Students are bombarded by media outside of the classroom, why not integrate it into the school setting? The Common Core Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening state that students should be able to “integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively and orally” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2). If students are expected to integrate and evaluate digital information then we as teachers need to provide that multimedia content for students to access. I know technology can be overwhelming but it all starts with taking baby steps. When I was a classroom teacher, I wanted to ensure my students were able to access information presented in a variety of ways. It was important for me to include a variety of multimedia forms that include print/text, video, images, audio etc. I taught my students how to read and synthesize information from different forms of media. My first baby step? I was using diverse media when presenting instructional material. Along with using multimedia to present information, it was necessary to hold students accountable for the content being presented. I would start with analyzing an article in either print and digital format with the students. Students used the close reading strategy for the articles and took notes whether if I was leading it, they worked in partners or did it individually. Next, I would present information on the same topic in a different media format. For example, my students would create thinking maps to take notes and synthesize information presented in YouTube videos. Students were taught and expected to support a claim and "go back to the minute" when analyzing a video in the same way that they'd "go back to the paragraph" when analyzing text in articles.
Example of a flow map using Google Draw
As time progressed I looked at curating various resources for my students to use independently. One tool, I discovered and loved was Symbaloo. It was a bookmarking tool that I would use with my students. Students would explore and take notes from various multimedia sources that I curated for them. Next, students would synthesize information from both the article and videos. Lastly, I would let them choose their technology tool of choice to showcase their learning from all the various sources.
Symbaloo Sample Here
Show What You Know Bingo Template
Student Sample Here
This is just one strategy I used to create a purpose for viewing multimedia in the classroom. This was my first baby step towards creating engaging and enriching experiences for my students. I learned that presenting instructional content in diverse formats not only increased engagement but also exposed my students to various perspectives, helped build connections and developed deeper understanding of essential concepts.
I love Twitter! #FlipGridFever
When I need a new tool or a different way to approach a problem, I run to Twitter. Teachers are so amazing, and they are full of great ideas. The first person I saw tweeting about FlipGrid was Ann Kozma, @annkozma723, and down the rabbit hole I went. BTW, if you are not following Ann, I highly recommend it, #RisingStar. So what is Flip Grid you ask? In short, it's a game changer, and a great way to introduce your students to video blogging. Give it a try, and you will be hooked!!
Here is a quick tutorial from yours truly, walking through some of the basic aspects of this tool:
So I'll just leave you with a few questions:
How would you use this tool?
In what ways could your classroom benefit from this tool?
Are you now feeling the symptoms of FlipGrid Fever?
At the end of every semester, I would have my students study the same redundant way from year to year. I took the packet of questions that correlates to my benchmark, created a similar packet, and handed it to my students. We slowly went through all the questions until we got close to the end of the semester. We finish up just in time for their final semester exam. Last year I took a different approach. I did not reinvent the wheel. I just took what I was already doing and added some tech.
Use Google Slides for Review
Having students collaborate on Google Slides is a great way to engage students in studying for benchmark exams.
Google Slides and other Google drive apps allow for real time collaboration. My thought process here was to let us work as a large team to create a study guide instead of everyone studying individually. I took my trusty ol' packet of questions and created a slide for every single question. Once the questions were in their respective spots I shared the Slides presentation with my students and had them jump to their respective slide. Each team was responsible for creating one slide that taught the process for solving that given question. What was even better about this was that at the end of the activity we had a full fledged study guide which I posted on Edmodo. My students could now review as much as they liked.
Hangout with another Teacher
Why not try using a Google Hangout with another teacher in your subject content area. Have some questions prepared and advance. Try playing Jeopardy style and see which class can answer the most questions correctly.
I have written about this topic with my friend and colleague, John Stevens, here. This was a fun little project that we undertook that went really well. We created a college basketball type bracket with our students, take a look at the results here.
Essentially we used our iPads and several Google Hangouts to have students compete against each other. John's class was 8th grade Algebra, and my class was 9th grade Algebra. I felt my students were really motivated and eager to get to the competition. I was still using the questions from the Benchmark study guide but my students had a very motivating reason to finish: "not losing to an 8th grader". The more prepared they were, the better their chances were in the competition. Below you will find the end result of our little experiment.
With a long break just on the horizon, we will surely come back to our classes invigorated and ready to teach. But perhaps we would like to try something new or finish strong before the semester is over. Regardless, you can always try to infuse some tech into your lessons. This does not always come free. We definitely like to advocate for sites to have tech committees, and creating a committee to purchase tech for your school site is a wonderful idea. Save money you might otherwise spend on paper, and try something new. Who needs paper anyway? We are going paperless! Here is one tech purchase worth the money. Check this out!
A wise man (Mike Cloutier) once told us about this amazing app: Nearpod. With this app you can engage your students 24/7 through rich, interactive, mutlimedia presentations you create. There is a free version, which allows for up to 30 students to use the app, but who has 30 students nowadays? Why not go the extra mile for the sake of the students and increase your capacity (with site funds of course)?
And... Our gift to You - How to download YouTube videos
Screencasting 101 for Chromebooks
We had a very enthusiastic individual suggest the need for some screen-casting tools that might help the general population. Platform will be a concern here. Not all tools that work for the Politically Correct (PC) and Fruit Brand (Apple) will work on a Chromebook and thus, here we have it: some tools that you may want to test out on that new Chromebook (also works on a chrome browser).
A little note about Chrome apps. IT does not have to come out and install them. Log into your Google account on a Chrome browser, search the webstore and: Viola! If this does not make sense the next part of this post will outline the process.
Movenote is great for creating a voice-over for a presentation. This app is installed directly on your Chrome browser and allows for a tight integration with Google Drive. You have an option to upload presentations directly from your computer or Google Drive.
Students with Chromebooks can leverage this tool to create their own flipped lessons. Explaining is an area of emphasis with common core and this tool is great for accomplishing that goal.
Click on the image to the left and you will be redirected to the download page. Click install and you are ready to start creating great content.
Google Hangout is general used to hang out with your friends or working collaboratively with your coworkers. It also has application for the flipped class. All you do is set up a Google Hangout, but don't invite any participants. From there, simply hit record. Google Hangout allows you to share your screen and present what is on your desktop. The recording will include your screen cast as well as an image of yourself in the bottom of the screen and your voice as you present. It is a great device agnostic solution to screen casting!
Create, Collaborate, Produce, Publish
Increasingly videos are the communication medium of choice. Newspapers have video clips to tell their stories, colleges require personal video essays from applicants, and teachers are creating videos to support instruction. Knowing how to create compelling stories and tell them via video are are essential skills for our students.
When students create videos, they become engaged with the task at hand and tend to think deeply about what they are communicating - whether they are creating a book report, a public service announcement, or informing others about an issue important to them.
In this month's blog, we are highlighting three easy-to-use movie-editing tools that you and your students can master.
WeVideo is a great choice if you need a program on which you can edit on any device because it lives online in the Cloud.
WeVideo is free...up to a point. When you sign in for your account you will get 5120 MB for FREE and the ability to share your videos online. If you want to be able to download your videos, or you want more space, you can upgrade for a small charge.
Animoto is another good online movie making tool. You can easily create a beautiful, engaging video to share online. Again, the lite version is free and limited, but for $5 a month you can upgrade. We usually don't advocate for an application that takes money out of your pocket, but this one is worth a look
If you want a robust, easy-to-use video editor, you can't beat iMovie. The limitation here is that you have to use a MAC device to use it. So, if you have an iPad or a Mac laptop, you are all set. If you don't, you can stop reading here.
iMovie comes loaded for FREE on all Mac devices today. (Note: The key word here is "today." If you have an iPad 2 or 3, this will not apply to you and the program has a small charge.)
New DIGICOM Website Launches!
DIGICOM is dedicated to helping teachers and students in PSUSD develop their video production skills. We hope you will take the DIGICOM Challenge and create a movie to submit to the DIGICOM Film Festival this year! This year's theme is LIVE AND LEARN!
Visit the new DIGICOM website at www.digicomfilmfestival.com.
The submission deadline for the DIGICOM Film Festival is Monday, March 31, 2014.
The DIGICOM Film Festival will be Tuesday, May 6, 6:30 - 8:30 at Palm Springs High School Auditorium. The Film Festival is FREE and open to the public.
Sometimes we just wanna have fun.
It is Halloween and we have some fun apps to take a look at. These might not be your daily used apps but they definitely have a purpose in the classroom. Take a day or two to try these in your classroom and have some fun.
This app allows students to create a 30 second video out of any image or self portrait. The students can choose the location of the eyes and mouth where they want them animated. After the image is set, students can voice over the images, and they look as if they are speaking.
Use this app to have students explain their thinking or impersonate an expert. Best of all this app is just a fun way to get the students motivated. Enjoy!
This Web 2.0 tool allows you to animate any photo so it appears to speak. Just specify where the lips or the jaw is located and add your recording. Then record your speech and create.
Teachers can use this tool to assign homework or make comments on their webpage. Students can use it publish their writing, make speeches from first person perspective, or practice reading aloud. It is a useful tool for everyone!
Common Core Connection
Have students verbalize their thought process with one of these apps. Explain the process and have Sir Isaac Newton explain his contributions to science and math. Or perhaps Abraham Lincoln tells his story and his position on slavery. What a great way to meat CCSS.ELA W 6 (Use technology to publish writing)!