Brain Pop has a new movie maker! I liked the way you could pull images from the movies before to help show learning, tell your story with the materials, but this is even better. Here's a quick tutorial from Joli Boucher. We have the premium version for HES, in case you're worried about the access level. See me if you do not know how to access Brain Pop at the elementary school. You can read more about it on BrainPop Educators - and go thru the step by step tutorial or print out a guide if you'd like. They have resources on using Brain Pop's Make a Movie tool with ELL students and more, complete with curriculum connections and rubrics. Check it out!
Pixar in a Box
"Pixar in a Box is a behind-the-scenes look at how Pixar artists do their jobs. You will be able to animate bouncing balls, build a swarm of robots, and make virtual fireworks explode. The subjects you learn in school — math, science, computer science, and humanities — are used every day to create amazing movies at Pixar. This collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Khan Academy is sponsored by Disney."
Using the Khan Academy interface, which many of our students are already familiar with and have accounts on, Pixar in a Box goes through lessons step by step. Teaching storytelling? Teaching animation? Writing? Science? It's all available in an easy to digest format. Try it!
CoSpaces is a relatively new platform. Using a 3D modeling system- online or Android or iOS app, students can make simulations, tell stories, model cell structures and much more. It is 3D/AR type system, which on first look will kind of remind you of Second Life (another one of my least favorites). I am not a big AR fan, but for many kids this a brilliant way to show what they know or to explore new content. It is a bit of a bandwidth hog, as you may imagine, but it was easy to use. I showed this to some 5th and 6th graders this fall, just for fun and they had no problem using it with little instruction.
So, if I compare this with SketchUp- it is far easier to use, is online and free (altho there is a premium version) and is collaborative and dynamic. You can use this on an ipad, on a phone and on the web and it updates almost automatically as you make changes. Oh... and it now lets you use Blockly to program your space. Very cool! Take a quick look at the videos below, and then head over to check out the platform online. They have some great examples of student work you can check out. This first video below is a bit on the long side (10 Min)- but it's a good, fair review of the system.
I wrote a week or so ago about Google Keep, as well as here, and here. I went to #EdCampNQ this past weekend and in a session about chrome extensions, once again Google Keep came up. This time an AT from a neighboring district (@OsborneAllegra) demo'd how she uses Keep in her job. Because she goes from school to school, her Google Keep for work is arranged with a note for each school-but the cool thing for all you visual learners was the way she used a different photo for each note. Using her phone, she could see by quickly scrolling thru the notes exactly what she needed to accomplish at each school- with color coded notes and checkboxes. She also has a Google Keep extension that she uses for her personal account and is quite literally using it as a planning and organization tool for her summer trips. Another participant, @jrowebbrsd, also uses it for its OCR capabilities. If you've never tried to pop an image into Google Keep and then pull the text out of it... check it out in this short video. Imagine having a student who may struggle to get all the assignments written down. A quick image with a phone or other device, pop it into Google Keep, grab the text, pop it into a Google Doc and have it read to you by Read and Write for Google Chrome. If you haven't checked out Google Keep, you're missing out. It just keeps getting better.
I love the versatility of Google Forms. They can be used for so much more than surveys! I use them all the time when I am making digital breakouts for students to use. Data validation turns a form into a way to require the "secret password" or gives feedback with additional clues. Today I was reading/listening to Matt Miller and Kasey Bell's podcast and blog posts about using Google Forms for differentiation.
What I really liked about Kasey and Matt's podcast/posts was that it reminded me of 2 things. One: Use forms as a learning tool. By using branching you can give a formative assessment with the learning reinforcement built in. When a student gets a question wrong, he moves on to a video or other lesson material to reteach/reinforce the concept vs. just getting it wrong. If the student is correct, he moves to the next question. Here's the link to Kasey's post with some great step by step directions for you to try out. Just in case you don't have time to read her whole post, buried way down at the bottom is alink to (French teacher) Sylvia Duckworth's blog post on using forms for a choose your own adventure story. Check it out...it's fun to do a story this way.
Here's the podcast if you'd rather just listen along...
Reshare of Google Forms Teacher Tips... this is updated every Tuesday
#GAFEchat on Forms
This evening I participated in a #GAFEchat and the topic was Google Forms. So, it's not just me who loves Google Forms. So many interesting resources were shared...
Here's thelink to the collection of links from this #gafechat or the curated collection is listed below (use Participate.com to quickly gather all links from fast moving chats)
Google Forms Ninja Moves and Secret Passwords
Using Tables in Forms
One of the questions about chromebooks in the classroom that I often hear is "How do I create/edit video on a chromebook?" The answer varies. Are you trying to edit a video that you created elsewhere? Or are you trying to create a video? Or are you trying to add audio to a slide show? Or? Or?...
One tool that is often overlooked is the creator tool on YouTube. The C4L blog (a student led support site) recently posted about using these tools. You can check out their work here. Of course you can do a quick search on youtube and find tons of videos to show you how to edit video on youtube. Below is just one example. Remember you can edit a creative commons video, upload and edit your own, upload images and add a sound track and so much more.
There are lots of tools out there to create videos on chromebooks. Richard Byrne recently published a blog post featuring 12 ways to create videos on chromebooks! My absolute favorite for ease of use is Adobe Spark. For those of you who are Adobe fans, you know that Adobe had 3 separate tools which are now kind of one suite. Adobe Spark can help you create quick and easy videos, Adobe Page can give you a quick and easy web page and Adobe Post is a quick and easy way to create beautiful images for social media. In schools- the students need to be 13+ to create accounts. I really wish they would add some sort of teacher dashboard, even if you had to pay a small annual fee. Spark is easy to use and I have seen it used successfully and independently by grade 1 students to give beautiful results.
Another way to create video on chromebooks is with WeVideo. WeVideo has been around for quite a while and is a pretty robust platform for a web based editor. Below is the quick intro, but they have a whole library of video tutorials on YouTube. Depending on your bandwidth, the upload can be a little laggy and can be problematic when you have a class of students trying to finish up, upload and go on the next class at the same time.
Screenshots and Screencasting
One other video/screen sharing question I get is how do I (1) take a screenshot, (2) make a screencast. The answer to #1... Use the ctrl key and the split window key to save a full screenshot to your files. Use Ctrl+Shift+the split window key to save a partial screenshot. Remember that files saved to your downloads folder are not permanent and especially on school chromebooks may disappear. If you need the file, save it to your own Google Drive. You can also use Awesome Screenshot extension which offers additional annotation, blurring, etc.
Screencasts can be accomplished in quite a few different ways. To be honest, I use camtasia and snagit on my home computer. TechSmith had a snagit extension which has been discontinued. The best screencast capturing extensions are Nimbus and Capture, Explain, Send. Nimbus is a robust extension, easy to use and does just about anything you's like. Jason Savard's Capture claims to be the simplest- with no crazy permissions. I used to use screencastify, which also has a lot of features, but is a bit more complicated to get started with.
So, what do you need a video for? To record your screen, to teach a lesson or to get quick feedback? Don't forget about recap- a great way to collect individual videos from students for quick feedback and more.
As most of you know, March is Women's History Month.
Here are some resources that you may find useful. If I get time I will pull them all together into a symbaloo tab to share, so please add any other useful links in the comments.
Google Keep comes to Docs
Google Keep is one of my favorite note taking tools. It is simple, goes across multiple platforms, you can color code them and share them easily. Now you can insert your Google Keep notes right into a Google Doc. You can also flip it the other way and add a link from your docs right into a Google Keep note. Check out the video below. It seems to work in both my personal and my gsuite for edu accounts.
Eric Curts has another great way to use Google Keep to help grade and provide feedback in docs. Check out his post here. Or his tutorial here.
Both Quill.org and noredink have been busy redesigning the writing/grammar sites they run.
Some Upcoming PD
Most of you know that I really enjoy going to edcamps and find them a great way to learn and to make connections with other educators. Voting with my feet works for me. If a session does not work for me, I find another one. Also...they are FREE! Here's the BIG list of edcamps- and there are always new ones being added
The upcoming edcamps on my calendar:
Saturday- March 11th- #edcampBoston
Saturday- March 18th- #ecampNorthQuabbin
Saturday- April 8th- choices/choices #edcampGrafton or #edcampAccess
edcampGrafton is a pretty typical edcamp- edcampAccess- which is held over in Burlington, MA is more targeted toward special ed, udl, assistive tech. I'm hoping that they will also have a "test kitchen" with apps, products that you can try out, see new uses for (not just a vendor showcase kind of thing)
August 18th #edcampCT
I cannot say enough positive things about edweb. This professional learning community has grown by leaps and bounds. There is a group for just about anything you may want to learn as an educator. There are multiple webinars just about every afternoon. I just wish they still had an embeddable google calendar!
Simple K12 is offering a series of 30 min webinars on using chromebooks on March 11th. I had a subscription to this site for many years. Simple quick tutorials. If you subscribe you can watch a plethora of tutorials at your own pace on your own schedule. They also keep track of this for you and you can download certificates. The series looks like it goes straight thru from 10-3, but the info is generally in the first half hour of each hour and then they try to convince you to subscribe...
Do You Know the Best Ways to Use Chromebooks in Your Classroom?
Tips for Implementing Chromebooks
and the Best Apps for Teachers
Saturday, March 11
10:00am - 3:30pm ET
Join us for this amazing line-up of information-packed webinars created for teachers by teachers!