Thursday, August 30, 2012

App Spotlight: Socrative

Socrative is an app for the iPad that turns the iPad into a instant responder. Socrative is a quiz/questioning tool that works great (and its free and already installed at BVMS!) With Socrative, the students use the iPads to answer questions either informally or formally (graded). With socrative, the teacher makes an account for themselves, which they will use to control their students. After setting up the account, Socrative will give the teacher a "room number" which the students will use when they log into the Socrative app on the iPad. From here, everything is controled by the teacher. The teacher can have all results emailed to themselves to keep, enter into gradebook, etc.

**Create custom quizes and assessments
**Formal quiz with score reports emailed to teacher
**Take the "pulse" of the class by asking a single question and getting immediate response. Example: "Who understands the layout of the Manor System?" (Socrative responses show only have the class understands, so the teacher would know to not move on, but to cover it again).
**Students do NOT see each other's responses. 
**Quiz-type games. 
**Multiple choice, T/F, short response. 

Socrative on the iPad is much better than the Centeo SMARTboard responders. It is much simpler for the student and teacher to use, faster, more options and just plain cooler. :) 

App Spotlight: Lino It!

The Lino app for the iPad is a great creation tool. Imagine a huge canvas and on it, you can put whatever you want. You can design, create, organize, remind, share, and learn. You can Lino! I used the Lino app in class over the course of two days and my students picked up on it very quickly. The app is already installed on the iPads at the middle school, so it is ready to go. In order to use the app and save their work, the students needs to log in. I created a username and password for them, and they all use it, which means all their work is in one place. This makes for easy grading because you are not logging into a bunch of accounts. However, you may want to make a separate account for each class period to help with organization. 
Lino Is GREAT! Minimal explanation of how to use the app, then the students can get to work. With Lino, they have a huge virtual board and can place sticky notes and pictures (either from the internet or taking them with the built in camera) all over it. I had my students produce a preview of the ancient worlds we will be learning about. This project could be done with the same effectiveness on paper, IF each student was awesome at drawing. That's not the case! In the virtual Lino world, anyone can make a sharp, organized and creative product.  Sign up for the iPads and try Lino! It's Free! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

iPads in the classroom: A Reflection

Our school purchased 30 iPads to use in our classrooms. I was excited to try them out, so I got them into my room for 3 days. I thought I would take a moment to share with you my reflections on having iPads in the classroom. There's a wide variety of iPad skills in our middle school. Some have them at home and are very confident with them. Others have no idea how to use them. Fortunately for us, kids these days are naturally good at picking up on technology devices. The iPad is no different. Plus, the iPad makes it easier to navigate with some helpful tricks and formats. So, here are some things I noticed during my iPad days.
**The iPads started out at 100% battery power and by the end of the day (5 social studies class periods) they were only down to 77% without having been plugged in at all. 
**It is very time consuming to for yourself to pass out each iPad. I had my students line up at the cart and told them to use 2 hands carrying it back to their desk no matter what and if that did not use 2 hands, they would lose the iPad. 
**It is also very time consuming to plug them all in to their chargers. However, there is 0% chance of the iPad dying in one day, so that should not be an issue. 
**Screens get a lot of smudges on them with that many middle school hands touching them. Use any soft cloth to clean them. Many students like to do this for you. 
**You have to be very focused with your classroom management. You have to set the tone from the second those iPads are handed out otherwise you will lose your students attention. Put an iPad in front of some kids and they totally tune you out. Make sure they understand your expectation: Don't touch the screen when the teacher is talking/explaining.
**Students pick up on techniques and tricks very quickly overall. Great tool for SPED.
**After the activity is set up and the kids begin their work, student focus is awesome. From the perfect student to the most challenging, it doesn't matter. They get to work and get focused. 
**It takes more time than you think to get a dynamic lesson set up using multiple apps. Make sure you have a clear objective as far as what you want the student to do. Model and explain each step thoroughly. Otherwise, you will be answering the same question 20 times. 

I think the iPads are a quality tool. The goal is to use them in a way that what you do with them is not possible with pencil and paper. Use the power of Apple.

Coming soon: Apps you can use Right Now!

Downloading TED videos onto your Computer

**User Request Post**
 TED is a great website that provides many, many videos. However, some of the videos on TED are quite lengthy. So, its not realistic to show the whole thing, but perhaps we would like to show a part of one. This is certainly possible. With only a few steps, you can have the TED video you desire as a file on your computer, which you can manipulate as you wish. To get a video off of TED onto your computer in a file, follow these steps:

1. Go to 
2. Find the Video you want by searching.
3. When the video you want has been found, click it to go to the video. 
4. You can simply watch the segment of the video right off of or go to step #5.
5. Directly underneath the video, there are options. Click the "download" option. 
6. A drop down box will appear and on the RIGHT side of that drop down box, all the way towards the bottom, is the world "download" in red. Right click that world and select "save links as."  This will download and save the video to your computer in a mp4. However, Windows movie maker, which is a video editing tool that you can use to get certain clips of the video, does not support mp4, so please continue. 

Converting your TED video to a format supported by Windows movie maker:
1. open
2. step one: select "choose file"
3. step two: select AVI
4. step three: enter your email address
5. After the conversation, an email will be sent to you in which you will receive the link to download your video in the AVI format. Simply click the link and save it to the desire location. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mass email to Parents through Skyward

Entering each email address one by one is ridiculous. Let technology help make things easier and faster! With skyward, you can send out a mass email to all your parents with just a few simple clicks with the mouse. Watch the short tutorial above to learn how. It's a YouTube video so you will have to watch it outside of school. Also, it is an unlisted video, which means its only visible to people on Techno.ED.
The video is a little blurry and for that I apologize. I had to save the video in a way that allowed me to blur out my students names because their first and last names were shown. See below for instructions as well. 
Here is a quick list of how to get to the mass email option: 
Home screen >>> my classes >>> select a class >>> message center >>> add message for multiple classes >>> type your message and be sure to click "send as email" >>> you can then select what time you want the message to go out at and what classes recieve the message down below. 

***Parents will be able to reply to this message. Parents' reply will come into your state email inbox. 

 As always, any questions, please let me know. Thank you. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Remind101: Texting Your Students

The one item that gets checked the most by parents and students is the cell phone. If a teacher sends out a text message to a student or parent or both, they know without a doubt that the message will be read. Students might not check their planner, they might not check their email, but they will for sure check their cell phone. So, let's start texting our students in a professional manner. “Remind101” is a communication tool that allows teachers to send reminders, announcements, etc. to their students via text messaging. It is a great way to communicate with both students and parents, making sure we are all on the same page. Here are some things you should know about Remind101:
•It doesn’t require your student to have a cell phone.
•Teachers do NOT see your child’s cell phone number. 
•Students do NOT see their teacher’s cell phone number.
•The text message notification counts as simply one text message in your cell phone plan. •Students can NOT text the teachers. 
•Your child’s teacher will explain how to become a “subscriber” to their notifications.
•Cell phone numbers are NOT sold or given out by Remind101. 
•Text message option or email option or both.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What is Techno.ED?

Welcome to Techno.ED. What is this site, exactly? It is a resource tool designed to help teachers get stronger and feel more confident in the area of Technology in Education. It is a site that will provide tech tools and ideas for creating, reviewing, sharing, collaborating, communicating, and more. There are tons of resources and websites out there about technology in education. It is a little daunting. That is why I have created this site. To give you a place to start. So, to get "Techno.ED," all you have to do is simply subscribe to this website and be aware of what's being posted/shared. I have a strong passion for Technology in Education. I am wired that way and I think students are wired that way in 2012. I decided to build this site and write these posts because I think our school/district needs a site like this. I love searching for new tech tools, figuring out how to use them, and implementing them in education. I will gladly put in the time to produce a quality resource. Technology is not something to be scared of or intimidated by. The great thing about technology is that it typically makes things easier/better. I think Techno.ED could be a very valuable resource for the teachers of BV (and others) because too often we are told to use and implement technology in our classrooms but then are given no support or direction. Some can handle that, but I think there is a large portion of teachers that might need a little assistance when it comes to effectively using technology in their rooms. We don't want to use technology just to use it, we want to use it to make our students learn more, to grow more, to expand their horizons and to become better people. We have been so graciously given an iPad cart in the middle school. So now what? What apps should we get? How can we use them in our classrooms? Well, that is just one example of how I think Techno.ED can help. I know that this site doesn't look like much now, but if you could see my Techno.ED spreadsheet, you would see that great things are just waiting to be launched. Another cool thing about Techno.ED is that it doesn't just have to be me posting. If, for example, you find a cool tech tool, let me know and you can publish a "guest blog post" with what you have found. I by no means know everything when it comes to Technology in Education. But what I do know, I want to share with the hopes that it might help us be a better school. The frequency of my posts will vary, but it will be an active blog. 
Please subscribe. When you do, the new posts will be emailed directly to your inbox, so you won't even have to actually visit this site! Click here to learn how to subscribe
No matter what level or subject you teach, I know you will find ideas that you can use in your classroom to make the good things you already do, even better. 
Thank you. I look forward to sharing and working together. 

Dan Klumper