Friday, February 27, 2015

Tuesday Homework



via Instagram http://ift.tt/1ExleKx

My kindergarten friends at Wayne Center Elementary are rocking Hello Crayon and Google Drive!

Students are now taking their iPads home for homework on Tuesday. Mrs. Kuehnert wanted a good way for students to turn in their weekly creations in an organized manner. Google Drive is just the ticket as students can submit into a teacher's shared folder. Also, their work can be submitted offline. When the students return to school, it will sync to their teacher's shared folder.

See here for more information about setting up turn-in folders: http://ift.tt/1ARxtyR 

For practice, students wrote using Hello Crayon. They had to include the letter of the week (w), a word that starts with that letter and an illustration to match the word. After they saved their image, they went to the "incoming tab" in Google Drive on their iPad and found a folder with their name and the word "Tuesday". In less than 15 minutes, 20 kindergarten students did their work and submitted to Google Drive. It was awesome! 

eLearning: PDF File Frenzy!


Ever have that stubborn PDF file that is a huge packet of resources along with answer keys and even a bibliography? Before the days of 1:1, teachers would print the whole thing and make copies of what we needed. With tablets and laptops, how do we handle that problem? www.splitpdf.com is the solution for you as you can select which pages you need and download them. 



Earlier this week, I had a teacher contact me over Twitter asking about converting PDF files to Word files for free. Adobe charges for this service. www.zamzar.com is a free service that converts all kinds of file types. It even works for odd video file formats that you need converted to MPEG-4.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

todaysmeet.com

Today, I was collaborating with one of my first grade teachers and she asked about students having online discussions about a topic. Of course I thought of blogging with www.kidblog.org right away, but blogging doesn't necessarily lend itself to a group conversation. I had completely forgotten about todaysmeet.com until she had mentioned that a totally amazing first grade teacher, Mrs. Yoder, had used something to have class discussions online. (Your options are limited when the students are under the age of 13 due to COPPA.) It took me a bit, but www.todaysmeet.com finally came to mind.

TodaysMeet has changed a bit as users can now create accounts and close chat rooms as they wish. There are also some paid features for teacher control that I haven't perused. It would be handy to have more control. If you are just looking for a free option, stick with a regular account.

Back-Channel discussions are a great way for teachers to glean information from the audience. Students can pose and answer questions in a quick format as they are limited to 140 characters. If you aren't confident in the trustworthiness of your entire class, test it out with a group of students during one of your lessons. Pull up the discussion afterward for the class to view. That may just provide the hook for the rest of your class to be ready to jump into TodaysMeet.


My last tip is to come up with some guidelines or rules. I would suggest that you discuss it with your class as to what they think guidelines should be so that they feel a part of the decision making process. Here are a few ideas to consider though:
  1. If it isn't important, don't say it
  2. Type in complete sentences
  3. Reread before you submit
  4. Reply to others with @ and their name (@fred)
Update: Matt Miller (Ditch that Textbook) did a fantastic job of coming up with a list of ways TodaysMeet could be used. I highly recommend you peruse his thoughts on the subject. http://ditchthattextbook.com/2014/01/30/20-useful-ways-to-use-todaysmeet-in-schools/

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

eLearning Days: Google Drive Sync


Google Drive is a great way for students to receive items for eLearning. I've posted extensively on the advantages on iOS devices and some for our Windows users. Overall, the response by teachers has been great as many feel that it has provided them with an outlet that meets all students' needs as not all students have Internet access. Students need to be able to access their content offline.

In a previous post, I shared how PC users can go straight to their teacher's Google Drive folder shared with them, select to download and all items come in one .zip file to export to their hard drive. This worked well for teachers as they didn't have to worry about students missing a download for an eLearning day. This is an easy mistake to make; especially if the teacher has many items to download.

(If you are interested in this process, make sure that you have shared a folder with students and with the contents inside it for downloading.) 

Google Drive Sync will make the process even easier as students can have all items instantly synced to their laptop for offline use. There are a couple steps to conquer first:

1. Students need to download Google Drive Sync to their computer. (This only need to happen one time.)    
2. Students need to go to Google Drive online and select the "incoming" tab. Any folders needed for offline use should be selected as "Add to My Drive".
On a final note, students do have the ability to delete a folder in their Drive sync. It does not affect the teacher's folder/files. In order for you to get the items back into the student's Drive, you will have to deselect the student from the shared folder and share it again. Then the student will need to choose "Add to My Drive" again for it to appear in his/her Drive sync. Let's just hope a student doesn't accidentally delete your folder.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Word Clouds by ABCYa.com




Mrs. Kuehnert, a Kindergarten teacher at Wayne Center Elementary, approached me this morning and mentioned that she was having her students type words in Notes on their iPad, taking a screenshot and importing it into Chatterpix Kids for the kids to read aloud. She was looking for a better alternative for students to type for their word study during her literacy block. 

Word Clouds by ABCya.com will provide a good outlet for her students as it is simple to use, more visually attractive than notes and the product can be easily imported into another app as it saves as an image on the camera roll. App smashing makes Word Clouds more applicable for a wide range of grade levels as the students can use the product in a presentation or video slide. 

The guide above gives a brief overview of how to use the app and some other cool apps the students and teachers can smash with it.

Here is a PDF version of the document.

Update: I forgot that Word Clouds cuts out high frequency words. This app will not work well for kindergarten as the focus is on those words. It may work well for parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

www.freetech4teachers.com - Photos for Class Widget for Blogger


I've completed quite a few tutorials for Blogger as my elementary teachers are utilizing it for their classroom websites. It provides a quick and convenient manner by which teachers can communicate to the community.

I don't want to steal any of Mr. Byrne's thunder as he posted very clearly How to Add a Creative Commons Image Search Tool to Your Blog. It just provides another great resource that teachers can add to their class blog/website that would be of great use to students and parents as the images are not only legal to use but provide the proper citation. I just wanted it in my collection of Blogger tools. :)

Make sure you check it out!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chatterpix for Assessment

First Grade Viewing Shape Attribute Videos in Google Drive


Today, I worked with first grade at Rome City. I introduced Chatterpix to them for another way to produce video. We have been hitting Shadow Puppet so hard in the last few months, that I decided it was time to change it up a bit. Chatterpix provides a unique experience for students as they make images come to life.

Creating video is fun and engaging for students. They enjoy the opportunity to express their learning through video producing technology. It also is great for their speaking skills! However, the benefit isn't just engagement or enhancing the learning experience for the student. A major benefit to video is assessment. Through a 30-second Chatterpix recording, the teacher knows more about a student's understanding of shape attributes than a worksheet can offer. 

In this activity, the students were to find a shape in the classroom and snap a picture of it. Then they were to introduce him/herself as the shape and share the attributes. Afterward, students uploaded their video to a shared Google Drive folder. All students were able to view the videos their classmates made. Instant sharing gallery!

Let's look at some examples. 

Sanad


You find out a lot about Sanad's thinking just by looking at the image. He identifies this shape as a square. He recognizes that a square has four sides as he verbally communicates that thought. However, he's missing some attributes. The teacher could pull this video up and discuss this information in a conference.

JJ


JJ not only communicates clearly what a circle is, but he also makes the connection between the circle and the oval sharing similar attributes when he mentions that "...Oval is my best friend". He also recognizes that the other shapes might make fun of him as he is so apparently different due to lacking sides and corners. Where could you take JJ next? How about connecting this information to three-dimensional shapes?

Erin


Erin did a fantastic job of making this video. She is extremely expressive and articulate. The video is downright entertaining. She clearly recognizes this shape as a rectangle. However, there is the need question her understanding of why this is a rectangle. Just like with Sanad, the teacher can pull up the video and get clarification from the student in a conference. (I even showed this to the parent of the child. In less than 30 seconds, she knew what her daughter was missing in understanding shape attributes.)

Helana


Helana does an excellent job of articulating what a square is. There is something wrong with this video. Did you catch it? The ceiling tiles are actually not squares. She took a picture at an angle that makes the tile appear almost square-like. It would be interesting to ask her why she picked the ceiling tiles and identified them as squares.

Where do you foresee being able to use a 30-second Chatterpix video as assessment?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

PowerPoint Video Gallery


Everyone knows PowerPoint. It is old news. Give students something new. I had assumed the same thing until I met with some sixth graders yesterday about making a video. I asked them, "Did you know that you can add music, record your voice and save your PowerPoint as a video?" They had a look of shock on their faces.



PowerPoint provides a great platform for video as students can import their own videos, images, text, and audio, but why bother? Why not use Powerpoint in the traditional sense? TIME!!! I think about when I taught fourth grade and how much time we lost doing presentations in front of the whole class. Why not create a gallery of PowerPoint presentation videos so that the entire class can spend twenty minutes perusing them as they please? I bet students would even spend time viewing them at home if they have Internet access...



Other Ideas

Students do not even have to do large presentations to utilize PowerPoint in video format. If you want them to report the plot of a book, they could create a presentation sharing the beginning, middle and end. Then follow it up by narrating, adding a tune from http://youtube.com/audiolibrary, and saving it as a video. Instant feedback. Try the same thing with a demonstration of how to solve a story problem in math. How about vocabulary? What if the students recorded a mini presentation of a vocabulary word and you had a shared gallery of words relating to a science topic? Match it up with QR codes to post around the school and now their fun project affects the entire student body. What about Digital Storytelling? Tons of possibilities.

On a final note, GAFE school districts can create the same magic using Snagit for Chrome and Google Slides. Check out this video by Natalia Lemoyne.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hello Crayon, Chatterpix, Google Drive...Oh My!



For several weeks, I've been working with Mrs. Kuehnert's kindergarten class at Wayne Center Elementary. We've been having them respond to books read aloud using Hello Crayon for quite some time and then uploading the images to Padlet.com to share as a whole class. Last week, I had them import their images into Chatterpix so that they could record their voice reading their text aloud. It has been a fun ride as Mrs. Kuehnert pretty much lets me experiment with her class as much as I want.

Yesterday was an exciting day for a tech coach as I stopped by Mrs. Kuehnert's classroom to chat about where we can go next with technology integration. As it turns out, she's been having the kiddos use Hello Crayon to write the chunks of words. Then she had the students import it into Chatterpix to read their reading of the words aloud. So much fun! In the time-lapse video posted above, Mrs. Kuehnert was completely in charge as I got to be a Kindergarten student and participate in the lesson. :)

When everyone finished and saved their work, I taught the kids to upload their videos to a Google Drive folder. The students loved being able to watch the videos as they "magically" appeared on their iPads. This is much the same as utilizing Padlet.com to share a collection of student work. However, Google Drive is more user friendly on the iPad as Padlet.com frequently does not respond well to "happy tappers" like Kindergarten students tend to be.

Here are some samples:

Family Tech Night: Second Grade

My Attempt at a Panoramic Photo

Family tech night was a blast with the second grade at Wayne Center Elementary. We had a pretty good turn out of families participating in the event. The great turnout was partially due to the parent communication done through the elementary teachers of East Noble using Blogger as their teacher websites. That and the combination of using Remind.com provides a powerful communication combination that keeps parents conveniently informed. My teachers that have fully implemented these tools have truly enjoyed the capabilities these tools possess.  

Students and Parents were able to try out Shadow Puppet for the first time. They were amazed that a tool of this caliber was available on their iPads as they were able to share in the experience of reading poetry aloud and recording it with Shadow Puppet. They enjoyed the ability to select music, zoom in and focus on different portions of the poems and record expressively.

Here are a few samples I slapped together with WeVideo.com

We wrapped up the evening with a fun game of brain teasers at Kahoot. It was a little over the head of the second graders, but it still provided some fun as the adults in the room tend to get a little bit competitive. They enjoyed it so much, I had many parents asking if they can make their own Kahoot games. If you are interested, you can find more information on my blogpost linked here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

eLearning Days: Google Hangouts


After taking a look at the weather report for the next week, it looks as if East Noble School Corporation may face another eLearning day. Teachers have been prepping materials by collecting and creating videos for through Snagit and distributing the content through Google Drive to allow for offline access. 

Another opportunity exists for teachers to make the most of their eLearning day experience. While students are working on their tasks at home and teachers are preparing for the next eLearning day, teachers can also utilize the time to collaborate with their peers by using Google Hangouts. Through this tool teachers can chat by text, video, and even share their screen. This is especially handy when attempting to view the same data/resource simultaneously. I also plan on having my Google Hangouts up and running if a teacher would like to receive training on a technology tool of some sort. 

Hangouts also provides a great opportunity to reach out to educators/specialist outside of the district. Much like Skype, it works across platforms and is an exciting way to open up the classroom to the world. Check out connected classrooms for more information about virtual field trips. 

The directions on how to install Hangouts is listed in the presentation below. I also provide a video tutorial on how to use this resource if it is something that is unfamiliar to you. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kindergarten App Smashing


Students love to create and express their thinking on their iPad. That's why last month I did an entire post on Kindergarten using Hello Crayon to express their thinking while a text was read aloud. (In great detail, I might add.) After they made their creations and wrote their sentences about their thinking, they posted it on Padlet.com using QR Reader by Scan

Mrs. Kuehnert, Kindergarten teacher at Wayne Center Elementary, continued this activity as she could quickly see their thinking and the entire class could share in the experience as their work appeared on Mrs. Kuehnert's computer. 

To build upon what they already know, I had them perform the same task reading Snowmen at Night. After the students finished their illustrations and sentences and saved their work using Hello Crayons to the camera roll, they used Chatterpix Kids to make their images come to life by drawing a mouth on the image and recording their sentence read aloud! 

I have some samples for you to view. I didn't think it was too bad considering they have only used Chatterpix once prior to this meeting. Also, they didn't combine tasks from two separate apps. Thanks goes to Mrs. Kuehnert for allowing me to experiment with her Kindergarten students. It is fun seeing what they can do with an iPad! 



Monday, February 2, 2015

eLearning Days: SaveFromNet and Scannable

eLearning will be a topic that I will revisit from time to time as I come across tools that will enhance/speed up the process. It is time consuming for teachers to gather resources and plan for an entire eLearning day. It is even more time consuming when they make all their own resources for an eLearning day. Either way, here are a couple of free tools teachers can use to improve their experience with collecting learning content. 

http://en.savefrom.net

Savefromnet is a free service that allows you to download a video. Your first thought might be Youtube, but it will indeed download a video copy of videos from other locations as well. It even worked with some ShowMe lessons I had created a year ago. This video also covers how to upload it to Google Drive as it is the platform my school buildings are using to distribute eLearning materials for offline use. (Thanks, Julie Becker, for introducing this site to me.) 



Scannable

Scannable is a free iOS provided by Evernote. This tutorial demonstrates how to quickly capture images of existing documents and combine them into a PDF file. The user has quite a few options as to the end result of the document. This video demonstrates how to export it to Google Drive.

Brushes Redux

Tablet devices are fantastic for photo editing and artistic effects due to the ability to touch the screen. Not only that, but the touchscreen makes these types of tasks much easier for elementary students. Brushes Redux  is a free app in the iOS app store that allows just that. I like the layering features as you can place overlays on top of images or existing drawings. It has quite a few different types of brushes and is not lacking on the ability to manipulate the brushes to meet your specific needs.

Here is an overview of some basics that Brushes Redux has to offer (I apologize for the length, but there are quite a few features): 



I envision this app working well for posters, advertisements, or even presentation slides. Students are able to create their own unique twist to their work as there is a lot of freedom and choice within the app.

Here are a few other samples I created:
As you can see, I like burgers.

To get the text in the image, I typed it in notes, took a screenshot, then imported it as an image.