Record Student Thinking with @RecapThat

Icon of recap appI learned about Recap, an app that allows students to record video answers to questions the teacher asks, when a colleague of mine requested that it be added to her class iPads. I was intrigued by the description of what the app does, and I signed up right away so that I could get an idea of how it works. In short, the teacher asks a question, called a “Recap,” and the students respond via video.

How Does It Work?

The teacher begins by posing a question to the class. This can be done as a text question and/or as a video.Screenshot of question fields

After writing or recording the question, the teacher then has the option to determine, a)  how long the students have to record their answers, and b) whether to send the question to the entire class or just to specific students. This is a great way to differentiate and personalize learning!Screenshot of question distribution

When the student logs into or launches the app on the iPad, the question is there waiting. The Recap will launch immediately after loading, but the student is able to close the Recap in order to respond at a later time.screenshot of what the student sees upon logging in

Recaps that the student has done stay on the student screen, but the student cannot edit or delete them. The teacher is able to delete a Recap, however.

When the teacher watches the Recap, he or she has the ability to leave a typed comment for the student. Then student is then able to comment back to the teacher in text form. If a comment has been made, a little icon with a number will appear in the top right corner of the video.img_2648

If your students have email accounts or G Suite accounts, it is recommended that when you choose how your students will sign into the app that they use their own accounts. They will still have a class code so they can join your class, but it is a more secure way to use Recap. If you have students only sign in using a class code, they will have access to everyone else’s work.They will be able to see their classmates’ Recaps, respond to comments as a classmate, and accidentally record as another student. It is very easy to toggle back and forth between students, however, so a little bit of training should go a long way to get students used to how to use the app on shared devices.screenshot of shared account view

Teachers also have the option of sharing a student Recap publicly via Twitter or on the Web, or they can share privately via email. Screenshot of sharing screen

Common Core Connection

The Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening require that students are prepared for conversations with diverse partners and that they are able to express their ideas clearly and persuasively. In order to do this, students need practice doing so. Using an app such as Recap allows students to prepare dialogue, express it, and get feedback on their speaking in a non-threatening way. When teachers use the commenting feature, he or she can provide constructive feedback for the speaker, and the student can practice again if the response needs some clarity or refining.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Recap with your students?

Awww, Breakout! with #BreakoutEDU

BreakoutEDU Creators James Sanders (@jamestsanders) and Mark Hammons (@mhammons) state that it’s time for something different in education.

I couldn’t agree more.

Throughout this school year, I have been facilitating BreakoutEDU sessions for teachers in my district in order to introduce them to the concept.  More recently, I’ve had the pleasure of helping teachers facilitate BreakoutEDU games for their own classes. Teachers and students alike find that BreakoutEDU is fun, challenging, and just plain awesome. The more BreakoutEDU sessions I lead, the more I hear from teachers that they and their students have become “obsessed” with playing and writing games. That’s what education should be— so engaging that it becomes an obsession.

How Does BreakoutEDU Work?

BreakoutEDU is similar to the concept of an escape room. Students are given clues and puzzles to solve in order to get codes to open locks that are either hidden around the room or locked to the BreakoutEDU box. Once a game is launched, the team works together to beat the clock, solve all the puzzles, and unlock all the locks. “Breaking Out” means that the team has solved the last puzzle, unlocked the last lock, and opened the box to find out what is inside. Puzzles all require students to think critically, communicate, collaborate, and be creative. In many games, the more divergent the thinking, the more likely it is that a puzzle will get solved.img_6165

Necessary materials can be purchased from the BreakoutEDU website or you can purchase locks and the boxes at your local hardware or department store. I purchased an official BreakoutEDU kit, but I have been visiting stores around town for the best prices on locks and other supplies I need to supplement the base kit.img_7142Joining the BreakoutEDU website gives you access to numerous games that have already been submitted and accepted to the store. There are games that are specifically written for adults, which are appropriate to play during staff development or at a conference in order to learn about BreakoutEDU. Most of the games on the website are for students. You must join the website in order to access full descriptions of the games because all games are password protected. You’ll be given the code once you join breakoutedu.com. There are many games that are still under review, and as a member of the community, you are able to play the game with your students and provide feedback about the game before it becomes part of the approved games list. You’ll also have access to a template that helps you organize your own ideas as you start to write your own games.

Breakout Snip

One of the best parts about BreakoutEDU is the Breakout community. Thousands of teachers are active on the BreakoutEDU Facebook page. Every day, community members post pictures of locks or puzzle boxes they’ve stumbled across, ideas for puzzles and clues, or URLs to websites that can be used to create puzzles. Teachers ask questions of the group about facilitation as well as share stories and best practices for facilitating games. James and Mark are both active in the Facebook group, which means that teachers who have been bitten by the bug have direct access to the creators of the product!

BreakoutEDU Homework is the latest addition to the BreakoutEDU community. Each week, a new “homework” question is posted on the website. Some require watching videos and looking for clues within the video to solve the problem presented in the video. Others are purely digital games that don’t require any physical locks. In a digital game, all of the combinations to the locks” are submitted using a Google Form with Data Validation enabled so that the answers must be correct in order to submit the form. If you haven’t already checked out BreakoutEDU Homework, I highly recommend it.

**Note: BreakoutEDU Homework ceased shortly after this post was published. Instead, BreakoutEDU Digital was launched. Digital games are those that require no hardware. Puzzles are all linked from a Google Site (usually) and the “locks” are submitted on a Google form that includes data validation on each question. Check them out!

Common Core Connection

Playing BreakoutEDU games naturally develop students’ abilities to use their contemporary skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity (as in, being able to solve problems in different ways). The true Common Core connection comes when teachers create their own games that fit the standards their students are working toward achieving. Teachers can strategically create clues and puzzles that challenge students to use their knowledge of a subject or concept when developing games. Games can be cross-curricular by involving clues centered around the same content area but that require students to use different sets of skills.

What Do You Think?

What have been your experiences with BreakoutEDU? Have you tried the homework? What do you think?Please share them here!

Hyperlinks! In Google Docs and Slides! In the iPad Apps!

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 7.22.47 PMI have so much love for Google Apps for Education, and I am extremely excited about the update I recently discovered for the iPad apps (as I’m sure you could tell from the title of this blog post). As I was working on a Slides presentation, I tapped on an image and found that the update I’ve been hoping would happen, has! Now you can add hyperlinks to your Slides and Docs from within the iPad apps! Text, images, and shapes can all be turned into hyperlinks with one tap.

How Does It Work?

Tap on the image or shape you want to be hyperlinked, or highlight the text you want to be a link. A list of task options will appear. “Insert Link” will be one of the options.IMG_2240

IMG_2239Tap Insert Link and you’ll be able to either type in the URL or copy and paste a URL from a website.IMG_2243You are also able to add a link by tapping the image or highlighting the text you want to be the link and then tapping the plus sign at the top right of the actions menu. IMG_2245In addition to linking to an outside website, you’re also able to link to another slide in the presentation.IMG_2242You can’t tell just by looking that an image has a link (hyperlinked text will turn blue and become underlined). If you tap on any image, you’ll be able to tell whether the image has a hyperlink because the menu options will change from “Insert Link” to “Open Link” and “Edit Link.”IMG_2244

Classroom Applications

Now that students can add hyperlinks to their Docs in the iPad apps, students using only iPads have more options when collaborating on documents. One option is to “hide” links in documents by highlighting the text to be the link and tapping “insert link.” Another is to participate in a great creative writing activity: Choose Your Own Adventure slides (more on this later). Students can link to their own content or to others’ content, and so can you (if you choose to work on your iPad).

What Do You Think?

How might this addition to the iPad apps in Google Docs help your students to be creative and collaborate? Let us know in the comments!

 

Create Digital Portfolios with @Seesaw

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 10.36.10 AMWhen I hear the word seesaw, I usually picture the playground equipment of my youth, also known as a teeter totter. Now that I’ve been using the Seesaw app for awhile, however, I get a new picture in my mind: students quickly and easily sharing work with their teachers and their parents using the Seesaw app. If you’ve been searching for ways for students to “take their work off the iPad” and get it to you, you will definitely want to read on!

How Does Seesaw Work?

Seesaw is a “student-driven digital portfolio.” It allows students (or the teacher) to upload digital work, take photos of analog work and upload to the student portfolio, or create work to be organized in the digital portfolio directly within the app itself. Students are able to take photos and videos, draw, make notes, record their voices, upload from the camera roll, or add links they have copied from the Web. Seesaw also has a blog feature that allows the teacher and the students to publish work to the class Seesaw blog. Additionally, parents can download the Seesaw Parent app to have access to their child’s work as long as you turn that feature on and provide the join code.

You’ll be prompted with a few introductory screens once you sign up for an account. After that, you’ll let the app know how your students will be accessing your class.Seesaw_accessIf your students are younger than 3rd grade or they do not have their own email addresses, you’ll want to choose “Use Class Code.” You will then receive an email that contains the class QR Code that students scan when they open the app.Seesaw_codeWhen students launch the app, they choose “I’m a student” and then scan the code. It couldn’t be easier. Bonus–the app provides quality directions on the screen; just be sure you read through everything!

Once students are in the app, they have a few options for adding work. They can take a photo, record a video, draw on the recordable whiteboard, write a note (which also includes the option to record their voices), upload a photo or video that already exists in the camera roll, or include a link.IMG_2006As the teacher, you can also access this screen from the class feed by tapping on the green plus sign in the upper right-hand corner of the Class Feed screen or by tapping your name on the left-hand side and choosing Add Item.

Once the student has finished uploading or creating, he or she will tap on the correct name (or names in the case of group work!) and add it to the portfolio(s). You will then get a notification that a student has added an artifact and you have the option to approve the work before it is posted to the class feed.

Students can also add the work to specific folders that you’ve created. Underneath the work you will see a folder icon. Tapping the folder allows you to create a folder or add the work to a folder that’s already been created. Work can be added to multiple folders. You can also create folders in advance by tapping the folder icon located above the class feed list of students. You’ll know which folders an artifact appears in because you’ll see the folders underneath the work once you’ve organized it.Seesaw_foldersSeesaw has some built-in social sharing features, as well. Students can like work and they can add typed or audio comments to classmates’ work. This is an option that you can turn off if you wish under the Manage Class section in the left-hand menu (tap your name to access the menu).Seesaw_overviewIn the overview image above, you can see that one of your viewing options is the Calendar View shows you each date and how many assignments were turned in on that day. Tape the date itself to see thumbnails of all the assignments.IMG_2035The newest feature of Seesaw is the class blog. Tap on the globe to create the blog. Once you’ve created it, you or your students can tap the globe underneath the work to publish the work to the class blog. IMG_2041Last, students are able to send work directly to Seesaw from other apps. All they need to do is tap the Send/Share button, and Seesaw should be one of the options to “Open In.” If not, tap on “more” and slide the button to on. Students will then be able to choose their name from the list or share the artifact with everyone. If the wrong class launches when they share from another app, they will have the option to change classes.IMG_2042

Common Core Connection

Seesaw has done an excellent job of providing Common Core connections for different grade levels spans. From the left-hand menu, tap the blue “Help & Teacher Resources” button. On the next page, tap on Activity Ideas for your grade level span. There you’ll find ideas for lessons you can teach as well as “Common Core Standards Related to Seesaw” under the General Resources and Materials section.Seesaw_resources

In addition to the Common Core standards identified by Seesaw, using this app also helps students develop their 4 Cs: creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. Using this app is a great way to capture student work and student thinking in an organized way, and it’s perfect for classrooms that only have one iPad or for classrooms that have 1:1 devices.

What Do You Think?

Are you using Seesaw with students? If so, please tell us how!

Twitter Entry Points for Teachers

lhcsdchatI’m on a personal mission to get the teachers in my school district active on Twitter. Some teachers have taken the risk and jumped in with both feet, and others have needed a little more scaffolding. Below are three entry points I’ve used to help teachers feel more comfortable about using Twitter for professional growth and learning.

 

#eatandtweetedu

I travel to nine schools, and I like to eat lunch at the schools to build relationships with teachers and be available to talk about tech. I had the idea to try and get teachers on Twitter during lunch in a casual, non-threatening way, and not as a traditional PD presentation. Teachers and I sit at a table in the lounge and we are all on our devices. We learn all the basics of Twitter, such as following others, navigating the interface on whichever device is being used, and we learn about how to use hashtags. We tweet to #eatandtweetEDU, and I encourage you to try something similar and use the same hashtag. Let’s build a learning community through #eatandtweetEDU!

#20DayTwitterChallenge

This idea came from @tnalau with the City of St. Charles School District and it was brought to my attention by one of the administrators in the district. We thought it would be a great way to give teachers a daily focus for tweeting. I tied the challenge to earning a badge on our district badges website (lhcsdbadges.org), and it was great to see many teachers getting more involved on Twitter during the challenge. The challenge helped teachers participate actively on Twitter, and many have continued their learning beyond the challenge. We will be starting another challenge on January 11th. Join us! Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 7.57.17 AM

#lhcsdchat

This is a district-wide chat that I started last year to help teachers feel more comfortable with Twitter chats. The fast-paced chats can be intimidating, and some teachers have been hesitant to join the conversation because they aren’t sure what to do. Our smaller chat has definitely been an entry point, and teachers who have gotten the hang of it are participating in global chats now, too.

 

What Do You Think?

What entry points have you used to get teachers sharing and participating on Twitter? Please share in the comments!

Sharing Student Work: From iPad to Google Drive to the World

DriveThe iPad is an excellent tool for students to use when creating content. They are able to make different types of presentations, annotate still images, and create dynamic videos using content from multiple apps. But how does a student share work once the it is completed? Let’s look at how a student can share work (not just turn work in to the teacher) using the camera roll, Google Drive, and QR codes.

Taking Work off the iPad

The first step in sharing work is to ensure that the work has been saved to the camera roll. Different apps have different ways of making this happen, but most of the time you are looking for the send/share button– a square with an arrow coming out the top). Tap that icon and there will be an option to Save to Camera Roll. Again, different apps have different ways of showing this. If you don’t see something that looks like this image, just keep looking for the Save option.IMG_1946Once the content is in the camera roll, open the Google Drive app. Look for the + sign. Depending on the version of Drive that you are using, it will either be in the top right corner or the bottom left corner. Tap the + icon and look for the option to Upload. Choose Photos and Videos.Drive_Add

Tap the location you want to choose from– either the entire Camera Roll or one of the albums you have created. Tap the small thumbnails of any image or video that you wish to upload. When you are finished selecting, tap the check mark in the upper right corner. Your images will begin uploading immediately.Drive_UploadNext, tap on the “hamburger” menu in the top left corner (3 stacked lines) and go to the Recent tab. The images or video that you just uploaded will be at the top.Drive_RecentStudents can share their images or videos with you by tapping on the 3-dot menu to the far right of the document name.  He or she will choose “Add People” and then type in your email address when prompted. Tapping on the pencil will allow students to change the permissions of the document. Students can add a message if desired and then tap the send arrow.

You will find the work students shared with you in your “Shared with Me” tab in Google Drive.

Now comes the fun part. In my district’s GAFE domain, all documents have the default sharing setting of, “Anyone in Your Domain With the Link Can View.” This means that anyone logged into their account on our domain can view the document. However, this setting needs to change if you want outside viewers to see the product. Whether you do this next part or you have your students do it, you’ll need to be on a computer to change the sharing settings within the document.

  1. Sign into your Drive. You can access this from the waffle menu at the top right of the Chrome browser or by typing in drive.google.com.
  2. Right-click on the document (video, image) you want to share.
  3. Choose Share.Drive_Share
  4. Click the down arrow next to where it says, “Can View.”Drive_Share_Down_Arrow
  5. Click More.Drive_More
  6. Select the radio button next to “Anyone with the link can view.”Drive_Anyone
  7. Save!

There is another way to share the link. It starts in the same way:

  1. Right-click the document you wish to share.
  2. Click “Get Link.”Drive_Get_Link
  3. Click “Sharing Settings.”Drive_Share_Settings
  4. Follow the same procedures as above.

Next Step: Make the QR Code!

Again, you’ll right-click the document (video, image) you wish to share. Choose “Get Link” (as pictured above). Copy the link– it’s already highlighted. Visit a QR Code creator website– I prefer  to use i-nigma.com. Go to Create Barcode. Drive_QRCopy and paste the code. You can give the QR code a title if you wish (it’s much easier to identify QR codes if you do this!) and then right click on the QR code image generated.Drive_QR2

What Do You Think?

How do you have students take their work off the iPad and share it with you?

Connect Your Classroom Using #MysteryHangouts

Hangouts_IconI am passionate about helping teachers connect their classrooms bring the world to their students. One way I’ve done this is through promoting Mystery Hangouts and Mystery Skype. The tool isn’t the point (although I do lean toward Mystery Hangouts and that will be the focus of this post)— the purpose is to help students with deductive reasoning, critical thinking, and questioning skills as well as to bring students from around the country and around the globe into your classroom. All you need is a web-connected device with a camera and a willingness to try something new!

How Does a Mystery Hangout Work?

Mystery Hangouts can be run in a number of ways, but the most basic form is like a big game of 20 Questions. Teachers find a partner class in a different state, and they meet up over Google Hangouts. Classes take turns asking and answering yes-or-no questions designed to help the class narrow down where the class is located, and the first class to find the other wins! Sometimes students need to find the state of the partner class, and other times the students will locate the city of the partner class. That all depends on how much time you have— it’s much more challenging and time-consuming to locate the city! However, if you are partnering with a class in your same state, you’d want to find the city.IMG_5099

Once you have a partner class, you and the teacher will probably email back and forth to determine how the connection will happen. One way to create the Hangout is through a calendar event in Google Calendar. It’s a great way to start it off because when you create a calendar event, a Hangouts link is automatically generated. Add the partner teacher to the event, save the event so an email will be generated, and the partner class can join the Hangout through that link by clicking on it in the email!Mystery_Hangout_Calendar

Another way to create the Hangout link is by creating an event in Google+ and inviting the partner teacher to the event. When the time comes to join the Hangout, you’ll find the link in your events in Google+.

Mystery_Hangouts_Event

A third way is to use Hangouts to call your partner class, but the first two ways are more convenient. It’s easy to miss a Hangouts call!

During most Mystery Hangouts, students have specific roles. One of the resources I have used for determining roles is a this blog post by Pernille Ripp. She and her students came up with the roles together. Other great resources for learning more about a Mystery Hangout or Mystery Skype are:

If you’re not sure about what types of questions to ask, check out this blog post. It has some great starter questions that you can have in mind when you have your students come up with the questions they’d like to ask. One thing I like to do, especially with the younger students, is have a desk map in a protective sleeve for them to write on. As questions are asked and answered, students can eliminate states by crossing them off with whiteboard marker. When they are finished with the game, they can reuse the map for the next time.

Once each class has found one another, some classes like to share interesting facts about their state or city. Others will ask questions back and forth about what life is like in the other state. In some cases, the Mystery Hangout will be the beginning of a longer collaboration between two classes.IMG_5073

How Do I Find a Partner Class?

The Mystery Hangout Community on Google+, is a great source for finding partner classrooms. Just post a message to the community letting them know your grade level and availability, and more often than not you will get a response. You can also reach out to tech coaches or other connected educators– they probably know someone who knows someone. You can also find partner classrooms using Twitter or other social media. Be sure to use the #mysteryhangouts or #mysteryskype hashtags.

Common Core Connection

The nature of mystery location allows students to practice several of the 4 Cs as they communicate, collaborate, and think critically. They may also have to use their creativity if they come across an issue that requires “out-of-the-box” thinking. Every student is engaged in this type of activity— they are on task, they stick to their roles, and they are determined to be the first to find the other class. Students work together to maintain the forward movement of the game, and depending on the grade level, they collaborate on adjusting their questions if necessary. The more calls the students participate in, the better they get at thinking critically in order to ask the right questions to narrow the location down quickly. When students create presentations about their city or state and write reflections at the end of the call, they are also working on their grade level writing standards. Turn the reflective writing into blog posts and students are then working toward even more of the Common Core State Standards for writing.

What Do You Think?

Have you tried Mystery Hangouts or Mystery Skype? Please share your experiences and any resources you may have!

Create Interactive Videos with @TouchCast

TouchCast iconI have to admit— I had a hard time getting to know TouchCast. I knew its power and had a general idea of how to use it, but I was really struggling to make sense of how to create my final product. When I registered to attend ISTE 2015, I knew I had to find a session on using TouchCast, and I’m so glad I did! TouchCast Ambassador Crystal Kirch did a fantastic job with the lay of the TouchCast land, and now I can create my own (and so can you!).

What is TouchCast?

TouchCast is a free interactive video creation app that allows teachers and students to record themselves sharing a lesson or idea. Once the video is created, you add vApps, or video apps, to make the videos interactive. When a viewer taps or clicks on a vApp, the video will pause so the viewer can explore the vApp. Returning to the video is as simple as tapping back on the video! Some of the more popular vApps to add are websites, polls, images, videos, Google Maps, or files from Google Drive. Teachers and students all over the world are creating TouchCast videos and sharing them on public channels. Get the official TouchCast guide here. You can see what teachers and students have created here, which are links to TouchCasts found on Crystal’s original directions from the ISTE session. Also be sure to check out TouchCast for Education, or EduCast.

How Does TouchCast Work?

Start by going to the Cast Side to create your first TouchCast video. TouchCast opening screenYou’ll create a new project and have an option of themes you can choose from. Swipe to the left to see the different themes.TouchCast project screenOnce you’ve selected your theme, you will name your video. To start creating the interactive video, tap on camera. You’ll have the chance to create a transcript for the teleprompter, which plays on the side where the camera is (so you are looking at the camera!). You can also type out your transcript in a different app and copy/paste it into the teleprompter.TouchCast camera screenAfter adding your script to the teleprompter, record your video. You can record all of your video at once or you can choose to record separate clips of video. You also have the option of using a green screen background. Of course, you’ll have to record yourself in front of a green screen in order for this to work. Tap on the Effects tab to select green screen.

TouchCast effects screenAfter you’ve recorded your video, you will start adding vApps.

Tap on a video clip t0 add a vApp. Then tap on “Add vApps.” Tap again on “Add vApps” when the pop-up appears. Then tap “Add a vApp” from the menu at the bottom of the screen.adding vApps instructionsAs you add vApps, you can re-size them and move them around the screen until they are where you want them to appear. Then tap the little icon in the task bar and it will be removed from the video and will be stored down in the task bar.

Adding the vApps you want to use keeps them at the bottom of the screen in the task bar area. Once you’ve added all the vApps you want into each clip, you need to record them into the video at the times you want them to appear. An easy way to do that is to tap the record button at the bottom of the screen. This doesn’t re-record the original video clips. It just records the vApps into the video. If you press pause, though, you will be creating separate clips. When you get to the correct part of the video clip, tap the vApp you want to use. You should have already placed it in the correct place on your screen, so it will pop up where you wanted it to go. Because these are interactive video apps, you can interact with them while you speak and you can allow the viewer to interact with them on their own. For instance, if you add a website, you can scroll through the website as you are recording and the movement will be recorded into the video.

Another nice feature of TouchCast is that you can add a whiteboard to your videos. This can be an actual white board, a chalkboard, grid paper, or a glass screen, which allows you to annotate on images or on videos as you record them.

TouchCast whiteboard screenIt’s easy to get lost in the creating and get frustrated with TouchCast. To alleviate some of the frustration, I highly recommend that you write a script and/or a storyboard for your video so that you know what video clips you will use and which vApps you want (and when you want them to appear!). Remember that you need to tap on clips to add vApps, and you won’t be able to add vApps to a clip you’ve already recorded vApps into. So, have a plan!

Common Core Connection

Creating in TouchCast requires students to be creative and to think critically. Students are practicing their communication skills, and having students work in teams to create TouchCast videos ensures that they will also be developing their collaboration skills. Scripting and storyboarding incorporates the anchor standards categorized under Text Types and Purposes and Production and Distribution of Writing. TouchCast can be used across any discipline and for all purposes, making it a great choice for students to show their understanding.

What Do You Think?

Have you used TouchCast in your classroom? Please share how you’ve incorporated TouchCast into your teaching and learning in the comments!

 

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.