Well, this year has certainly not gone as expected. Unless something drastic happens, this is the last TechTuesday for the year. Things will continue to change at a dizzying rate, our new normal will somehow emerge, but...we can all catch up on that after a pause to catch our breaths. I usually have a long list of PD things that I will be attending this summer. I may or may not do a few virtually, but face to face, hands-on PD is what I actually find most useful, so my gardens will get more attention.
Ideas to Share
Interactive Google Slides
There has been so many posts, tweets, etc on using bitmojis, etc that it seems that everyone must have way more time to play around with slides, etc. than I have. I saw this video the other day and it looks interesting, but, honestly, I have not tried it. Maybe this summer. The one way I have tried to make slides interactive is using Pear Deck, which I can recommend. This video has lots of other ideas to try. One thing to keep in mind, however, is EF. If your students struggle with executive function, how many steps are involved in the actions on the slides? Is this helping or discouraging those kids? I was talking with a friend who teaches special ed classes and wondering how we could streamline what we do even more and she brought this to my attention. As we try to consolidate info, we need to be sure that it is accessible by all.
NetsBlox was shared in one of the online groups I follow as a way for kids to collaborate online to code games. It looks like a pretty well developed program, based on SNAP, with lots of options and levels. My real caveat is the same as any online collaborative site- who are the kids talking with and how is it monitored? I know the folks at Scratch and have faith that there are real people monitoring the site. Other sites- teach your kids, your students to be wary.
Steve Hargadon has pulled together a daily edu conference- for the next couple of months! This is an historic and unique event. Sessions are being held daily over the course of two months, all free to attend live. You simply sign up to access the schedule. All sessions are recorded. https://learningrevolution.com/
This morning I saw the email come through about the national parks session... which I cannot attend, but have added to my watch later list. Check out some of the other things for the week, and sign up to get access- every day for a couple months- and they are recorded.
National Poetry Month
Yes, it's April and it's National Poetry Month. I wrote a long post on this last year, see this link. One new link to add is theListenwise Blog. They have an excellent selection of poetry and lesson plans. Best of all, you can listen to them! I had never explored this web site before and am really impressed with the breadth of the offerings across disciplines, including social studies, science, ELA and current events. If you're interested in hearing a new poem every day, be sure to check out the Poetry Foundation. NYPL is posting a new poem every day . You can find many more ideas on Twitter #NationalPoetryMonth.
Learning and Movement
Jennifer Gonzalez wrote an excellent blog post on learning and movement. I embedded her podcast below, but her actual blog post has real examples, links and a whole batch of great video examples. Don't miss this one! Some of her videos referenced TPR, which I had never heard of, as well as a web site that was new to me- Teacher ToolKit. So, after you finish listening to her podcast, and reading her great ideas on her blog, watching all the videos, you can go check out Teacher Toolkit, too.
Now this sounds like a really cool idea from Book Creator and Elevate Books Edu. Here's a short version: "âThey have a growing library of hard copy books that weâll be converting into microbooks â short, bite-size, multimedia versions that give a glimpse into the concepts contained within the book. This gives teachers an opportunity to sample the book before committing to a deeper dive into the full book."
Read more about it in this month'sBook Creator newsletter, and check out an example below.
You know all those articles you've read arguing about screen time? How about all the ones about digital equity? Well, it seems that the latest thing is that the "elite" schools are moving away from screens and putting value on human contact. This has been a hot topic on the independent school list servs of late. I think it is just a pendulum swing myself. What do you think? Here's a recent NY Times article to get you thinking. Love the subtitle. Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good Screens used to be for the elite. Now avoiding them is a status symbol.
Ideas to Share
One Small Step
My friend, Victor Tam, shared this online recently. As educators, we often don't realize how much we influence our students every day, helping them take that one small step. I didn't realize that this story was also nominated for an Oscar. Producer, Shaofu Zhang also hopes that One Small Step can help inspire young girls and women to pursue their dreams in the STEM fields.
Merge cubes have been in the news for the last year or so. They recently won an Award of Excellence for Classroom at TCEA. I picked up a bunch of merge cubes when they went on sale last year, but have not had time to dig into how to integrate them into general ed classes. Also- all of the AR/VR stuff makes me seasick- instant vertigo. I've tried sitting, tried using the fancy Oculus goggles, etc., but I can't do it. Lucky for me, the art teacher next door, Ken Richards, took the materials I have on hand and started exploring to show his grad class. The HES students he has shown this to loved it. We don't have devices to fit into googles for all, and only have a few pairs of them anyway, but we do have ipads. Many of the apps are free. You can learn more about Merge Cubes here... and here. If you have a project you'd like to try out, or if you just want to test it out yourself, stop by and see me. We don't currently have a subscription to co-spaces, which is a topic for another day, but it is easy enough to get trial access.
One of the new free apps that is getting a lot of press and some rave reviews from folks who do AT and SEL is Moment AR. Here is a full demo of Moment AR, an evidence and research based tool using the Merge cube for Autism, Mental Health, Language, and Social Skills.
This was shared recently on twitter by Don Yerks. It is a nice little graphic to show a trackpad checklist with all the basic gestures you and your students can use on chromebooks. Click the image to see the shared gsheet with more info
Finding Images Online
This is probably the topic I get asked to help students with more than just about anything else. Yes, images must be cited. Yes, not all images online are available for you or your students to use. Jennifer Gonzales wrote about this recently and did a really nice job covering all the currently available options in this post. Although I have to say that when students are using Gsuite products the image search feature can be set and I think the default is CC or PD images. But, that said, students often just do a Google Image search and forget to use the filter dropdowns to target their search. I tend to use Pixabay and Unsplash when I am searching for my work.
Ideas to share