10.08.2017

#sau25discovers - Learning From Each Other

Last Friday, the Bedford School District hosted its second annual Future Ready Conference where over 100 sessions were offered by its own staff as well as a few outside presenters. This day reminded me yet again at how fortunate we are that our district is willing to provide an opportunity for all staff members in the district to get together in one place to learn and share ideas with each other. We modeled our day off of Medfield's Digital Learning Day - thanks again Neal for the inspiration!

Most importantly, I am also proud and thankful that we have a staff who are willing to take the time, out of their already busy lives, to share their own experiences and knowledge on particular concepts/tools/ideas. Let's face it, our day would not be as successful if we didn't have staff who were willing to go above and beyond to put together engaging sessions to inspire others. What I think is also cool is that we had a couple of sessions where students were presenting to our staff, thanks to the National Honor Society and DECA students. Hands down, this staff development day is by far my favorite as we all get together to not only learn from one other but to also support one another. Below, I have curated some tweets to highlight #sau25discovers.

On another note, if you are inspired to try something new in your classroom and you would like assistance or want to talk things through, you know where to find me. And that is my spiel...

Link to Storify HERE

(Also a big thanks to Kerri Lunn for putting together this animoto slideshow capturing the day.)

9.21.2017

'Mrs. Frizzle & a Greece Tour Guide' Visited our School

Over the past couple of weeks, we have had students experience learning with the help of Google Expeditions. Both students and teachers alike enjoyed the opportunity to learn curriculum through a different medium than they have in the past. (We are very fortunate that our school is able to share a mobile cart of phones with our middle school to be able to explore different virtual reality applications in the classroom).

Field Trip to Greece
Mrs. Cooney and Mrs. Hatzidakis (and later Mr. Woodhead and Mrs. Devito) were thrilled to know that Google Expeditions had a Greece tour for their Freshmen humanities students to experience. Based on some reading and class activities that they had already experienced in previous classes, Mrs. Cooney was able to reinforce concepts about the Acropolis and other important Greece facts with two different tours. Google Expeditions provided an opportunity to see the Acropolis from a bird eye view.

Mrs. Cooney and Mrs. Hatzidakis also took it to the next level by having students run their own virtual tour by walking through the Acropolis using Sites in VR app. Students were able to experience the actual location through a series of 7 different 360 images. It was great for students to be able to 'walk through' at their own pace to make their own observations.






Mrs. Frizzle in 2017
When Mrs. Morrissey found out that Google Expeditions had a tour of the digestive system, she knew right away that she needed to implement it in her IB Biology II SL course this year. She had told the students that as a kid, she always enjoyed watching the Magic School Bus shows, especially the episode of when the school bus brought the students through the digestive system of a body. To think that now Mrs. Morrissey is the 'new' Mrs. Frizzle!

I thought it was clever with how Mrs. Morrissey used the app. In other situations, teachers have had students participate in an expedition and then completed other tasks. Mrs. Morrissey instead started the expedition of going into the mouth and esophagus. Then the students took off the headsets and together the class took some notes. Then, the students put on the headsets again for Mrs. Frizzle, I mean Mrs. Morrissey, to walk them through the stomach, etc. So rather than taking notes first and exploring second, the students explored around the particular part of the digestive system, then they took notes. This idea was a great way of breaking up notes.





Some people might say, well Craig, do you need virtual reality in order to help students understand the geography of a place? Can't you show an image through the projector and accomplish the same thing? My answer to that question is you do not need virtual reality to teach. However, it can be a great opportunity to integrate with curriculum if done thoughtfully. If you are curious how Google Expeditions, or other virtual reality apps, can be used in your classroom, you know where to find me.

And that is my spiel...

9.12.2017

Using Document Cameras Beyond Projecting a Worksheet

Document cameras have been around for a while now - it certainly is not new technology. However, this past week has reminded me, yet again, how document cameras can serve different purposes. Yes, I know the typical situation where a teacher places a piece of paper on the desk and uses a document camera to project the paper on the wall. This way students can follow along with filling out the piece of paper. But how can you take this simple device and take it to the next level. (Again, keep in mind that these examples are not new, earth shattering ideas).





Class Demonstrations

Mrs. Lederhos, our ceramics teacher, used the IPEVO document camera for the first time last week. She was explaining how it was hard for her whole class to look over her shoulders when she wanted to demonstrate a technique with pinch pots. She asked if she could try out a document camera to see if it would help improve the way she showcased techniques. We set her up with the document camera and things could not work any better. To the left, is a picture of her set up. Now, Mrs. Lederhos is able to demonstrate techniques in wide screen on the front of the room. I also like how she has placed the document camera on a rotating stand. This can help her with making sure that the document camera is in the right place as well as give the document camera more height. I was also impressed with how clear the picture quality was coming through during demonstration, even though there was constant movement.

Mrs. Hogan, our Photography teacher, has also found the document camera to be very helpful when needing to show her Photography students how to check settings on their digital camera prior to taking pictures. Again, she solved a situation of needing everyone in the class to see the steps rather than having to show each individual student.




Screencasting
Over the past couple of years, I have helped teachers create short screencasts. Teachers have created these screencasts for different purposes. However, I have had in the back of my mind that screencasts must be done with content created on a computer screen. This is not the case!

A friend of mine, Ms. Drake, who happens to be a math teacher, shared with me a visual with what she accomplished. The picture spoke to me as it made me realize that a teacher does not need to have everything electronic in order to screencast. She had her document camera connected to her laptop. She used Screencastify, a chrome extension that we use all the time in my school, to gather what is being shown on her screen. In this case, it is the document camera projection on her screen that she is recording. Rather than using Smart Notebook, or Google Slides to walk through examples, she was using her notepad to write out her mathematics. Again, you might be saying well Craig, that is not any different than a teacher filling out a piece of paper live in front of a class. You are right! But I didn't make the connection that a teacher could in fact record a screencast with paper and pencil. 


If you would like to talk more about how document cameras can be used in your classroom, you know where to find me.

And that is my spiel...

9.03.2017

Challenge Yourself this School Year


The beginning of another school year is among us. As I write this blog post I am realizing that I myself have been in the education field now for fifteen years. It is amazing how fast time flies when you are having fun.

One of my favorite quotes, that I have referenced throughout those fifteen years, is from John Dewey, "If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow."

To me, this is a great reminder that it is always important for educators to constantly reflect on their work and make improvements/enhancements when necessary. So, I ask you "How will you challenge yourself this school year to grow professionally and/or improve or enhance a lesson?"

Will you...
  • use Google Classroom for the first time to help with organizing and streamlining information relating to your class?
  • allow students to view content in a virtual format through virtual reality headsets?
  • ask a guest speaker to Hangout out with your class virtually, or better yet use the record feature in YouTube Live so that multiple classes can benefit from the conversation?
  • implement a hyperdoc in a unit lesson to allow students to explore and share their ideas to a broader audience other than you as the teacher?
  • join Twitter for the first time as a means to grow professionally by following other educators with similar interests/ideas?
  • inspire others in your professional learning community (PLC) to try something new?

Let's Inspire Each Other
I have created a Flipgrid topic so that we can all inspire each other. Click HERE to share how you plan on challenging yourself this year. My hope is that we can all learn from each other in what our own goals/aspirations are for this coming school year.



Only you will know what makes the most sense, but all that I ask is that you push yourself in some way. No task is small task. If you would like to chat about how you can accomplish your challenge that you have given yourself, you know where to find me.

And that is my spiel...



8.02.2017

New Google Sites - "Page Level Permissions" with a Twist

Over the summer, I have been converting our tech website for the high school manually into the New Google Sites. In a way, it has been great because I have been able to truly look through what is on our tech website and weed through the items and information that is no longer valid. (That's one draw back from how quickly technology changes) That spring cleaning feel in the summer time!

In thinking about how I wanted to design the site, I was trying to find a way in which staff at the high school would only have access to certain pages, and not students. I had used the page level permission feature in the old Google Sites before. This was helpful - as long as the staff member was logged in with their Google account, they would see about 6 different tabs on the website where as students and the rest of the public would only see abut 3 tabs. Currently, the New Google Sites does not have page level permissions - maybe a feature that will show up in the future? Who knows...

I have heard some people share the tip of reenacting page level permissions through documents and files that are embedded on a page. In other words, if I wanted only staff to see content on a page, I could embed a Google Document on the page. Then with the blue share button in the Google Document, I would only share it with the staff group list. Thus, even though the public could see the page on the site, they would not see the content in the Google Document (unless the viewer was part of the staff group list). I knew I did not want to use this approach.

Instead, I wanted to make sure that only staff could find particular page with information that was just for them. Below, you will find a screenshot of a page that is not public. I have decided to hide it from the site's navigation. This page is a landing page for teachers where they could then select a subpage based on what they were looking to do. Thus, the landing page and its subpages are hidden from the public.


Hiding a Page in New Google Sites


In order to hide a page from the site navigation:

1. First Create the page(s) you plan to hide from the navigation

2. Hover over the page name and click on the three dots that appear on the right side.

3. From the drop down menu, select 'hide from navigation'. You will notice as a result, there is a link with a line through it for the Teacher Items page. This means that it is now hidden. Whereas Chromebook and Resources pages do not have this icon.











Giving Staff Access to Page - "Page Level Permissions" with a Twist

Again, I needed a way to get a page to staff without the ability to use Page Level Permissions. So, I...



1. I published the site.

2. I viewed the published site. (You will notice on the top right corner that Teacher Items page is not in the navigation of the website.

3. I will then use the google URL shortener to shorten the link. I will shorten the link to the Teacher Items page (not the home page). This is the link that I will ask staff to bookmark on their devices at the beginning of the school year. As long as staff access the tech website with this link, they will have access to everything that has been posted on the new tech website. If they access the website from the public link, which will be linked on the high school website, they will only have access to the public pages that are included in the navigation of the website.


To get a better understanding of what I am talking about:

Click HERE to view a sample site. You will notice in the navigation of the site,  Teacher Items Page is not listed.

Click HERE to view Teacher Items Page. This would be the link that I would ask teachers to bookmark.

Use of this Feature
Sure, not all of you might be in the same boat as I am with needing to hide pages to differentiate content between staff and students. But one way this feature might be useful is for those that are into integrating Breakout EDU into their curriculum. If you create a breakout using the New Google Sites, you could hide certain pages so that it is not easily accessible for students to get to - but yet you are still using one site to host all of the information/content.

Want to talk more about this feature, you know where to find me. And that is my Spiel...


6.09.2017

We All Have a Reason to Celebrate!

Sure, it is the end of the school year. Sure, we all are exhausted from all of the tasks that we have been asked to do along the year. Sure, we are tired from the work that has been completed outside of the school day hours. But it is important to take the time to reflect on the awesome work that has been accomplished in 16-17 school year.

Over the course of the year, I have enjoyed hearing about the success stories that teachers have had after a lesson. Not staying in the same place and doing the same lesson can be very beneficial. Pushing one's self is an important trait for all teachers and learners to have. It is like the Blockbuster vs. Netflix situation. Blockbuster did not move with the times and push themselves to think differently with their business model. Netflix however decided that it was important to change their business model as human interest and demands changed over the years. Netflix is still around because they decided to push themselves.

I know that I speak on behalf of the tech department at BHS when I say that we are very proud of what has been accomplished tech wise. Bulldogs have done some GREAT work! Here is just a sampling of some of the great things that have been implemented this past school year...

Google Classroom

  • More teachers this year implemented Google Classroom into their courses to help students and teachers keep organized

PearDeck

  • Wellness 1 teachers used PearDeck for the first time to get student viewpoints with the topics at hand
  • French teachers used PearDeck as a vocabulary enforcer where they had to 'dress the snowman' based on the clothing vocabulary that they were learning
Adobe Spark
  • Students in The American Dream classes used Adobe Spark Video to produce a PSA
  • Students in Marine Biology used Adobe Spark Page to curate information based on their findings from a field trip to the Boston Museum of Science (they documented their experience by taking pictures to use in their Adobe Spark Page). The teacher also created an Adobe Spark Page to curate all student work from the class to share with everyone else.
  • Students in Power of Nature classes used Adobe Spark Page to showcase information about particular volcanoes.
  • Adobe Spark Post was used to share information to the bulldog community through its social media accounts
Presenting at Conferences
  • For the first time, the Bedford School District hosted its own Tech conference on a district workshop day where all employees in the district got together to talk about best practices with tech integration. There were many, many staff members at the high school who stepped up and presented at the conference. It was a cool experience for everyone to learn from each other!
  • Many high school staff presented at Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference for the first time. Topics included: The Changing Landscape in a 1:1 Classroom, Librarian & Tech Collaboration, and #GoogleAddict.
  • Several staff members have already agreed upon sharing their knowledge at our 2nd annual district conference next school year in October
Becoming Social Media Savvy
  • Counseling department helped produce a topic a month relating to social media for students and staff. These topics were discussed in advisories. 

Breakout EDU
  • At the beginning of the school year, staff participated in a Breakout EDU. Since then, many teachers used the Breakout boxes in their classes.
  • Some teachers challenged themselves to participate in a digital Breakout during a Workshop training.
Hyperdocs
  • Staff members throughout all disciplines created hyperdocs to help students discover, explore, apply, and share their learning
Google Keep
  • Several teachers have stayed organized over the year with using Google Keep
  • A couple teachers have explored around with DocStickers
GeoGebra
  • Geometry teachers used GeoGebra this year to help students visualize their learning - seeing as though all students have Chromebooks and the tool that they had before did not allow students to use with their Chromebook
Team Drive

  • Several teams and committees, such as the Leadership Team and the Self Management Committee, realized that they could be more efficient if they utilize the Team Drive feature in Google Drive
Google Expeditions
  • Counselors gave college virtual tours to Juniors in advisories
  • Google Expeditions were also given in math and science classes
  • Google recognized Toni Taylor's use of Google Expedition in a weekly Tuesday tweet
360 Filming
  • Film students explored around with creating 360 films for the first time
  • Teachers traveling with students to Machu Picchu during intersession used a 360 camera to document the experience - this will then be used in Spanish curriculum in the future

Screencasting
  • Several teachers in different disciplines implemented screencastify chrome extension. This was used either to film a project, record oneself with a piece of writing, or record a presentation. This has particularly been helpful in American Sign Language, and Humanities courses.
Osmo
  • Our life skills students were exposed to Osmo for the first time this year. They have had fun with making pizzas and giving change, using tangrams, exploring around with coding, spelling, and performing math operations.
1:1 Visits

  • Teachers willingly opened up their classrooms to visitors from other schools who were interested in learning how Chromebooks were used in BHS classes
LOTS TO BE PROUD OF! Obviously, I do not have every single new thing that happened this year. This is just a sampling of what I could remember. (If you think of something that I should add, let me know). Good things have been accomplished. Looking forward to the new possibilities next school year. #proudbulldog

And that is my Spiel...

5.31.2017

It's All About Design


Throughout this school year, I have been thinking about how content is shared with students. Before any 1:1 program, we as teachers would put something together in a Google Doc (or lets be honest and say Microsoft Word) and print the document out for each student. You might have tried to keep text to a page. Very little graphics, if any, were included.

Fast forward to today where students have a device. We can think about creating and designing content on a document that has more of a design element to it.

At the beginning of the school year, I was fortunate to participate in a YouTube Live conversation with Lisa Highfill and Kelly Hilton, co-creators of the term Hyperdocs. You can watch the recorded conversation HERE. I also previously wrote a blog post about Hyperdocs which can be found HERE. Basically, their main objective with hyperdocs is to help guide students through an informal, reflective journey. This can be accomplished through the following steps:  Engage, Explore, Explain, Apply, Share, Reflect, and Extend. More information can be found on the hyperdocs website.

There are times however where you don't want to create a hyperdoc for students but still need to share information. This is where an element of design, in terms of layout, color, and style come into play.

Two different examples come to mind when I think of the design element. One has to deal with sharing information to staff about two senior project celebration days (days where we do not hold classes, but instead learn from our students and their senior projects) and the other about sharing information to students over the course of a unit in a Global Humanities course.

It is important to note that there is not one 'right way' of putting information together. The whole point of this blog post is to help people think about how they are sharing information to others.

  • Should everything be in Times New Roman font, size 12, black font?
  • Should there be some color?
  • Should tables be involved?
  • Should a different file type be used besides Google Docs?
If students have a device in front of them, should things be more visual? Is the expectation for people to print said file - if that is the case maybe there shouldn't be much color. One could argue for or against each of the questions above. It is up to you as an educator to make your best judgement.

Senior Project Celebration Days

What: Teachers must be informed with how two days at the end of the school year are run to accommodate student presentations.
Problem to Solve: Before curating information, several (10-20) emails were sent out on the school wide group email causing staff to not know when or what was sent. As a result, a member of the committee, Ms. Doyle, came up with an idea last year to put all of the important information together in a Google Sheet.


This year, the decision was made to organize the information differently to help staff out. Again, keeping in mind that the committee didn't want to send several emails out, they decided to put all of the information together in a Google Drawing.

Both the Google Sheet and the Google Drawing share the same information - it is just presented differently.  Each file had links that opened up different files. Ask yourself, which would you rather look at? Your answer might be different from a friend of yours. I hope however, you think to yourself, how can/should I share information out with students beyond just typing text.

Unit Study in Global Studies

What: Students must 'Go the Distance' to learn and extend themselves in a Global Studies Unit.
Problem to Solve: The teachers, Mrs. Cooney and Mrs. Hatzidakis, wanted a way to curate and share the steps and procedure they wanted their students to take along their journey. Below are three different versions of the same information. Which one would you rather be on the receiving end if you were the student in their class?

Version 1 (White background with black text)
Version 2 (Purple background, with tables, different font)
Version 3 (Circular workflow process table, with different font and colors)

I know...I don't have the all the answers or the 'right way' of putting content together. Hope that this has gotten you to think about design however. If you have any questions or you would like to talk about this topic with me, you know where to find me.

It all comes down to design! And that is my Spiel...

5.22.2017

Sometimes We Have to Unlearn to Learn....

This past week, I was reminded, from time to time, we have to unlearn what we have always done in order to learn and improve. Sometimes this can be difficult to do. You have always done something a certain way...why would you want to ruin what is 'good'? However, sometimes change can be for the better. Sure it might take you awhile to get used to doing something new, but in the end you will see the benefits and progress.

Unlearn to Learn

Here is my recent journey of having to unlearn to learn over the past week.

I help manage our school's social media accounts. Whenever something needs to be posted on Instagram, I think to myself:

"What picture do we already have that I can use that relates to what needs to be shared?
"What picture could I take around the building?"
"Who can I ask that would have an image of...?"

There have been times in the past where I have thought,

"Well, I don't know what I would use as a picture so I don't know if I am going to post it on Instagram. Instead, I will just post it on the school's Twitter and Facebook accounts."

You probably already know what the problem might be with the last statement. Most of our students live in the Snapchat and/or Instagram worlds. They might not see what is shared on Twitter or Facebook.

Posting to Instagram 
"Traditional Method"
Let's say that I have already have the picture that I want to use for Instagram. In many instances it is a picture that was sent to me by mail. I would either need to send the picture to myself and open up the picture on my phone to post on Instagram, or I would share it to my drive. Sure that is a lot of steps, but hey, it is what I have done in the past.


"New Method"

I realized I should be using my phone to help me be creative in sharing information with the community. For instance, our school is celebrating turning 10 years old. I needed to find a way to share 'text' information in a visual format. Sure I could type all of the information under the image, but I didn't really have a 'good' image that related to the content.



It dawned on me that I really should push myself to try out Adobe Spark Post Mobile app. I have used the web version of the application but hadn't really tried the mobile version. To my surprise, I discovered that there were some great features in the mobile version that I had not seen on the web version.









Once I opened Spark Post, I discovered that you can 'remix' a spark post that some else has already created. I remember a colleague of mine, Mary Marotta, shared this information with me but I did not know what she was talking about until I actually used the app myself. I like the fact that I did not have to start from square one. Remember, I needed to share information through Instagram but I really did not want to spend more than 10 minutes to complete the task. I immediately scrolled through the 'school' category to see if there was something useful.











The Spark Post that I decided to use was an 'Open Mic' theme post. I decided to keep the background color and theme. The only thing that I changed was the text and content in the original Spark Post. 













Below is what I ended up creating and posting to the school's Instagram account.


Since then, I have also created other posts using the mobile version of Adobe Spark Post.



How and what I am using to post content to Instagram is not necessarily THE way to post to the social media platform. For me, realizing that I might want to change the way that I had ALWAYS posted to the platform might not always be the way that I want/should post. It is important from time to time to unlearn what you have always done to learn how to do the same task differently.

As always, if you ever want to chat about this idea, you know where to find me. And that is my spiel...

5.09.2017

Keyboard Shortcut for Providing Comments in Google Doc

Last week, I attended a math workshop put on by Alice Keeler. One of her talking points is all about being efficient and using keyboard shortcuts to save time. We as educators only have a certain amount of time in the day to get work done. Let's take back some of that time with using keyboard shortcuts. One way that this can be done is when we provide valuable feedback to our students through a Google Document with the commenting feature.

Keyboard Shortcuts:
Most people know the shortcuts when it comes to copying and pasting text. Many also know the shortcuts for opening a new tab. You might be asking yourself, "Self...how do I find out what keyboard shortcuts are available while using Google Documents?" Have no fear! Google has provided a keyboard shortcut page, which can be found under the Help Menu.


*NOTE: The keyboard shortcuts that you see in the gif file above are for mac users as I recorded this on my mac computer.

Assessing/Providing Feedback on Google Doc
Assessing/providing feedback on a Google Document can take sometime, especially when you first start to venture in this direction. I have heard many say that it takes longer to grade online compared to the 'traditional way' with pen and paper. However, there are a couple of keyboard shortcuts that can help save you time.

STEPS:

  • Place cursor where you want to add a comment
  • Use the following shortcut keys depending on the device that you have so that the commenting window will open on the right side of the Google Document:

Mac user: Command, Option, M
Chromebook User: Control, Alt, M

  • Provide your feedback
  • When completed with the comment, use the shortcut keys Control, M so that the commenting window will close




Close Current Tab

When you have finished providing feedback on the Google Document, don't hit the x on the tab in Chrome. Instead, use the following keyboard shortcut:

Mac user: Command, W
Chromebook User: Control, W

This will automatically close the current tab you are on.


I know that this seems basic, but you might be surprised at how efficient you become with providing feedback the more and more you get used to the keyboard shortcuts. Don't believe me...ask Jess Doyle as I know she has been using keyboard shortcuts for a couple of years now.

And that is my spiel...

4.13.2017

Creating Images with Google Auto Draw

In a recent post, I had mentioned that I was participating in #sketch50 challenge, where at the end of the challenge, I will have had created 50 sketches. Not everyone might have the time to actually create a sketch which is where one of Google's AI Experiments, Auto Draw, can come into play. If you find that you cannot create a 'well designed image' you can have auto draw actually predict what you are drawing and select from the images that it has already curated from artists.


For instance, I drew the following image from my laptop. On the top of the screen, it predicted that it might be a skateboard, or a bus, or a car or a... Then I am able to tell it what I was wanting it to be - In this case, I wanted it to be a car. I could then change color of the image, and if I wanted, I could also add other content with it. 






This can be a great way by which a student can get free to use images to support the work that they produce. I find this to be a very clever tool as it can be used in many different applications:
  • making a quick poster
  • getting images to support a Google Slide presentation (or for other web tools)
  • making a sketch note
The possibilities are endless. If you have any questions as to how you can use this tool with your students, stop by and we can chat.


Oh and by the way, if you have not tried out Google Quick Draw! yet, you have to try it out. It is a fun game to play where you have 20 seconds for the computer to figure out what image you are drawing. We played this with our advisees one day with the help of a projector and the IPevo Interactive Whiteboard.

And that is my spiel...



3.31.2017

#Sketch50 - True Inspiration

Let me start off by saying that I do not have the artistic ability like other people. However, I have always been intrigued with sketchnoting. Most people can agree with me in that Sylvia Duckworth does an amazing job with sketchnoting. If you do a simple Google search of 'Sylvia Duckworth sketchnote' several of her masterpieces come up.

Just this past December, I decided to attend Kathy Schrock's presentation at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference in New Hampshire on sketchnoting. Like I said, I have always been intrigued with sketchnoting. What I liked about Kathy's session was that she helped us walk through different tasks with sketchnoting...making people, shapes, borders etc. (Kathy has curated lots of resources on sketchnoting HERE) The session started to get my brain thinking that maybe I can sketchnote.

Fast forward to mid-March. I come across a tweet on Twitter that there was going to be a 50 day sketchnote challenge. Call me crazy, but I immediately thought that this was a cool idea.


My Challenge Journey
Sure enough, I decided to commit myself to the challenge and followed the Twitter Handle @Sketch_50. The first day was lightbulb. Sure I can draw that...

Day two was microphone or megaphone followed by speech bubbles for day three. It was not until Day four where I realized that there was something big happening.
1. Lots and lots of people have decided to join in on the fun from all over
2. People are inspiring others to participate in #sketch50
3. People are learning great techniques from others through the use of sketchnotes (for instance, on my first sketchnote, I did not include my twitter handle)
4. People are building their visual vocabulary through this challenge
5. People over the course of 50 days will have their own sketches that they can repurpose for future use


I also realized that we as people sure have different perspectives of one simple topic. Genevieve Pacada decided to curate all of the sketch notes from Day 3 - Speech Bubbles. I looked at some of these and was just in awe. It is cool to see other perspectives from people all over the world.

A colleague of mine, Jess Gilcreast, tweeted out to others that she decided to curate all of her sketches in a Google Docs table. This way she has a one stop shop of accessing all of her sketchnotes. Very clever idea as I would not have thought of doing something like that. I am going to do something similar with the use of storify. I have seen a couple of people mention or use this tool recently - thanks Tina Zita and Mary Marotta. My only hope is that over the course of these 50 days, I will see some improvement on my sketchnotes.


To see my personal journey that I have taken, click HERE.

Will You Join Me?
I highly encourage you to also get inspired by either participate in the challenge (you don't have to start from square one, or just follow the hashtag #sketch50 on twitter). Sketchnoting can be done in many ways:
  • Paper and pencil/pens
  • Google Drawing
  • Notes (Apple app on your iPhone)
  • Paper 53 (iPad app) - my personal preference
You would be surprised with what you see. True inspiration. Hope you will join me on this adventure.

And that is my spiel...



3.27.2017

Bingo with Your Chromebook

Looking to change up the way chromebooks are used in your classroom? How about having students play bingo electronically...

Google Drawing
Donna Dennis, a co-worker, came up with idea of creating a bingo board template in Google Drawing. Students would either make a copy of the bingo template or receive a copy in Google Classroom. Then students determine what words they want to use to put in their board by dragging the text boxes into the bingo game board. Once the have a match, they are able to bring over a chip to place over the square in the bingo board. This is a very clever way of having students still be able to determine what board they have without using paper. (Down fall you might say would be that students could move their chosen words around the board, as their words are not locked into place, while the game is being played). To see an example of the template that I am talking about, click HERE. - In the image below you cannot see the word bank or the chips that are provided.



If you are interested in the Google Drawing template, feel free to make a copy of it and adapt to your own content. Each word in the word bank is an individual text box. Click on the text box and edit the text. Within five minutes, you can have your own version!

Flippity


Those of you who know me know that I am a big fan of Flippity. The creator has very seamlessly created back end scripts for the average user of Google Sheets to help make their life that much easier.  Just last week, I noticed that Flippity has a bingo option! How cool is that? The steps are very easy:


  • Make a copy of the Bingo Template
  • Add your own words
  • Publish the spreadsheet
  • Provide the link for students to get their own version of the bingo card
For full details from Flippity, click HERE.


To try out a demo of G-Suite terms Bingo board that I put together, click HERE. When you get to the page, select the play tab (decide if you want a free space), then click on the link right above the QR code. You will be given a random arrangement from the words that I put into the spreadsheet. 

NOTE: each time you go to the link, it will give you a different arrangement. What is nice about this is if you put it through classroom, or have student type a shortener goo.gl url, they will automatically have a different game board. In other words, I clicked on the blue arrow next the link above the QR code. This opened another tab on my computer. I took the link from that new tab and used the goo.gl shortener chrome extension to get a shortened link. This link is what I told students to type in order to get their own board.

I also made sure that I put in more than the minimum number of words to help make sure that students did not have words on their game board.

When a student has a particular box, they just click on the words and a chip appears. If they make a mistake, they can just click on the chip and it will disappear. Very easy to use.

As always, if you have any questions on how to use this tool or you want to chat about how you can implement it in your curriculum, you know where to find me.

And that is my spiel...

3.24.2017

#GoogleExpeditions in the Geometry Classroom

*This post is near and dear to me seeing as though I used to teach math for eight years.

Virtual Reality is certainly a buzz word these days. Lately at our school, we have been exploring ways by which we can incorporate virtual reality in the classroom. One idea came from a math teacher, Trever Reeh, who blogged about having students explore angle of elevation.

Google Expeditions


Mrs. Taylor, a Geometry teacher at BHS, decided to try out a similar activity but instead use Google Expeditions. To get the students used to the app, she showed them around Machu Picchu first. She highlighted certain geometric characteristics as well as showcase the area. We heard lots of 'that's cool' and 'can we go somewhere else'.

Next step was to get students to understand how angle of elevation and right triangles can help determine how far they are in the virtual world to certain landmarks. Two landmarks in particular were the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben. Students were paired up where one visited Paris, while the other visited London.

Mrs. Taylor started a different Google Expedition, High Points of Europe: A Tour of Towers, and had those going to Paris virtually see the Eiffel Tower first. The partner then measured the angle of elevation the student took to see the highest point of the tower. Once the measurements were taken, students switched roles so that measurements could be taken by looking at the top of Big Ben in London.

Students then had to do some quick research on their Chromebook to find out information about how tall the towers are, with correct units, to determine about how far they are from the landmark in the picture.

This was such a great opening activity for the students to learn about a new mathematical topic. They were engaged and had fun. I certainly wish that I was able to implement this activity back when I taught Geometry to my students.

A BIG thanks to Trever for inspiring us to try this out activity. Of course, if you would like to chat about how you can use Google Expeditions or Virtual Reality into your curriculum, stop by and we can chat.

And that is my Spiel...

3.17.2017

Google Street View - Creating 360 Photosphere

This week, Kerri Lunn and I have been exploring around with how one might be able to create a 360 Photosphere. One such app that will allow you to create a photosphere is Google's Google Street View. This app is different from Google Maps. This free app allows you to explore the world as if you were there in person. It integrates Google street views, still images, as well as 360 photospheres.



Check out the two photospheres that we created:

Main Entrance to Bedford High School



Tech 222 Office - check out our digs!


Exploring Around the World

When you open the app, you have the ability to search for a particular location at the top of the screen. Based on what you search, you will see a sample of photos and photospheres (360 photo). These will be located at the bottom of the screen. You will also notice who has actually uploaded the photo. By selecting the particular photo or photosphere, it will open to give you the perspective as if you were there in person.

You will notice in this screen shot, that there are three different red dots on Bedford High School indicating that there are three different photospheres available to view. The photospheres were taking in the locations (or almost) that are shown.












Adding Your Own Photosphere
If you want to add your own photosphere, click on the camera icon.


Then you will be prompted to take several pictures guiding the orange dot in the white circle.

Tip: Make sure that you do not move too much as this will distort your image. It definitely takes some getting use to.

Publishing Your Content
Once you have taken multiple pictures to complete a 360 photosphere, it will take a few minutes for the photo to be rendered. Then you will have the option to publish your photosphere. Things to note: in order to publish, use must be logged into your Google Account. Location of the photo will also be provided. Thus, you will want to make sure that your school district allows for work to be published with location tied to it (if you are working with students). Also, proper etiquette is to make sure that people in the photosphere give permission for their picture to be taken if their face appears.



And that is my Spiel...