edtech

Teaching & Learning: Digital Comm Mad Lib

Today I attended the TLT conference because I wanted to find new technology tools and ideas. During the DigiComm presentation, I was most interested to learn about Timeline JS.

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I think (noun) will be useful to implement digital storytelling into my Minecraft: Cityscapers club as they begin their city project in the coming months.


To introduce it to my students, I found this great resource: 


And here’s an example of the kind of project I’d like them to create:

This is a timelapse video, but we do not have that kind of capability in our club, so a timeline would be a better choice to document the changes to the city over time, including images. Instead, the timeline would document the build process, and student explanations of their work. There are also great examples of Digital Storytelling from all over campus such as Storymap JS.

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Fluco Toolbox: Resizeimage.net

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever had students on Chromebooks who needed to modify the size of an image, rotate it, or crop one? You might have noticed that it’s not so easy to do, but thankfully, there are many programs out there online that can take care of this.

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Resizeimage.net

First, the basics:

Name: Resizeimage.net
URL: http://www.resizeimage.net
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Easily upload photos that need to be cropped, resized, or rotated. Edit the image, and download the new file. Please note, this tool should not be used for images that are not your own, or that don’t fall under Creative Commons licensing that allows editing.

Resizeimage.net is one of many tools of its kind available online. The reason this tool is being featured is because it was very quick and easy to use, which is what I needed for students. Please feel free to use any other tool out there that accomplishes this goal. When I needed to edit images on my Chromebook for a recent blog post, this website did so quickly, and I was off and on my way to posting my blog.

This simple editing website walks you through the various steps to edit your image. Users simply upload the image from their computer, and then move on to step 2. Step 2 allows the user to crop an image. You can either specify specifics, or simply drag the mouse over the part of the image that you want to keep. Step 3 provides options to rotate the image, if one so prefers. Step 4 lets one resize the image. Users can do so based on a percentage, a width/height numerical input, or a slider bar. By default, “Keep Aspect Ratio” is selected. You’ll want to leave this selected. Step 5 will allow you to make the background transparent, but in most cases, you’ll probably skip over this. Step 6 allows the user to select an image type to output. For highest quality, select PNG. Finally, step 7 asks about the image quality. “Best Quality” is selected by default. Select the “Resize Image” button below Step 7 to implement all changes.

When all of the above steps have been completed, users can chose to download their image by clicking “Download Image” in the blue box at the bottom of the screen. The image will download, and can then be added to whatever project the user is currently working on completing.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Poll Everywhere

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wanted a quick way to assess students on their learning with a survey, poll, a word cloud, or an open-ended question? How about assess them on their learning with a poll embedded into a Slides presentation?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Poll Everywhere

First, the basics:

Name: Poll Everywhere
URL: http://www.polleverywhere.com
Cost: FREE (K-12 Basic), $50 per year (K-12 premium), OR $1,000+ (Entire institution)
Problem this tool solves: Access to quick digital assessment options for classroom lessons and activities

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Poll Everywhere is a digital tool that lets teachers have students participate in quick assessments with the use of a device. Students can use their mobile phones to send a text message response, or they can use any device to access a link to the poll. Teachers can easily see the results of the poll as they are returned in real-time. Poll Everywhere offers a variety of poll types, and educators can choose the one that best fits the current set of activities.

When teachers sign up for the first time, they’ll need to make sure that they select that they will be using their account in a K-12 setting. If you forget to do this, or you set up an account long ago, you can still change to a K12 account. Simply click “Pricing” at the top of the screen, and find the options for K-12. Under K-12 Basic, click the “Upgrade” button. You’ll confirm that you’re changing plans.

Educators should use the K-12 Basic plan instead of the default free plan because educators get a few more items for free. Instead of just 25 responses per poll, educators will be able to receive up to 40 responses per poll. The K-12 plan also lets educators implement Poll Everywhere with PowerPoint/Google Slides, have full screen presentations, and access to many question types.

Once logged in, there are 2 ways to create a new poll activity. One is by clicking the button with the + inside in the upper left corner. The other is to click the red “Create” button. Both options will then show the user different available question types.

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Teachers can create different polls to suit different activity needs. Poll Everywhere provides polls for multiple choice, word cloud, Q&A, ranking, survey, open ended, and so many more. In fact, Poll Everywhere currently has 23 different polling options! We aren’t going to explore every single option in this post, but the image below shows the current options:

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Each option has its own tools and layout, so today we’ll start with creating a simple multiple choice poll. First, make sure to click on multiple choice. For this poll, I simply type the question, and then my answer choices. I can use text, or I can use an image. I can add more answer choices if needed. When I’m finished, I click the blue “Create” button at the bottom of the page. I created a simple question in the image below:

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I am taken to a new screen. This screen will display my results once the poll is active, and I can make further adjustments to my poll as well. Here I can customize how people respond, how many times they can respond, if they can change their answer, create a custom reply message, and if I want my poll to activate/deactivate at a certain time.

To manually activate/deactivate a poll, click the image of a phone with arrows shooting off to other devices. This same button deactivates a poll. Only one poll can be activate at a time.

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Once a poll is active, live updates will appear almost immediately as the question is answered. In the image below, you can see the live updates screen, side by side with the mobile view of the question. In this case, the user has typed the web address for the poll into their phone browser.

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With so many options, Poll Everywhere makes a great exit ticket, or a polling system built into a presentation. This is a simple, yet complex tool, and with so many options, there’s sure to be a poll to suit your needs!

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Symbaloo

 

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wished that you could set your Internet bookmarks up so that they were visual icons, instead of walls of text? Wished you could create different pages for different bookmarks so you could keep home and school stuff separate? What about wished it was easy to share all of your bookmarks with your students?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Symbaloo

First, the basics:

Name: Symbaloo
URL: http://www.symbaloo.com
Cost: FREE or $49 per year for Symbaloo PRO for Education
Problem this tool solves: Allows users to create visual bookmarks such as they’d see on a tablet. Can be embedded into their Google homepage or shared with students.

Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool that resembles apps on a tablet screen. Many folks prefer this method of bookmarking over the traditional text-based system, and this visual system is easier to use with younger students who have yet learned to read. Teachers (or anyone!) can create themed webmixes of bookmarks and then share the webmix with others.

Once a teacher has signed up for an account (and if you’re a Google teacher, it’s easy to connect your account to Symbaloo!), it’s time to create your first webmix. Users have two options – they can create an empty webmix, or they can add an existing one from the gallery. For the sake of today’s post, we’re going to focus on creating a webmix from scratch.

When you first create an account, some default webmixes will appear. These can be deleted or customized if you would like. More often than not, you’re ready to set up your own webmix. You do this by clicking the + sign to the far right of your webmix tabs, as shown in the image below:

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You’ll be asked if you’d like to create one from scratch or find one in the gallery to use. We’re going to focus on the left side, where we can create our own webmix. Give the webmix a name, and then click the green “Add” button. Now, your webmix will appear in your tabs on the page.

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With our blank webmix in place, we’re ready to begin building our bookmarks! There are a couple of ways to do this.

One way is to already know the website address. Click any blank tile, and a new window will pop onto the screen. You can create the tile yourself, by providing the website address, the name on the time, and the color of the tile itself. If you want a certain image for the tile, you can also upload one at this time. Finally, click save to add the tile to the webmix. Now, you can click and drag the tile to any location on the webmix.

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The second option is a little easier, especially if you know what you’re looking for. You can either click anywhere on the webmix to get the same pop-up window as before, or you can click search in the upper right corner. The search option defaults to tiles, but you can also search for other webmixes or someone’s profile.

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If searching for tiles, simply type the name of the site or service. For example, typing Kahoot or Khan Academy will bring up the tile that is already created for those sites. Click on the tile from search automatically adds it to your webmix. It can then be moved anywhere on the screen.

Webmixes can be shared by clicking the “Share” button at the top of the screen. A new window pops up and asks for a webmix name, description, and keywords. Users have the option to share the webmix publicly in the gallery or privately with friends. You’ll notice that the right side of the screen is hidden. This is only until the webmix has been shared. Click the green “Share my Webmix” button. You’ll be taken back to the webmix screen, and you’ll now see that the share icon at the top of the page is also green.

Clicking the Share button again will now open a window on the left side of the screen. If you click the webmix info and sharing options, you’ll again see the same share window as before, except now the right side is no longer hidden. Retrieve a link to share with others, share to Facebook, or even embed directly into Google Classroom.

Symbaloo has many other neat tricks and features, but the above will get you started. Once you are comfortable with the tool and using it, then feel free to check out the other things Symbaloo can do, such as become your homepage, add bookmarks as you browse the web, and create learning paths!

Resources

 

Fluco Toolbox image created by Stephanie King (Fan) for this series. Please do not use without permission.

Fluco Toolbox: Prezi

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever found that students tend to always use Google Slides or PowerPoint for presentations? Are you tired of the same old thing for presentations all of the time?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Prezi

First, the basics:

Name: Prezi
URL: http://www.prezi.com
Cost: FREE (with paid options)
Problem this tool solves: Provides another option to create visual presentations without using a slide deck format.

Prezi is a presentation tool that can bring more of the “ummph!” to your students’ work and projects. Students can create presentations that are visually connected and intriguing. While Prezi is offered to the business community with a limited free option and some paid options, Prezi for Education is much cheaper. The standard education version is free for teachers and students, and the paid option is $7 per month. In most cases, the free option will suit teachers and students just fine, but a comparison of features and prices can be found here.

In terms of what makes it different from PowerPoint and Slides, Prezi provides a different visual layout that transitions from one idea to the next. Ideas can be nested within each other, and the start of a Prezi can show all parts of the topic on one screen without overwhelming the audience with text. Prezi is an online only tool, much like Google Slides. Presentations cannot be downloaded for offline viewing with the free version.

Prezi does not limit users to a slide deck, but allows ideas to be connected and branched out, much like a concept map. Users need to plan the flow of their presentation still, just as they would with a Slide or PowerPoint. Ideas that just randomly flow into others does not help the audience to understand the topic or content. It is also helpful to note that with the latest version of Prezi, there is no blank template to work from. Users must choose an existing template and modify it to suit their needs.

Prezi is also now divided into Prezi Classic and Prezi Next. In the spring of 2017, Prezi launched Prezi Next, which is the newest version of the tool. All previous presentations became Prezi Classic. Prezi has no plans to develop Prezi Classic any further, but they will continue to provide support for it. If you signed up for Prezi after April 25, 2017, you only have the option to use Prezi Next.

No matter what tool is used, whether it’s Prezi or PowerPoint or Slides, the real key to a great presentation is going to be the presenter. If the presenter cannot deliver an engaging and memorable presentation, then the digital presentation tool becomes nearly worthless. Choose the tool that works best for the situation and use it wisely.

Resources

  • Here is a sample presentation I created for a conference about branding our district.
  • Prezi has created a playlist of tutorials for Prezi Next
  • If you prefer Prezi Classic, they have a playlist for that as well

 

Fluco Toolbox image created by Stephanie King (Fan) for this series. Please do not use without permission.

Fluco Toolbox: VideoNot.es

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wanted your students to watch and video and take notes at the same time, on the same screen? Before, you had to make sure they had pencil and paper, or were competent in switching between the video tab and the notes tab. Not anymore!

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: VideoNot.es

First, the basics:

Name: VideoNot.es
URL: http://www.videonot.es
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Allows students to take notes on a video on the same screen as the video, tracking the time in the video where the note is taken, AND syncs the notes to Google Drive for later viewing.

VideoNot.es is a tool that allows users to take notes to a video, and the notes are timed with the video. If you’re a Google Drive user, you have an extra benefit – VideNot.es will save your notes directly to your Google Drive for later viewing. This tool works with videos from Coursera, Udacity, edX, Khan Academy, vimeo, and YouTube.

If you’re a G Suite school or a Google Drive user in general, first you’ll want to sign-in. VideoNot.es will request to connect to your account so that it is able to sync and save notes to your Drive. You’ll need to sign in each time, but after giving those first permissions, it’s just one click of a button and done.

Next, you’ll need to retrieve the URL of the video you wish to take notes on. Paste it into the box on the left side of the screen, and a smaller version of the video will appear. That’s it! Then you can easily take notes on the right side of the screen, and Videonot.es tracks the time in the video where you began to make the note. This makes it a handy reference to refer back to later on.

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Once finished, you can give your notes a title, export them to Evernote (if you’re a user), or save them directly to your Drive. If you have the sync button turned on, everything is saved for you automatically. You can also open previous notes as well. Would you like to share your notes with others? No problem. The share button makes that easy. It will load the same Share screen you see in Drive, and you can input the email addresses that you wish to share the notes with.

Resources

Need a visual? Check out this tutorial from YouTube:

 

Fluco Toolbox image created by Stephanie King (Fan) for this series. Please do not use without permission.

Fluco Toolbox: Pixabay

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wanted to find free clipart and images for use that didn’t require credit or copyright permissions? Did you ever want to be able to find the images and clipart in various sizes?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Pixabay

First, the basics:

Name: Pixabay
URL: http://www.pixabay.com
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Copyright-free clipart/images to utilize in documents, lessons, social media, and more.

Pixabay is a website that provides images and clipart free of copyright under Creative Commons CC0. The images can be used as one wishes, without having to give any attributions or credit.  Each image is offered in three different sizes for ease of use. An account is free to create for the site. The best reason to create an account is so that when you are logged in, you aren’t asked to always enter a captcha when downloading the larger image sizes.

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Pixabay’s homepage. The background image will be different each time the page is loaded.

Searching Pixabay is relatively simple. On the homepage, simply enter the search terms for the images that you are seeking. It is best to keep your terms simple, as results are based on how the artists and photographers have tagged the images.

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Here is an example of a search for “siamese cats”. At the time you’ll see ads for paid images. These have a watermark on them. Simply ignore them and scroll down to view the free images.

Once you find an image that you like, click on it. You’ll be shown the image in a larger size. There will also be information about the author, related images, and detailed technical information about the image itself. You can favorite the image, share it, and provide comments. A green “Free Download” button is visible to the right of the image. When this is clicked on, three different image sizes for download will become available.

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Here’s what your screen will look like once you’ve selected an image. Simply click the “Free Download” button to see the different size options.

Click any of the size options to download. Here is where the difference of having an account comes into play. If you don’t have an account, you will be able to download the small size without any captcha popping up, but anything larger will show a captcha that needs completed before the image can be downloaded. If you have an account, you can click any size and not have to worry about the captcha.

The image downloads to whatever you have set the default location to be on your computer. For many, this is the “Downloads” folder. Once you’ve got the image though, you’re set!

Resources

If you need some visual tutorials, check out these YouTube videos for guidance:

 

Fluco Toolbox image created by Stephanie King (Fan) for this series. Please do not use without permission.