Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Edmodo Part 14: Personalize your avatar

One of the funnest things about having an online social presence is the avatar that goes with your account! Avatars tell a lot about someone's personality. It appears next to your name on every post and gives others a visual clue as to the author of that post.

This post is the next in a series of posts to help schools and teachers that I work with get started with Edmodo.

One of the funnest things about having an online social presence is the avatar that goes with your account! Avatars tell a lot about someone's personality. It appears next to your name on every post and gives others a visual clue as to the author of that post. 

When students and teachers first create their Edmodo account they are given a boring, generic, gray avatar. Luckily there is an easy way to give your avatar some personality.

If you have yet to update your avatar you'll see a message just below it. Click that message.

If you've already modified it and just want to update it, click the small avatar in the upper right corner and click Profile. Hover over the avatar on the left side and click the pencil icon.

  1. Upload a photo or graphic.
  2. Click Personalize Avatar to customize a cartoon doppelgänger.

You can customize the background, shirt, head shape, hair, eyes, and mouth. Click on an element to see other color choices. Once you are happy with your avatar, click Save, then Update.Teachers also have the ability to remove a student's profile picture if you find that it was inappropriate. Directions can be found in the Edmodo help files.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Edmodo Part 13: Notifications and Filters

This post is the next in a series of posts to help schools and teachers that I work with get started with Edmodo.

After posting assignments, quizzes and Snapshots to your Edmodo groups, it would be nice to have notifications letting you know about new posts or work that has been turned in. Edmodo has a helpful Notification icon that gives you a visual reminder of recent activity.

A number will appear on the icon indicating how many notifications you have. The types of notifications depend on whether you are signed in as a student or teacher, but generally you will be notified about replies, assignments, quizzes, Snapshots, grades and badges.

  1. Click the Notification icon to see a list of notifications.
  2. Notifications in gray are new, unread notifications.
  3. Notifications in white are previously read. Click on any notification item to go directly to that post or to reply back. 
  4. Click View Categories to view only a certain type of notification.
  5. Hide or dismiss the notification by clicking on the X that appears to the right when you hover over the notification.

You can find more detailed instructions on using Notifications in the Edmodo help files

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Edmodo Part 12: Student Backpack

This post is the next in a series of posts to help schools and teachers that I work with get started with Edmodo.

The Edmodo Backpack is a virtual storage space where students can store files and links. These resources can then be accessed from any web connected device. Students can add files and links from their Backpack to any note or assignment. Students have unlimited storage space, although there is a file size limit. Check out this Edmodo help video for a quick overview.

The Backpack is accessed from the backpack icon on the upper navigation bar.

  1. Any resources already added will appear in the main window.
  2. Click Add to Backpack for an upload dialog box (see below).
  3. Folders can be created to group resources.
  4. If students have a Google Drive account, they can connect to their Drive and access all their files and folders stored there.

Upload files

After clicking the Add to Backpack button the upload dialog box appears. Click the Files tab and follow the prompts to upload your file.

Click the Links tab and enter the URL of the website. It will automatically add the title of the website or you can change it to something that makes sense to you.

If you want to add a resource to a post, click the Backpack icon that appears at the bottom of the post.

You can find more detailed instructions on using the Student Backpack in the Edmodo help files
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Awesome iPad App: Explain Everything

In a previous post I mentioned an easy to use screen casting app called Educreations. Explain Everything takes that concept and adds some powerful tools and features. Explain Everything is powerful yet easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere. Create slides, draw in any color, add shapes, add text, and use a laser pointer.

Explain Everything is available from the iTunes app store for $2.99. Discounts are available from Apple’s VPP. No accounts are needed to use the app or share projects.

Explain Everything is a very powerful interactive and screen casting app. It has a lot of features that can make it appear daunting. It has the flexibility to import almost any file type and export in a variety of ways. As such, it’s difficult to provide all of the steps in one short tutorial such as this one. The best way to learn how to use this app is to play with it. The steps presented here are simple steps to give you an overview of what can be done with it.

  1. The tools are down the left side. Tools include pen, shapes, text box, inserting an object (such as a photo/video, browser or sound), laser pointer, object manipulation, zoom, and undo. Long hold on any tool to access settings for that tool
  2. Add and navigate through additional slides.
  3. Audio controls for narrating your project.
  4. Tap the timeline tool to scrub through and edit your timeline.
  5. Export options for saving drafts and exporting pictures and/or video.

Integration Ideas

  • In primary grades have students take a picture of a drawing and explain their work.
  • Record steps in a procedural essay.
  • Have students explain how they grouped or sorted objects.
  • Create a book trailer.
  • Present any information such as a biography on an explorer or report on a planet.
  • Describe the way a bill becomes a law.
  • Students record themselves working through a math problem.
  • Teachers can record any type of lesson for students to view as a blended classroom.
  • Create a digital story.
Download the Tech Integration Challenge for Explain Everything and see if you are up to the challenge!
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Awesome iPad App: Creative Book Builder

Creative Book Builder
Creative Book Builder is a powerful app that allows students to create books in epub format, which can then be exported to iBooks or other ebook readers. Students can embed images, audio files, video files, and text to make an interactive book. Books can also include quizzes, tables and QR codes. 

CBB is a paid app through the iTunes app store. It costs $3.99 but is also available at a discount through Apple’s VPP.

Creative Book Builder is a very powerful app for creating interactive ebooks. It has a lot of features that can make it appear daunting. There are also a number of steps needed to make a complete book and publish it. As such, it’s difficult to provide all of the steps in one short tutorial such as this one. The best way to learn how to use this app is to play with it. The steps presented here are simple steps to give you an overview of what can be done with it.

  1. The left pane is for creating the structure of the book. Use the + button to add chapters and other sections.
  2. Tap the Add Element button to add text, media files such as photos, videos and audio recordings, import files from Dropbox and Google Drive, and add text features such as charts, tables and quizzes.
  3. Tap Cover Image to add an image to the cover of your book
  4. Tap Preview at any time to see what the pages will look like.
  5. When the book is done tap Publish to generate the ePub. The finished epub file can be exported to Dropbox, iTunes, or iBooks.

Integration Ideas

  • In a math classroom students can create a book to compare and contrast different methods of solving problems using text for directions and videos modeling each method.
  • In a primary classroom students can create a number or alphabet book.
  • Students can collaborate on a book with each student responsible for a chapter.
  • In the science classroom students can embed video of an experiment, examine the data, and write out a conclusion.
  • Create a book describing and showing the different types of triangle. Include audio definitions for each type.
  • Create an instructional sequence with each step or task as a chapter.
  •  Create an interactive report on an animal or country, including pictures and text.

Download the Tech Integration Challenge for Creative Book Builder and see if you are up to the challenge!
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Awesome iPad App: Popplet

Popplet allows users to visualize and organize ideas into graphic organizers, mind maps, timelines, diagrams and more. Add text, free writing, images, and color to your Popplet canvas. Help students think and learn visually by compiling facts and thoughts and create relationships between them.

A popplet is the entire board that popples live on. A popple is an individual bubble that is part of the popplet. With Popplet Lite you can create only one Poppet.

Popplet Lite is free, but is limited to one popplet. The full version costs $4.99 or discounted through Apple’s VPP. The full version allows you to create unlimited popplets stored on the iPad or online populist which can be shared and edited by other Poppet users.

  1. Tap the gear and select make new popple.
  2. Changes the color of the popple.
  3. Add text. The only formatting options are 3 sizes and justification.
  4. Free draw inside the popple.
  5. Insert an image from the camera, camera roll, or clipboard.
  6. Tap any dot to add another popple in that direction.
  7. Change the background color of the popplet.
  8. Tap Export to save the popplet as a PDF or JPEG. These file types are not editable. Another way to get the popplet off the iPad is to take a screen shot and insert it into another app.

Integration Ideas

  • Use images and text to create a visual biography or presentation of a topic.
  • Create a timeline
  • Use the popplet boxes to divide words into syllables.
  • Practice adjectives (put a picture in the center and students brainstorm adjectives around it)
  • Create a word web
  • Use pictures to show a concept (i.e. ways to make 5)
  • Brainstorming
  • Visualize the structure of a paragraph or essay with main idea and supporting details.
  • Storyboarding
  • Character analysis.
Download the Tech Integration Challenge for Popplet and see if you are up to the challenge!
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Awesome iPad App: Educreations

Educreations is a unique interactive whiteboard and screencasting app. Students and teachers can annotate, animate, and narrate any type of content to teach a concept or demonstrate mastery. As you draw on the screen you record your voice to produce your own video lesson that can be shared with anyone.

Educreations is available for free from the iTunes app store. It is also available as a web app, although that can be a bit harder to use. Teachers can create a class account and assign students their own log in using a class code. Students can then post videos to their own stream, creating a portfolio of learning.

It is important to keep in mind that while recording a project you can start and stop your project at anytime. However, you cannot rewind or edit a recording in progress. Its very helpful to plan out your project ahead of time, in order to minimize potential mistakes.

Launch Educreations and tap the + button to begin.

  1. Tap the pen tool and begin writing on the screen as you explain a concept, just as if you were tutoring a friend.
  2. Tap the + button to add a text box, images from the Camera Roll, internet, Dropbox, Google Drive or Camera. All images can be resized, rotated, or positioned anywhere on the screen.
  3. Tap the Record button to begin narrating. Videos cannot be shared or saved unless they have a recording. You cannot edit the recording. If you mess up, you’ll have to start the project from the beginning. You can pause, start and stop the project at any time.
  4. Tap the arrows to move from page to page (screen to screen).
  5. Tap the share icon to save your draft or save the final draft and upload it to the website.

Teachers can create a class for students to join using a unique code. Students can then log in with their own username and password. Any videos students create will then be saved to their own stream. Teachers can access all student videos.

You have the option of saving videos as private or public. When saving as private, you can email a link to the video for others to watch. When saving as My Students you can provide students and families with a code to register for the site and then view the lessons.

Integration Ideas

  • Construct and describe the setting of a story.
  • Write and perform the inner dialogue of a character in a particular point of a story.
  • Demonstrate the steps of a math problem.
  • Create graphs to differentiate between sets of data.
  • Compare different animals or plants.
  • Using pictures, students can explain the life cycle of an animal, the rock cycle, or the water cycle.
  • When given a picture of a plant, students can identify the parts of a plant.
  • Create a scientific journal, sketching the steps to a science fair project.
Download the Tech Integration Challenge for Educreations and see if you are up to the challenge!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Edmodo Part 11: Badges

Edmodo badges are easy ways to provide recognition to individual students for their achievements. Edmodo includes several pre-made badges such as Good Citizen, Hard Worker, and Participant among others. Teachers can create their own custom badges and use those as well.

Badges are not graded. They are simply another way of recognizing students. Think of badges as a way to gamify student learning. Badges can be used as rewards or as a way to let students know they’ve accomplished certain requirements. Teachers can assign badges for any reason.

Creating Badges

  1. Go to https://www.openbadges.me/designer.html to design and create a badge icon. You can use the site to add text and customize the look of your badge. Download the graphic to your computer.
  2. In Edmodo click on the Progress tab at the top of the screen and select My Student Badges. Click the Create Badge button.
  3. Enter a title and description for your badge. Upload the picture you saved in step 1.

Assign Badges

awarding student badges

  1. From the Progress tab at the top of the screen select your class or group. 
  2. Click the Badges tab.
  3. Click the Add a Badge to this Group button and select the badge you want.
  4. When you are ready to award a badge, simply click in the box for that badge and student.

Student View

Students can see badges they’ve been awarded from their profile page. Simply click on the small avatar in the upper right corner and select Profile.

Integration Ideas

Badges can be used to recognize students for any reason. In this presentation from the 2014 EdmodoCon a 7th grade writing teacher uses badges to help his students through the writing process.

Other ways badges can be used:

  • Online Help: award to students who go out of their way to help others on Edmodo.
  • Parent Badge: award to students who’s parents made their Edmodo account.
  • Creative Commons: award to students who understand copyright when using images.
  • Digital Citizenship: award badges to students that complete digital citizenship activities.
  • 25 Posts: award to students that reach 25 useful posts or comments.
  • Writing Process: award to students as they complete each step of the writing process.

Teachers can find more information about badges, including how to share badges with other teachers, at https://support.edmodo.com/home#forums/20805855-badges.

Are you ready to get started with badges? Download the Edmodo Badges Technology Integration Challenge and see what you can do!
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Awesome iPad App: Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck is a free presentation app for iPad that puts the fun back into presentations. Haiku Deck is highly visual, relying on high quality graphics for background images and limiting the amount of text displayed on a slide. That is one of the biggest reasons I like it - because of the limited text, students must really know their material when presenting their deck.

Haiku Deck projects are uploaded to their website and can be shared from the web or from the iPad. Because users need an email address to create the account, I recommend teachers in lower grades create a class account that everyone saves to. Haiku Decks can also be created right on their website, so no iPad needed!

Check out this 30 second overview of Haiku Deck.

Launch Haiku Deck and tap the + button to create a new deck. You’ll be prompted to enter a title for your deck. This is a good place to type in your name as the author as well.

  1. Pull down the Theme tab to select a different theme.
  2. Text tab: choose text layout and enter the text for each slide.
  3. Image tab: search for a background image. All images are high quality and creative commons licensed. You can insert your own images or choose to enter a bar or pie graph.
  4. Layout tab: change the layout position of the elements on your slide.
  5. Notes tab: add public notes to include more detail and links to other resources. These are available alongside each slide when shared online.
  6. Slide sorter: add and rearrange more slides.
  7. Preview your presentation
  8. Tag your presentation and share it.

Text tab: choose a layout or list type for your text
Image tab: search for high quality images or choose a type of graph
Layout tab: choose a position and layout for the text
Notes tab: type presentation notes

All decks created on the iPad and online are automatically synced across devices (iPads and web). You can present right from the web or connect your iPad to a projector.

Integration Ideas

  • Tell a story in pictures.
  • Create a sensory poem.
  • Present research information.
  • Illustrate figurative language.
  • Produce a word study using images.
  • Use images to explore the concepts of big and little, etc.
  • Create vocabulary building flash cards on any concept.
  • Do a character study for a book the class is reading.
  • P.E. teachers can demonstrate athletic positions.

Download the Tech Integration Challenge for Haiku Deck and see if you are up to the challenge!

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Awesome iPad App: Skitch

Skitch is an app for iPads or desktop that lets you quickly annotate pictures, maps, and webpages using arrows, text, and shapes. Using markup you can focus on what’s important. Annotated images can then be shared out to others or used in other apps. It's a free app available from iTunes or Google Play stores. It can also be downloaded as a desktop app from http://www.evernote.com/skitch

Skitch can be used to mark up a variety of images. The tools across the bottom of the screen allow you to choose pictures, use the iPad camera, capture a web page, map, or PDF. You even have the option to free draw on a blank canvas.

Once you are in your picture, tap the tool icon in the bottom right corner. You have a variety of tools that you can use to annotate. Tap each tool to see it’s options.

Pixelate is used to blur out areas of a picture, such as a face.

The stamp tool allows you to add text to the stamp as well.

Once you have selected your tool, tap anywhere on the screen to start using it.

Tap the color dot in the bottom left corner to select the color and stroke size for text, arrows, and shapes.

The top of the screen also gives you options for cropping and resizing photos as well as a few other editing options.

Once your project is complete you can save it to your camera roll to share with other users or apps. If you want to be able to edit the photo later, be sure to save a copy in Skitch.

Integration Ideas

  • Take pictures around the classroom and identify shapes or angles.
  • Label the parts of an insect, plant, simple machine, or musical instrument.
  • Identify elements of a text.
  • Show important battles from the Civil War on a map.
  • Identify elements or characteristics of a shape or object.
  • Teach foreign language words and concepts by labeling pictures.
  • Students take pictures of their own artwork and label the parts they liked and the parts they would do differently.
  • Use a photo of a scenic area and label it with descriptive words, phrases, or sentences.
Download the Tech Integration Challenge for Skitch and see if you are up to the challenge!
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