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
Windows 10 updates
This may not apply to everyone, but I stopped to check out the updates coming in Windows 10. The one that caught my eye was the Story ReMix. It looks like it is easy to use, kind of reminds me of Animoto. If you haven't used Animoto for quick and easy videos... the free educator version info page is here. Back to Windows 10 Story ReMix... more info here and in video below.
I saw an article recently which basically said that teachers are doing DOK wrong. Now, since I still remember having to look up what DOK meant (not coming from a teacher prep program I am easily confused by edu acronyms), I was interested in knowing more about this. Robert Kaplinksy has a great matrix about this here and he also sent me an email today about DOK and referenced his blog post here. So go read more about what educators need to know about DOK- below is one of Robert's graphics to get you started..
I saw a couple of great ideas to have fun with math (I know, coming from me that's kind of an oxymoronic phrase).
Google Keep (again)
I tend to use Google Keep every day. Steve WIcks posted a hyperdoc today to help put all the Google Keep info in one place. He wrote about it on his blog Recharge Learning. Try it- you may like it. Click here to access the doc- To keep your own copy: File>Make a copy.
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.
Tuesday Tips from #GoogleEdu
This was a new one for me, hat tip to Kasey Bell of Shake-up Learning, but #GoogleEdu has a series of Tuesday Tips now. These are for Forms, Classroom and Google Expeditions at the moment, and come as a slide deck- see links below. I couldn't find any other source for these tips, so follow #GoogleEdu on Twitter to stay informed.
MAP Test Correlation Tool
I wrote a while back about the MAP test correlation tool being used by KIPP schools on the west coast, referencing this site and spreadsheets. This worked, but was pretty clunky and labor intensive to set up. Each student had a color coded sheet, which related to their scores on the MAP test, and they also had their own copy of a color coded Kahn Academy list of skills to practice and check off. A lot of flipping back and forth. Lo and behold the NWEA folks have come out with a new tool - a prototype- to do the same thing. This is the tool. It is easy to use; I tried it today with 3rd graders. Here's the instruction page for teachers. Students in grade 3, 5 and 6 are all set up with their most recent MAP scores. There is also a new icon on the hes.symbaloo page which matches the little icon on the top left of this paragraph. Don't ditch the other spreadsheets since this is a prototype and may disappear.
The other cool thing about MAP tests, and I don't say positive things about tests lightly, is the new next gen student profile section with breakouts for instructional ideas. I went to a webinar last week on it and was honestly impressed with the ways to use the data. A bit time-labor intensive, but when you have time- check out the next-gen student profile section. This is a link to the recorded version of “Student Profile Report – Instructional Module.” Below is an example of these reports. You can go through the step by step and see some short videos here.
Most of us have had that magical moment in the classroom when the YouTube video we plan to show now has nasty ads, or obscene comments- which weren't there when we previewed it.
There are lots of ways to get around that sinking feeling, but they do take a bit of planning.
Here's a symbaloo with some ideas for you. I will also pop this onto the HES Teachers symbaloo for those of you who use that as a start page.
So, what are these? The top row- are all places that you can paste the YouTube url and get a clean version to show your class. The row on the right- all ways that you can download the video and put it on your drive. You need to be aware that the TOS for YouTube asks that you do not download and view. The way YouTube makes money is through ads and clicks- not from folks downloading.
The row on the bottom is kind of a mish mash. You can chop out pieces of videos to show. Perhaps you only want the middle 3 minutes of a 20 minutes video... adjust it. I also added a couple of chrome extensions that you can use to hide comments or ads.
One very easy workaround is to insert the YouTube video you want to show into a Google Slide. No ads, no comments- just the video, unless you click thru to the YouTube site.
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.
Welcome back to school!
Looking for a way to spice up your lessons in 2016? Try using one of the free interactive video tools to flip your classroom, use blended learning, to help chunk materials, promote discussions and insert formative assessment into the videos you are already using.
Zaption has made a lot of changes of late. One new offering is the Zaption presenter, which allows teachers to broadcast directly to student devices, while allowing students to interact and ask questions as the video plays. So, what is this tool? It is a way to make videos more interactive right in the classroom, by adding text, images and questions.
Here's a quick video to give you a better idea. There are free and paid options, but the free options give you a lot of options.
Educanon offers another resource to create interactive videos. You can add "any of seven interactive question types and rich media into the video's timeline".
Here's what they say about themselves on their website.
Backed by AT&T and Stanford's startX, eduCanon is an online learning environment to create and share interactive video lessons. Teachers begin with any online video (screencasts, Khan Academy, TED, etc.) and transform what is traditionally passive content into an active experience for students, with time-embedded activities.
Edpuzzle is yet another system to create interactive videos and track student engagement, assess their understanding. You can choose videos from a variety of sources, trim the video, add audio narration and questions and then track student progress. Easy to use and you can upload your own videos to their servers to avoid any youtube blocks for your students, or simply assign it as homework.
There are many ways to use video in the classroom as an interactive, engaging tool.
What tools do you use? YouTube has some quick and easy tools that I will show you another time...
Use Ted-Ed lessons to amplify your great lessons!
TED talks have been around for years and offer engaging talks about technology, education and design. TED-Ed takes this one step further and now offers an amazing array of excellent lessons that you can use in your class as is, or modify to suit your curriculum. You can use the lesson creator and make your own lessons too. You can even take any educational video, modify it and submit it to the review panel to be animated and added to the site. "TED-Ed's mission is to capture and amplify the voices of great educators around the world. We do this by pairing extraordinary educators with talented animators to produce a new library of curiosity-igniting videos. "
These videos can help engage your learners and serve as an introduction to a lesson, a springboard for discussion, or just a way to differentiate and add choices for your students.
You can sort prepared lessons in various ways, including- content, student, duration. Another way to find interesting videos is to use the Series option. Students from elementary grades through higher ed can all benefit.
Each lesson has 4 parts: Watch, Think, Discuss, and Dig Deeper.
Here's a couple ideas for elementary age students: Sponge Bob math lesson and a lesson on heros from Matthew Winkler
Looking for Writing or Grammar videos?
Check out How misused modifiers can hurt your writing
Richard Byrne has compiled an excellent playlist of TED-Ed videos on the Human Body
There are some great Social Studies and History choices too!
Check out the TED-Ed blog for more great ideas!
Make history by recording it with StoryCorps
"Everyone has a story. What’s yours? What about your parents and teachers? Your elders and mentors? Now is a great time to add all of these stories to the largest living archive of human voices on the planet: StoryCorps."