Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mobile Video - How to move between devices - All ideas welcome!

Recently I visited with a campus librarian who was struggling to move video between iOS devices, and she reached out for help. Of course, I was of little help, but I suggested that we put our heads together and come up with a blog post that could hopefully help others, and us, at the same time. (We know we don't have all the answers!)

Here was the challenge:
Students wanted to create videos using iMovie. The only devices available were iPads. These students had recorded several small videos on their iPhones. They needed to move these videos to one of the library iPads and add them to the iMovie app. Not an easy task, at least for us. We have all been using Dropbox as a way to move content on and off the device. The challenge was how to get the video into the camera roll so that they could be added to the movie in the iMovie app.

I didn't know how to accomplish that either. Then, she came across the iPad Camera Connection Kit. It appears that this little $29 device will do exactly what we needed. After she found this device, we marveled about how easy this solution is! Can't wait to try it! Any other suggestions or ideas will be appreciated as not all of our users will know or be able to purchase the kit!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Managing your Classroom with Google Apps

When SBISD became a Google Apps district, we were so excited because it is a great tool for collaboration (and more). It moved a suite of tools to the clouds for easy access from most devices. Teachers and students could share documents, presentations and more without needing to send through email. But, I never really thought about how challenging it might be for a teacher - particularly a secondary teacher with 5-7 classes - to manage classes and student submissions until a physics teacher at Memorial High School mentioned it early last fall.

Managing Workflow
After our discussion, it was clear to see that teachers might want need a way to manage the influx of products created and shared by students. Looking for solutions, I came across Hapara in the Google Apps Marketplace. Hapara has a wonderful interface for teachers and can help manage not only submissions, but offers additional features for managing email, Internet browsing and more! We are currently piloting it with a small group of teachers, but I'm not certain that it will be something we can afford district-wide.

What else is there? Recently, Carrie shared this Free Technology for Teachers written by Richard Byrne post on gClassFolders with me which, while not Hapara, would certainly be a better solution than nothing at all! gClassFolders is a Google Spreadsheet script that creates folders for you for any number of course sections. It creates a series of folders that will assist you with the management of the Google Apps classroom.
The video and this detailed printable sheet do a great job of walking you through the process of setting up your spreadsheets and running the script. I encourage you to spend a few minutes of your time on this post.

If the idea of running and managing scripts is overwhelming for you at this point, then here's another way to manage the workflow. Create and share (view only) a PickUp folder for each section. (If you haven't already added your classes to your Google Contacts, then follow this process. Then, sharing with each class is a breeze.) Then, create another folder for StudentWork for each section. Have each student create a folder with the section/period number and their name (ex: per2-KJustl) and share it with you. Once you have the folders in your Shared with Me list, drag them into the matching StudentWork folder. Then, when students add their work to the folder, you will be able to access it easily.

Here's another option. Holly Davis, one of our elementary teacher also shared that she creates a shared "drop"folder each week and color codes them for her reference. Here's her process:  "I create a weekly folder for each class with the date as the title then homeroom.  Having the date first keeps me organized.  I then color code the folders for each week.  As students share work with me, I drag it into the folder.  When I read, I mark the yellow star and comment.  The yellow star tells me at a quick glance that I've responded to their work."

Project/Product Workflow
It could be that you are just looking for a way to deal with project submissions when offering students choice. You might like a way to collect all of the links in one place rather than receiving a hundred emails from students with their links. Or, maybe you are trying to collect project embed codes so you can embed student work on a blog or website. Think about creating a Google Form! Create fields for student(s) name(s), period/class, project title, and embed code and any other desired information. Then, save as a template so that you can  create a copy for each project and post the link on a class blog or webpage.
Got some ideas/processes for handling workflow of your own? Looking forward to hearing from you!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Sometimes, I feel so slow on the go! Today, I ran across Richard Byrne's post from March about this really cool tool - ThingLink! It looked fairly simple, so I gave it a whirl. Here is what I created using a picture I took a few years ago. I really like the way I'm able to share my personal connection to the photo!

Then, I noticed that I also had come across this Google Presentation on ways to use ThingLink in the Classroom.  I think teachers and students can find lots of ways to use ThingLink for teaching and learning! Read about the limits on Richard's post, but I still think it is worth a look! Let me know if you try it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stupeflix Studio Update

Just noticed that one my first blog post on this blog was about Stupeflix Studio. Well, it is time for an update!  Stupeflix makes it really easy to mix photos, videos, music or voice to create stunning videos in seconds!We are no longer limited to the 1 minute limit for a free video! Spring Branch has purchased 15,000 accounts for teaching and learning! Teachers join the domain and are granted teacher privileges. Students join the domain and then teachers select their students to bring into their classroom! Teachers can then see student videos and projects without going elsewhere! Here's a brief video to explain the process!


Found another terrific storytelling Web 2.0 tool! Meograph! Take a look at one I made in about 10 minutes time! I can see lots of classroom uses - of course the obvious for social studies - taking the life of a famous historical person and reconstructing events in the life or a movement and tracing it over time! For language arts, the personal narrative or even explanatory writing. I'm sure y'all can comment with even more! Have fun and share your idea!

Lifelong learning

I have been pondering on this topic for some time now. I even spent over 30 minutes on the phone last night with a colleague discussing it. So, I was very pleased to come into work this morning and stumble across Brianna Crowley's blog post, Tips for Tech-Cautious Teachers! I eagerly read in anticipation of finding the solutions to why so many teachers are so cautious when it comes to technology. I'm not sure that I walked away with anything new to help teachers, but she did arrive at one of the same conclusions I have. We need to model lifelong learning for our students.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of conducting a teacher workshop at one of our high schools. I was so totally pumped up because I was going to have a full class of teachers willing to give up their afternoon to enhance their skills! The workshop was over a tool that has been in our system for some time now, and I had anticipated that I could gloss over some of the very basics such as how to find the tool, how to use the browser, etc. After a couple of minutes, I realized that I was not going to accomplish all that I had planned and went to Plan B. We ended up having a terrific training and I look forward to returning to the campus again soon and continuing what we started with these teachers!

Anyway, it struck me that I have seen some of these teachers before in a similar if not the same training, and they didn't seem to have made much progress. They were taking copious notes of each and every step in the process - a process that for me is rote (and I am no spring chicken). A couple of the teachers even said, "I need to write everything down. I won't remember how to do this again." I shared my Google presentation with them which had the major steps laid out, but it isn't going to help them with the steps where they need to look at the screen and decide what is the next click.

The experience has me thinking if there is a better way. Is there a way that I could change the way I train to better empower the teachers. Am I the problem? These teachers come expecting me to be the expert. I do the thinking for them and they sit and get. Isn't that what we are asking them not to do? Why am I modeling poor instruction? Aren't the skills I should be developing for teachers the same as they are developing for their students - critical thinking, problem-solving, true ownership of learning?

I had a room full. These teachers want the information and want to learn, but their model for learning is still in book form. That is how they have always learned. Is that bad? I used to think so but now I'm not so sure. Should we try and meet learners where they are and move them forward? I'm wondering, if to some, we are expecting them to move too far too fast (after all, I did it - it can't be that hard) and for them it is like jumping over the Grand Canyon.It isn't that they don't want to learn, we are just not presenting in the way that they know. Would it be OK to present the material visually in video, or does it need to be something that can be printed? Or, is time the real issue? Is the step-by-step, material in print desired because it shortens the time to learn the real issue?

As Briana says, "Occasionally, we teachers need to let ourselves experience discomfort and uncertainty, just as we expect our students to do." I'm not sure that teachers don't see that, but I am wondering if they are so busy with other facets of the job that they have a hard time carving out that exploratory time. These teachers gave up their afternoon. Were they just wanting/needing to try and make the most out of it?

Still pondering where to go now...  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Downloading Youtube with KeepVid and Embedding

Teachers are clamoring for ways to share YouTube videos with their students in SBISD. Here is yet another attempt...which appears to work!