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.

 

Create Videos with Shadow Puppet EDU

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 8.59.09 AMShadow Puppet Edu is a fantastic app for helping students make videos to show their learning about a topic. The app allows students to use images found on their camera roll, on the Web, or through specific educational databases. Students then record their voice to narrate the video about their topic. All they need to do next is share their work!

How Does Shadow Puppet Edu Work?

The landing page of the app contains a couple of sample videos as well as the large Create New button. Additionally, at the bottom of the screen is an Ideas page. This section provides numerous activity ideas that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards, which are provided for you if you tap on one of the suggested ideas.Shadow_landing_page

Shadow_activity_ideasAfter tapping the Create New button, students begin choosing images for their project. They can choose from their own camera roll if there are images and/or videos (up to 30 seconds) they’d like to use. On the left side of the screen are all the different types of searches students can do. The app provides access to images from the Library of Congress, Met Museum of Art, The British Library, NASA and NOAA. Students can also search images on the Web, Flickr Creative Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and Open Clipart. This gives them a plethora of options.

Shadow_image_pageStudents can do a map search to find a specific location, and they can view it in three different ways— standard view, satellite view, and hybrid view, which provides a satellite view with street names and areas of interest. To capture the map and use it in the project, students tap on the camera button at the bottom of the screen.

Shadow_mapWhen students find images they want to use, they tap on the image and it will jump into the timeline. When students are ready to record, they tap Next. Students can record their voice and add text, music from iTunes, or background music from the app. As they record, students can write on each slide to highlight different areas of the page.

After students finish recording, they can watch their completed video. As long as the “Save to Camera Roll” setting is turned on (it is on by default), the video will automatically save to the camera roll when the students tap Done.shadow_finished_2Students can also tap the No Thanks, I’ll Share Later button at the bottom. In this case, they can return to the video and share by tapping the icon in the upper right hand corner of the selected video.

Shadow_shareShadow Puppet EDU also provides images credits at the end of each video, as long as that option is turned on in the settings. This helps students recognize that even though they are using certain images for free, they are still responsible for practicing good digital citizenship by including citations. Tap the settings gear on the landing page to make changes to the settings.

Shadow_settingsHere’s a video I created using Shadow Puppet EDU about how to use Shadow Puppet EDU.


Common Core Connection

One of the great things about Shadow Puppet EDU is that there are many Common Core Connections. As is the case with most creation apps, students can use Shadow Puppet EDU to show their learning of anything and everything in order to address specific standards at each grade level. Teachers will also appreciate that the app provides options for projects and lets the user know which Common Core Standards that particular project addresses. Most of the projects students will create using Shadow Puppet EDU will address these standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience, and
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

There are additional examples of lesson ideas, including the standards they address, on the Shadow Puppet EDU website.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Shadow Puppet EDU in your classroom?

Annotate PDFs on the iPad with Adobe Reader

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 2.08.22 PMStudents in my school district have spent a lot of time with Close Reading, and they have been learning how to annotate passages as they read them to aid in comprehension. Along with this, many teachers are trying to become as paperless (or paperlite) as possible by distributing documents to students via the iPad. Close reading on the iPad has been a challenge thus far, but Adobe Reader can definitely help with that! There are other apps that allow students to annotate documents, but the best part about Adobe Reader is that it’s free!

How Does Adobe Reader Work?

First, students need to get the PDF they want to annotate into Adobe Reader. They can do this by either downloading the PDF, or by choosing the send button, and then “Open In.” The opening page will be a list of the documents that have been opened in Adobe Reader.Adobe_Reader_landingDocuments can be organized by tapping the edit button. You’ll be able to create folders, move documents into folders, re-name documents, and delete documents using the edit button.Adobe_reader_menuSelect a document, and it will open full-screen. Tap in the middle of the screen to bring up the menu in this part of the app. One of the best features in this menu is the search tool. Tap the tool and type in a word to search, and Adobe reader will highlight the word each time it appears. Just tap the arrows down at the bottom of the screen to advance to the next instance of the word.Adobe_reader_menu2Tap the annotation icon, and a menu will appear along the bottom of the page. This menu contains all the possible tools for annotation. When you choose a tool, look to the top of the screen to see what to do with it. Students can add “sticky” notes, highlights, strike-throughs, and typed text. They can also draw on the page and they can even add their signature using this app. To move on after drawing on the page, be sure to choose “Done” in the top right corner.adobe_reader_menu3If a student makes an annotation and wants to remove it, just tap the annotation. A short menu will appear above the annotation– Clear, Color, or When students are finished annotating, they can choose the “Open In” button again, and send it to many other apps they have available to them, including Google Drive.

Common Core Connection

As mentioned above, Adobe Reader allows students to easily annotate PDFs, which means they can use the iPad for Close Reading. This helps students with their understanding of complex text. Using Adobe Reader is also a way to have students read and annotate multiple sources on the same topic. If students don’t have access to Google Drive for collaboration with peers, they could use Adobe Reader instead. In this case, students could take advantage of the Camera to PDF feature on the home screen.

What Do You Think?

Have you used Adobe Reader in your classroom? How are your students using it?

Translation Made Easier with Google Translate

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 10.43.59 AMThe Google Translate app has gotten some great updates for the travelers of the world, but their updates can greatly impact classroom conversations, as well. I have to admit that I’ve had the app on my iPad for quite some time and I haven’t done much with it, but I’m pretty excited about the updates and I think I’ll be using it more now! The updates allow for better translations to occur (think of your newcomers!!) and it also has visual recognition using the camera (again, think of your newcomers!).

How Does Google Translate Work?

The app launches with the languages set to English and Spanish. The language on the left is the input language, and the language on the right is the output. Tap on either language to change it. One option on the left (input) is also “Detect Language” if you aren’t sure about the language you are hearing or seeing. Google_Translate_1Enter text into the app by typing, speaking, writing (with a stylus or finger) or use the camera to snap a photo of some text.

Google_Translate_3

In the settings tab, tap on Handwriting if you’d like to turn off automatic typing when you are writing on the screen.
Google_Translate_5If you do choose to use the camera to snap a photo of some words you’d like translated, there will be some directions when you first launch that option.

Google_translate_2There are a pretty good number of languages available for translation. Tap on either the input language or the output language for all the options. Tapping on the arrows in the center will also swap the two languages for a quick input/output switch if you are having a conversation with someone who speaks a different language.

Google_Translate_6The settings gear at the bottom of the home screen has a lot of options for input, including dialect specifications. You can also hide offensive language using the settings.

Google_Translate_4

Common Core Connection

Using Google Translate can benefit all students learning to speak another language. Common Core does not have a World Languages component as of this publishing, but using this app can make the Common Core State Standards much more accessible for your English Learners, especially those in the early stages of language acquisition. It can also assist your English Only students in learning a language of their choice, which will only enhance their communication and cultural awareness.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Google Translate in the Classroom?

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.
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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!

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?

 

Get Students Playing with Kahoot!

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 12.18.15 PMGames are fun, and turning a quiz review or a discussion into a game can make these activities exciting and engaging for students. Kahoot.it! is a game-based Web 2.0 tool that teachers and students can use for content reviews or formative assessments. All you need is a projector, a host device, and mobile devices in the classroom to run a game of Kahoot!

How Does Kahoot! Work?

  1. Sign up for an account at getkahoot.com.
  2. Start a quiz, discussion, or poll, and give it a name. Kahoot!1
  3. Type in your first question. You can add an image or a video to make the question a little more engaging, especially if it has something to do with the question! You have options to make the question worth points or not, and you can also change how many seconds you provide to click an answer. Each question starts with the same number of points, and points are awarded to correct answers based upon how long it took to choose the answer.Kahoot!2Kahoot!4
  4. Add answers at the bottom of the page. You will probably need to scroll down to see where to add the answers. There’s a 60-character limit to the answers which is reflected by a number to the left of Incorrect/Correct button. Each answer defaults to incorrect, but you just click on the incorrect/correct button to change it. You can have up to four answers per question, and you can also make all of the answers correct if there isn’t just one right answer.
    Kahoot!3Kahoot!5
  5. Continue to add questions by clicking on the “Add Question” button at the bottom of the page. You can also move between questions by clicking on the numbers at the bottom left.Kahoot!11
  6.  When you are finished with the quiz, choose Save and Continue. You’ll be asked to provide a little more information about the quiz. You can keep the quiz public or set it to private, and you need to indicate who the audience of the quiz is. You can add a description or tags if you wish.Kahoot!6
  7. When you are all finished with that, choose Save and Continue. You’ll be taken to the final page, which allows you to play or preview the quiz. I recommend doing the preview because it shows you exactly what your quiz will look like to the students.Kahoot!8
  8. When the preview screen comes up, make sure to choose “Launch” on the right so that you are given a code to enter the quiz. Enter it on the little phone on the right and you’ll be able to play just like the students would.Kahoot!10
  9. When you are ready to allow students, launch the Kahoot! game and provide the code to your students. Project your Kahoot! on the screen so all students can see it, and you are all set!

Classroom Connection

Kahoot is a fun way to have students work individually (if you have 1:1) or in teams to play a review game or have a class discussion. If you have a few devices in your classroom or even if you only have two, have students work in larger teams. When you create the game, make sure to allow a little longer to answer each question so that students have the opportunity to talk about the answer with their group. Pass the device around so that all students have the chance to choose an answer. They get really competitive with this game and they want to be at the top of the leaderboard! It will get loud in the classroom, but it’s the kind of loud you want– engaged-in-learning-loud! Even adults get into the competition with Kahoot! Students could also make their own Kahoot! quizzes for themselves or their peers as review.

Common Core Connection

As a review game, Kahoot! can potentially help students meet the standards because the questions you ask will be Common Core-aligned questions about the content you are studying. If you choose, you can wait between questions and discuss answers that were given to help students process the questions and answers. This will help students go deeper and explain their thinking on an answer, which helps with their communication and critical thinking skills.

What Do You Think?

Have you used Kahoot! in the classroom? How have your students responded to this type of review?

Create Digital Thinking Maps with Popplet

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 10.44.50 AMMiddle school teachers in my district have been using Thinking Maps since 2009. When I was in the classroom, I loved using Thinking Maps to give my students a conceptual net for gathering their thoughts. Students took ownership of the maps quickly and they were able to use them in all areas of their learning. When we started using iPads in the classroom, students were interested in learning to create Thinking Maps in a digital way.  The app that I have found to be most user-friendly in creating digital Thinking Maps is Popplet or Popplet Lite.

How Does Popplet Work?

Popplet starts with a blank canvas. Tap anywhere on the workspace to start a new popplet.

IMG_1022Within each popple, you can draw, type, or insert an image. You can also change the color of the outline of each popple. This is helpful for color-coding Thinking Maps.

poppletTap on any of the round gray buttons to create a new popple branching from the current one. Once it’s created, you can drag it around the page to format your Thinking Map properly. Some Thinking Maps work better than others using Popplet. For example, it is going to be very difficult for your students to create a Circle Map that actually looks like a Circle Map. However, others are much simpler. Click on the photo to enlarge it.IMG_1027

It’s also possible to make a Double Bubble Map. It requires a little creative Popplet action to get it done, but it’s possible! Watch the video below to see how.
If you are using the free version, you can only create one Popplet at a time. To start a new one, just save your current Popplet to the camera roll, and then you are free to clear the workspace and start on a new one.popplet1 The paid version is $4.99, and if you plan on having your students use Popplet pretty often, it might be worth the purchase price.

Popplet is also available on the Web at popplet.com. If you are working online, you are able to invite collaborators to work on Popplets together. You are also able to make your Popplet public and share via social media directly from the website. Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.11.39 PMThe free account on the Web allows you to create 5 Popplets before upgrading. The upgraded subscription is offered for a fairly reasonable price and you can make unlimited Popplets. You can read more about education pricing for Popplet Groups here. You can also subscribe as an individual.Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.22.29 PM

Common Core Connection

Most creation apps have Common Core connections— but it’s all about how you use them. As far as technology integration goes, using Popplet is more than likely within the Substitution and Augmentation levels of Reuben Puentedura’s SAMR model. Using the app in conjunction with Thinking Maps, however, will have students using the app while thinking critically, so it can address any Common Core standard.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Popplet in your classroom?

Create Beautiful Infographics on the iPad with Canva

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

 How Does It Work?

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

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

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

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

IMG_0983

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

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

Common Core Connection

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

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

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

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

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

What Do You Think?

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