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14 Dec 2012
Comments: 3

Vocabulary iCues: Trading Cards

I have been a huge fan of Read Write Think’s interactives for some time. Naturally, I was ecstatic when they started releasing app versions of them. One of my favorites is the FREE Trading Card app. The app allows for multiple student logins (which is perfect for classrooms using a shared iClassroom model) and boasts 7 different templates (fictional person, real person, fictional place, real place, object, event, and vocabulary.) Naturally, one can see the potential for this app across the curriculum and with multiple grade levels.

Trading Cards app

 

Vocabulary Bulletin Board

Vocabulary Connections: One of my English teachers here at Hill Country MS, Dixie McGrath, used this app with her students to demonstrate their knowledge of the week’s vocabulary. While this can obviously be achieved with other mediums (see visual cue cards on the bulletin board to the right), this app provides an easy template with further vocabulary connections (e.g. definition, part of speech, synonym, antonym, other word associations and clues, where it would be used in everyday life as well as people who might use it, and personal connections). The completed card can also can be saved to a photo roll to be shared with other students or collected to create a class set.

 Below are a few student examples:

 

WME050 - Student Created Books in the iClassroom

600+  iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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Ted X Youth Austin 3/30/2012!

Come visit me at FETC. I will be presenting a 3 hour workshop on Monday entitled “Student Created Books in the iClassroom.”


30 Nov 2012
Comments: 7

Science and Social Studies Stripped Down

Going Batty: Hot off the iPress! I received a batty iLesson from Laura Wright, a 3rd grade teacher at Eanes Elementary (check out this Smilebox about how she manages the iPads in her classroom). She piloted a 1:1 last year and continues to trail blaze the iFrontier.

Laura shared a 5 page student-created comic which focuses on bat myths and reality (portions seen below). Her students even coined a new phrase “multi-apping” which means creating something in one app and applying it to another – wonder how long it will take for that phrase to appear in the urban dictionary? This particular method can be seen in the last page of the comic where the student set a scene in Puppet Pals, took a screenshot of said scene, exported it to the photo roll, and plopped it into the Strip Designer comic.

Laura Wright's Class Batty Project

 

Laura mentioned that the students truly loved this app and let their creativity run wild as can be seen in the bat “cover page”, photos of students with bats in their hair, and the conclusion with Obama telling America that bat funding would be increased this year. This comic showcases evidence of student learning while also capturing distinct personality and humor.

Laura Wright's Class Batty Project

 

Earth Landings: The very same week, second grade teacher Lisa Carnazzo sent me her class using Strip Designer. Looks like her class also experimented with some multi-apping. They explored landforms in Google Earth and classified and labeled them in Strip Designer.  (More pics and info about this iLesson can be viewed here.) Lisa did mention that while the students enjoyed the project, some of the elements proved difficult to manipulate for the primary students.

Carnazzo's Stripped Down Landforms

 

Lisa Carnazzo showcases all of her student projects on her class wiki. Check out all of her iPad Lessons on her site and read more in-depth blogs on how they were accomplished right here.

For more examples of how Strip Designer is used in the iClassroom:

  1. History Stripped Down
  2. English Stripped Down: A Student Perspective
  3. iHealthy Living
  4. iPattern Scavenger Hunt

590+  iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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20 Nov 2012
Comments: 0

History Stripped Down

Fiske’s Class strikes again with an entertaining, engaging… dare I say enlightening iPad lesson using the Strip Designer app. The task was to create a comic strip to showcase the key people, philosophies, and terms of the Enlightenment and Age of Reason.

Enlightening Comics created with Strip Designer app

 

Student-created app reviews: Don’t take my word for it… check out this student app review video highlighting a few of the app’s features students love!

(Check out more student app reviews here.)

 
Stripped Down iCurriculum: This post is part of a series on using comic strip apps across the curriculum: See English Stripped Down.

Fiske Continued: More News on Fiske’s Class (Personalized Learning and Documenting iLearning).

 

550+  iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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19 Nov 2012
Comments: 4

English Stripped Down: A Student's Perspective

Recently, I visited with Mrs. Haneman, a HCMS social studies teacher and mom of a Westlake student. This is the first year for both the 8th grade 1:1 iPad initiative as well as the 1:1 for freshman and sophomore’s at the high school. As we all strive to embrace this new technology and integrate it effectively into our lessons, I think it is valuable to reflect on our student’s impressions of the device as well. (Mathy Cathy showcases an excellent example of challenging student’s perceptions of math on the iPad with augmented note-taking strategies).

In this instance, I focus on “The Odyssey” and a “Hero’s Journey”. This assignment utilized the Strip Designer app and was created by Mrs. Haneman’s son. While the student admitted to appreciating all of the artistic features the app offers, he did say “it took a long time to work the mechanics, over drawing with pencil and paper, but since I’m not a good artist, I liked the result better.”  He drew the main character as a shadowy figure with no face and utilized a cross hatching technique. The app also allowed for him to use mix media and incorporate internet images for backgrounds and other characters. For an admittedly unprofessional artist, I found the comic to be easy to understand and follow and charming. (See The Golden Apple PDF and open in iBooks on a mobile device or view embedded Google PDF below.)

As graphic novels become a more and more popular art form (check out this one on the Odyssey), it is exciting to see how students are able to easily access and embrace this media using the iPad as a tool. Check out this graphic adaptation of the Battle of Troy using the Comic Life app.

Comic Life example of Battle of Troy

 

A Beowulf Retelling using ComicBook! app

And one more… a retelling of Beowulf using the ComicBook! app. Check out Yolanda Barker’s blog for more details on this assignment.

Check out more Comic iLessons using Strip Designer:

 

 

550+  iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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09 Nov 2012
Comments: 1

App-tivities

Student Workflow in the iClassroom: Recently I presented at the Oregon Academic Technology Society held at the University of Portland. The topic was “Student Workflow in the iClassroom”. Apps and iLessons shared ranged from flashcards and PDF annotation to multimedia projects and presentations and workflow solutions. I compiled all of the info in a List.ly (seen below) which includes all of the apps (and resources) as well as hyperlinks to student app reviews, iLessons, and student products.

[listly id=”22k” theme=”light” layout=”full” numbered=”yes” image=”yes” items=”all”]

App-tivities: Yesterday, I had another app-ortunity to share my app-thusiasm for iLearning and student app-tivities at Tech and Learning’s Tech Forum held in Austin. Below is the archived version of the livestreamed session. The panel includes myself, Yolanda Barker, and Jon Samuleson (better known to the twitterverse as @iPadSammy). Between the three of us, we cover app-tivities and student products from elementary to high school.

Watch live streaming video from techlearning at livestream.com

 
Mix it up: Yolanda’s apps shared were cleverly showcased in an app mix as seen below:

475+  iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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08 Nov 2012
Comments: 1

DIY Prezi

After I completed a round of teaching Evernote to Fiske’s class, I strolled down the hallway to say hello to Mrs. Yenca (otherwise known online as Mathy Cathy). She waved me in and I decided to stay for a while. Now, I have to say that her normal teaching methods are on par with a rock star. She knows how to orchestrate a lesson and keep students engaged like none other. BUT, today, I too fell under the spell and was mezmorized and floored by the app-tivity.

Mathy Cathy's Estimating Square Roots Zoomable PDF iLesson


 
Truly the idea of estimating square roots is nothing to write home about (or blog about for that matter). It was how she built her lesson that had me intrigued. Students used a PDF that Cathy created from a Keynote slide and zoomed in and out to problem solve. No need for extra paper or space because a PDF does not become grainy when zoomed in and out.

Zoomable PDF for Problem-Solving


 
I don’t want to steal her iThunder – for more details on this truly ingenious apptivity, visit her blog.

I do want to give you a taste of her personality, though. Few educators could enthrall a classroom and an ed tech with estimating square roots. Teachers like Cathy are ideal candidates for a Flipped Classroom and video instruction model. Her teaching methods truly match her captivating apptivity.

 

For more about Mathy Cathy, read my first Mathy Cathy post, and check out her blog.

Creative Title (e.g. DIY Prezi) credit goes to @Classroom_tech

475+  iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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19 Sep 2012
Comments: 5

MathyCathy

Introducing MathyCathy

Sometimes you just meet someone and you know you are kindred spirits. MathyCathy is that person. She is a middle school mathematics teacher here at Hill Country MS and a fellow lover of pi (true story: my car turned its odometer at 31415 miles and I almost stopped the car to take a pic and freeze that momentous occurrence in time). Like me, she also hails from Pennsylvania and is fairly new to the Eanes school district.

After teaching for 13 years, she is still as enthusiastic and passionate about students and helping them learn as someone who has just entered the field.

Cathy has already begun embracing the 1:1 8th iPad Rollout. Not only has she composed lessons that allow students to have familiarity and exposure with screen-casting, PDF annotation, and QR codes, she has tirelessly chronicled this journey in her blog and created a PDF handout with step-by-step directions for anyone to utilize. Check out all of her other resources on her Teachers Pay Teachers store.

iLesson: The first apptivity she created involves QR codes and 1-Step Equations. Students were given a strip of paper with a QR code and specific directions to scan the code and open the attached PDF and solve the problem using neu.Annotate+ PDF. Student were then prompted to write a story problem to solve another equation. (Each QR code went to 1 of 5 different PDF problems and the same equation for a word problem).

My Suggestion: The final word problem activity could be completed with the QR Code Beamer app as students could write their word problem and then beam it to another student to solve and return.

MathyCathy's iLesson

You will definitely be seeing and hearing more about the energetic and inspiring MathyCathy.

More TechChef4u Math iLessons HERE!

300+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Did you know TechChef4u had a FB page?

 

 


03 Apr 2012
Comments: 1

Mobile 2012

I am pleased to announce that “Appy Hours 4 U” has added a Mobile Learning Speaker Series. Over the next two weeks, Yolanda and I will be hosting Mobile Learning Experts and Mobile 2012 speakers.

If you are unable to attend Mobile 2012, we are hoping this will be the next best thing.

Below is a line-up of the first four speakers. The sessions will be LIVE on “Appy Hours 4 U“. During the LIVE show, the speakers will be available to answer questions through a Todays Meet room which will be posted during the live show. Shortly after the live show, the episode will be archived and available in “Appy Hours 4 U” iTunes.

Mobile 2012: April 11-3th in Phoenix, AZ

     

  1. Tony Vincent & Felix Jacomino: Listen LIVE Wednesday April 4th @ 3:30 pm CST!
    1. Tony Vincent (Twitter: @TonyVincent):
      1. Tony Vincent started teaching fifth grade fourteen years ago when it wasn’t so easy to publish online. Knowing that students were motivated to see their work on the Web, Tony first had students write their book reviews on Amazon.com. Later, his students spent each school year adding to their classroom site, Planet 5th. They published writing, photos, journals, art, videos, and more.Planet 5th became so popular that it received thousands of hits from around the world. In 2001 his students began using Palm handhelds, and ever since Tony has been an advocate for mobile learning. He developed Radio WillowWeb in 2005, making it one of the first podcasts by students. Tony left classroom teaching to become a consultant in 2006. While he misses his former school, he’s had amazing experiences as a consultant. Currently based in Phoenix, Arizona, Tony has worked with teachers and students from around the world.
      2. Tony is an Organizer for Mobile 2012 and will be presenting 3 sessions focusing on the topics of Project-Based Mobile Learning and Collaboration.
    2. Felix Jacomino (Twitter: @FelixJacomino):
      1. Felix Jacomino is the Director of Technology in a private, 1:1 iPad, school in Coconut Grove, FL. Felix has a great passion for teaching that authentically engages students. He graduated with a degree in Education and also studied computer networking and is a certified network engineer. The combination of his education background and technological skills has proven to be ideal in guiding his current school and technology integration team to be technological leaders in the South Florida community. Most common hashtags you will see Felix use are #edtech, #edchat, #mlearning, #ipad, #edapp, #pbl and, of course, #mobile2012!
      2. Felix’s Mobile 2012 sessions will include: 21st Century Learning & Tools in Primary Grades and Combining 21st Century Skills and Project-Based Learning.
  2. Diane Darrow (Twitter: @DianeDarrow): Listen LIVE Thursday April 5th @ 3:30 pm CST! 
    1. Diane Darrow is the Information Media Specialist at Bel Aire Elementary School in Tiburon, CA. She is constantly entertaining innovative ways the iPad can improve curriculum and instruction for schools. Her classroom instruction experiences include teaching at the preschool, elementary and University level. Her educational training is in Early Childhood Education, Montessori, Reading Recovery, Gifted and Talented Education, Fine Arts, and Online Teaching. In her spare time, she writes reviews for TeachersFirst.com and occasionally contributes blogs about mobile technology for Edutopia. In 2011, she was named an Apple Distinguished Educator.
    2. Diane’s Mobile 2012 presentations will include: Inquiry-Based App Activities for Elementary, Literature Circle on the iPad, and Writing as Child’s Play. 
  3. Derek Keenan (Twitter:@MrKeeenan): Listen LIVE Monday April 9th @ 4:30 pm CST!
    1. Derek Keenan is a 21st century teacher, researcher, blogger and learner from Airdrie, Alberta, Canada. He is a Technology Learning Lead in his school, bringing new and innovative ideas for learning into the classroom. He has taught with class sets of iPod Touches and iPads, and has seen some amazing developments in blending mobile learning with engaging student activities. His newest learning focus is the development and implementation of virtual learning environments and educational gaming, having received a technology grant to explore this emerging field. Derek is excited to bring even more experience and research in mobile learning back to Mobile after his appearance last year at this powerful event!
    2. Derek’s Mobile 2012 sessions will include: Creating and Sustaining Effective Leadership in Digital Learning, The Educational Implications of App Innovations, and The Paperless Classroom: Tools and Processes for True Digital Learning.

 

Stay tuned for updates to our Mobile Learning Speaker Series. Hoping to get 5-7 more added to the offerings.


03 Jun 2011
Comments: 0

Today's Meet

Todays Meet is a Web 2.0 tool that is free, requires no logins, and works off of any iDevice. It allows teachers to instantly create a virtual room for students to speak up. The tool can be used for discussions, brainstorming, preflecting, formative assessment, and even exit tickets. Responses are limited to 140 characters or less (much like Twitter). This type of online response is considered micro-blogging due to the size of the post.

myspace graphic is done on Gickr.com
Make your own animation

Other Ideas for Todays Meet:

  • Pop-Up Discussion: Try spicing up an educational video clip by creating a Today’s Meet virtual room via mobile devices. Students could post questions and answers to the film as they go or could even highlight character traits, discover elements of light and dark imagery, discuss misconceptions and vocabulary, analyze quotes, practice Socratic questioning, summarize, or locate Shakespearean references (see Raise the Curtain & Raise the Bar post) – almost like a virtual dialectical notebook. VH1 used to do something similar with Pop-Up Videos and many television shows (the Voice which claims to be the “most digitally integrated show on television”) will run Twitter feeds at the bottom of the screen. Not only is this form of media engaging – it is a great way to track comprehension and to have an ongoing discussion.
  • Evaluate Posts: Todays Meet also allows you to print a transcript of the discussion which is wonderful for counting and evaluating posts. I even had a teacher print it out, black out the names, and use it for a starter the next day. Students were asked to evaluate the spelling and grammar in the posts. What a great extension!

Things to be mindful of:

  • Public Access: Because there are no logins, anyone with the url can access and contribute to the group (which could be good if you wanted to chat with another class in another district, city, around the world, etc… but not so good for other obvious reasons. This is why I typically only leave the room open for two hours.). 
  • Student Info protection: it may be wise to have students use names that are generic or give them a # to avoid having student information made publicly accessible.
  • Inappropriate Comments: There is no way to remove or delete the comment from the feed. This may worry some teachers but I liken it to a student blurting out an inappropriate comment in the classroom. There would be no way to delete this comment from the minds or ears of his/her fellow classmates either. I would handle this incident similarly to how a teacher would handle the student who blurted out in class.
  • Setting Ground Rules: Ground rules should be taught prior to conducting a Todays Meet discussion. Students should be give a purpose for the discussion and instructed to stay on topic, be respectful, and post quality not quantity. If you want your students to raise the discussion level, these guidelines should be set and reiterated prior to initiating the discussion.

Do not let these issues deter you from using the tool in your classroom. Just be vigilant and have a plan in place for tackling these issues if and when they arise. While the site is publicly accessible, I have had no issue with inappropriate use to this date.

Using Todays Meet with an iDevice: using Todays Meet in conjunction with a mobile device virtually eliminates many of the limitation issues of the tool in that the devices can be used in the classroom, lab, or an auditorium, and they provide more of a 1:1 solution. If using Todays Meet on an iDevice, the easiest way to approach this is to create a web clip to the Todays Meet site on each device and then have students launch the web clip and simply type in the name of the room after the url. This way if the room changes every two hours, students aren’t redirected to other rooms and the web clip will work all year in any classroom.

Check out this video from LearnitN5 for a quick tutorial and explanation

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na_rg6Ok7LM]

Check out some articles which reference how it is used in the classroom:

Interested in Web 2.0 tools for discussion? Check out Edmodo, Edistorm (this one is phenomenal – check out this video), LinoIt (works on iDevices), and Corkboard.me.
Below is a screenshot of the Todays Meet handout for the site and some supporting resources

 

 

Check out some of the responses from our Appy Hour via Today’s Meet!

 

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Make your own animation


23 May 2011
Comments: 2

Flipping the Classroom

I recently was asked to be part of a Think Tank to promote global education through the use of technology integration in our schools (many times highlighting the power of mobile devices & Web 2.0 tools). I have since then been inspired to share this video and its message with anyone and everyone that will lend me their ears.

As a Math teacher, I am familiar with the direct teach… assign guided/independent work in class… work not finished becomes homework… homework is not completed or completed inaccurately (and oftentimes with misconceptions) due to lack of instructional support at home. This cycle has gone on for much too long and is clearly still a practice as we see multiple interventions occurring to save students from failure on high stakes assessments and grade level promotion.

Though I was aware of the Kahn Academy app and am quite familiar with other Math apps that can be used to build math capacity and strengthen math skills, it was not till last week when the idea of “flipping the classroom” was added to my vernacular. How exquisitely simple the idea for such a powerful change to pedagogy and student results. Ask yourself, “How would our knowledge of Math or Science differ if Einstein & Newton had left detailed videos to explain their theories and concepts?” The entire video is linked below (it only takes 20 minutes to be inspired).

Let’s use video to reinvent education: Salman Khan on TED.com.

While this is not meant to be a one-size-fits-all approach, it does have many benefits for our learners:

  • allows learners who fall behind to not feel ashamed in asking for help as they can access the videos from home (rather than ask a question in front of the class)
  • allows self-directed and self-motivated learners to move ahead at a pace that is right for them
    • One example that was given during our meeting was that of a second grade student who had not qualified for the GT program but was extremely interested in what those students were doing in the program – especially with Math. The GT teacher directed him to her website with all of her teacher videos and assignments for the next few weeks. He quickly returned and wanted to know when she would be posting the next video, as he had not only completed the first video and assignment but all of them. Some times the walls of our classrooms are too small to contain the voracious appetite for learning and discovery that many of our students possess. She has since then began coaching him as a student in Khan Academy.
    • I too had a similar story. I taught a Pre-Algebra Advanced course for 7th grade students. While the students were predominantly GT, the levels and spectrum of GT varied throughout the classroom. One student always stood out to me. He would receive perfect scores on his assessments and he would actually read ahead to the next 2-3 chapters in the Math textbook. I recommended him to move to Algebra that year and he did well being two years ahead of his peers in Math. At the time we did not have access to or knowledge of the wealth of video and online resources available for a student of his caliber. Looking back, this would have been a wonderful gift to empart to all of my Math students.
  • allows students who missed class or have transferred from another campus, district, state to fill in the gaps (lessons & skills) that they may have missed
  • provides copious amounts of data (e.g. time spent on video or activity, problems missed, how many attempts, etc…) to teachers to track students and provide more resources and remediation of needed

Much of the Criticism I have seen against the Flipped Classroom highlights the lack of technology available to access the videos, inability and delay to ask questions, the idea that videos should not be the primary delivery method for all students, the necessity of additional resources to accompany lectures. While I do agree with many of the criticisms highlighted in this article, I believe there are ways to work around them:

  • It is true that not all students have internet access at home. However, many of them have mobile devices that will solve this issue. This may lead to a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) classroom concept as well. For those that do not, perhaps teachers and schools can agree to some sort of check out process for mobile devices.
  • It is true that while watching a video, you can not ask questions and have them answered. Even if students do write down their questions for the next day, they may be overwhelmed with how many questions that have. This is where social media and peer collaboration is key. First, most teachers will have a good idea where students will encounter an issue and they could supply additional resources to scaffold and supplement these topics and ideas. Also, peers are an excellent (and oftentimes underused) resource – especially if the teacher creates some form of online learning community (e.g. Edmodo, Moodle) for students to collaborate and support each other.
  • It is true that this should not be a one-size-fits-all approach nor the only instructional resource in the classroom. It is more the idea than the resource itself and it could be used as much or as often as an instructor sees fit. It is not intended to completely replace the role of the teacher or of good current instructional practices.
    • Some schools may call upon teachers who are strong orators and have a way with teaching a particular concepts to create videos of their lectures and disseminate them for other classes. Others may want to record student explanations as well. Both of these ideas can be easily accomplished using a document camera (the actual person delivering instruction would not even need to appear in the video – just the action of explaining the instruction or problem/examples).
    • Teachers should work together to create and supply resources to accompany videos. Resources could range from PPT’s, to interactive websites, to SMART lessons, to podcasts, to videocasts, to apps, to Khan Academy activities, to math-themed children’s books, to ePubs, to online learning communities. A veritable scmorgasbord of resources and support to meet the needs of any and all learners.
Though the focus on this blog is Math, the idea of reversing your classroom could be applied across the curriculum. How will you FLIP YOUR CLASSROOM?