Sometimes the technology can get the better than us. Whether it be an updated system, or the latest installment of an app, or maybe there is a new program that is better than the one you just started using. It is OK. You are not alone. So many teachers, parents, and even students experience the same feeling. It is just too hard to keep up, especially when the school systems are requiring that we (as teachers) use more and more technology in the classroom. Well here are a few easy tricks to get the technology in there, without having a learn a whole new way to teaching.
1) PowerPoint game/quiz review shows. Face it, reviewing a lesson before a test can be boring, here is a chance to make it fun. Teachers have been creating reviews lessons using PowerPoint to mimic popular game shows like Jeopardy, Who Want to Be a Millionaire and Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader? There are free templates online for you to download and make it your own. This is a great way for those who are not too tech-savy to use an already established program. I have done this many times, and have even used Prezi to create a few review games.
2) Just Tweet It! Students mission, to summarize a lesson in 160 characters or less. Not only does this avoid having students repeat themselves over and over and over again, but it forces them to get at the real core of the lesson and what is being taught. This is good for end of the unit/lesson discussions, but also for a quick book review. You have came them break up the main points of the standard book review to individual tweets (ex. main character, plot, etc)
3) Blogging from a characters perspective. This is a fun one. If you have ever had students write letters from the viewpoint of a character you have multiple options now to incorporate technology. The most popular choice being Blogging. Instead of letters, the students will post, and can add images and videos as well to enhance the post. There are blog sites that can be used specficially for the classroom that protects the students from unwanted attention.
4) Surf the Web. This is an oldie but a goodie. Webquests have been around for a while, and ultimately what it does is guides students to search the internet for specific information. An idea is have students become curators for their own museum on a particular topic. But since it is for a museum the students must determine what artifacts belong in their museum. This hits many common core areas of study but also touches on technology and digital literacy since they must evaluate the sites for validity.
Again these are just a few options for you to ponder while you try to find ways to get that technology in the classroom.
Face it, some times the delivery of lessons can be boring. I know I have seen students drift off from time to time. And besides from me jumping up and down or dancing around like a lunatic, some lessons just fall flat. Now if we feel this way, imagine how the students feel. We know that the more vibrate a presentation is, the more positive reaction you will get from the viewers. And what is more vibrate than a cartoon?
You heard me right. Cartoon presentations. PowToon is an online presentation site that allows you to create animated videos and presentations to help you engage your audience in a dynamic way. The site requires no prior knowledge of animation, and they provide the user with all of the tips and tricks needed to create an expressive, one-of-a -kind presentation. Once a presentation is created you can export the video to Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. This is a free site, however, you are limited to how much you are capable of creating. There are options for a monthly payment or a yearly one, that provides you with longer recording time, more options for character and accessories. I recommend this site to anyone looking to beef up their presentations.
I don’t know about you but I use maps all the time. Mainly because my sense of direction is not so great. When I travel I grab a map (not a fancy one just a cheesy one from the hotel or something) for the place I visited and hold on to it as a souvenir. Meanwhile I have had friends attach pictures to wall maps as a reminder of places they have been to while some use push pins. Now with foursquare and the maps on Facebook you can now follow where all of your friends are or have been. Maps are not only a way to tell you where you are going, but it is a great tool to show where you have been; or where someone else has been. What am I getting at with all of this rambling. Well, lets see Napoleon was a great military leader, and who traveled all over Europe and into Russia winning and in some cases losing battles. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to learn about his travels and conquests or defeats by examining them on a map with text summarizing the major events over reading straight from the textbook? How much more interesting would a presentation be for the students to give if they had the opportunity to use a map to describe historical and even literary events. Think about it, even family trips/vacations can be even more fun when using a map to show all of the places you have been.
Well if this has peaked your interest why not try the website MAPTALES www. maptal.es MAPTALES is site that allows you to create map-based stories and share them with groups through emails, embedding into websites, blogs, etc. You can use MAPTALES to chronicle news events, describe a trip, its great for scrapbooking and lectures. Maps tell us their own stories but it is up to the users to embellish on those stories with our own personal flair.
As I am working creating my how-to videos for my libraries, I have stumbled upon many screen capturing applications and sites. I have posted about them on this blog and I would like to add another one to ever-growing list.
Screeny is a MAC based application that works on your computer and allows you to capture not only the whole screen but smaller sections of it. Use the built-in camera or an external one to capture video and pictures at any size. This is also supported by the Cloud where you can upload the images or videos directly to your cloud account. It allows for easy compression of videos for uploading to the cloud. The application uses Quicktime and is always saved at the highest possible quality. You also have the option to capture audio as well, or add audio to your video.
This is a great app to help in your quest to create a more vibrant flipped classroom.
SCREENY iOS only $14.99
Another day and another way to express yourself. So this time I would like to introduce some apps that provide the opportunity to get creative. Similar to my post about the app Paper these apps allow you to create amazing images and videos. Now remember all of these apps can be used for school based projects. Some might work for the educator while some might be more fun for the student. But don’t forget, all are fun for everyone!
TYPE DRAWING for the web and iOS $1.99
This app is amazing for typography. All you do is type the sentence you would like to use and then by using your finger or mouse to draw an image and the words from your sentence becomes the body of the image or use the text to go over current images.
OVER for iOS
Everyone knows a picture is worth 1,000 words, but sometimes only a few will do. Now a great way to enhance your images is with the app Over. Over allows you choose from different fonts and type what you would like to say anywhere over the image.
STEP for iOS $1.99
I can not tell you how much I am in love with this app! I can devote a all blog post to just this but I would simply keep repeating myself with this one phrase: THIS APP IS AWESOME!!! This app makes it easy to create amazing animated GIFs and Quicktime movies. You get full control of everything from the frame rate, to deletion of images, to exposure and timer settings. This is a great app for students to use to create amazing stop motion videos.
iSTOPMOTION for iPAD $9.99
Another create stop motion app that was the winner for the Macworld Best in Show 2013. This app is used in hundreds of classrooms and allows you to create your own animated movies.
WHAT THE FONT for the web iOS and coming soon for the Android Free
Did you ever see a font used in media, like say a magazine, a website, and ad or even a poster, and did you ever say wow I really like that I wonder what font that is? Well wonder no more. Simply take a picture of the font in question, and by uploading it from your photos What the Font will give you the details. Like many barcode scanners for your phones, the technology can read the image and provide you with the information about the font in question. This is perfect for designers who might see a particularly interesting font and wonder how they can get that.
LUME for iOS $1.99
The first light only drawing app out there. Instead of using paint or pencil, use light to draw images, text or enhance already taken photos. A great way to make a photo stand out. Just think what one can do with this app if you want to enhance an image of Thomas Edison?
CINEMAGRAM for iOS and Android Free
So lets say you have picture saved as a GIF, and you want to add a little animation to it. Well how about picking and choosing which part of the image you animate. Similar to instragram but you are using video instead. Buy using the different features you can freeze certain parts of the image while the rest stays animated. Its definitely worth a look.
Honored as 2012 app of the year from Apple, Paper is an easy to use tool to create some of the most stunning pictures on the iPad. Capture your ideas as drawings, sketches, diagrams, illustrations or notes and easily share them across the web through several social networks. The download is free and you receive the standard drawing tool, but you can purchase additional drawing utensils in the app store for $1.99 each. This is an amazing app the has endless possibilities for any creative mind.
Check our the video for a peek and what you can do. http://vimeo.com/37254322
So what exactly is an infographic and how can I use it in the classroom. First lets look at what Infographics are.
Infographics: visual presentations used to communicate complex information quickly and clearly and include charts, diagrams, graphs, tables, maps and lists. The basic material used in creating an infographic is the data, information, or knowledge that the graphic presents. Infographics make learning new and valuable information in a fun and creative manner.
Subway maps are the earliest examples of infographics but the use of the infographics have changed dramatically over the past few years. News programs, newspapers, magazines, websites are all using infographics to give information. But how can this work in the classroom?
Infographics are great for presenting information that otherwise would be challenging to communicate to a vast audience. Each classroom faces the challenge of providing quality information to the different levels that the students are at. Infographics can provide a way to get across information that for some students might seem to difficult to understand in the traditional way. Therefore each student is receiving the same information at the same time and are progressing at the same pace. Since most infographics require numerical data science, and math classes seem to have the easier time incorporating this into their lessons. However, language arts classes use them to promote genres and authors; while history and social studies classes focus on map studies and the changes in the countries and their culture. Administrators can also use infographics to highlight different areas of the school climate and environment.
Here are some examples of infographics:
Interested in creating your own infographic? Check out the following sites:
NERD GRAPH http://www.nerdgraph.com/
PIK TO CHART http://piktochart.com/