Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer EdTech Challenge #12: Student show offs

Welcome to the Summer EdTech Challenge! Summertime is a wonderful time to be a teacher! It's the perfect time to recharge your batteries, catch up on trends in education, read for pleasure, and learn new things. How about taking the opportunity to learn new tech skills or try out new tools and strategies?

Each Monday this summer I'll post a simple tech challenge, something you can do between dips in the pool and binge watching your favorite TV show. These challenges are practical, easy to implement ideas to help you develop your tech skills and start next year off on the right technology foot!

I am a firm believer in giving students choices when it comes to presenting what they know. For many years it seemed that teachers had students create PowerPoints as a way of sharing information. But there are so many options available today that provide a much better experience in creating and presenting. Many of these tools are free, work cross platform, and sync across websites and mobile devices.

I've blogged about many tools and have many favorites. Some tools are linear in nature, just like PowerPoint, while others allow the user to choose the order they consume the information. When we provide students with a variety of tools, they can pick the tool they like best for the task at hand. Some might prefer the visuals of Haiku Deck, while others want to make a quick video in PowToon or iMovie.

The table below provide links to my 9 favorite apps for student presentations. Some links will take you to my reviews, where available. The review may be just for the iPad app, but most also have a website that can be used on desktops, laptops, and Chromebooks. Other links will take you to other websites with more information. This list is by no means definitive - I'm still learning about great tools myself! You may want to check out Student Presentations: Moving Beyond PowerPoint for some other ideas and resources.

Linear
Haiku Deck Google Slides Prezi
Visual
ThingLink Spark Page Smore
Video
Spark Video iMovie PowToon

Your EdTech Challenge this week is to pick a presentation app, learn about it, and pick one of your learning activities where students will use that app. You are not limited to these 9 apps - let me know if you find another great one! Don't forget to come back to this post and let me know what app you picked and how your students will use it.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer EdTech Challenge #11: YouTube Generation

Welcome to the Summer EdTech Challenge! Summertime is a wonderful time to be a teacher! It's the perfect time to recharge your batteries, catch up on trends in education, read for pleasure, and learn new things. How about taking the opportunity to learn new tech skills or try out new tools and strategies?

Each Monday this summer I'll post a simple tech challenge, something you can do between dips in the pool and binge watching your favorite TV show. These challenges are practical, easy to implement ideas to help you develop your tech skills and start next year off on the right technology foot!

YouTube was created by a few PayPal employees back in 2005 as a way to upload and share videos. During the summer of 2006, YouTube was one of the fasted growing sites on the web with 100 million video views per day in July. With YouTube only being 11 years old, that means students in elementary school and entering middle and high school don't know what the internet (and their life) was like without it! They are often referred to as the YouTube Generation or Gen C - the group that cares about creation, curation, connection, and community.

Enter the teacher. In order to engage students and bring relevance and meaning to their learning activities, videos can often be embedded within the lesson or used as a hook to get students interested. There are many ways YouTube can be used in the classroom - and not just as filler. Check out my post 7 ways to use YouTube in the classroom for some cool ideas.

Having trouble finding that perfect video? Check out my post Search YouTube like a boss! for tips on filtering out the cruft and easily finding the right video with the right content and right length. After searching through  YouTube you'll find that you want to curate your own video collections using playlists. Also following quality YouTube channels will help you keep on top of your favorite YouTube authors.

Your EdTech Challenge this week is to read through those blog posts about integrating YouTube. Then explore YouTube, finding videos, creating playlists, and subscribing to channels to supplement your classroom. Share in the comments what you've discovered. I'm always looking for interesting videos and YouTube channels to help with my teaching!


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Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer EdTech Challenge #10: Screenshot this!

Welcome to the Summer EdTech Challenge! Summertime is a wonderful time to be a teacher! It's the perfect time to recharge your batteries, catch up on trends in education, read for pleasure, and learn new things. How about taking the opportunity to learn new tech skills or try out new tools and strategies?

Each Monday this summer I'll post a simple tech challenge, something you can do between dips in the pool and binge watching your favorite TV show. These challenges are practical, easy to implement ideas to help you develop your tech skills and start next year off on the right technology foot!

Remember that saying "A picture is worth a thousand words"? When explaining concepts to students or modeling technology use, that little picture can help students tremendously. Screenshots can really transform the way teachers use technology. A screenshot is simply a picture of what you see on the screen of your device, whether its a computer, laptop, or iPad.

Teachers can also show students how to take screenshots, using this simple skill to hold students accountable. After students have solved a math problem, created a story map, or any digital task, they can take a screenshot and share it via email or uploaded to a class site such as Edmodo or Google Classroom.

iPad

Taking a screenshot on an iPad is as easy as pressing the home button and power button at the same time. The image is saved directly to the Camera Roll where it can be cropped and other basic edits performed.

Windows

Windows 10 users can press the PrtScn button on the keyboard. This takes a picture of the entire screen and saves it to the clipboard, which can then be pasted into any application. If you want a picture of just the active window then press Alt + PrtScn. If you'd rather save the screenshot as a file, then press the Windows logo key + PrtScn. The picture file will be saved to a folder called Screenshots inside your Pictures folders.

If you want more flexibility in the area to capture, use the Snipping tool. Snipping tool can take screenshots of an open window, rectangular area, a free-form area, or the entire screen. You can annotate your snips with different colored pens or a highlighter, save it as an image.

Mac

Macs have built-in screenshot capabilities that are simple to use - you just need to remember a few keystrokes. To take a screen shot of the entire screen, press Cmd + Shift + 3. The screen shot will be saved to the desktop and named Screenshot with the date and time added to the file name. To take a screen shot of just a specific area press Cmd +  Shift+ 4. The cursor will turn into a cross-hair that you can drag across the screen to select a window or other area. Letting go of the mouse will take the picture and save it to your desktop.

If you want to save the screen shot to your clipboard to paste into an application, add the Control key to either keystroke above. Control + Cmd + Shift + 3 for the entire screen or Control + Cmd + Shift + 4 for the crosshairs.

Jing

Jing by TechSmith is a free screenshot and screencast software that is compatible with Macs and Windows. Simply select any window or region that you want to capture, mark up your screenshot with a text box, arrow, highlight or picture caption, and decide how you want to share it.

Jing also does screencasting, which is a method of recording the action that happens on your screen. Select any window or region that you would like to record, and Jing will capture everything that happens in that area. From simple mouse movements to a fully narrated tutorial, Jing records everything you see and do. Jing videos are limited to five minutes for instant, focused communication.

This week's EdTech Challenge is to practice using some of these screenshot skills. Can you take screenshots of just a window or specific part of the screen? Can you save it as a file and import into a document? How about saving it to the clipboard and pasting it right into that document? After you've practiced a little bit, come back and tell me how you did. What ways do you think you and your students can use screenshots in your classroom?

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Friday, August 5, 2016

My technology integration goals for a new school year


iPad and school supplies
This school year I will be transitioning into a 4th grade classroom after about 15 years as a digital coach. Prior to my work as a digital coach I taught 4th grade for eight years. Over the course of my travels from school to school as a digital coach, I've met a lot of awesome teachers doing a lot of awesome things with their students. I've worked with many of them and explored many digital tools. Now I'm ready for my own classroom!

I'll be team teaching with a reading coach who will focus on ELA. I will teach math, science, and social studies for the other half of the day. Naturally I've done a lot of reflecting this summer on what I want to do with my students. I've thought long and hard about how I envision using technology as a tools to help my students. I've come up with this list that I don't feel I can compromise on. None of these digital tools or opportunities was available when I was in the classroom before, so I look forward to seeing what my students and I can accomplish with them.

Mystery Skype - I'm so excited to have my own class this year where I can do as many Mystery Skypes as I want! My goal is to Skype with all 50 states.

Global Learning - I've signed up to participate in Adventure16 and I want to investigate projects at Digital Explorer to find something for my students to participate in. I realize our social studies focus in 4th grade is Nevada, but I strongly feel that students should become global citizens as well. My goal is to find a global project we can team up with someone to work on and then find something local as well.

Interactive Notebooks - I'll be using Interactive Math Notebooks, but I want to explore adding a digital component with the goal of being a full digital interactive notebook next school year. Ideas I have are to use augmented reality with the printed version (links to demonstration videos, digital manipulatives and tools, etc) and explore something like Google Slides for full on digital notebooks next year.

iPad tools - I know I'll have at least 7-8 iPads in my room, but I hope to have a complete cart. Regardless, a few apps I want to have students use are Book Creator to create math books either as a digital portfolio or skill/unit based evidence of their learning. Explain Everything would be the perfect companion app for this project.

GAFE - students have full access to Google Apps for Education, so we'll be taking full advantage of those tools, including Google Classroom.

Blogging - I'm a strong believer in blogging so my students will definitely be using blogging as a way to reflect on their learning. I'll continue this blog with a focus on digital tools I discover and how we are using them in our class. Our class website will also have a blog as the home page to keep parents informed of our work.

Remind - speaking of keeping parents informed, I also plan on using Remind on a regular basis. I was on the parent end of it this summer with a non-school related event my kids were involved in and I absolutely loved it!

Websites - there are several websites that will be woven into our class work: XtraMath for math fact mastery, explore typing.com to increase keyboarding skills, GoNoodle for those important brain breaks, and EdPuzzle to hold them accountable for videos we see.

Plickers - our school has CPS Responders but I don't really like them. I'm going to use Plickers instead, which I think will give me a lot more flexibility and power with my formative assessments.

Presentation tools - I am big on teaching students proper presentation skills and giving them a variety of tools to demonstrate their learning. I also can't stand PowerPoints, so instead we'll learn how to use powerful tools like ThingLink, Haiku Deck, and Adobe Spark.

Video making - I will have a green screen station set up in the corner for students to create videos to demonstrate knowledge and learning. I'll have Do Ink's Greenscreen to integrate with the other video and picture apps.

Augmented Reality - I mentioned using AR with interactive notebooks, but I really want to explore using AR in a variety of other scenarios as well. I'll need to explore a few apps and see real case uses in the classroom.

Whew! Now that I look back at that list I see a lot of fun this year! I don't think I've bitten off too much, because a lot of this will integrate well with our curriculum. I always love to see real use examples from other classrooms. Please share your ideas and tech integration goals with me in the comments below!
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer EdTech Challenge #9: Tech it up with SAMR

Welcome to the Summer EdTech Challenge! Summertime is a wonderful time to be a teacher! It's the perfect time to recharge your batteries, catch up on trends in education, read for pleasure, and learn new things. How about taking the opportunity to learn new tech skills or try out new tools and strategies?

Each Monday this summer I'll post a simple tech challenge, something you can do between dips in the pool and binge watching your favorite TV show. These challenges are practical, easy to implement ideas to help you develop your tech skills and start next year off on the right technology foot!

This series of edtech challenges (and this blog) has been designed to introduce teachers to innovative ways of using technology in their classroom. Classroom technology is ubiquitous, but needs to be integrated properly in order to be effective. The use of technology needs to positively impact student teaching and learning. This is where the SAMR technology integration model can help.

SAMR is a model developed several years ago by Dr. Ruben Puentedura as a way for teachers to examine their use of technology. As the use of technology moves up through the SAMR levels, the technology becomes more integrated and necessary to the learning task. Check out this short video for an explanation of the SAMR model.


Once you understand the changes necessary to move from level to level, you can start examining your own technology practices. As you do so, remember that the goal is not to always strive for Redefinition. Its okay to have learning activities at the Substitution level. Instead, teachers to need to examine the activity and determine if the outcomes would be improved by moving up the SAMR levels. In other words, examine the level of student engagement-who is asking the important questions.  As one you move up the levels, computer technology becomes more important in the classroom but at the same time becomes more invisibly woven into the demands of good teaching and learning.

Check out 8 Examples of Transforming Lessons Through the SAMR Cycle for some specific examples of using the SAMR model to improve some typical classroom learning activities.

The EdTech Challenge this week is to take an existing lesson or project and redesign it so it moves up from the S or A level to the M or (even better) R level. Remember the definition of what makes it Modification or Redefinition.

After you've redesigned the task, come back to this post and describe the original task and how you changed it.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer EdTech Challenge: #8: It's a small world!

Welcome to the Summer EdTech Challenge! Summertime is a wonderful time to be a teacher! It's the perfect time to recharge your batteries, catch up on trends in education, read for pleasure, and learn new things. How about taking the opportunity to learn new tech skills or try out new tools and strategies?

Each Monday this summer I'll post a simple tech challenge, something you can do between dips in the pool and binge watching your favorite TV show. These challenges are practical, easy to implement ideas to help you develop your tech skills and start next year off on the right technology foot!

The world is becoming a very small place. With today's technologies we can watch events unfold as they happen, communicate with experts in other countries and continents, and visit places we wouldn't be able to otherwise. It's actually a pretty small world out there and teachers have the opportunity to give students unique global experiences.

Through these global experiences students can learn that:
  • they are part of something bigger
  • the world needs to be taken care of
  • the world is (figuratively) flat
Here are a variety of ways you can bring the world into your classroom.

Mystery Skype - this is a fun country- or globe-trotting game where students connect with a class in another location with each trying to guess the location of the other using yes or no geographic type questions. I've played this game with classes in second grade up to high school. We've connected with classes in nearby states as well as New Zealand, Canada, and Venezuela. Younger grades can do a Mystery Number type activity, while older grades could do a Mystery Book or Mystery Element for science classes.

Skype - while Mystery Skype is one of my all time favorite activities, Skype can be used for much more than that. Microsoft's Skype in the Classroom site has many activities classes can do via Skype. Bring in an author to discuss their books or the writing process, connect with a zoo to learn more about animals, follow an expedition to the north pole, or bring a content expert into your classroom.

Global Read Aloud - read a book out load to your students during a set 6 week period. During that time make connections with other classrooms around the globe that are reading the same book. The depth of the project and the tools used (Skype, Edmodo, Twitter, etc) are up to the teachers. There are books to choose for all grade levels, including kindergarten.


Adventure 2016 - participate in the world's largest cultural exchange on November 17. Classrooms around the world will connect online that day to share what its like to be child in their part of the world.

The Global Classroom Project - is a rich resource for finding new ways to connect, share, learn and collaborate globally. You can find all kinds of projects to collaborate on with classrooms in over 35 countries. You come up with the project and use this site to advertise and connect with others.

Kid World Citizen - this website is a treasure trove of resources to help your students become global citizens. There are games, recipes, music, art projects, and even service projects that can be done locally or globally. You can search by country or topic such art, food, language, or celebration.

Digital Explorer - this site is about more than just making global connections. This site provides rich, curriculum-based resources to help connect students with explorers and scientists to learn about and solve global problems. This site provides real world ways for your students to get involved with global problems and solutions.

Since I am returning to the classroom this year as a 4th grade teacher I am committed to doing Mystery Skypes with my class. My goal is to Skype with a class from all 50 states. I've also signed up to do participate in Adventure 16. I'm going to explore some of the resources on the Digital Explorer site to find one my students can get involved with.

The challenge for this week is to explore the global education resources above and sign up for one for the upcoming school year. These are just a sample of projects and sights available. Feel free to do a web search for other resources and find one that appeals to you. The challenge is to become a global educator and help your students become global citizens. Let me know in the comments what you discover and commit to!

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer EdTech Challenge #7: Interactive videos

Welcome to the Summer EdTech Challenge! Summertime is a wonderful time to be a teacher! It's the perfect time to recharge your batteries, catch up on trends in education, read for pleasure, and learn new things. How about taking the opportunity to learn new tech skills or try out new tools and strategies?

Each Monday this summer I'll post a simple tech challenge, something you can do between dips in the pool and binge watching your favorite TV show. These challenges are practical, easy to implement ideas to help you develop your tech skills and start next year off on the right technology foot!

Our students live in a video filled world. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, with 3 billion searches per month and 6 billion hours of video viewed every month. They say a picture is worth a thousand words (see what I did there?), so what is a video worth in your classroom? Videos engage students in the content, set the stage for a lesson, reach more visual modalities, take students places they may never get to, and help them visualize complex concepts.

The biggest problem with using video, especially when assigned as individual assignments, is holding students accountable for what they view. While video is easy to link to or embed, its much harder to make sure students watch a clip in its entirety, don't get distracted by "related videos", or get lost on the world wide web, let alone understand the concepts we wanted them to master from the video.

This post originally started out with the idea of encouraging teachers to look at three really good options for embedding questions into videos as a means of holding students accountable. Unfortunately a post came across my Twitter feed announcing that Zaption was shutting down in September.
As far as I can tell this leaves only two options: EDpuzzle and PlayPosit (formerly known as EduCanon). I tried looking at a third option, Vizia, which is a super simple version of the same idea. But I just couldn't get it to work. The videos took forever to load and when I went to preview it after embedding questions the video never loaded. I'm hoping the developers continue to work on it because it was super simple to use and I love having options.

So now we are down to two options, unless someone leaves me a comment with other ideas. Both of these platforms allow you to import video from a variety of sources (YouTube, Vimeo, Khan Academy, LearnZillion, TedTalks, etc), clip the section you want, and embed multiple choice and free response questions. These interactive videos are then assigned to students. Both offer Google Classroom integration, making it easy to create classes and student accounts. Students then view the video and are stopped at teacher determined points to answer questions. Students cannot advance through the video until the questions are answered. Pretty slick way to hold students accountable!

Your challenge this week is to create an interactive video for your class to use next year. If you need some ideas of how you can use video, check out my blog post 7 Ways to Use YouTube in the Classroom. Then read my reviews on these two platforms (linked in the images below). Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as a different interface. You'll need to try them out to see which one you prefer.


After deciding on a platform, create an interactive video to use in your class. Let me know in the comments how you plan to use the video. Was it difficult to embed the questions? What do you see is the value of a tool like this?

Here is an example of an interactive video I created for a 5th grade class using EDpuzzle.

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