H/T to all the gracious members of my PLN who share resources every day!
Code for Life
I had not seen Code for Life until Richard Byrne wrote about it in his blog. Although it does seem that we have a plethora of coding resources to choose from, I liked both the simplicity of the drag drop interface as well as the curriculum alignment for the teachers.
I'd been hearing about this since last spring and finally took the time to check it out. Since I don't teach in a traditional classroom, I sometimes don't spend the time to check out some tools that I would otherwise find indispensable. This is a quick and easy way to let students know what the expectations are, to help teach, and has a pretty extensive, easy to use tool bar. Even if you love your current tool set, check out all that this classroomscreen has to offer. Lori Gracey over at TCEA wrote up a great post about this tool today. Check it out here.
I had hoped that the 3rd grade would be able to try some of these, but with the NGSS transition, perhaps not. If you are working on anything to do with space- check out these really cool STEM challenges from VivifyStem. I hope to be able to take some of these ideas and use them for STEAM challenges as well.
Black History Month
There are some excellent resources online for Black History Month. One of my favorite new resources is the hyperdoc shared by Randi Merritt. ReadWorks has featured Reading Passages for the month. PBS has an excellent collection-Black America Since MLK- And Still We Rise. Our local station is hosting a special screening of More Than a Month- Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart on Thursday 2/1 at 1pm ET
Storyboardthat offers a collection of storyboard ideas for students to learn from or use to start their own creations. We also have 2 tabs on our HES symbaloo for Black History month. The 2 tabs are pinned to the beginning of the navigation tabs for the month.
Last, but certainly not least- Adobe Spark
When I read about the changes in Adobe Spark for students under 13 last week, it really made my day. Adobe Spark is a beautiful, easy to use tool, but the TOS was limited. Teachers essentially had to create one account and then have all of the students log in and use it. Now, beginning in April- students under 13 will be able to use Adobe Spark. You can read the whole announcement here. Many different bloggers wrote more about this, but perhaps you'll enjoy Monica Burns' post here
Google Cast for Education
I've been playing around with Google Cast for Education on and off for the last week or so. Sometimes it works perfectly, other times I can't get it to locate other devices. Mr. Duffy has added it to the domain, so everyone, both teachers and students, should have access. It is a chrome app- so it will show up in your apps and extensions when you are using the chrome browser/chromebook and it will also show up under the 3 lines at the top right of your chrome browser as "Cast". Note* this is NOT the chromecast dongle! You must be logged in to your school account; it requires no additional hardware. It has great potential to help students share their work when using the chromebooks- without getting up and trying to connect to the projector, or you can share your screen to your entire google classroom class, quickly and easily- no projector needed, all students can see and be actively engaged. Here's the quick promo video to tell you more about it as well as a slightly longer one to help you try it out on your own. I'm very curious to see your results, so please add them to the comments section. Did it work for you? What uses do you see for it in the classroom? If you are using Google Classroom, was it useful?
Fourth graders recently used an Adobe iPad app called Adobe Voice to make quick videos for their contribution to a global project, If You Learned Here. One of the things I heard back from their teachers was how easy Adobe Voice was to use.
Now Adobe has combined 3 of its apps (Voice, Post and Slate) into one- called Adobe Spark. You can use Spark to make videos, web pages and graphics- quickly and easily without having to be a professional graphic designer. Essentially it's a way to tell stories, make presentations, journals, portfolios- all in one place. The iPhone and iPad apps are still separate apps, but Adobe Spark is online- and it's free and it works on chromebooks.
Here are a few intro videos for you to check out.
This one is from Adobe
This is a review from CNET
And Finally a How to Use Spark video from Richard Byrne...
Richard also has some excellent ideas of how teachers and students can use this new set of tools onhis blog. Check it out!
Were you intrigued by the post on hyperdocs? If so... you're in luck. They are having avirtual bootcamp- a 4 week online course this summer. There are 2 cohorts forming and graduate credit is available.
What. is. a. hyperdoc?
I've been hearing about, reading about teachers using hyperdocs for a couple of years, and to be honest, my first reaction was- really? Do we need more jargon? Can't they just be called documents with hyperlinks? Yet another buzz word... BUT, last week I participated in a GAFEchat on twitter and came away as, if not an evangelist- at least a convert and am excited to explore and see if this can be useful for you and your students. So, first things first.
Isn't this just a document with hyperlinks?
Lisa Highfill, one of the creators of Hyperdocs (along with Kelly Hilton and Sarah Landis) at a 2015 TEDX conference defined hyperdocs as-
Karly Moura, an instructional coach in Concord, Ca created an excellent comparison chart.
What you will notice in the comparison is that the creation of hyperdocs helps teachers create UDL lessons- considering how the materials are presented to students, engaging the students in creative ways and allowing for multiple means of representation. Sarah Landis has created an excellent Template you can follow. Click to see in Google Docs. Karly Moura has also created a mashup of this original template and some new ideas. She has even created a "close reading template".
Who are these for? Elementary? Middle School? High School?
All of the above. The resources I collected on the GAFEchat are saved on the One tab qr code to the left, but there are many, many more collections- and more teachers are creating and sharing these every day. Check out @TsGiveTs! on Twitter- it is an amazing resource. Here is a link toKarly's shared hyperdoc folder to check out some of her resources for elementary age kids. Below you will find some amazing resources shared by fellow educators and collected on Padlets as well as inspiring and informational presentations Lisa Highfill gave recently at the CUE conference.
Want to learn more?
You can check out the Hyperdocs FaceBook group here.
Want to learn even more? Lisa, Kelly and Sarah have a book coming out soon.
This is a great addition to Google Slides. It doesn't appear to have rolled out to our district as yet, but you should see it relatively soon. Essentially it allows your audience to ask questions during the presentation. The video below will walk your through the steps. The other cool new feature on Google Slides is a built in laser pointer. Handy tool to have. You can probably see these new features on your personal Google account, but look for them in the upcoming week on your school accounts too.
You can find more VR videos from Discovery Education at http://www.discoveryvr.com/
I spent the day on Saturday over at #edcampGrafton. One of the sessions, which I did not attend was on Google Cardboard, and VR video. Google Cardboard has been out for at least 18 months, if not more. Click here to see the shared notes from that session. However, I did win a Google Cardboard set up in the door prize drawings. Have to say, I will probably never use it, and anyone who would like to borrow it to check it out- come see me. This fancy dancy new version of the old ViewMaster simply makes me seasick. It is very cool… but not only do I not own a smartphone, I quite literally cannot stand the 3D immersive view. I hated Second Life back when that was popular too. But- you may love it and find it incredibly useful… so here’s some info.
Check out the Google Plus community or look around on the Twitter hashtag... see embedded example below.
You can buy or make your cardboard viewer. There are also fancier Oculus Rift VR systems, pricey. Just to clarify- these are not just headsets for gamers- altho a lot of content is being developed for playing immersive games. Think of the possibilities- visit the jungles of Belize, walk along the Great Wall of China, check out models of Ancient Rome… The VR version can be very engaging for your students. There are lots of apps you can try out for both iOS and Android smartphones. There are good starter lists on the notes, as well as some of the links.
If you’re not really ready for all this- check out the VR or 360° videos on youtube- you can maneuver around just like you can when in street view on Google Maps.
Here’s a couple of examples: Remember- zoom in/out and move around with your mouse or arrow keys or use your google cardboard and your smartphone.
Looking for more ideas? VentureBeat had a nice write up a while back, Science Beyond the Boundaries has some great links and Ronnie Burt over at Edublogger recently posted about using it on a trip.
TRY IT... You might like it!
Or.. you may enjoy the April Fools Version, which works so much better for me.
One of the organizations I have been involved in for years is Classroom 2.0. As a member of the advisory board we work together to come up with topics and presenters for the Saturday noon EST shows. I was very happy to get a positive response from Eric Curts when I asked him if he would be interested in presenting, but then he ended up being scheduled on the same Saturday that I would be in Boston for edcampBoston all day. I just finished listening to the recording of the show and want to share some of the highlights with you. Google Drawings have so many uses- graphic organizers, teaching math and even as a desktop publisher.
Eric has a ton of resources that you can access at his website. These are CC licensed- so you may copy, adapt and reuse them as long as you give him attribution and don't use them commercially. One of the fabulous resources he has shared is a folder with 40 templates you can use. To adapt and use these, simply open in Google Drive and click file/make a copy. Graphic organizers are easy and fun with Google Drawings.
Click on the image below to access Eric's Slideshow
Classroom 2.0 compiled a livebinder with tons of resources for Google Drawings. You can access the livebinder here. Just a note- the links are arranged on the left hand side. All of the other notes about the show can be accessed via the Classroom 2.0 archives. The videos below are all complete webinars, each about an hour long , but have lots of examples.
No time to watch complete webinars? Avra Robinson from Edtech teacher has a great playlist with short videos to help you learn more
Google Slide Template with Horizontal Navigation
Actually this whole post was going to be about this template, because I think it has so many uses in the classroom, by both students and teachers, but then I decided to make an example to show you... so now you get a twofer. There are tons of comic makers online- these are a few examples to get you started.
You can even use Google Slides to create comic strips- check out Eric Curts' work here.
What I like is the way this opens up options and helps to visually organize your presentation:
I did not create this template. The incredible team at Cherry Creek schools in Greenwood Village, CO created the templates and shared this and many other cool tools on their tech blog.
If you want the templates... they are shared online by Cherry Creek Schools. You can access them here. There are are a bunch of different colors/sizes. I would recommend opening the link your drive. These files will still be "view only". That means that in order to edit or use them, you will need to open the one(s) you want, choose File>Make a Copy> name it and save it. One last thing to remember- the navigation works by linking the slides to the text boxes on the top- so if you edit- pay attention to those links.
You've seen the same background seven times this week! Not only is the format boring you to tears, but really ? ....
comic sans and that same tired background ? I have lots of other solutions to the presentation formats that are boring, but for today, a simple way to clean them up and make them more interesting, more professional.
You know that Google Slides are easy to use, accessible from all devices, etc., right? But there are only so many backgrounds to use, so it is easy to get a bit redundant. Try Slides Carnival. This site offers free Google slide templates, complete with fonts, graphics and icons. Some are business-like, some are more creative or more fun. Easy to use, easy to modify- check them out. From simple to formal and everything in between...and yes, they are free!
Gif: By GRPH3B18 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Remember the old way to find Google templates for docs, etc... It's still there- the old template gallery. But now you can quickly and easily find new templates to use right in your Google Drive. When you open a new doc or in this case choose Slides- you are first presented with a nice selection of templates to choose from.
Cool Virtual Museum Templates
Another great place to check out is David Lee's EdTech blog for his virtual museum templates. These are freely downloadble, just be sure to credit him as he has requested.
Winter Magnetic Poetry template
Kasey Bell has produced yet another magnetic poetry template- fun to use for all ages. You can, of course, make your own word bank... try it in French or Spanish.
Click here to download your own copy.
Just remember... you/your students are giving a presentation, not reading one.