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08 Dec 2011
Comments: 1

Hello, My Name is Lisa & I am ADDICTED to Pinterest…

Created with Big Huge Labs

So, I admittedly am now a Pinterest junkie…it doesn’t help that they have a mobile app – now my addiction is portable and always a tap (or a stoplight) away. That being said, I think it is probably one of my healthiest and most productive hobbies.

If you aren’t pining over Pinterest…check out my guest blog for Computer Explorers where I featured a few of my Pinterest-inspired projects and discussed how Pinterest is a much needed replacement “for how we traditionally share and manage ideas and innovations…”

Still not sold…(don’t take my word for it…), listen to the pre-“Geek it Out” portion of Social Geek Radio (begins at 32:14) where AK Stout & Deb Evans discuss the power and intrigue of Pinterest for “saving ideas (in categories) to view later”:

OR check out the comment section of another Pinterest-inspired guest blog where local moms sound off on why Pinterest is such a valuable tool (e.g. storing recipes, collecting ideas for birthday parties or weddings, getting the creative juices flowing, supporting improved memory with visuals rather than text, etc…)

Appy Pinning!: In addition to locating DIY and crafting gems, I have also started a board entitled iPad Lessons to support my educational endeavors and interests. In creating this board, I was happily surprised to find you can also pin videos!

iPad Lessons with Pinterest


18 Nov 2011
Comments: 0

History Rocks with Web 2.0 Tools & iDevices

A few weeks ago Jennifer Hall of Krueger Middle School asked me to review her music video project and give her a few tools that her students could use to execute the assignment. She had found some pre-created sample videos on YouTube to inspire her students (see below).

 

Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration

 

The assignment is as follows:
  1. Students select a historical period or event (between Pre-Colombian and 1890).
  2. Students research the event and locate 10 artifacts of historical information (e.g. visual, text, audio) to support the selection
  3. Students create a music video to showcase the artifacts and retell the event.
    1. Videos are 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes
    2. Videos could be animated, live action, or a series of stills
    3. The music could be original music and lyrics (both created by students), existing music with original lyrics (lyrics rewritten by students), or existing music that fits the project without alterations

 

Here are some of the tools (apps, software, and Web 2.0) that I suggested be used to achieve the final product:
  1. Software: PhotoStory
  2. Web 2.0: Animoto
  3. Apps: Videolicious, Cartoonatic, Sonic Pics, Slideshow+, StoryRobe . I also came across Film Genie & Roxio PhotoShow after we met.

 

Check out other iPad Lessons for History: Sock Puppet Court Cases Part 1 & Part 2

 

Get inspired to rock out your History classroom (History for Music Lovers – YouTube)

 

The French Revolution (“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga)
The Gettysburg Address
The Battles at Lexington and Concord in Lego
Ballad of Benjamin Franklin *Music Video*

Why Study History?

30 Oct 2011
Comments: 2

4 Tools for Innovative e-Magazines

As you well know, I am an app addict and a bit of an app hoarder. Always seeking new and innovative ways to share my app-thusiasm and appy hours, I was thrilled when I came across this iPad E-mag in an original Apps in Education post. Tucking it away until I found time to play… and blog, I decided to share the e-mag as well as my tech bucket list of resources for creating a similar one for the techchef4u kitchen and patrons.

 

 
Kudos to Laura Wright for compiling this book of “essential apps for elementary age children” in such a beautiful and informative publication.

Tech Bucket List: Curated on Scoop.it


 
Tech Bucket List: As I am inundated on a daily basis with cool tech resources that I would like to explore or integrate into lessons or professional development resources, I created an online repository to house said tools. Noting that a few drops in my tech bucketwere tools for e-publication, I felt this might be the perfect time to share a few that I plan to explore and utilize to create virtual and interactive resources for app-related lessons and professional development.

  1. Themeefy: allows you to create your own personalized themed magazines
  2. Grisker: publish content in a magazine style
  3. Openzine: make your own magazine
  4. Simplebooklet: create and share multi-page booklets

 
Please note these tools are on my bucket list: I have not reviewed or explored these e-publishing tools further than “wow these are really cool tools and I must reserve some time to play with them in the future.”

If anyone has used any of the 4 tools listed above (or has others to share), I would love to hear your review or see what a final product looked like.


13 Oct 2011
Comments: 0

A Day in the Life of Elementary Flat Stanley

I have always loved Flat Stanley to promote literacy, story-telling, geography, and global awareness. I decided to use him to promote literacy and local tourism for a monthly mommy blog that I am a guest blogger for. The original idea was to give the gift of learning and technology integration to local moms and highlight local events and places around town…

Flat Stanley New Braunfels

 

…then I discovered that the Flat Stanley app was free and decided to work it into an iDevice and Web 2.0 lesson. Here are three ways to utilize Flat Stanley in your classroom:

  1. QR Codes for Education

    Flat Stanley on an iDevice: Take pictures around the campus and incorporate them into StoryRobe to create a video. The Flat Stanley app will allow students to take pictures in the app but will not save the pictures to the PhotoRoll. The best way I found to get the photos into the PhotoRoll is to email each photo to myself, open the emails on the device, and tap and hold the image to save to the device. Another option would be to email them to the teacher and have the teacher load them into iTunes and sync them manually. From there I imported the photos into StoryRobe (I found storyboarding the order of the images and the narration prior to recording was very useful) and record narration for each photo to compile a complete video.

  2. Flat Stanley & Web 2.0: If teachers do not have an iPod or iPad, they could have students create their own Flat Stanleys (see these printable templates: Flat Stanley Project & Flat Stanley Book Template), take pics of each around campus or in the classroom, and use Little Bird Tales to achieve a similar student product. (See Signs of Math example)
  3. Flat Stanley & QR Codes: Have students create their own Flat Stanleys and research a location for them to have adventures (research could be done on the computer through virtual trips or on the iPad using apps like ArounderTouch, Fotopedia Heritage, or Google Earth). From there, students can write a story, a letter, or a journal of Flat Stanley’s adventure and even create a podcast. Share your adventures with others by creating QR codes to information, videos, photos, or Google Maps locations from the places they visit. Print these out and place them next to student’s Flat Stanleys and set up a Flat Stanley Scavenger Hunt.

 


06 Sep 2011
Comments: 0

Populate your Technology Resources for your Campus Population

Asked to present an infomercial for existing technology resources for teachers on campus at an upcoming faculty meeting, I spent some time brainstorming what tool would be the best mode of delivery. The idea was to highlight existing technology hardware and how it could be used in the classroom… giving each piece a new lease on life and inspiring teachers to use the devices to their fullest capacity to support student learning and engagement.

 

App to Web: While I am familiar with Popplet Lite and have used the iPad app, I was not as familiar with the Popplet web app and its advanced features. It made a perfect presentation tool and the Youtube integration (not available in the app version – see large video excerpt below) was a nice perk. I also left the laptop/computer section open-ended so we could discuss and add ways teachers are currently using the devices during the meeting. I am hoping it serves a dual purpose of highlighting existing campus technology and a model for teachers to create presentations.


24 Aug 2011
Comments: 0

Adobe Reader X Offers "Read Out Loud"

Web 2.0 Tools for Revising & Editing via Scoop.it

I have been working on assembling and updating a list of tools that could be used for brainstorming, revising, and editing in the secondary ELAR classroom. A particular interest of mine is the text to speech feature on a Mac (“Voice Over”) as it is a great way to review a paper in an auditory manner to catch mistakes you may have overlooked in previous revisions. It is also a wonderful tool to use with ELL/ESL  and SE students. But what happens if you don’t have a Mac or an iPad?

Well, my initial suggestions were HearWho which will turn any text into mp3 for free using text to speech technology but it has limitations of 400 characters without a login. Google Translate is another tool but sometimes the translations and text to speech features are a bit wonky.

Then I came across Adobe Reader X which I use on a daily basis. As most users, I never truly explored all of the functionality of this free tool. Did you know that Adobe Reader not only allows you to comment, and highlight…. but…wait for it….

Adobe Reader X: Highlight, Annotate, and "Read Out Loud"

 

… offers text to speech (“read out loud” option found under the view tab)! I was floored and had to share it immediately with the world… or at the very least my global community. I immediately added it to my Scoop.it page for Web 2.0 tools for Revising & Editing and set to compose a post to share my new yummy tech morsel.


24 Aug 2011
Comments: 0

Inspire and Ignite Political Debate in the Classroom

Container Ban on River Passes

As a local New Braunfels resident and an educator, I thought the current river ban debate would make an excellent post for a research and persuasive paper assignment. It is also is a nice pairing with my recent Fakebook post as there are Facebook pages both for (“It’s Time to Protect Our Comal and Guadalupe Rivers“) and against the ban (“The River Belongs to Us Not City Council” & “Sign the Referendum to Recall the New Braunfels Container Ban Ordinance“). While I would not recommend using the actual Facebook pages for research as some of the comments have proven to be heated and inappropriate, teachers could glean both pages for arguments and direct quotes from both sides to provide a point of reference for the debate.

Last night the New Braunfels City Council by a vote to 5 to 1 banned disposable food and beverages from waterways within the city limits. This ban has ignited the interest of many residents who may or would not have been active in local government and want to have a voice… and a vote.

River Video taken August 15th, 2011 after a clean-up. 

Ignite Debate: Such a hot topic also proves to be a great fodder for classroom discussion and a wonderful vehicle for debate. Trying to say as unbiased as possible, I decided to build off of my previous Fakebook post:

New Braunfels City Council Meeting

  1. Teachers could create a simulated discussion to highlight basic arguments from both sides (by pulling quotes and posts from FB).
  2. Students would then get a RAFTS  assignment. (Consider all of the the parties (roles) that the ban will affect and all of the vested entities: NB City Council, NB Police, locals, residents on the river, river-oriented business, NB businesses, tourists, the media, state politicians). See Reading Rockets RAFTS info and templates.
  3. Based on their given or selected role, students would research arguments, statistics, and facts/info that would support their stance on the issue. The recent article from My San Antonio provides a great start.
  4. Students would complete a graphic organizer to record their findings before finalizing their project.
    1. Web 2.0: ExploratreePopplet, or HOLT Interactive Graphic Organizers
    2. iPad: Popplet or T-Charts (123 Charts for stats and data)
    3. iPod: T-Charts (123 Charts for stats and data)
  5. Students could then present their persuasive argument in multiple formats:

    Created with T-Chart app

    1. a news broadcast (using Videolicious and images from the council meeting and river)
    2. an letter/email to a local Congressman (When writing a letter/email, remind students to: know their facts, state their purpose, be personal, stay on message, don’t be partisan, be courteous, and request a response). Researching voting records and public stances for multiple congressional figures may help students locate Senators and Representatives that would be more sympathetic to their cause.)
    3. a website (Glogster EDU) or brochure/flier with all information gathered for or against ban that could be presented to locals and/or voters
    4. a persuasive essay
    5. a debate (live or virtually with Edmodo)
    6. a song/rap/poem (quick songs could be completed in using Songify)
    7. a proposal to provide alternate solutions to the ban or a revised law
    8. a 30-second commercial for or against the ban (check out Photostory)
    9. an interview with a RAFTS stakeholder

 River Video taken after Memorial Day, 2011 used in the media to support the ban


23 Aug 2011
Comments: 0

Fakebook Profiles aren't just for English classes

One of the favorite parts of my job as an Instructional Technology Specialist is to research and locate tools to support teachers in the classroom. I had co-taught a few lessons with Mr. Wayment last year and had been excited to receive his email of tentative lesson ideas and themes a few days ago. He outlined 5 or 6 lessons with an overarching theme/topic with suggested student projects and had requested my assistance in locating Web 2.0 tool or apps to facilitate and support the execution of his lessons.

Read Write Think Profile Publisher

Autobiographical Profile: The first lesson idea was to have students create an autobiographical Facebook-like profile of themselves. As this project was scheduled for early September, I wanted to focus on a tool that did not require logins or the ability to have profiles post or comment to other students’ walls. My first thought was Read Write Think’s Profile Publisher. The tool is free and allows you to create a profile for yourself or a fictional character highlighting a favorite song, quote, about me, latest blog entry, and favorites/interests. The interactive tool doesn’t require a login and is very easy to use. The end product is a printed page. The main downside is that students would have to hand draw their profile pic or copy and paste one on the sheet.

Another option would be to download a PPT template, Word template, Google Docs template which would be a functional option but might require more time in class to complete.

Scholastic Character Scrapbook: Ophelia

Literary Character Profile: Once the students were familiar with the tool(s), they could create a Facebook-like profile for a literary character from a fictional story. If teachers would like to have students simulate the online discussion feed, they could have students create a static profile with one of the tools above and use Todays Meet for the actual debate or discussion.

If teachers are looking for a tool that has the profile and feed capabilities all in one, they might want to test out Fakebook or My FakeWall. Of the two, my preference is Fakebook. It doesn’t require a login to utilize the standard features. Students can upload a profile pic, edit basic profile info, add posts and friends, and even include YouTube videos (which would be great to utilize Talking Heads, Sock Puppets, Puppet Pals, or Videolicious to create your own content or use current YouTube videos as a point of reference.) The Fakebook can be saved and generates a random URL which the user creates a password for to edit. If the ads become too distracting, there is a paid premium option. Fakebook can be exported as a PDF or embedded in a website or blog.

View Fullscreen |I created a sample with Ophelia: http://www.classtools.net/fb/28/PDQ4DW.

MyFakewall might be a bit more robust but will require logins. As it is still in beta, students may also experience some glitchyness. 

 

Fakebook profiles aren’t just for English: Consider using them across the curriculum:

Aphrodite's Wall via Shmoop

 



02 Aug 2011
Comments: 2

Blue October: Cooking up Educational Experiences

Blue October: The Chills: As I have been accused of having iPad and apps terrets, I wanted to share another passion of mine… music. More specifically, Blue October, a band that I have been following for over 10+ years.

On the evening of June 27th my husband and I had just nestled in bed to watch the premier of True Blood. As he was checking his FaceBook feed, he noticed Blue October had posted a notice that they were shooting the video for the single “The Chills” (the song is not rated as explicit but does have some mild profanity) from their upcoming album and anyone that could make it there before 9pm could be in the crowd. Needless to say, I threw on some jeans and a tank and I was out the door. The shoot was absolutely amazing but I don’t really need to share all of the details as I have created a tagged narrative of my evening via BlipSnips.

Blue October: The Chills

BlipSnips: I was very eager to find some way to share my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with my colleagues. As I am an Instructional Technology Specialist, I had to find a way to put an educational spin on the experience . Thus, I decided to seek out Web 2.0 tools that educators can use to edit and annotate YouTube videos. Blipsnips will require a login. It is quite easy to use and the end result is a tagged list (you can click on the times to transport you to that moment in the video) as you see below. I will say that I was a bit disappointed that the blipsnips didn’t appear more ala VH1 pop-up video or even at the bottom of the page as a news ribbon as that was my original attention. Nonetheless, I was able to share both my story and a useful tool for educators. (Couldn’t resist…Blipsnips is also a free app!)

Got a pic with Justin at a 5591 show in 2004

How might this tool be used educationally?

Consider annotating a you tube video for students with questions at certain time markers or having students create their own tagged list of facts, misconceptions, character traits, plot analysis, etc… for an educational video selection. There is quite a bit of research that goes into such fact-finding and the activity is high interest. Not to mention that music is a powerful teaching resource and fits in quite nicely with elements of digital storytelling.

Check out these YouTube tools too: Quietube, ViewPure, and TubeChop.

Please share other tools to annotate or edit YouTube videos for educational/classroom use and the resulting lessons and activities associated with them.

 


28 Jul 2011
Comments: 0

Tabbloid: Create your own informational magazine

TechChef4U Thursday Menu

I came across Tabbloid a week or so ago and loved the ease of use and the ultimate product. I realize it was intended for people to assemble their favoriet RSS feeds into a personalized magazine (which could be printed or read off line). However, I wanted to use it to create clean easy-to-read handouts from a few of my blog entries and my iPad series.

This may sound critical and I really do love the tool and the end result… I just wish it had a few more features (perhaps in the next upgrade?).

  1. Obviously, only images will be included in the magazine (not videos or embedded tools). Thus, if you use videos or embedded Web 2.0 tools to dress up your blog, your Tabbloid will be simply the text. Not a huge deal but something to consider when publishing.
  2. Captions on photos from WordPress are published as a line of text. I found two number 19’s in my 22 Apps for Parents post. Again nothing against the tool, just something to consider if you are creating blogs to be tabbloidized.
  3. One cannot customize the title, Today’s Tabbloid, to something like the Techchef4u Monday Menu. Not a deal-breaker either.
  4. All hyperlinks and text formatting (bold, italics, underline) are lost in the magazine process.
  5. The tool will only pull the most recent RSS feed (post) from your site. Unfortunately, there is no way at this time to create a magazine of a particular series from the same blog with different links.
  6. Tabbloid will only generate your personal magazine from the original published entry (no updates will be reflected).
With that said, I still think this is a great tool to create quick, clean, easy-to-read, visually appealing, portable versions of your favorite RSS feeds (yes, it will compile one magazine with multiple pages from different feeds). While Tabbloid accomplishes all that it states it will, I just wish it had a few more bells and whistles for my own purposes.

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