Thursday, May 17, 2018

10 Ways to Transform Student iPad Workflow
In a recent NETA 2018 presentation, co-presenter Ann Feldmann and I shared 10 simple ways to reach all learners with built-in iPad features- designed to take learning in your own hands!

Accessibility features were not created merely for learners with disabilities. Rather, with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, all students can be empowered to customize and streamline their own personal workflows.

“Designing learning for all empowers every single student.”
-Ann Feldmann

 Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. 
~Chinese Proverb

"iPad accessibility helps each student be in charge of their own, best learning… for a lifetime."
-Katie Morrow 

The following videos are screencasts to illustrate the slides on the digital handout found at:

UDL Guidelines: Provide multiple means of Engagement

1. Assistive Touch


 2. Airdrop

3.  Split Screen + Notes

UDL Guidelines: Provide multiple means of Representation

4. Speak Screen & Speak Selection 

5. Dictation & World Languages

6. Scan & Annotate

7. Screenshot & Annotate

UDL Guidelines: Provide multiple means of Action and Expression 

8. Assistive Touch

9. Screen Recording

10.  Sketch in Keynote


Six Shot Stories

Every once in awhile you find that tech integration idea that withstands the test of time. Even as the tech tools evolve and change, the learning still holds its value. "Six Shot Stories" is one of those practices for me. As an English teacher, the value of writing Six Word Memoirs created numerous educational benefits with my students. Theme, concise word choice, summarization are all skills emphasized with this simple activity. Pairing the concept with media was brilliant, and Don Goble's One Best Thing book: "Six-Word Story, Six Unique Shots" remains an invaluable resource for delivering the lesson to students.  
Recently I worked with the 4th grade classes at West Holt Elementary to share their school's stories through this technique. And Apple's Clips app on iPad was the perfect medium to create some powerful digital stories in a short timeframe.

I began the lesson by viewing Apple's latest commercial for iPad "Homework" and asking students to count the number of cuts, in order to establish the importance of storytelling through a wide variety of camera angles and shots.

Then students paired up to author a Six-Word Story about their school, their classroom, or their daily activities as 4th graders at West Holt Elementary. It is amazing to see such powerful stories created in just six words by students!

I used Don Goble's book on iBooks to demonstrate different shots that were possible, and reminded students of some simple best practices when capturing with iPad. Instructions were emphasized that each shot should be between 3 and 5 seconds and no technique should be repeated (each shot is unique). Students used a storyboard to plan their six shots and then used the camera app to capture each on their iPad.

Finally, with only literally a few minutes of instruction on the Clips app, students assembled and edited their story. Some added all six words of text at the very end, some used one word per shot, and others split up the text in varying ways. Many were able to experiment with the other creative features of Clips as well, even within the one-class time period we had together. Each team of students exported their product to camera roll, then Airdropped to their teacher's Mac in order to upload on a YouTube channel and organize in a playlist.

What I appreciate most about this project as an ELA teacher, is the tremendous focus on concise, clear communication it entails. As a technology teacher I value the creativity and composition techniques that allow student media production to instantly be raised to the next level.

Enjoy some of West Holt Elementary's Six Shot Stories!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Building Word Wizards with Creation Apps (NETA 2018)

Building Word Wizards with Creation Apps (NETA 2018)
Use the power of iPad to transform students into vocabulary wizards in the K-12 classroom. Learn about 10 creation apps that will move your students from consumers to creators and empower them to expand their word wizard skills. Walk away with ideas and apps to use immediately in your classroom. Bring your iPad and create some ‘magic’ along with us.

Build Word Wizards with Creation Apps

Monday, February 12, 2018

"The Important Thing" about Augmented Reality

The important thing about augmented reality is that it is a great way to merge digital and analog student-created content. It is true that with the free app Blippar, it is simple enough for third graders to use. It offers great options for a student publishing project, and will likely response many positive reactions from your entire learning community. But the important thing about augmented reality is that it is a great way to merge digital and analog student-created content.

Many may recognize this text pattern from Margaret Wise Brown's The Important Book. Recently this text was used as the basis for a third grade project in Mrs. Pistulka's reading class while learning about their local community history.

Katie Morrow from ESU 8 worked with the class to assemble the pages students wrote and the illustrations they created into a book modeled after “The Important Book” by Margaret Wise Brown. Then we made the pages “come alive” through augmented reality. Basically, if you download the free Blippar app on your smart phone, and enter our localized "code", then you can scan the pages of the book and videos will “pop up” where the students teach you even more!

Here are the steps completed in the process:

  1. Mrs. Pistulka encourages her reading class to learn about community history in creative ways. First students learned about O'Neill's past by interviewing a local historian and viewing past projects.
  2. Second, students selected a key person who has had an impact on our community of O’Neill. Each 3rd grader researched their "Important Person” and took notes. 
  3. They then wrote their narratives for the pages of the book, modeled after Margaret Wise Brown’s The Important Book.
  4. Next, students decided on an additional fact or interesting tidbit to share out loud in their video.
  5. Mrs. Morrow helped us film in front of a greenscreen that we borrowed from the Eagle Eye News crew.
  6. Each student created an illustration to go with our page and hand-wrote our “Important Book" text onto a template page. 
  7. Mrs. Morrow took photos of all our pages and uploaded them to BlippBuilder hub to make them come alive with Augmented Reality (AR).
  8. Finally, Mrs. Pistulka sent our book off to be printed so we could share our creation with others!

And here is the end result:

on iBooks (free for anyone with a Mac or iPad to download and try out)
The Important Book of O’Neill, Nebraska

and physical books printed through (approximately $6 for each economy color, soft-bound  trade book).

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Free EdTech Resources for Computer Science and Digital Citizenship

Any teacher. All students.

Either recently released or new this school year, we didn't want you to miss the opportunity to incorporate these important instructional technology lessons into your curriculum. 
How Computers Work
free video series with related careers from
target audience: MS-HS
Learn More
Be Internet Awesome
free Digital Citizenship curriculum and online game from Google
target audience: grades 4-6
Learn More
Everyone Can Code
free coding curriculum with apps and learning materials from Apple
target audience: K-12+
Learn More

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Coding with Keynote

Prior to teaching coding to any age of learners, it is smart to teach better communication skills. At ESU 8's recent Elementary Science Olympiad one of the student activity stations did just that. 

First we began with coding with blocks. The engineer and the builder had the exact same blocks but their workspace was separated with a divider, blocking their view of each other's creations. Instead they gave verbal "code" as instructions to each other in the attempts of replicating the exact same structure. Modifying each round with various alternations (ability for builder to ask questions, written instructions only, etc.) added additional discussion on the importance of communication in the process of science, and coding in particular. 

Activity Guide for 'Let's Communicate'

Next we moved to the computer and worked instead with digital "blocks" which were actually shapes in Apple's Keynote application on our MacBook Air laptops. Both the engineer and the builder had to pay attention to the very fine details and convey that "code" back and forth in order to replicate each other's designs. 

  1. Use basic shapes to construct an image on a blank Keynote slide.
Note: The more “complicated” the shape, the more “code” will be involved.

  1. Complete a “code sheet” with each shape’s details from the Inspector.
Blank “Code Sheets” for students:

  1. Exchange code sheets with a partner.
No peeking at each other’s screens!

  1. Using the code alone, attempt to rebuild and replicate your partner’s image on a new blank slide. Enter details into the Inspector exactly for each shape added.

  1. View each other’s original slides and share feedback with your partner.
Debug your errors.

Optional Lessons:
  • Add a theme to the challenge, such as flag designs, pumpkin carving, or monster creation.
  • Address the importance of specific communication as discrepancies arise.

    Activity Guide for 'Coding with Keynote'

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Digital Citizenship Week 2017

Visit Digital Citizenship Week site

Digital Citizenship should not be an "event", but rather an everyday occurance.
However, this past week was a good reminder to be incorporating these important lessons for our students. 

At ESU 8 we celebrated by sharing a week's worth of proactive tips-- what to do before students get into trouble online-- to promote positive digital citizenship. 
Use any of the following as starting points to launch your next online learning experience for students. Or better yet, request ESU 8 to partner with you and support the journey.

Visit ESU8PD on Instagram for more instant PD tips.
TextingStory app


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