Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Monday, March 30, 2015

Using Screencastify and Snagit on Chromebooks

In response to recent questions, here is some information on using Chromebooks to make screencasts. Both require a bit of setup. Hopefully, these screencasts have easy to follow directions for you and your students.

This first video shows Screencastify. If you are recording on a Chromebook, make sure Screencastify is set to Save to Google Drive and untick the "Pause on low disk space" box.

 Here is one way to use Screencastify to record a Google Slide Presentation.

If you'd like to use Snagit, make sure you install both the Chrome app and extension. The video will show you how.

Have a question? Check out the How-to page at USD Technology Resources.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Storybird/EduWin guest blogger Nicole van Wilgen with Google Sites

April is National Poetry Month. During the month, invites students in grades 5 through 12, to write letters to poets in response to the poets’ reading their poetry. Dear Poet 2015 offers lesson plans for educators and videos for students to watch. Lesson plans are aligned with Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking CCSS standards.

However, this is a great time for any grade level to incorporate the CCSS ELA standards. In early grades, students are required to begin reading poetry and there are standards for students as early as second grade to “Create audio recordings of prose or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.”

Lisa Highfill, EdTech Guru extraordinaire, recently introduced me to StoryBird, another free website you and your students can use to read the work of other students, or to create books and poems and then share their writing. Lisa presented a lesson she did with Kindergarten students using Storybird, the Write feature, Storybird artwork with the Poem application, and the “magnetic word” choices that are suggested for each picture. Here is an example from Lisa’s class

Because Storybird is accessed through a website, it can be used with any device and from anywhere the user can sign in using an internet connection. Here’s how to get started.

Go to the Storybird website and Sign up for Free account, then choose Educator/Teacher. You’ll then be able to sign up using your GAFE (Google Apps for  Education) username and password (you’ll have to be signed into your account so it can be linked to Storybird). Then, create a username. You will then need to activate your account by clicking on a link they send in an e-mail.
Open Storybird and select Studio to activate an Educator Dashboard. Here is where you will create a class account and receive a code to invite students to your class.

To have students join your class, first make sure they are signed into their GAFE account. Then, have them go to the website. They will click on the Sign up for Free button, and then choose Student. Once they accept the terms allowing their GAFE account to be linked to their Storybird account, they will then create a username (to avoid having students attempt creating a username that hasn’t already been taken, have them use their GAFE username, eg. 11maryflyn) and Create an Account. When the account is created, they may need to sign in again This time, they need to select the Class tab and Join a Class entering your class code. While they may receive a message that an email has been sent, the Storybird website states, “Note that student emails are not required (but are optional for older students).” Your student is now ready to create.

For the magnetic poetry activity, choose the Write tab and then select the artwork you’d like to use.

Select Use this art for a: and then select poem. The artwork will show up in another window with suggested words to use to create the poem. Just drag and drop the words in place.

Once finished, select Publish. There, the poem can be e-mailed, or you can get a URL or code to embed the poem into a website. To make the poems easy to share, Lisa took screenshots of each of the poems and had pasted them into a shared Google Presentation.

Storybird offers lots of opportunities for students to write and share their work. Please let me know how your class is using Storybird and I’ll share those ideas with other teachers.

EduWin/Guest Blog by Nicole van Wilgen

As a Google Apps For Education district our students have the ability to create Google Sites with limited sharing permissions. This is great news for teachers who want to have their students build a website, but don’t want their students’ work to be public on the web.

Over the past few weeks in 7th grade English/Language Arts classes at Union Middle School students have created digital reflective portfolios via Google Sites.  For some students, and teachers, Google Sites can be a complicated and daunting task, so I decided to put together a series of instructional videos for my students to watch as they build their Google Sites.  I housed all videos on my YouTube account, so my students would always have access to them.  

Please feel free to use my videos in your classroom or to help you make your own Google Site.  You can access all fifteen videos here.

Note: Sometimes when watching the YouTube videos at school, some of the videos would be blocked due to safety mode. This varied by student, and some students did not have a problem with any of the videos.

If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Images, Chromebooks, and Google Drive/EduWin for Megan Mullaly/EdCamp coming to UMS

Images, Chromebooks, and Google Drive

A change has just been made to your students' Chromebooks. Now, when they go to download an image or a file, it will automatically be saved to their Google Drive. This will help students manage the limited amount of storage available on their devices, and provide a easy way for your students to manage their resources when they are doing research on a large project.

Students should first, set up folders in their Google Drive account where they would like to file their resources. For this example, I created a folder called Abraham Lincoln Project. Now, I'm going to use Google Image Search as an example. After doing an image search, and filtering images by license, choose the image by clicking on it. Select View image. This will open the page in a separate window. I want to cite the image, so I copy the URL for the image. Then, right click (alt + click the mouse pad) to open a menu of choices. Choose to Save image as...

In the window that opens, choose the folder. Find as a sub-folder of My Drive. On the bottom of the page, give it a name in File Name. Then click on Save.

While the image is downloaded, it will automatically be saved to the chosen folder in Google Drive. Go to Google Drive, open the folder, and find the image. If you want to keep the citation, open the image, and find the information icon (circle icon in the upper right with an "i"). Open it, and choose to edit the description. Here is where to paste the URL for the photo.

When it is time to use the photo, choose to Insert image from My Drive. Open the folder, choose the file and Select. When it is time to create the bibliography, open the information on the photo and there it is.

Have you noticed the new Photo Search bar in the right hand corner of the blog? Photos for Class is a site that students can use to find photo images. All images have been passed through Flick's safe search filter so you shouldn't have to worry about even the youngest students finding something you'd rather they didn't. All photos are Creative Commons licensed for school use and come with an automatic citation when the image is downloaded. Note: while images can be automatically saved to Google Drive, (pretty much) following the steps above, the citation is only included on Downloaded images.

Use Photos for Class to search for a photo. Choose a photo and select Download. If students want to use the photo immediately, they will go to their Doc or Presentation and choose Insert, Image, Upload, Choose Image to Upload. When the window opens, open the Downloads folder. Choose the image and Open.

You'll notice the black text bar at the bottom of the photo. It cites all the required attributions.

Downloaded images and text, as well as photos and screencasts sent to storage on Chromebooks can easily be stored in Google Drive.

First, open your Google Chrome menu (hot dogs) in the upper right hand corner. Scroll down to Downloads and click. When Downloads opens, go to the upper right hand corner of the window and choose Open downloads folder.

When you open the Downloads folder, you will see your Google Drive on the left. Open My Drive and find the subfolder you want to store the downloads in. Click on a file in Downloads. A tiny screen shot will open at the bottom. When you have identified it, click and drag it into the folder. When you return to your folder in Google Drive, your file will be there.

When it is time to remove the download from your Chromebook, Remove from list.

EduWin Megan Mullaly/Zaption

Kids love to watch videos, but how can you tell if they are actively watching and learning from the screen time they're spending? Zaption is great tool you can use to assess this. With Zaption, you can create a "video tour" using YouTube, Vimeo, National Geographic, PBS, and other video sources on the web. You'll be able to embed questions along the way, then have access to great analytics to see how students responded, and how long they spent watching the video.

Zaption is one of Megan Mullay's favorite tools, "I've used it mainly with the whole group to re-teach or to introduce a lesson. Most recently I found a great TedEd video about the over-use of the words "good" and "bad" and I used Zaption to make it more interactive. The kids LOVED it--it took the video much farther. I posted it on my website and the kids have gone back to it on their own :)  For those who flip, it is the perfect tool.

Megan has passesd along a 2 month pro code for anyone in the District (activate by 3/25) for Zaption:​ 

Here is a link to short presentation to familiarize you with one of her favorite tools. And a Zaption YouTube video below. Thanks, Megan, for sharing this wonderful tool.

If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.

EdCamp San Jose

After jumping into the pool of edtech, you may find that, even with all the amazing PD offered at and through USD, you are ready to step outside the District and meet other local educators who are equally passionate about bringing lessons and tools to their classroom that integrate into their curricular lessons.

EdCamp is a concept developed by teachers as an "unconference" for educators. There is no cost and no pre-planned agenda. Since its inception in 2010, the movement has grown world-wide, and now one is coming to Union Middle School on Saturday, April 25th.

An EdCamp is unlike any other PD Day you may have attended. Organizers get a space with internet and morning coffee donated. Participants sign up and then show up. They write topics they are interested in discussing with other educators on a sticky note and post them to a board. Other participants can +1 a post. Organizers then group interests together and create a schedule for the day. Participants show up to a session, join in the discussion, hang-back and listen, or "vote with their feet" and find another discussion that more suits their interests.

While Todd, the UMS principal, Andrew, the guy making sure we all have internet, and I are on the planning committee, this is not a UMS sponsored event. Teachers from all over the area who are faithful followers of EdCamps have already begun to sign up. If you are interested, hop on the EventBrite website and reserve your space asap. Registration is being capped, and we are approaching capacity! Follow us on Twitter or check out the Google Site for the day (still in progress of being built).

Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Flippity Flashcards/Digital Learning Day/EduWin for Carla Dunavan

While Common Core wants our students to delve deep into topics, sometimes they just need to commit things to memory, think math facts, spelling words, vocabulary words. Flippity makes it super easy for you or your students to make flashcards using Google Spreadsheet.

Before you begin, you'll need to be signed into your Google Account. Then, on the Flippity site, download the template. You will need to edit the template. Start by editing the title of the Spreadsheet, and don't edit row 1. You'll notice that most cells have only text. Side 1 being the challenge, with Side 2 the response. However, note that you can add images or YouTube videos by inserting the URL. You can also choose the CardColor and TextColor. To edit a cell, double click, and the cell text kinda pops out. Delete what is there and enter your text.

When you are finished, choose File, Publish to the web. Share the Document and copy the link. Back on the Spreadsheet, first open "Get the Link Here" at the bottom of the page. Second, paste the URL into Row 3 on the page that opens. Third, click on the link in Row 6 to open your flashcards on the Flippity site. Once you do, you can create a shortened URL (see below) to make it easier to revisit the page. Here's the URL for the Flippity Deck I created for fun.

Digital Learning Day

Today is Digital Learning Day.  USD has come very far in digital learning in just six months, so it is a day to reflect and celebrate our evolution towards creating "Future Ready" students. While we strive to move farther in the SAMR model, teachers and students are embracing the tools and pedagogy that is transforming learning.

Today is also a good day to  review Digital Citizenship with your students. This poster from Edutopia, might be one to use to begin a conversation.

EduWin for Carla Dunavan

Thanks, Carla, for developing this Google Presentation on How to Make a Shortened URL. A great skill to know when wanting to share those cumbersome, long URLs with your students.

If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Keeping Chrome Browser Updated/Update on AudioBoom/Frame for Sub Plans/EduWin for Dave Hill

Ever look at the Chrome control icons and notice that your "hot dogs" have gone from black to green or orange or red? This is a notice that you have a Chrome update. While Chrome will automatically update, it will only do this when you Quit Google Chrome and re-sign in.

You will notice that your students' Chromebooks have an update that needs to be installed, when you see an icon with an up arrow in the lower right-hand corner. The Chromebook simply needs to be completely powered off and back on again. 

Here's a short video if you'd like more directions:

AudioBoom Update

As of late last week, AudioBoom has decided to require sign in for all listeners. This makes it a less-than-ideal tool for sending a link to parents to give them a quick listen and look at their student work. I contacted them to tell them of the concerns that educators have about the changes in their service. Here is their response, "We are currently looking in to providing a solution better suited to educators but this is still in the early stages. Hopefully we will be able to have you back on board soon." Will keep you updated since I realize this is a popular app as teachers prepare for Open House.

Sub Plans Template

With all the technology in classrooms, subs have asked for more directions on using it in your absence. Here is a link to a frame that you might like to use. Each classroom is different, so you will need to edit to give specific instructions for your class. Just open the document in Google Drive. Under the File menu, choose Make a copy... You will get your own copy that is saved in My Drive. There you can change and save it. 

As we continue to add technology to classrooms, I will attempt to keep these directions fairly up-to-date. I'd appreciate feedback on anything that is obviously missing or incorrect. 

EduWin for Dave Hill 

One of the Tech II trainings focused on math websites and apps. One of them that was presented to us is Desmos, an graphing program that is available on the web, and as an app for Android and iOS.  Dave Hill, a math teacher at Dartmouth, has his students doing amazing things with this program, as they learn linear algebra. His students have produced amazing drawings from their equations.

Desmos is free and can be found on the USD Symbaloo Landing Page. It be added to your Chrome App Launcher. You'll find it in the Chrome App Store.

In honor of Pi Day, on March 14th, Desmos is offering their Function Carnival activity for free this month. Help students learn more about graphing with this fun activity.

If you or one of your colleagues is doing something other teachers might like to know about, please let me know. I'd love to share your success as Union School District continues on its mission to develop Future Ready students.