Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Keyboard Shortcuts on a Chromebook

November14

There are many things that we automatically know how to do on a laptop or computer; however, when we are on Chromebooks things can feel a little different, and our “go to” keystrokes and methods don’t seem to work.

For example, I have people ask me a lot: How do I copy and paste on a Chromebook? How do I take a screenshot?

At this point, I switch between so many devices that I don’t have everything memorized. Therefore, a little Google search yielded some resources for all of us. Here is a link to some popular keyboard shortcuts for Chromebooks… and yes, screenshot key combinations are listed! Another resource I found is a little more comprehensive.

The coolest find: when you are on a Chromebook, press these 3 keys: Ctrl+Alt+/ .

An interactive onscreen keyboard will appear. Now, press on the Shift, Ctrl, Alt or Search keys (either separately or even various combinations on your physical keyboard), and the onscreen keyboard will display a menu of different tasks that can be performed when combing with other keys. I love that there is a built-in reference right on the Chromebooks! This is a must try!

 

AssistiveTouch – A Great Demo Tool for iPad

October17

Being able to demonstrate where to go and what to do on an iPad is essential. Even if you are plugged into a VGA cable projecting your iPad on a screen, the audience (your students) can not see easily where you are tapping. Often where you are only appears for a split second with a slight color change, depending on the app you are using.

AssistiveTouch to the rescue!

Turning on this accessibility option on an iPad can make directions crystal clear for your students.

Watch this video to see what I mean.

Go to Settings on your iPad. Then go to General and scroll to Accessibility. Under that category, choose AssistiveTouch. Toggle the feature to On.

You will notice a spotlight-like circle will appear on your iPad screen. You can move that spotlight circle anywhere on your screen. Moving the spotlight as you model directions on your iPad is like “watching the bouncing ball”. (Remember following that object as you sang along to words on a screen?) When your iPad is plugged into a projector (or AirPlaying) and you move the AssistiveTouch circle to the parts you want highlighted, students will see everywhere you go!

Of course, there our other reasons to use AssistiveTouch (go here to learn more about this powerful tool and its intended uses), but it works as a visual movement tracker beautifully for us with students.

Demonstrate away!

(This tip is compliments of an Apple Update iPad Workshop that I attended this Fall. It’s the little things that really can make a difference!)

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Pineapple Chart

April4

I was introduced to the idea of the Pineapple Chart at a conference recently. And wow… such a simple concept seems like it could be so affective in offering PD and building community!

What is a Pineapple Chart?

Basically, it’s a chart or calendar that teachers can post an invitation to what’s happening in their classrooms. Other teachers see the postings and can visit that particular lesson/activity at the specific day/time.

A key element is that participation is not mandatory for staff. It’s also not a time for administrators to do observations. It’s all about sharing in a safe, non-evaluative way!

I’ve seen examples of physical bulletin boards, but at my school we are going to try an electronic version using Google Calendar and the ability to set up notifications. In the spirit of sharing, here’s what I have put together for our school. This resource includes links to a blog post about Pineapple Charts as well as step-by-step tutorials.

So it’s time to give this a go!

I welcome people’s thoughts, successes and failures about Pineapple Charting.

Reflection on Managing a Station or Center

March28

I have been assisting in a grade 3 classroom every Friday for the past month. My job: train students how to go through the steps of an iPad math creation station. The goals: 1) the current math student learning objective and 2) independence!

In reflecting on my time in there, I think it has been successful, and many students have achieved the goal of working on their own… and here’s why:

  1. We took the time to set expectations and to show students the process step by step. There were no assumptions that the students just should know what to do. They were shown slowly, and those that completed steps quickly became helpers.
  2. Students were empowered. Not only did we ask students who caught on quickly to be helpers, when appropriate I would be flexible and give a next step tutorial to them. Once they completed the steps, I asked them to lead the overall demonstration when other students were ready. This modeled what should be happening at the station: help each other out without doing it for someone as well as seek out friends or “experts” if you are struggling.
  3. The creation task was broken down into logical steps with a checklist so that students could keep track of their progress. Furthermore, a direction sheet for a specific app was available as a support to remind students of details. These resources have been excellent ways for me and the teacher to redirect students who come to us with questions. (Did you look at your checklist? Can the answer be found on the direction sheet?)
  4. The classroom teacher created an example each week. She showed this example to students as a part of her preview of each of the stations in the room. This preview gave students an opportunity to see expectations and ask questions like they would any of the other stations before actually being at the station. The heads-up is great for relieving anxious students, too!
  5. The teacher gave time during the week for students to do a little prep work, if necessary, such as cutting out shapes, jotting down notes, etc. so that they had the necessary materials at the station. Creating on the fly is an important skill; however, it was bogging down the station.
  6. Coordinating with support teachers to be available to work at the station with specific students has helped a lot. Students who struggle with multiple steps and reading are having their needs met, and we have found that they now are shifting toward more moments of independence at the station.
  7. The teacher did her own prepping for the station. Taking time to consult with me about any adjustments with a focus on keeping it as consistent as possible, learning how to make copies in her Google Drive in her math folder, making a physical binder for students to keep the direction sheets, having clipboards out with the latest check list and thinking about the best groupings of students to visit the station first have been extremely beneficial to the success of the station.
  8. The procedures and apps used have remained the same each week. I talked with the teacher about how the technology was not the focus. Finding a good app(s) and sticking with them was crucial. The only thing necessary to change was the objective each week. Some worry that the students will become bored. Nope… we haven’t seen that yet. A consistent workflow with no hang-ups about procedures and learning new apps is demonstrating what the students know in math. This aspect is very important for those students who struggle with multiple steps and reading, making the acquisition of the routine much easier. The station is math formative assessment at its best!

I’m sure there are many more things that haven’t even been realized yet. I am very encouraged by what I am seeing in this classroom. I feel like I am more of a coach at the station now, identifying kid’s specific procedural areas of weakness and clearing up confusion so they can get on the right course.

I hope my thoughts are useful as teachers work on setting up guided math and stations in their classrooms. Please share any of your own experiences in the comments!

BTW- this is the iPad workflow (for those who are curious):

  • Plan and create four talking avatars about the math learning objective using Chatterpix Kids.
  • Put the four videos into a media collage using PicPlayPost.
  • Share your media collage to the teacher’s assignment in Google Classroom.

A big congratulations to Mrs. Kelly and her students for an awesome job in getting this Station Rotation Model to work so well!

How to Schedule Meetings… Without Playing Email Tag

February7

Tired of playing email tag when setting up meetings?

This 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver from SimpleK12 is what you need to watch!

And I can give a testimonial: Doodle is very easy to use and efficient! It’s well worth a try.

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