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20 May 2013
Comments: 1

iReflect

One of my most popular posts to date was the reflection I wrote on my site visit to Westlake HS (Reflections on 1:1 iPad – It is a Tool, Not a Toy!) almost a year ago. Little did I know that I would be an iVenger within a few months. When I began my journey with Hill Country MS, we were 8th grade 1:1 iPad only. In fact, we didn’t even know if or when the 6th and 7th grade students would receive their iPads. After the board voted unanimously in December to complete the 1:1 iPad Rollout for K-12, our 6th and 7th grade students also got a taste for iLearning.

As I have tried to chronicle this year in blogs and digital artifacts, this post is no different. Last week, all 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers met for an iReflect luncheon to celebrate the successes and discuss the challenges of our 1:1 iPad initiative. I frantically took notes and then scoured over them for trends. Rather than share a list of bullets, I decided to create a Haiku Deck to share and display the successes and challenges of our first year of 1:1.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

I will be showcasing these reflections and a 1:1 digital toolkit at the ISTE poster session: The 360 iClassroom.

Whether you are dabbling with a shared cart model or diving in to a 1:1, let’s not forget the importance of reflection. To that end, I discovered this video from an elementary teacher sharing her thoughts on a 1:1.

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17 May 2013
Comments: 0

Appy Birthday @MrHooker – Thinglink style

It’s Carl’s Birthday (@mrhooker) and I’ll blog if I want to… blog if I want to. No, but seriously, today is Carl’s birthday (aka my boss – aka #bigdeal). What better way to celebrate than with a Thinglink from all of the iVengers and his Twitter friends with all of their digital well wishes and sentiment. (This is adapted from an idea I saw in a previous Pinterest pin).

If you would like to join in on the app-thusiasm, complete the form below

Share your app-thusiasm for Carl!

And with that … Appy Friday!

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13 May 2013
Comments: 1

Naturally, Natural iResources

Naturally, I am always thrilled to share student-creations. Today I am even more excited to share three versions of a similar project. The beauty of the iPad is that the device builds in the capacity for differentiated learning and personalization of products.

All three of the classes below focused their instruction on resources (e.g natural and energy) … in a variety of ways.

Lisa Carnazzo’s second grade class (@CarnazzosClass) used the Pic Collage app to showcase how they use natural resources in their everyday life (more examples on their class wiki). Check out a few other iLessons from the creative Carnazzo iClassroom!

Natural Resources with Pic Collage app (2nd Grade Carnazzo’s Class)


 
Greathouses’s 6th grade class (@scienceswag1) used the Flowboard app to display their research findings on energy resources (more examples here). Check out a few other iLessonsfrom the app-tastic Greathouse!

Renewable & Nonrenewable Resources w/ Flowboard app (6th grade Greathouse’s Class)


 
Verret’s 6th grade class (@MrsVerret) used the Strip Designer appto debate the advantages and disadvantages of 9 different energy resources. As the 6th and 7th grade students have only had their iPads for the last 7-8 weeks, I was very curious as to classroom teacher’s impressions of the app-tivities achieved with them. Verret shared that teachers:

“have struggled in the past to come up with a fun activity to satisfy their TEK (yes, we are one of the few states that are not Common Core) for researching and debating the advantages and disadvantages of 9 different energy resources. (They’ve) tried everything from a verbal debate to writing a persuasive essay. With 6th graders, both of those are a bit much. Having 1:1 iPads enabled (teachers) to come up with some other ideas for this requirement.”

She went on to describe the app-tivity in further detail:

“Students first used their devices for research, and then applied their findings to create projects using the Strip Designer app. Using their creativity to convince the reader which energy resource was best and worst was the main requirement. When that was fulfilled, students inserted more pages to highlight the other resources’ advantages and disadvantages. The (Strip Designer) app was wonderful to use for both the creative student and the student whose strengths lie elsewhere. Inserting text and photos was easy to do, and the app was intuitive enough for those students who wanted to explore and tweak the pre-made templates.”

 
Advantages & Disadvantages of energy resources w/ Strip Designer app (6th grade Verret’s Class)

I simply must say that I feel so blessed to work with such amazingly articulate and innovative educators that share creative pedagogically sound instructional resources. And on that note, Verret was gracious enough to share her grading rubric for this particular project.

Verret’s iPad Rubric for Strip Designer Project

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10 May 2013
Comments: 1

Sharing Student App-thusiasm

I think I am going to devote an entire blog series to the topic of “ideas I had from a pin”. Many times I find a pin that sparks an idea. The pin itself may not have been exactly what I would replicate… but the idea takes on a path and journey of its own.

So, in honor of all of the teachers and educators who follow this blog, I thought I would share and adapt a pin that I found two days ago. A truly sentimental and adorable idea a photographer mother shared. Her daughter was turning 8 and the class used the SMART board to list one adjective that described the birthday girl. I can only imagine how special and uplifting this was for the child as well as touching for the mother. The final product was the picture of the child with all of the adjectives floating around her. Truly, what an amazing keepsake!

App-tastic idea shared from TSJ Photography blog


 
Of course, this naturally got me thinking about how this sentiment could be achieved on the iPad…

  • Skitch or Popplet: Students could take a photo of themselves on their iPad and use the Skitch or Popplet app to have each child add an adjective about them.
  • Croak it: Students can then use the Croak.it app to briefly explain why they used that adjective (perfect for an anecdotal story)
  • Thinglink: The Skitch photo could be uploaded to Thinglink and then each Croak.it audio file could be linked to the adjective it details. OR, students could just upload the Skitch or Popplet photo and use it as an ePortfolio and link some of their best work to the photo (e.g. podcasts, documents, videos, etc…)
  • Book Creator or Strip Designer: Students could also take each Skitch or Popplet photo and create a page for each student as a final class book.
This idea could also be adapted for a teacher or co-worker. Each teacher could contribute adjectives for the student or all of the students could contribute adjectives for a teacher. Or teachers could take a picture of the classroom and have each student use the Croak.it app to detail their favorite memory and then Thinkglink all of the audio files to the class image.

 
Dads, if you are reading this, what an adorable idea for your kids to create for their mom 😉

Clearly, there are also curricular connections to this idea  (e.g. dynamic and static character traits for fictional or historical characters).
 
And one more… I know this is created on a whiteboard, but this could very well be achieved with Padlet or a pass around Popplet app-tivity. What a most excellent end-of-year app-tivity!
 
 

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06 May 2013
Comments: 1

Showcasing Content Trailers with iMovie

Have been very impressed with all of the iMovie trailers that have been flooding the web. Decided to compile multiple student-created examples and a few staff creations using Smore. Grab some popcorn and enjoy! Scroll to the bottom of the page to find 6 iMovie trailer PDF templates perfect for storyboarding.

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23 Apr 2013
Comments: 3

History by the E-book

I am pleased to share another amazingly creative student-led project from Tanna Fiske’s class at Hill Country Middle School in collaboration with Ms. Crowley’s and Ms. Root’s Bridge Point third grade classes.

8th grade students composed books using the Book Creator and Scrap Pad apps based on historical topics covered this year. The books took on a familiar repetitive children’s storybook theme to make the concepts easier to digest and comprehend for their 3rd grade audience.

Once the framework of the book was set, 8th grade students used a Google Doc to provide Bridge Point 3rd grade students with a list of images they would need to complete the book. On the day of the field trip, the whole project really came together.
 
The two videos below will give you a better idea of how the project was achieved and what the final ePub looked like.

If you are interested in what other digital delights are being cooked up by Fiske’s class iClassroom, visit their blog. Additionally, the Bridge Point iVenger, Marianna Husain, has been dishing out campus iLearning successes on the Bridge Point blog. It is a delightful read and will surely present you with some iRecipes to use in your own iClassroom.

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05 Mar 2013
Comments: 0

Matching iLessons to Tactile Learning

Just had the pleasure to sit in a session with Alan November. One of his quotable take-aways was, “Leaders should make their teachers heroes.” I am in total agreement and it just so happens that the wonderfully amazing Laura Wright sent me yet another fantastic iLesson showcasing yet another engaging and delightful mixed media iLesson.
 
She detailed how this iLesson played out (and I much app-reciate that not all of the lesson took place on the iPad). While she projected the image of the Matchmatics Lite app below on her own iPad, she provided toothpicks (obviously instead of matchsticks) to the students to recreate the problems at their desks. She went on to tell me, “I think it is important to use these apps in an engaging way. We lose kids if they just watch you solve it.”
 
The goal is to move only one toothpick to make the equation true….great problem solving! Thank you again Laura for sharing such a delightful digital hybrid with us all! And what a perfect idea for the 1 iPad Classroom. If you are interested in seeing Laura’s iClassroom in action, consider a site visit to Eanes Elementary. If you would like to hear Laura share the 411 on 1:1 and publishing student-created iBooks, check out her sessions at iPad Palooza this summer.
 
 

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05 Mar 2013
Comments: 0

Rockin’ App Developers

Field Trip to Rocksauce Apps

A tweet emerged from SXSWEdu that reminded me of a certain teacher I know. The tweet was “rather than focusing on the tools; we should empower students to use the tools to have a voice”  and the teacher was Tanna Fiske.

 
Fiske’s amazingly #awesomesauce class not only engages in project-based student-led learning of historical content and thoughtful redesign of their classroom to enhance learning and collaboration. They also have a thirst for lifelong learning and a voice in mobile technology.
 
Fiske supported these ideals by assembling a group of students to take part in a technology club that meets once a week before school. To provide students with a more well-rounded idea of app development, career possibilities, and how their voice can impact current technology, Fiske scheduled a field trip to allow students to have first hand experience with that realm… and let me tag along 😉
 
 
Rocksauce Field Trip Recap using Visualize Free app!
 
Students prepared a list of questions for the Rocksauce Studios app development team before we arrived and got to meet with each department of the company to ask their questions and get a hands-on taste for how each section contributed to the end product. Before we left the building, Fiske directed students to reflect on what they had learned and share.
 
Three of their biggest take-aways were:
  1. There are many ways to contribute: business, social, code, design
  2. There are lots of different stages to the app-making process
  3. There is a well organized system of each individual doing their job to contribute to the whole

 
I am sure this will be the first of many field trips and learning endeavors. Next stop – redesigning the learning space to be mobile friendly.

Interested in perusing some of Rocksauce’s app clients and their app portfolio? One of my favorites is TickTalk – the talker’s metronome.

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28 Feb 2013
Comments: 1

Stripped Down: The Integrated iClassroom

Bumped in to the creative and delightful Laura Wright yesterday. Here third grade class is the author of “The Life of an Eanes Pioneer”. I have to tell you that there are so many wonderful and exciting things happening in our iClassrooms every day – I am hard pressed to keep up with documenting all of them. Laura took some time out of her afternoon to share a project-based mixed media iLesson that involved students researching a breed of spider, creating an anatomical spider based on that research, and then designing a comic using the Strip Designer app to accompany their spider that would concisely showcase 3-5 facts about their spider. All of the final products were displayed on a bulletin board in the classroom.

Wright’s Class Spider iLesson using the PhotoGrid Pro app


 
What I truly love about this project it was not solely achieved on the iPad. Truly not everything has and should be achieved on the device. We have to ask ourselves, “does the device enhance learning for this project?” Kudos to Laura and her holistic approach to designing her iLessons and truly infusing elements of project-based learning, choice, and collaboration. What I also app-reciate is the idea that not every product has to be digital. While I am a proponent of paperless classrooms and mobile integration, I think there is a time and place to print and retain tactile projects. (Clearly case in point.) In addition to the spider wall (which is truly amazing to see in person), Laura can assemble all of the one-page PDF’s in to one book and make the spider discovery book available to parents and students to download in iBooks as one complete PDF.

Wright’s Class: Spider Project Sample using Strip Designer app


 
Her class is currently working on a follow-up book to the Eanes Pioneer History and has begun their study on bat conservation. I cannot wait to see what her group of students turns out next. Thank you again Laura for inspiring us all! If you are interested in seeing Laura’s iClassroom in action, consider a site visit to Eanes Elementary. If you would like to hear Laura share the 411 on 1:1 and publishing student-created iBooks, check out her sessions at iPad Palooza this summer.

Wright’s Class: Spider Project Sample using Strip Designer app

Check out some other blog entries featuring Laura’s class:

 
Check out the “Stripped Down” blog series featuring Strip Designer app:

  • English Stripped Down Continued which showcases student-created graphic novels supporting the theme of a “Hero’s Journey”.
  • Science and Social Studies Stripped Down which showcased Laura Wright’s Class Bat research and Lisa Carnazzo’s class study of landforms.
  • History Stripped Down which featured Fiske’s class analysis of the key figures in the Enlightenment and included a student app review of Strip Designer.
  • English Stripped Down kicked the series off with a student-created rendition of a Hero’s Tale and a Beowulf retelling.
  • Digital Artifacts (while not part of the original series) shared a primary example of how Strip Designer could be used to showcase learning in the form of a pattern scavenger hunt.

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18 Feb 2013
Comments: 3

Nothing But Nearpod

FETC: Met up with CEO of Nearpod


 
Clearly, we use other apps… but I did need a clever alliteration for this evening’s blog title. A few weeks ago, I attended FETC and got to meet the CEO of Nearpod. He had asked me for a wee sound byte and I obliged by sharing a few ways our iClassrooms are using Nearpod.

For more on Mathy Cathy and Nearpod, check out:

 
Math isn’t the only content area or audience taking a liking to the app. Recently, Tanna Fiske’s 8th grade students prepared lessons for their 5th grade elementary counterparts using Nearpod as the vehicle for instruction. Read more about this vertically aligned effort here. The video below also does an excellent job of showcasing the student led event.

If you are interested in seeing these iClassrooms in action, consider a site visit to the HCMS campus.

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