Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Resources for Hour of Code

Hour of Code is officially from December 7th - 11th, but that doesn't mean that you have to do it then or that you have to stop after doing one hour!  

So, introduce your students to just one hour of coding.  It's easy, yet could impact someone's future in a big way.  Try it.  Your student's will love it.

Here are resources for you to use, but we will keep adding to the list, so try the link below as well.  No experience necessary with most of them.

Hour of Code Resources - https://goo.gl/MKVwxC


Early Elementary
Move The Turtle - iPad App
Daisy The Dinosaur - iPad App

Upper Elementary

Middle School/High School
CodeCombat Hour of Code

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Once Upon a Time in the Land of Technology: iPad Apps for Storytelling

As summer comes to an end and classes start again, it is time to think of ways to engage students. Telling all kind of stories is one way to do that. When I say "all kinds", I'm referring to reports, writing poetry, researching a topic, and many other student assignments. Think back to Bloom's Taxonomy and you'll remember that the top levels bring greater learning and engagement to your students. There are many ways that technology can help. In this post, I am going to review two iPad Apps that are easy to use and bring out the creativity in your students to keep them engaged. Remember that storytelling allows students to show what they know!

Adobe Voice is one of my favorite free iPad apps. This app is not just for young kids; it is for people of all ages. With Voice, students use pictures, icons, music, words, themes and their voice to create exciting videos that bring ideas and content to life. When you sign in to Voice with your free Adobe account, you can explore stories created by other users or create your own. After adding your title or topic, you can go use premade story structures or build your own to create your story. Structures like "Tell What Happened" or "Explain Something" are great for reports. Add your own icons and photos (or search for Creative Commons licensed images), text, music, and your voice. It is suggested that you record one sentence per visual. Adding more pages will make your final movie more interesting. Students should begin their project with an outline or storyboard. Terms of Use specify ages 13 and up, and for this reason, it is recommended for grades 8-12.

Shadow Puppet is a free app for creating video slideshows (and another one of my favorites). I think this app is often overlooked, and I'm not sure why. Students can make video slideshows to tell their story, explain ideas, or document their understanding of content by creating a video that includes recorded audio and typed text. They can either take pictures with the iPad or download images from the Internet. (Note: Be careful in all projects to use pictures that have been licensed through Creative Commons for re-use, especially if their projects are going to be shared outside of the school.) Lots of ideas for videos are included in the apps, with more available on the website. This app is only limited by the students' imaginations. Teachers can also use it to create video slideshows for their students to watch in class, in a flipped classroom situation, or to differentiate lessons. This app is recommended for grades 1-6, but older students might also enjoy its ease of use. There is an education version and it is free.

Other great apps:
  • Tellagami (free or education version is $4.99)
A great article:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Once Upon a Time in the Land of Technology: Making Movies

Stories have been a means of communication throughout history, starting with oral stories that passed down traditions, histories, and information to the next generation or the next travellers.  Stories are still important today and not all of them begin with "once upon a time."  Today's stories include the news on TV, movies, both informational and for entertainment, social media, blogs, screencasts, and more.  In the classroom, they tell the story of what our students are learning or can be creative, fun stories for others to read.  While creating stories, students practice doing research, evaluating resources, writing, reading, collaborating, presenting, and using technology. When our students create stories, they are practicing researching, identifying the best resources, writing, reading, using technology, collaborating with others, and presenting.  

In this series of blogs,  a variety of platforms for storytelling with technology will be introduced.  With the amazing amount of apps, websites, and software out there, this list will not be complete, but hopefully will give you some ideas to get you started.  In part I, we will look at ways to have your students create videos, which is a great project for collaboration.  As for doing the research, analyzing sources, writing the script, and the other components that go with creating the video, there are plenty of resources out there for you to use and maybe we will blog on those at a later date.

iMovie is available for the Mac and iPad.  It is easy and intuitive enough for beginners, yet has several advanced features that will lure in a competent producer.  Students can choose templates for their videos (there are several for videos and movie trailers), then shoot the video to place into the template they have chosen.  It almost seems like magic as you place the videos and iMovie creates your masterpiece.  The movie trailers are great for creating book reviews, advertisements to promote a school event, making political advertisements, and more.  Below is an example of using the trailer feature of iMovie in the classroom.

"Aztec Knights" Expedition Theme-iMovie Trailer Explorer Project

Microsoft's MovieMaker has been around for a while and is still easy to use and works on Windows based technology. It allows you to add and edit video clips, add music or narration (including changing the volume of the music so it doesn't overpower the narration), and you can add still pictures, animations and transitions to create a profession looking video.  Videos can be used to create debates, interview a character from history, or as a research topic instead of the traditional written report.

WeVideo is web based and free for up to 5 minutes of video a month.  Other plans are available.  You can drag and drop your video clips and still pictures into a template as a beginner and move on to doing it all on your own once you know the ropes.  Transitions, special effects, and audio can easily be added.  The best thing is that it can be used on all devices since it is web based, making it an easy choice for the BYOD classroom.  Advanced features include picture-in-picture and green screen.  Students can create a weekly news show, create a video on a historical figure, present the biography of an author, or tell how the author used tone, setting, and characters to get a specific message across to her readers.

Wideo is a web based animated movie maker.  Wideo is free, but limits each of your videos to just 45 seconds, which is great for a short report.  There is education pricing for other plans.  Students can start with their built-in templates, then advance to creating on their own.  Add images, backgrounds, and music to tell your story.  There is also an extensive image library to choose from.  Wideo does the rest.  Since Wideo is an animated short video, students have to tell their story with animations, movement, sound and music, which is a challenge, but a fun one!  Have them create advertisements for a product or a book, show a scene from history, or get across a point of view.

For those of you using Chromebooks in the classroom, WeVideo and Wideo are excellent resources that will have your students creating in no time.  Both can be added to Chrome from the Chrome Store or accessed via their website.

Digital storytelling is a multifaceted practice that is hands-on and interactive, combining art, technology, and education into one stimulating piece of work. It may help teachers integrate material and reach their study group, or allow students to develop multiliteracy skills. It’s possible to combine tradition with creativity by means of text, images, sound, voice, and why not animation?  (http://wideo.co/blog/boost-classroom-enthusiasm-with-storytelling-videos/)
By engaging in creating, students are using a multitude of skills that they will need for the rest of their lives.  If we go back to Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, storytelling moves students up to the top levels of creating, analyzing, evaluating, and applying in a way that has been difficult to do in the past without technology. Storytelling is more than just videos in today's world.  Next time I'll look at screencasting in the classroom, which is a great way for students and teachers alike to create stories by capturing their screen and their voice.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Once Upon a Time in the Land of Technology: Resource List

Resources from Patti's Once Upon a Time KySTE Presentation

Monday, March 2, 2015

KySTE and KATE - A Great Combination

KySTE is approaching rapidly . . . it begins in just 2 days with the opening of the vendor area on Wednesday evening from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.  KATE will have a booth located at #1018.  As you know, there are always great things happening at the KATE booth!  Be sure to stop by Wednesday night - and again on Thursday.

Several members of KATE, along with one of our new Murray State faculty members, will be presenting during the conference. Here are the session details so you can be sure to attend:

The Creative Classroom
Thursday, 8:30-9:15 am, Jones Room, 3rd Floor

  • Our students are digital natives that need to be engaged in ways other than the traditional pencil and paper report and teacher lectures. We will introduce you to a number of websites and apps that you or your students can use to increase engagement and help them move up on Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. Let's become information creators instead of information consumers!
PD for Free!
Thursday, 9:30-10:15, Nunn Room, 3rd Floor

  • With budgets cuts happening each year, the area of professional development in technology is starting to take a hit! In this session, you will learn about professional development options that are FREE of charge. All provided resources will be technology-based and will focus on providing educators professional development in the area of instructional technology. Please join us - PD for FREE!

If They Make It, They Will Learn
Thursday, 1:00-1:45 pm, Jones Room, 3rd Floor
  • In this session, participants will make and learn by engaging in a variety of hands-on, STEM related activities, which include the integration of educational technologies. Experiences will include various student-driven robotics activities (including experience with Kate the Robot), working with electrical circuitry, and MakerSpaces in the classroom and library.
Once Upon a Time in the Land of Technology
Friday, 10:30-11:15 am, Jones Room, 3rd Floor
  • Once upon a time, there were many apps and websites available for teachers and students to use to tell stories of all kinds. Whether it’s the story of your students, your cause, or your lesson, it’s not just about explaining information or ideas. It's about creating knowledge. We'll look at many tools that you can take back to your classrooms to engage students in learning and creating.
We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Do Chromebooks Belong in the Classroom?

Elementary student at Trigg County Elementary School
Chromebooks are popping up in schools across Kentucky, mostly due to their price point. With their low cost and the Chrome OS that requires no maintenance (think updates!), it is no surprise that schools are looking at them and thinking about how they can be used in the classroom. I've had a Chromebook since last summer and found it to be fast, lightweight, and easy to use. I could do pretty much anything I wanted to do on it, despite the fact that it doesn't have a large hard drive for storage. I put it to the test, taking it to meetings and conferences where I used Google Drive to store and share my documents. I was impressed. But did they belong in the classroom? Would students be able to do everything they needed to do for class? The answer is yes!

Middle School student at Browning Springs Middle School.

KATE visited both Trigg County and Hopkins County Schools recently to see just how they were using their Chromebooks. In the middle and high school classes we visited, we saw a range of applications. Some students were collaborating on slide show presentations using Google Slides and others were using Google Classroom to retrieve a copy of an assignment, then doing research online to answer the questions in the document. Elementary students were using a program called Symbaloo as their startup page that housed links to websites that teachers would direct them to during class time. Usually the students would be working on their Chromebooks while the teacher worked with a group of students on their reading or math lessons. What really caught my attention, though, was how each student was truly engaged in what they were doing.