I was really curious to learn about some of the edtech tools Brandee Ramirez is using and enjoyed listening to her presentation: “Creating the Perfect BLT: Balanced Literacy and Technology. Brandee, an instructional coach at TUSD gave an interesting presentation to Classroom 2.0 Live, which you can see, along with a ton of other resources here. Along with going through TPACK and SAMR with some nice examples, she also highlighted some of the edtech tools that she is using in her schools. One of these, ABCMouse, was a surprise to me. I had seen the site, played with the app a bit, but thought that it was a premium service. Much to my surprise- it is totally free for teachers! You just have to click on the tiny "teacher" link to sign up. It seems to work much like Epic- teachers and their students can use it for free in school, and they try to market it to parents on a subscription basis. It has a nice selection for preK-2 and they are adding a couple more grade levels. Check it out, as well as some of Brandee's other resources in the livebinder.
Updated Google Expeditions
Google announced a great update to their free Expeditions app. Now students can take new augmented reality tours. The original list of tours is here, but I don't know if all of these will also be AR tours. There are hundreds of really cool places to check out. Simply print out the marker/trigger sheets and the AR content appears on the tablet/phone screen. One thing that I really like is that you don't have to use Google Cardboard or an AR viewer to use this app. You can still get much of the AR experience without the "stuff", which we simply don't have in elementary schools. You can read more about it here.
Animated Videos on Chromebooks
This is a post from Richard Byrne that I know I will be going back to. He lists 5 different websites to use to create animated videos on chromebooks, especially since the service we currently use- GoAnimate will be closing next year. Check out his great post with examples here.
Summer PD plans?
I know that everyone is incredibly busy finishing up their year, but what are you going to do this summer for PD? Kids, family, other jobs, breathing... all take precedence, but aside from working in my gardens, I use the summer to try to catch up on all the edtech "stuff" I missed or didn't have time to explore. This summer I will be going to the Raspberry Pi Academy in NJ in June, then July will be a week at the Pathfinders Makers Collective Bootcamp in Indianapolis and of course the Scratch conference at MIT. August brings the GooglePalooza in Huntington and EdcampCT down at the Ethel Walker School.
What do I want to learn? I want to learn how to get more buy-in/time allotted for the makerspace through connections to existing standards and curriculum- not as a special or add-on. I really would like to be able to use raspberry pi and not drive myself crazy with mistakes on the breadboard. Scratch is coming out with Scratch 3.0 this summer and it will be non-flash... so it will be usable across more devices and it will be integrated into more hands-on devices, like microbits. I really want to learn to use microbits in the classroom. The price is right, at ~ $15/each and there are more and more sensors and add-ons and you can even do all the coding online with a simulator. Oh, and I need to take the Makerbot 3D printer certification course. And I want to learn more about how to use Merge cubes in the classroom. That's my "short" list.
Summer is such a great time to learn, to relax with friends and family and to refresh/re-ignite your passions for teaching/learning. If you're looking for edtech learning opportunities, check out KQED https://teach.kqed.org/ They are offering free media literacy courses. Want a more hands-on course- check the various tinkering courses from Exploratorium. Feeling like you want more Google in your life- check out the Applied Digital Skills. Want to learn more about the "Maker Movement" and how it could apply in your classroom, check A Year in the Making.
If these lists don't inspire you and you actually need help finding some edtech PD, let me know. If your plan is to go to the beach and hang out with your grandkids or your own children, to travel to exotic places or to sleep in the hammock in your own back yard- Enjoy! You certainly deserve all the best!
Looking for a book to read? I really liked the Google For Littles book and plan to pick up Chris Bugaj's The New Assistive Tech: Make Learning Awesome for All!. Out of all the books I had to read when I did my assistive tech degree- his first book was the best- funny, and actually useful.
If you're still on the fence about using Google Suite with younger students, check out Google Apps for Littles: Believe They Can by Alice Keeler and Christine Pinto. You will find creative, easy to use ideas to get you started.
Don't miss out on Voice Dream Reader
This is a great app, especially to support readers and is on sale thru 6/9 for half price.
Another call for Western Mass GooglePalooza
I got an email from Chris Parker asking to spread the word, so here's a repeat of last week's post:
Don't miss out on special pricing- only $45 thru June 30. A full day of PD and breakfast and lunch! I know I always end up driving for hours for PD- this one is just over the hill with some great presenters.
Gateway Public Schools and MassCUE are looking forward to hosting its first ever Summer Googlepalooza on 8/8/18 in western MA. Register today for the special rate of $45 for a full day of learning and breakfast and lunch! (Regular registration rate of $65 will resume on 7/1/18.) Extra bonus: any educator who attends will be able to purchase a MassCUE membership for half-price.
Hope to see you at the Summer Googlepalooza at Gateway Public Schools in Huntington, MA