Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Five Tools For Engaging Students with Video

When assigning students to view videos as part of a flipped or blended classroom assignment, there are three questions to think about:
  • Are the students paying attention?
  • How do you get students to focus on the important pieces of the video?
  • Did they get out of the video what you wanted them to?
While there are huge benefits to students watching videos to gain information, merely watching them is too passive an activity to ensure that learning is always taking place.  The question becomes how to make these learning opportunities become more active and engaging experience?  This post looks at five different web-based tools for making student video viewing more engaging by providing viewers with not only opportunities to answer questions about the content of the video, but to make video viewing a much more dynamic learning activity.

The slideshow below displays introductory videos and examples of EDpuzzlehapyak, Educanon, blubbr, and Zaption.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

eduCanon Making Video Lessons an Active Learning Experience

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about blubbr which would allow one to take clips from various YouTube videos and create questions about them.  Well eduCanon takes that concept a step (or five) further.  eduCanon was created in order to make the task of watching (and hopefully learning from) videos more of an active and engaging experience.  Rather than passively letting the video play, students have to answer teacher-created questions in order to proceed with the video.  Students are also unable to fast forward beyond what they have already viewed.  

Teachers can create video lessons using a variety of educational video sources including YouTube, Khan Academy, TeacherTube, Vimeo, Shmoop, and even upload their own screencasts.  Teachers can create class rosters and then keep track of who has watched the assigned videos and how well they did with answering the questions.  This is a great tool to use whether you are teaching in a Flipped or Blended classroom.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Podcasting with GarageBand 10

When GarageBand was updated to GarageBand 10, some of the intuitiveness was lost in that there was no longer a Podcast button for creating that type of audio file. While you can still create audio pods casts, you can not longer create enhanced podcasts.  So, now that the students and teachers are using Mavericks, they are using GarageBand 10, and so will have to relearn navigating GarageBand in order to make audio files that can be uploaded to podcast sites like podbean, audioboom, or sound cloud. To that end, I have created a video tutorial and an a set of instructions that can be printed out that will help users transfer their skills and make the new GarageBand work for them.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 10, 2014

PixiClip: Great Web-based Whiteboard Tool

So, I was at ACTEM yesterday and attended Richard Byrne's session "Best of the Web Fall 2014."
Today, I go to the staff meeting at Mt. Ararat Middle School and one of the teachers sends me an email saying that he would like for his students to do some Khan Academy-style videos on how to do certain math problems. At his former school they had iPads and so used "Explain Everything" for this type of activity.  Was there something like "Explain Everything" that could be done on a MacBook?I then remembered that one of the tools Richard showed us was PixiClip.  PixiClip allows users to create and narrate drawings. It records not only the whiteboard you are drawing on, but can also capture your voice and possibly even video of you as you draw and narrate.  Users can also upload pictures to the whiteboard to label.  When you make a recording you can share it via social media like Facebook or Twitter, but you can also get the embed code to put into a web page, wiki, or blog. Click play on my example below. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

AudioBoom and GarageBand Test

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Using Google Classroom for Your LMS

There is so much to like about Google Classroom that it is easy to see why teachers are excited about getting their classrooms set up and going with this extremely easy to use learning management system.  It is simple, easy to use, and because it is made by Google, it plays nicely with Google Drive.  Setting up is as simple as creating a class and letting students enroll using a class code.  Communication between the teacher and students is improved by allowing the teacher to create announcements with just a couple clicks, students are able to comment on the announcements and assignments, and there are ample opportunities for students and teachers to email one another.

Prior to Classroom,
teachers would share documents with students. Often they would need to remind the students to make their own copy of the document, rename it with their student name, and then share it again with the teacher.  While there were benefits to this, like teachers being able to view students work as they worked on it in real time, it was a bit of a hassle and sometimes created an organizational disaster area of the teacher's Google Drive.  I think the best feature of Google Classroom is that if a teacher wants to assign students to complete a document that they have started in Google Doc or created a template for in Google Docs, they can have Google Classroom "Make a Copy for Each Student" when they create the assignment tied to that document. When this is done, each student will get to their own copy by clicking on the title of the assignment or be looking in their own Google Drive.

I could go on and on with how it works and how awesome it is, but there are a couple of well done videos that can show you all that.

Here are a couple links to pages that tell you what you can do with Google Classroom:
15 More Things You Can Do With Google Classroom

Here is a link to another vimeo video that is well done.

If you are in need of some instructions on the use of Google Classroom, here is a link a Google Doc I created.

New Year, Job, School District, well everything

I recently accepted a position with MSAD#75 (Mount Ararat)
as their MS/HS Technology Integrator.  It is and understatement to say the least that I am leaving behind some great colleagues and friends.   That seems to be the toughest part of changing jobs.  

With that change, comes changes in how to contact me.  Here are some ways to get in touch with me:

  • email  
  • Twitter          @ryanpalmerME
  • Text    
  • FaceBook

I hope you all have a great year.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Day Twenty-Five: 60-Second Civics

 60 Second Civics is a daily podcast produced by the Center for Civic Education. Each 60 Second Civics episode offers a short lesson about US Civics. Along with each episode is a one question quiz about that day's episode. Playing 60 Second Civics could be a good "activator" at the beginning of a US History or Civics class . 60-Second Civics is produced by the Center for Civic Education. The show's content is primarily derived from the Center’s education for democracy curricula,including We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution. Click the HERE to listen to an episode. 

Day Twenty-four: 10x10

 10x10™ ('ten by ten') is an interactive exploration of the words and pictures that define the time. The result is an often moving, sometimes shocking, occasionally frivolous, but always fitting snapshot of our world. Every hour, 10x10 collects the 100 words and pictures that matter most on a global scale, and presents them as a single image, taken to encapsulate that moment in time. Over the course of days, months, and years, 10x10 leaves a trail of these hourly statements which, stitched together side by side, form a continuous patchwork tapestry of human life.10x10 is ever-changing, ever-growing, quietly observing the ways in which we live. It records our wars and crises, our triumphs and tragedies, our mistakes and milestones. When we make history, or at least the headlines, 10x10 takes note and remembers.

Day Twenty-Three: Wideo

Earlier in the year, I was looking at some sites that allow you to make animated videos when I stumbled across Wideo. It is a cool online video tool that allows you to make videos similar to the "... In Plain English" videos. Creating an account is quick and simple.  You can even find Wideo in Chrome App Store so you can easily get a link to it. Some of the tutorial videos leave a bit to be desired, but the Wideo works well as a whole.  You are not limited to the images and sounds that are available within the took, instead you can upload whatever images and/or sounds you want. Needless to say, I tried it out.  The biggest chunk of my time on this video was finding and downloading all of the little logos and icons in my video.  I used GarageBand to blend together the background audio and my voice over.  In the end, I uploaded it directly to YouTube.  

Day Twenty-Two: Thinglink

 Thinglink is a terrific site for creating interactive images which can be another way for students to "show what they know" in a dynamic way. Users can upload images or use those found on the internet and then they can start tagging different areas of the image and linking the tags to various online resources and media files.  I tried one out using a map of the State of Maine.  Once created, users can send others the link to their interactive image, or they can use the embed code to put it on a blog or website.  Donna Baumbach has created a Google Slides presentation titled "73+ Interesting Ways* to Use ThingLink in the Classroom." Check it out and see how you can use Thinglink with your students.

Day Twenty-one: SoundCloud

 SoundCloud is a free online tool for storing and sharing any original audio files you create.  This would be a great tool for students to record themselves reading, then they can share the audio file with the teacher who can then assess their fluency.  Another use could involve students doing the same thing, but in a foreign language course.  A cool feature that SoundCloud has is the ability of the listener to embed comments on the audio file.  Teachers could use this to provide feedback and suggestions to the students' work.

SoundCloud: The Tour from SoundCloud on Vimeo.

Day Twenty: ReadWorks

This morning a colleague shared with me her recent use of ReadWorks.  As a special education teacher, she often needs to find resources that cover the topics of Middle School classes but that are written at a much lower level.  She was thrilled to have discovered ReadWorks, a nonprofit organization that provides reading and reading comprehension materials to educators for free. Registering with ReadWorks was quick and easy, and in no time at all, you can be downloading lessons, reading materials, units, and worksheets that will help your students succeed.  My colleague logged in, selected the non-fiction tab, then reading passages.  Next, she selected a reading level and finally typed in the topic she was looking for, "immigration". The materials she found were appropriate for her 8th grades students, but were written at a 4th grade reading level.  Check this out yourself to see what ReadWorks has to offer your students. Below is an introductory video about ReadWorks.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Day Nineteen: blubbr

blubbr is a site I learned about earlier in the year from Danny Nicholson's blog The Whiteboard Blog.  At blubbr, you can play quizzes or create your own where a YouTube clip is played, and then a question is asked.    These quizzes are called trivs, and many of them are broken into categories, including Education.  Creating my own triv was quite simple.  Try your hand at the triv I created about the 1960's.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Day Eighteen: pdfEscape

You can use PDFescape for free to edit any .pdf document that you can read.  Simply upload your file, or you can enter the url of an online .pdf file, and then you can add text, free hand writing, add images, or create drawings.  When you have finished altering your document, you download the finished product to use as you wish.  Have your students bookmark this site, and you'll be a little closer in your journey to go paperless.