Canva for Quick, Digital Designing

Well,  here’s another helpful ad from Facebook. Canva offers digital designing software. Over 200,000 free photos and images are offered. With no training, I was able to quickly create a blog graphic. CANVA’s Digital Design Challenge will walk you through the basic skills needed to create your own design. Additional design elements can be purchased at $1/piece.

Canva created graphic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canva can also be used to create certificates.

Solar Eclipse at CRES

CRES kids wore their safety shades to watch the eclipse. All photos were edited with the Aviary application and uploaded to Animoto.  It took about 30 minutes to upload the photos, dragging and dropping them into the preferred order. The video was produced and then upgraded to HD (720p) for an additional $10.  The band, Leftover Cuties, supplied the song: A Sunnyside.

Podcasting Our School News with PodBean

A few years ago I had a chance to try out Podbean for podcasting our elementary school news. Using my iPad, I’d record students and staff using the Twisted Wave audio editor app. I’d then edit recorded interviews for clarity, adding sound effects purchased from Soundsnap.  Using Podbean’s free account, I could share and embed podcasts, like the one shown below.


#Twisted_Wave #Podbean #podcasting #Soundsnap

Popplet for Quick, Visual Organization

There are many resources for creating visual maps online.  I’ve always found Popplet to be the most user-friendly, though Mindmeister offers many more tools. A free membership allows the user to create up to 10 popplets. Popplets can be shown in one of eight different colors, as can each popple of information. The popple can contain text, an uploaded image, a sketch created within the popple, a hyperlink, or embedded video. Text size and alignment can be customized. The best feature of Popplet is the ability to generate an embed code to display your popplet within a post.

Flip Your Class With Classroom Salon

classroom salon logoAnalytics can be called data mining. In the field of education, it can be referred to as Learning Analytics. This is the process of collecting data from student responses to curriculum content. This data can be used to inform instructional practices, allowing a teacher to tailor her instruction to student need, alerting her to early intervention. One such resource for this data collection is Classroom Salon.  The CRES computer lab is currently using this resource with 4th, 5th and 6th graders. This resource is similar in design to that developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessments Consortium to assess reading skills. CRES students will be using online assessments as publishers move away from pencil and paper exams to those that can be delivered digitally.

Through Classroom Salon, an instructor can upload videos and documents she wishes to use as teaching resources. She can use markup analytics (tagging) to better gauge the effectiveness of her teaching and the ability of her students to understand concepts. As students read a document or watch a video, they can pause at any spot along the way, tagging and composing responses. Tags that might be appropriate for college students could include Clarify, Discuss in Class, Important Point. Tags that might be more appropriate for younger students could include I have a question, Can You Explain, Agree/Disagree, I feel…. Collecting these types of responses can help the teacher efficiently identify areas of strength and weakness. The teacher can also quickly respond to students, correcting misunderstandings that could become permanent or difficult to correct. It’s also a great way to engage students because they’re interacting with their course materials. As pointed out in the article mentioned below: “Unlike a classroom setting, every student in a course using learning analytics answers every question, ensuring they interact with all course material.” So, there’s an accountability factor! I rather like this. I recall a student who didn’t do well on her reading exams. Her mother feared she had a learning disability. She actually suffered from “I did not read the text.”

Behavioral analytics provide insight into a student’s desire or ability to reply to other classmates or to post comments. Frequency of replying and commenting can also be captured. This kind of data collection helps the teacher learn more about her students’ areas of interest/motivation.

Social analytics refers to the level of interaction the students have with each other. Bloom’s Taxonomy places creativity and, in some models, collaboration at the top of the pyramid; collaboration is also one of the important skills students are expected to develop according to the International Society for Technology in Education. These analytics help the teacher identify who are the leaders, followers, and helpers in the course.

Finally, document analytics, help the teacher learn about the ability of her resources to develop student understanding. Many teachers have had the experience of giving an exam with the best of expectations only to find to the contrary, that 75% of the class scored poorly. Document analytics helps the teacher see areas of weakness in her existing curriculum: red hotspots tell the teacher some of her content may need better explanation/support.

The future of analytics:
A recent article titled Will Analytics Transform Education (http://www.learningfrontiers.eu/?q=story/will-analytics-transform-education) brought up a few interesting questions worth discussion: 1) will data mining attempt to replace the teacher 2) could this data collection distinguish student guessing from knowing multiple-choice answers 3) what happens to this collected data (privacy concerns) 4) is this an example of running education like a business.

I think learning analytics/data mining is here to stay. It has the potential to improve teaching practices and student outcomes.

This report was prepared for Flipping Your Class: An Analytics-Based Approach. This course is offered through HP Catalyst Academy. This document is available for response at this link: http://classroomsalon.com/annotations/Individual.aspx?document=17997

Keyboarding Programs

CRES students began using EduTyping Jr. Because it’s not software-based (it’s web-based) students can continue their keyboarding practice from home. Teachers can contact the company for a free 90 day trial. They’re very accommodating. The Computer Lab was able to enroll 300+ kids for 6 months for free.  The program runs $8.95/student for the first year and then drops to $4.49 the second year (based on an enrollment of 200-499 kids).

During the 2012-2013 school year, CRES had a trial subscription to Keyboardingonline.

keyboarding online

The free trial ran for 60 days. Fourth graders used it, as they had used EduTyping Jr. the previous year. KeyboardingOnline allows the teacher to blackout (there is no need to use a keyboarding cover) the portion of the screen, which would normally show the student how accurately he/she is typing. This encourages the student to look up at the screen, where the keys being used are shown. Students who pause for 2 seconds are timed out and must redo the lesson. This prevents them from hunting and pecking. KeyboardingOnline is screen-based: it installs an applet and information is sent back to the servers every 12 seconds or so. Meaning: if the Internet at your site is busy, it won’t affect your kids. The price is also less: 300 kids costs $459/year with a 2 year commitment ($1.53/student).

ImportanceOfKeyboarding

KeyboardingOnline outlines these important points regarding frequency and reinforcement:

•Frequency is more important than long extended periods
•3-4 x 15-20 minute sessions is far better 1 x 60 min session
•Elementary grades: Practice no more than 20 minutes.
Once the program is demoed to students and the standard set for proper posture and finger placement, kids can then begin practicing from home under parental supervision. Students can be assessed periodically to maintain standards, emphasizing accurate finger placement over WPM. Once kids are off and rolling with their keyboarding program, it allows the computer resource teacher to offer more advanced and engaging technology. And, keep this in mind, it is rare for a single class to visit the computer lab under the supervision of the Computer Resource Teacher more than once a week. Students improve their keyboarding skills when they’re on their keyboarding program at least 3 times a week. It’s easy for someone to breeze by a classroom, see kids practicing their keyboarding skills just once a week and think this is a good use of instruction. The bottom line: if kids aren’t using the program regularly, they aren’t making progress. This is the reason for using online programs. Note: The Technology Graduation Requirement for high school set forth by the EGUSD Board of Education requires the student to demonstrate a basic keyboarding proficiency of 25 WPM, using the home row. This proficiency is assessed with a 3-minute timed test with no more than 3 errors.  Basically, an EGUSD student who can type 22 WPM is meeting the graduation requirement. Note: I have had students in 2nd grade meeting this requirement with the use of these programs. You can read more about the Technology Graduation Requirement by clicking the document shown below.

Technology Graduation Requirements

Revo Uninstaller to the Rescue

revoI recently used the RevoUninstaller to rescue a co-worker’s PC from a browser hijacker: istart123.com. Sounds exciting, huh? Well, not to her. Every time she typed in a website’s url, she was directed to istart123.com. Her homepage and search provider had been changed. Manually entering her homepage and browser to her preferences were futile. With a bit of effort, I searched the Internet and came across http://www.revouninstaller.com This little beauty is free for 30 days. It did a great job of removing the offender.

Learn more about browser hijackers here: http://www.microsoft.com/security/resources/hijacking-whatis.aspx

Malware Tips offers some good advice for dealing with malware.

The best advice: be careful where you click. Always read the terms before you click accept.  

 

Headsprout for Reading and Comprehension

I just started a free 14 day trial at Headsprout. The program offers 80 Interactive online episodes that teach kids how to read; 50 interactive online quizzes that teach kids how to comprehend text.

Students log in with their teacher’s username, click on their student name, and then  enter a text or picture password. Students are assigned an appropriate module as their starting point after the teacher conducts a quick reading assessment. I particularly like the option of sending an individual student a text or recorded message for encouragement. The kids love to know their teacher is overseeing their work. I can also award bonus stars to students. The stars they earn can be used to “purchase” features for their robot icon or to play short videos/games.


A one year subscription can be purchased for a class of up to 36 students at $189.95 (less than $6 a student).


#headsprout #readingcomprehension #edtech

Using Izzit and Classroom Salon for Communication & Collaboration.

I consider ClassroomSalon.com to be one of top sites for building kids’ digital skills. The site can be used with documents, images and videos. I have previously written about the benefits of Salon.

I created this video for FlipCon14 to demostrate a flipped lesson. This video illustrates how to easily and efficiently create an online activity for current events using a free resource from Izzit.org. It’s a simple way to bring enriching and appropriate content  to your students, a great way to keep them aware of current events, and an outstanding way to get kids communicating and collaborating: an expectation for 21st Century Learners. (See ISTE for more information.)

Thinking of Flipping Your Class? Here’s an Analytics-Based Approach.

Analytics can be called data mining. In the field of education, it can be referred to as Learning Analytics. This is the process of collecting data from student responses to curriculum content. This data can be used to inform instructional practices, allowing a teacher to tailor her instruction to student need, alerting her to early intervention. One such resource for this data collection is Classroom Salon.  The CRES computer lab is currently using this resource with 4th, 5th and 6th graders. This resource is similar in design to that developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessments Consortium to assess reading skills. CRES students will be using online assessments as publishers move away from pencil and paper exams to those that can be delivered digitally.

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 8.03.20 PMThrough Classroom Salon, an instructor can upload videos and documents she wishes to use as teaching resources. She can use markup analytics (tagging) to better gauge the effectiveness of her teaching and the ability of her students to understand concepts. As students read a document or watch a video, they can pause at any spot along the way, tagging and composing responses. Tags that might be appropriate for college students could include Clarify, Discuss in Class, Important Point. Tags that might be more appropriate for younger students could include I have a question, Can You Explain, Agree/Disagree, I feel…. Collecting these types of responses can help the teacher efficiently identify areas of strength and weakness. The teacher can also quickly respond to students, correcting misunderstandings that could become permanent or difficult to correct. It’s also a great way to engage students because they’re interacting with their course materials. As pointed out in the article mentioned below: “Unlike a classroom setting, every student in a course using learning analytics answers every question, ensuring they interact with all course material.” So, there’s an accountability factor! I rather like this. I recall a student who didn’t do well on her reading exams. Her mother feared she had a learning disability. She actually suffered from “I did not read the text.”

Behavioral analytics provide insight into a student’s desire or ability to reply to other classmates or to post comments. Frequency of replying and commenting can also be captured. This kind of data collection helps the teacher learn more about her students’ areas of interest/motivation.

Social analytics refers to the level of interaction the students have with each other. Bloom’s Taxonomy places creativity and, in some models, collaboration at the top of the pyramid; collaboration is also one of the important skills students are expected to develop according to the International Society for Technology in Education (http://nets-implementation.iste.wikispaces.net). These analytics help the teacher identify who are the leaders, followers, and helpers in the course.

Finally, document analytics, help the teacher learn about the ability of her resources to develop student understanding. Many teachers have had the experience of giving an exam with the best of expectations only to find to the contrary, that 75% of the class scored poorly. Document analytics helps the teacher see areas of weakness in her existing curriculum: red hotspots tell the teacher some of her content may need better explanation/support.

The future of analytics:
A recent article titled Will Analytics Transform Education (http://www.learningfrontiers.eu/?q=story/will-analytics-transform-education) brought up a few interesting questions worth discussion: 1) will data mining attempt to replace the teacher 2) could this data collection distinguish student guessing from knowing multiple-choice answers 3) what happens to this collected data (privacy concerns) 4) is this an example of running education like a business.

I think learning analytics/data mining is here to stay. It has the potential to improve teaching practices and student outcomes.

This report was  prepared for Flipping Your Class: An Analytics-Based Approach. This course is offered through HP Catalyst Academy. This document is available for response at this link: http://classroomsalon.com/annotations/Individual.aspx?document=17997

Blogging Develops Many Skills.

KidBlogWhy should students blog? Blogging develops numerous skills, and many of those skills are the focus of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). ISTE has developed the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for students, teachers, administrators, coaches, and computer science teachers.

Those standards include the following six focus areas: 1) Creativity and Innovation, 2) Communication and Collaboration, 3) Research and Information Fluency, 4) Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making, 5) Digital Citizenship 6) Technology Operations and Concepts.

1) Students will improve their writing skills more quickly because they now have an immediate audience for their work, an audience that goes beyond the walls of their classroom, connecting them to other students in their grade level at school. This is a great way to build collaboration and comraderie.

2) Students learn how to use a social media platform, in a closed environment.

3) Students learn the importance of netiquette (writing appropriately).

4) Students learn how to adapt images, to save them, to import them, to embed video, which can be helpful to students wanting to learn computer programming.

5) Students understand the meaning of hyperlinks and how to create them.

6) SMARTER Balanced Assessments will require students to enter information into text boxes; therefore, students need practice composing digital content.

7) Students generate their own passwords and learn to protect them, an important part of Internet Safety.

8) Blogging is a great way to teach kids the importance of staying on topic.

9) Blogging can be used to develop self-reflection and summary writing skills.

 

In the words of one teacher: “My favorite part about Kidblog is that I can access, assess and respond from anywhere. It’s priceless.”

Note: All student content is held for moderation before it is published by Miss Anderson.

Lino for Brainstorming

Lino is a handy resource for sharing educational resources with students. Collaboration is possible when the corkboard is set to public, allowing students to add additional resources. As a virtual corkboard, Lino provides the user with a way to display links, videos (YouTube and Vimeo), images, and sticky notes.  I’m currently using the free version. I created the example shown below, focusing on the Gold Rush.

Simply click CA Gold Rush to enlarge the board.

Computational Thinking in the K-12 Classroom

The title Computational Thinking in the K-12 Classroom might seem to discuss the skill of adding and subtracting. It actually refers to the use of computer programming to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. One such site for this development is Scratch. Scratch was created at the Massachussettes Institute of Technology. It uses color coded blocks. Kids snap the blocks into order to create a script for their sprites (elements on the screen). Students can create self-running activities or ones which require user interaction. I made this screen capture to explain the process of scripting for a snowflake project. CRES students in grades 5 and 6 have been introduced to this program.

The screen shots shown below capture the artistic abilities and creative thinking of students.

Sprites2sprites