Thursday, July 2, 2015

#ISTE2015 Takeaways

This is the first year in many years that I was #NotAtISTE15 

I will admit that I missed going and wish I could have found the funds to go. I'm going to begin saving now for #ISTE16 in Denver. This is just too valuable of a tech conference to miss.

Regardless of my absence, I would like to share a few finds that I bookmarked from following the #ISTE2015 hashtag for just 15 minutes this morning:

#1 Gynzy

Having just finished a two day SMART Notebook Training, I was pleased to find this fantastic resource for use on Interactive Whiteboards.  Gynzy is packed with fun tools and activities for grades K-8. Create lessons and add media to your lessons.  After playing with Gynzy for a short time I was pleased with the simplicity and helpful tutorials.  

This video is an amazing example of the Elizabeth Forward School District bringing new learning spaces to their schools and the incredible impact that it is having on student attendance and learning. This video is so inspiring and reminds us of the necessity of updating our schools which have stayed the same for far too long.

Alice Keeler shared her Google Spreadsheet for personalizing a rubric and running an add-on script to make a copy for each student on your roster. The copies of the rubric automatically appear as individual tabs on the spreadsheet with the students' names on the tabs. Alice also shared the steps for using this Rubric Template to easily share the rubric with students in Google Classroom.  I tried out the spreadsheet as was very impressed with the possibilities of its use in the classroom!  

Another great share out from Alice Keeler was The Tile App.  This fabulous app lets a person find any object that they have attached a "tile" to. Alice uses this for her luggage when traveling.  The best way for me to learn about the Tile App was to watch this video:

The only thing holding me back is the cost of the tiles / 4 of them cost $70.  I'm not sure I can justify that expense.

#4 Emojis on a Mac

I love my Mac and I'm always looking for new tips and tricks to use the device to its full capacity. This is a simple tip to open emojis quickly on a mac. Simply use the key combo: Control + Command + Spacebar and you too can type things like this:

#5 Quotes from Ed Tech Leaders

What I really love about ISTE are all of the positive and inspiring thoughts from the attendees. So many great words of advice.  

It's not surprising that the overall themes of ISTE2015 showing up in these quotes are what I believe is at the heart of education today:
  • Don't just be a talker, be a doer and make things happen
  • Relationships and people matter the most
  • Students and learning should always be our focus
  • Be the best educator and person that you can be.
  • Be kind, considerate and a team player
Next year I will hopefully be attending ISTE2016 in Denver, CO.  In the meantime I will be spending a lot more time on Twitter sifting through the tweets from #ISTE2015.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Two Awesome Resources for Writers!

Writers are going to love Grammarly and Creativity Portal!

In this Chat with Deb, you will learn about two great tools for writers. Grammarly is a site and also an extension that can help with checking grammar as you write almost anywhere on the web. Creativity Portal is a site with exercises and resources for teachers and student who write.

Here are a few additional features of Grammarly:

Toggle sites on and off:

Find synonyms:

Check a word definition:

Thank you to Intel Engage for sponsoring this Chat with Deb.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Great Tool for Research and Writing Reports

instaGrok is great for research projects and for writing research papers. . .

Watch this Chat with Deb and see how instaGrok works and all of its wonderful features.

Also, check out the Chrome extension called Quick Research which allows you to search Google, Yahoo, YouTube and Images in a separate window. 
Thank you to Intel Engage for sponsoring this Chat with Deb.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Loupe Collage - Create A Year Worth of Pictures

There are many ways to celebrate the end of the school year. One of the more popular ways is with pictures. Perhaps your students would like to try Loupe Collage which is a Chrome App.

Loupe Collage lets you create a collage out of your own pictures, and that collage can be in many different shapes and forms.  You can choose a pre-made shape, use your own text, draw your own shape or use a grid or create with a photo pile where you can arrange your pictures in any arrangement.

Check out my collage:
Click here to interact with my image.  If you hover over an image it will zoom. I included images from this year from my Facebook, Google+ and Google Drive accounts.

Another collage using the photo pile option:

Here is how Loupe Collage works:

Give Loupe Collage a try and share the link to your collage in the comments. It would be fun to see everyone's year in review using all of the various options in Loupe Collage.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Redefinition - the SAMR Model - We Can Do This!

Recently we discussed the SAMR model of technology integration with our staff. This model provides us with a great reflective tool for evaluation of our lesson planning and engagement with our students.

Check out this video about SAMR to become more familiar with the model:

Here is a useful image:

Today I am going to share with you several examples that I feel reach the redefinition of SAMR. When we consider the learning that is taking place instead of the tools being used, these redefinition examples promote student engagement and higher level critical thinking.

#1 Cultural Awareness and Exchange:
My colleague and friend, Ms. Gorges, used Google Hangouts to record a video for her students while she was traveling in the country of Russia. She created a Thinglink to for easy sharing. When we connect with others via web conferencing and experience a culture through the eyes of someone we know, the learning becomes more relevant and realistic. Kudos to Ms. Gorges for promoting this type of technology with her students.

#2 Public Blogging:  
When students publish written posts about topics that interest them and have personal meaning to them, there is an investment in the task at hand. At the same time, when students get comments back from others outside of their direct circle of peers, the feedback can be more eye opening and can expand learning beyond what the student knows or believes.  The public posting, which can reach out globally, is what helps us to reach redefinition on the SAMR model.

#3 Twitter, Voxer and Google+
Twitter can connect students with people from a variety of locations and backgrounds. It is also a great lesson in writing with 140 character limitations.  Twitter Chats can focus on preparing for, moderating, and supporting others in a chat group.

Voxer allows students to hold a group conversation and allows for audio, image and text communication.  Rather than having a classroom lecture or discussion, why not use Voxer to allow for an online group discussion for sharing student learning.  

A Google+ Community would be a media rich platform for sharing resources and projects  with the ability for commenting and reposting.  There is also the possibility to hold a Google Hangout to connect the community in real time.

#4 Green Screen Technology
Video creation is very popular among our students, so when we add in Green Screen technology, there is the ability to place ourselves in any setting.  Students have created newscasts, public service announcements and short skits via the use of green screen technology. Students practice communication skills as well as knowing how to use the Green Screen technology properly.

#5 A Portfolio of Knowledge Over Time
Using an application such as, Livebinders or Pinterest, students can keep a running record of their learning. The portfolio can also serve as a reference guide outside of the classroom for help after class. This would be especially useful in a math class where the content builds upon itself.  Giving students ownership of their learning for their own benefit and purpose is the key. Adding in a collaborative option to work together on a Portfolio of Knowledge is also beneficial.  And providing students with the time in class to post to their portfolio is essential.

No matter what level of the SAMR model you are focusing on, keep in mind these three important standards:

  • Students should own their learning
  • Students should consume information critically and intentionally
  • Students should communicate clearly and powerfully.

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