Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Thursday, December 11, 2014

AudioBoom EduWin with Debbie Arrieta, Cindy Loper, Susan Raser, and Todd Sinclair

With AudioBoom you can record, upload and playback audio recordings. I love AudioBoom because it is a multiple platform tool. You can record through its website on a Mac or Chromebook, or you can use an iOS iPad or iPhone, or an Android tablet or phone. Your recordings can then be accessed when you sign into your account, regardless of the device.

Another reason I love AudioBoom is how easy it is to share. Each recording generates a URL, a QR code, and an embed code so you can add it to your website.

Recording files can include a photo, which can be uploaded or the app allows you to take a photo to add to the audio file.

Over the past few weeks, I've seen the AudioBoom iPad app used in Debbie Arrieta's Kindergarten class. Her students recorded a few sentences about themselves on an iPad and then Debbie helped the student take a photo of their drawing using the camera on the iPad. Debbie printed out a small QR code, cut it out, and glued it to pictures the students had made of themselves. She plans to include the picture in their memory books so parents will not only have an art project memory, but will also be able to listen to their student's voice when he/she was 5 years old.

Susan Raser used AudioBoom as part of the Cultural Doll unit. Susan had taken photos of the students' Cultural Doll projects ahead of time. Her class used Susan's MacBook and the AudioBoom website to record a description of their doll and a little bit about what they had learned about their cultural heritage while doing the project. Susan easily uploaded the photo from her iPhoto file to complete the AudioBoom file. Susan created a Playlist and added all the Cultural Doll audio files to the Playlist. She created a webpage and then added the embed code from the Playlist. You can see her page at You'll have to listen really carefully. A lesson learned is that students will have to speak up really loudly, and that using an external mic may work better.

Todd Sinclair has his students producing a weekly podcast update with AudioBoom. Listen to it here.

Last year, I used AudioBoom a lot. For example, while reading the story "Across the Wide Dark Sea," students wrote the diary of a passenger on the boat. They then recorded their writing and added a picture. Third grade students became so familiar with how to use AudioBoom on the iPad, all I had to do was sign in for them. You can listen to one of them here or you can use a bar code reader or a QR scanner. Just point it at the QR code, and you will be taken to the URL where you can listen to the recording.

While on a field trip, I passed the iPad around and had students record something they learned or found surprising. Back in class, I printed a large QR code and put it in the window. Parents used their smartphones to scan the code. It took them right to the audio recording and had something to listen to while they waited for their students.

How about an audio Holiday greeting? As some of you may know, Cindy Loper is an amazing glass artist. She has brought this passion to her classroom with a holiday ornament. On the reverse side, she has fused the QR code so families will have a lasting memory of their student's holiday greeting.  You can have the students create a card, or poem, record it, and add the QR code to their work.

Here is a short video on how to get started:

This will probably be the last blog post of 2014. I have seen so many wonderful things happening in classrooms as teachers begin to integrate technology into their curriculum, and students become more confident in their skills.

I feel honored to have been able to watch the transformation, and to be working with such an amazing group of dedicated and forward-thinking teachers. I can't wait to see what 2015 will bring.
Best wishes to you and your families for a healthy and happy holiday season.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Next Week: The Hour of Code/EduWin for Regina Smith/EdCamp SJ

Don't miss having your students spend a fun hour learning the basics of coding next week. It is super easy to sign up and you don't need to know the first thing about coding or programming to get your kids involved. Just this week, I was in Regina Smith's Third Grade class at Oster, helping her to enroll her students.

Regina had gone to , clicked the Teacher Sign Up button and then signed up using her Google Account, using her email address. By signing up, her class was added to the list of over 33,500 events, and Oster was put on the map!

Here, I've signed up for a class just to show you how easy it is.

When you get to the Teacher Home Page, choose Student Accounts and Progress. It's the choice in the upper left-hand corner.

Name your class, choose to have your students use an email to log in. Don't worry, elementary school teachers, what they are looking for is the format. Since your students already know their Google account log-ins, it'll be easy for them to remember.

Choose your grade, and pick the course. I chose "Hour of Code" because it starts off fairly easy and takes students through a number of progressively more difficult lessons. It is a great differentiating activity.

Once you do press Save, you'll get a Section Code. Your students will use this code to sign into your class.

Your students will also start at the webpage, but they will choose Student Sign Up. They will be required to enter a name, e-mail address, password, and age. I created a student with only my daughter's first name and a fake e-mail address and was successful in creating an account.

Once signed up, your students click Sign Up, and are taken to the Welcome page, they will need to scroll to the bottom of the page to Add a Teacher. Here, they will add the Section Code for your class. As students click on Add teacher, you'll see the number students increase. Students will then be able to start the activities, and you'll be able to watch their progress.

UPDATE for USD teachers: Trent has added it and it makes it really easy for your students to sign in. When the students click on Hour of Code, their name and Google account name will automatically populate. Students will need to enter an age to sign up. That will take them to the Hour of Code. They will still need to scroll down to "Add a teacher."

Next time they go to Hour of Code from the Symbaloo page, it will automatically sign them in and take them to the page where they can get started! Couldn't get much easier than that!

Thank you, Kathy, for suggesting it, and Trent, for putting it all in place.

Regina's class just dug right in, even before we were able to walk them through the directions. In fact, when one boy was having difficulty getting started, we just asked for a volunteer to explain what to do and 3/4s of the hands went up.

Here's a video you might like to show your students to help them understand what to do:

While the event is called "Hour of Code," students can sign in whenever and from wherever they like, and there are other activities they can try.

We hope you'll give Hour of Code a try. We can see by the map that someone from most of our schools has signed up. If you are one of those teachers, let us know. We'll throw everyone's name into a hat and choose one for a (small) appreciation prize.

If you'd like to have more information about The Hour of Code, you can find it here.

EdCamp SJ

Ever go to a Professional Development Conference and wish you had more control over the sessions offered? If so. EdCamp is for you.

EdCamps started about three years ago, and have been spreading all over the world. It is a free event where teachers suggest topics they'd like to talk about and learn more about. The event organizers then group topics together and create an agenda. The sessions are assigned a room and time, and the participants are off. 

When you enter the room, there is no presenter, just a bunch of "like-minded" and "like-interested" educators willing to contribute to rich conversation, or just listen and learn.

EdCamp is coming to San Jose, and will be hosted at Union Middle School on April 25th. While April might seem like a long way off, people are already signing up, so you might want to check your calendar and consider reserving your spot on EventBrite.