Happy New Year! Before we look forward to all of the awesome learning that 2018 holds for us, I’m going to get all nostalgic for a quick sec…. here are my 5 most viewed posts from 2017:
It’s a tradition on the show for the guest to create a lesson plan that listeners can use. I chose to take a few ideas that I’ve posted about here and combine them into the Ultimate App Smash Lesson. The lesson combines #StopMotionSlides, Screencastify & FlipGrid. It can be used with any just about any content and is appropriate in most grades, starting in around 3rd grade.
You can find the lesson at bit.ly. I hope you enjoy it . . . and I’d love to see some of what your kiddos create when you use it!
I’ve posted about #StopMotionSlides before and there are others out there (I think that Eric Curts’ and Matt Miller’s are both pretty definitive), but as usual – I like to encapsulate all good Googley stuff in GIF format. So here we go . . . some GIF-style tips for making really rad #StopMotionSlides projects.
In February of 2017, I found my niche in the online #edtech world – and a new passion – creating #eduGIF’s. In the time since then, I’ve been asked dozens, if not hundreds, of times how I create them. Here I’ll dive into 1) a little background on what I do & why I use the tool I use and 2) other options to consider. Continue reading Comparing GIF Creation Options
This post by Meghan Zigmund calls App Smashing “The art of imaginatively using multiple apps to create an enhanced project.”
Two of my favorite edtech tools right now are Screencastify and FlipGrid. One missing feature in Screencastify is an easy platform for students seeing each other’s recordings. One missing feature in FlipGrid is including screen recordings, rather than just webcam recordings.
Enter App Smashing. On a Chromebook, it’s pretty easy to record in Screencastify and then post in FlipGrid. Check out how in the GIF below. After the GIF, check out a list of possible applications of this. (Did I leave something out? Feel free to share it in the comments or on Twitter!)
Tons of ideas for how to use this . . .
- Narrate Google Slides, like the example above.
- Show how to do something on the computer.
- Share a piece of writing in Google Docs, like a poem.
- Share and explain a Scratch project.
- Show off a #StopMotionSlides video.
- Have multiple students give feedback on 1 writing project
NOTE: If you’re not on a Chromebook, you’ll likely need to download your video from Screencastify (or Google Drive) before uploading it to FlipGrid.
We all have our irrational pet peeves. Our things that are “small potatoes” but make us want to gouge someone’s eyeballs out.
One of mine is people who don’t know how to drive in a traffic circle. You know the guy. That doofus that stays on the outside of the circle even though they’re going 75% of the way around the darn thing. Everyone sits waiting in suspense at the entrances to the circle, wondering “Will this be the lucky street that this fantastic driver turns on?” No one can tell. It literally could be any exit. And we all have to stay out of Captain Doofus’ way because you just… don’t… know.
Anyhow, I digress. One day I was entering a traffic circle and there he was. Captain Doofus. I started to mutter driving instructions for him. “Stay to the inside until you near your exit, dude!” At one point, while starting to yell out, “How do you not know how a traffic circle works, doofus!?” I realized . . . a lot of people do it wrong. And if that many people don’t follow the same process that I follow in a traffic circle, are they wrong . . . or is the traffic circle itself wrong?
If like 25% of users can’t use something correctly, the design itself needs to be reevaluated. This reminded me of education (as things tend to do). I can remember grading tests and groaning “ugh, they all got this question wrong!” After further reflection, I’d often realize that either the question was unintentionally confusing or my instruction had led them astray.
That’s an oft-forgotten reason that we do formative assessment. Not just to assess our learners, but to assess our instruction and content. If a large portion of our learners are confused, we need to re-think our strategies, design and assessment.
Unsurprisingly, there are a few recently built traffic circles in my area that have signs, lanes and arrows painted in the lanes. If the drivers were using the traffic circle wrong, you’ve got to change the traffic circle . . . because you can’t change all of the drivers! And these newer circles changed to accommodate the users.
The moral of the story – Captain Doofus may not be a doofus. You may have just designed a really confusing traffic circle. Or he may have attended a crumby driving school. But your best move is to design a more doofus-friendly traffic circle.
This post originally appeared on the Screencastify blog, here.
We all know how important it is for students to demonstrate
their understanding of a particular subject or problem by “showing their work.” If your students are using tablets, there are a number of great interactive whiteboard recording apps that allow students to write with a stylus, annotate images and provide audio explanations.
But what about the large student population who are using Chromebooks, not tablets? Some new Chromebooks have touch screens and a small number are ready to roll with Android apps, but for the majority of our students, this type of recording feature is nowhere in their near future. And it’s a great feature! What’s better than telling a student to “show their work”!? Telling them to “explain their work” or, better yet, narrate it.
As an educational technology advocate and problem-solver, I am always looking for a hack. And, here’s my hack for this. Tell your students: “click on the Screencastify extension, select Cam, spin the computer around, aim it at a piece of paper, starting writing or drawing and explain away.” In short, spin it around, write it down, explain with sound.
Check out my hack in action in the video below!
In Sal Khan’s phenomenal TED Talk Let’s Teach for Mastery – Not Test Scores, he illustrates the lack of focus on mastery in most classrooms with this metaphor:
To appreciate how absurd [teaching based on a pacing guide, not mastery] is, imagine if we did other things in our life that way. Say, home-building.
So we bring in the contractor and say, “We were told we have two weeks to build a foundation. Do what you can.”
So they do what they can. Maybe it rains. Maybe some of the supplies don’t show up. And two weeks later, the inspector comes, looks around, says, “OK, the concrete is still wet right over there, that part’s not quite up to code … I’ll give it an 80 percent.”
You say, “Great! That’s a C. Let’s build the first floor.”
He continues with this great metaphor, but I’ll stop there because the point is clear: it’s silly to have students move to the next topic or skill before they’ve mastered the one they’re on. With technology, we have tons of ways to ensure this mastery.
In Schoology, you can require students exceed a minimum assessment score prior to moving on to the upcoming content. And, if they don’t do well enough? Have them learn from their mistakes, get better, re-take the assessment and then move on.
Here’s how to do it, first in GIF form and then in step-by-step form.
- Go to the Materials Page for your course.
- Click Add Materials > Assessment.
- Create your Assessment.
- Include in the instructions a note about the minimum score and their ability to retake the assessment.
- Go to “Settings” inside of the assessment.
- Change the Attempt Limit to Unlimited (or some other greater than 1 option)
- Decide how you’d like it to be graded. I go with “highest score.”
- Turn on Submissions (if you’re ready)
- Go back to your materials page.
- Click on Options > Student Completion.
- Set up Student Completion for your pages and assignments.
- For the Assessment, Select “Member must score at least” and enter the minimum score you’d like students to obtain.
Never judge a book by its cover. Because, if you did, TodaysMeet would seem like a boring, unimpressive tool from at least a decade ago.
But, “open the book” and you’ll realize that TodaysMeet is a super useful tool in the classroom. It is very simple to use and, in less than 5 minutes you can have a chat-room like discussion setup for your class. It may be a “bare bones” site with 0 flashiness, but it makes up for that in function.
Ideas for use:
- Backchannel chat during a movie, speaker or other situation where you want actively engaged quiet students. This Edutopia article by Beth Hollanddefines a backchannel chat is a “a digital conversation that runs concurrently with a face-to-face activity
- Digital Office Hours – a teacher that I work with uses TodaysMeet in the evening before big projects are due to give students a chance to ask for help.
- Quick Questions – there are tons of great tools for asking students for their opinions to questions in class, but TodaysMeet is nice because it’s so quick, easy and simple. When you have more than 1 question, you can either setup separate rooms or just ask the questions in succession.
- Got some others? I’d love to hear about them.
How to use todaysMeet:
First a GIF, followed by the step-by-step instructions:
- Go to todaysmeet.com
- Create an account.
- Under Open a new room pick a name for your room. This does become part of the URL, so it’s nice to pick something easy for your students to type (though there’s a shortened URL too).
- Decide how long to keep the room open for. (If there’s not the right time option for you, note that you can close the room manually)
- Decide if you want “anyone” access or “logged in” access. I stick with anyone, but if you use TodaysMeet regularly, there may be benefits of the logged in option.
- Decide if you’d like to require a password for entry to your room. If you’re worried about safety or about having kids only enter the room after completing a previous activity, this may be beneficial.
- Open your room.
- Give students either the URL from your address bar (todaysmeet.com/yourroomname) or the shortened URL that you can see by clicking on Room Tools.
- Click on Projector View if you’d like to have a better view of the chat to project on your screen.
- Save your transcript at the end, if needed.
Note that you can also embed the TodaysMeet chat onto a different site! Pick “Live Stream” if you want the page’s visitors to participate in the chat and/or see it live.
In a past school year, a colleague and I were trying hard to sell the teachers in our building on a certain technology tool. The name of the tool doesn’t really matter. All that mattered is, we considered it a top priority – a tool that could really benefit students. So, we shared about it in emails, in team meetings, in staff meetings, in more casual conversations, anywhere that we could get an audience for it.
Later, one of the teachers attended a technology conference. They came back and were super-excited about a fantastic, exciting, new technology tool. They planned to use it the next day and couldn’t be prouder to have discovered it.
Yup, you guessed it: it was the same tool that we had been beating the drum for all year long.
My colleague was mad.
Colleague: “We’ve shared about this tool so many times and [this teacher] ignored us each time . . . and now she sees thinks she discovered it!?”
Me: “Who cares.”
Colleague: “What!? How does this not make you mad? You recorded videos, you wrote emails, you presented about it in meetings . . . “
Me: “But . . . what was our goal?”
Colleague: “To get teachers to use it.”
Me: “Then we’ve met our goal and the students will benefit.”
The truth is, it’s hard not to be frustrated and offended in this situation. You pour yourself into your role as a tech coach (whether it’s official or unofficial) and work your tail off to try to expose teachers to the ideas that you believe in. And when they ignore it, it hurts. And when they discover it elsewhere and don’t even recall you sharing it, it hurts more.
But . . . it doesn’t matter. As long as the improvement happens, as long as the students benefit, as long as they hear the message from someone – even if it’s not you – you’ve met your goal. Take a deep breath and offer to support them in implementing that new tool!
We can’t take offense to them ignoring it before if they hear it NOW!