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: http://bit.ly/codesheets

  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


Share Your Work
Creative Commons

Paper Blogging
Table Top Twitter
Blog Comments Sort
Common Sense Education
Media Smarts

Friday, September 15, 2017

A reminder of how to use copyright-friendly media sources

If you are looking for sites with copyright friendly, appropriate media for students to use for projects, we would love to share a few tips, in case you were not already familiar. 

Probably the easiest way to search for filtered, copyright friendly images is simply by using advanced features of Google’s image search. 

1) Search images.google.com like normal.

2) On the results screen, click on Tools.

3) This gives you a variety of advanced settings for the images that Google finds. Your students can find more relevant images by choosing certain sizes, colors, or types (photographs, line art, etc.). But what is most important is under Usage Rights. Select ANY of the Usage Rights options (other than ’Not filtered by license’) and you will find that your results are fewer, but the ones that are left are marked for reuse, therefore definitely more copyright friendly.

* For best results, always save images from a webpage where they are full size and not simply the thumbnails from the Google Image Search results page. 

There are many sites where the media is all filtered for reuse. 

Our personal favorites for students and teachers include the following:
Here is a much longer list of copyright-friendly media sites here, especially if you are looking for a certain kind of media and a more obscure topic.

Also here is a poster created for an elementary teacher that they could hang in the classroom. It has QR codes to go to a few of the most popular sites so that students can scan the codes and go straight to the image-finding sites.

Forms that auto email results

There are many times when a need exists for results from a Google form to be instantly shared beyond the person completing the form.

  • An administrator completing a walk-through observation who wants to send the results to the teacher just observed, and/or another supervisor
  • A teacher completes a grading rubric for each student assignment and wants the results instantly sent to the student
  • A band director hosts a regional event asking participating schools to sign up via a form, but wants a copy of their submission information to be shared back for reference purposes
  • A staff developer collects feedback on a professional learning event and wants to share the results with a team
The list could go on and on. 

Several solutions exist for creating a workflow to collect information via Google form and then instantly share with multiple desired parties. The following is one simple way that anyone could get started on their own.

It utilizes an Add-On called Form Mule.

  1. Build the Google Form.  *Be sure that you have one question with a drop down menu of choices of all your desired recipients’ email addresses.
  2. Make sure the form results are going to a NEW SPREADSHEET as the results destination.
  3. Go to the Google Spreadsheet where the results are being collected.
  4. Add-ons > Get Add-ons
  5. Search for FormMule and add it
  6. Add-ons > FormMule > Launch 
  7. Choose source data and merge type. 
  8. Set send conditions. 
  9. Save and then edit template.
  10. When building the template, use fields from your form for both the send to (choose from the merge fields and the body of the email. (Add your email in the CC field and any additional info that you want viewable on every email.)
It may look something like this:

Preview and send all will go back and send to any previously submitted form results. Otherwise, complete a test form submission and try it out!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Back to School with Canvas

It's Back-to-School time again and we couldn't be more excited to kick-off another year of learning powered by Canvas in many of our classrooms!

As the supported learning management system in ESU 8, you know that you have a support team and implementation team behind you; ready and eager to help you put Canvas to work for all your learning needs. 

On July 31, 2017 educators from K-12 districts and Higher Education institutions across Nebraska gathered at the Lifelong Learning Center for an exciting day of Canvas Learning. Dubbed the first-ever Nebraska Canvas Users Group conference, the event was well attended and supported strongly by Canvas Team representatives. 

Get a sense of the sessions shared by viewing the Session Smackdown that we helped moderate. 

But even more importantly, learn some of the new (or new-to-you) features that Canvas offers for this school year.
  1. Google integration (Similar to Google Classroom, Canvas can create an assignment from a Google Doc that you have created, distribute it to students, complete the "make a copy" and "sharing settings" automatically for each student, and collect it so that you can grade in Speed Grader. Beautiful integration and workflow if you are already a Google Apps for Education school! 
  2. Scheduler (Appointment Groups) (Set up appointment slots for your next calendar event and allow students/teachers to self-sign up based on a wide range of criteria that you decide. Once the appointment slot is filled, others will see that and get to choose another.) 
  3. Late/Missing Assignment label feature (for grade book and Speed Grader)
  4. Assignment and Pages Duplication (Settings > Duplicate) (Discussions and Quizzes are coming)
  5. On new courses, the course homepage defaults to Modules (this promotes the best practice of organizing your course by modules. You can still point to a Welcome Page/course homepage if you'd like.) 
  6. Canvas Doc Viewer automatically lets you annotate any document - highlight, comment, draw on, etc. (even more improved than Croc-a-doc feature of past!)
  7. Blueprint courses make it easy to deploy similar course shells across your department or school site. 
  8. Teacher app (Brand new Canvas Teacher app to make course administration easier on your mobile devices!)
Additionally, the following are Canvas features that teachers are re-falling in love with this fall. Just in case you forgot they were available, try out the following:
  1. Student To-Do List 
  2. Hide Navigation Elements for your course if you don't use certain Canvas features in that course - (Settings > Navigation tab) to clear unneeded clutter in students' course navigation bar.
  3. Student View - view your course as your students view it to check publish settings, etc.
  4. Speedgrader - filters, ordering, audio/video feedback, and more!
  5. Discussions & Announcements: are MORE THAN discussions and announcements! Refresh your mind with the possibilities by viewing this Wednesday Webinar from last year:

There is so much to learn with Canvas- whether features are new or have existed for a long time. Perhaps my personal favorite source of expanding my Canvas knowledge is through their "Fast Track Video Series". These videos are short and sweet-- typically 2-3 minutes-- and do a great job of walking me through one focused topic. To see what I mean, check out this Canvas Fast Track video on student journals in Canvas, a topic several teachers have successfully used this year already! 

The Canvas Community has so many resources available it is sometimes hard to know where to start. This Canvas Resources page may be just the solution. 

With more and more of Nebraska's higher education institutions adopting Canvas (the University of Nebraska system has completely switched to Canvas as its LMS), there is more reason than ever before to give our students experience with the platform/learning skills while still in high school. These are exciting times for both students and teachers, and a critical key to increasing educational success is a powerful vehicle to tie all efforts together. Canvas can be that engine, and we at ESU 8 are more than happy to partner with you for successful driving.     

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Create an animation of the total solar eclipse with Keynote and Magic Move

First, you definitely need to show this TED-Ed 4 min video to explain it all

Then, view Apple EDU’s tweet with model eclipse animation

To recreate with Keynote, view this how-to example of step-by-step recreation from Koen Marien

Or here is a simpler, 30 sec animation that students more easily recreate with Keynote’s Magic Move

This was my first attempt at trying it, but now I know a little more I could add. Challenge your students to create something better than mine!

September update: Here is just one example of an O'Neill High School 8th grade student example created from this concept. Congratulations!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Beginning the Year With Seesaw

Seesaw is advertised as a digital portfolio for students.  Although that is a major component of Seesaw, there is so much more to the tool.  It brings engagement, collaboration, and innovation into the classroom.  This tool is great for connecting families to a student's education as well as a great place to foster motivation and encouragement.  Many of ESU 8 teachers are already using the tool in their classrooms and are finding the simplicity of it is what makes it so powerful.

Why use Seesaw in your classroom?

  • Empowers students to take ownership of their learning.
  • Encourages students to reflect on their learning over time.
  • Seesaw inspires students to do their best work by providing an authentic audience.
  • Encourages parent participation in their student's education.

Now take a few minutes to watch this video on how to start the year off with Seesaw.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Introducing CLIPS

Last Spring Apple introduced a brand new app that gives us a fun way to build an expressive story.  Available for free for all iOS products (iPhone, iPad, etc.) it is simply called Clips.

Why learn a new tool to create digital stories?
Clips allows you to...
  • avoid the learning curve that you may encounter with many multimedia creation apps 
  • record, edit, and share all on the go (designed for a purely mobile experience)
  • add a variety of creative filters, overlays, background music and more... all with open usage rights
  • engage even the youngest of learners with its natural, intuitive workflow
When you launch the app you will see that Clips is designed for immediate recording. There are 3 sources for capturing: video, photos, or pull in anything from your camera roll/Photos Library.

*A big difference from what some of us more traditional video creators might be used to is that you have to hold the red record button for the entire duration of what you want to capture. (For example if you are bringing in a prerecorded video or photo, you have to hold the record button the entire time the video is playing, or you will only add that much to your Clips project. 

* TIP: Press and slide to the left on the red record button to lock it in recording mode. This frees up your fingers to interact with your photo or video... for example, pinch to zoom and move it around in the square frame. 

The 4 cool buttons at the top allow you to do the following:
1) Live Titles (Your speech will be typed on screen in time with you saying it (like closed captioning)
2) Filters (add fun effects to any part(s) of your video
3) Overlays (Select from pre-made 'stickers', pinch, zoom, rotate, edit text)
4) Posters (Full screen backgrounds with editable text and a bit of included animation)

*The ability to take one photo, zoom in, point and label, zoom out, and create simple, smooth pans truly elevates the media created with Clips above that of a traditional slide show.

Clips always adds new content to the end of your project, but you can easily tap, hold, and drag to move its position anywhere in your 'timeline' across the bottom. Additional editing can include editing the text from your transcribed live titles, muting audio, trimming the ends of each clip, and deleting clips.

One of the most powerful features of Clips when using it the classroom is the background music option. By clicking the music note button in the upper right of Clips, you have access to numerous soundtracks of royalty-free music. Each adjusts to match the timing of your project and even automatically fades in and out depending on pre-existing audio!

Sharing options are numerous and simple. In addition to a variety of social media outlets, each Clips projects can be saved to the camera roll for additional remixing, app smashing, and sharing.

Now, watch a Clips video about a simple project using Clips with kids!

View so many more inspiring ideas by searching the hashtag #ClassroomClips on social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Do More With... iWork

Let's take a closer look at what sets Apple's iWork apps apart from other app suites by exploring a few skills and accompanying projects possible in Keynote.
  • Use Shapes Library & Drawing Tools --- to create --- Infographics
  • Use Magic Move --- to create --- Animated Learning
  • Use Links and invisible buttons --- to create --- Quiz Shows

Don't hesitate to begin with the free Starter Guides from Apple Teacher:
Next explore the big ideas outlined above:

Use Shapes Library & Drawing Tools --- to create --- Infographics

Use Magic Move --- to create --- Animated Learning

Ben Mountz's 'Magical' Presentation about Keynote's 'Magic Move'

Use Links and invisible buttons --- to create --- Quiz Shows

This iTunes U course demonstrates how to use the slide linking feature of Keynote to create "Choose Your Own Adventure" type stories.
And don't forgot about this Wednesday Webinar from last spring as an additional idea generator:

Critical Literacy: Text Dependent Reading & Writing for All

Critical Literacy: Text Dependent Reading and Writing for All from Katie Morrow

Also, the accompanying Canvas course is public as well: http://bit.ly/CritLit 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Blended Learning with Catlin Tucker

Nebraska educators have been implementing and reaping the benefits of blended learning for quite some time. ESU 8 teachers are no different. One of our most respected experts in the field is Catlin Tucker, blended learning practitioner, guru, and published author. Her book titles, especially Blended Learning in Grades 4-12, have paved the way for many classrooms to begin blending and adapting the techniques for their own needs.

Even more valuable, however, is Catlin's experience as a practicing teacher in California. For the approximately 50 professionals who gathered together at the Lifelong Learning Center on June 9, her classroom examples and advice from the trenches were spot-on and tremendously helpful.

The crux of the day was spent experiencing blended learning's most well-known model: station rotation. We not only experience Catlin's station-rotation experience (all centered around dynamic student discussions) but also learned many implementation tips. 

Catlin shared an expert look into the flipped classroom model of blended learning and ways to adapt it to leverage even more student engagement and success. 

Another highlight of the day was playing a classroom vocabulary game Catlin created with her students, modeled after 'Word Sneak' from the Tonight Show. 

All in all, the day was a successful blending of pedagogy and practices, interaction and inspiration. Nebraska educators who attended were excited to work on implementation goals for the upcoming school year... even this early in summer vacation!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

NNNC Summer Technology Institute 2017: Rethink, Redesign, Reimagine

For the past decade you have been joining us just days after the conclusion of your school year to get your geek on with other Northeast Nebraska educators passionate about EdTech. And if you haven't, you are missing out! Highlights of this year's STI held May 31-June 1 at the Lifelong Learning Center in Norfolk included Matt Miller's keynote message and breakout sessions. Matt shares many of his resources at getmattsstuff.com

Members of the NNNC STI Planning Team with 2017 Keynoter Matt Miller on day 1 of the event.
In addition, numerous regional practitioners gave of their time to share their educational technology talents with the approximately 300 participants.

You can continue to access the event's Sched site as many presenters have shared links and resources associated with their presentations, accessible even after the conference's conclusion:
View the NNNC Summer Technology Institute schedule & directory.

View photo highlights from the two day event here:

STI 2017

Don't miss next year's event, currently scheduled for one day (Wednesday, May 30, 2018). The NNNC planning committee was excited to announce that Leslie Fisher is our confirmed keynoter.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Creating Infographics: Drawing Tools with Pages and Keynote

The drawing tools available in Apple's creation apps are simple, yet powerful. Even a non-artistically inclined person can create digital graphics without even leaving the application they are in! Even more importantly, the act of creating infographics can lead to deeper understanding and longer-term learning for students.
Note: Whether demonstrating the drawing tools in Pages, Numbers, Keynote, or even iBooks Author, the process is the same. Use these ideas as starting points. What kinds of lessons do you teach that would lend themselves to students creating information-filled graphics?

First some teaching resources:

Creating Infographics is an excellent learning activity in content areas as well.   

See a few student examples about the Rock Cycle from Kevin Morrow's 8th grade Science class here. Mr. Morrow commented on how visible the student creations made their understanding of the science content he had taught. In addition, he enjoyed the variety and creativity that the project allowed for. 
Rock Cycle Infographics with Pages
Click to advance slideshow through multiple student examples. Or visit the collection at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kmorrow/sets/72157682304347790 

Additional links and resources:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Student Publishing: Merging analog and digital with augmented reality

Don't abandon printed projects... just enhance them with technology integration!
This was a driving force in a recent project I had the honor of working on with the West Holt 4th grade classes. Mrs. Shirley Rossman wanted to create a class book to demonstrate their collective knowledge of Nebraska history. And the 150th anniversary of Nebraska's statehood was the perfect backdrop. 

Excitingly, she reached out to me looking for ways to infuse digital media into the printed, bound book that she envisioned as a class product. We collaborated to design an augmented reality experience for the reader, where each student's two-page spread could be brought to life with AR. 

This was our process:

1. Text development

Students selected their Nebraska topics, researched them, and wrote their text narrative for their page.  The pages of the book were mapped out on large classroom posters. To preserve the authentic student-authored look and feel, Mrs. Rossman had each student hand write their text onto one of the page templates to go to the Schoolmate Publishing Company that she had selected to produce the class book. 


2. Create trigger images

Students created original artwork to accompany each page of text, again drawing by hand on the book template pages. I used the iPad to take a quick photo of each student's page of artwork so that I could designate each one as a trigger image for the augmented reality we planned to build in. 

*Side Note: I applaud the originality and creativity of the students' hand-drawn images. While it would have been easy to find images online or even create them digitally, the authenticity of these students' illustrations makes the book extra special. 

3. Create media assets

Each student had the opportunity to create at least one media asset to accentuate their topic. We talked about bringing their research "to life" and trying to enhance the content in a creative, not simply redundant way. This was truly where student choice and voice could shine. App which I demonstrated as suggestions to choose from included:
  • Chatterpix
  • Tellagami
  • Toontastic/Toontastic 3D
  • Puppet Pals 1&2
  • WordFoto
  • iMovie
  • DoInk Greenscreen
Nearly every app was new to the students but the definitely jumped in and learned quickly! Some student seven created multiple assets that could be selected when readers scanned their image. Mrs. Rossman did a wonderful job of coordinating additional parent volunteers, para professionals' help, and simply workspace on the days we reserved for media production. 

We did post all the video assets on a YouTube playlist, just as a secondary way to showcase the students' work and creativity. 

4. Blipp-building with Blippar

While Mrs. Rossman sent away the physical pages of the book to be printed and bound, I began working to develop the augmented reality interface.

I selected Blippar as our AR platform because of its reputation with education, in addition to its free price. Teachers can sign up for the Blipp-builder dashboard and create unlimited "blimps" for their classroom, completely for free.  Blippar, the app which readers will use to 'scan' the pages, is free as well, and available from both the iTunes and Google Play Store.

While the blimps created with an educational account aren't "public" they can easily be viewed with a simply "campaign code." This is a 5 digit number that users enters into the settings of the app prior to scanning. We put these directions as the pregame page in our book:

The Blippar dashboard asks you to first name your campaign: West Holt 4th Grade NE History Book and then create a blipp for each student by uploading their trigger image. 

To add to the interaction, you have several options. The student's media asset can be displayed on initial startup. Or you can add a "button" for the user to tap to initiate the media asset. Sometimes I used generic buttons from the Blippar library, but often I used a custom logo that I created for the project and uploaded to the Blippar library. 
Various actions can be accommodated on each tap. Ones we primarily used included:
  • play video (either uploaded directly to Blippar or linked online)
  • view image gallery
  • go to URL
  • open PDF
Each blipp needs to be saved and published individually, but all can be accessed with the one campaign code in the app. 

It seems there is a world of untapped potential to blips-building and I have a feeling that we only scratched the surface with this project!