Tuesday, April 19, 2016

5 Tech Tools

Now that I am transitioning back into technology integration, I have been able to attend some meetings with fellow technology coaches at Heartland AEA. I have joined a Flipped and Blended classroom cohort, and will also be attending NETA this week. From the past month I have learned about some great technology tools for the classroom. This post will showcase some of them.

1. Quizlet Live- Have you ever used Kahoot!? Quizlet Live is for teachers who want to combine the Kahoot! experience with the quizzes they have made from Quizlet. Both programs are highly engaging and help give you formative assessment data. 

2. Coggle.it- Have you ever had students complete a concept map? Coggle.it is a newer web tool that will help students create digital concept maps. You can sign up using your school Google accounts and choose the free plan. Below is a video about Coggle:

3. gMath- Google has really expanded their world of technology tools by creating add-ons for the Google Apps for Education. gMath is an add-on for those that need the different mathmatical symbols for their work. If you teach math or science, this add on is really beneficial. You can create a Google Doc that includes math problems and the students can solve them in a Google Doc by themselves or with someone else. Click here to see an example where a Google Sheet can be modified to hold math problems using the gMath tool. Students can also add on gMath to complete their answers. If you would like to give a math quiz using Google Forms, you can use gMath with Forms. Below is a video on how to create a math quiz:

4. Purpose Games- If you want to create games or activities for your students to use for studying your content, this website has a lot of potential. You can even embed a picture on an activity and have students lable the diagram. For instance, if you are teaching the parts of a cell, you can upload a picture of a cell and have the students label the parts of it. There are other games like matching and multiple choice that you can create as well. This site has a large database of premade games that you can utilize as well. Students do not need an account in order to practice and activity. You will give them a sharable link to get them there. 

5. Chrome for Reading- Stacy Behmer, a Google innovator and educator, presented at the Iowa 1:1 Conference last week on how to use Chrome to support reading. Click here to view her presentation. If you are interested in these Chrome extensions, let me know. I can help you get them added to your browser. Remember, students at IHS can only access "white-listed" Chrome extensions. I will have all of these added to the official list. 

Added Bonus: YouTube channels for Social Studies and Science- I am closely following the ISTE organization and have collected some great resources lately. They recently posted links to articles about YouTube channels. Click here for the Social Studies channels and click here for the Science one. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Using Your Voice to Type in Google

About six months ago Google came out with a way to type using your voice inside Google Docs. Recently, they have come out with new command functions to make the experience better.

In order to set up voice typing, follow these simple steps when you are inside a Google Doc:

1. Go to Tools.

2. Select Voice Typing.

3. Click the microphone.

4. You will have to "Allow" the microphone on your device to be utilized.

4. Begin speaking when the mic turns red.

Click here to see the different commands that you can use during your doc writing dictation. Please note that this would be a great option to be used for assistive technology, ESL learners, and world language classroom activities.

Creating Online Formative and Summative Assessments

There are several online quiz makers for students from elementary to high school out there. Some that come to mind are: Google Forms, EDpuzzle, Zaption and of course Schoology if you are at the high school. In this blog post I will briefly describe how you can use these in your classrooms. If you would like to learn more about one of these programs, please contact me via email and we can get connected.

Google Forms
Google’s Forms application has been the go-to survey option for the last couple of years. Basically you create questions, send the students to the web address for your quiz, and the results automatically load in a Google spreadsheet.  Teachers are honing in on the data collection tool as a way to give tests and quizzes in the classroom more than ever. Now there are even add-ons within Google that will grade quizzes for you. Flubaroo can grade anything that is multiple choice, short answer, and true or false. The great thing about Google Forms is that we are a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) school. The students at the middle school and high school can easily log in and perform formative, summative and common assessments online. Elementary students can as well, but the data will look different since our elementary students don’t have their Google accounts yet.

Google Forms underwent a makeover recently. It looks different than it used to. All of the features are still there, they are just in different places. Here is a video that showcases the changes:

EDpuzzle allows you to take great videos off of the internet, like YouTube, Edmodo, TEDTalks, etc. and customize them for your lessons. Instead of assigning students to watch a video, with little student engagement, EDpuzzle keeps students accountable to the video and its contents by adding questions and teacher voice. This makes EDpuzzle a great tool for flipped or blended learning. The web tool Play Postit, formerly called Educanon, does this also, but differently. PlayPostit is also a pay-to-use program if you want to unlock all of the features that they have available. Below is a short video on EDpuzzle to give you an idea of how it works:

Zaption’s motto is, “Don’t just watch. Learn.” This is another app very similar to EDpuzzle. To unlock all of the features, you will need to pay the fee required, but there are several free options to take advantage of. Below is a video describing the app:

Schoology (High School Only)
Since we have Schoology’s Enterprise available to us, we can make tests and quizzes for our common assessments. Below are three articles that dive deeper into the assessment making process. If you are interested in Student Mastery Reporting, let me know. The last link is an actual teacher’s blog who uses Schoology in his classroom.

  • Join Advanced Schoology--a course Kim Grissom set up with resources, sample tests, and video tutorials for getting more out of Schoology.  Go to Course, Join, and type in the code:  8B24F-KR3TB

Monday, February 15, 2016

Redefined Activity Options

As we continue on with our digital learning environment, while also thinking about the SAMR model for technology integration, there are several ways to connect your classroom to students and teachers outside the district. Below are two redefinition activities for you to consider for your classroom:

Mystery Skype is a great opportunity to connect with other classrooms in a fun and engaging way. According to ISTE, Mystery Skype is an educational game where students connect with another classroom and have to determine where each other's classrooms are located. They get to ask each other questions, collect clues, and communicate between classrooms. All of this is done using the Skype app or website.  Below is a video about Mystery Skype and some ideas for how to incorporate it into your classroom.

ePals is another great way to get connected with another classroom, whether you are looking for one close to home or one the other side of the world. Not only will ePals let you connect with a classroom outside your classroom walls, they even provide activities that you can do with the other class. There are lesson plans and procedures clearly written out for you to use. Below is a video that provides a great overview of what ePals has to offer.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cleaning Up Your iPad

With the Quality Instruction expectation to video your lessons this year, you may want to use your iPad to accomplish this. Video storage can be problematic on a classroom issued iPad because it takes up a lot of space on the device. When an iPad doesn't have enough room, it can stop recording at any moment, or not be able to record a video at all. The fuller you iPad is, the slower it will process, especially if you have an iPad Mini.  This blog post is intended to help you clean up your iPad to give yourself plenty of video space.

The first thing you should do is know the capacity of the free space on your device. In order to determine how much space you have, complete the following steps:

1. Touch the SETTINGS icon
2. Scroll down and touch the GENERAL tab
3. Tap ABOUT at the top.

You should look at the AVAILABLE number underneath the CAPACITY. This is the number or gigabytes or megabytes that you have left on your device. An hour of video is approximately 13 gigabytes. So, if you have a 15 minute focused lesson or a 30 minutes of substantive conversation videos, you would need 3-7 GB of space for that lesson video submission.

The easiest solution to cleaning up your iPad, or freeing up additional space, is to look at your photos and videos already on the iPad. The more pictures and videos that you can delete or send to the trash, the better. REMEMBER THOUGH just because you send videos and photos to the trash, they WILL NOT be removed automatically from your device until you delete your RECENTLY DELETED folder. You can access this by completing the following steps:

1. Open the photo app
2. Select ALBUMS on the bottom
4. Touch the SELECT in the upper righthand corner
5. Select DELETE ALL
6. Delete the photos

If you have limited space, and very few photos or videos on your device, you may have some storage eating apps on your iPad. In order to assess what apps are taking up the most room, complete the following steps:

1. Touch the SETTINGS icon
2. Scroll down and touch the GENERAL tab

This will give you a snapshot of what apps are the largest on your device. You may need to assess which apps are taking up a lot of space and determine how you can clean them up. For instance, if you have a lot of iBooks in your iBooks app, you could remove some of the books to free up more space. If there is a game that is taking up a lot of space, you could temporarily delete the app. ***PLEASE NOTE: IF you delete an app that a teacher librarian or an IT department placed on your iPad, it would be problematic to put this app back on your device. For instance, if you have apps purchased by the school that are on your machine, I would caution deleting those just to free up space, UNLESS this is an app that you no longer use. If you plan on using it again, don't delete it just to free up space.

Friday, October 23, 2015

20-Time Projects

Over the summer I went to a Google Apps for Education Future-Ready Summit in Chicago presented by the Ed Tech Team. I always love attending one of these events because it rejuvenates my love and passion for technology integration. The summits are getting closer to Iowa and one day I hope we have one in Des Moines.

At the summit I learned about a new trend in education. It is called 20% Time, 20-Time, and even Genius Hour. This concept originally began as an idea for Google employees.  I read the book called The 20-time Project by Kevin Brookhouser. Here is a great TedEd Talk that he did on this concept.

During last semester at UNI, I was able to take this concept and really expand upon it for a class project. Working with three of my technology integration peers, we developed ways in which this program could work for students from elementary to college.

As part of my UNI studies and degree requirements, I have chosen to take this concept deeper and learn more about the implementation challenges and successes. Shari Shaw has agreed to take on a 20-Time project with her 4th and 5th grade students. I am helping Shari get the professional development that she needs and am working along side her as we help her students create their project and work toward their goals.

Each student will have a blog where they will be expected to write posts frequently to share what they are learning about themselves and their project. The students will also be connecting with experts outside the school walls to gain more knowledge. Toward the end of the year we are going to work with the students on their own TedED style talks about their projects and what they have learned about themselves.

Some of the projects that the kids have chosen are: app development through MIT's App Inventor program, Python programming language, community gardening, learning a new language, creating resources for people with food allergies, making websites about endangered animals in order to bring awareness, and so on.

I will keep blogging about our experience!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Technology Integration and SAMR

We are back in the swing of things here at IHS! After a new adoption and implementation of a learning management system, great work is taking place in our Digital Learning Environment. This blog is meant review the SAMR model and provide examples of different tools and activities that you may want to incorporate in your classroom.

Remember that the SAMR model stands for:

Technology integration, or the SAMR model is not meant to be seen as a ladder, but rather the filling of a pool. You will need all of these types of tasks in your classroom. Transformation begins when  you work your way up to the Modification and Redefinition levels of the model.

SAMR ties closely to Bloom's Taxonomy and Authentic Intellectual Work. Kathy Schrock has a great site about SAMR and Bloom's. Kathy has also written a blog post that talks about different examples of classroom tasks paired with the SAMR model.

SAMR is more than just technology integration. It is about transforming your teaching tasks to make them more innovative. Technology is the tool that you use to accomplish that. This article is great at taking common classroom activities or tasks and transforming them through the SAMR model.

Did you know that discussion board activities are a great way to springboard student communication and collaboration? Schoology has a discussion board tool built into their program. The following video is a tutorial on how to create, and even grade, a discussion board for your class.

Here is an example of expectations that you may have for students when completing a discussion board activity.

Discussion boards also make a great connections to "Digital Citizenship" discussions. The following article contains seven rules to teach students about discussion board etiquette.  Common Sense Media is a great resource for teachers, students and parents when it comes to media issues.