Sunday, November 16, 2014

3 EdTech Tools for the One iPad Classroom

This article was first appeared on Daily Genius

iPads are amazing learning instruments that can improve instruction and student engagement dramatically.  Those of us privileged enough to work in 1:1 iPad classrooms can attest to that.  But lets be realistic: most classrooms around the world do not have access to the funds and resources necessary to equip a full classroom with iPads for each student.  There are numerous teachers who have access to only one iPad at school, or they just own an iPad and think it would be a great idea to be able to use in the classroom.  Luckily, there are several EdTech tools teachers can use in the One iPad Classroom in order to create lessons that are exciting, and provide unique educational experiences for all students. 

Apple TV in the One iPad Classroom
An Apple TV can literally transform the One iPad Classroom into an collective interactive experience for all students.  Due to the fact that the Apple TV supports AirPlay and mirroring, it is able to provide visual access of the iPad screen to all of the students in the classroom.  With the help of the little black box, the teacher can transform the iPad into a high definition portable document viewer that can be used to show teacher and student work in real time.  Furthermore the combination of an Apple TV with an iPad can enhance several parts of an everyday lesson.  For example, a teacher can use a digital book on the iPad to implement a read aloud.  The read aloud can now become interactive.  As the teacher reads the text from anywhere in the room, any student can use the iPad to highlight, annotate, and insert text and captions, transforming a simple read aloud activity to a highly engaging experience for all of the students.  An Apple TV is a great investment for One iPad Classrooms because it allows the teacher to craft highly engaging lessons that promote creativity and create spaces for collective engagement.  

Aurasma in the One iPad Classroom
Augmented Reality has always been a captivating concept.  People love watching impressive animations appear out of nowhere and provide the viewer with additional information that enhances the learning experience.  Aurasma is a free augmented reality app that can be used in the One iPad Classroom by students working collaboratively.  Students can take turns and use the iPad to take pictures of their work and turn them into time-lapse videos, or make short videos of each other explaining a math, reading, writing, or science concept.  Students that are technologically savvy can take it a step further and use appsmash and apps like iMovie or Tellagami to create even more sophisticated products as shown in the video below.
Here is a short tutorial on how to do that.

The students can work collaboratively and use these pictures and videos to create auras and triggers.  The teacher can post the triggers-images around the classroom, and the students can use the iPad collectively or individually to make the pictures-triggers come alive. 
Here is a short tutorial on how to do that

An Apple TV can easily transform the above activity from individual, to a collective educational experience.  By mirroring the iPad on the projector’s screen, every single student becomes an active participant of the lesson and the whole classroom is engaged in continuous learning.

Plickers in the One iPad Classroom
Up until a few years ago, audience response systems were extremely expensive, difficult to navigate and utilize, and often needed additional tech equipment, usually a smartboard, in order to function.  The introduction of tablets and laptops at schools changed that, as highly affordable, extremely effective, and completely free of charge apps and platforms such as Socrative and Kahoot made audience response systems user friendly and easily accessible.  However, these platforms require that each student has access to a digital device.  Luckily, there is an audience response system that One iPad Classroom teachers can utilize in the classroom to collect real time data from formative assessments, and its name is Plickers.

Here is a short tutorial on how to set up Plickers.

Pickers is an empowering application because it is armed with the unique ability to change the mundane task of taking a test into a highly interactive and enjoyable lesson that results in an authentic learning experience.
Plickers is very easy to set up and once it is up and running, it can be used by teachers to create assessments, exit tickets, or just simple questions.  Plickers allows the teacher to collect data in order to check student understanding in formal and informal ways, and it does so very intuitively, with the help of only one iPad and a number of cards with QR Codes.  Each card corresponds to a specific student.  The cards are equipped ingeniously with four options, which the students can select by just turning the card to a different orientation.  Teachers can use Plickers to spice up their lessons and engage students with the platform’s kinesthetic approach and its capacity to give students the chance to interact with the lesson collectively.

Want to learn more about integrating the iPad and other EdTech tools in your classroom?
Nik will be presenting at the Superior Schools Tech Conference June 17-19, 2015 in Clearwater, Florida.  Don’t miss out on the  Pre-Conference workshop featuring a hands-on workshop creating iBooks in the classroom! You can follow Nik on Twitter @chatzopoulosn

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Use App Smashing on the iPad to Create an iBook Example

Thank you to all of you who contacted me after you read my last post on Daily Genius on app smashing.  Many of you have asked for a specific example.  Here is the step-by-step process of seven app smashing examples . You do not have to use ALL of the steps, as you can pick and choose depending on what you want to accomplish.

a)    Tellagami – Tellagami – Camera – iMovie – Camera
Create multiple Tellagamies and save them in Camera.  Open iMovie and import all the Tellagamies.  Trim videos to remove the Tellagami logo. Add pictures, background music, transition effects.  Save final product in the Camera app.
b)    Safari (for pictures) – Camera (for video)-Tellagami – VideoMix
Using safari, do a modified Google search for copyrighted images that are labeled for reuse. Save an image on Camera.  Open Tellagami, use the pictures as a background.  Create Tellagami videos and/or videos using the Camera App.  Save every video on Camera.  Open VideoMix and import the pictures and videos you want.  Create your VideoMix and save in Camera. Make sure you check the “play sequentially” box so that the videos will not run simultaneously.
c)     Keynote – GarageBand
Open Keynote and create 2 slides.  Set the animation and transitions on “after previous”.  Start GarageBand, tap on Songwriter. Tap on “Apple Loops” on the upper right corner and choose your beat.  Export your beat by tapping on “share” then “export your song to disk”.  Go back to Keynote, and import the beat.  Then tap on “File”, “export to” and then Quick Time.  Save the file as a video.
d)    Haiku Deck – Mail – Movenote – Camera
Open Haiku Deck and create a 3-4 slide show.  Save it as PDF and email it to yourself.  Go to Mail, open your email, tap on the PDF, then tap on “open in”, and then Movenote.  Use your slides to create your video. Save the video in Camera.
e)     Camera and/or Tellagami (for video)- Animoto – Mail
Using Camera and/or Tellagami, create multiple 4-5 seconds videos.  Bring the videos in Animoto.  Import text slides in your project and combine them with the videos to emphasize the main points in your videos.  Enrich your Animoto with pictures.  Save your Animoto and email it to your teacher.
f)     Notes – WordSalad – Camera – Tellagami – Camera- ThinkLink
Using Notes make a list of words about your planet/star.  Separate the words by commas.  Copy the list of words and paste them in WordSalad.  Change the appearance, color, and style. Save several word clouds in Camera.  Open Tellagami and use one of the word clouds for a background.  Record and save your Tellagami in Camera.  Create a ThinkLink, use a word cloud as a background and bring in all the videos.  Share a link to your ThinkLink with your teacher.
g)    Notes (for text) – Safari (for pictures) – WordSalad - VideoScribe – Camera Type your text in Notes.

 Use WordSalad and the method described above. Save pictures in Camera. Using safari, do a modified Google search for copyrighted images that are labeled for reuse. Save the images on Camera. Start VideoScribe and import pictures, texts, and word Clouds.  Create your video and save it on Camera.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

How to Use App Smashing on the iPad to Create an iBook

This article was first posted on Daily Genius 

Image Courtesy: Daily Genius 

iPads can be powerful teaching tools.  In classrooms around the world iPads are mainly used by teachers and students for consumption, curation, and creation of information.  Naturally, due to its simplicity, consumption of information is the most common way in which iPads are used in and out of the classroom.  Also, many people use iPads for curating and organizing content.  However, creation of information is one of the most powerful ways students can use iPads in the classroom because it allows them to unleash their creativity and illustrate their knowledge in multifaceted ways.
One of the most inventive ways of using iPads to create content is app smashing.  App smashing is the process of using more than one apps in conjunction with one another to create a final product.  Combine that with the unique ability of Apple’s products to communicate content seamlessly between devices, and students have at their disposal the perfect powerhouse of content creation.  In this article, I will outline the process I use with my students in order to create a final product that redefines learning and provides a glimpse into the creativity and inventiveness of the human mind.

Step I: Start with the end product in mind
Before beginning a project, one has to ensure that he/she has a clear vision of the final product.  This is mainly because the playful nature of many of the iPad’s apps makes it easy for a child to get distracted and eventually deviate from the main goal.  In my classroom, before we even begin a project, we discuss what we want to achieve, and define as clearly as possible what the final product should look like, as well as what we will try to accomplish during each individual step.

Step II: Create a list of the apps you will be using
Once the final product is clearly defined, then the process of app selection begins.  The goal here is to curate a collection of apps that a) communicate with each other via the Camera app, or via the “open in” function, and b) allow the user to build a layer of content, that will serve as a foundation for the content that will be laid upon by the next app. 

Step III: outline the process with specific details
Most children today are digital natives and need little or no support, even when they work with fairly complex digital content.  However, many elementary children, not to mention most adults, will probably need some level of support, at least during their first app smashing activity.  One of the best strategies here is to create an outline specifying the different steps the students should follow when they work with each app.  A short video tutorial might be a great guide that answers all, or most of the questions that students might have, and refines the process.

Part IV: Publish the final product in accessible and appropriate ways.
Once the final product is created, it should be shared so that the students will demonstrate their knowledge beyond the walls of the classroom.  This inevitably creates some challenges, as privacy concerns should be addressed, especially with younger children.  Although YouTube and social media might be appropriate places to share content created by some students, there may be other services or platforms that are more suitable for other students, especially elementary students.  Some examples are Vimeo, DropBox, Box, TeacherTube, and Google Drive.  Parents, teachers, and schools define the various levels of privacy differently, which means that the choice might be based on factors that provide a level of privacy acceptable by everyone.

Step I: Start with the end product in mind:
The students will create an iBook about the Solar System.  The iBook will contain text, pictures, videos, and 3-dimensional models.

Step II: Create a list of the apps you will be using
iPad Apps: Tellagami, iMovie, VideoScribe, VideoMix, Camera, GarageBand, Keynote.
Apple MacBook Apps: iBooks Author
3D Software: SketchUp

Step III: outline the process with specific details
Here is a video tutorial that explains that process

Here is a video tutorial that explains the how to create an intro video for your iBook.

On any computer, Mac or PC, open SketchUp, click on the picture of the person that appears when you start a SketchUp project and then click “delete”.  Once your area is clear, Click on “File”, then “3D Warehouse”, then “Get Models”.  In the upper left corner, in the “search” field, type the word of the object you need, in this case, a planet.  Click on the picture you need, and then click “download”.  That will bring the picture in the Sketch Up model.  Then click “File”, “Export”, and then “3D Model”.  Name the file and make sure you save it as a .Collada file.  Your 3D file is now ready to be imported in iBooks Author.  Alternatively, you can use the process outlined in the video below and create your own 3D content.

iBooks Author
On a MacBook, open iBooks Author and choose a template. Use the appropriate wizards to import videos, pictures and the 3D Collada files you created in SketchUp.  Bring in the intro video you created in Keynote and drop it in “Intro Media”.  When you finish your iBook, click on “File” then “Export”, then “iBook”.

Here is a video that explains the SketchUp/iBook Author process

Step IV: Publish the final product in accessible and appropriate ways.

Google Drive: The final iBook was uploaded on the school’s Google Drive and it was shared with the students via their school email addresses.  NOTE: Plato Academy has adopted Google Apps for Education.  Every teacher, parent, and student at Plato Academy has his/her own email account.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How to Use Google Classroom for Professional Development

This article was first posted on Daily Genius

Image courtesy: Edudemic
Last month I wrote a post on 3 Different Things You Can Do With Google Classroom.  Soon after, I received several emails and Twitter messages from people who read that article on Edudemic, and are interested in ideas and ways Google Classroom can be used for Professional Development.  During the last month, at my school, Plato Academy Clearwater, we are experimenting with different scenarios and settings for using Google Classroom for PD.  We have generated several workflow examples and experimented with almost all of them. The ones that seem to be working the best for us are the following:

1    Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) & Google Classroom
The Team Lead in every grade can create a course, and invite/register the rest of the team.  He/She can create as many courses as there are subjects he/she teaches/leads.  If the school is departmentalized, the Team Lead can create one course per subject.  For instance, a Math & Science Team Lead can create one course for math and one for science.  A Language Arts Lead can create a Reading course a Writing course, and a Social Studies course.
The Team Lead can choose to either use the Announcements, or the Assignments, to initiate discussion on a subject. He/She can attach the agendas before every meeting, which can be edited by all the members at any time AND in real time, upload instructional and “how to” videos, and even share and co-create common assessments in real time, even if the team members are based at a different location. 
2    Trainings & Google Classroom
A teacher/trainer can create a course in Google Classroom, which is going to be the training session he/she offers, and invite teachers/participants to join the course.  The trainer shares with the participants the PowerPoint slides of the training via the Announcements tab, and handouts of the training via the Assignments tab.   Here, the trainer can use the option “Make a copy for each student” from the menu that appears at the right side of the attached document, so that the teachers/participants can have a clean copy of the attachment, which they can then use in their classroom with their own students.  In addition, the trainer can post questions about the training, which the teachers/participants can answer individually or collaboratively in groups, or even collectively as a whole group.  The collaboration can happen in real time, or at the trainees’ leisure, if the trainer chooses to set a due date and/or time for the question/assignment.   At more rigorous trainings, ones that require the participant to produce evidence of the knowledge they gained during the training, the trainer can assign real assignments to the teachers/participants, which he/she can grade, using Doctopus and/or Gubric.  Here is a video that explains how this is done.

      Principal – Teacher Collaboration with Google Classroom

Principals and administrators can take advantage of the power of Google Classroom to guide and lead instruction, or to share with their faculty certain information of key importance.  For instance, in my school, my principal decided to use Google Classroom to create a secure and private online place to share with her teachers important information on Florida Standard Assessment (FSA).  She created a course named FSA, and she uses that course to curate and organize information the Florida DOE publishes on FSA.  Every time she adds an item, the teachers/students in this course receive an email.  If the item is of great importance, the principal then creates a short assessment for the teachers to complete.  Since all teachers are in the course as “students”, they can communicate with each other, exchange ideas, and offer support, under the Announcements tab within Google Classroom.  During Professional Development Days, teachers can collaborate in real time and conduct vertical planning sessions, build common assessments collaboratively, and support each other in multifaceted ways.