I’m in the process of trying to find a pretty WordPress theme that I can hang my hat on.
  • I’m in the market to buy some stock photography to add to the posts. Lets face it. A picture is worth a thousand words and words alone ain’t cutting it.
Sometime over the next two weeks, I’m hoping to move this site to a new web host.
  • I’m switching from BlueHost to a geo-hosting package with VPS.net.
  • BlueHost has been great, and over the past year alone, this site has made over $6,000 from affiliate links and Google ads. Yup, it’s possible to make money from a website hosted on a shared (cheap) web host plan like BlueHost, but it’s time to take the next step. BlueHost will slow down your website if you’re using up too many resources (CPU throttling) so if you’re trying to have a whole class of students work on their class blog at the same time, you’re likely to hear a bunch of complaints from your students about how slow your site is because BlueHost is intentionally lagging your site. On this site about classroom technology, every time I publish a large post, it seems that our connection to the database gets dropped which raises a few eyebrows in terms of what kind of user experience visitors to the site have. Is this site blazing fast or does to crawl like a turtle? Since speed is something that Google considers in terms of page ranking, if we want to take this site to next level, we need to make sure that the site delivers quickly.
  • Geo-hosting from VPS.net is considerably more expensive than the $7 per month that I’m paying with BlueHost. On the other hand, it syncs (load balances) your WordPress website across multiple servers around the world, so hopefully that will help speed things up. I’ve used VPS.net for a few other sites, and I’m pretty happy with how it handles larger loads.
I’d like to invest money into SEO (search engine optimization) to help build this site.
  • Traffic means business. And the more traffic you get to your site, the more business you get.
  • This quarter (2011 Q4), this site about classroom technology made over three grand in commission and advertising dollars.
  • However, over the past few weeks, traffic has been slowing down (and obviously so are the commissions) which begs the question – what can be done to improve this site so it shows up higher on the search results? (Obviously, the higher up you are in the search results, the more people will find you, and the more traffic you’ll get. I know that this site converts reasonably well, so now it’s simply a matter of pushing the turbo button.)
  • Over the next two weeks, I’m hoping to find some SEO Guru so I can learn from someone who can help this site to rank on the first page for some of our topics.
I’m also hoping to reorganize some of the information on the site.
  • Blog.classroomteacher.ca has covered all sorts of topics to help the average K-12 teacher integrate classroom technology into their curriculum: cloud-based services ike Prezi or dropbox, iPad apps to help students or teachers and assistive technology software like Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
  • We’ve also looked at blogging in the classroom as well as trying to help classroom teachers design better looking websites.
  • Hopefully the SEO guru that from the previous step can give us some feedback about whether it’s better to have all these topics organized into categories within one site, or to have a series of sister sites under one umbrella.
I’m thinking about expanding.
  • I’m hoping to get a forum to get classroom teachers to talk about how they use classroom technology in their programs, and there are few WPMU premium WordPress plug-ins that have really caught my eye that I want to play with.
  • I’m also hoping to hire some freelance writers to write about their experience using classroom technology at their school.
  • Oh, and I’m really excited that this site was accepted by the Apple affiliate program. (I’m sure it’s not a big deal to some people, but when I first applied a year ago, the application was denied.)
Stay tuned and hope you have a relaxin break from school.  Oh, and happy new year!
image source: Children Studying On Computers In Classroom – BigStockPhoto
This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Premium Wireless using a Plantronics Calisto Bluetooth Headset with Windows 7, i7 CPU, and 12 GB RAM. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 (Miscellaneous options) is set to Most Accurate.  2011 Classroom Technology Blog Review: 31 Posts to Help K 12 Teachers use Technology and Software More EffectivelyWe are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details. Find out how accurate is Dragon NaturallySpeaking after using it for a year (and 34,000 words.) If you are a teacher / student, here are 10 things to know about the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Student version.
  • There are 1724 words in this post. Dragon made 34 word errors. So, we had an accuracy of 98.0% in this document.
  • If you include punctuation and capitalization errors, Dragon made an additional 15 punctuation and capitalization errors. So, we had an accuracy of 97.2% in this document.
plus 2011 Classroom Technology Blog Review: 31 Posts to Help K 12 Teachers use Technology and Software More Effectively
Example of Word Errors made by Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5
  • that you just = peaches
  • behind the scenes to look forward to: = behind the scenes look forward to:
  • GPS.net = VPS.net
  • lagging your site. = making your site.
  • SEO = SCO
  • K-12 = kid at 12
plus 2011 Classroom Technology Blog Review: 31 Posts to Help K 12 Teachers use Technology and Software More Effectively
Example of Punctuation / Capitalization Errors made by Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5
  • slow down your website if you’re using up too many resources = slow down your website. If you’re using up too many resources
  • loved ones = loved one’s

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