Quick Tip: Bluetooth Mini Speaker


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I just got this amazing little Alpatronix speaker from Amazon, and it is one of the best $30 purchases I have ever made! It fits in the palm of my hand, so it is easy to carry, and it has a really good sound. There is bluetooth capability, which means you can play your iPhone, iPod, or iPad without plugging it in! The range is up to 30 feet. You can plug it into your computer too.

The battery life is supposed to be great, and it has a rechargeable battery. Just plug the speaker into your computer with the cord that comes with it. There are some other cool features too, like a microphone for making calls and more!

Whether you’re in the classroom, speaking at a conference, or at a party, this cool tool is a must have!

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21st Century Tool of the Month for August: Thinglink


Thinglink is one of my new favorite 21st Century tools! I’ve been finding new ideas for how to use it in the classroom, and the more I use it, the more versatile I find it to be!

What is Thinglink?

Click here to see a Thinglink which explains what Thinglink is!

Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:

Task Library:

Collect resources for a project or unit of study using thinglink. This shows a task library for a teacher, and a student task library is embedded (a backward plan is also embedded in this thinglink). Students and Teachers can collaboratively add to it.

  Click here to see a post I made about the essential question, “How are people transformed by their relationships with others?” using thinglink to create a task library.

 

Gameboards: I have used a few “game boards” for classes that I have taught for teachers this summer, which you could easily adapt for classroom use. I used Pages to create the pictures and uploaded them to thinglink. Click on the pictures to see the interactive multimedia embedded.  

Maps: I made this map using lucid chart and thinglink to create the furniture layout I was requesting in a grant to create a 21st century learning lab. I could see this idea being used in the classroom as a seating chart with student pictures and different areas or centers in the room. Students could create little mini movies that describe and/or explain the procedures for different areas in the room and attach it to the map. Then you could turn it into a QR code that guests or new students can scan to learn more about your classroom.

 

Geography teachers, thiinglink is the perfect tool for you! Interactive maps are one of the best uses for thinglink. Click here to see a post I made using maps and thinglink.

 

Digital Storytelling:

Thinglink can be used for digital storytelling too. Check out this great thinglink (not created by me) that turns a comic strip into an interactive story.

 

Here is a resource I created using pages and thinglink for a class I taught about digital storytelling.

Click here to see a post I made about using Thinglink and Screencastify.

 

Graphic Organizers:

Thinglink is a great tool to use with graphic organizers. Here is how kindergarteners used thinglink to interview their teacher.

Here is an example of first graders who used this thinking map to show the cause and effect in a book.

 

Share social media:

I have also used thinglink to help people stay connected to me!

How will you use thinglink?

 

Quick Tip: More Back to School Organization with Google Forms


This is my second ‘Quick Tip’ post about using google forms for organizing back -to-school info. First, I made a post about using google forms as an easy and efficient way for parent volunteers to sign up, which you can read here. But you don’t have to stop there! You can also use google forms to recruit volunteers for classroom parties. If you have a room parent that organizes your classroom parties, with a google form (like the one below), all you have to do is hand them the spreadsheet with responses from a form like this and you are done! Click here to make a copy of this form for yourself. This link will take you to the spreadsheet of responses where you can make your own copy and change it to fit your specific needs. See the first ‘Quick Tip’ post for using google forms here if you need directions on how to do this.

Using a google form is also a really easy way to collect parent information. Caryn, from Mathtechy, commented that she will turn her google forms into QR codes that will be hanging around the room during Back to School Night, and iPads will be available if they don’t have their own devices to scan with. Great idea! In my district, all the information for parents and students is housed in Infinite Campus, but it would be worth the time to create a form where parents submit their email address into a form so that you can easily create an email list without the need for looking them up one by one. Click here for a quick tutorial on how to use a google form to create an email list in about 2 minutes. You could do the same thing for students (if they know their email addresses) to create a student email list!

I hope this helps you organize your back-to-school info!

Quick Tip: Use Google Forms to Organize Your Parent Volunteer Sign Up


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I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s time for many of us to start getting ready to go back to school! But you don’t need to spend a lot of time and money printing papers and mailing them to parents (which may or may not make it back to you). Here is a quick technology tip for getting parent volunteers signed up easily and efficiently.  Click here to watch a tutorial for embedding a google form into your classroom website. Click here to make a copy of this form for yourself! Once you make your own copy, you can personalize it for your classroom. Here’s hoping your ‘Back to School’ rush is productive and efficient!volunteering in the classroom: Use a google form

July’s 21st Century Tool of the Month: PowToon


July’s 21st Century Tool of the Month is PowToon. This is an awesome tool that really speaks for itself when you see it in action! It is a cool animation tool that gives a very polished look without too much effort. PowToon EDU is great for upper elementary students through high school students and adults. (I had 3rd graders choose to use it this year, but not all of them were ready for it.) If you are a GAFE (Google Apps for Education) school, and your students have gmail accounts, PowToon EDU is an add-on in google drive. This makes it easy for students to create an account. Unfortunately, the free version only allows users to publish to YouTube, so if that is not an option for your school, it makes it difficult for students to share their creations.

Here are some ideas for how to use PowToon:

Introduce a lesson: the enduring understanding.

 

Advertise a workshop.

Create a cover letter for your resume. If your students participate in Ameritown, for example,  they could create a PowToon resume to apply for their jobs.

Click here to see how this 5th grader used PowToon for her spelling homework. (She does have a misspelling–oops!)

Click here to see an app smash: PowToon + Puppet Pals 2

How have you used PowToon? Let’s collaborate! Add your ideas and examples to this padlet.

 

 

Quick Tip: Reflector for iPad Instruction


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Even in a one-iPad classroom, you need to be able to project your iPad for a large group to see. In my classroom, I was using an adapter piggie that I had to unplug from my computer in order to plug into the iPad. I would have to hold the cord in while I was projecting or it would fall out, and I could only move as far as the cord would stretch (which usually meant leaning over the table while standing on one leg . . . you get the idea!). Then I found reflector.

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Reflector is an application that you download to your computer. It can wirelessly project any iPad, iPod, iPhone, etc. The device just needs to have airplay mirroring capability. It has been the answer to my iPad problems! Now I can walk around the room while projecting my iPad, and even better, a small group of students using an iPad can project their work for the whole class to see. In fact, multiple devices can be projected at the same time! My students and I tested it out, and we were able to get up to 8 devices to project at once.

This means that if  I am doing a whole group math lesson, for example, I may ask students to solve a math problem in cooperative learning groups of 2 or 3 by recording their thinking and discussion using educreations on the iPad. Then each group can project their iPad at the same time in order to see each group’s answer. If the answers don’t match, we can just ask a group to play the recording of their thinking! What a great way for an authentic class discussion.

Reflector is also a great tool for BYOD schools. The reflector app is downloaded on one computer, and it will project any device that students bring. Yay! No trying to manage what is on their devices! I have also found that it is a great way to do iPad tutorials. I can project my iPad on the computer and record my computer screen using screencastify or quicktime player  in order to show what I am doing on the iPad.

So what does this versatile tool cost, you ask?

reflector_with_cost

 

Screen_Shot_2014-06-26_at_11_44_50_AM No brainer, right? Please share your ideas on the uses you find for projecting multiple devices in the classroom!

Quick Tip: Tellagami + Green Screen = Moving Background!


 

May’s 21st century tool of the month was tellagami. Tellagami is a free iPad app that creates cartoon avatars which allow you to type or record your own voice to make the cartoon avatar speak. Because you can save your 30 second video called a “gami” to the camera roll, you can use it to app smash. You can even use tellagami with green screen!

Tellagami is a really popular app to use for app smashing. Here is an app smash using tellagami and tagxedo to introduce the 21st Century Tool of the Month:

May’s 21st Century Tool of the Month: Tellagami

Here are a few of my favorite examples of app smashing with tellagami that I found on YouTube:

App Smashing with Google Earth, Skitch, and Tellagami

App Smashing with Tellagami