Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Getting Started with Chrome: 8 Chrome Ideas

1. Collaborate with Google Drive

Access your documents online or off! Use the research tools within google docs to find sources and cite. Use the commenting feature within Google to highlight and give suggestions. Have students create collaborative notes. Save and share to drive. Have student submit essays.  Create quizzes using google forms. Use spreadsheets to create graphs and compare data. Make the path towards paperless.

2. Narrable: Create slideshows with voice! (Not a chrome app but works in browser.)

No matter the content area, voice enabled slide shows add dimension to how students communicate their learning. Extremely cool for history presentations and even for communicating scientific or mathematical ideas. This is a tool that can easily be adapted depending on need.

Narrable is a web based application that allows users to collaboratively create digital stories using imagery and voice. As the teacher, you will need to sign up for a free account which will enable you to create accounts and classes for your students.

3. WeVideo (Individual is Free to publish for 480p video , Collaboration is a Paid feature) 

Students can create and edit video using images and video. Videos are made in the cloud and are accessible anywhere.

4. Magisto: Create a free video (Magisto is a Chrome app that allows offline editing too)

If you've used animoto, you'll love magisto. Unlike animoto, there is no teacher account required. Students will need to use at least one video but can mix with images.

5. ScanQR: Scan QR codes using the Chromebook Webcam

Place QR codes on an index card. Make QR puzzles and use the Chrome webcam to scan! ScanQR is an app in the chrome store!

Created using Daum equation editor
6. Daum Equation Editor

Create beautiful mathematical and scientific equations. Export images to drive and use in videos, documents and presentations

7. Access Discovery Education

Yes, you can access ALL Discovery Ed resources using a chromebook! Use Board Builder to create a digital poster of learning. Assign video sections. Access Discovery Ed Techbook. Download resources to use in other projects!

Looking for new ways to use Discovery Ed Resources? Check out this stream of strategies via the Discovery Ed Blog... Spotlight On Strategies

8. Add life to Presentations or Flip the Staff Meeting with Movenote

Incorporate documents from drive, images or presentations and create a video explaining your ideas. Administrators can use movenote to communicate announcements prior to staff meetings.

Movenote is also a great tool for students to use to tell their digital stories! Check out the student created video below

Chromebook 101: Getting Started Thinglink

Many of you are preparing to deploy Chromebooks across campus. While we prepare for Spring Google training, I created an interactive image to get you started!

I can't wait to get on your campuses as we continue to go google!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Highlights from Teacher Tech Integration Planning

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to plan with the first grade team at Pearcy Elementary. Tech integration planning is one of the many roles that we get to play as instructional technology specialists and aside from working directly with students, this is one of my favorite roles.

At the start of the meeting, one of the teachers proclaimed that she was definitely NOT tech savvy as she pointed to two other teachers proclaiming that they were. This happens often and it's actually pretty amazing assuring teachers that they don't have to be experts and that we will support them throughout the process.

When I work with teachers it's always great to know what type of technology is available either in classroom or by cart. Each of these teachers had classroom access to two ipads at all times but could get the full cart once per week. Knowing that I planned to discuss collaboration and creativity, I knew that the limited access would be alright.

After we discussed intended student outcomes, I purposefully shared a few selected creativity apps with teachers. One question that I was asked...

"What's the purpose of creativity? Are the kids teaching each other? Is it an assessment? What do we do with it?"
Those questions were definitely valid questions and after discussing further we came to the conclusion that students create in order to expand on their learning. A student created product can better express what students know and do not know beyond what they consume.

 Each teacher decided to take an app and become the expert of it before their next planning meeting. They also decided to focus on one app at a time as a team and incorporate into multiple content areas. That's the beauty of using creativity apps. They can be utilized everywhere!

Below are the apps that I shared as well as ideas...

30 Hands is a digital storytelling app that allows users to add voice to an existing image or draw and then add voice. Once the presentation is complete, it becomes a video that can be saved to camera roll or uploaded to the 30 hands cloud service.

For these 1st grade classes, I suggested that students collaboratively create so that each person has a slide which means that each student would share a part of the story. 30 Hands is super simple to use and is an amazing tool for student creativity.

Tellagami is a tool that allows users to record 30 seconds of voice to tell a story. Users can even use text to speech which makes tellagami an ideal tool for students that need verbal assistance. Tellagami incorporates a customizable avatar as well as backgrounds which can then be annotated by students. Tellagami videos can be saved to camera role or shared online via special link. 

Some suggestions were that each student could record an idea based on learned concepts and using the link provided when uploading, QR codes could be made and posted beside work typically hung in the hallway. For their upcoming open house, parents could scan the QR codes and hear students explaining their work.

For collaboration, I suggested that students could record their part and save. Each tellagami could then be edited together via imovie to make one movie. For first grade students, this step is something that may be done by the teacher if needed.

Haiku Deck is a digital presentation tool which places more focus on the image telling the story over words. Presentations could then be exported as pdf, ppt or keynote files.

There was some excitement in using Haiku Deck for their 100 day presentation as well as for learning vocabulary. I shared a Haiku Deck created by my nephew in which he used it to associate images to his vocabulary sentences. 

Educreations is a whiteboard app which allows users to create video explanations about any topic. Users write on the screen and record their voice while they write.

For first graders, the suggestion was that they could teach each other how to solve different math problems. They could take pictures of manipulatives and explain their numeric meanings while annotating in the app.

All of these apps were brand new to these teachers and its important to remember that our goal is to support and help teachers to grow...not overwhelm. I believe that I left these teachers with goals and a place to start. The next step is to implement and I look forward to revisiting them during this process.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Electronic Ballots at Wood Elementary School

Wood Elementary held their Student Council officer elections Thursday, October 31st.  Mrs. Van Horn and Mrs. Richburg, the Student Council sponsors, changed things up this year. Instead of a face-to-face assembly with all 4th-6th graders in the cafeteria, the officer candidates' speeches were recorded with an iPad. The speeches were compiled into one eight minute video which was later shown to all 4th through 6th graders at various times using the district's computer network (a la Dropbox).

With the help of some amazing PTA volunteers, students then cast their votes using iPads (with QR codes) during their lunch periods.

These votes were recorded in a Google form and instantly tallied so the results could be announced at the end of the day.

This is one of those cases where technology certainly made the process so much easier- and saved instructional time! Way to go Mrs. Van Horn and Mrs. Richburg for stepping out and taking a risk to try something totally new! I think the results speak for themselves.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Video Announcements at Miller ES

Miller Elementary School, home of the Mavericks, is currently testing different methods of delivering the morning announcements via video throughout the school. Since Miller is home to the district's deaf education program, this serves a great, immediate need.

Of the many things they include in their morning announcements is the daily cafeteria offerings. Principal Jeanne Curtis does nothing in conventional ways. Instead, she sings the daily lunch menu. Here's one of many of their greatest hits! Audio alone just wouldn't capture the spirit of the Miller Mavericks. Take a look:

We salute the Miller staff for always being willing to push the envelope!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Getting Started with Educlipper! Click and Learn

Last week I taught a session via webinar over educlipper. Using the web application from my previous post, I've embedded the educlipper overview videos along with a link to their site, handout and ppt. You can hover the image below to watch each video to learn about educlipper!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cellular Organelles Geocaching

Recently, the Instructional Technology Department collaborated with seventh grade science teachers, Ms. McGovern & Mr. Granberry, at Gunn Jr. High. This activity centered around geocaching- the high-tech, treasure-hunting game that is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world. Watch this video to learn more about the game/sport/hobby:

For this awesome science activity at Gunn JH, students used handheld GPS devices to find six geocaches hidden around campus. Each geocache contained items that somehow correlated to the function of the cellular organelle represented by that cache.

For example, one cache contained the following:

  • battery
  • empty bottle of 5-hour energy drink
  • miniature candy bars
Students were charged with the task of listing the items that were found in the cache, the organelle it represented, and the function of the organelle represented. In the above example, which organelle was represented? (for the answer, highlight the area below with your cursor to reveal the text):

This represented the mitochondria. The mitochondria is the "powerhouse" of the cell. Since these items all provide energy, this cache represents the mitochondria.

Students were challenged to find as many of the six caches as possible within the short time period. Students did a great job- and a few groups even found all six! 

As always, the Instructional Technology Department is ready to collaborate with teachers on any level, teaching any given curriculum!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rafranz's Friday Tech Round-Up

Each Friday, I will be sharing an app of the week with a short tutorial, recommendations of other apps and blog postings from other educators around the web. In addition, I'll be sharing moments captured from campuses that I've visited. If you would like to see video about something in particular, please feel free to drop me a line!

My App of the Week: Thinglink
Thinglink is an app that enables users to turn images into interactive experiences. Using the thinglink app, students can add ongoing learning moments to images which add greater depth of knowledge to what students are experiencing in class. Take a look at the short tutorial below about thinglink!

  Do you have these apps yet? Hover over the image below to learn more about each app!

  Tidbits from the Web

Ipad Journals as an Exit Ticket

Giving a Go

Creating a Short URL and a QR Code using the ShortenMe Chrome Web Extension