YouTube: Add Sections to Your Channel

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.44.56 AMIn a previous post, I talked about how to create a playlist. Making playlists is the first step when gathering videos for a lesson, and once you’ve done this, making playlists easily accessible to students is the next step. This post will show you how to edit your channel navigation so that you can put a playlist on the home page of your channel for easy access. Students are able to view your playlists by choosing playlist from your channel menu, but adding the playlist to your channel for a short time gives them immediate access to the lessons. One of my favorite things about doing this is that you can put a playlist up for a unit of study, and when you are finished with that unit, you can hide that playlist and put your next one on your channel’s landing page.

Edit Channel Navigation

This video will walk you through the steps for editing your channel navigation. This must be done in order to put a playlist on the landing page of your channel. It will enable you to add sections to your channel.

Add A Playlist to Your Channel

If you aren’t already there, click on the menu next to the YouTube logo in the upper left and navigate to “My Channel.”YouTube My ChannelNow that you are able to add sections to your channel,  you will click the “Add Section” button. If you don’t have this button on your home page, please watch the video above! The button will be located under the area for an Unsubscribed Channel trailer. This is an optional video that you can create to let others know what your channel is all about. Add a Section to ChannelClick on the Content dropdown menu and choose Single Playlist. When you do this, a new set of menus will appear underneath the Content and Layout menus. You can also change the layout from horizontal to vertical.Add a Section 2There are two options under Choose A Playlist. Click on the option on the right that says “Find playlist.” This will bring up all the playlists you have created. Choose the one you’d like to display on your channel.Add a Section 4A preview of what your playlist will look like appears, and if you are satisfied, choose Done in the upper right-hand corner of the workspace. Now students (or anyone who visits your channel) will be able to see this playlist when they visit your channel.

Remove the Playlist from Your Channel

Removing a playlist will not destroy it, but instead it will hide it from the front page of your channel. To do this, hover your mouse over the playlist you’d like to remove. In the right-hand corner of the playlist, you will see the edit icon (pencil) appear. Click the pencil.YouTube edit buttonYou will now see the menu that you used to add the channel to your section, and in the upper right-hand corner you will see a trash can. Clicking the trashcan will remove the playlist from your channel’s home page, but it will not remove the playlist from you account. You can always add it back if you change your mind by following the steps for adding a playlist to your channel.Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.29.10 AM

What Do You Think?

How have you used YouTube playlists on your channel home page? Do you have other suggestions for helping your students find your videos easily?

 

 

 

How to Create a Playlist in YouTube

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Gathering videos on a YouTube playlist is an awesome way to collect video resources for your students. You can include videos you’ve created for students, and you can also explore YouTube for videos that others have created for educational purposes. This post will just deal with creating the playlist. In the next post, I will show you how to edit your channel so that you can put your playlists on your channel for students to have easy access to the videos you want them to watch.

How Do You Create a Playlist?

1. Make sure you are logged into YouTube with your GAFE account (if you use Google Apps for Education in your classroom) or whichever account you will point your students to.YouTube sign in

2. Search for a video you want to add to the playlist.YouTube video search

3. Click on the video you want to view and/or save, and look at the menu under the video. You will see an “Add To” button. YouTube Add to

4. If you have already created some playlists, you will see all of them when you click on “Add To.” Check a playlist to add the video to that list. If you do not already have a playlist, choose “Create new playlist.” You will have the option to make your playlist public, unlisted, or private. Public playlists are always available on your playlists page. Unlisted playlists and private playlists are available to your eyes only. To share a playlist with students, it must be public. You can change this at any time in playlist settings.

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5. Now that you’ve created a playlist, where do you go to see it? Click on the menu next to the YouTube icon at the top left. You can either click on “My Channel” choose one of your playlists from the ones that are listed in the menu.

YouTube MenuPlaylists can be as long or as short as you’d like them to be. You could have a playlist for each unit of study, or you could have a playlist for each week– whatever works best for your students.

What Do You Think?

How have you used YouTube playlists with students?

 

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.

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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?

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?

Student Authoring with Book Creator

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 6.42.04 PMBack in the days before technology was so readily available, I had my students write stories and turn them into books using file folders covered with construction paper as book covers, and we would bind them using the giant book-binder and plastic bindings that I purchased for my classroom. We would create collaborative class books in the same way. Today, students can use apps on the iPad that to write and publish their own e-books. One such app, Book Creator, by Red Jumper, is easy to use and allows students to create beautiful books on the iPad that are viewable in many different apps, including iBooks.

How Does Book Creator Work?

If this is your first time using the app, be sure to take a look at the Getting Started guide. It allows you to see a book and it gives you the chance to move things around and explore before having to create your own.Book_Creator_start

When you tap “New Book” to create a new project, you will have the chance to choose the type of book you’d like: portrait, square or landscape. Book_Creator_shape

The book will open to a blank cover. It’s up to the author to decide what should go on the book’s cover. There are many different types of elements for students to add to the cover and to the pages of the book.Book_Creator_elements

Elements can be moved around the page, resized, and deleted if necessary. Tapping on an element and then on the “i” icon will open an editing menu for the element.Book_Creator_edit_text

You can also tap on the “i” icon without having anything highlighted, and that will open the menu to edit the page.Book_Creator_edit_page

When the book is finished, you can open it in other apps, or it can be exported in a variety of formats. You can export it as an ePub, a PDF, or a video. Books can also be opened in other apps. This can be done from within a book or from the “My Books” page.Book_Creator_open_in

Common Core Connection

If I listed all of the Common Core State Standards that could be addressed as students use Book Creator app, this post would go on forever! The app can be used for students to meet just about any Common Core State Standard in English Language Arts or in Math. Writing books helps students show what they know about any topic in any subject matter. Using Book Creator is a fantastic way to help students not only show their understanding to the teacher and their classmates, but they can share their books with the world, as well. Along with the Common Core standards that are being met, students exhibit the 21st Century Skills of communication, critical thinking, and creativity when they create. Of course, if the book is a collaborative effort, and if students share their books with others and ask for feedback, they are also using collaboration skills.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Book Creator in your classroom? What kinds of books have you asked students to write?

Create Awesome Comics with Comics Head Lite

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 11.32.35 AMI used to love to read the Sunday funnies. I’d wait (somewhat) patiently until my parents were finished with the paper, and then I’d read the entire comics section. When I became a teacher, I bought the Sunday paper each week just so I could have some comics to bring into my classroom and share with my students. Sometimes I would incorporate them into a lesson, and sometimes I’d bring them in just for giggles. I also had my students create their own comics to tell short snippets of a longer story, much the way the comics do each week. So when the iPad entered my classroom, I kept searching for a comic creator app that was easy to use… and free. I’ve tried many different comic creator apps, and each one hasn’t been what I needed. And though the search has been a couple of years long, I think I’ve finally found what I’ve been searching for in Comics Head Lite.

What is Comics Head Lite?

Comics Head Lite is the free version of Comics Head, which is a powerful comic creator app. The Lite version is pretty robust itself, and teachers and students can easily use the current free version to create comics. Choose from different layouts, different templates, or create your own. There are so many options— I just have to show you!

There are a few ways to get started. If this is your first time to the app, you can choose to Create New Comic, or you can pick from a template at the bottom of the screen.

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Next, select the toy box icon from the icons list at the top. This will give you access to all the different backgrounds, characters, props and fx, and your photos. Swipe to the left on a row of icons in any of these areas for more choices.IMG_0900

To add text or dialogue, choose the speech bubble icon. “Edited” means that you can actually edit the size and shape of the speech bubble. “Simple” means that you can re-size the speech bubble, but it changes proportionately. Just pinch the speech bubble to resize it. IMG_0901

Draw your own pictures, add shapes and lines, and change the colors of pretty much anything by choosing the icon that looks like a pencil cup. You can always tap the image if you want to delete them once they have been added to the comic.IMG_0902

Choosing the icon that looks like three pieces of paper will show all the layers of your project. This allows you to lock layers so that you can adjust parts of the comic without moving everything.

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Free Vs. Paid

There are benefits, of course, to purchasing the app for $3.99. The free version has limited sharing options, but it allows the most important one— save as image! Once the image is in your camera roll, you can open it in any other app (known as app-smashing) or you can upload it somewhere online. The free version also limits each comic to only one page. You can get around this by saving a finished comic page to the camera roll and then editing the comic to preserve the characters and background. When you are finished with the next page, save it to the camera roll and continue like that until the comic is finished.

The paid version allows many more options for sharing and exporting comics, and it allows more saving options, as well. As I noted above, in the paid version, students can create multi-page comics, and they can also save their comics as templates for future use. You also get many more art assets, parental controls, additional editing features, and there’s also the option to print pages via air print.

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Common Core Connection

Comics Head Lite can help your students with many of the Common Core State Standards for Literacy and Writing. It can be used across the curriculum for students to show what they know on any number of subjects. While it may seem like Comics would be used mostly for narrative writing, comics can be used for students to write informative/explanatory pieces as well as opinion/argument pieces. I came across a free Teacher’s Manual download from Dover Books, which highlights specific standards (for grades 3-5) that are addressed when students create comics. If you teach other grades, you can still follow the strand to see which standards apply for your grade level. The manual contains activities that are specific to the Word Play! text sold on the website, but I included the link because the lesson activities are ideas that can be adapted to work with your curriculum and Comics Head Lite.

What Do You Think?

Have you found a different comic creator app that you like? Have you tried Comics Head or Comics Head Lite? How have you used it with students?

A Whole New Look for Educreations

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.26.59 AMI was so excited last night to see some of the changes that have been made to the Educreations app. According to the Educreations Facebook page, the update was just released yesterday and I happened upon it last night! Here I will tell you about some changes to the app, but if you want to read my original post with instructions for setting up your Educreations classroom and the Common Core connections with using the app, click here.

What’s Different?

You’ll see a refined color palette, different icons, and a new logo. You now have more sharing options within the app, and there’s a basic plan and a pro plan.

Here’s the new start screen. This hasn’t changed much, but the coloring is different.

Educreations Main Screen

When you create a new lesson, you’ll notice the new colors are calmer and more muted. You do have more choices, though– just tap one of the circles.

educreations colors

 

At first, I thought the option to add text had been removed, but it wasn’t (sigh of relief). It’s just hidden in the “add content” plus sign. There are more options for adding content now, too–but they are only available by upgrading to Pro.

educreations add

 

educreations clear

If you do add text or an image in the background, you still have cropping, editing, and locking abilities. Locking the text or image just means it won’t move as you draw over the rest of the page.

What’s New?

One of the best new features is the ability to save a draft! That’s huge– students can come back and continue working the next day. The limitation is that with the free version, they have to finish one draft before they can begin another.

Educreations draft

Sharing has also been majorly upgraded!  You can share your videos from two different places. If you play your finished video, you will notice the share icon in the top right corner. Choose it at any time to share via email or Twitter, to copy the link, or to copy the embed code. You can also share from your Lessons page. Select the lesson and choose the share icon.

If you upgrade to Pro, you will also have the option to… wait for it… save to camera roll! This is huge. I wish it were part of the free version, but it’s not. Still, having the option to get the embed code or a link to the video directly from the app is a bonus.

Upgrading to Pro

Here’s part of the comparison chart for basic and pro. You can see the entire comparison chart at Educreations.com.
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What Do You Think?

How are you feeling about the new changes to Educreations? Will you upgrade to Pro or stick with the free version?

ChatterPix Kids: Make Videos of Talking Animals

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 5.12.02 PMAnimals can talk? Really? Well, no, not really. But with ChatterPix Kids, it sure looks like it! We’ve all seen those commercials where there’s a talking baby or a talking animal. If you are anything like me, you’ve thought it was pretty cool but had no idea how it was done, and you figured it was probably pretty complicated. With ChatterPix Kids, not only can you make videos of talking animals in five easy steps, but the youngest students can do it, too!

How Does ChatterPix Kids Work?

1. Start by taking a photo of an object— it can be anything! I created a video of my dog singing a silly song. My son made a talking onion (see the video below!). You can also use a picture that’s already in your camera roll.IMG_0866

Using your finger or a stylus, draw a line where you want the mouth to be. Then press the record button at the bottom of the screen. The app will count down so the students know when to begin speaking, and then it shows a countdown timer from 30 seconds. You can listen to the recording so you know whether you need to re-record it, and when you are satisfied, press the Next button.

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Add some decorations. You can add stickers, a frame, and text to the video. Then press Next.

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When you are all finished, save the video to the Camera Roll. From there, you can upload it to YouTube, Google Drive, Dropbox, or anywhere else.

From the camera roll, you have total control over how the video is shared. You can “app smash” by using the video in another app, you can upload it to YouTube and share it publicly, or you can just keep it in the camera roll. The video also gets saved in the gallery within the app, so you can come back to it if necessary. ChatterPix Kids does not have a social sharing option because it is specifically made for students who are under the age of 13. If you do want the social sharing option, ChatterPix has an app (called ChatterPix) that will allow you to post to social media sites.

Here’s the onion video that my son made.

Common Core Connection

Along with the Common Core State State Standards, ChatterPix Kids can be used to help students improve their communication skills. They only have 30 seconds to record their voice, which means that they will need to be very succinct and choose their words carefully. This helps them develop vocabulary and it can help with their ability to persuade and choose the strongest argument. Students will be working on any number of the Common Core State Standards for Reading, Writing, Language, or Speaking and Listening when they show what they know using ChatterPix Kids.

Classroom Applications

ChatterPix Kids has potential for many different use in the classroom. In any subject, ChatterPix Kids can be used for students to:

  • Give directions
  • Get directions (the teacher would record the video with the directions and share it with students)
  • Do a brief biography of a historical figure
  • Tell a brief story from the point of view of an inanimate character from a reading passage
  • Take a photo of a character they’ve drawn and bring it to life
  • Draw a self-portrait, take a screen shot of it, and then use it to give an introduction at the beginning of the school year. Doing this helps to protect a student’s identity but still allows them to create video.
  • Provide the rules of a sport from the point of view of the equipment

What Do You Think?

Have you or your students used ChatterPix Kids? How have you used it?

 

Student-Centered Use of Technology: My Phil”apps”ophy

photo 1I created Come On, Get Appy!  to share apps and show where and how they fit with the Common Core. With so many apps in the app store, and the number is growing daily— how do I choose the apps I share?

How I Choose Apps to Share

I follow two major ideas when thinking about apps:

  • Apps used in the classroom should be predominately creation apps.
  • All the apps you use with students should fit on one screen. This gives you 25 slots on an iPad—and that’s a lot. The apps I have on my home page include creation apps and curation apps, because those are the ones I use most often. If I find I’m not regularly using an app, I’ll exchange it with one I use more often. This makes my home screen the only screen I really need for most of my work.

I realize that these ideas go against what many teachers want. I frequently get requests for content apps, and I have no problem with content apps. In fact, I’ve shared posts on content-based apps (like Sums Stacker). However, I prefer to spend my time and money on an app that can be used across the curriculum for multiple purposes and can be used in student-centered ways— rather than on an app that is only about consuming content.

Student-Centered Ways? What Do You Mean?

When I conduct Professional Development on technology integration, I always bring it back to the idea that what we are doing with technology needs to focus on student-centered uses. Actually, everything we do in the classroom should be done in student-centered ways. So, what does this look like? What I want to see when I go into a classroom is students making choices— not only regarding the tool they will use, but of the product they will create using the tool. I want students to demonstrate their learning of a topic, and I don’t direct how they demonstrate this learning. I believe that this can best be accomplished using creation apps.

For some teachers, allowing students to choose the apps they use and they products they create can feel overwhelming. It requires the use of a rubric focused on the content, not the product. It may mean that there are 20 different types of products to grade (assuming 40 students are working in pairs) for any given assignment. If the class is studying figurative language and the students need to prove their understanding of figurative language, some may choose to make a video or a presentation of some sort, while others may write and/or produce a story.  Some might not want to use technology at all. That’s completely okay. Students need opportunities to choose the best tool for the job. If they can justify why he or she has used a particular tool, I consider the use of technology to be done in a student-centered way.

Students making the decisions about which tool to use for which purpose is student-centered use of technology— even if the decision is to use no technology. In order to be able to make these choices, students need to have access to multiple apps that will allow them to create different products. As teachers, we need to make sure we are focused on the process—not the product.

Common Core Connection

This post isn’t about an app, per se; it’s about all apps. If you are using creation apps, there is a greater chance that you are addressing Common Core standards and the 7 Cs. Standard 6 of the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing states: “Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.” Producing and publishing writing takes many forms, and creation apps allow students to produce, publish, and post their work. The College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening, especially standards 4, 5 and 6, can also be met through the use of creation apps.

What Do You Think?

I have a number of favorite creation apps. I’ve already written about many of them— Kidblog, VoiceThread, ExplainEverything, Coach’s Eye, Tellagami, Skitch, and Thinglink. However, there are so many more that I will eventually feature on Come On, Get ‘Appy! 

What are your favorite creation apps? How do you use them in student-centered ways?

 

 

Safety First! How to Filter Google Searches on the iPad

Attachment-1It’s pretty safe to say that teachers want to keep their students safe while they are on the Web. We teach our students appropriate online behavior, we teach them never to share personal information on social networks, and we teach them to be good digital citizens. In addition, school districts have filtering systems that help keep students from inappropriate content when they are searching on the computers. Sometimes, though, unsavory images and content get through filters. This video shows how to set up another level of safety when using the iPads by turning on Safe Search in two different Web browsers.