Thursday, June 19, 2014

ISTE 2014


iste2014badge.png
Teaching in the elementary classroom is already tough enough to organize. Throw in a class set of iPods or iPads and now things get really interesting. What do you do to help get things organized? How in the world do you keep students on the app you want them to use? What can students really accomplish on iOS devices?  
At ISTE, I want to collaborate with teachers on how to build a positive digital culture. A portion of that culture is the organization of the devices and materials. A portion is also having set expectations for device treatment and use. However, the greatest impact on developing a strong digital culture within a classroom is how the students are using the devices. Without that sense of purpose and accomplishment, the device becomes a toy in the mind of a student.
Four “must-haves” in a 1:1 elementary technology classroom:
1. Set expectations for how devices should be treated and utilized. “Tool, not a Toy.”
2. Teach students at an early age about digital citizenship to better the future of the Internet.
3. Backup plans for distributing and collecting digital content.
4. Provide purposeful and engaging activities/opportunities so that students won’t want to misbehave with their device.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Remind101 and Blogger: Be a Super Communicator!




Remind101 is a messaging tool that teachers can use to send one way text messages to parents. There are couple things great about it: 1. Most parents have a cellphone regardless of being a "smartphone." Text messages will work no matter what kind of cell phone a parent has. 2. People check their text messages more frequently than email or websites. It is great for those last minute reminders that parents need to know quickly.

Blogger is a great website for parents to keep up with their child's class. This is especially applicable to elementary teachers as parents really want to have a sneak-peek as to what the students are learning. Teachers are essentially keeping an online journal of the year's events, and this becomes a great asset to you as the teacher because parents will reinforce the learning at home just by asking simple questions. It is hard for parents to ask those simple questions without having a little clue as to what is happening because students typically respond with, "not much" or "nothing" if asked what happened at school that day.

Now imagine you used both? How powerful would that be to have text messages arrive on parent phones and have them see the weekly events occurring in your classroom from your Blogger site. Too much work? Not really if your Remind101 messages can appear directly on your Blogger site! Here is how:


Friday, June 6, 2014

Knight Time Technology is June 13


Next week is East Noble School Corporation's technology conference. If you want to participate, there is still time to register! Jump in by visiting ktt.eastnoble.net! Above is a "Thinglink" interactive picture that has some bits of information. (To be honest, I was more just having fun with it! Thinglinks are a little bit addicting.) 

For those already attending, the schedule is posted at ktt2014.sched.org. If you access it on a mobile device, you can actually turn it into an app so that it stays on your device. If you log into the app, you can save which sessions you want to attend so that you don't have to continually scroll. If you have a few sessions you want to attend within a time-slot, go ahead and mark all that spark your interest so that it is easier to remember them for later. Directions for placing the mobile app on your device and logging are posted: 



For those of you that have participated in Knight Time Technology in the past, we have a type of session that is new to us: poster sessions. Poster sessions give you as the visitor the opportunity to meet with a variety of educators on a variety of topics. You can spend as long as you like as it is much like "shopping for PD." 

Here is a little something I put together to help you get ready for the day: 



Tech4Learning's Overview of Poster Sessions

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Youtube and Blogger: Super Easy Slideshows for a Super Easy Website

 

Now that East Noble is reaching the final homestretch in the year, I've had several teachers ask me about creating a slideshow. I used to do the same thing and spent a long time putting pictures together, setting the transitions, and trying to host it on my website. However, having a Google account can really simplify your life!!!

You can use your Youtube account to put pictures into a slideshow, add royalty free music, and then when you go to Blogger it is there in your Youtube video collection. It really is fast and easy. So easy, I wish this would have been around when I was teaching. It would have saved me hours!

(As a side note, I used PicShare to email myself more than five pictures at a time from my iPad.)

Here is how you take advantage of it:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Blogger as a Teacher Website: Create a Photo Slideshow

Most teacher websites will contain some files, links, and photos. Adding all those things is pretty simple as you can see from some of my previous posts about Blogger. One of the features that teachers feel is missing is a slideshow. There is a slideshow "gadget" that you can install, but I had quite a few issues using it. I had assumed it would automatically access your Google Photos, but I haven't had consistent enough results to recommend using it. 

A photo slideshow is obviously not a must, but is a nice feature that teachers may want to use so that they can add class photos to it the entire school year. Once your slideshow is embedded, you can just add photos to it by accessing http://picasaweb.google.com. (Please keep in mind that it might redirect you to your Google+ photos as those accounts are connected. Directions to avoid that are in the video below.)

There are lots of different 3rd party webtools you can use that allow you to embed photo slideshows (Snacktools, Photobucket, Flickr), but this example is using Picasa because it is already tied to a teacher's Google account. Therefore, it is one less account the teacher will have to create. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Blogger as a Teacher Website: Add a Google Calendar

Blogger provides many great opportunities for communication for teachers. However, since it is a blog and not a traditional website, the calendar feature is not something automatically built-in. Never fear though, there is a way you can solve that using Google Calendar. Google Calendar can be accessed by many routes. I typically use: calendar.google.com.

For this activity, you'll want to have three tabs open in your browser:
  1.  www.blogger.com
  2. Your blog page (Click on "view site" upon entering blogger.) 
  3. calendar.google.com
You must be signed into Google to access all three of these items.













Shadow Puppet 2.0: Disable Image Search


One of the things I've been reminded of over and over this year is the power of social media. Not long after I posted about the new version of one of my all time favorite iOS apps, Shadow Puppet, I received quite a bit of Twitter activity and an email from a member of the Shadow Puppet team. One of the features I requested from them was to include the ability to turn off the photos from the Internet. I asked for it for a couple reasons: 
  1. Typically apps with its own image search and filter will bypass our school's filter. Granted, Shadow Puppet did a pretty good job with their filtering. However, school technology departments typically feel more comfortable if they are the ones that control the filtering. 
  2. Some teachers would rather students use authentic images for their projects in Shadow Puppet. You can tell students to use their own images, but in reality it doesn't always work that way. 
Thanks again, Shadow Puppet, for doing awesome work. We educators appreciate being heard and are impressed with your efforts to continue to improve your product as it is a great asset to our students.