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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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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.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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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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12 Feb 2013
Comments: 4

Greathouse’s GREAT Curricular Use of Puppet Pals

Greathouse’s middle school class has done it again (check out their first iLesson using Explain Everything)! Rather than have students read the entire chapter on climate, she created an iJigsaw app-tivity. Students were divided into groups and assigned  a section of the climate chapter to summarize and report on. They were given the freedom to choose how and which app would be best to present the content they were responsible for.

Given the freedom to shine, this group chose Puppet Pals and really did the app and the content justice, if I do say so myself.

Check out Puppet Pals Featured Videos

Can’t get enough of Puppet Pals? Have you seen Puppet Pals 2? Test out the FREE version but I have a feeling you will end up buying the All Access Pass.

Puppet Pals 2: Characters, Props, Soundtracks, Zoomable/Panning Sets and More!

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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04 Feb 2013
Comments: 4

iVocabulary

Reunited…for a workshop at TCEA, Yolanda Barker and I will be presenting “iVocabulary” at TCEA 2013.

iVocabulary Workshop Description:  Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking are integral to developing language. This session will utilize the four skills to focus on multiple ways to develop vocabulary utilizing mobile devices in the iClassroom. The tour of resources will include specific content-based glossary apps and apps that allow you to create your own flashcards and personal glossaries (e.g. Quizlet) and apptivities that extend the vocabulary (e.g. creating a Frayer model in Popplet Lite or a vocabulary sorting activity in iCardSort). Vocabulary development will increase with use of video creation utilizing apps like Mad Lips and Puppet Pals. Writing and Reading will be supported with annotation apps (e.g. Notability, PaperPort Notes) and book creation apps (e.g. Scribble Press, Albums FX Lite). The session will culminate with “surprisingly educational” apps that support the four skills (e.g. StoryLines for Schools and TypeDrawing for Free).

Thinglink Framework: Yolanda’s graphically inclined hubby created a Scrabble board to house all of the links for the course. 8 List.ly lists of apps, a Prezi of samples, and much more is hidden in the image below.

A Prezi of iVocab products was created to showcase products and samples for each of the 8 app categories.

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23 Jan 2013
Comments: 0

The Life of an Eanes Pioneer Child

I have to say I am just as overjoyed and proud to share Laura Wright’s student-created interactive iBook as I was a year ago when “Hot Apps 4 HOTS” was published. Her 3rd grade students have truly assembled a historical (and dare I say… adorable) publication to honor the heritage of the Eanes Pioneer Child.

The 49 page book includes 9 chapters with multiple sections in each:

  1. Chapter 1: Gone To Texas!
  2. Chapter 2: Pioneer Homes
  3. Chapter 3: Pioneer Food
  4. Chapter 4: Pioneer Chores
  5. Chapter 5: Pioneer Fun
  6. Chapter 6: Pioneer School
  7. Chapter 7: Pioneer Danger
  8. Chapter 8: Pioneer Hospitality
  9. Chapter 9: Giving Thanks

The book includes beautiful sepia filled photos taken at the Eanes History Center, Eanes Historical Cemetery, and the Eanes-Marshall Ranch House. Several apps aided the production of the book including Garage Band to compose their own pioneer music, Pages to aid in writing, and iMovie for video editing.

The Life of an Eanes Pioneer Child

The entire book was assembled using a MacBook Pro and iBook Author. Truly, swiping through the pages of this delightful book, you can tell much care was taken by the students to produce their best work in an authentic learning environment. Laura Wright even includes a “How’d They Do That?” section at the end of the book that further details the project.

The Life of an Eanes Pioneer Child

In her credits, she gave me a shout-out, but truly I want to thank her for inspiring us all and raising the bar on what students can create on the iPad and assembling such a authentic learning treasure and digital delight.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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03 Jan 2013
Comments: 5

English Stripped Down Continued…

Last semester (it feels so long ago when I say it like that), I shared a “Stripped Down” series that showcased how students are using cartoon apps like Strip Designer and Comic Life to showcase learning across the curriculum.

The “Stripped Down” series included:

  • 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.

As we are all returning to school shortly (or have already started back), I thought I would revive the series with two more student-created graphic novels created by Westlake HS Students. Both of the strips were created with the Strip Designer app which was provisioned for each high school student through the self service app on their iPad to support this type of product creation.

Rockysseus: I love that students used a combination of filtered actual photos, hand drawings, and captions to showcase their Hero’s journey. Also love the text which denotes scene changes, plot highlights, and supernatural intervention.

Rockysseus created by Westlake HS students using Strip Designer

The Lion King Odyssey: This comic presupposes that Mufaseus lived. I enjoyed how the students showcased point of view and how they were “playing” each one of the characters. The idea of incorporating Lion King pics and storyline allowed for a fractured fairytale or mock fan fiction element and was truly engaging.

The Lion King Odyssey created by Westlake HS students using Strip Designer

Westlake HS students are part of a 1:1 iPad initiative. More info about this project can be viewed here (Read my observations during a recent site visit). The Board at Eanes ISD recently approved the 1:1 iPad initiative for K-12 students (view board presentation here)!

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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27 Dec 2012
Comments: 2

Hot Apps 4 HOTS goes Dutch

It was just about this time of year last year when Yolanda and I were frantically working to finish “Hot Apps 4 HOTS” and get it submitted to the iBook store before TCEA. Well wouldn’t you know it, a year later there have been close to 20,000 international downloads and the first Dutch translation of the published iResource:

“Hot Apps 4 HOTS” goes Dutch

I have taken the liberty to translate Dico’s blog entry about the Dutch version below using Google Translate. The entire resource is available for FREE with a tweet or like. I feel quite honored that Dico valued the book enough to painstakenly translate and recreate it for other educators to app-reciate in their native language.

Blog Translation

As I was preparing for this post, I stumbled upon another Dutch blog showcasing the Explain Everything projects students created in science class before the holiday break. This always brings a smile to my face. Those of you that blog know the work is tireless and you never truly know who is reading or who is impacted unless they speak out or contact you. I hope I have not butchered this Dutch saying “Waar het hart vol van is, stroomt de mond van over” , but truly my heart is full this holiday season and my keyboard will go on… Thank you to all of you who share my app-thusiasm for iLearning and making a difference in the iClassroom. As we look forward to 2013, remember “Zonder mijn en dijn zou de wereld een hemel zijn” which I believe loosely translates to mean share and share alike will make for a better world. (More Dutch Sayings).

Another Dutch Blog highlighting TechChef4u content

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21 Dec 2012
Comments: 6

My Journey to Become an iVenger…

Little did I know that my visit to Westlake HS’s iPad 1:1 initiative last spring would be the beginnings of a complete life change. For two years, I made the dreaded commute to San Antonio from New Braunfels (my husband made this commute for 5). Constantly asked by coworkers if I would ever move back to San Antonio to lessen the commute, I always replied, “We will NEVER leave New Braunfels!”

… Over my last year with NEISD (I clearly was not aware that it was my last), I communicated with Carl Hooker (#bigdeal… even collaborated to make him a B-day video below) and would run into him at various events and even co-present with Jon Samuelson at ISTE and Mobile 2012. I also had both Carl and Jon on my radio show “appy hours 4 u“.  Gotta say I drank the Eanes koolaid and fell in love. When a 1:1 job presented itself, I felt there was truly only one decision to make.
 
 

 
While my family dabbled in the New Braunfels/Austin commute for a a few months, it soon became apparent that our lives were no longer in New Braunfels and our house no longer felt like home. Flash forward six months… I am living and working in Austin with my family. I feel very blessed to have the app-ortunity to work with such an amazing staff at HCMS and to have joined the epic likes of the iVengers. I look forward to many more years of iTriumphs and epicocity!
 
 

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19 Dec 2012
Comments: 9

Science Explained

At last week’s iPad site visit, a student on the panel was describing her favorite iLesson:

“It was in science. It is an interactive periodic table (app). We were learning about the elements. You click on an element and it gives you the history, who made it, how you use it, what it is used for. Another cool feature is you can make them. You can keep on adding neutrons, electrons, and protons as much as you like and every time you click on the plus or minus, it tells you what element you just made. The results were really amazing. We had more interest in the periodic table than we ever had before mainly because it was fun, it was interesting, we actually got to play around with it and see what we could make with it instead of just giving us a piece of paper and telling us ‘research these’.”

The student was referring to the NOVA Elements app. While this app clearly made an impression on the student, I was really thrilled when Ms. Greathouse contacted me about using some product-based apps to create review resources for the 8th grade test. The students were allowed to choose either Explain Everything, Strip Designer, or Keynote.

Some of the Plate Tectonic topics/concepts to choose from were:

  • A divergent boundary occurs when two plates move away from one another creating rift valleys in continental material and ridges in ocean basins.
  • Mountain ranges, volcanoes, rift valleys and other land features can be observed from space, and these images can be used to support theories about tectonic plate activity.
  • Evidence of changes that occurred in the past can be observed from space, allowing scientists to predict changes that might occur in the future due to sediment deposition, glacier movement, and river courses.

 
What a wonderful iLearning moment this was! Students collaborated and taught each other the technology skills they needed to achieve the content portion of the task in real time. I heard questions like, “How do you add arrows to Keynote?” and “Show me how you embedded an animated gif in Explain Everything?”. In between answering questions and observing the iLearning process, I took a little video footage:

iRubrics: Later, Ms. Greathouse and I discussed how she would grade the projects. She wanted to ensure that students would not just do the bare minimum  while rewarding  those who went above and beyond. We both agreed the best way to achieve this goal was with a rubric. After combining and tweaking a few online rubrics, Ms. Greathouse focused on content, writing processes, layout, and graphics, and shared the one below:

iPad Product Rubric

iProducts Assessment Sharecase: In this world of differentiation, product-based learning, and mobile devices, how are you assessing student productivity and iLearning? Would love to hear about your student products and assessments and even see some rubrics. Please share in the comment section below.

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