Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wrap-up from ITEC12

Our day began on Tuesday, October 16, with so many conference sessions to choose from,
what a difficult decision. Sessions were varied, with options from teachers at all grade levels, technology integrationist  technology directors, and administrators. There were about 1500 educators who attend the 2012 conference this year. 


The sessions we attended:

Johnathan Wylie presented "iPad Workflow Solutions for Educators." His presentation 
revolved around the lates and most efficient ways to get student work from the iPad to the 
teacher using a variety of apps, hardware and cloud based solutions to enhance the digital 

Keynote Speaker: David Pogue

David Pogue, is a technology writer for the New York Times, and a producer for PBS Nova shows. He showed us examples of "disruptive tech" - like the retina app (fix your wardrobe mishaps before they happen), word lens an amazing language translation app. He also demonstrated an app called voxer which is similar to walkie-talkies. At the end of his presentation he played two songs, with original lyrics for us on the piano, "I Write the Code that Makes the World Go Round" and "Don't Cry for Me Cupertino." Great energy after this presenter.


Check out the Vendor Time: Wow talk about a variety here is just a highlight reel from what was seen at the in our short time to see the latest and greatest coming out.
Display Notes

Tierney Brothers was demonstrating a product called Display Notes.  Yes, this is a paid subscription but how it works with the iPads and laptops was amazing for their demonstration.

MackinVIA allows students to access resources at the same time, anytime, anywhere. Hmm this is great to be thinking about as we are on a journey with 1:1 initiative's so students could access ebooks.  

As we look to the future we were able to also look at some new models of airports on the market, like Ruckus, and Meraki.

There was so many boothes to get through with a short amount of time. Way to display and grab our attention vendors.

Mr. Nidey presented " Getting BIG RESLUTS from just a few iPads". He doesn't have an iPad for each student but look how creative he has been within his classroom. He showed us how to set-up student centered classrooms within only a few devices. Mr. Nidey was also nominated for teacher honored: check out the West Des Moines Teacher Honored for Technological Creativity.

Leslie Fisher presented "The Web 2.0 You Might Not Know About." Her interest in technology while studying music at the USC. She quickly realized the value of utilizing computers for music mixing and recording. Today, Leslie has her own company called Fisher Technologies Inc. which is now a worldwide company, specializing in presenting solutions for educators.

As you can see our day was jammed packed full of sessions and trying to get a glimpse of what is already out there on the market new for technology. Click here to view more ITEC sessions from either Monday, or those that we couldn't attend on Tuesday.  There was so much to do in a given day.  What a wonderful learning experience.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What can Google Sites Do for You?

Mary Fran's Google Sites Tutorial is an excellent resource for anyone using Google Sites.

She has done an excellent job of breaking down different aspects and functions of Google Sites into an easy to read and follow format.

The site (created on Google sites of course) includes getting started, the basics, editing, inserting gadgets, using layouts and templates, and much more. She has video tutorials, links, and examples of sites and also has a section specifically for educators.

If you use Google Sites or want to create your own web site using Google Sites, I highly recommend this. It is also a great resource for students to create student portfolios on Google Sites. 

What can Google Sites Do for You? Check out this presentation to see the different areas in which you can apply Google Sites in your classroom.

Let's Get Started:

Log in to your school email account and find Sites located at the top of the bar. 

Click on Create

  • Browse the Gallery for a Template
  • Name your Google Site

Click on Create

Your ready to start designing your website.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to Create a Google Form?

How to create a form using Google Docs?

Here we'll learn by example.
Here is an example on the use of Google Form
First click on Drive

1. Click on the Create button on the top left section of the page.
Click on form.

2. You will be redirected to a screen, whose portion looks like this.


In the Question Title, Write down the question which you would like to ask.
In the Help Text, Write down some text, which would be helpful in understanding the question.
The third Option, i.e. Question type gives you a variety of options to choose from, Ranging from text, multiple choice, Check boxes etc.

3. After you've entered a few questions, and you're happy about it. The form will look like this


4. Once this is over, chose a theme from the top left corner.
The answers to your form sent over to your students or colleagues, will be stored in a Google spreadsheet, which may look like this.

5. Again if you are not sure with the final result, you can always come back and edit your form. 

6. Once everything is finalized, You will receive a link to your form, from Google.
So you don't have to worry, where did your form go, after you've closed your browser.


From there you may select some recipients to your form. Just type in their email addresses and click on send.

If you are still unclear at some point, Here is a Video depicting the previous steps, with helpful subtitles.

If you would like to check out some pre-made google forms be sure to look at these sites:
80 + Google Forms idea in the classroom: This website is has created examples forms for each of the different topics, follow the links in each of the sections to view the forms.

74 interesting ways to Use Google Forms in the Classroom: Check out the interesting ways of resources to continue to grow and add resources to your classroom. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Global Cardboard Challenge

Many of the Howard-Winneshiek Staff were inspired with the story of Caine’s Arcade blasted into the mainstream. If you haven’t watched the original, stop reading this and go watch it!
To celebrate the one year anniversary of the flash mob they hosted for Caine, they are organizing a Global Cardboard Challenge.  Hundreds of people are hosting play parties where kids can get together and MAKE with cardboard.  It’s about creativity, fun and more than anything, play. 
Take a look at the followup video to Caine’s Arcade.
Just as Caine's story has been an inspiration to our staff and students they have been creating there Cardboard project.

Cardboard Pile
Take a look at their before projects: As the projects are underway here is the pile of Cardboard the students used to create there imagination projects.

 Teamwork as the Kindergarten and 7th Graders work together to create there cardboard challenge.

Take a Look at the Finished Projects:

Car Maze
Global Cardboard Challenge


Monday, October 1, 2012

Dropbox in the Classroom

When I mention Dropbox to friends and colleagues, I usually get one of two responses – a knowing smile and nod, or a puzzled and quizzical look. Whether you know what the program is, you have likely heard the name. But really, what is Dropbox?
Dropbox is many things — a tool that’s so powerful, you’ll continue to discover new ways to use it. You can use it to store and sync documents and files across computers, tablets, and smart phones. I can write a lesson plan on my computer at home, put it in my Dropbox folder, and whoosh – it’s synced with my school computer. During a free period at school, I can open that file, make a few changes, and the changes are automatically synced with my home computer. It’s seamless, fast and free. 

How Dropbox works
So, how can you use Dropbox as an educator? There are many ways that you can do this. One is to just manage your own material and make it more accessible. Additionally, many applications that you likely use (Evernote, iPad camera roll,iPhoto to name a few) have a Dropbox sync option. Check your favorite applications to see if they have a “save to Dropbox” feature. Since Dropbox works across platforms and devices, you can use a Mac at home, a Blackberry phone and an iPad, and you will have access to your documents on *all* of them. Thanks to Dropbox’s syncing magic, your documents will be up to date at all times on all devices.

Using Dropbox with students
In addition to making your life a lot easier, Dropbox can be a great teaching/learning tool – and this is why its introduced to staff and students. The first thing to do is to create a sharing folder for each class you teach so you can make information available to your students (PowerPoints, hand-outs, reading assignments, whatever).
You can call this folder anything. For mine Tech Time, consider adding the word “share” and create folders with names like “Tech Time Share Folder.” When you go to your Dropbox page on the web, this screenshot gives you some idea of what you will see.

Next Step: Put your mouse over the folder and right-click on the folder - a drop down menu will appear. Select "Invite to Folder."

Next, you will get the window shown below. Input the email address of your students/staff (this will also invite them to join Dropbox, giving you and them the free 250 MB). You can also input a message like: "Accept this invitation to have access to our material for class."

Once you have invited students this becomes a "Shared Folder." Whoever has access to this folder (everyone who has been invited an accepted the invitation) can add files, download content, and (whether you like it or not) delete content. However, only *you* (as the owner of the folder) can delete or edit out content permanently. Click on the folder in Dropbox and then on "Show Deleted Files."

How do I employ Dropbox in my classroom?
Dropbox can be used in a number of ways. Here are several:
  • To store additional copies of hand-outs. Students know to re-download and print on their own here if they missed a hand-out due to an absence or simply lost it.
  • To distribute PowerPoint presentations – if they are too large for email or edmodo.
  • As a way for students to turn in homework assignments. It’s an easy electronic homework drop  and will time stamp submissions.
Dropbox can also be a useful tool in managing student projects and presentations. With Dropbox, you can visually determine that students have completed a particular portion of a project or presentation assignment. Best of all, since all presentations are “turned in” to same virtual place, every student can access his or her presentation by one log-in.

Students catch on quickly
They can store homework assignments there for easy access, pictures, and videos.  Students can use Dropbox on their phones to review handouts (rather than a print-out, ultimately saving paper). And many of them can sync their files across multiple computers outside of school. 

This isn’t a program you will have to teach your students to use. Don’t be surprised if in a few weeks, they’re showing you some tricks you haven’t even considered. That’s something I would encourage.