Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The World of Mobile Learning - at AcceleratED 2015


Objective: Participants will experience mobile learning activities, and discuss issues related to mobile learning environments, to strengthen their understanding of mobile learning.

Jigsaw Discussion Topics

1.  Your Vision as a District/School (What is your curriculum oriented goal, so what technology will be supporting that goal?)

2.  Community Conversations (Are parents, community satisfied all students are online?  How are you sharing with them?)

3.  Management/IT (What filters do you need in place?  How are you managing devices?  Are they going home?)

4.  Class Workflow (Are teachers asking high level questions, what classroom management systems will be supported, will you explore strictly online learning opportunities?)

5.  Digital Citizenship (What program is integrated to teach digital citizenship and at what grade levels?)

6.  Social Media (Will social media be allowed, what procedure is in place when creating student accounts, will the school/district be using it?)

7.  Professional Development (What professional development opportunities will be available for your staff?)

Monday, February 23, 2015

YouTube for Kids

YouTube Kids App released this morning.  This free app, available for iPhone or iPad, provides younger children full access to Youtube content appropriate for their age.  You will see Sesame Street, Bob the Builder, and Fireman Sam as examples.

Viewers have a few ways to find content within the app.  They can choose to search shows, music, learning, or the explore button.  Or they can click the magnifying glass and type their search.

While kids are watching a video, they have access to simple controls, or can navigate to other episodes within a particular channel.

When starting the app, by default background music and sound effects are auto enabled.  As a parent you can click into the settings and turn them off.  You can also set a time limit so the app auto turns off after a specific amount of time.

Youtube Kids App is a great resource if you want to allow free exploration of videos for any young child.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Seesaw - ePortfolios for Elementary Setting

There are many great ePortfolio options available, including Evernote or Google, however they can be a bit overwhelming for the students in primary grades.  Especially if you want to have them save exemplars.

Seesaw is a free iDevice app that is very simple to use allowing any student capable of using an iPad to take a photo to save an exemplar into their ePortfolio.

Instead of calling them ePortfolio's, Seesaw uses the term journals, both class journals containing works displayed by the entire class and individual journals containing works by any particular student.

The process is quite simple.  As a teacher you create your free account which will be tied to your classroom.  Set up all your students inside that class.

From there you can add either a photo, video, drawing, or something from the camera roll.

Once you upload an item, like a photo, you can add annotation, voice recording, or text.

Then you select which student is associated with the artifact.  You can select multiple students if it is a group project.

The app allows for student access as well.  The only rights students have will be to add artifacts. Students do not need an account, just scan a QR code and they are in.  While logged in as a student they will have the ability to view any artifact from within the class, not just their own.

Let the students do the work: take the picture, create a drawing, shoot a video, or select a project from the camera roll to insert into their own journal.  As a safe guard, before it is finalized into a students journal the teacher must approve the artifact from within their teacher account.

Seesaw allows for you to invite parents so they have ability to see only their child's artifacts.

If you have been looking for an ePortfolio type tool to use with K-3rd grade, this is a perfect fit.  Easy to use so students do the work, teacher has full control over anything posted, and parents have access to their child's work.  Also a great visual recap come conference time.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Kahoot or Quizizz - Game Based Classroom Response Systems

These two free, device neutral, online resources are sure to bring high engagement and active participation into any classroom.  The idea is simple, students answer questions in a competitive atmosphere, there will be a winner.

For both Kahoot and Quizizz, the facilitator creates a series of questions to be answered by the participants.  Each question can have a time limit before the participant must select a response.  The quicker the participant chooses a response, the more points they earn providing their choice was correct.

Using Kahoot, the questions are asked to the participants one at a time.  Participants view the projected screen, answer a question by selecting the corresponding color on their device, points are awarded, and a new question is provided.  When finished, persons with the most points will be displayed.

Using Quizizz, the facilitator starts the activity at which time participants are given questions in a random order.  The participants read the questions on their device and answer them at their own pace.  Once all participants complete the activity, persons with the most points will be displayed.

Quizizz would be a great tool to use for an entire class, or as a center since it is student driven.  Kahoot is teacher driven providing time for discussion between each question being asked.

I've tried using both resources with groups of at least 40, and each time they worked fine.

Both Kahoot and Quizizz allows teachers to create their own questions, which can include images. When finished with the activity, the teacher can save the data describing how students answered each question. Teachers can explore through the many public assessments created and shared by others.

In either case, these opportunities provide a nice review experience or possibly a motivating pre-assessment experience.  Definitely stated, the experience will be fun, highly energetic, and competitive.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Edcite - Create Online Assessment Opportunities for Your Students

With SBAC on the horizon the stress level is high on teachers who have concerns about giving the students testing scenarios that model the tech skills they will need to be successful with the new tests.  Edcite is a great solution for this.

There are multiple ways of using this resource.  The simplest is to reuse or modify an already created assignment from the site which are easily found using filters and search terms based on topics, CCSS, and/or grade level.  Once saving the assignment to your own personal library you can quickly send out an assignment through a URL to students to take and gather data on.  Students will not need an edcite account to utilize the site this way.   Students must finish the assignment in one sitting in this scenario.

The second scenario is to create a class and assign username and passwords to the students.  The benefit of this is having the ability to quickly assign and have the assignment appear in the students' accounts.  It also would allow for a student to start an assignment, leave for the day, and then relog into the assignment and finish at a later time.

Both ways will track data for the teacher that gives the assignment.  Assignments are automatically graded outside of the open ended, which the teacher will go in and self grade.  Teachers can create their own questions and own assignments aligned with the curriculum that they are working on.

Why do online assessments and assignments?  Edcite allows the students to have experiences with the different questioning styles that they will experience in the SBAC.  For example, open ended, drag and drop, make a line on a grid, etc... The more online reading and writing opportunities students are given the opportunity to do, the less "lack of tech experience" will impact their performance when they are assessed in the spring.  Free and usable from Kinder to 12th grade, this resource is well worth your time!  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Epic! - Thousands of Books for Kids

One awesome aspect of a tablet, such as an iPad, is the ability to have one device containing many books.  However, the challenge is finding the books.

Epic, an iDevice app which is free for teachers and librarians, contains thousands of titles which can be accessed by students using a variety of filters such as age level of reader and interest.  Formats include books that are read to students, books for early readers, and extensive chapter books.

As students read books, they can be awarded badges and obtain new themes to use with the app.

Once you set up your teacher account, you can create profiles for students on one iPad.  This is great if you have students sharing one iPad.  Epic keeps track of what students have read under each profile as well as providing a list of titles tailored to the students interest. Note: when setting up these profiles each account will be asked to confirm via a parent email address.

If you are in a one to one environment where each student has their own iPad, or iPod, then they would be fine using the guest profile.

Be sure to sign up as an educator when you first open the app.  You will need to complete an online form submitting your educational information such as school, grade, and email.

You may consider creating your account online at, then download the app and begin your reading adventures.  The online site allows you to browse through titles, but reading the books is done via the app.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Google Classroom Releases Their iPad App

Google Classroom released an iDevice app, available for both the iPad and iPhone. Requires IOS 7 or higher.

The app interface to Google Classroom is very similar to the online interface.  This should be an easy transition. One difference is when posting, find and use the plus down in the lower right hand corner.

What I like about the app is you can add photos from your camera roll to include on any post.

I also like the ability to switch classroom accounts by clicking an icon.  This will come in useful in scenarios where there are multiple students sharing an iPad in a classroom.