210-710-2434
210-710-2434
06 Nov 2013
Comments: 9

Primary Digital Book Reports

In preparation for this week’s Tech Forum Austin presentation entitled, “Technology in the Early Grades”, I have been gathering some resources and examples to share that exhibit evidence of learning.

App-Smashed Book Reports: This one in particular was a book report project for my primary-age son. He was given the task to illustrate and briefly describe each part of the story from his Amelia Bedelia book. While his illustrations and text were fairly clear, I felt he had more to say beyond the paper. Thus, I opted to app-smash his book report using the following tools:

  1. Camera: Take a picture of each hand drawn illustration.
  2. Tellagami (app): Create a Tellagami for each section using the matching hand-drawn background saved to the camera roll. Email Tellagami published link after each section.
  3. Croak.it (app): Record audio in Croak.it. Email the published link after each section.
  4. Canva (web app): Create a Canva to house all of the illustrations. Download final Canva image.
  5. Thinglink (web app): Upload Canva image and Thinglink it with Tellagami’s and Croak.it’s.

Truly, it sounds more laborious than it actually was. As this was a primary student project, all of the drawings and audio (the meat of the content) were created by the student, and the teacher (myself in this scenario) simply offered some assembly assistance with the resource.

Tools with Audio and Drawing Capability: While there are multiple ways to achieve a book report on an iPad with a primary-aged student, it is important to look for apps and tools that allow students the ability to incorporate audio and their own drawings.

Fortunately, one of my favorite book creation apps, Book Creator, just released an update to now include a drawing feature (which nicely finishes out the tool that already encapsulated text, audio, photo, and video import capability)!!!

Scribble Press also offers the ability to draw and it just so happens that my fellow iVenger Ed Tech, Marianna Husain posted a fantastic blog post with multiple examples on the Bobcat blog. The examples are not a book report but do incorporate storytelling, illustrations, and publishing.

Kinder Students use Scribble Press app to Showcase their Understanding of the 5 Senses.
Kinder Students use Scribble Press app to Showcase their Understanding of the 5 Senses.

Creative Book Reports on the iPad: With a device in hand, the sky is the limit for innovative book reports. The iPadders site offers 23 iPad Alternatives to the Book Report. ICT with Miss C shares an intermediate iLesson on fractured fairy tales using Scribble Press and iMovie trailers that is simply enchanting. Brianna Hodges shares some fantastic resources for differentiated book reports using a select handful of tools.

Whatever the tool, providing support and opportunities for young learners to “begin to define themselves as writers” and a venue for them to express their thoughts and ideas within the classroom and beyond is a critical and essential objective.

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22 Oct 2013
Comments: 2

iPad Journals as an Exit Ticket

Wright’s class has found a way to step up to the bat and knock exit tickets out of the park. I feel very grateful for the invitation to get a chance to peek into the app-tastic ongoings of her 3rd grade iClassroom.

Thanks

Rather than writing a detailed post on the findings from my visit, I decided to showcase them in none other than a… you guessed it… a Thinglink. The image below was created with the fabulous web tool Canva (still in closed beta) and then saved as an image and uploaded to Thinglink.

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18 Oct 2013
Comments: 0

iVocabulary: The Power of an Idea Shared

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Truly, I do not spend my day drinking iced lattes and googling myself… Today, one of Instructional Partners emailed me about some of the vocabulary resources I had shared utilizing iPads. Rather than log in to my Thinglink on iVocabulary, I googled “iVocabulary” and found….Melanie Burford’s Thinglink on iVocabulary. I am humbled and blessed by her kind words and flattery (as seen in image above).

“This idea came from one of my Technology Specialist IDOLS, Lisa Johnson, from Eanes ISD in Austin.” – Melanie Burford

While both of our Thinglinks are game boards and offer apps for iVocabulary on Listly’s (mine is the Scrabble board above and hers the game board below), I truly love what happens to an idea shared.


I really feel like Melanie polished the iVocabulary idea and added elements to hers that met the needs of her learners:

  • First, hers is a game board so learners will follow the resources in a sequential progression
  • Second, she created her own Listly’s and narrowed down the app choices that were originally presented
  • Third, she added Padlet at the first turn so learners could collaboratively brainstorm their integration ideas and have them archived for later reference
  • Fourth, she added a more formal exit ticket in the form of a Google Form for learners to share a more specific integration idea
Melanie Burford's Google Form
Melanie Burford’s Google Form

One of my favorite examples was a Frayer model found on the web and completed in Explain Everything and a charming Videolicious of a student explaining the meaning of “frantically” and using it in context. Though the “Dont’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” ala Puppet Pals is a close third.

And truly… back to my not so subtle discussion about sharing online… I think  Melanie sums it up:

“I need to thank Lisa Johnson from Eanes ISD for many of the ideas in this presentation. I’m so glad she shares and publishes her work online for all to see.” – Melanie Burford

Right back atcha Melanie – thank you for sharing your recipes – I am sure they will inspire others to concoct their own.

iVocabulary image
iVocabulary image 

Melanie cited my work in her own presentation. Many times I choose a Creative Commons license for my work. If you plan on publishing online, consider using this resource. My advice would be to choose to allow modification of your work (as long as others share alike) but to restrict commercial use of your work (so others can not profit from work you freely distribute online). If you base your creations on someone else’s, another way to provide credit to the original is to include a Source work URL:

Creative Commons

Check out the rest of Melanie’s app-tastic Thinglinks HERE.

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01 Oct 2013
Comments: 0

App Integration Snapshots

Marianna Husain (@mhusain), fellow iVenger and author of the Bobcat blog, had the idea to create easy to follow handouts for teachers on a weekly basis to support them with the multitude of apps available on the elementary devices (see full list of 150+ apps here). As there are 6 elementaries and 9-10 ed techs creating these resources on a rotating basis, I suggested a template to streamline the process and make them appear more uniform.

In reviewing the apps listed, I felt that they fell into 3 natural categories: tools, activities, and products:

While creating a template for each of the three categories, I decided to also complete each template for an app that fell in that category. Truly, my heart lies in curriculum and creating curricular and professional development resources for educators because I had a blast putting these together.

So without further ado…  3 App Integration Snapshots.

App Integration Snapshots
App Integration Snapshots (Download the 9 Page PDF)

More of these App Integration Snapshots (in all 3 of the categories) will be spotlighted on each of my fellow Eanes Ed Tech’s Blogs in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned…

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10 Sep 2013
Comments: 0

Augmented Calling Cards with Thinglink

Yes, I am devoting another post to perpetuating the potential and possibility of Thinglink.

But first, a little delayed gratification to revel in the benefits of sharing online. When one blogs, they hardly ever know if what they say has reached or impacted anyone. Bloggers are like global crop-dusters (I  may have just just see Planes but I think the simile stands), they spread and make their words and ideas accessible to a worldwide educational blogosphere. However, they rarely ever see the harvest unless someone leaves it on their digital doorstep. Yep, we are about to get sentimental. This morning, I received a very kind message from someone I have never met.

TechChef4u Facebook
TechChef4u Facebook

This speaks volumes to my message of the power and impact of sharing online and why I feel so strongly about blogging and social networking as a means of ongoing professional development and learning.

“We have never met and probably never will but the content you post helps me at work frequently.”

So… now to the resource sharing… Last year I printed these little Ed Tech postcards and put them in every one’s boxes. They contained my contact info and a little more about what our role is as an educational technologist.

Calling Card created in Pages
Calling Card created in Pages

Surprisingly, many teachers wanted to use the template to create their own for parent night. This year I refreshed mine and added a little twist… and hopefully some zest (sadly, they are not scratch and sniff – lemon and orange scented ones would be fun though… but I digress… and ryhme… so no thyme either).

Designs for Pages app
Designs for Pages app

I used the Designs for Pages app and selected a Flyer template that would best serve my purposes. From there the process looked like this:

  1. Open selected template in Pages
  2. Email Pages template to yourself (if you prefer to work from a  Mac)
  3. Modify colors and text accordingly
  4. Add a Bio Pic
  5. Create an auto-biographical Word Cloud OR Include a QR code (www.qrstuff.com) to your site.
  6. When finished, export as a PDF and print/share.
  7. To add a layer of #awesomesauce, I created an augmented version of the the calling card using Thinglink.

Below is the final product. While I did, use multiple devices and apps to achieve the product below, I think it may still count as an app-smash… better check with Greg Kulowiec though. 😉 I think he may agree that Thinglink still reigns supreme as the ultimate app smasher.

Ah… some of you caught the subtle change. I am now an Ed Tech at WHS. Go Chaps! Tanna Fiske (@fiskeclass), the history teacher I have showcased for her amazing student projects, is the current Ed Tech for HCMS this year.

Many times, I create things with the intent of modeling a tool so others could eventually use it for more instructional purposes in their classroom. I have maintained a Listly of EDU Thinglinks for some time but felt that it might be better to create a more visual repository. To that end… I have assembled a new Pinterest board of 130+ Thinglink EDU examples for all of my Pindred Spirits … Please Enjoy.

130+ Thinglink EDU Examples
130+ Thinglink EDU Examples

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27 Aug 2013
Comments: 13

I Declare an… iPad Oath

So… we have reflected, oriented, and even fostered formative assessment. Think this might be a good time to solemnly declare… an oath. These previous posts (linked above**) have laid the ground work to prepare for a transformative year with mobile devices.

Last year the middle school felt a need to create an iPad Oath that addressed specific classroom behaviors and legislated appropriate use beyond the existing R.U.G. (Responsible Use Guidelines). After reviewing multiple middle school AUP’s and iPad forms online and our own existing elementary iPad Oath, I decided to concoct one of my own using similar ingredients. (The back of the form includes a space for both parent and student signature.)

MS iPad Oath
MS iPad Oath by Lisa Johnson

Now truly there are two schools of thought on the discipline rationale.

  • All Tools Are Created Equal: One feels the device should be treated no differently than any other classroom tool. If they were doodling on a piece of paper or passing notes when they should have been taking notes, this off task behavior should be addressed no differently than surfing the net or texting during a lecture. Similarly, the reprimand for cheating using an iPad would be no different than cheating without a device.
  • Transparency is KING!: The other school of thought feels that we need to be a little more transparent with students about what our expectations for instructional use and app-ropriate behavior are and provide a clear set of consequences if these guidelines are not met. For those of you that would app-reciate a delineated discipline format, I have included one below. 😉
Off Task Intervention Created with Comic Life
Off Task Intervention Created with Comic Life

While these will truly be living documents and ultimately change and evolve over the next year and beyond as these devices are readily integrated and accepted in to the edmosphere, I thought they might be worth a gander.

** Note: I have added Georgetown’s Teacher iPad Proficiency Checklist and other iPad resources to the iPad Orientation Thinglink.

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22 Aug 2013
Comments: 1

iReflect Before iTrek

As we rapidly app-roach the new school year, I was reminded of an older post, “iReflect”, which shared reflections on our first year of 1:1 iPads using a Haiku Deck. Before we embark on another year of our iJourney, it is worth at least a moment of deliberation. One of my favorite Thinglinkers (and fellow iVenger), Marianna Husain, also held an iReflect luncheon before the school year ended and documented all of the feedback using a chalkboard and Thinglink.

While it is very easy to plunge in to the organized chaos of the first few weeks of school without a second cursory glance, the musings and anecdotes of wisdom of 90 days past could and should be instrumental into shaping the culture of learning and professional development that lies ahead. By the same token, a gander at the campus and district vision is worthwhile in assessing the direction devices should be utilized and integrated to ultimately impact and improve student learning.

One of my favorite quotes from this iReflect luncheon was:

“In my 21 yrs teaching, no tool has promoted differentiation better!”

I would definitely agree about the transformational power and potential of the device to capture and showcase individual learning. But truly the device is only a tool and we have to develop purposeful interaction with the tool while cultivating a shared vision for it.

“Cultivate a shared vision for the tool.”

As every year new teachers enter the district, it is vital to let them in on the shared vision. And of course catch them up to speed on the basics. And what better way to do that then with a Thinglink… 😉

At some point, I think I may hit a limit for number of blog posts that feature Thinglink… BUT I simply can’t help myself.

Lori Roberts, Educational Technology Specialist, shared a beautiful Thinglink to support teachers with iPad Basics.

I have added all of these tools to my Teacher iPad Orientation Toolkit that I posted last week. Whether you are embarking on a year 1,2, or 3 of a 1:1 or BYOD or deploying carts and individual devices, I hope these resources reach and support you.

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31 Jul 2013
Comments: 7

App Synergy: The Art Form of App-Smashing

If you have been trolling the net (pun intended if you read my last post) for more app-smashing antics… you simply must check out this video from Kris Kling, fellow Starbucks junkie and 2013 Apple Distinguished Educator (@misterkling).

The video below smashes the apps Tellagami, Explain Everything, and iMovie to create a narrated treat and includes some ideas for composing your own logo which goes hand in hand with a recent post, A Brand Called Me, which reveals an amazing iTunes U course to support students in discovering their own personal brand.

Intro to App-Smashing from misterkling on Vimeo.
An introduction to the concept of app-smashing, a technique coined and honed by Greg Kulowiec that uses multiple apps to complete a project. http://edtechteacher.org/blog/2013/02/app-smashing-from-greg/ — https://techchef4u.com/tag/app-smashing/
 

The iPad by design is a personal device that can create a very unique learning perspective if students are allowed to explore and are not inhibited by a one-app-fits-all philosophy. One wouldn’t limit an art student to a monochrome palette and limited media and tools. So why would we hand over a device that offers limitless potential to a student and shackle their creativity to one app?

I venture to kick app-smashing up a notch. What if we assume that app-smashing could indeed be an art form if achieved in a thoughtful manner? The term app synergy appeared in the App Synergy column of App Advice (Apps Gone Free) as early as April 2012.

Lenny Liang said it best:

“A single app can be powerful. Many apps, working together, can be transformative. It is sometimes difficult to perform the task you want using only one app. It’s often necessary to settle for the best an app can give, even if it’s not exactly what you need. App synergy overcomes those limitations by transcending the limits of single apps, creating results that no one app could achieve alone.”

The image below is an app-smash of Wordflex Touch Dictionary, Textagon Word Art Generator, Snapseed, Paint FX, and PhotoToaster.

The Origin of App Synergy
Lenny Liang: The Origin of App Synergy

Since the phrase app synergy app-tly app-lies to our app-lication of apps, I thought I would create a concise definition.

App Synergy: the transformative art form of smashing and assembling apps to form a cohesive creation which ultimately holds more substance and purpose than the sum of its individual app elements.

As Tellagami was showcased here today, I wanted to share a few more examples of how the app can be smashed with other apps to create a detailed and thoughtful learning project.

Technology Tailgate shares a 5th grade assignment that smashes WordFoto, Phoster, and Tellagami to teach findings about scientists.

Karen Ogen shares a 1st grade assignment that smashes the Tellagami and iMovie (Karen compiled the videos using Windows Movie Maker but iMovie could achieve the same result) to teach about the sun and moon. While the backgrounds were clearly hand drawn and then captured using the iPad camera, the same activity could be recreated with students drawings using any sketching app.

Laura Chaffey’s class shares one of my favorite purposeful app-smashing projects. Her  primary students composed a persuasive piece depicting why they would be a good candidate to be recruited for Mars One. The apps smashed were the camera, Google Earth, Tellagami, and iMovie.

Laura even went so far as to create a 3 page PDF to provide lesson ideas for integrating Tellagami and even a tutorial.

Laura Chaffey's 3 Page Download: Resources and Tutorial
Laura Chaffey’s 3 Page Download: Resources and Tutorial

Hungry for more App-Smashing? Inspired to achieve App-Synergy? Check out the Definitive App-Smasher’s Guide by Miguel Guhlin here.

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30 Jul 2013
Comments: 1

A Troll led me to iPhoneography…

Roadside America screenshot
Roadside America screenshot

A troll led me to the perfect photo… okay well not exactly… but it is a whimsical offbeat way to start a blog entry. This week we went on an interstate excursion with my two boys to visit some family members in Kansas. I remarked to my husband that at their age they would likely not recall the trip nor the relatives but more the random moments and quirky roadside stops along the way.

When I was their age and my family made the excursion in our Astro van to Pennsylvania from Texas, I remembered little more than a playground, a rest stop with an armadillo, and viewing the splendor of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon for the first time.

 
With this rattling in the back of my mind, we downloaded the Roadside America app which showcases multiple weird and quirky destinations as you travel. One that caught my eye was a troll buried underneath a sidewalk. No, I do not have an unnatural affinity for Lord of the Rings or HBO’s Game of Thrones. Rather… it reminded me of the story of the 3 Billy Goats Gruff that my son enjoyed reading this year. So, we stopped in Wichita to locate the troll.

After much searching and a few detours, we eventually located the troll. As most of these sights are, many times they look better on paper (or in the app) than in person. To jazz up the photo so any one (that wasn’t me) could actually figure out what it was peering out from below the grates, I used the HDR FX Pro app.

 

 

This little gem was one of the many iPhoneography apps shared during a “Making Great Photos and Videos with iOS Devices” session at the Apple Distinguished Educator’s institute a few weeks ago. Ironically enough, I had actually downloaded the app a while ago and it had gotten lost in the abyss beyond the 11th screen. I was able to invigorate this photo and hopefully showcase this bizarre treat with a little fantasy flair.

photo-20

On our way to unearth the aforementioned troll, we happed upon a beautiful bridge. With a few edits, I was able to turn a family snapshot taken on my iPhone into what I feel is a radiant keepsake.
Before and After HDR FX Pro filter compiled with PicWall app
Before and After HDR FX Pro filter compiled with PicWall app
 
 
 
 

As we speed rapidly towards the first day of school, let us not forget the dog days of summer and the treasured seasons that we share with our children and families. These moments are precious and fleeting and we want to preserve them in a manner that does justice to their sublime beauty.

Henri Cartier-Bresson created with InstaQuote app
Henri Cartier-Bresson created with InstaQuote app
We all know the best phone is the one that you have with you… If you are a tech addict like myself, your iPhone is never far from your reach. Truly the device is is a one-stop-shop as you can capture images, edit, polish, and share them all in a matter of minutes.
 
Below is the list of iPhoneography apps that I curated from the session.

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17 Jul 2013
Comments: 3

Thinglink… the ultimate app-smasher!!!!

Contrary to popular belief, the art of app-smashing is not the action of pressing on an app  until it jiggles or an individual app at all (well, it is an app, but I digress). I feel I must credit Greg Kulowiec with the terminology as he offers a course on it and has prepared the first official definition.

“App Smashing Defined: The process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project.”

But truly the art of app-smashing has been well documented for some time. Educators like myself, Laura Wright, Lisa Carnazzo, and many more showcase multiple examples online everyday. Laura Wright actual coined the phrase “multi-apping” in a post I shared in November of 2012 to refer to the same phenomenon. Moving past semantics and terminology, I think that the ultimate focus on app-smashing is the intended purpose or result and the workflow necessary to achieve it.

App Smashing Image Screenshots compiled with Pic Collage

I recently stumbled upon the Definitive App Smasher’s Guide pictured above (a FREE 13 page download from Miguel Guhlin). The resource is available in ePub and PDF and is a really great example to showcase the flow and provide additional concrete guided tasks.

As I app-arently cannot finish a post without sharing a thinglink and 3 of my last posts have focused on the tool, I think it only prudent to share how Thinglink can be the ultimate example of app-smashing! Think about it…Thinglinks are an image.

  • Images: Images can be created, annotated, and embellished with Pic Collage, Keynote, Strip Designer, and Skitch.
  • Thinglink Nubbins: From there, Thinglink merely adds nubbins to those images. Nubbins can be either plain text or anything with a link.
  • Links: What has a link? Um… pretty much anything. Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, YouTube, Prezi, Quizlet. iMovie Trailers and Puppet Pals can be exported to YouTube or a Dropbox… ScreenChomps and Tellagami’s can be shared with URLs. Each photo or video could be an individual example of app-smashing.

Miguel Guhlin shares a perfect example of this as Haiku Deck images can be exported to the camera roll and then turned into a narrated video using Explain Everything.

Example from Page 6 of Miguel Guhlin's "The Definitive App Smasher's Guide"
Example from Page 6 of Miguel Guhlin’s “The Definitive App Smasher’s Guide”

So what could this look like? For months I have been sharing the potential of Thinglink and just recently I stumbled upon a teacher using for exactly that purpose… sharing student work as an ePortfolio!!!

I feel this just might be the pinnacle of app-smashing… but truly you be the judge. How will you channel and showcase your student’s inner product-based selves through app-smashing?

For more EDU Thinglink Examples, visit this List.ly.

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