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Reinvigorate Your Classroom with these 3 iPad apps!

On Wednesday (Jan 17th, 2018) I lead a TTT (Teachers Teaching Teachers) for staff, from PreK-12, on iPad Tools for Creative Teaching and Learning. The purpose of the TTT was to introduce teachers to three apps that are now available on our (brand new!) iPad Pro 2 class set in the library. The apps will soon be available for Elementary classes which is why teachers from across the school were invited to attend (and are encouraged to continue reading if you happen to be an Elementary teacher!)

The apps covered in Wednesday’s TTT were Explain Everything, Stick Around and Apple Clips.

Explain Everything

Explain Everything is an awesome tool for creating instructional and explanatory videos using visuals, annotations and narration. I’ve used this app in the past for blended or flipped learning, providing feedback to students and most often, for students to showcase their understanding and share with their peers. I’m currently working with Monique Cover and her EAL class for a digital storytelling unit. Then first project, in a series of three, has students developing an instructional, informative style tutorial using, you guessed it, Explain Everything. Students are required to develop a tutorial on a topic covered in either Science or Social Studies from last semester. Students will seek feedback from their teachers and make improvements before the final export. The idea is, students will “present” their completed tutorial to their teacher for use in future years. I’m also hoping that they will see what these students have been able to create and ask the question: “How do I do this with all of my students?”

Here is an example of an Explain Everything video created by on of my Grade 7 Science students from Caulfield Grammar School: Scout Squire.

Stick Around

The second app we looked at was Stick Around. Stick Around allows users to create puzzles using drawing tools and/or photos and add stickers with text, images, sound, arrows and/or drawing. Teachers could create puzzles for students (great for formative and timely feedback) or alternatively, students can create puzzles to communicate their understanding and share with their peers. Ideally, if students were creating the puzzle, you’d have a range of topics, so that on completion, all students can benefit from the creations. I’ve managed to set up a folder on the server which will store all Stick Arounds created. This allows them to be downloaded, once published and shared by the creator, by anyone with the Stick Around app. The only downside that I’ve picked up on, is that the puzzles can only be viewed (and played) through the Stick Around app. The files can be shared without a problem, but opening the puzzle is limited. The following video is an example of what a puzzle looks like to play.

The creation of the puzzle itself is surprisingly easy. I was pleased that two Kindergarten teachers that attended my TTT, Sally and Elizabeth, both expressed possible applications for their classrooms. They were also confident that their students, with minimal assistance, would be able to manage the intricacies of the app. This app is not only a great tool for labelling diagrams like in the planet example above, it’s also great for having students complete Venn diagrams, quadrants, tables etc. There are a number of templates that are built into the app which make creation of puzzles even more straightforward forward and accessible. The general steps involved in the creation are:

  • Design a background or select a template to use
  • Create the stickers – these can consists of images, video, weblink and even audio which is great for the littlies.
  • Set the answer scheme.
  • Publish and share the puzzle!

There are some fantastic resources out there to support this product. This is a thorough user guide and see this URL for a range of really great tutorial videos. I love this app!

Apple Clips

The third app we looked at was the new Apple Clips . This is a quick and easy way to create and share fun videos with text, effects, images, stickers and more. There are so many ways that a tool like this could be used in the classroom: explaining a topic, givingformative feedback, examination and explanation of photos or diagrams, explaining the steps in a process, public service announcement or commercial, to name a few. Check out this awesome site that showcases 5 ways to use this app in the classroom and is well worth a look. Essentially, a video comprises of clips and each clip can be edited differently. For example, on clip might include a voice to text option. Another, might use a photo or video from the photo library. To work Clips you must press and hold the red record button. You can also hold the record button and swipe left to lock the record.  A lock symbol will appear.  This is useful for complicated or longer shots. From there you can add:

  •  Live titles – to create these, a voice to text option is available of which I’m impressed with it’s accuracy.
  • Add filters like comic book or ink, stickers and emoji
  • Add overlays – this could be useful for labelling or drawing attention to a particular element
  • Export your video and save to your photo stream

Here is an example of a short movie I made using Apple Clips.

As you can see, Explain Everything, Stick Around and Apple Clips are some pretty awesome ways to create and share authentic learning.  Although you may not feel completely comfortable in using an iPad in your classroom,  Ed Tech is here to provide you the necessary support to take up learning opportunities, like these, for your students. Please send me an email if you’d like to chat further, or even better, if you’re keen to start using one of these apps.

Laura

Seesaw for Student Led Conferences

Here are some recommendations for how to get the most from Seesaw in the upcoming Student Led Conferences. We would love to help you in any way we can – invite us to a team meeting, make a time for a one-to-one chat, or invite us to your class to guide student activities.

How can Seesaw enhance SLCs?

  • Begin by creating an “SLC 2018” folder for students to categorise their most effective SLC posts
  • Establish criteria that leads students through the process of reviewing their Seesaw journal and curating posts that highlight their learning most effectively;
    • Posts that demonstrate individualised student choice
    • A range of in progress and finished works (formative/summative, process/showcase)
    • Work across a range of L21 Skills and disciplines
    • A demonstration of incremental learning over different timeframes
  • Once students have added their best posts to the “SLC 2018” folder, they should review each post to make sure that the point they wish to articulate in the conference is clearly communicated (this could work well as a peer feedback/critique activity).
  • Students can then create a new comment with appropriate reflection and clarification if necessary to guide their conference.
Thanks and we hope to hear from you soon,

 

Sam & Bec

RAZ Kids: Editing your class roster

We have some new students joining us in the Elementary  School, along with some students finishing up at ISB, so now is the time when teachers will need to update their Reading A-Z (RAZ) class rosters. It is quite simple to do, here is a brief run through in case you’re unsure:

  1. Log in to Kids A-Z
  2. Hover over “My Classroom”
    1. To remove a student from your class, click on “Class Roster”, select the student and click “remove”
    2. To add a student to your roster, click on “Add Students”, add the names and create passwords. If you are using RAZ Plus, here is where you can set the default level based on student age & year level.

As always, please be in touch with Bec or I if there is anything we can do to help.

Sam

Virtual & Augmented Reality

“The immersive nature of virtual reality brings depth to educational content by engaging the senses and allowing exploration to a degree that would be difficult to duplicate within the confines of a classroom, making it an ideal catalyst for curiosity and true learning.” (Ashley McCann, TeachThought) So what is VR and how does it work?

On Thursday 16th of November, I ran a TTT on virtual and augmented reality. We started by engaging teachers in a Google Expedition of the Great Barrier Reef. Google Expeditions is a virtual reality teaching tool that lets you lead or join immersive virtual trips all over the world — get up close with historical landmarks, dive underwater with sharks, even visit outer space! There are currently over 700 expeditions available free for use. I have since found this incredible resource which documents details of all currently available expeditions. It is updated regularly and includes links to lesson plans created by teachers around the world. For those of you interested in running an Expedition in your class, browse this resource and then touch base with me about the expedition you are looking to run. Alternatively, provide me with a brief outline of your unit and I’ll do the research for you. We have 20 VR headsets for use – students will need to use their own phone with Google Expeditions app installed.

Last week I assisted Brian Germain in running two expeditions in his High School Psychology class. The theme was the nervous system so we began with a VR tour of the brain stem, limbic system, cerebrum and cerebellum, a neutron and synaptic transmission. What I enjoyed most, was the second expedition, to Everest, where Brian asked students a series of thought provoking questions, which has them thinking about the science they’d just explored. e.g. standing in the cold at base camp, what part of the brain is responsible for…? What a great way to make content meaningful.

There are so many great VR apps out there – Discovery VR, Sites in VR, New York Times VR and YouTube 360 just to name a few. There are also some excellent iOS apps for VR purposes.

During the TTT we also spent some time looking at augmented reality (AR). AR is the layering of virtual information over the physical world, or reality, using software and devices. Take a look at this Ikea Concept Kitchen to see AR in action!

One of the most impressive educational apps I came across when looking for AR content was Quiver Education. Essentially, students are provided with one of the colouring in sheets and then, using the app, bring their work to life. The Quiver app is free, however, the Quiver Education app (which is now available on the MS/HS Library iPads) does cost. Quiver Education provides the same magical augmented reality coloring experience, but with a greater focus on educational content than the awesome Quiver App. During the TTT, teachers attempted an AR quiz using a plant cell, explored the habitat of the Kiwi bird though sound and watched as a volcano erupted in front of their eyes!

If you are interested in introducing some AR or VR material into your classroom, don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of the Ed Tech team!

Laura

 

Seesaw Parent Workshops

Today, Bec and Sam hosted a workshop for parents to experience the features of Seesaw and practise effective feedback on their child’s posts. Included in this post are the slides and resources from the workshop, as well as some additional information about how Seesaw works, feedback guidelines and the importance of family engagement in education.

What is Seesaw?

This video offers an overview of how Seesaw works. The first few slides in our presentation below run offer some examples of what this currently looks like at ISB.

Family Engagement

We know ISB families value engagement in their children’s education and thanks to Seesaw, we can now see what some of this engagement can look like. By regularly checking, commenting and discussing your child’s learning activities through seesaw and fact to face, you are:

  • Showing your child you value the process of learning as well as their effort and achievement
  • Enhancing your child’s accountability for their learning
  • Providing opportunities for feedback that moves learning forward

References:

The Importance of Family Engagement in Education (Seesaw)

Full Study (Henderson & Mapp, 2002)

Translation Tools

Seesaw has the ability to translate content for our EAL students and international families. Watch the video below for a full demonstration.

Seesaw Feedback Guidelines

For a long time we have understood the importance of feedback in education and thanks to the work of John Hattie and Dylan Wiliam there is a lot of supporting data about the efficacy of effective feedback in learning. Effective feedback, however, takes practice, and for this reason we encourage you to observe the following guidelines in order to ensure that we always provide feedback that moves learning forward.

Download Seesaw Feedback Guidelines

Monday’s Workshop Slides

SeesawES_ParentWorkshopOct17

Here are the slides form Monday’s parent workshop for your perusal.

Please feel free to contact ES Ed Tech at any time!

 

Bec Taylor, PK3 – Grade 1: rtaylor@isb.bj.edu.cn

Sam Griffin, Grade 2 – Grade 5: sgriffin@isb.bj.edu.cn 

Susan Su, Ed Tech TA: SSu@isb.bj.edu.cn

#techchat vol 2

Visual Writing Prompts

How can we encourage our students to write more? How can we capture their attention and imagination? And how can we start students in thinking about the power and purpose of visual literacy? Enter Visual Writing Prompts! Search by subject, grade level or genre. This is just the beginning. Once you and your students have tried a few, you can start making your own!

 

Our World in Data

Our World in Data is an online publication from University of Oxford to “show how living conditions are changing.” There are in-depth looks at data trends over time across a range of disciplines that include some great visualizations. Want to see where we’ve been and where we’re headed? Check this site out!

15+ Ways to Use Flipgrid in Your Class

I first learned about flipgrid this summer at a professional development course I was taking. It’s a quick video response system that can be used to hold asynchronous discussions but with that face-to-face feel. Embed the Flipgrid into your blog or into your DX page to bring the conversation to life! See how Karly Moura is using flipgrid in her classroom.

 

Online Discussions & Blended Learning

Online classroom discussion, when done well, should encourage student participation and interaction. With minimal effort on the teacher’s part it is possible to engage students even with little to no face-to-face contact. By adjusting the way the question is posed, or by asking students to answer questions collaboratively, can make for a much more meaningful learning experience.

Many of us are now looking to engage the use of Dragons’ Exchange (DX) as a powerful blended learning tool, with online discussions, playing a significant role. So how can we use online discussions, like those in DX, to promote sustained engagement and participation?

Convergent Thinking 

The “how” or “why” questions, although they essentially promote convergent thinking, certainly have a place in online discussion. Post an article, Podcast or video and ask a question of this nature. Rather than invite students to piggy back on the response prior to their own own, hide comments for the time being and once all students have responded, unlock for all to see. Students can now engage in discussion by responding to one another. These types of discussion questions can often lead to sustained debate, particularly once differing options are revealed.

Divergent Thinking 

Questions that get students to think about the outcome or consequences associated with certain events have the potential to sustain ongoing interest since it empowers students to take a more creative approach in responding to the question. For example: Pose a scenario related to the ethical concerns of genetic testing. What are the implications of the choices made in this situation? Posing the question as a scenario encourages students to connect with the situation and engage more meaningfully with the discussion.

Evaluative Thinking 

Why not try a collaborative online debate to promote evaluative thinking? Pose a debate topic and separate the class into two groups – those for and those against. Any online response to the topic of conversation must be either for or against. You could even look to create a third group, those that can pose questions to either argument. This type of online discussion can promote healthy competition while maintaining ongoing dialogue.

Online class discussions have the ability to:

  • Build communities
  • Encourage reflection
  • Promote critical thinking
  • Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts
  • Promote consensus building

Online discussions complement and improve the interactions that occur in your classroom by providing students with the opportunity to thoughtfully engage with ideas and with each other. Blending these discussion opportunities into your instruction can also be a powerful alternative to traditional homework.

Blending online discussion opportunities into your face-to-face instruction is an excellent alternative to traditional homework, also complementing and improving face-to-face discussions. It gives all students the opportunity to thoughtfully engage with ideas, and with each other. For further information on the benefits to students and their learning, see Eric Brunsell’s article Blended Learning: Adding Asynchronous Discussions to Your F2F Classrooms

Seesaw: Getting started

How to make your first welcome announcement to your families and students

  1. Take a picture or a few pics of your new homeroom class
  2. From your school iPad open the Seesaw app, or, if you are on your laptop, log into https://app.seesaw.me/
  3. If this is the first time you are logging in to Seesaw, you will need to select “I am a teacher” and log in with your ISB email address and password
  4. Click on the large green “+” symbol
  5. Select “Send Announcement” > Send To: All Students and Families (if some parents aren’t connected yet they will receive instructions on Monday afternoon)
  6. Type your welcome message to your students and families
  7. Upload your class photo(s) from your camera roll
  8. When you have completed your message, click the large green tick button and it will appear in student & parent feeds.

Please note, as new parents will not yet be connected, this welcome post will be made in the student announcements for all users to see. In the future (when all parents are connected) teachers will be asked to use “Family Announcements” to ensure student journals don’t contain parent communications.

On Monday, Tina, Angela and I will distribute printed QR codes and instructions to all homeroom teachers, for families to connect to their child’s Seesaw journal. Families will need to follow the instructions to download the Seesaw Family app and scan the code in order to see any Family Announcements or student posts.

Throughout Monday, we will prioritize our time to support any teachers who require help with Seesaw. We’ll be available for 1:1 help all day including after school. Please be in touch or stop by the ES Library office if you need any help.

What is Seesaw?

Seesaw is a student-driven portfolio platform that is used across the ES to empower students to document, share and reflect upon their learning journey throughout the academic year and across their years in the elementary school.

As part of our Seesaw Common Agreements, there are certain tasks and setup procedures that each teacher should do once their class has been created. There are also some introductory lessons/ideas that can help you get started using Seesaw in your class.

You can use this checklist to guide you.

Setting Up Seesaw

  • Ensure preferred names are correct in your class list
  • Invite all specialist teachers as “co-teachers” to your class (except Chinese as they have their own Seesaw classes)
  • Manage settings: student likes & comments, post moderation, parent comments (as appropriate to your age and class group)
  • Create color-coded folders for portfolios (L21) and content areas:
    • Innovation & Creativity (Purple) 
    • Communication & Collaboration (Yellow) 
    • Inquiry, Critical Thinking & Problem Solving (Blue) 
    • Leadership & Responsibility (Green) 
    • Global Thinking (Red) 
    • As well as folders for Math, ELA, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, PE, Science, Social Studies
  • Create any additional folders as required
  • Print out your class account QR code so students can join your class
  • Send home “parent note” generated by Seesaw

Teaching with Seesaw

  • Post a “Welcome!” message to all students/parents.
  • Teach (or co-teach with your Tech Facilitator) an “Intro to Seesaw” lesson
  • Teach (or co-teach with your Tech Facilitator) a RUA lesson based on Seesaw use
  • Plan (or co-plan with your Tech Facilitator and/or grade level team) a variety of ways to integrate Seesaw into all curriculum areas

You can also get a digital version of this document/table.

Icons as a Visual Scaffold

Seesaw is like many applications in that it uses icons to create a visual fluency to help learners navigate the different features and tools available to its users. Many of these icons are consistent with so many other iOS apps and it makes sense for us to scaffold our learners in how these tools can be explicitly applied in the process of learning.

Recently, Pana Asavavatana shared a series of useful posters designed to assist Pre K – 3 students in their deliberate use of processes and features in Seesaw. She wanted her students to move beyond simply checking off everything they post and think more deeply about what they were doing in Seesaw and why. Each poster links one of the Seesaw tool icons with a student statement that encourages students to make a conscious decision about what they are doing and why.

The posters are available in English and Mandarin and are free for you to download and use (thanks to @PanaAsavavatana). As always, let myself or Bec know anytime you would like any Seesaw resources or support for you and your students.

Download: Thinking with Seesaw (English)

Download: Thinking with Seesaw (Mandarin)

Sam

#techchat vol 1

Canva

Canva is an easy online tool for some high quality graphic design! (The banner above was made in Canva.) It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s free! You can choose from a bunch of preset templates, use the free images and graphics that are pre-loaded and create a  great looking image in no time. Or, you can upload your own images and even pay for the ‘premium’ fonts and graphics if you want to go that extra mile!

Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy and Finding Balance

Common Sense Media does a lot of research in the field of digital citizenship and child behavior. In May 2016, the organization published this executive summary (sign-in required) of a research brief that they completed with their 6 key findings summarized as well as a great list of references for further reading.

Show Me for iPads

Show Me is an app that is on all of our elementary school iPads. It’s an interactive whiteboard that allows students to import images, add text annotations, and draw on top of their images. They can record this whole process, including their voice explanations as they ‘show’ their thinking. This explanation can include multiple slides so students, for example, can easily compare a “before” and “after” image and explain what they’ve done/learned. This is can all be saved as a movie in the camera roll and can then be uploaded to Seesaw just like any other video.

#techchat is a regular post on the ISB Ed Tech blog. The aim is to share useful apps, websites, readings, and more to the ISB community. How have you used these resources? What else can we feature? We’d love to have your suggestions or comments below!

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