Save Time! Use Keyboard Shortcuts on the iPad

iOS settings iconOne technology integration issue I hear about often from teachers is the amount of time it takes for students to get logged into a website or their Google accounts. It may not seem like it would be a big deal, but account sign-in can be a roadblock to technology integration if it takes up a good 5-10 minutes of time (especially at the lower grades). In one of those, “I can’t believe I didn’t think of this” moments, my friend and colleague Cassie (@cass_giirl on Twitter) reminded me of the “Text Replacement” feature on the iPad. Also known as keyboard shortcuts, this feature will save time and headaches!

How Does It Work?

Tap the following: Settings > General > Keyboards > Text Replacement. Tap the + in the upper right corner. The “Phrase” is the text you want to use, and the “Shortcut” are the few letters you’ll type in so that the “phrase” pops up. For example, if I type “La Habra City School District” quite often, that would be my phrase, and “La” might be my shortcut. Check out the gif below for a demo of what that looks like:

Create Keyboard Shortcuts

When you are typing anywhere on the iPad, including somewhere on the Web, typing those first few letters will bring up the whole phrase. Tap the space bar, and the phrase will fill in.

via GIPHY

For students in the district where I work, it is a challenge to remember and spell the end part of the email address. By creating and enabling this shortcut, teachers and students will find that they save valuable time getting students logged into their accounts.

Part of the beauty of these shortcuts is that they can also be created for student usernames or anything else that the students type often, and you control what the text of the shortcut is. It can be one letter or a few letters of the phrase. Even if you are working on shared iPads, the shortcut can be used by anyone who types in the phrase and it works everywhere– not only in websites, but also within apps and when typing in notes. Don’t want to use the shortcut but it keeps popping up? Just keep typing and don’t hit the spacebar!

What Do You Think?

Have you enabled keyboard shortcuts for your students? What shortcuts have you created, and how has it saved you time?

Tips for Non-Linear Presentations in Google Slides

Choose Your Own Adventure stories are a fun way to engage young readers.  Using Google Slides, students are able to author their own Choose Your Own Adventure stories using hyperlinked buttons for adventure choices so that they can publish and share their non-linear stories. Something frustrating for students is that when they put their slide show into presentation mode, clicking outside the hyperlinked buttons will make the presentation advance to the next slide, which is not necessarily where the reader wants to go. Using hyperlinked transparent rectangles solves this problem. Watch this brief video to find out how:

 

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!

 

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?

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!

 

A Challenge: Let’s Stop Pretending and #makeschooldifferent

makeschooldifferentI was challenged by Jessica Vannasdall (@mrsvannasdall) to write a post on what educators need to stop pretending in order to #makeschooldifferent. Here are my five:

Let’s stop pretending that homework in its current typical form is important or necessary. When done right, homework can be a good thing. But it usually isn’t done right and it’s either busy work or too frustrating to help kids improve. Rethink homework.

Let’s stop pretending that we don’t have time to change our practice. There will never be a good time to make a change, but it has to happen. We can not continue to teach today the same way we did a few years ago. It’s a different world. Change it up.

Let’s stop pretending that our students are “Digital Natives” and we are anything but. I wish this term could be stricken from the record. It creates an excuse that doesn’t need to exist and it needs to go away. We are all capable of learning to use technology in order to redefine what happens in our classrooms. Take the risk.

Let’s stop pretending that our students will take risks if we don’t. We have to be the role models for our students and for our colleagues. Risk taking is growth, and if we want our students to grow, we have to show them that we are growing, too. It’s ok to be scared. But jump in anyway.

Let’s stop pretending that we can do this alone. We can’t teach on isolated islands anymore. There are hundreds of thousands of teachers “out there” who are looking to collaborate, share ideas, and who want to make the world a smaller place. Our students want to collaborate, too. Make time to get connected. Reach out. You won’t be sorry.

I’m a little late to the challenge, so if you have already been challenged I apologize in advance. I challenge my friends Pablo Diaz @teachusingtech, Holly Steele @hollybsteele, Ann Kozma @annkozma723, Catherine Cabiness @ms_cabiness, and Sabba Quidwai @askMsQ. How would you like to #makeschooldifferent?

Get Students Using Evernote in the Classroom

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 8.09.21 PMI am a list-maker. I’m also a note taker; I need to write things down to remember them. As much as I love to write things down, though, I often forget to bring my list with me or I don’t have my notebook handy, and then I’m really lost. But I always have my smart phone with me (or some other device), so I use Evernote to keep my lists and to take my notes. Evernote is great as a personal production tool, but it also has many great uses for the classroom.

Evernote in the Classroom?

There are so many great ways to use Evernote on a personal level. I use it to curate the web, collaborate with my husband on home projects, keep lists (of course!) and more. After I got hooked on it personally, I wanted to figure out if there was a way it could be used in the classroom to promote the Common Core Standards. Here’s a short list of the benefits of Evernote:

  • Teachers and students collaborate and share resources easily
  • Create notebooks for each class, and create a new note for the class each day with the agenda, images of notes, and/or audio comments
  • Each note has a shareable URL, so teachers can post their notes for the day to social media and allow parents to access
  • Email notes to parents if they don’t use social media
  • Record audio comments as feedback directly in a student note
  • Tag notes with labels for easy searching
  • Prevents backaches: Instead of having to lug giant notebooks around for grading, the shared notebooks are in the Cloud!
  • Having the premium version means that you can view “note history” if you create the note
  • Having the premium version also means you can share entire notebooks instead of just single notes
  • Students can collaborate together (but not in real time)
  • Present notes to the class in presentation mode
  • The Web Clipper and iPad work-around (bookmark feature) means that students using iPads can save websites into Evernote
  • Chat with group members who are online in the app
  • Change the email associated with the account so that when students leave the district, they maintain ownership of all of their notes.
There are plenty more that I could add to the list, of course. These are just a few ways that students and teachers can use Evernote in the classroom.

How Does Evernote Work?

Evernote uses notebooks and notes. Notebooks are like spirals– you might have one for each class you are taking. Notes are more like the pages in each spiral. Each day, you might start on a new page in a spiral and take your notes there. That could work with Evernote, but students could also have one note for each week, or they could have one note for each unit of study just to cut down on how many notes are in each notebook if they wanted to.
Evernote_1
To quickly start a new note in the app, tap on one of the buttons shown below. Starting this a specific type of note doesn’t mean that you can only have those things in the note. Notes are dynamic, so if you start a text note, you can always add images later, or vice-versa. Once you have a note open, you will also be able to add voice recording clips to a note.
Evernote_4The latest update of Evernote introduced Work Chat, where you can chat with your collaborators. This is a good feature if you have multiple partners working on a project and you want to talk about changes you are making to a note, but you don’t want everyone to be making changes at the same time.
Evernote_3
If you are working on the desktop or on the Web version of Evernote, you will have the option to stack your notebooks. This is like putting all of your spiral notebooks into a binder.
Evernote_2

 Collaboration Project

Some of my colleagues and I put together an Evernote Collaboration Project that we presented at the Annual CUE Conference in 2013. We grouped the students into quartets: two students from a fifth grade classroom in one district partnered with two students from an eighth grade classroom in a different district. The teachers decided that their collaboration project would focus on Science and Language Arts standards, and students collected information and resources about disastrous weather. In an effort to circumvent asking for funding from the principals, I created a shared account and all the teachers and students had access to the same account. I created notebooks for each group and each group took written notes and audio notes in their respective notebooks. There were incidences of students putting notes in the incorrect places, but we didn’t experience any issues with students doing anything unsavory to anyone else’s notes. They were extremely respectful and they “kept their digital hands to their digital selves.”

Common Core Connection

The collaboration project proved that Evernote can be a valuable resource not just for personal use but also for classroom use. Students were able to communicate and collaborate using the app because all of the students had access regardless of the device they were using. Common Core standards call for students to collaborate and to use the appropriate tool for the appropriate job. While this is a predominantly a personal productivity tool, using Evernote in the classroom can be beneficial for teachers and students as they work to build their technology skills.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Evernote in your classroom? Please share in the comments!

Flip Out over Flipagram

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 10.30.55 AMFlipagram is an app that allows you to create videos from the images you have on your iPad or in your social media accounts. Of course, there are other apps that do the same thing, but with Flipagram, students don’t need an account to create and save their video creations (unless they want to go back and edit a video they’ve already finished). Adding audio is as simple as choosing a 30-second song clip from the app or a song that has already been purchased, or recording a narration by the student.

How Does Flipagram Work?

When you open the app, it will probably tell you that you’ll want to start following friends and other interesting people, because Flipagram is a social sharing app. You can skip it if you wish– sharing isn’t required for using the app.  flipagram1Tap the plus sign to start adding images from the camera roll or from social media accounts (if that’s acceptable in your district/school/classroom).flipagram3Tap Camera Roll and choose all the images you want to use. Then choose Next.

flipagram5Once you’ve chosen your moments, you can rearrange them by tapping, holding, and dragging the images to the desired location. From this same screen, tap on any image to crop, edit, or add text.

filpagram6When you are finished cropping the images (moments) and adding text, choose Next. You’ll see the first image and you’ll be able to add a title.

IMG_4669The rest of the images can be seen in the timeline below the first image. You can tap on the smaller images to bring them up to the larger window. You can continue to add text to each image or edit images with filters. This is also where you will be able to change how quickly the images change, and you’ll find the music icon to add your audio. Tap Music and you’ll be given three options.IMG_1078Choose “Find Music” and you’ll see that the app has a number of 30-second song clips that can be used in the Flipagram video. Better, students can record their voices and narrate their creations. Before students add full versions of songs they own, they should be aware of Fair Use limitations. When you are finished, choose Done, and then choose Next. You’ll be taken to the Share screen. You can caption your video if you want to, but it’s only necessary if you are going to post the video to your Flipagram account. Personally, I keep the option of posting to my profile off.IMG_1083Students have many options for sharing their videos via email, social media sites, YouTube, or just by saving it to the camera roll, which is the best option. Saving to the camera roll means that students can “App-Smash” their videos into other apps, including Aurasma, iMovie, Explain Everything, or any other app that allows students to import video.

IMG_1084If you choose More to save to the camera roll and you don’t see that option, it’s because the app saves to the camera roll automatically by default. If you don’t have automatic saving turned on, one of the options under “more” will be to save to camera roll.

flipagram2If students do want to edit a flipagram after it’s been completed, they will need an account. However, if students don’t choose “Done,” they will be given the option to resume editing the unfinished flipagram.  IMG_4671

Common Core Connection

Flipagram can easily be used across grade levels and across content areas to help students in all standards of the Common Core, especially the Anchor Standards for Writing and Speaking and Listening. Using the app helps students to show their understanding of concepts. Students can work together to create a Flipagram video or they can ask others for feedback on the feeling their video promotes. In this way, students are boosting their collaboration and communication skills as well as their critical thinking and creativity skills. Post their Flipagrams on a website or tweet the links to build a broader audience for students.

What Do You Think?

Have you used Flipagram in the classroom? How have you and your students used the app and shared videos?

Need More than the Docs App Can Do? Use the Desktop Version!

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 1.35.58 PMThe Docs App on the iPad is great and it allows for students to quickly create and share documents with others. Students can change the font to a limited number of fonts, they can change the size and color of their text, they can highlight, and they can also add a bulleted or numbered list. But what if they need to do more, such as double-space their text, see the revision history of a document, or use research tools? Have them use the desktop version!

How Does It Work?

The desktop version of docs or drive is accessed through a Web browser. Start by having students open Chrome or Safari (or whatever Web browser they use) and go to drive.google.com. From there, they will log in with their Google Apps account username (their email address) and password. The screen will then look like this:

drive_desktop_1This screen is really more of a viewer. Even if you choose one of the folders or documents from your Drive, you will won’t be able to do anything with it. In order to be able to edit, you need to open it in the desktop version. On the left, you’ll see three little lines. Tap those lines for the menu. Then choose Desktop Version.

drive_desktop_2You will be brought to the desktop version right away, but you will have to go through a few more steps before you are able to edit a document in the desktop version. Scroll through and select the document you want to open by tapping on it.drive_desktop_3You’ll be sent back to a very basic editor. drive_desktop_4You could edit the document from here by choosing Edit, but you’ll want to remind your iPad that you are trying to use the desktop version by choosing the two little down arrows next to the Edit button. drive_desktop_5The iPad really resists doing this, as you can see, so remind it again that you do, indeed, want to use the desktop version.drive_desktop_6After this, your document should open right away and you’ll have access to just about everything you have on the computer.drive_desktop_7

For example, you might not be able to create a table in on the iPad, even in the desktop version. But you will be able to double space documents, see the revision history, and use the research tools within Docs.

What Do You Think?

Yes, this process can be frustrating, but it provides additional functionality to Google Docs if your students are using iPads and there isn’t access to computers. Or have you found a better way? If you have, please share!

Get Creative with Paper by FiftyThree

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 4.04.09 PMYou might have heard an increase in the term “sketchnote” being used over the past year or two. Sketchnoting is a way of taking notes that involves using creative text and images to record notes. I’ve tried it a few times, and not only do my notes look really cool, but it helps me to remember the really important bits of a presentation or conference. If you are an educational psychology buff, you are probably saying to yourself, “Of course it does! That’s the Dual Coding Theory!”

You don’t have to be an artist or even a creative-type to sketchnote. All you need is a paper and a pencil— or if you are on the iPad, you will want to experiment with Paper by FiftyThree.

How Does Paper 53 Work?

Paper is a free app that has some in-app purchases. When you download the free app, you will have a limited palatte of colors, the calligraphy pen, and an eraser. You might want to start by checking out the guide, Making Paper.

Paper is organized into Journals. Users have the ability to create new journals or add pages to existing journals. You can also customize the front cover by choosing one of the covers available in the app or using an image from the camera roll, and of course you can name each journal.IMG_1033.PNGThere are two ways to unlock the color palette and additional drawing tools within Paper by 53. The first way is through the in-app purchases— roughly $8.95 in all. The other way is to purchase a Pencil by FiftyThree, which is the special stylus made by the company. When you sync the Pencil with the app, it unlocks all the tools. I was fortunate to receive a Pencil as a gift for my birthday (and then again for the holidays, but that’s a different story), and it has made all the difference in my ability to create sketch notes. I have found that using the Pencil greatly increases my comfort with writing and sketching/drawing in the app.

IMG_1059Notes or sketches made in Paper can be captured to the camera roll from the landing page. Open a journal, choose a page, and select the share button. Tap “Save to Camera.” This allows the sketches made in the app to be app-smashed into other apps.

IMG_1057.PNGBe sure to watch the video tutorial on the Paper by FiftyThree Website. Also check out Mix by FiftyThree. It’s a great way for students to play off the work of others.

Common Core Connection

Like many apps featured on this blog, using Paper by 53 helps students develop their communication, critical thinking, and creativity skills more than it helps them with specific Common Core standards. As students learn to take visual notes, highlighting key information with words and images rather than recording every word of a lecture, they are thinking critically about main ideas. When students start a Journal or notebook, it’s blank– and the blank pages mean that students have total creative control over what they will do with each page.

Classroom Ideas

Students can use Paper to do a number of things in class:

  • Take visual notes
  • Sketch an idea
  • Create a Thinking Map
  • Remix an image related to curriculum found on Mix
  • Draw the background for slides used in Keynote, Haiku Deck, or Google Presentations

What Do You Think?

There are so many more ideas for using Paper with students in class. How are you using Paper with students?