Archives for October 2014

Create Beautiful Infographics on the iPad with Canva

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 10.06.27 AMInfographics are visual images used to represent images or data. We used to just call them graphs or charts, because that’s usually what they were. Over the past few years, however, there has been an upswing in the number of infographics created to portray data in a visual way. There are many free online tools, such as Piktochart and Canva, that allow students to easily create infographics on their own. Now Canva also has an iPad app that students can use as they create visuals to communicate knowledge and information with others.

 How Does It Work?

Students begin by choosing a customizable design. Any designs that have already been created will be in the “Your Designs” section.

IMG_0974From there, students will choose a vibrant layout. Each layout is customizable, even down to changing the entire background. The text that is part of the layout is just a place holder– students can double tap on any word and change the text on the page. They can also change the font, the color, the size– anything!

IMG_0975Using the Uploads tab on the left, students can also upload their own images from the camera roll or take a photo. Then they can add a background and add different artistic text features. Just tap on one of the choices and it will pop into the graphic. Even with the fancy text features, the text is just a placeholder and everything can be customized.

IMG_0977When students are ready to share the infographic, they have a couple of options.

IMG_0983

The first option is to share via mail or Twitter. The other option is to download the infographic either as an image or as a PDF. Students can then “Send image to…” which allows them to open the document or image in another app. However, in order to save the images to the camera roll, a couple of additional steps are required.

  1. Download as an image.
  2. Choose “Send image to…”
  3. At the bottom of the two columns, choose “Quick Look”
  4. This opens the image. In the upper right hand corner, you’ll see the share button (square with an arrow)
  5. Tap the send button and choose “Save Image.” This saves the images to the camera roll. You will need to do this with each page of the infographic.IMG_0984

Common Core Connection

When thinking about reading in the Common Core, it’s important to remember that text doesn’t necessarily have to be articles, essays, novels, and the like. Text is all encompassing of many different types of media.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Students are practicing creativity and communication skills, as well, when they create infographics, and the best part is that they can be used for students to show their understanding of just about anything. They can also be used for students to synthesize information they have gathered from multiple sources around one idea or argument.

What Do You Think?

How are you using infographics in the classroom with your students? What are your favorite tools for this?

Google Drive: How to Share Folders When Using iPads

DriveIf your students are using iPads in the classroom and you have Google Apps for Education, here is a relatively quick way for students to share folders with their teachers. The best thing about shared folders is that anything a student puts in his or her folder is shared with the same permissions as the folder. In other words, if the student shares a folder with the teacher and then adds a document to that folder, the document is already shared with the teacher and the student doesn’t have to take any extra steps in sharing the document.

Using Google Classroom will do all of this for you, but if you aren’t using Classroom and you still need to share folders (and you aren’t ready to try out using gClassFolders yet), this is an easy way to do it.

The Steps

  1. Launch the Google Drive app and have students sign in using their Google Apps account.
  2. Tap the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Choose “New Folder.”
  4. Title the folder and tap Create. Students should follow the same naming convention:  For example, Period_1_LastName_FirstName
  5. Now back at Drive, the student needs to tap the little i on the right side of the folder. This brings up a Details menu.
  6. Tap the Share button.
  7. Type in the email address of the teacher. Make sure to have “Can Edit” checked.
  8. Tap the blue check mark, and you’re done!

The teacher will now see all of the share folders in the tab marked “Incoming” (which used to be Shared with Me). Folders can be moved from Incoming to My Drive in order to organize them into one folder in your Drive for each class period.

Visual Steps

I like to see things in video form, so here are two short videos I created to show the process.

What Do You Think?

How have you streamlined the process of sharing folders for your students, aside from using Google Classroom or gClassFolders?

QR Codes: Hanging Digital Work on Classroom Walls

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.38.30 AMQR codes are everywhere, from product packaging to business cards. But what is a QR code, and why should teachers care? One of the biggest concerns I hear from teachers as students create more and more digital products is that there won’t be any student work to hang on the walls. Using QR codes allows students to create a portion of a project on paper– such as an illustration or some other work of art– and the student can then make a QR code that contains the digital product they’ve created to go along with it. Print the QR code, attach it to the artwork, and anyone with a mobile device can view the project in its entirety.

Reading QR Codes

My favorite app for reading QR codes is i-nigma. It’s the quickest reader I’ve come across. Just launch the app, hold your phone or iPad up to the QR code, and wait for the ding. You won’t have to wait very long– the app uses the camera of the device and it uses the whole screen to scan the code, not a little red line within a special place on the screen. It’s seriously fast. There are other apps you could use, such as Red Laser (an iPhone app that works on the iPad), QR Reader for iPad, or Qrafter. All of those apps are great because you can also create QR codes directly from the device. But the fastest reader out there is i-nigma.

Below is an infographic I created about QR codes with some ideas for how they can be used in the classroom.

Common Core Connection

It is a stretch to say that there’s a Common Core connection when using QR codes in the classroom, but they do help with the dissemination of information. Using QR codes provides students with easy access to materials you create or websites you would like for them to visit. It also provides a quick way for anyone coming through the classroom to have access to the digital products your students are creating, and those digital products are all reflective of their understanding of Common Core State Standards. Additionally, having students create QR codes for their own work helps them develop their digital literacy skills as they learn new ways to share their work.

What Do You Think?

How have you used QR codes in your classroom? what is your favorite tool for reading or creating them?