Sunday, March 30, 2014

Shoot*Edit*Share with Loopster

There are some really great ways in which you can make use of video in the classroom.  I have shared posts about many tools that will support Flipped Learning such as the Movenote post last week.  I went on a hunt for a different type of resource that would allow a user to create a video much like iMovie would.  I wanted something that would allow the user to import video, edit using audio tracks, add text, transitions and publish a quality video and... free.  I believe Loopster might just be that tool.
Loopster, available in an online or iOS app ($2.99) is clear in their terms about using video of students under 13, but does not restrict students under 13 from creating an account.  Interestingly, the policies do indicate that they do not collect information about a person under 13 and if they find they have, they will delete it.  Considering I have to give name and email to create and account, I would say that this would be a teacher not an under 13 student tool.  The account creation was simple, quick and the how-to video pops up to help a person learn to use the tool.  Even without watching the video, it seemed very intuitive and I had no difficulty creating a video.  There are over 600 sound effects and audio clips to be added, great transitions and text allows for easily adjusted font, colors and other controls.
Upon uploading a video to Loopster, the tool warns the user that your content is only going to be stored in your account for 30 days.  The warning makes it clear that they are not about storage, but the tool itself and that they need to be selective for the account to remain free.  Videos can be 10 minutes long and posted to Facebook or YouTube easily from the page.  Permissions are very straight forward and simple to adjust in this tool making it a great classroom video tool.

To see how Loopster works, check this video tutorial out:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Clean up your Resources Easily with Clean Print and Save Extension

I am not a fan of printing especially in an age of digital learning.  However, I do think there are just so may good resources out on the web to teach current, relevant, engaging information to students that teachers choose not to use for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes the article or webpage contains so much information that the important information is hard to focus upon, sometimes it contains information within the text that is too technical or difficult for students, other times a teacher indicates that they just cannot get it to print or save the way that they want it without ads, other information, etc.  That is where Clean Print and Clean Save come into play.  This extension for Google Chrome allows you not only to exclude information on the page with the click of a button, but it also allows you to change the font size to make the information readable to all students. You can add notes, grayscale text, and the frame offers a realtime page estimate on your editing so that you can always determine the length of the article you are preparing.  Once you are finished, simply save to PDF, Google Docs, Dropbox, print or even share through social media and email.  Super simple and super useful in the classroom!  Great tutorial to give you an idea of how easy this is to use:

Kaizena Voice Comments

Kaizena, the voice comment app for Google Docs makes it simple to add voice comments to a student's work.  I first encountered and shared this app when it was called Voice Comments.  It has been through a name change and some great improvements.  In my recent DEN STAR Ambassador meeting with teachers we looked at Flipped Classroom Resources.  At the end one of the teachers shared that he was using screen casting apps as a way of adding voice comments for a student on work they do in his high school class.  I asked if he had seen Kaizena.  It is a perfect tool for putting a personal touch on grading for students.  As he mentioned, his parents will even play his love feedback on the papers that he sends back to students.  AWESOME! Anytime we can engage students and parents to come around improvement and feedback we are definitely doing something right.  Wouldn't this be a great tool to keep a record of students in the elementary school doing a read aloud and sharing with parents?  It's a perfect addition to an online portfolio!

To get Kaizena navigate to this link in the Google Webstore.  This demo video will help you get an idea of how it works.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Exit Ticket App for Chrome

Exit Ticket is a Google Chrome App that can be used in the classroom for formative and summative assessment with the digital tools of a Chromebook Classroom but also with any internet device.  The Exit Ticket app has a sign in for both the student and teachers.  This tool has so many great components to it that will allow a teacher to differentiate instruction at all levels.  Teachers can view students progress and performance progression immediately and adjust and personalize learning.  While this apps is aligned to the common core you can also add your own learning targets.  Once you create a free account you will find that there is excellent support in the form of a downloadable pdf guide as well as videos to learn how to make the most out of this powerful tool.
Watch Exit Ticket in action in the video below:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Movenote - 10 Reasons I love it!

A few weeks ago some good friends shared Movenote with me at the ICE conference in IL.  I was thrilled with the tool and have been trying to find the time to get a blog post out about it.  Then Movenote was featured in the DEN March Madness set and again, I thought, "I have really got to share this one".  Today is the day!
Movenote is a tool that can be added to Chrome, used online or even through gmail that allows you to capture and record and instructional video with inset video from your webcam.  Movenote is awesome for many reasons.  Here are my top 10...

  1. It is FREE!  It is a simple process to get signed up.
  2. The tutorial videos are short, sweet and easy to follow as you can see from the 40 second intro video here.
  3. Another reason I love Movenote is that it can be used on a Chromebook with students! In fact, Movenote also has a great video on this that would be great for students.  The video is linked here (See what I mean in #2 ?).  
  4. Movenote will access Google Drive to load content.  This makes it easy to make a video from anywhere!
  5. Movenote assists with that challenging "Allow" microphone and webcam access request that many kids miss when trying to use a tool.  Movenote's page actually shows a large red arrow pointing to the toolbar.  Great thinking!  
  6. Movenote can be added to Gmail making it super easy to send a Movenote video right from your email window.  This is so cool!
  7. Movenote allows you to add annotations to the slides you present.  
  8. You can share a Movenote through email but also on a website, SMS, Google Drive, Facebook, etc.  The Gmail feature is super cool. Check it out here.
  9. Using Movenote with students a teacher could easily create a quick tutorial for a task that students might need to review multiple times, send instructions to a substitute, or engage students in a fun lesson starter.
  10. Using Movenote as a student the possibilities are endless!  Students could create a video to demonstrate understanding.  Students could share a video to help other students understand a process.  Students could share a video to demonstrate ability to speak another language  in a foreign language class.  The possibilities here are endless!
Give Movenote  a try!

Monday, March 17, 2014

DENapalooza - Milwaukee

Saturday April 5th is THE day!  Attend the DENapalooza Milwaukee tour stop at Hoover Elementary for some great professional development, networking and fun!  Sessions by DEN Educators, Discovery staff and some un-conference will make this day a unique learning opportunity for all who attend.  Topics include:  web tools, Discovery Education, digital tools, QR codes, Google and more.  Follow this link to find more information and a flyer to print and or pass along and register to attend here!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stormboard - Realtime Collaboration and Brainstorming

If your school is a Google school then Stormboard might be an interesting way to add collaboration and communication among working groups in your classroom.  This service, available to students who are 13 and up, has an education portal for teachers that gives an educator an upgrade to their account.  Stormboard creates an online whiteboard in which  collaborators can create and add sticky notes, images, videos, sketches, documents and more.  This upgrade allows for unlimited users, one administrator and unlimited storms or brainstorming sessions. This is available until the end of July when Stormboard will be coming out with their education packages formally.  Create an account with Stormboard here, then upgrade the account to an Edu account here.
Stormboard has a great tutorial on their site as well as this great video.

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Been" Looking for Something Like This!

Several months ago I read a post about Been, a way of gathering bookmarks socially.  As I explored Been I got very excited because, unlike other social bookmarking sites, this one integrated with the browser and was very image based.  It just seemed to shout, "education".  I sent an email to the contact at the bottom of the page as inquired about access to Been for an educator or in an educational setting. Very quickly I was contacted by the developers of Been.  Sang and Dave created Been and wanted to talk more about Been for Edu.  It seems they were already exploring it.  I have been in communication with them since then and had early access to Been for Edu.  These guys are very in-tune to the challenges of a teacher and have really made a great product.  I am super excited about Been for Edu as it will allow kids of any ages to bookmark, explore the web, and communicate all in a safe walled environment.  Teacher have the ability to create accounts for kids, take them along on a surfing session or guide them through a stalk of pre-defined and explained sites.  I did a quick video tour of Been for education below.  Check it out and request access to Been for Edu for your class here.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Collaborative Studying with CardKiwi

Our students are learning to do some much of their learning collaboratively these days.  Simple tasks that kids use to learn new words and ideas while at the bottom of the taxonomy are important elements to more in-depth learning.  Flash card learning, while boring and lower level can be a learning process for kids.  Make it fun with CardKiwi.  Upon returning home from work the other day, I arrived to find my middle schooler on a Skype call with a friend in her Spanish class.  The had been on a Skype call in which they had each built their own set of flash cards (paper ones) and were testing each other by holding the cards, one-by one, up to the camera and quizzing each other.  The tool CardKiwi is just one of the flash card tools out there that could have made this a much smoother process.  Watch the video below and see what you think.

Click for Video

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Engage kids with a Spotlight on Strategies from Discovery Education!

I am frequently told by teachers that they love the Discovery Education content and the video segments provide for quick hit media which engages students in the content in a form that they enjoy.  While short videos are great, even they can become "just the average part of the lesson" when used often.  Did you know there there are many other forms of media available in the Discovery Education service available to you?  In addition, there is an entire series of lesson plans to introduce you to different instructional strategies for using this media.  These ideas will help you keep the spark and interest in the media that you choose for the curriculum with which you are working.
After logging into Discovery Education, navigate to the feature section called, "Spotlight on Strategies".  This section includes strategy ideas in lesson format with easy to use instruction for many types of media.  Give the lesson, Sound Check a try to integrate the use of the many sound effects into a lesson to add interest and trigger memory for students.  Or, try the Table Top Texting lesson for a time when you are showing a longer clip to keep students engaged in the media for a longer period of time.  These are just a few of the many strategies you can find in the SOS section.  Each one contains a downloadable PDF that if full of ideas and extensions for the great ideas.  You can even download a folder that contains the whole batch.  If you are interested in trying one or more out, let me know as I would love to team teach it with you!  Check them out and check back often as this is a frequently added to section in your Discovery Education subscription!
Check out of the samples included below:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I Geddit!

Sometimes getting a sense of understanding in a lesson is challenging.  With all the different learning styles, personalities and levels of comfort within the social factors of a student's life, who can possible keep track of it all.  That is where the tool Geddit comes in to help you out.  In a 1:1 Chromebook environment it is super easy.
As a teacher you sign into Geddit for free, creating an account using their step-by-step process.  You will create a class and generate a unique class code.  This code is then shared with students who only need to use it one time.  Geddit provides a great PDF poster to explain the check in levels that could be printed and reviewed with students.
Poster for explaining Geddit available at link above.

You determine when you might want to judge the comfort level of your class.  Geddit recommends at the beginning to judge prior knowledge, during the lesson and specifically before moving to a new task, and finally at the end of the lesson as an "exit ticket".  Make clear some ground rules about checking in.  The creator of Geddit, a teacher himself, recommends these three "rules":

  1. Check-in's are private
  2. Check-in's are not graded
  3. Students can check-in at any time to let you know where they are in the lesson
Geddit has created some really great videos to upport the use of the tool in the classroom.  The intruductory video is below.  If you think this might be a great addition to your classroom, watch this and other videos to get started.  This is a great way to differentiate the pacing and attention that you offer for the students in your class.  I would love to see this in action, so let me know if you will be giving it a try!  ~Rachel

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Take a Risk and Feel the Glory!

As mentioned in an earlier post, I was able to get to the ICE conference in Illinois this past week.  One of the best keynotes they had was George Couros from Alberta, Canada.  His has a great blog here.  The blog is definitely worth checking out and very inspiring.  George shared a lot of great information about taking risks and being willing to embrace change.  His personal story included an image of his father on the boat immigrating through Ellis Island from Greece.  He joked, although seriously, and queried the audience of why was it we get hyped up about small changes in life today when there are people out there who took up real change like his father and others like him on the boat.  The presentation was uplifting and inspiring.  One video that he shared really struck with me was the one below.  It is a video taken of a child's first ski jump.  What makes this video so fantastic is that this child audibly narrates their misgivings, fear, and apprehension as the child approaches the jump, anticipates as well as celebrates the finished jump.  There is so much to think about and reflect upon personally  after seeing this video.

Enjoy the video below and feel free to share in the Comments your reflection...

Help Your Parents ... or Yourself!

I have spent the last few days at the Illinois Computing Educator Conference and the Illinois Google Summit.  I have a ton of resources that I am excited to bring back but an easy one to share and blog about is the Teach Parents Tech site.  This site is a parody for those people that frequently find they are in the position of helping parents learn tech.  It is easy to use, full of helpful topics, and not necessarily just for kids who want to help frustrated parents learn about tech.  I think we all might find something here.
The landing page allows you to select and personalize the video and recipient messages.  Once complete, it looks like this:
You then enter the email address you want to send the video to and off it goes.  the recipient gets a very similar message with the videos embedded right into the email.  Each video is about 30 seconds long.  There are many videos that any of us could learn from.  Easy, simple resource for not just parents.