Archives for April 2015

Visual Storytelling with Adobe Slate (Now Spark Page)

Spark Page icon

Adobe Slate (now Spark Page), a new app from the design powerhouse that is Adobe, allows students to create simple visual stories that can include text, photos, photo grids, and links to other websites. The images students use can be images they have taken themselves and have in their camera roll, or they can do a Creative Commons image search directly in the app. This is a great way to search; Not only does the app search the Creative Commons, it also includes a citation for the images used at the bottom of the product the student creates. In order to use the app, students must have an Adobe ID, or the teacher must create a classroom Adobe ID account for all students to use.

How does Spark Page Work?

The home screen of Spark Page looks very much like Spark Video (was Adobe Voice). There are two tabs at the top of the screen— an area for students to explore projects made by others and one for students to find their own projects. There is also a very large “Create” button at the top.Slate_create

The first step is to add a title and/or subtitle and a cover image for the story. Slate_opening_page

Tapping the tiny + signs allow students to add different types of media— images, photo grids, text, or links. Plus signs remain in between each type of media added so that other media can be added before or after the previous media (rather rearranging the media).Slate_+signs

When students add text, they have the options of adding bullet points, a numbered list, quote text, header text, or regular paragraph text. slate_formattingIf students wish to add a link, they will type in a title that will appear on the link button as well as the link URL.Slate_links

Students have many options when they add images to their story. Students can use images that are already on their iPads, they can use the camera to take a photo, or they can do an image search. Adobe Slate only searches images that have a Creative Commons license. When a photo has been chosen, a small i will appear at the bottom of the image to show the attribution information.slate_attributionOther options for images include how they will be displayed. One is to have the image be a “window.” Most of the time, when swiping up through the story, the entire story will scroll. When adding an image as a window, the image gets attached to the background and the rest of the story moves around it. You will need to experiment with it to get a better idea of what this means. Students can also change the focal point of the image by dragging the button in the center and watching the tiny window in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. When they are happy with the image, they will tap Done.Slate_windowThere are other options when displaying images.

Slate_image_optionsThe last step is to share the Page. Tap the share button in the right corner for the sharing options. Sharing can be over social media (not necessarily recommended), or students can email a link if email is enabled on the device. Other options are to copy the link to the clipboard and paste it somewhere else (like on a website or blog) and the last option is to copy the embed code. This is a great option if your kids are blogging, especially using Kidblog, because they can copy the embed code directly into Kidblog and share the Page that way.

Common Core Connection

When using creation apps, whether or not the app helps students meet Common Core State Standards depends up on how the app is being used. An app that allows for students to author visual stories and share a message using images and text best addresses Writing Anchor Standard 6: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6– Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others. However, another way this app can be used is for students to show their understanding of characters in literature, which addresses Reading Anchor Standard 3: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3– Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Refer to your grade level standards for specifics.

What Do You Think?

Spark Page has some limitations. One of the major limitations is that students need to be logged into an account to use it. Another is that Pages can only be shared through email, links (hooked to a QR Code, perhaps), or by embedding into another site. This can cause problems for the novice user, but with some technical support, I see students being able to use this app to produce some really nice visual stories.

Do you agree? Have you used Spark Page with students? What do you think of it?

Here’s my finished product:
Sharing Your Work

**Post updated on 9/13/16

Curate the Web with Flipboard

FlipboardThe more students use mobile devices in the classroom to find information, the more important it becomes for students to curate resources they find on the Internet. There are many apps and tools that allow students to curate, including Pinterest and Evernote. Flipboard is another tool for students to use, where they create magazines around specific content that they determine.

How Does Flipboard Work?

Flipboard is a Web tool as well an iPad app that allows the user to create a digital magazine. Teachers and students create accounts in Flipboard, which allows them to follow users, follow magazines, and most importantly, create magazines of their own. Each time a student flips an article into a Flipboard magazine, he or she can make comments on the article. This provides other viewers with some context—why the article is being flipped or what the article means to the student. This can help teachers follow the students’ thought processes as they browse student magazines.

Getting Started

Download the app or visit Flipboard on the Web. The process is a little different on the Web, however, and the following images and directions will be for the iPad app. Choose “Get Started” to create your account. Flipboard_Get_StartedYou’ll be required to choose at least 5 topics to follow, and then choose Next to create the account.Flipboard_Choose_TopicsYou’ll be able to use Facebook, Twitter, or an email account to log in. Students should definitely use their school-administered email account to sign up if they have one, or you can have create students’ accounts by using the gmail +user trick.

Once you have created your account, tap the red ribbon in the upper right-hand corner for the menu.Flipboard_menu You can create new magazines to curate, or you can find other magazines to follow by using the “discover more” option on the left. You can also find the magazines, people, and topics you are following as well as see notifications for activity on your magazines.  Flipboard_Menu_ItemsAfter you’ve followed some magazines, you’ll be able to flip through them and read them as if they were actually magazines. Just start swiping left or right and your magazine will respond.To read an article, tap on the title of the article. The plus sign allows you to add the article to one of your own magazines.Flipboard_remixAs students are on the Web doing research, they can flip articles directly into their magazines. When they are on the website they want to save, they choose the share button (in Safari). Tap the Flipboard icon.Flipboard_Web_FlipperStudents can then type in a comment or discussion point, and choose the magazine where they wish for the article to go. Tap the word magazine to change the magazine if necessary.Flipboard_Web_Flipper_2Flipboard also allows magazine owners to add collaborators, meaning multiple students can curate resources into the same magazine. This is a great idea for gathering resources for a group project. Three of my colleagues and I worked with some fifth grade students to do just this. If you want to invite others to contribute to a magazine you own, tap on the magazine and choose “Invite People to Contribute.” Flipboard will send an email to those you want to contribute, and they will be added once the accept the invitation. Flipboard_email_invitationIf you want others to see your magazine but not follow it, tap the share button at the bottom of the magazine and choose Share via Email.” This is also how you can delete a magazine.Flipboard_Share_via_email

Common Core Connection and Classroom Ideas

Have students search for articles on a specific topic for a project. As they flip the articles into a magazine they’ve created on a topic, make sure they write a comment that cites evidence in the article. The comment can be a conclusion or an opinion or argument, as long as they cite the source in their comment. This addresses Reading Anchor Standard 1.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.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.

To address Reading Anchor Standard 2, students can do the same type of assignment and comment by discussing a theme or by providing a summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

As students become more versed in using Flipboard and curating their resources into the appropriate places, almost every Reading Anchor Standard can be addressed. Students need to add their comments as they flip resources into their magazines, and those are the pieces that the teacher can use when analyzing student work.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Flipboard with your students? Share some magazines in the comments. Looking for a great magazine to follow? Check out this one on Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology by Dr. Abbie Brown and Dr. Tim Green.