G Suite Updates Available In The Alludo Catalog

One of the best things about Google’s G Suite is that it is constantly being improved. One of the challenges with this approach is that it’s hard to provide training for something that is always changing. There were a lot of updates to G Suite over the summer.

If you are an Alludo customer and you are worried about how you will provide this updated training to your teachers and staff members…stop worrying. We took a look at these updates and updated the training available in the Alludo Catalog in our G Suite 2019 Game.

We’ve taken all of the latest changes and created 194 activities that you can easily provide your teachers and staff. And, with our improved catalog searching and copying enhancements, adding these activities into your games has never been easier.

Updated Authentication With Alludo

We’ve been busy building new functionality into Alludo. Some of the enhancements - like improved catalog searching - are somewhat obvious. Others, like our updated user management are more subtle.

Authentication is one of the standard problems in web development that can get tricky quickly. The challenge with authentication is that people have multiple ways of identifying themselves. Some people stick to using their school district accounts. Others really prefer to use social media profiles like Twitter. Some districts support Google or Office 365 authentication whereas others still use more traditional email/password approaches. Supporting different authentication schemes starts simple but gets complicated quickly.

The last thing anyone wants is another username and password to remember and so our default recommendation is that our community uses their district assigned username and password whenever possible. However, know that people tend to use multiple identities, we decided that we would allow you to merge your identities.

First Time Sign In To Alludo

Regardless of the mechanism you choose to use, the first time you sign into Alludo your identity is not recognized and you are prompted to Complete Account Setup.

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After you complete your profile, you will no longer be prompted to complete your account; you will be taken directly into Alludo.

If you have multiple accounts that you would like to associate to your Alludo user account, you can choose to link identities to your profile. In this case, you already have an Alludo account and you are just adding another identity. This allows you to link your district Gmail account and your personal Gmail account to your Alludo account.

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After you link an identity, you can sign in with the identity to be taken to your Alludo account.

Finding and Copying from the Alludo Catalog Just Got Easier

If you find yourself busily building games in Alludo as you get ready for the new school year, we have two updates that should help you go faster.

Enhanced Catalog Searching

When you search the catalog you can filter by district and by the date activities were updated. This allows you to focus on the results from particular districts and the most relevant or up to date activities.

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Enhanced Catalog Copying

Once you find the activities you want to copy, you can now copy multiple activities at the same time rather than having to copy one at a time.

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Both of these enhancements will help you build games faster and give you more time to complete all the other prep work you have to get done.

How to Keep Up with Professional Development Over the Summer

Educators spend all school year working on professional development. It makes sense then that these efforts would continue during the off-season — even if it’s by the pool instead of in the classroom.

Keeping up with professional development over the summer is critical for effective teaching. There’s nothing easy about fostering an optimal learning environment for students, and starting two steps behind on day one of the school year isn’t a good way to kick off.

Most districts don’t offer concerted professional development courses over the summer. That means that it’s up to teachers to embrace their own personal and professional growth and put a plan into place that will set them up for success next year. How to do it? Here are four ideas for staying on track with professional development this summer.

#1 Focus On What You Enjoy

Summer is the perfect time to really dive in to the areas of professional development that you’re passionate about. Tailoring your PD efforts to the things that truly spark your interest is a great way to ensure that you stay motivated. It’s also an opportunity to dig a little bit deeper into a subject that you might not have as much time to devote to during the school year.

#2 Level Up Your Tech Skills

Every year brings new technologies — and new ways to interact with existing tech — into the classroom. Use your off time to get better acquainted with various tools you might use in your blended classroom. Take an online course and become a Google Certified Educator (the certification exam is only $10!), or study up on specific tools you can use with your students, such as video platforms and kid-friendly search engines. The more you learn about what tech is out there, the better you can incorporate it into your classroom.

#3 Attend a Conference

If you’ve got the time and the budget, consider attending one of the many educational conferences that take place over the summer. They’re an excellent way to network with your peers and find out what strategies are working for them. They’re also a chance to learn about advancements in professional development — particularly ed tech tools like ours — that could be of use to you later. Worst case scenario? You gain a bit of insight into how to expand on your professional development and eat a few free lunches in the process.

#4 Hear From the Experts

A simple Google search for professional development webinars brings up a wealth of free resources for teachers who are looking to grow their knowledge base over the summer months. Set yourself a goal, such as watching two a week, and discover how easy it is to achieve professional growth in between cook outs and beach days. Circle back to tip #1 and focus on the topics that you’re most intrigued by, but make a point of branching out into other topics too — you never know when you might learn something invaluable.

You don’t have to be all work and no play this summer (and you shouldn’t be!), but avoid the summer slide on professional development by brushing up when you can and in the way that makes the most sense for your schedule and your goals. Come August, you’ll be feeling energized and refreshed, with all the fuel you need to go full speed into the year ahead.

3 Budget Planning Challenges Alludo Can Help You Solve

There’s nothing easy about educational budget planning. But when you’re tasked with helping ensure that your teachers get the professional development they need, figuring out how to work around common budget planning challenges isn’t just another obstacle—it’s your job.

Educational spending is on the rise. Per-student expenditures at public elementary and secondary schools were 15% higher in 2014-2015 than they were in 2000-2001, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Educational Statistics. Those expenditures include everything from salaries and employee benefits to classroom services and supplies. These days, it’s hard enough to find room in the budget for coffee in the teachers’ lounge, let alone sustained professional development.

Of course, professional development isn’t just something you can push aside until you get more funding. And that’s where Alludo comes in. Here are three budget planning challenges our platform can help you work around to achieve better training and better teaching practices.

Challenge 1: A disconnect between your budget and your long-term goals

A lot of districts struggle to find a balance between their short-term expenditures and their long-term objectives. But progress is important, and if your budget only focuses on immediate needs you’re not going to achieve the necessary gains your students—and your district—require.

How we can help: Instead of allotting funding to a one-time workshop or training course, Alludo lets you invest in a solution that trickles out improvements at a consistent pace. Teachers manage their professional development on their own time, meaning you get closer to your long-term goals even while you’re focused on your short-term necessities.

Challenge 2: Difficulties with accountability

District boards want to know not just what you’re using your funding for, but why. Showing clear value behind your spending decisions isn’t always easy though, especially when it comes to professional development. Accountability requires that you provide markers of progress, not just proof that the training happened.

How we can help: We’re all about helping you demonstrate the value of your professional development expenditures. With our digital badges, teachers get instant rewards for their progress, and you get a visual representation of who is achieving what and when. It’s an easy way to track professional development spending on an individual level, and to see the big picture outcomes of your investment.

Challenge 3: Ensuring solutions are scalable

When there isn’t money to waste, it’s crucial that your professional development budget gets activated as efficiently as possible. Whether you’re overseeing the roll-out of teacher training for one school and a dozen staff, or an entire district and hundreds of teachers all with different training needs, your professional development platform better be able to flex with your needs and budget.

How we can help: Since Alludo allows administrators to easily manage professional development curriculum on a centralized system, the amount of effort required for serving training is the same no matter the number of participants. Plus, since Alludo’s training is self-directed and remotely accessible, resources aren’t required for assembling teachers at costly and inefficient group seminars; instead, teachers advance at their own pace, and access the specific and personalized training that’s most relevant to them.

Meet your 2019/2020 budgeting obstacles head-on. Sign up for a free Alludo demo and learn how you can reduce costs (and spend on what matters) all with one fun and easy platform.

Alludo Welcomes Linda Muhlhauser

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I am very pleased to announce that Linda Muhlhauser has joined Alludo as our Sales Executive for California and Nevada.

Linda was most recently a Technology Support Specialist for the Murrieta Valley Unified School District. While at MVUSD, Linda built and managed Alludo - Valley of the Lost Gems - at the district. With an enrollment of over 23,000 students across 19 school sites, Linda knows first hand how to successfully execute professional learning across a district with Alludo.

Linda joins Alludo after retiring as a Technology Support Specialist for MVUSD. In addition to having 37 years of teaching experience, she holds a Masters degree in Educational Technology.

Linda is an education technology and outdoor enthusiast. She enjoys cycling, scuba diving and snow skiing in her spare time.

The Missing Key To Improving Elementary SBAC Scores Encore

As reported in the Los Angeles Times, many schools have been struggling with the math assessment coming out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) design. Only 33% of students in the United States meets or exceeds the educational standards. One of the questions we frequently get while supporting schools is, “How can teachers engage and prepare students without ‘teaching to the test’?” This Webinar will focus on the most looked over of the three keys for improving SBAC elementary math; the type of strategic thinking that questions are asking students to perform. The goal is to recognize this kind of thinking and be able to create genuine learning experiences that helps to improve the targeted type of strategic thinking.

Culture Shifting with Computer Science - A Pragmatic Approach Encore

Are you looking for ways to integrate computer science into your curriculum? Are you worried you’ll be tasked with fitting computer science into your already full class day? Do you think technology will play an increasing role in students’ lives? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this webinar is for you.

In this panel discussion, Google Certified Innovators Heidi Baynes and Eduardo Rivera share their experience bringing computer science to all students.