Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TechKNOWLEDGEy Tips: Three Ring (Plus some Holiday Fun)

This week's Tech Tool is one that I feel has lots of potential. We briefly looked at it during our Fine Arts training on campus, let's see who else can find great uses for this resource:

Click on the picture to be taken to the Smore description/tutorial.

Now for a few fun online activities for the holidays:

1. Greeting Cards

Sometimes you want to send a digital card with the look and feel of a real card. Punchbowl makes it easy. Click here to view my holiday wishes for you:

2. Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt:

Okay, so this one isn't really online....but it's fun. Check out this post that Layers of Learning put together and blogged about. (And....guess what....it's a Google Doc!)

3. Elf Yourself:

It can't be the holidays without Elf Yourself! This video expires on 1/1/2013, but I think our admin team does a great Charleston. What do you think?

4. Video from Santa:

This one cracks me up. You can personalize a message from Santa. It changes slightly every year, so the Portable North Pole site is one of the best I've seen.

5. Build a Snowman:

In Austin, we rarely get the opportunity to build a real snowperson, so a digital one will have to suffice. This Snowman Construction Kit is a fun way to participate in some winter wonderland fun. (Hint, hint! It works really well on an interactive whiteboard!)

6. Play the Dreidel Game:

Thanks to my kindergartner who has learned how to play this game at school, I have found an online version that even he can do. So for a little Hanukkah fun, click on over to play the Dreidel Game.

7. Watch Reindeer eat:

Okay....so that's probably not the most eye-catching sub-heading, but it is fun to see real reindeer (another thing that isn't really something most Ausinites can experience in real life). The Reindeer Cam is a live feed of "Santa's Official Reindeer Live Feed."

8. Track Santa:

This one is a tradition in our house. NORAD Tracks Santa every year, but the rest of the year does some pretty cool things as well. Look at some of the traditions and landmarks around the world as Santa makes his annual trek around the globe. 

That's probably more than enough to fill your spare time during your holiday break. Enjoy! See you in 2013!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Getting I.T. Right @ CeVMS!: 6th Grade Science

Ms. Midkiff elaborates on classroom procedures for integrating technology seamlessly into the classroom. By utilizing tools such as Google Forms and Wallwisher/Padlet, her students are able to spend more time focused on the content and less time unfocused as she loads the next presentation. Additionally, she doesn't have to spend time reformatting student submissions for presentation. Now that's a good example of "never working harder than your students." Thank you , Ms. Midkiff for talking about the how of instructional technology.

"Sixth grade science students researched nine energy resources. They turned in their energy research to my wallwisher (one for each class period) that was embedded on my teacher website. While each student presented, the others completed a Google Response to Presentation form where they wrote questions for the presenter. The Wall Wisher let me run the slides in sequence without copy/pasting them into one PowerPoint, and the response form helped them to focus critically on the presentations." --Kim Midkiff, 6th Grade Science Teacher

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A screenshot of Ms. Midkiff's response form.

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A screenshot of Ms. Midkiff's wall.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Getting I.T. Right @ Cedar Valley: Robotics

Cedar Valley RoboJags have been preparing for competition all semester long. There are two parts to the competition: 1) They create functioning robots that have to complete missions to earn points in the competition. 2) They have to present a research project to a panel of judges that offers a specific, research-based solution for an issue that they are given as part of the competition. 

In preparation for competition, the two Cedar Valley teams video conferenced with another middle school robotics team in the district--Deer Park. Both teams called a special practice on a Saturday morning so that they could present to one another and offer critiques and assistance for the research projects. Even though the teams weren't in the same room, the students were able to communicate and collaborate through a Google Video Chat. (Sorry...I didn't get any pictures of this event....because it was so fun!)

This is a great use of resources that are available to us! The teams expanded their classroom experience without physically leaving the walls of Cedar Valley.

Ms. Persad, the Robotics Team sponsor, reported that both teams won the Research Project award! Team I moves on to the next round of competition on Feb. 2.

Check out more information about the robotics competition on Ms. Persad's webpage and the First Lego League website.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TechKNOWLEDGEy Tip: Flubaroo

As we get closer and closer to final exams, we are always looking for ways to shorten the amount of time spent grading. Flubaroo is something that we've talked about here on campus in small groups. Some of you may not be aware of it. Click on the picture for a step-by-step how-to for using Flubaroo for self-graded Google Forms.

Recap: Mr. Groff Spends the Night on the Roof!

Any good initiative starts from the top and moves its way down through an organization. This is definitely the truth when it comes to Cedar Valley principal, Matt Groff, and the use of technology for educational experiences. In response to the challenge of raising $5000 to grant a wish through Make-A-Wish foundation, Mr. Groff promised to spend the night on the roof of Cedar Valley. The Make-A-Wish Foundation and the counselor team at Cedar Valley did a great PR job and made sure that the local media and higher-level district officials were aware of what was happening at Cedar Valley on the night of December 5, 2012. But Mr. Groff wanted a way to "get students on the roof with him...." When he asked if there were a way to stream live video feed from the roof, I knew we had to make it happen.

As part of his night on the roof, Mr. Groff wanted a way to communicate with directly with students (mostly--but parents, teachers, community members were all present too!) digitally. Using Google Hangouts on Air and YouTube, we were able to stream live video for extended periods of time and then archive those live broadcasts to our YouTube channel 

Mr. Groff and KXAN anchor Ignacio Garcia setting up for the first live news report and the night on the roof.

Observers were able to communicate with him by making comments on the YouTube links. Then, Mr. Groff would address the questions or comments in his video broadcast. The conversation ranged from "How many times did [Mr. Groff] have to go to the restroom?" to what Mr. Groff thought about "printing food off the internet" to whether or not Mr. Groff believed that Johnny Manziel would win the Heisman trophy as a freshman (--his prediction was incorrect, by-the-way!) to promos for the upcoming "Adopt-a-Trail Project" and what Mr. Groff's favorite movie and song are. 

Even Nataly, the WishKid whose wish was granted by Cedar Valley Students, chimed in on the discussion:

"Hi this this is nataly i just wanted to say thank you so much for what your doing and thank you to all the student at cedar valley middle school i am so grateful for what everyone did for me and making my wish come true! Again thank you to everyone from me and my whole family ,god bless everyone! Thank you to all the teachers, faculty, and students,! I cant stop thanking everyone hope everyone has a really great christmas and lots of gifts yall really do deserve it! Thank you!"

In the earlier videos, Mr. Groff petitioned listeners to bring him goodies to see how many people were actually following along. It turned out that many people heard his petitions and showed up during the 8 o'clock hour to pay him a visit, making that broadcast the shortest of the night. 

Making sure the broadcast was running properly.

My favorite comment of the night was "Look, a man on the roof....talking to a laptop!" Although that may have been what it looked like from the ground, many friends of Cedar Valley realize that the man on the roof talking to the laptop was actually connecting on a real level with students in the place where they are comfortable--online.

Some take-aways from this event:

  1. Wouldn't it be cool to broadcast your class one day? Teach multiple rooms at the same time to allow for individualized instruction simultaneously? Not lose an instructional day with a sub? Flip your instructional time outside of the classroom?
  2. Even principals need to be reminded to help students maintain a safe online identity. Remind students that it's never safe to post your real name, location or email addresses on public forums such as YouTube Comments. Even if an authority figure asks you to do so...tsk, tsk.
  3. Once a broadcast has been made, it's in cyberspace and can be manipulated. So, be careful what you post.

Check out some of the other press this event has received:

The KXAN news report:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Going Google (Without Going Crazy) - Volume 6

I love the last tip on this Going Google...I see a lot of potential. Click on the picture to see the tips and have fun going Google....without going crazy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TechKNOWLEDGEy Tips: Quizlet

I know that we talked about this resource a lot during the ELA Technology Training Session last week, but perhaps the rest of you can find a use for it as well. It's a great, FREE, resource that makes a game out of studying. You can share lists as well--and search for ones that are already made--so the work can be distributed.

This is a great way to get some of your technology components integrated into your lessons.

Click on the link to go to more description, ideas, and tips on using this resource.