Archive for category Audience: All

Holiday Greetings 2.0

If you’ve decided your hum-drum holiday card could use an upgrade, you might consider saving paper – and postage – by sharing your holiday wishes online this year.

Here’s a a few resources and inspiration to set you on your “merry way!”

Holiday Video Cards by vlix

Click Here to View

This simple iPad/iPod Touch app allows users to import or record videos, add holiday borders and background music before sharing via email, YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook.  Something as simple as recording students in your class saying “Happy Holidays” would be really neat to share with parents!

JibJab

Click Here to View

This online resource is perfect for creating a holiday ecard featuring classic music and the ability to add your face, or the faces of up to 5 friends to the card.  Elf Yourself!

Animoto

Click Here to View Online      Click Here to View iOS App

For several years now, Animoto has been our go-to site for creating stunning photo slideshows in just a few minutes.  Their site is great year-round, but it’s especially handy for putting all those holiday photos into a format that your family or students will be excited to watch.  Educators can even create Animoto Plus accounts for free.

Sharenik

Click Here to View

Create an online card that features photos, videos, a letter, or pretty much any combination of the three!  This FREE site is great for those of us who just can’t bear the thought of abandoning their annual holiday letter.  Share up to 15 photos/videos and select from tons of templates and format options.

 

Windows Live Movie Maker & Photo Gallery

Click Here to View

Want a little less “wizard’ and a little more precise control over your holiday video project?  Windows Live Movie Maker & Photo Gallery provide user-friendly interfaces for editing video, or creating a photo slide shows.  The software is free, and great for PC users!

For Apple lovers, iMovie on your iOS device or Mac is the way to go!

Whichever venue you choose for expressing your holiday cheer, be sure you challenge yourself, and share your project with us!  We’d love to see what you come up with!

 

 

Best of the Week – December 14, 2012

 

Each week our Instructional Technology Team meets and shares the best ideas that crossed our Twitter feeds, RSS Readers, and minds as we were out working with teachers.  Recently it occurred to us that we should be sharing our Best of the Week with you all!  So here’s this week’s installment.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Digital Footprints

This week there was lots of great discussion about the need for parent and students to become more familiar with the importance of creating a digital footprint to be proud of.

Two Resources that were mentioned as tools that may be used as our district develops a plan for a Digital Parent Education Night are Eanes ISD Digital Parent Night Panel Discussion and LOL…OMG by Matt Ivester

In terms of assisting students to become more web-literate, Alan November has some great resources for teachers as they begin to plan lessons. In Addition, a-Google-A-Day is a fun way to challenge students to validate what they find on the internet.

Algebra I Quiz Bowl – Video Conference

This week our Math Curriculum Specialist, Pam Palmer collaborated with our Technology Development Team in order to begin planning the first annual Algebra Bowl which will invite Algebra I students to participate via video conference in the (hopefully) annual event. Interested in challenging our kiddos?  Let us know!

#TXed Twitter Chat

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Mark Wednesday evening as “booked” on your calendar – and spend some time discovering all the great things educators throughout Texas are up to via the #TXed Twitter chat.  Brilliant minds and brilliant questions.  Don’t miss out!

 


 

LEGO Creationary

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It builds, you guess!  Play collaboratively!

 

Groupboard

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Turn your iOS device into a collaborative whiteboard.

 

Red Stamp

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Challenge your class to create, write and send cards to one another via email!  Authentic writing, anyone?

 

NearPod

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Use a Teacher iPad to control the content viewed on student iPads.  COOL!

 

Animation Desk

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Intuitive drawing environment that can be used to build animated movies.

 

 

ScreenLeap

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Share your computer display with up to 5 devices with web browsers for FREE!

Learnzillion

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Collection of high quality, common-core aligned lessons.  And the best part?  Learnzillion is a FREE APP within Edmodo – so teachers can assign tasks and post resources to students from directly within edmodo.

 

YouTube EDU

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YouTube is FULL of great content to share with your students.  On the downside, it’s full of a bunch of…well, you know, as well.  Enter the EDU portal of YouTube.  Search by grade level, category, and keyword to find exactly what you need…without having to worry about all the inappropriate junk that might pop up on the side!

 

Mapping Media to the Curriculum

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Choose from the menu board what you want students to create and you’re instantly given lesson ideas, an over view of the project’s work-flow and links to additional resources. A “MUST FAVORITE” site for any educator.

 

Free Music Archive

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Great resource for educators who need to collect royalty free music to use for video/audio projects.  Caution:  Some songs include lyrics that are not “student friendly” and for this reason, we would like to caution you to limit the use of this site to “educator use only.”

 

 

 

Debut Video Capture

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Capture video from your PC and output to a variety of formats.

Note:  Be sure to uncheck the “Ask” tool bar ad-ins during installation.

 

 

Can Texas Secede?

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Spoiler Alert:  No – But it sure is interesting to discuss why not!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roominate

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What kid wouldn’t want to create a dollhouse they wired themselves?

Goldie Blox

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Engineering toy designed to inspire invention and problem solving.

WiPad

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Wirelessly connect your iPad to any TV or Projector – Great for those of us on networks that aren’t able to use Apple TV!

Saw Stop

http://www.sawstop.com/

Innovative new braking system stops table saw when it touches flesh, minimizing and even eliminating injury.  Check out the hot dog video!

 


Metamorphosis: Converting Files to New Formats

Occasionally during the course of creating a digital project, you’ll need to change the format of the audio or video clip you’d like to use so that it matches the formats accepted by whatever editing software you’re using.  Here at the iCafe we have a few tricks up our sleeve when it comes to reformatting audio or video files.  Below are a few of our favorite FREE converting tools.

 

Format Factory

Format Factory is a great piece of FREE software that can quickly reformat files already saved on your computer.  Have a video file that was taken upside down or sideways?  Format Factory can take care of that too!

Download Format Factory

If you’re using Format Factory for the first time, view the Format Factory Video Tutorial before getting started. (1 min 30 sec)


 

MediaConverter.org

Media Converter is an online tool that does a fantastic job of reformatting files, and even allows you to download media from various online sources.  As always, be sure to practice good Digital Citizenship when downloading files by honoring any copyright restrictions that may apply.

Visit MediaConverter.org 

 

 

Online-Convert.com

Similar to Media Converter, Online-Convert is an online tool that can be used to re-format files.  What we like about Online-Convert is the fact that they offer an ebook converter so that you can convert your .pdf or Word .docx into .epub so that they can be read in apps such as iBooks.

Visit Online-Convert.com

Happy Converting!

 


 

 

 

 

Give iTunes 11 that iTunes 10 Feel

As many of you are probably aware, iTunes 11 is ready for download.  Many of you may not know, however, that the initial look of this latest version of iTunes has changed quite dramatically.  If you use iTunes as a media player you will be very happy with the look and feel.  If you use it as a device manager, however, you may not feel the joy quite as much!

 

In version 11, Apple has streamlined iTunes to simplify playing music or videos, which is great because the new look is very clean.  Many educators, however, use iTunes more for adding content to devices for their classrooms than for playing back content.  The device management options that were readily available in earlier versions of iTunes do not seem quite as accessible in version 11.  Fear not!  The device management options are there…you just need to know where to find them.


 

Menu Bar

To access the device management options, or return to the iTunes 10 feel, your first course of action will be to get your menu bar back.  Click on the menu button located in the upper left-hand corner of the screen and choose to “Show Menu Bar“.

Left Side-Bar

Once your menu bar is visible, it is on to step 2 of this transformation.  You will want your left side-bar back so that you can view and manage the iOS devices connected to your computer.  From the menu bar, select “View” and “Show Sidebar“.  Breathing a little easier now?  This version  of iTunes may not be so bad after all!

 

Tabs

The last step for me was to select “Music” from the left side-bar, and then the “Songs” tab so that I could to view my songlist.  The  iTunes transformation is now complete!

Trading Cards for the Classroom

I saw a post from @rmbyrne recently about a FREE app from Read Write Think called Trading Cards.  It sounded like something  I would be interested in, so I downloaded it and began to play.  This app has a lot of potential! I can see it being used across grade levels and across the curriculum.

To get started you need to choose your topic and the category under which it belongs.  You can choose from Fictional character, real person, fictional or real place, object, event, or vocabulary.  I would put some thought into this to make sure you are choosing the proper category.  The app will pose guided questions for you to answer as you move through creation.

Once you have selected your category you are able to start into the project creation.  Insert an image of your topic by either taking a picture or importing from your camera roll.  Then choose a card design.  Once that is completed, start entering your data in the assigned fields the app has for you.  When you click in a field guided questions pop up to help you understand what kind of information they are looking for.  Your information is limited to 120 characters for each field.  Use the buttons below the card to flip from the front of your card to the back, share your creation, or save it in the app itself.

If you choose to share your creation, you have the option to save to your photos, send as an email, or send to a printer.  It gives you a preview of how your card will look.  The intention would be to print them out.  You can then cut and fold the card so that it becomes two-sided.

I think these would be great for reviewing characters from a book the students are reading, reviewing vocabulary words, researching different locations, use as a study guide, and much much more!  In need of a new project?  Give Trading Cards a try!

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SMART Response connector for Eduphoria!

The SMART Response connector for eduphoria! is an assessment tool that allows you to use the SMART Response clicker system with the eduphoria! aware assessment program.

Learn how-to get the most out of your SMART Response and eduphoria! aware. Videos 1-3 will take you through the entire process of completing an assessment with the SMART Response connector for eduphoria!

Part 1 – Downloading and installing (3:59)

Part 2 – Creating the assessment within eduphoria! (2:31)

Part 3 – Downloading the SOS and administering the assessment (6:35)

Part 4 – Uploading results at a later time and connector log files (4:40)

Additional Resources:

  1. Click here to download SMART Response connector for eduphoria!
  2. Click here for a SMART Response connector for eduphoria cheat sheet
  3. SMART Notebook File – Using SMART Response connector for eduphoria!
  4. Additional SMART resources on iCafe

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Access Audio Files via QR Codes

Image Courtesy, Flicker: Charley Lhasa

QR Codes are everywhere.  You find them in stores, on flyers, on billboard signs along the highway (although that may be the DUMBEST thing ever!), and now all over schools.  More and more teachers are using Quick Response codes in the classroom for all types of situations, such as a self-checking system, to give directions, or just to grab a student’s attention.  They are finding that these adventures are fun and easy for everyone.  Students are even creating codes for other students to use!

I want to share with you yet another way to include QR codes in the classroom: linking to audio files.  Teachers and students alike can create audio files online and then link them to a QR code so anyone with the code has easy access to them.  The audio files could be a student sharing a story or problem they have created.  It could be a teacher giving directions or prompts.  Classrooms or campuses can share upcoming information with parents.  The opportunities go on and on.

Making this happen cannot get much easier.  A website, Recordmp3.org, will allow you to record yourself online.  It then saves the recording to the web. It supplies you with a URL that will take anyone who has it to your audio file.  Copy this link and you are then ready to create your QR Code.

There are many sites that you can use to create a QR Code.  My favorite is QRStuff.com.  Once you open the site you have 4 steps to take:

  1. Choose the type of data you are creating a code for.  In this case it will be a Website URL.
  2. Paste the URL you created for your audio file from Recordmp3.org.
  3. Choose the color of your QR Code.  Keep in mind that darker colors make it easier to scan.
  4. Download the code.  It is a good idea to rename each code and place all your codes for a project into a folder as you are downloading them.  This will help you keep your codes organized. You will need to know where each code will take you.

To walk you through each of these steps from audio files through QR creation, click here to download a cheat sheet that has been created.

Depending on how and where you are using the codes, it is likely that you will need to print them out.  The QR codes do not need to be the size of a full size sheet of paper.  In fact, they scan easier if they are a bit smaller.  A good size for codes is 3.5 x 5 inch or even a wallet size photo.   Click here to download a cheat sheet that will walk you through the printing process.

How are you using QR codes in your classroom?  Audio files would be a great addition to add to activities or to share the amazing things your students are creating each and every week.

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Saving Transition Time

Transitioning in the classroom seems like a small thing.  It only takes a few minutes to transition from one subject/class to another.  If the kids are running a bit slow, 2-3 minutes might turn into 5-6 minutes.  That is a small amount, right?

Take into consideration the number of times a day you are transitioning from one thing to another.  Is it 4,5,6…more?  Let’s settle on 6 transitions a day.  At 5 minutes each you have just used a half-hour of teaching time…each day!  That is 2.5 hours a week.  For a 36 week schedule that is 90 hours a year.  It adds up fast.  Imagine being able to get even half of that time back…

Teachers are finding that music is a great way to make transitions smoother and more efficient in their classroom.  By spending a few minutes to introduce the concept they are saving hours in the long run.  Students will quickly associate the song to the task at hand and start the process as soon as they hear it.  By utilizing the same song every day, students also start to understand how much time they have by recognizing how much of the song is left.  Add in the fact that it is more fun than hearing the teacher say 25 times that “it is time to go” and I am sold!

I know what many of you may be thinking, “That is a great idea, but how am I going to get that done every day?  I have enough trouble keeping up with what I am doing now.”  I hear you loud and clear!  You don’t need another thing to do every day.  Wouldn’t it be nice to set your computer to automatically play your transitions every day?  Let me introduce you to the Task Scheduler.

The Task Scheduler can be accessed through your start menu under accessories.  It will allow you to set as many tasks as you want as often as you want.  All you will need to do is have your music files stored on your computer so they can be accessed by the scheduler.  To learn how to do this, a cheat sheet has been created to walk you through the process on a Windows machine.

If you are looking for some music to use for this task or for any other projects you are doing in class, FreePlayMusic.com is a great place to go.  All the music there is royalty and copyright free.  It is all instrumental so you have no worries about lyrics either.  To learn more about FreePlayMusic and how to download from the site, refer to this cheat sheet.

Gain some of your valuable classroom time back.  Give the Task Scheduler a try!

Build a QR Talking Museum

Recently, Janis Knuckols, Jane Long Elementary – Art Teacher Extrordinaire, approached me with the idea of having her students use QR codes to create a talking art museum. I immediately got ridiculously excited about the idea, my teacher-brain nearly spinning out of control thinking of all the great ways this idea could be used across the curriculum!

Think about it! Posting student work throughout your campus attached to a QR code that links back to a student’s audio explanation of what they learned. This same idea could also be used to create an indoor scavenger hunt, give audio directions for a learning center, create an talking picture book…and so much more!

Is your brain spinning too?  Ready to get started? Here’s what needs doin’!

 

Your Kiddos

Have your kids write about their work.  We don’t want this to be super short, but we don’t want it to be super long either…students are going to want to grab their audience’s attention and use great voice in their writing!  “Ba-da-bing!” is a great way to encourage this type of writing.  Here is a short Ba-Da-Bing! and Ba-Da-Bing Sample Lesson that will help explain “Ba-da-bing”, if you’d like to learn more! Feel free to use and share. This lesson and powerpoint were created by the lovely and talented Lisa McNally from George JHS. (Thanks Lisa!)

Microphones

Our district is lucky enough to have sets of microphones that can be checked out from your CITS.  Microphones are a very inexpensive addition to your classroom toolbox.  If you’d like to have  your own – Logitech makes several inexpensive versions (I have a $9.99 model that works fine).   Simply plug the microphone in to the front of your computer where you see the small microphone symbol.

Recordmp3

Once your microphone is plugged in, navigate to http://www.recordmp3.org/ and click to allow the site access to your microphone, and then begin recording!

http://recordmp3.org

Once you’re satisfied with your recording, click “Save Recording.”  Finally, Right-Click and Copy the web address that your recording is given.  Hang on to it for a minute, because you’re going to need it for the next step!

QR Stuff

Finally, it’s time to create your QR code!  To get started, visit http://www.qrstuff.com/ and follow these steps:

  • Data Type – Website URL
  • Paste in the URL (address) that you copied from Recordmp3 into the “step 2” box
  • Change the QR code color, if you’d like
  • Click on the “Download QR Code” button on the right
  • Click “Open”
  • Right-Click and “Copy”
  • Paste the image into the Talking Museum QR Tracking Sheet

**If you have several students working on creating  QR codes:  You can have students download and Save their QR image into a folder you’ve created on a shared student drive, HOWEVER… you’ll want to have them name the file in a way that will make it easy for you to know who’s code is whose (tip…have them include their initials in the file name!).  You don’t want to have to sift through 35 QR codes trying to figure out which one belongs to each student!

Printing

Once your students have made their recordings and you’ve placed their QR codes into the Talking Museum QR Tracking Sheet, just print out the sheet (in color, if preferred) cut out each QR code, attach it to the front of the corresponding student’s project, and post them around campus.

Listening In

Once QR’s are attached to student work, apps such as Scan can be used on generation 4 iPod Touches (the ones with cameras) iPad2/3’s or most smartphones to play back student recordings.  Super fun!!

 

Scan

  • FREE
  • Designed for iPad, iPhone, or iTouch
  • Use a site like QR Stuff to create a digital scavenger hunt for your students.  Link your QR’s to book reviews, Discovery Education videos, and other online learning tools…then have students use the Scan app to follow your digital trail!
  • Click Here to find out more about the Scan app

Hungry for More?

The CITS team hase started a Google Doc listing ways to use QR codes in school.  Click here to visit the doc.  If you have other great ideas, please add them to the list!  Don’t forget to save this link to your favorites.  Happy scanning!

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Creating Your Own Image Library

When searching for images from the internet one thing  that always slows the process down is looking for images that you can use without getting permission or worrying about whether it is copyright protected or not.  So instead of worrying about whether you really can use those pictures or not, and if you’ve sited it correctly, why not just create your own image library!

The key to creating your own image library is to be prepared.  Prepared for what?  Well…everything!  The key is to have your camera with you and take pictures of anything and everything!  For example, take a digital camera to a grocery store and take picture of fruits, vegetables, and herbs…even grocery carts!  Close up shots, weird angles…anything that might be a good picture to use later.  This is something you can do where ever you go, from the grocery store, to family vacations, even just sitting around the house.   Take your camera everywhere you go, and since you are the one taking the pictures, you own the copyright and you will have quickly built your own digital image library!

What do you do with it after you have all the pictures?  I recommend using a simple photo sharing site like PicasaWeb by Google.  You can host all of your images there, for FREE, in organized albums that you can share or keep private.  You can even tag each image to make searching for that perfect picture that much easier.  Another idea is importing them into a gallery in Active Inspire or Notebook 10 for using with your interactive whiteboard!

So what are you waiting for?!  Grab that camera and get to building that library!

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