Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

What Needs a Make-over in 2017?

December6

Believe it or not, December is here.

A whole lot of excitement for upcoming holidays and vacation time make the weeks often fly by us. Before you know it, we are into the new calendar year. At that point, we often ask students to partake in the traditional activity of New Year’s Resolutions. Sometimes the focus is on school and what students hope to achieve, or maybe it’s of a personal matter. You may even do some reflecting yourself.

My experience is that I tend to focus on personal life resolutions. Maybe, you do as well? Yes, in the past I have pledged to eat healthier, take on a new exercise regimen, drink lots of water each day and even take more deep breaths before reacting to my family. Any of these sound familiar to you?

This year, I’d like to make a proposal that when we have our students make a resolution that we do one as well for our work at school. Honestly, I’m not sure what mine will be yet… But I’d like to invite you to join me in thinking of it in terms of a “make-over”.

What curriculum area, subject, objective or practice needs a little highlighting and sprucing up? What needs a little life breathed into it in 2017? Maybe, there’s a digital learning solution…

Before December gets away from us, let’s take time to reflect now… as well as set a plan in motion to hit the ground running in January.

Abbot Colleagues- I know it’s a busy time of year; however, please let me know if you’d like to set up a time to chat for a few minutes this month.

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QR Codes – How to Make

November22

QR Codes have been mentioned by a few colleagues over the last two weeks. Therefore, I am passing along a 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solvers’ video on the subject. Please watch below, and let me know if you have any questions. Also, I’d love to hear how you are using QR Codes with students.

Student Reflection with Recap

November15

I am always on the look out for a way to record student thinking. Recap was introduced to me as an iPad app at the Innovation Summit this month. While it certainly fits the bill for reflection in all subjects, space in our Creation folder on our iPads is prime real estate. Too many apps on an iPad becomes a management nightmare as well as a digital memory issue. Therefore, I was psyched to learn it is Chromebook friendly!

Please check out Recap in this video below. Super easy to set up and use with young students (the Pin option!). There’s even a great summary feature (Daily Review Reel) you don’t want to miss!

Recap Quick Start from Swivl on Vimeo.

So what do you think? Ready to make one and assign it in Google Classroom?

Here’s the Spark You May Have Been Looking For! Update

November8

If you have tried to use Adobe Spark, you probably have encountered a student log-in conundrum. The user guide states that children under the age of 13 are not allowed to create their own Adobe ID and so they will need to sign in with an account created by and supervised by a teacher or parent.

Originally, I thought we were fine with our student Google accounts… sadly, I was wrong. If we try to create accounts with our GAFE accounts, students still are prompted to supply a birth date. It seemed like we would be able to circumvent this age requirement as we were using District supervised emails, but that was not the case. A misinterpretation on my part, I admit. Wanting to model good digital citizenship (not lying about our age!), I had to do some thinking about what the user guide was implying…

First Solution: create a generic Gmail account. This Gmail is used to create an account at Adobe Spark. Essentially, it is a class account that all students will use. Since the Gmail is supervised and controlled by the teacher, the teacher’s birth date (or year of the school’s creation) may be used for the creation.

The tricky part to this solution: Can a whole class log into this one Adobe account simulataneously and create a Post, Page or Video? We started to try this solution out with a few of us adults, making a new Video project at the same time. It seemed to work. We thought it may be prudent to either stagger the students as they began the initial save of each “file” as to not crash the account. The classroom teacher I am working with on this inaugural project even agreed to make the files ahead of time so that students would just access/open the files as they all logged in.

However, not wanting to waste valuable student learning time if everything went awry, I started to investigate another solution…

#2: Use the old Gmail hack trick to create student accounts. (Thanks to my colleague, Marianne Butterline, for reminding me about this one as I haven’t used it in years. The reason? Our individual student Google accounts with so much access to Google services.) In a nutshell, the Gmail hack is that you create a Gmail account and then add +1, +2, +3, etc. to the address when you sign up for a service.

Hypothetical example: the original account is MsSandersonsClass@gmail.com. Therefore, when I go to Adobe Spark, I create an Adobe ID by setting up a teacher demo account with MsSandersonsClass@gmail.com. When asked about the birth date, I can supply my own. From there, I would proceed to create more accounts for each student in the following manner: MsSandersonsClass+1@gmail.com, MsSandersonsClass+2@gmail.com, MsSandersonsClass+3@gmail.com, etc. until I had enough accounts. All of these accounts would receive their notifications to the original MsSandersonsClass@gmail.com email address that I am monitoring. I would be able to access them all, and they were created by a supervising teacher (satisfying the Adobe user guide).

Overall, an important reminder in all of this: keep an eye on what your students are doing. No great tool replaces the watchful eyes and guidance of a teacher!

I would love to hear your thoughts on any of our trials and tribulations.

Oh, and here’s Mrs. P’s example for her students.

And some by her students:

Learning objective: Demonstrate how a character has changed over the course of a story.

That was always our guiding light.  To quote Monica Burns, ‘Tasks before apps!’

Here’s the Spark You May Have Been Looking For!

October25

A month ago, I watched a great SimpleK12 video, “Creation Tools for Web Browsers: Projects for Students on Chromebooks” presented by Monica Burns. One of the tools mentioned was Adobe Spark. At the time I was intrigued, but in consulting with various teachers, I didn’t push it as there were other tools that seemed to be more fitting for meeting current student learning objectives in their classrooms. I have learned over the years not to get too crazy about trying out EVERY new thing. (Yes, I was a free app hoarder for a while… <sigh>.) Essentially, find a tool you like and really try out its potential. If it’s a good one, the tool will help reach many goals that you have.

Fast forward to the MassCUE Conference last week where I noticed that Adobe Spark was a workshop being offered. Also, the presenter was no other than Monica Burns! I admit a little celebrity-itis hit, and I had to go see her in person. Boy, was I glad I did… it gave me a chance to explore a little deeper with the Adobe Spark products and discover how great they can be for education.

A little promo video:

There are 3 options: Post, Page and Video.

Post is more socially minded… think 140 characters… getting a short message out… summarizing with an eye-catching visual… showcasing a vocabulary word. Here’s an example from the site. See more about Post here.

Page is poster-like, but with web page navigation. Photos, text and links can be shared to an audience on-line. Here’s an example from the site. See more about Page here.

Video is exactly what it implies with visuals, animation, sound and music. Here’s an example from the site. See more about Video here.

All of them are so easy to use and FREE! You can supply your own images or use built-in ones. Music is the same way. Video even produces a credits page. One thing that I was very impressed by were the templates. Video had quite a few that were so student-friendly with guiding suggestions for analyzing characters and events.

All three options are web based, so a Chromebook is perfect. You also can download them as separate apps for iPad.

As far as log-ins… this is the policy stated in the user guide:

‘Children under the age of 13 are not allowed to create their own Adobe ID and so they will need to sign in with an account created by and supervised by a teacher or parent.’

It seems reasonable that since we are a Google Apps For Education district, and our student accounts have all been created by us and we supervise these accounts that our elementary students could use the Adobe Spark service by logging in with their school Google accounts.

So I am ready to start delving into this new opportunity. Anyone have a student learning objective that they (and their students) are stuck on and want to…

adobe-spark1

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