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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

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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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.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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09 Oct 2012
Comments: 2

Fiske Class: Documenting iLearning

In true Alan November-esque style, Tanna Fiske empowers her 8th grade students to lead and contribute valuable resources to the “digital learning farm”.

Published Products with a Purpose: Mrs. Fiske’s students share their “triumphs and failures” in a class blog that documents their 1:1 iPad journey. One of my favorite projects was accomplished the first week the students received their iPads. They used Explain Everything to showcase the 5 themes of geography (embedded below) and even reviewed the “modern powerpoint” app. Also check out their most recent project – 13 Colonies Commercials.


Published with a Voice and Purpose: students also use the blog as a venue for reviewing apps they utilize in the classroom.

Fiske Class App Rating System

The class created their own app rating system. Here is the running record of Fiske’s Class iToolkit of app reviews: Type on PDF, ImageChef, PDF PROvider, PromtWare Plus, Type on PDF free, DocAs, Quizlet, Flashcards*, myHomework, Explain Everything

I love that the reviews are brief, written in a friendly student language, feature personal recommendations and comparisons amongst a group of reviewed apps, and include the features they feel are most valuable. Some students are even beginning to use Reflection to record their own app video tutorials. One of the first was based on the organization app iStudiez Pro.

Digital Learning Legacies: Mrs. Fiske has set up a class Twitter (which displays though TimeKiwi) to visually showcase their iLearning journey and shares it with students and parents alike.

Fiske Class Time Kiwi

Check out an elementary example of Documenting iLearning.

Check out a MS Math classroom’s iLearning journey.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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19 Jan 2012
Comments: 3

Yes, Technology CAN Transform Education!

After reading the Tech Crunch article “Can Technology Transform Education Before It’s Too Late”?, I was a bit shocked and surprisedShocked that there were 15 comments in less than 3 hours and 40+ comments in a span of 24 hours. Clearly the topic is popular. What surprised me was the vast spectrum of comments ranging from arguments between the importance of how and what is taught, lack of focus on critical thinking and need for tools that facilitate retention, lack of parent involvement, and the need for a influx of social media to correspond and collaborate. Some felt technology was a tool and others cited technology-driven innovations like Khan Academy as the answer.

Tech Crunch Article by Prerna Gupta

Mobile Devices are a Game-Changer: While I do agree how and what is taught is integral to student learning and achievement, I have to say that mobile devices (especially the iPad/iPod in particular) are a game-changer… paired with purposeful instruction and meaningful application. They are the vehicle for personal, differentiated, and global learning. So how do we leverage these devices to effectively meet the needs of all of our learners?

Katie Gimbar says it better than I can: Why I Flipped My Classroom?. While she does not focus on the iDevices as a vehicle for flipping the classroom, one can see how these devices could easily support delivery of content (and later… application).

Now, How Might this Look in a Real Classroom? Let’s let Aaron Sam’s classroom serve as a model. (Also check out Katie Gimbar’s explanation: “What Does Your Classroom Look Like Now?”)

Now what are the road blocks to this initiative? What if a student doesn’t have access to the videos? What if a student doesn’t watch the videos? Who creates the videos? How are the videos created? Again, we will visit Katie Gimbar for the solutions!

What About Students with No Access?

What If Students Don’t Watch the Videos?

Who is Creating these Videos? If a teacher doesn’t feel he/she has the time or expertise to do so, Khan Academy and other sites have wonderful video libraries. However, Katie Gimbar (and myself included) feel the best author for change is the classroom teacher.

The next question for me… How are these Videos Created/Produced? Katie (through her video series, I feel a unique familiarity with her… so perhaps we can be on a first name basis) chooses the Flip Camera and white board as her tools of choice. Others may opt for an iPod with a camera, an Avermedia Document camera (and/or A+ interactive software), the SMART recording feature built in to SMART software, or Camtasia Studio (Aaron Sams’ and Chris Groff’s choice), an iPevo, or even screen-casting tools like ShowMe, ScreenChomp, and Explain Everything. Choose a tool that is familiar to you and a tool that will deliver your content in the most appropriate way.

In closing…can technology transform education? No, not technology in it of itself. BUT, technology can be used to support initiatives like “flipping the classroom”, differentiated instruction, and personal learning. Utilizing these technology innovations is the key to empowering teachers to impact student learning and in doing so…transform education!

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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14 Nov 2011
Comments: 0

iModel iPad Lessons with Number Line

In building the “iTools for the 1 iDevice Classroom” workshop, we felt there was a great need for modeling how various game-like apps can be utilized in multiple settings (e.g. cooperative pairs, small groups, stations, whole class). We also felt very strongly that it wasn’t enough to just talk about classroom and curricular uses but to truly model and discuss how task cards and recording sheets would be used and what follow-up and extension activities would look like.

iModel with Explain Everything: I have used Explain Everything to model how an iLesson could be delivered using the resources that have been provided within the Number Line apptivity. (Check out KSAT’s iPAd Curriculum site for Number Line lesson and score sheet).


 
iNewsletters & Extensions: Consider sending home an iNewsletter for Parents so any student with access to an iPod or iPhone at home could utilize the apps at home for remediation or extension. ShowMe and ScreenChomp would be great iPad apps to use to have students create their own word problem or iLesson on fraction, decimal, percent conversion. If students didn’t have access to an iPad, consider using the video recorder to record themselves working out a problem or modeling a unique approach to conversion.

iNewsletters 4 Parents

Hungry for more? Check out NEISD’s “iTools 4 the 1 iDevice Classroom” SlideShare workshop as well as HOT Apps 4 Literacy (includes task cards and recording sheet for ELA game-like apps).

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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08 Nov 2011
Comments: 4

iSequence

In an effort to incorporate the iPads into small group intervention stations for middle school math, I spent a few hours collaborating with Cheryl Mutz, an NEISD district Math Instructional Specialist, to create an apptivity to support the study of sequences in 8th Math. The intervention apptivity would be used in a small group setting (two students to an iPad) and the students would have 30-45 minutes to complete the task.

iSequence: Terms and Rules

 Resources: I have included a iCardSort_Sequences_TaskCard (task card) and  iCardSort_Sequences_Recording Sheet (recording sheet). The recording sheet is intended for students to show work or record answers if teachers choose not to use the email function on the iPad. (If teachers choose to use the email function, students will want to layer each individual sequence problem so all of the cards overlap. This way iCardSort views the cards as a group, or one problem, when it emails the written outline of information above the screenshot.) Check out iCardSort’s public deck repository… This deck is now available for anyone to download and utilize to easily replicate the apptivity.

iModel with Explain Everything: I have used Explain Everything to model how the iLesson could be delivered and the resources that have been provided within the iSequence apptivity.


 
Hungry for more iCardSort apptivities?

  1. iCardSort Lite (website): visit their public repository for pre-created decks and check out their newsletter for integration ideas.
    1. Elementary Science Example
    2. MS Math Example using vocabulary with handouts and lesson
    3. Sorting example for “Words 4 Students”
    4. Getting iN Touch with Vocabulary (using iCardSort and Graphic Organizers)
    5. Videos highlighting basic use and how to integrate in a literature circle

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29 Aug 2011
Comments: 2

Everything Explained: Devour Deluxe Screencasting

In the techchef4u kitchen, ingredients and tools tend to be free… but I am making an exception…

Explain Everything: Screencasting App

I am typically quite skeptical when I come across paid apps that do the same thing as free ones. That being said… I have been looking for an advanced screencasting app for some time and was quite elated with the features, design, and potential Explain Everything promised. While I am still partial to Screenchomp (as it is free, simple to use, and offers the ability to download an mp4 video file without having to upload it to Youtube), it only offers simple color annotation with no shapes or arrows and will not allow you to annotate over documents, presentations, or multiple images. While this is perfect for elementary and Khan-esque videos, secondary students, teachers, and the tech world need the advanced functionality that Explain Everything offers.

In corresponding with the Explain Everything app developer, I discovered the reason I truly love this app. As you will see it is easy to use with profound functionality, but the real “you had me at slide to unlock” moment was the innate educational value and potential the app possessed. With this said, I wasn’t at all surprised that a Director of Educational Technology was behind such a polished gem.

So without further ado… let’s delve into the features of Explain Everything:

Explain Everything features:

Explain Everything: Screencasting App
  1. Multiple ways to access your documents: Begin with a blank project or import from photos (similar to Screenchomp) as well as import from Evernote and Dropbox. While there are a few files that were not compatible for import, I did like the fact that you could import a group of photos rather than one at a time.
  2. Slide Sorter: If you have imported multiple pages/images, you have the option to change the order of the slides (or images) and delete them (much like in PPT). Users also have the option to add a blank side in the beginning, middle, or end of a presentation.
  3. Annotation: You can write/highlight and add shapes, lines, arrows, and text. Within each of the annotation drop-downs, you have options to change color, size, transparency, font size, fill color, etc… (Note: the drop-down menu features accessed during your recording do not appear in the final recording).
  4. Insert images: You can insert and edit images (crop and rotate) from Dropbox, Evernote, Camera, or Photo Roll. (Note: The process of importing and editing the image will not appear in the video – recording automatically pauses during this process.)
  5. Layers: You can layer images as well as resize them on the canvas. (This is a slick feature!)
  6. Undo: You have the option to undo/remove a whole object rather than have to erase it in sections (Note: this is selected in the “preferences”: drawings become objects.)
  7. Save: You can save within the app.
  8. Export Images: Images can be exported to the photo roll, emailed, or saved to Dropbox or Evernote.
  9. Export Video: Videos can be saved to the photo roll, emailed, uploaded to youtube, or saved to Dropbox or Evernote. Projects can be emailed or saved to Dropbox or Evernote (they appear to save as an xpl file).
  10. Help menu: Though the app is extremely user-friendly and straight-forward, they do offer a wonderful help section with screenshots and further directions if needed. (If that wasn’t enough, they offer a video and print guide on their site.)

Problem-Solving Explained: While I created the first video to highlight all of the features available in the Explain Everything app, I wanted to model how the Explain Everything app could be used as a vehicle for instruction and learning in the video above. I had previously created this story problem with Prezi to model how the tool could be used as a problem-solving piece in mathematics. In hindsight, I truly believe Explain Everything is a far more useful tool for this purpose as teachers can create instructional videos and students can compose a rich problem-solving process in mere minutes.

  1. Students could create their own story problems with Doodle Buddy (free), Comic Touch Lite (free), or Cartoon Studio Free images saved to the photo roll. (Consider using 123 Charts (free) to produce more advanced data for word problems and critical-thinking projects.)
  2. Teachers could also create images in a Web 2.0 tool and save to Dropbox.

The idea of narrating, presenting, critical-thinking, problem-solving, story-telling, analyzing text, and creating screencasts/tutorials can be adjusted and modified in any content area or grade level to meet the diverse needs of teachers and students making the Explain Everything app a staple in any school setting. (Visit Explain Everything’s site to see the showcase of user examples and submit your own.)

Note: Stay tuned for an update in the next few weeks. I have been informed features to be released are:

  • *PPT, PPTX, and Keynote files now auto-separate into slides (like multi-page PDFS)
  • *Added a new Draw Tool pen tip option (a “hard” tip in addition to the default “soft” tip)
  • *Option to export the MP4 file without the audio track
  • *Option to save a copy of the movie to your iPad photo roll when you do an export to YouTube

While the app doesn’t currently allow for the ability to import and annotate over a video due to current iPad processing and memory specifications, the developer suggested using Explain Everything products in conjunction with the iMovie app, so you could get very creative and make a production using video clips, Explain Everything exports, and iTunes music.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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