TouchCast

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I was recently introduced to TouchCast. It’s an amazing screencasting app that allows users to record themselves while bringing peripherals onto the screen. Such things as web pages, photos, and titles can be called up to the screen while a lesson is going, to create a seamless learning experience for students. I could even see students using this themselves to make an awesome presentation.

Another nice thing this app does is allow the user to either write or type on the screen, so things like diagrams and charts may be annotated while recording. This is a great app. Please download it today and have a look!

Living Timelines

Use your class set of iPads to make a living timeline!

One Possibility – Students use the iPad as a presentation tool

  • Assign each small group of students to a specific event within a broad timespan, such as the Battle of Bull Run within the timeline of Civil War battles.
  • Direct the students to present on that topic by using their iPad as a display of their presentation.
  • Students may gather photos from the internet and keep them stored in the camera roll on the iPad, and bring them into any app that may serve the purpose. See this post as one option for presenting.
  • Once students have compiled all their research, a gallery walk around the room commences, allowing the whole class to experience the Battles of the Civil War, or the highlights of the American Revolution.

Another Possibility – Students (or teachers) create QR codes to direct learning

  • Create QR codes (instructions here) that drive the presentation.
  • Either students or teachers may create QR codes and place them around the room with labels that describe the event they represent.
  • Students may then travel around the room scanning QR codes and viewing the web site or text or YouTube video.

Educreations Interactive Whiteboard

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Take a look at this tutorial video for a wonderful whiteboard/screencasting app called Educreations Interactive Whiteboard. You can acquire a free account at Educreations.com, and any videos you create on the iPad will upload directly to the cloud for later reference. This is a great app. I hope you explore the possible uses.

 

 

 

Biome Project

The following videos highlight a biome project some students at Nimitz Middle School are doing. We will use Google Drive, Sketchpad 3, and Videolicious to accomplish the task of creating presentations that display student learning of various biomes and food chains.

All work will be completed with iPads.

This series of videos will introduce the project, and show where the links to biome pictures may be accessed through Moodle. Details on how to get those pictures onto an iPad are also addressed.

In short, students will access a Google Drive folder or a Weebly site, where the biome pics are stored. They will take a screen shot of the pics they want (or tap and hold to save the image), so that they are stored on the iPad in the camera roll. Then, they will open the app called Sketchpad 3 and bring in their photos and arrange them in a food chain order. They can add arrows between the pictures to indicate energy flow, and then export their finished chain to the camera roll. Finally…students will bring all their pics/videos together in the Videolicious app to make a video presentation of their learning. Did I say “in short”?

How to use Sketch Pad 3 and Videolicious are topics picked up in the videos that follow.

 

This video will show you how to use the Sketch Pad app to build your food chain.

This video will show you how to take all your creations and put them into Videolicious for the final product.

 

Video of the final product

 

Adopt an Element

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I recently worked with a teacher at Nimitz Middle School who had her students adopt an element from the periodic table for the purpose of making an advertisement for the element. The students were charged with the goal of “selling” their element.

There are many free periodic table apps out there, but my favorite is The Periodic Table Project . Here is the iTunes description of the app:

Always at the forefront of innovation, the University of Waterloo initiated a collaborative student-design project to celebrate 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry. Chem 13 News together with the Chemistry Department and the Faculty of Science encouraged chemistry educators and enthusiasts worldwide to adopt an element and artistically interpret that element to eventually be brought together in a mosaic of science and art. A year later, with the project complete, we have designs by chemistry students from all Canadian provinces and territories, 20 US states and 14 different countries. Each element captures a unique and creative spark but together they ignite a passion for chemistry.

 

Here’s a screen shot of one of the pictures that students designed:

 

So we downloaded a few periodic table apps and made sure we had saved several web links to various periodic table websites as well. We then asked students to spend day one researching for such things as the symbol for their element, the atomic mass, the number of protons, the cost of the element, the person who discovered and named the element, interesting facts, etc.

 

Day two consisted of directing students to compile all their research, screen shots, and saved pics from day one into a presentation using either Pic Collage, Videolicious, or Skitch. Most students chose Pic Collage.

 

Here is an example of one student’s product using Pic Collage:

 

 

 

Connecting Math and Technology

Using Video to Help with Instruction

Whether you use Khan Academy or some other similar resource, the power of video instruction is huge. Your students are given the power to review your teaching repeatedly until the learning is cemented.

Understand that you may also make your own videos with sites like Educreations or Show Me, and embed these lessons in your teacher web, or share the link through email. Both of these resources are also available as apps for the iPad.

You may also use the SMART recorder in conjunction with your SMART board to make video lessons that can be distributed for student consumption.

A thought that has occurred to me in the past is to have the students use the above-mentioned technology to explain their own learning. The students could just as easily access these technologies and make videos that will explain their thought processes as they solve a math problem. In this way, you could have them submit a paperless assignment.

A Medium for Videos

So once we have some videos made, how do we share them with students? This is a great question. Fortunately, we have several tools at our disposal that help answer this question. Here is a list:

  • Teacher Web – you may upload a video file and link it to a page for student access.
  • Weebly – you may sign up for a free account, and use the site as a host for videos.
  • Edmodo – this is education’s answer to Facebook. This amazing tool really is powerful. Contact me for the school code, so you can start uploading videos today.
  • Edublogs – this blogging platform is essentially the same as WordPress, and there’s much you can do with it. Let me know if you are interested in setting up a blog for your classroom.
  • YouTube – each teacher has an educator’s account with YouTube. Once you are signed in to Google Docs, YouTube appears as one of the apps.
  • TeacherTube and SchoolTube – these are also viable options for hosting videos.

Response Systems

Make raising your hand a lot more fun! Use one of the many response systems that are on the market. Some exist on campus (Turning Point Clickers available for check out in the library) and others are free online.

Some online possibilities are as follows:

Each of the above tools have varied learning curves and features offered. Make it your goal to use a couple of these in the classroom this school year.
 http://www.stanforddaily.com/2011/02/02/something-just-clicks-in-large-lectures/ 
 

Web 2.0

There are free sites out there that will allow us to do some amazing work for free. One that comes to mind is Board800. This site allows the user to create on online whiteboard and invite collaborators. Users can even expand their collaboration across multiple boards! This seems like a powerful tool for learning math.

Another amazing tool is Google Docs. Each teacher and student has an account with Google Docs. All they need is their login credentials. The power of Google Docs is the power of collaboration. Unlike most of the other programs we are used to, Docs allows multiple users to work on a particular doc at the same time. Simultaneous collaboration even allows for greater productivity beyond school hours, since the students would be able to access their Docs accounts from home.

Watch this video that shows how easy it is to make a spreadsheet and a graph in Google Docs.

Another thing Google Docs does well is that it provides an online quiz capability. All you have to do is create a form, ask students to submit their answers, and then run a script called Flubaroo to grade the responses. Really easy.

Here is another list of resources:

SMART Resources

Another very useful resource is found at the SMART Exchange. This online resource allows users who have set up a free account to download ready-made SMART Notebook files that may then be modified to fit the needs of the downloader. Users may search for lessons by TEKS! This is a great resource that should not be ignored.

Creating a Tour in Google Earth

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The following series of videos will demonstrate how to create folders within Google Earth that will allow you or your students to take a virtual tour of the earth. Enjoy.

 

The next video that will take you on a tour of our Texas towns, and show how to adjust the tour settings.

The next video will explain how to add a link and a curriculum-related question to one or all of your Texas towns placemarks.

Watch the next video to learn how to place an image on a placemark, so that it will display as the student travels through the tour.


This video will describe how to change the label on a placemark as well as change the view of a placemark as seen on the tour.

This video will show you how to embed a video from YouTube or SchoolTube into Google Earth placemarks to make a Google Earth Documentary.

The final video in the series will show you how to turn all your work into a .kmz file that can be emailed to others or dropped into the student shared folder, or even uploaded to your teacher web. All these options make your tour available to others.

 

My Apologies…One last video. This one will show you how to direct your students to view the tour.