Saturday, January 30

3 Reasons Not to Assign a Traditional Research Paper

As educators, we strive to deliver our instruction in various modalities in an effort to reach all of our learners. Creating instructional videos is now easier than ever with tools such as PowToons. If you're working in a "GAFE (Google Apps For Education)" school, uploading your videos and creating playlists is a snap.

Another tool that I like to use for my visual learners is Piktochart. An infographic is an easy way to get your message across to all of your students in a very creative fashion.

I also like to give my students the option to create digital / visual media as often as possible. It's more interesting and engaging for them and for me as well. Emily created this Pictochart to present her research on the use of social media across generations. She was completely immersed in her project and it really shows!

Olivia created this video (using PowToons) to deliver her research on the evolution of social media.

And finally, Roni created this video (also using PowToons) on the topic of digital footprints.

In all three cases, my students could have written a traditional research paper but I'm glad that they didn't and they are too!

Thursday, December 10

Slides Carnival - Adding Creativity to Your Google Slides Presentation

While there are numerous presentation tools that offer developers more options for creativity and style than Google Slides (Haiku Deck and Keynote, to name a few), Google Slides is easy to use and of course, its most impressive feature is the ability to collaborate with others on the same presentation. That being said, Google Slides offers little to those wanting to express a bit of creativity. There are a few sites available that offer templates to use along with Google Slides to do just that. The site which impresses me the most, Slides Carnival, was introduced to me by a few of my students (I always learn so much from them!).

Below are two examples of presentations developed with Google Slides. One was developed using just the templates that come with Google Slides and and the other was developed using a template from  Slides Carnival.

The following is a Google Presentation was developed using a template from Slides Carnival. I encourage you to give Slides Carnival a try - your audience will thank you for it!

The following is a sample of a Google Presentation was developed using a standard Google Slides template.

Saturday, November 7

Storify - Curating Stories from Social Media

My first attempt at creating a "story" using Storify proved to be a lot of fun. Storify provides an easy way to obtain resources on a topic, to bundle them in an organized fashion, to add your point of view, and to share them via a social media platform. In my Storify about the winter of 2015, my "resources / material" came from Twitter, YouTube, and Gif (which is for images - some animated). (There are additional options for resources but they are blocked at this school.) 

My students rose to the task (once again) and used this tool to research and report on several stories that were recently trending in the news/social media. Take a look, I'm sure that you'll be as impressed as I am. 

Storify is fairly easy to use and is an interesting way for students to investigate a trending news event. A "story" can be embedded into a blog post or linked to. What do you think? How could you use Storify with your students?

Monday, October 19

Hey You, No Peeking At My Google Files

As I was proceeding along on a routine check of the high school's iPads today, I was alarmed to see that many of them were left signed on to student Google Drive accounts. On several of these devices I was able to easily switch between the numerous student accounts that had been left signed on. I had complete access to all of their files. Anyone using those devices would have access as well. Going forward, please remind your students using the school's iPads that they need to sign out of all Google Apps before returning them to the cart. This is only a concern for those that are using shared devices.

If you would like me to meet with your students to go over this with them please let me know. For steps on how to properly sign out of all Google Apps (on the iPad) please refer to the following resources.
  • The following video outlines the steps involved in signing out of Google Apps on an iPad. 

Thursday, September 10

The DS Twittersphere

I’m thrilled to see that DS is starting to embrace Twitter as a networking tool for connecting and communicating with our students and community. Twitter is the place to be if you'd like to read about exciting events going on in the district @DS_Schools and on the athletic fields @DSRaidersSports. Follow @DS_FineArts and you’ll be well informed about the news & events happening in the K-12 Fine & Performing Arts Department  The tweets sent out by John Smith @DSHeadmaster and Annie Dever-Keegan @deverkeegan provide us with links to articles on valuable topics in education as well as keeping us informed about exciting DSHS happenings. Listed below are a few of the Twitter accounts (that I know about) that can connect you to our school and district. If you, your club or department has a Twitter presence and would like to be added to the list, please let me know.

Twitter can be used in the classroom to tweet out reminders to students and to keep parents informed on classroom news and events. What I like best about Twitter is the ability to make global connections with other educators. These educators share their resources, ideas, and opinions on most any educational topic imaginable. Twitter is, without a doubt, the most valuable component of my Personal Learning Network (PLN).

Please let me know if you’d like to learn more about Twitter. I can help you set up an account and organize your Twitter feed (using lists). Once you've had the opportunity to connect with educators in the community and from around the globe, you too will have a PLN to brag about.

Additional Reading:
Lori's Diigo Public Library  (once in Diigo, select the Twitter tag for additional articles about Twitter)