In Part I of this post, I introduce the web-based application Present.me as a potential tool for you and your students to create video presentations, tutorials, and lessons.
Two additional tools my students and I enjoy are ScreenChomp and Screen-cast-omatic.
ScreenChomp (available in iTunes) is-in essence- a white board that you can record. Teachers utilize ScreenChomp to record their drawings, diagrams, or text on a whiteboard or customizable background with audio explanation and guidance. You can pause the video, insert photos and PDFs, change the background, erase, and then publish as a link or save to your account to share with students. Want to be really efficient with your time? Connect your iPad to a project with AirPlay mirroring through an Apple TV or a VGA adapter so you can record the demonstration or lesson while you are teaching face-to-face. Then, post the link of the ScreenChomp for students to review.
Check out the developer Tech Smith’s website for an overview of features.
Ideas for students:
- Demonstrate a process with a “think-aloud” like solving a math problem or conjugating a certain type of verb in a language class.
- Respond to a picture or prompt by annotating and talking about their responses.
- Crate a video lesson for their classmates on a focused topic or skill like mitosis vs. meiosis or allusions in literature.
Thinking about “flipping” your classroom? Looking for tools your students can use to demonstrate their learning? I’ve become a fan of three simple (and free) apps that you and your students can easily use to record and share tutorials, lessons, and demonstrations.
For those of you who miss the face-to-face quality of in-class tutorials and instruction, this website might be just what you are looking for to create and share tutorials or presentations with your students while maintaining that human and personal aspect. Present.me allows you to create presentations with slides and video, slides and audio, or just video. Upload your existing presentations, PDFs, or pictures and then record a video where you explain or teach in a split screen. Feeling a little camera shy? It’s just as easy to record audio alongside the slides as video.
Check out the fractured fairy tale book talk for my example and Present.me’s own list of simple tutorials.
The free version allows you to upload content and record video, audio, or video-only. You cannot download the video and save as a file with the free account, but you can embed the video in a web page or share through social media sites and the direct link.
A few things I learned while making my own Present.me:
- Write your content first if starting from scratch–If you have an existing lesson or PPT, then it should be relatively quick to create your own explanation or to record the lesson you are accustomed to. If starting from scratch, I definitely recommend writing a script, first. The better Present.Me videos do have more of an “off-the-cuff” feeling. I wasn’t quite there with my first attempt, so I split my screen and had a script up that I read from while clicking through the slides.
- Practice your timing before you record–I think I took something like 8 recordings before I got to the final version. Many of the deleted versions were due to clumsy fingers. When you record video or audio alongside slides, you have to click to advance the slides while you record…takes a couple of practice rounds to get used to, but then it’s a synch.
- If you video, use a high(er) quality camera–I went with the built-in camera on my iMac, but will try using my webcam next time. I wasn’t too happy with how pixelated the video came out, and there was a slight delay in motion with the audio. But, that’s a nit-picky thing.
Ideas for students:
- “Me-Presentation”–this platform lends itself well to a little bio about yourself or even an alternative to the paper resume.
- Explanatory/ Process–Students could create a presentation aimed at explaining a process or concept that utilizes examples or diagrams.
- Digital Storytelling–What if students narrated their own stories alongside a visual storytelling technique? We’ve been using MovieMaker, iMovie, and Animoto for digital storytelling, but those tools eliminate a lot of the power of students’ own voices when telling the story. Why not allow them to tell the story alongside the story for a dynamic narrative experience?
Great things are happening here at The Ridge! I’ve always believed that the leadership, innovation, and vision of individuals on this campus have the potential to make us leaders in education, especially in regards to raising student engagement and closing the achievement gap.
Recently, Fossil Ridge was awarded a KISD Education Foundation Grant. The project titled, “Closing the Gap” was the collaborative brainchild of a handful of these leaders.
The goals of the project are:
- Close the gap in access to technology that exists in our student population, allowing for equity to digital tools and resources and extending the school day to a 24/7 model.
- Investigate the role that technology has on learning.
- Inform the long-range vision for technology integration and strategic plan for our campus.
I am pleased that the community and district leaders recognize the efforts and leadership capacity on our campus and am thankful for the present and future support we will receive as we work towards these goals.
As discussions took place regarding deployment of our project, which involves selecting twenty AVID students to receive Dell tablets and Verizon mi-fi cards for use at home and at school, we all agreed that in order to truly understand how technology impacts learning. We needed to form a leadership team, who would engage in a PLC that explores theory, methods, and tools for educational technology. It’s not enough to simply provide students with access to technology. Even the largest 1:1 programs in schools, without a professional development plan for teachers, will not produce the impact on learning that designers anticipate.
This team will visit schools in the Metroplex who have adopted some kind of technology model (1:1, BYOD, etc.) and observe how their deployment model impacts learning, what type of systems are in place to support student and teacher integration of technology, and measures that can capture the data we need to inform our vision. In addition to field trips, the team will also meet regularly to share resources, explore models, and create lessons that integrate tools. But, it all has to come back to the same point: How does technology impact student engagement and learning?
This past weekend I was explaining our project to another National Writing Project teacher consultant who is an instructional leader in a neighboring district that is exploring these same questions and working to support teachers as they grapple with technology that is integrated into instruction. She suggested that we start with the SAMR model developed by Dr Rueben Puentedura. Through this model, Dr. Puentedura demonstrates how our goal when considering a long-range technology adoption cycle on any scale, from district-level down to the classroom, should be to move from enhancement to transformation.
SAMR stands for substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefintion.Substitution: At this stage you are using technology as a direct substitution for another tool. Think using a word processor in lieu of a type writer without utilizing functions such as spell check, grammar check, etc. Dr. Puentedura argues that at this level, productivity actually decreases.
Augmentation: If we continue with our example of the word processor, then at this next level we would use its built-in features such as Spell Checker, word count, copy and paste, etc. Productivity or work flow might increase at this level, perhaps students can produce a finished draft more quickly using a word processor, but how has the tool transformed their thinking?
Notice the dotted line between the Augmentation and the next level in the model. This is meant as a target. When considering tools and tasks that integrate technology with learning, our goal should be to be above this line.
Modification: Again, if we consider the word processor as a tool, how could we modify the tool to allow for greater productivity? Rather than printing the file and sharing it, what if we integrated another tool such as email or drop boxes to publish and share? Or, what if we integrated a product or feature of another tool such as a chart from Excel, digital photos of artificats, etc. At this level, Dr. Puentedura claims, student learning begins to transform.
Redefinition: Here’s where my mind really starts to bend…In the redefinition level, technology allows us to do things otherwise impossible to create new products in new ways. Rather than a word processor where one student is authoring a product, what if students utilized Google Docs to collaborate in real time! This would not have been possible before. Students couldn’t work from their own houses from their own devices on a task at the same time. Now, technology allows for this level of collaboration and creation.
My colleague explained it to me much more simply…instead of old things in new ways, our goal is to shoot for new things in new ways.
I did some reflecting over some of the tools I’ve highlighted in the blog that meet this goal. Below you’ll find a list of tools and links to those blog posts that help us reach the Enhancement level of learning through technology.
My Big Campus
GoAnimate and Sock Puppets
I’m curious to hear your take-away after thinking about this model and how it applies to your decision making and lesson planning process. Limitations, drawbacks, confusions, applications? Leave your comment!
Tapping into the natural curiosities of our students with apps to explore information
The advent of mobile devices like iPads and smart phones have ushered in a new heightened era of information for our 21st Century students. With a swipe of a fingertip, endless amounts of information become available to us instantaneously as it streams 24/7 through our devices and into our lives . Access to information at this rate is a double-edged sword: At times a bombardment of messages, information can clutter our lives, leading to increased habits of multi-tasking, and letting go of a critical stance to information in favor of “more” stuff. On the other hand, we now have access to perspectives, events, societies, phenomena, and knowledge from around the globe. Such knowledge adds to our cultural and intellectual wealth when applied in creative ways.
For our students, Google is the main portal to the world of information. As a self-professed Google-lover, I understand the power of an advanced search engine. Do my students? Well…we’re working on that. Rather than sending students to “Google it,” I’d like to suggest a handful of apps designed for the iPad that foster academic exploration of topics, inquiries, and contexts appropriate for all content area learning. These apps utilize multiple modes of media to enhance and engage. Articles, videos, and resources are easily shared through the app feature, allowing for easy adaptation for BYOD projects where students may access the information from personal devices, including laptops, desktops, and mobile devices. I suggest utilizing these tools when introducing new topics or units to students. In a Flipped or VESTED classroom, these tools fit well into initial previewing and building background knowledge.
The following iTunes apps allow students the opportunity to explore a myriad of topics and content areas, engaging them through authentic connections to the world around them and utilizing mobile technology to access information in rapid time:
According to Apple, iTunes U is the world’s largest collection of free educational content. Users can access courses from the world’s leading universities. In addition to participating in a course through readings downloaded into iBook, videos, assignments, and podcasts, students can also select from over 500,000 free lectures, videos, and podcasts. Teachers may utilize iTunes U as a tool to introduce a new concept or unit. For example, students may view a demonstration of a heat engine as an introduction to thermodynamics for an upcoming physics unit. Professor David Hoxley of La Trobe University has an entire classical physics course in iTunes U complete with video demonstrations and podcasts.
Other contributors to iTunes U include:
- Cambridge University
- Harvard University
- Library of Congress
- Oxford University
Khan Academy’s popularity is largely due to its simple, direct, and concrete illustrations of difficult subjects and complex concepts. Like iTunes U, students can subscribe to courses to continue their exploration into a specific discipline, topic, or skill.
These resources are valuable tools to provide students with opportunities to explore content related topics whether in a flipped, blended, or traditional classroom. Inviting them to explore these resources through their own curiosities supports their natural learning tendencies, allowing for a personalized learning experience. As online learning platforms continue to expand and evolve, soon, public education will need to consider how best to meet the needs of learners who can feasibly enroll him or herself in a free online course and master the content on their own through their own devices rather than the traditional educational setting. Public institutions have begun to integrate iTunes U courses into a traditional setting by creating unique courses for students to enroll in for a personalized experience.
But, it’s about baby steps and becoming comfortable with the sheer amount of information available, learning to control and manage the continual stream, and then become producers of solutions and innovations. iTunes U, Khan, and TED are leading facilitators of information collection and production.
Google Earth: More than “Miss, I can see my house!”
I remember when I first learned about Google Earth. My students and I were fascinated by typing in our street address and zoom in so we could distinguish the roof of our school and then even the fence line of our backyards! A view of our own little world and community from space provided us with a new perspective into how we related to the world around us.
When I was really on fire about Google Earth, I would pull it up, type in the name of a city or address or continent and display it for my classes to help them understand the geographical context of a story or author we were studying. This was high-tech stuff for me as an English teacher.
But, Google Earth goes far beyond “you are here.” Did you know that Google Earth has features such as push pins, narration, tours, recording, annotation, embedding media, and so much more?! Check out the video to see some of the basic features while navigating in Google Earth.
For a hands-on experience, go to Tour of Google Earth’s features.
Of course, Google Earth is much, much more than merely zooming in and out to find landmarks. Below is a list of popular tools in GE and how they can be used in the classroom (borrowed from Google Earth’s Education Resources):
Fly to the Sky: With Sky in Google Earth your students can explore Hubble telescope images, check out current astronomical events, study the proportions of different planets, measure their size, and observe the relative brightness of stars. You’ll capture the wonder of the universe without leaving your classroom. Learn More! Easy
View Historical Imagery: With the timeslider, view historical imagery to study the construction process of large buildings such as sports stadiums. You can also see how communities have developed by comparing the city layout of past and present. Learn More! Easy
View 3D Buildings :With 3D buildings Google Earth students have entire city landscapes at their finger tips. They can explore specific skyscrapers, public landmarks, famous ancient architecture, and even study city planning techniques and trends. With Google SketchUp students can recreate entire ancient cities within Earth. Learn More! Average
Draw and Measure: Discover the world’s tallest building or the world’s highest mountain peak by using the ruler tool to measure skyscrapers and mountains. You can mark off specific regions you have studied, or want to come back to using the polygon tool. Learn More! Average
Create a Tour: Students can create customized tours to share with their classmates. For example, they can build context around a novel by creating a tour of all the places mentioned in the book. Or, they can make a tour to highlight all the major rain-forests effected by deforestation. Learn More! Average
Google does a terrific job supporting educators and integrating Google tools into instruction. If you are curious about how Google Earth could be incorporated into your content area, check out the Projects for My Subject page.
Google Lit Trips
As an English teacher and librarian, I am particularly excited about Google Lit Trips! Teachers and students can browse the many Google Lit Trip tours already created to explore the geographical locations and landmarks in their favorite stories.
Here is a tour featuring the mythological and present day locations of The Odyssey. To view the tour, you will first need to download Google Earth and then download the kmz (Google Earth extension file name) for The Odyssey. Trust me–it is well worth the two clicks it takes to view it! The tour includes a 3D map of the locations along Odysseus’ journey, excerpts from the epic, photos, tour guides with facts and further details about each landmark, and more!
Not only can teachers and students browse the many Lit Trips already created, but they can create them as well for their favorite stories! For more video tutorials on creating Google Lit Trips check out YouTube and Vimeo!
Google Earth is also available as an app for a smart device, allowing students to view and create projects using their personal devices. Perhaps a Google Lit Trip or similar resource might make for a great Flipped classroom introduction or “View” in VESTED!
So let’s hear it! How could Google Earth be used in your content area?
Tech Tuesday: The Flipped Classroom
(heads-up to the new buzz word coming down the pipe)
Are you flippin’ kidding me?! Yet another buzz-word, topic of discussion for faculty meetings, initiatives, seeds, pilots…they just never end do they 🙂 Nor should they!
I, too, tired of the endless onslaught of programs, anachronisms, and pilots, but let’s keep some perspective and remember that the business of education cannot become static. It is in our best interest to continue reflecting, examining, and being critical of the practices and tools we bring to our students. Do they truly represent the demands and learning styles of a digitally-savvy generation?
Today I present you with a little nugget of an idea that a few of you have already started to nibble at: the flipped classroom.
Here’s some food for thought:
Don’t you just love infographics?! They make blogging so easy 🙂
Is this idea entirely revolutionary and unique? No, there are many other names and variations out there (front-loading, anticipation guides, schema theory, VESTED). What might be novel to some folks is the idea of employing technology as a tool to do these things. The infographic touts some impressive (and hard-to-believe) statistics for one flipped school. I’d be very curious to see this tried in one class for one week. My Big Campus is a terrific fit for this approach with the extensive Library resources, ability to upload YouTube videos, and learning tools such as discussions, chats, and assignment.
Heck, I’ll even pitch in and help gather resources and organize the content into MBC! Take me up on it, seriously, let’s see what happens just for one week…
For dessert, visit Khan Academy, and take a little test drive for some possible videos you could use as part of a flip:
I even grabbed one for the electoral college to re-post just to tickle your taste buds…