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06 May 2015
Comments: 10

The Complete EDU Guide to the Apple Watch

In my last post, I exposed “7 Benefits of the Apple Watch 4 U to Ponder”. One week later, I thought I would highlight 4 Unexpected Benefits and 10 Questions to Ponder…

Before I dive right in to the EDU portion of this post, I thought I would share some additional insight and benefits associated with the wearable technology.

Let it be known that I receive no kickbacks of any sort blogging about the Apple Watch and that I share my reflections freely and solely to provide the edusphere with insight into the product and the possible impact it may have in education… Let it also be known that I enjoy staging my own product shots with my collection of LEGO Minifigures (see the full collection here in this Flickr album).

#AppleWatch Blog Graphics #TechChef4u #iPad #iWatch (used with blog post)

4 Unexpected Benefits of the Apple Watch…

I have to admit I originally bought the Apple Watch due to my desire to be an early adopter and explorer… BUT I soon realized that my tech accessory was ticking with unexpected benefits…

  • Longer Life of iPhone Battery: While there have been multiple posts about an increased drain on the iPhone battery, I have experienced an inverse trend. I use the Apple Watch when I need to and have far less of a need to use my iPhone (which is great… as I recently dropped it like an irresponsible teenager and the model I have also has a battery defect).
  • Less Distraction: I really thought more devices = more distraction BUT I actually found this to be quite the opposite. The Apple Watch provides quick pings and alerts so I feel connected but not distracted. I know that may sound strange but I liken it to the idea of having a work computer and a play computer. If you have two devices each devoted to a different focus than you tend to be less distracted when using that device for that purpose. I can tell you that my iPhone was super distracting. I would get a Twitter ping and then next thing I know it I would be checking my email and pinning.
  • Less Loss and Damage: As I mentioned above, I recently dropped my phone and cracked it. I can also tell you that I have misplaced it several times. As a female, I don’t typically have pockets and I don’t like carrying a purse so my iPhone is most likely in my hand or sitting on a flat surface close to me. The beauty of the watch is that it is an accessory that is attached to my wrist so the likelihood of loss or damage is greatly lessened and I am truly hands-free.
  • Fewer Missed Calls: We did away with a land line a few years ago so we really do rely on our cell phones. When I get home, I typically charge it in the kitchen or the bedroom and find myself sprinting to answer a call across the house. The ability to quickly answer calls right on my wrist saves me the occasional bashed knee cap.

Apple Watch Benefits_small

But you mentioned EDU questions to ponder, TechChef… you have me intrigued…

10 Apple Watch EDU Questions to Ponder…

With this new addition to wearable technology, comes a few intriguing questions.

  1. How Will Existing Apps Be Redesigned for the Smaller Screen? (See Article Here)
  2. How Will The Gaming Industry Design Apps for the Apple Watch? (See Article Here)
  3. Will The Length of Articles Evolve With the Smaller Screen Size? (See Article Here)
  4. What Should and Could You Do with an Apple Watch? (See Article Here: Not Appropriate for EDU but good read as it poses the question of which device is best suited for certain tasks. This Article highlights what you can do with the Apple Watch without your iPhone.)
  5. How Will the Apple Watch Be Implemented in Educational Settings? (See Article Here)
  6. What Factors Will Decide if the Apple Watch Will Triumph Google Glass? (See Article Here)
  7. What Kind Of Impact could the Apple Watch Have on People’s Health? (See Article Here)
  8. What Kind of Impact will the Apple Watch Have on Safety? (See Article Here)
  9. What Accessories Will be Designed to Support the Apple Watch? (See These Examples… Battery Straps, Unified Charging Docks, Customized Bands, Charging Dock Cases, etc…)
  10. How Will Apple Watch and Other Wearable Technologies Impact Marketing? (See Article Here)
  11. Bonus: How Kind of Impact Does Wearable Technology Have on Security? (See Article Here)

“Many students take part in maker labs, hours of code, and even write persuasive papers – these topics are very timely and interesting and if anyone can solve them or provide creative solutions for them… it is our mobile natives… the youth of today. “- Lisa Johnson

10 Apple Watch Questions

What Other Apple Watch EDU Goodies Do You Have For Us Today?

You know me oh too well… I do have a few goodies. With my slight obsession for the Apple Watch, I have happed upon a few wicked good resources. All of them are curated on my new “Apple Watch” Pinterest board

  • Clever Apple Watch Journaling: The clever Venspired on Instagram has been journaling her experiences with her new Apple Watch. I love that she recently mentioned the benefits of receiving notifications on her wrist during the movies. (The idea of advertorials and different types of writing and audiences is way to expand and strengthen our student’s writing portfolio. Journaling your experiences with a new device or even pedagogical method is such wonderful reflective learning process that obviously could be expanded to other topics beyond the Apple Watch.)

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.11.45 PM

Lego Watch 68

Apple Watch Dock

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.03.45 PM

  • Creative Musings: Many times we use setting to differentiate creative writing. For example, we take a Shakespeare play and set it in modern day New York. Consider a creative writing project that asks the question… “What If Shakespeare, Napoleon, or Lincoln Had an Apple Watch?” This idea of historical fiction infuses creative writing and critical thinking in an engaging way. Carl Hooker has a fantastic example of what this could look like in his post, “How Modern Technology Could Have Changed these Classic Movies”.

O Cursed Spite

Where Can I Learn More?

If you are a trend seeker or just interested in digging in deeper in to the impact wearable technology will have on education, you can follow my new “Apple Watch” Pinterest board that also includes user tips, research, and even more on accessibility. If you are a Twitter junkie like myself… then you can follow the #AppleWatch, #iWatch, #Wearables, #WearableTech, and #WearableTechnology

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 8.41.11 AM

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27 Apr 2015
Comments: 8

7+ Benefits of the Apple Watch 4 U to Ponder…

So, let’s just get this all out of the way… Yes, I am an Apple Fan Girl. Yes, my super amazing hubby got up at 2am to place our Apple Watch order. And Yes… I am doing my due diligence to now craft a blog about my initial experiences and findings…

“While I am an Apple Fan Girl… I am also a realist. I know that this watch is a first generation model and that much more functionality will be added to it in the future so purchasing a base model with the intent to upgrade in a year or two made the most sense for me.” – Lisa Johnson

And thanks to a random conversation at Trattoria Lisina last night… I learned about the Click Kickstarter which essentially allows you to “jailbreak” the Apple Watch band and use any 22mm watch band with the new model…

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 8.22.51 AM

And/Or you can purchase or design your own bands using Casetify (or check out some existing designs here).

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 2.30.27 PM

 

Tell me TechChef… What features do you feel are currently meaningful?

iWatch Benefits

In the few days I have had to play, I will tell you that there are several features I have definitely found very valuable in this new accessory.

Haptic Directional Feedback

This one may be the best. We are hands-free in Texas as many states are. I have always been directionally challenged so the Map app on my iPhone is a must. Even though it provides audio and visual navigation, I find it difficult sometimes to not pick it up or to see it as it is not built in to the dash like a factory installed navigational system would be.

  • Benefit of Watch: If you route a destination with your iPhone, your watch automatically picks up that information and sends you haptic feedback right before a turn. Essentially it vibrates on your wrist. This is far less distracting (and safer) then picking up the phone and far more effective and desirable to my process of arriving at my desired destination.

Quick Text Responses

While I am a bit of a social geek, I will say that I have a difficulty with keeping up with the myriad of communications I receive.

  • Benefit of Watch: The ability to quickly respond to texts with default responses (e.g. Yes, No, Absolutely, Talk Later…) as well as emoticons and audio directly from my wrist is really beneficial.

Remote Control of Camera App

Um… did you know that you can use your Apple Watch to remotely control the camera app on your iPhone?

  • Benefit of Watch: I kind of love this! It makes selfies and timed photos so easy!

Everything Evernote

I am a total Evernote Junkie so this was a most epic feature! After I got my watch, I immediately started perusing the apps available for it. And wouldn’t you know it… there is an Evernote app. Score!

  • Benefit of Watch: Now I have access to all of my notes and can even use the audio feature on the watch to dictate notes as well. This is a huge win! (More on the Evernote Watch app)

Quick Access to Music

For those of you that set your iPhone on a speaker and use it for office ambience or classroom music, the built-in music control for iTunes is slick.

  • Benefit of Watch: The ability to instantly change songs from your wrist (even though your device is docked on a speaker across the room) is really quite nice. I can also see great benefit in this if you are in a classroom that uses music to transition from or to an activity.

Control of Keynote Presentations

I love me some Keynote! Most of my presentations and professional development is run through this tool.

  • Benefit of Watch: The app allows you to control slide presentations on your iPhone directly from your wrist. Beam me up! 😉

Activity Monitoring and Feedback

When I am not in classrooms or delivering professional development, I am seated at my computer cooking up resources, connecting with my PLN, and answering emails. I have to say that I often sit for hours forgetting to stand or even take a bio break.

  • Benefit of Watch: The activity app on the watch not only tells me when to take a break but tracks calories burned, exercise, and standing.

Truly Trello

I have a feeling I will be adding to this post. I just saw in the #AppleWatch feed that Trello also has an app. Talk about getting organized and task management. This is huge and oh so helpful.

  • Benefit of Watch: By accessing Trello on your phone, it is easy to get organized. I currently have boards on on house projects, school projects, and even blogging topics. This could definitely be really helpful for students and teachers especially if students use this tool for project deadlines. (More on the Trello Watch app)

Quick Glances at Mail and Calendar

Quick access to mail and calendar has also been really beneficial. I am still working on finessing my calendar app to thread all of my google accounts together. I am pretty sure this is user error on my part.

  • Benefit of Watch: I do love the quick glance of the calendar on the wrist. I schedule all of my meetings, co-teaching, and appointments through Google Calendar so it is really nice to retrieve that info quickly at the beginning of the day… and throughout the day.

Pinging Your iPhone

I know now I may be revealing too much… but after I had my two boys… that “pregnancy brain” never really went away. In fact I frequently misplace my keys and iPhone on a most regular basis.

  • Benefit of Watch: Clearly the benefit of the watch is that is attached to my wrist (much harder to lost wearable technology). So… not only will it be difficult to lose the watch… BUT the watch actually pings my iPhone with a sound so I can locate it (when… not if) I misplace it.

So for those of you intrigued or on the fence… I hope my recap and insight has helped you evaluate this new wearable technology innovation and make an informed purchasing decision.

Leave a Message at the Text Box…

Apple Watch Impressions

For those of you that received your Apple Watch… I would love to hear your initial thoughts too. Please leave them in the Comments section of this post!

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22 Apr 2015
Comments: 1

3 Reasons Why Every Student Artist Should Explore the Use of iPad Apps…

It has come to my attention that there are a fair number of artists and art teachers that are of the mindset that iPads are essentially used for research, doodling, and drawing inspiration and not as a tool for traditional art creation. I could wax intellectual on this topic but as most of my “art” and design is digital in nature… I thought I would let my sister-in-law, Melissa Johnson, talented mixed media artist extraordinaire and published art journaler, take the stage…

Melissa too admits that blending digital tools with original art was a bit foreign to her at first…

“It never crossed my mind to combine the two, as I am more of a “hands on” type of artist, but after a day spent with Lisa I realized there were many ways that technology and traditional art can work together beautifully to create something fun, new, and easy to share.” – Melissa Johnson

So Where is the Best Place to Start?

Melissa Art Step Sheet 2.001

Melissa began by researching different apps to see what she could incorporate into her existing art. For her purposes, she found ArtRage, NoteShelf, Paper 53, and Autodesk Pixlr to be her go-to digital art palette.

“I have to say that digitally altering my artwork has brought a whole new skill set into my repertoire that I quite enjoy!” – Melissa Johnson

I would have to agree. In fact, Melissa was actually featured for her digital art prowess in the latest edition of Somerset Art Journal.

What is the Benefit of Blending Digital with Traditional Art?

1 copy

So for those of you that need a bulleted list of pros to “sell” you on this idea… 😉

  • Growth As an Artist and Increased Risk-Taking: Melissa says she feels like she gets more out of her art by working digitally since she can start a page by hand in her studio, create a background and a few elements, and then scan or take a picture of the hand-crafted art and continue to work on it. She can use the same background multiple times and explore new skills to create something different by adding layers, a myriad of clip art, and new text, and doesn’t fear making a mistake because everything digital can be undone and redone.
  • More Mileage out of Art Supplies and Time: Melissa also mentions that the ability to easily edit and work over original hand-drawn art is beneficial because it doesn’t require pulling out and cleaning up all of the costly art supplies and can be done from the comfort of her couch.
  • Sharing and Publishing: And of course… in this digital age of authorship… sharing and publishing is integral and can be transformative for an artist. Not only does Melissa share how “going digi” has influenced her work on her own blog. She now uses other apps and tools to create tutorials and best practices that impact other artists with their process and final creations.

Melissa shares her step-by-step process with examples in this posther proven secret for doubling her artistic creativity, what going “digi” really looks like, and even more before and after pics of her original art blended with iPad apps.

Tell Me More About the Apps Artists Use to Share and Publish…

Melissa Art Apps

Beyond the apps that Melissa uses to repurpose her art… she also dabbles with apps like Snapguide and Haiku Deck to create step tutorials for hand-created art and has been thrilled that these tutorials have not only been well received but driven traffic back to her own blog and original art. Here are some examples:

  • Snapguide: Melissa uses Snapguide to document her process and to create tutorials. (Note: As Austin Kleon states, “people do really want to see how the sausage gets made.” Many times we complete a project or create art but never reflect on the process and the outcome. Snapguide is an essential tool to focus students on strategic organization as well as blending cognition and process-based reflection.) See all 14 of Melissa’s guides here!
  • Haiku Deck: Melissa shares tips for finding “Inspiration for Art” using Haiku Deck. (Note: This would be a fabulous project for students to do as well as it really digs deep in to metacognition and  what inspires us.) She also has a deck on “5 Tips for Starting an Art Journal” (which includes additional detailed information in the speaker notes). (Note: Another type of fantastic art project for students is to document their own process and journey through a style of art while simultaneously showcasing their art.)

My Top 5 Tips For Starting an Art Journal – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

How Does this New Blended Modality Benefit Our Students?

Melissa Art Step Sheet.001

Many of our students take art classes. Melissa mentions that combining hand-drawn art with digital apps opens up new doors for exploration and creativity…

“combining the digital element with the hands on experience can be exciting for students since many of these apps lend themselves to a whole other creative approach to making art. How rewarding to create something by hand, then layer on digital elements to create something unique and imaginative.” – Melissa Johnson

Additionally, Melissa mentions that even students that struggle with actual drawing and sketching can benefit from this new modality…

“the ability to manipulate an existing image digitally can really help them express their creativity without the frustration of not being able to draw well.” – Melissa Johnson

 What More Do you Have For Me Today… TechChef?

You know I can’t help but leave you with additional links and resources so here goes…

 

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26 Mar 2015
Comments: 1

Sweet Learning Nuggets from SXSWEDU 2015

I have been to SXSWEDU in the past (see SXSWEDU 2014 Recap) and I have to say that this year without a doubt was indisputably my favorite. It didn’t hurt that I got to have breakfast with Guy Kawasaki and hear him speak at both SXSWEDU and SXSWInteractive but beyond that…

“I just felt like the event accurately connected, curated, and celebrated pedagogies, trends, and innovations that are currently in line with the pulse of education.” – Lisa Johnson

So…earlier in the week I app smashed Canva and Thinglink to curate and archive my learning from TCEA 2015 so this seemed like the next logical progression. As I mentioned in my earlier post, lately I have been getting just as much interest in my workflow and graphics as I have in my content so I thought I would elaborate on my home grown PD Recap Recipe.

How Did You Create this Epic PD Recap?

  • Choose a Functional Base Image: In this case, I had gotten to SXSWEDU early one day and decided to take a few selfies using my Mac and PhotoBooth in front of one of the SXSWEDU banners at the convention center.
  • Add Filter and Flare to Your Image: I loved the color to this image (see below) so I opted not to turn it black and white as I did in my last PD Recap. I did still opt to add a layer of polish and poise to it with my best kept secret the “Orton Style” filter in the BEFUNKY WEB APP to add a bit of grit. (Note: CANVA also has built-in image filters but not quite like this one.)
  • Build Your Graphic: Once my base image was ready, I uploaded it to CANVA and added pretty much everything else you see in the image below. (Note: One of the icon graphics I paid for via the NOUN PROJECT as I it fairly regularly and CANVA did not have a comparable icon in their gallery.)
  • Add Interactivity to Your Graphic: Once the base graphic is complete, I upload it to THINGLINK.. and all the interactivity you see below…AND HERE.

What Learning Nuggets Might I Discover by Hovering Over All of these Nubbins?

So glad you asked… Within this Thinglink, I included links to my Evernote notes on the sessions as well as direct links to slide decks and archived videos of some of the presentations. Debbie Smith, a fellow iVenger, also did a bang-up job of curating and reflecting on the week so I included each one of the blog entries that she cranked out as well.

“I have to say that this is unequivocally one of my favorite conferences to attend – no other event is quite at the intersection of policy, educational entrepreneurs, innovation nor blends K-12 and higher higher education like this event.” – Lisa Johnson

But Wait! I Have a Few More Questions…

Can you tell me…

How Should I Share Out My Learning?

Before you jump on the Epic PD Recap band wagon… please know that these do take me about 2.5-3 hours to complete with building the image, cleaning up my summaries and linking all of the content (and the fact that I can be oftentimes crippled by my need for perfection). Now that I have a Canva template and work flow, that time is somewhat decreased. I am in no way trying to dissuade you from this method as I do believe that graphics and chunked content is always the best delivery method… but what I am saying is to do this takes time and careful curation of content. In the end, I have found it is always worth it for my own metacognition as well as the inspiration of my staff… but know that these don’t just grow on trees. They take time to cultivate and perfect – and that time is well spent… but time nonetheless… 😉

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24 Mar 2015
Comments: 1

Tangible Technology Tips from and for TCEA 2015

So, I have to say that I try to make it a point to always curate and reflect on my learning from an event… and to cultivate a resource that I can return to and share. To manage this learning experience… I found App-Smashing Canva and Thinglink to be just the ticket. As I get just as much interest in to my process and workflow as I do on the content that I share… I thought I would let you take a sneak peek at my home grown PD Recap Recipe.

How Did You Create this EPIC PD Recap?

  • Choose a Functional Base ImageI always like to start with an image that I can build off of. Fortunately, TCEA’s Flickr feed had just the right pic to start as a base…
  • Add Filter and Flare to Your Image: I loved the dimension to this pic so I used the “TinType 3” filter in the Be Funky Web app to add a bit of grit. (Note: Canva also has built-in image filters but not quite like this one.)
  • Build Your Graphic: Once my base image was ready, I uploaded it to Canva and added pretty much everything else you see in the image below. (Note: A few of the icon graphics I paid for via the Noun Project as I use them fairly regularly and Canva did not have a comparable icon in their gallery.)
  • Add Interactivity to Your Graphic: Once the base graphic is complete, I upload it to Thinglink.. and all the interactivity you see below…and HERE.

WOW! What is Hidden in This Epic PD RECAP?

Well… I am so glad that you asked… I divided this recap into 3 distinct sections:

  • Sessions I Attended FROM TCEA: Sessions I attended are all labeled and linked on the left.
  • Sessions I Presented FOR TCEA: Sessions I presented are all labeled and linked on the right.
  • Miscellaneous Nuggets: Additional learning nuggets that didn’t fit in to either category (but were worth including) got linked on around the table and chairs (also a great reason to select an image with depth and dimension to guide the viewer through each section).

Hope you enjoy not only the process of designing this professional development recap… but the take-aways and educational snippets embedded and archived within 😉

But Wait! I Have A Few More Questions…Before You Cap this Post!

Sure… fire away:

One More SoapBox Pitch…

I am not saying that every piece of information that you curate and send to teachers or share with your staff has to go through this process… BUT what I am saying… is that everyone is busy and their time is valuable. As hokey as it may seem, an email without a graphic or image, boasting large bodies of text, and no bullets or means of chunking content will most likely be overlooked or neglected. However, when you spend time to make content look appealing, easily navigable, and brief… people seem to respond and be reached…

Stay tuned for my SXSWEDU Epic PD Recap… 😉

 

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19 Mar 2015
Comments: 6

What No One Tells You About Social Media in Education

Before I get too deep in to social media tips and best practices, I wanted to extend my deepest gratitude to Deb Evans and Cyndee Perkins. I worked with both of them at Computer Explorers many years ago and their forward-thinking in the social media arena set the platform for amassing my own PLN on LinkedIn and Twitter.

“If I put a pot of instructional gold in the forest of an empty PLN, will anyone benefit from it or know that it is even there?”

So let me first set the stage… by answering the question… “What does social media have to do with education?”

  • Proactive Curating is the Life Vest for the Content Tsunami: With the fire hose of content that is pushed out every day, social media is a way to curate, collect, and locate best practices and keep up with trends.
  • Creating and Publishing Content Isn’t Enough: I am not deluded enough to think that just because I post something, that someone will read it. We all have busy lives so publishing content is not enough. If you really want to impact education, you have to connect with a PLN via multiple social networks.
  • Modeling and Teaching Appropriate Use isn’t Optional Anymore: With colleges and businesses looking at student’s social media posts and feeds and more and more businesses looking to optimize and enhance their product and service with a sound social media strategy… this topic is no longer optional. It is integral to educating the whole student and preparing them for the world beyond our institutional walls.

Social Media Best Practices for Bloggers and Educators

This section first focuses on us as educators, curators, and purveyors of pedagogy and instructional best practices and how we can optimize the impact of what we share with the greater edusphere. Before you jump head first into the graphic and best practices, you might want to ensure that you have the proper social media flotation devices in place:

  • Have a Blog and Beef it Up: I have to say the first thing is having your own blog. I have a whole post on best practices for that “21+ Things Evert 21st Century Blogger Should Do in 2015” that can support you with this endeavor.
  • Get Savvy with Social Media: build up a PLN on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+ by sharing both curated and created content. I have a post on Curating and Creating with Care that will provide additional support as well.
  • Take Your Social Media to the Next Level: Once you are savvy with basic social media practices and blogging… reading Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick’s book “The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users” is a must. I devoured the book in less than a hour and gleaned 6 action items that I needed to add to my own social media plan. Truly there are far more in the book (120+) and many I have discovered through navigating my own social media paths throughout the years but these 6 really stood out to me as ones that needed my additional attention.

Guy 1

I really don’t want to take away from the book or the SXSW presentation so I will leave you to digest the slide deck here that provides tips for being organized and optimal as well as clever, curious, and valuable. And just in case you aren’t totally sold on how good this pitch was… there was a fire alarm that went off in the middle of it… and very few participants of the packed room… including myself… were phased enough to leave (see video). 😉

Social Media Best Practices for Students

So now to our students… Guy shared 10 best practices for students in his “If I Knew Then… What I Know Now” talk at SXSWEDU. As he is the Evangelist of Canva, naturally I thought I would take a picture from our breakfast together and create a graphic to summarize his tips using Canva. Both of the images embellished with Canva are actually part of a stock photo series by Guy.

Guy 2

I really don’t think I can do his speech justice… fortunately SXSWEDU was kind enough to record and archive it for all to learn. If you are looking to supplement his talk and tips with tools to support students with social media and positive identities online, I have curated a Blended Resumes Smore and a Pinterest board on Digital Health and Citizenship.

As social media is clearly not going away… I hope this post whets your appetite for navigating this digital literacy to meet both professional and instructional goals.

 

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13 Mar 2015
Comments: 0

Celebrate Digital Learning! 10+ Examples of Digital Learning to Inspire You…

Admittedly, I am probably my own worst critic. Many times I am so focused on what I can do better and how I can provide resources and support to fill gaps and meet needs that I forget to stop and take inventory of the things that I do to support students and teachers every day. Truly there is a difference between bragging and celebrating (the intent of bragging is to make other’s feel badly about their own accomplishments in comparison to your own and the intent of celebrating is to recognize and publicly acknowledge the efforts we make.) My intents of blogging have never been to publicly shame others but to inspire other to share, celebrate, and reflect on how we all impact practice and pedagogy each day… and what better way to do that than with Digital Learning Day

“Started in 2012, Digital Learning Day has provided a powerful venue for education leaders to highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes.” Digital Learning Day.Org

How Can You Celebrate?

If it were up to me, I think I would employ blinking tiaras and scepters and offer black forest cake… but in the day and age we live in… the best way to share is online… and many times with a blog or a tweet. As I have been focusing on social stories and feeling stems with my two boys, I naturally was already in that mindset, so I skimmed through my last 10 blog posts and summed each one up in a reflective learning stem…

Too often we get stuck in the digital doldrums of frustration, stress, and despair over technology and hardware… and forget that it really all just boils down to learning… so please share your digital learning reflection stems this Friday and in to the weekend. In fact… we don’t actually need one designated day to celebrate transformative learning… we really just need to build this idea of celebrating and reflecting in to our every day practice…   be inspired and know that what you do matters!

 

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09 Mar 2015
Comments: 3

4 Things Every Student Must DO to Preserve their Work

This has been a topic heavy on my heart and mind all year. More and more students are creating and collecting content on their devices… and this is a good thing. However, when we have to swap and/or turn in their iPad due to damage, graduation, or migration from the district… we start running in to problems. Most of these issues can be resolved with student education and a smattering of forethought and planning.

WHY Must WE Support Our Students With Managing and Archiving their Content?

Before I reveal “Digital Transitions: What Every Student Should Know”, let me just give you a window in to an all too real scenario. A student has damage to her iPad (dead spots to the screen that make it utterly unusable). She has done an iCloud back-up but would like to manually back-up content and media just in case. During our iPad Swaps, we discovered that if all apps are not updated and the iOS is not updated, sometimes all of the content within the apps does not return during the restore. So back to my very real media transferring chain of events…:

  • Plug in iPad in to her Macbook and pull off photos directly: this is a no-go as devices are managed and will be rejected by iTunes and other programs due to this configuration.
  • Upload Photos to iCloud: this was also a no-go as the device needed an update and would not “talk” to her Mac until that update was complete.
  • Upload to iFiles (Novell): we could have gone this route but the app was not set up with her Novell connection and having to turn the iPad 90 degrees every few seconds due to the dead spots on the screen proved less than desirable.
  • Google Drive: thought this might work but we kept getting network errors due to our filter glitch with Google and having to turn the iPad 90 degrees every few seconds due to the dead spots on the screen to troubleshoot the connection proved obviously less than desirable.
  • eBackpack: so we ended up using eBackpack (our current district workflow management system) and uploading photos and videos to the home folder there – somewhat less desirable as there is no bulk upload feature so we uploaded each photo and video one by one.

I truly hope and moreover believe that having a back-up and archive process in place (and training our students on this process) will alleviate the issue of students losing content as well as scrambling to back up content last minute.

WHAT Are the Types of Media, Content, and Apps Students Use Most?

So, I thought about the main types of media and content that students create and collect and also the apps that students most use and that we provision within our system. With that I created a quick infographic in Canva and then added a layer on instructional support using Thinglink and Voila…“Digital Transitions”:

HOW Will I Disseminate this Information to Teachers and Eventually Our Students?

It was painfully clear when I popped in to all classes participating in mandatory iPad swaps this year (due to the necessary enrollment in the updated MDM system) that professional development for students is a must. Multiple students in each class stared at me with very confused looks when I mentioned iCloud back-ups. Obviously, telling secondary students to complete a task is not enough… we need to show them how. This infographic is the first step to preparing our students to be effective managers of their own content:

  • Step 1: Collect my thoughts on this content management dilemma and prepare a resource that maps out the process.
  • Step 2: Meet with all Senior classes (starting with Seniors as they have to turn in their iPads at the end of the year) and walk them through the process of transitioning and archiving their content.
  • Step 3: Eventually meet with all underclassmen to do the same process.

I sincerely hope this information is helpful and I will keep you posted on this process as it develops. Would love any and all thoughts on the need for student professional development in the arena of preserving content.

 

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24 Feb 2015
Comments: 1

App-Smashed Benjamin Franklin Biography

I guess this is what happens when your mom is both an educator and an Ed Tech…

My second grader recently brought home a bottle biography project. We finished the written portion a few weeks ago knowing that we still had the craft module to complete. Now before I continue with my story, I want to clarify a few points:

  • By no means am I saying that all student projects should be digital.
  • By no means do I believe that projects shouldn’t be sent home.
  • By no means do I think projects shouldn’t involve crafts.
  • By no means do I think the whole assigned project lacked merit or purpose.

Purposeful Crafts

Please know that I definitely enjoy doing projects with my son and I think it is great bonding time… I just believe that craft assignments should be purposeful in nature. No matter how many projects like this we get assigned, I find that the “craft” module of the project falls mostly on the parent to select and purchase the supplies and even assemble them. Now don’t get me wrong, my son helped locate rocks to fill the bottle to stabilize it and did assist with some of the assembly and design but ultimately most of the bottle project ended up in my lap. I then have to ask myself, “what did he ultimately learn from this craft?” So, this got me thinking… what could we do with this bottle craft project to elevate and extend the learning and utilize and incorporate the craft project?

1378578_10204841519790308_4959281387267759674_n

Research and Extensions

I will say that we gleaned a lot through reading the biographies together and completing the provided biography inventory. Because I felt like my son had learned more about Benjamin Franklin than he displayed in both the bottle and the handout, I decided to add a few more guidelines to the project (based on the 2nd grade standards). Many of these extended the written, visual, and oral requirements for the project:

  • MindMap of 5 Adjectives: This included a hand-drawn image from my son as well as component of typing and allowed him to display his research visually. (used Popplet Lite app)
  • Locating Origins and Birth Places: This was simple but addressed a geography component and the ability to locate places of significance. (used Google Earth app)
  • PostCard to Benjamin Franklin: This creative writing assignment  focused on expository text standards as well as addressing important contributions of historical figures. (used Bill Atkinson PhotoCard app)
  • App-Smashed Assembly: As Toontastic is now free (since it was acquired by Google), and it had a Benjamin Franklin toon within its suite, we decided this would be the perfect tool for app-smashing the aforementioned content. Not only was this a great tool to assemble all of the digital media, it also addressed the standard of creating visual displays to convey research results and touched on the component of expressing ideas orally as well. (used Toontastic app)

Within the App-Smashed Assembly, we included a few more elements:

  • Reflection on Process: I am a huge proponent of reflecting on the process – not just the final product so I made sure that my son included how Bottle Ben came to be with pics of the final product and a delineation of the materials.
  • Citations and Multiple Sources: While I am currently stationed at a HS, I have to tell you that I had my stint in elementary as well and have a special place in my heart for children’s literature. As some of the books that my son self-selected from the library proved to be above his reading level, I picked up a few from Amazon. In doing so, these books reiterated the content that we had read from his initial research and provided a diverse landscape for his learning.
  • Publishing: Publishing and Sharing writing is a a big component of the standards and I can’t tell you how excited and proud my son gets when he finds out that other schools in the district (and schools across the nation) want to share his project with their students. In fact just this morning he smiled and said, “just say ‘yes’ to anyone that asks you.”  😉

Ben Franklin copy

Final Project

So here is the final App Smashed project… One of my favorite parts is that the analog creations (e.g. Ben biography bottle and hand-drawn images) provide a introspective and unique landscape to the digital creation that could not be achieved through digital elements alone.

I have to say that had we to do this over again… I would make a few tweaks to the project:

  • Include all Original Artwork: I would have had him design a setting for Benjamin Franklin (hand-drawn) rather than using the Toontastic stock background.
  • Assemble a Timeline: I might also have suggested a timeline of major contributions or events created with Popplet Lite or RWT Timeline.
  • Dramatize a Scene: I would also have him recreate an actual scene to meet dramatization standards.

Authentic Audience

Nothing warms my heart more than to know that my son’s work is well received and that he has an authentic audience for his learning.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 7.46.06 PM

Invest in Knowledge and Involve Me…

So I fortuitously happed upon this bottle of wine at Walgreen’s and in doing so learned that Benjamin Franklin had a repertoire of wine quotes as well. As none of these quotes were particularly app-licable or app-ropriate, I decided to share one of my favorite Benji (yes, we are now on a first nickname basis now) quotes about learning:

Benji Quotes.001 copy

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