Choose Your Own Adventure
With the new Black Mirror: Bandersnatch getting rave reviews, (So I hear: no TV reception where I live & no broadband to stream anything) I thought that it sounded an awful lot like "Choose Your Own Adventure". Since many of your younger students have probably never made their own choose your own adventure story, it seemed a good time to review what is out there to do this.
Sylvia Duckworth has an excellent presentation on using Google Slides to create your story. You can access her work here. Sylvia has built a wonderful set of resources; check out her web site for more. Alice Keeler has directions for this as well. If you're looking for a Dragon Quest, try following Eric Curts' directions here.
Another option is to use a Google Story Speaker add-on. This is fun, gives you a template to start with. The caveat- you need to have a Google Home device.
Google Forms is a great option to try. Justin Birckbichler shared a template to do this with his class. You should check out his blog post for the whole story. Sylvia also has agoogle doc with step by step directions for this type of story.
Wes Fryer worked with teachers on this at a VT workshop. You can get the templates and a lot more information on his blog post.
Steve Wick sent out a 12 Days of Techmas to occupy all of your spare time over the holidays. If you didn't get a chance to check it out: Here's the link
I finally watched all the new Ditch Summit videos. I liked most of them, but I learned the most from Tony Vincent's presentation. If you missed it- maybe Matt will put it up again next year, but thepdf with his links is still online. He has lots of great, really practical ideas you can use. My favorite links: Draw your own Illustrations, and somewhat a complementary resource to the Noun Project was the link he shared- Visuals for Foreign Language.
Jen Giffen produced a series of sketchnotes to go along with the Ditch Summit. You can see themhere. Full resolution available here. But here's the one from Tony's presentation, since it was my fav. Thanks for sharing your work Jen @VirtualGiff!
New Resources Available
Not really random... this was shared with me recently by a friend as we talked about immigration. I found it really interesting, maybe you will too.
Last week I wrote briefly, about some of the issues we all deal with in education. Apparently, I am not the only one feeling like there are some gaps, with an undue emphasis on acquiring and regurgitating information, instead of doing and learning. As a strong believer in UDL, I believe that we need to look at how we are teaching, how students are learning and how they are showing their mastery. Jennifer Gonzalez of The Cult of Pedagogy, blogged about this and created the podcast embedded below.
Modern Learners shared this viral video and responded to it in their post back in September. Check out the blog post for the video response to Prince Ea. What's your response? Mine has been to create the STEAM space at HES. Still a work in progress, students can come in and DO something.
Three Quick Shares
Add Math Playground to Google Classroom
Richard Byrnes wrote a great blog post about this back in September. I love Math Playground games. I've been a fan of Colleen King for years. She is an amazing educator, math wiz, web design and coding magician and a wicked nice, shy, unassuming person. She was my hero about 10 years ago as I was struggling to get through a workshop that was simply not working for me. I had no clue about what I was trying to do, coding stuff etc... and Colleen took me under her wing and very gently showed me how to do some basic things. She also allowed me to use her as a mentor for one of my former students when he wanted to learn flash and I didn't know it. But... back to Richard's post. He noticed that you can put Math Playground games right into Google Classroom and referenced Tony Vincent's post about how one could add materials. Check out Richard's post here and start adding more fun, educational Math Playground games to Google Classroom. If you've never tried the Logic games, be sure to check them out.
I've been hearing more and more about Eduprotocols for the last 6 months. The book, by Marlena Hebern and Jon Corippo came out in March and everything I have heard about it is wonderful. Hate to admit it, but I haven't purchased a copy yet. I tend to buy paper copies of edu books, so I can lend them to people. The trade-off is not being able to click on the links. Check out the videos below. The first big one is a review of the book. Vicki Davis did an interview with Jon and Matt Miller takes on one of the protocols in his video. It may be something that some of us can look at for a PD session. Interested? Check out some of the templates- for free. See if this would help you in the classroom.
Don't Miss the Latest FlipGrid Newsletter
The problem with fake news is not anything new. The terminology has changed a bit- from yellow journalism to media literacy to "fake news" and “post-truth” but the message is still the same. Educators and students need to sharpen up our CRAP detectors. You can take Howie Reingolds' mini-course, teach your students a memorable acronym or check out the plethora of lessons on offer from Kathy Schrock.
We all live in our own little bubbles and we often create our own echo chambers - listening to, watching the news, videos from - only the folks that we agree with. It may be outside of our comfort zone, but we may well get closer to ferreting out the truth if we look, and train our students to look- outside our bubbles. Check out the graphic below from i.imgur- sorry not sure about the attribution- maybe Vanessa Otero@vlotero. See full size.
Here's a list of sites with Lesson Plans you can use to learn more about fake news and to help teach your students how to be more critical of information from news sources.
One of the new resources this week is the updated Diigo chrome extension. Diigo is used for bookmarking and annotating. The new chrome extension streamlines these features and adds a new screenshot annotation tool. So, why should you care? Diigo can help you categorize bookmarks and share them across all of your devices. It can be used as both a research and a note-taking tool. You can create groups in Diigo and share bookmarks with your peers or create student groups. I've been using Diigo since 2008 and have over 11,000 bookmarks! Now, some of these sites no longer exist- but the premium Diigo version also offers a way to save a page cache- so you never lose the resource. You can sign up as a teacher for a free accounts and get a teacher dashboard to monitor student accounts. Students at HES in grades 4-6 have Diigo accounts.
Big Changes in Google Classroom
I sent out an email blurb about this last week, but essentially you can now differentiate your assignments in Google Classroom. Matt Miller of Ditch That Textbook has created a brief tutorial.
Last, but not least... 3D Toontastic. Google bought out Toontastic a while ago and has just released a new app for digital storytelling- 3D Toontastic. The really cool thing about this- it works on "some" chromebooks. I haven't tried it out on the chromebooks at HES- but my personal chromebook is on the list. It is also an android and iOS app. And- it's free.
So- if you have the time- and the right device- check it out!
How do you learn to use new tech tools? If you were a typical student- Just Google It! Google knows all. Actually, I think YouTube may be a better choice for many. All kidding aside- many times, I will just google it, knowing that I may have to sift through the results. But when I need to learn how to use a tech tool, aside from the youtube videos, there are some great training resources out there.
The Google Training Center offers courses, training, and certification at various levels- from Educator Level 1 all the way to Certified Innovator. These are self-paced, and of course- free! There are quizzes, etc... and perhaps we can talk to admin about getting some pdps, etc. for completing these courses- unless badges and the relentless pursuit of knowledge is enough to drive you.
If you want to learn more about how to use any particular Google tool- just try out some of their basic tool resources. The image is from their Training resources and offers discrete lessons that you can go through to learn more, and ideas from other educators about how they use these tools in the classroom.
One of the icons you may notice on the image to the right is for Synergyse. This is currently a chrome extension. Google acquired the company last spring. The way it works is pretty cool. It is "just in time" learning. If you enable the extension, and are working in docs, and have a question about how to do something- simply click the button and it can walk you through it. Here's a one minute video to show you a bit more about it.
Quick Go-To Experts
*Depending on what I need, I will check out:
* Richard Byrne's FreeTech4Teachers site (I get a daily update). Richard is a former social studies teacher in Maine. He keeps his site current, stays on top of new developments, posts useful videos, comparisons of tools and guides.
* EdTechTeacher- for innovative ideas for iPads in the classroom, as well as other stuff, or try Ctrl-Alt-Achieve- for more Google Chrome ideas.
Eric Curts' Ctrl Alt Achieve is my go-to site for all things chrome. He has excellent resources, recorded webinars and more. But if you just need chrome extensions? Try Kasey Bell's Chrome extension database. Google or chromebooks for special needs? Cannot go wrong with Mike Marotta's ChromeAT site.
Looking for more on specific topics?
By far, the most extensive online community and PD offerings for educators- aside from Google + groups, has to be edweb. There are communities for just about anything you can think of and free webinars practically every day. These are always recorded. You get a certificate for attending live and can earn one by watching a recorded webinar and taking a very short quiz. I just wish they still did google calendars.
Check out edweb.net!
As Promised- What's new in GAFE?
A quick post just to welcome everyone back to school after what I hope was a wonderful, fun-filled, relaxing break from the routine.
As promised, I spent a few weeks this summer going to conferences, workshops and an edcamp. In future posts, or perhaps as an afternoon workshop I would love to spend time with those interested talking about Hyperdocs, BreakoutEdu or some of the real hands-on coding for younger students that I learned more about and worked with this summer.
I did end up taking the Hyperdocs bootcamp course. The book is worthwhile ( I bought the paperback copy and I can loan it to you), the Facebook group is relatively active, the twitter group is worth following and the website is something I reference pretty continually. The course itself... not so much. I learned a lot from the Google Hangouts, from doing the assignments, but the instructors did not give feedback to the learners. They had reasons for this- that they could not evaluate how we would use these docs in the classroom, etc... but it was kind of like working in void. For those of you who don't know what hyperdocs are.... I wrote about them in the Spring, but essentially they are like the old webquests but on steroids- waay more engaging, more collaborative, more connected, and you can organize your lessons, your units, etc for both yourself and your students. Oh- and one plus for me was in the course of doing one of the assignments I chose to use Plotagon. It was fun to use, is free and is kind of a replacement for xtranormal.
Computational Thinking ( coding stuff)
I also attended the Scratch conference at MIT as well as a day each of ScratchJr and of Kibo Robotics over at Tufts. One of the themes of the Scratch conference was inclusiveness. When we hear that coding is the new literacy, that all students should learn to code, etc,, regardless of how you feel about those statements- who are we including/excluding? Do girls get to try these activities? How about students of color? How about students with disabilities or students who live in poverty? Some really interesting conversations. I even saw a poster session by a woman who is designing a version of Scratch (which is visual, drag and drop programming ) for the blind! Lots of really smart people, probably the most international conference I ever attend, and they are all thinking about, talking about how to help students and teachers connect computational thinking, creativity, and design in really interesting ways.
The 2 days over at Tufts were on computational thinking with real hands on programming. The Kibo robot- thank you Helping Hearts- has a low entry level and a very high ceiling. It is programming a wooden robot, using wooden blocks with bar codes- but includes loops, conditionals, etc. and you can use the stage to make really cool characters.
And of course #edcampCT
I love going to edcamps. Where else do you get to design and choose your own PD, walk out of a session that isn't meeting your needs and have great conversations with amazing educators? I attended edcampCT over at the Ethel Walker School in August. It is one of my favorite edcamps- beautiful facilities, excellent food, and of course a diverse mix of educators- from preschool and elementary through high school and college- librarians, classroom teachers, administrators... It is just plain fun and I learn a lot. I'm not a real big fan of augmented or virtual reality- so I attended a session on it- just to make myself think differently. I still don't like it personally, but am now convinced that I need to work on learning more about it and seeing if it is a good fit for some teachers/learners.
I said this was going to be a quick post- I lied. Google made lots of changes over the summer- some may be useful and I will go over those next time.
As the school year draws to a close, I would like to share a few of the many vendor emails I get on a daily basis. These actually have something to offer busy teachers. Check out new developments at ReadWorks, Symbaloo, JoeZoo and EasyBib.
There are 2 new, exciting updates from ReadWorks coming next fall. There will be a new digital website and a new K-5 Article-A-Day program.
The new ReadWorks Digital website will be available for all teachers and students.
Read Works - Article a Day
"ReadWorks Introduces Article-A-Day for Kindergarten - 5th grade
In just 10-15 minutes each day you can dramatically improve your students’ reading comprehension by systematically building their background knowledge and vocabulary with Article-A-Day.
Learn more about Article-A-Day"
Symbaloo Edu Lesson Plans
Symbaloo, which we use at HES for a start page for students ( with a separate start page for teachers), recently rolled out a new service using their platform- Lesson Plans for students. Essentially this is like a pathfinder. Here's their promo:
Engage your students with truly personalized learning by creating your own lesson plans and fully customizing the look and feel. Simply add videos, documents, quizzes and educational games that guide students through custom learning paths from start to finish. View the progress of your students in real time, chat with them to help them with the assignment and utilize the built-in grading tool to make your life easier. You can now get started with creating your first lesson plan. How? By taking your first lesson: A lesson plan explaining Symbaloo Lesson Plans. See what we did there? ;-)
Joe Zoo is a Google Add On, built for teachers to help with rubrics, grading and feedback. It is relatively new and has made some good upgrades recently. It is integrated with Google Classroom.
Check it out here. The video below is just a short promo video, but there is a complete playlist of how to videos on YouTube
Easy Bib Edu
I got this from Easy Bib recently. Easy Bib is an easy to use citation service and has a Google Docs add on. Click on the link to the form to get this for free if you would like to be able to view and manage student accounts. They also have a helpful resource for educators- with articles like Teaching Students How To Summarize and Paraphrase in their Own Words, or How to Conquer the Dreaded Blank Page with Writing Prompts
Questions? Check the FAQ page
To get right to it: we heard you when you said that your students loved using EasyBib, so we’re excited to let you know that you and your students can have FULL ACCESS to EasyBib EDU for free, starting with the 2016-2017 school year and beyond! This means:
We’ll keep improving EasyBib throughout the upcoming school year, adding enhancements such as a new and improved notebook, an annotation tool to help your students find and capture important information, and an improved Google Docs add-on with notes and outline support to assist students throughout the writing process.
Stay tuned for more updates and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let us know, and don’t forget to sign up for EasyBib EDU here.
Thanks and we will be in touch!
The Imagine Easy Team
One of my favorite things to do on my commute to school is listen to books on Audible. I use an old ipod and listen through the radio in the car. As I was working on courses for assistive technology, I would listen to an mp3 of the reading I had to catch up with on my way over to The Reading Institute in Williamstown. Listening to books for enjoyment or for coursework is a great alternative way to use your time while on the go.
Aside from books on tape, Audible, etc. what kind of PD is available? Well, Texthelp- creators of Read & Write for Google Chrome just announced a great new feature last week. Now you can select text on any Google Doc or web page and convert it to mp3 and downloads it to your computer. This is a quick selection from last week's blog post. It's really fast and easy to use. Below is Texthelp's overview video.
I started thinking about a post on audio PD when I saw Vicki Davis' post on Bam radio with Dave Burgess- of Teach Like a Pirate fame. Vicki and Dave were talking about how to have an epic end of the year. My first thought was to email the post to everyone, since it pretty much went with what I was writing about last week... but then decided to simply expand upon the basic audio PD idea.
You can fill up your device with subscriptions to podcasts on iTunes. Here are some of my favorites:
Overall favorite: Bam Radio Network/educators channel
Moving at the Speed of Creativity
EdSurge on the Air
Beyond the Hour of Code
Every Classroom Matters
I asked on Twitter for other suggestions- and if I get any good ones, I will add to the list- so check back.
* Thanks to @katem126 http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl
There is a wealth of free courses, seminars and books on iTunes University. You can subscribe to course from Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale and so much more. Open edu offers an amazing array of courses. This isn't even including Coursera, EdX, etc... and the MOOCS. Most of this is available as audio. You can drive to the beach, to the mountains or the grocery store and learn new things while you drive.
Give it a try!
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.
UDL- What is it?
Most of you have heard me go on ad nauseam about UDL- Universal Design for Learning- but if you haven't been exposed to UDL principles- here it is in a nutshell- or an infographic from the UDL Center and CAST.
Essentially, UDL is a way to front load your lessons- be proactive - and provide multiple means of engagement, representation and action & expression.
Why should I care?
The use of multiple means of engagement,representation and expression was demonstrated in a recent pilot test of uPAR here at HES. Students had various selections to read- silently, by a machine voice or by a human voice. It will not surprise you to see that almost 83% of our kids benefitted by these varied methods. What did surprise me was the average grade level increases- +4 to +8 grade levels! So, should all students be allowed to hear the text as they read ? Only if you want their comprehension levels to go up.
Free Resources from CAST
"Story Shares is a non-profit organization devoted to inspiring reading practice and improving literacy skills."
This is a resource which started off on Kickstarter as a writing contest with support from Benetech, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), Orca Book Publishers, and the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) and Jabico Enterprises. Now it is a growing platform to support older struggling readers with more appropriate reading material- and as a writer's platform.
I remember trying to use some of the book builder apps from CAST quite a few years ago, and giving up because they were super clunky to use. Things have changed. They have a whole page of free educational pages- http://www.cast.org/our-work/learning-tools.html- that yo can visit when you have time.
I just want to highlight 3 additional tools today.
This tool provides an easy to use authoring tool. The part I like- you can automatically add audio and word by word translation. Is it beautiful? No, but useful.
" iSolveIt puzzles provide an engaging way for students to develop the logical thinking and reasoning skills that are essential in mathematics." These are fun to do- and strike a good balance between challenging and daunting.
"CAST Science Writer, the tool that supports students in writing lab and class reports. This tool is geared toward middle school and high school students. Check out the supports and help available in Science Writer."
"Science Writer is an interactive, web-based instructional learning tool designed to help students in writing a complete science report; it supports students throughout the process of writing a science report. Research has revealed several effective instructional practices in improving the written language performance of students, and Science Writer has been designed to provide these:
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.