It is with great pleasure to announce a new partnership between FishingForEdTech and AcademyLion.com. Academy Lion is a professional development course platform that focuses on teacher development through free professional development courses. All courses are meant for educators and focus on EdTech topics however the site just like fishingforedtech is open to the public but does have an educational intended target.
Fishing For Edtech’s blog is proud to be the first of many educational technology blogs to be featured on www.AcademyLion.com
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the courses offered at AcademyLion.com I strongly suggest you do so. Academy Lion currently has course’s on
- Google Hangouts
- Flipped Classroom
- Digital Citizenship
- Social Media and so much more.
AcademyLion offers 5 to 25 minute short FREE courses that consist of lessons that range between 3 and 10 lessons. The lessons are short sweet and to the point. They have great screen shots, videos, and step by step guides on how to use specific edtech tools. There is no doubt that it was created by educators for educators, and the exciting piece is that they are expanding to add more courses weekly.
There are so many ways to transfer files. The most common being Email, USB, or cloud based solutions. Here are some great options for educators or the common person.
File Transfer Sites:
What do they do?
The following resources are web sites that allow you to upload a document or folder and convert the document or folder into a link. You can email that link or post it on a website/blog for others to easily have access.
How does this apply to educators?
This is the quickest and easiest way to transfer file – to be more specific “Large Files” that you may just be to large to transfer over via email.
No Sign-up is required. Just drag and drop your document and copy the link. There’s no limit to how many files you can share. Each file is automatically stored for 7 days. Send movies to friends, TPS reports to coworkers or study guides for students.
Share images, documents, media, files, and links over the internet.
Share Folders, images, documents, media, files and more. Allows up to 5gb per canvas which should be more than enough for basic file transfer.
All three of these resources are a must have tool for an educators toolbox. Is this something that you are going to use everyday? Probably not. However, is this a tool that will come in handy when you need it the most? Most definitely? Transfer important files the “Easy Way”.
Edcamp Orlando Presentation Materials:
Here is my flow chart presentation Popplet: http://popplet.com/app/#/843467
A little over a month ago I purchased the Zagg Pro Plus Keyboard from Zagg.com.
Before I get into the product review, I must say that I am an iPad Case junkie. I have gone through so many different covers and cases looking for the right one. After all is said and done your case should meet your needs based on how you use your iPad. When people purchase Tablet Cases, or phone cases they instantly think protection. To be more specific they think protection from dropping the device on the floor and having it break. This of course is important however what I was looking for is functionality. I use my iPad at technology conferences and business meetings non-stop. Mostly I take notes or need access to important emails and files to review or edit during meetings.
My iPad was good enough to meet these needs. I usually toggle between my Mac Book Air and my iPad to meet these needs it just depends one, which one has more battery life left at that point in the date.I felt so efficient with my Mac Book Air and was trying to get some of the same efficiency out of my iPad for my way of work. This is where the Zagg Pro Plus Keyboard came into play. I looked at some other great keyboard options for iPads out there but I thought it was ridiculous to pay 200 plus dollars on a keyboard case.
Before I get into the details of why I like this product so much, I wanted to go over why I was so hesitant to purchase this product. They keyboard on the Zagg Pro Plus is not a full size keyboard. This bugged the heck out of me because I am a typer. I can fly when it comes to typing. This is a key part of my daily job. I thought to myself that there would be no way that I can get used to or like the smaller keyboard that the Zagg Pro Plus comes with. I WAS WRONG. I can use is just as good as a regular keyboard. The Zagg Pro Plus does a great job at keeping up with my typing speed and keys do not get stuck. It took about 5 minutes of typing for me to get used too.
So what did this case do for me?
1) It became my keyboard case – It was easy to carry around and looked like my Mac Book Pro Air, just lighter.
2) It gave me the flexibility of easily not using the keyboard and just holding the iPad the way it was meant to be used – which is in your hand. If I needed to put it back with the keyboard then it took me less than 1 second to put it back with the keyboard. No Sleeve or fancy connectors to toggle between using that iPad in different ways.
3) It had a back-lite keys option that could be turned on or off. Similar to my MacBook Air. This was a flashy looking feature that really makes the product/ keyboard stand out. I did want to add that in retrospect the Zagg Pro that does not come with the back-lite keys would have been ok and just a bit cheaper. The back-lite keyboard is nothing more than just a personal preference.
4) Battery Life is incredible. I can go 2 weeks without charging my keyboard, and when I do charge it, it can recharge fully in just minutes.
The Zagg Pro Plus for me personally was a no brainer.
Educational Value: As we continue to move toward high stakes testing on tablets, educators are not only going to have to find a great functional tablet that meets all of the students, teachers, and testing needs, but find one that has a keyboard attached to them for testing. Call me crazy but I do not see a student answering a short response or essay using a tablet that does not have a physical keyboard, especially on a timed test. Based on size, functionality and battery life, something like the Zagg Pro or Pro Plus does make a lot of sense for students in the educational setting. The ease of using it with a keyboard or without a keyboard is just too easy to pass up. This keyboard gives you the best of both worlds.
Image Source: http://investors.zagg.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=703630
Keys to Flipping the Lesson first – Not the Classroom
Flipping the lesson or the classroom is no easy task. There are lots of steps that must be done before you flip a lesson or the classroom.
Here are some recommendations:
1) Do you have a way to record your lessons with your computer or iPad.
Using an iPad is a great tool for flipping. There are so many great apps out there that allow you to screen cast with ease. For Elementary – Screen Chomp by Tech Smith is the app that I really love, it’s simple quick and easy for teachers and students to use. For secondary – I also recommend Screen Chomp for the same reasons but you can also look into apps such as Educreations, Show Me, Coach’s Eye, and Explain Everything. If you are trying to do a screen cast with your computer I recommend Jing by Tech Smith. This is a great tool for both PC and MAC platforms. Just like the iPad apps mentioned previously, Jing for PC or MAC allows you to create a video or screen shot of any window you create in your screen and allows you to have a voice over so you can explain your lesson or ideas while recording.
2) Where are you going to host the videos? The majority of these screen casting services coverts your videos into a link. Some even allow you to have the embedded code so you can embed the video to your site. This is where your personal teacher website comes in to play. It is not visually appealing to a parent or even administrators to have a site with 50 links that are tied to lessons that you flipped. As a parent I am not willing to click through all fifty links, so labeling them correctly and having a visual picture for each lesson is definitely going to be more visually attracting. Think about how YouTube has their site set up, they don’t just have links but sample pictures of the videos. So going back to your website – can it handle the embedding of videos or pictures that can be linked to those video URL’s. Lots of times teachers (specially elementary teachers) purchase a licenses to use these cute simple websites that really don’t do much except allow you to put text in them. The websites are not very interactive or even visually appealing. I would recommend that educators look into blogging type sites for their websites that can still be visually appealing and look like a regular teacher website even though it’s a blog site. WordPress, Blogger, and EduBlogs are all great suggestions.
Some teachers use learning platforms such as Edmodo to flip lessons and the classroom. Edmodo is a great place to post assignments, thoughts, ideas, videos and more. It also fits the flipped lesson/classroom concept perfectly because it also allows students to ask questions using that platform that the teacher or other students can answer.
3) Communication – You should never flip a lesson or a class with out some clear concise communication between you the teacher, administrator, and students parents. They all need to be on board for this. I saw an example of a very good teacher trying to flip a lesson- she explained her frustration to me that only 5 out of 18 kids actually watched the lesson at home like they were supposed to. My first question was did you send any documentation to the parents explaining the concept of flipping or even meet with the parents face to face to explain this concept with them and of course she said – no. Flipping the classroom or flipping the lesson is not a homework assignment. It’s a philosophy, a classroom teaching strategy, it must be explained to all stakeholders and there must be buy in before you jump into this. The concept of flipping the classroom or flipping a lesson is based on communication. You communicate the concepts of what you are trying to accomplish with all parties. You then communicate with your students and parents through digital resources such as a short 2-minute lesson video. Parents communicate with their child by helping them understand the concepts the teacher has explained in the videos. Students communicate with their teacher’s questions that they have through an online platform (like Edmodo) or in class the next day.
4) Connectivity: Not all students have access to the internet at home. Chances are that the videos that you are creating and posting to your website for flipping the lessons are all web-based videos that students and parents need internet access to see. So what is your plan for these students? First thing is to identify them. If possible, try to have an iPad, or computer available for them in a class after school and before school. Give those students a chance to access the same information that everyone else might have seen at home. The lower the number of these students obviously the easier this is going to be. This is why these 2-minute videos are so important because they don’t take that long to watch. Having said this, if 90% of your students do not have Internet access at home then maybe flipping the classroom or lesson is not the best teaching strategy to try and implement.
5) Differentiated Instruction: From an administrators point of view the main reason I am a big fan of flipping the classroom or flipping a lesson is because it gives teachers who already have little to no extra time an avenue for a new method to successfully differentiate instruction. By flipping a lesson the teacher can have students from all levels working on different assignments and watching different video lessons be engaged in the content and classroom instruction.
Key teacher questions about Flipping the Classroom or Flipping a Lesson:
Question: How do I turn my 45-minute math lesson or reading block into a video?
Answer: You don’t! You should focus on the learning goal, main idea or concept of the course. You ask yourself what is the main thing that my students must leave today knowing and that is what you create a 1-3 minute video explaining. Another option is to create a quick video on the part of the lesson that you know your students struggled with the most.
Question: Is this more work for a teacher?
Answer: Yes it is more work if you consider creating a 3 minute video more work. You are now going to have to take an extra 3 minute of your busy schedule to create a video and post it to your website or Edmodo group for your students and their parents to have access to them. However, it’s going to save you time from having to re-teach concepts to you’re struggling students, and help your advanced students stay engaged in lessons. So you see how this can also help save you time.
Where school administrators and teachers get it all wrong is by trying to do too much to fast. The concept of flipping the classroom is great but it does not happen over night. It’s also something that you must stick to in order to eventually see the success of the concept. My suggestion for a school, teacher or administrator that is interested in flipping the classroom is to flip a lesson first. Maybe pick a lesson once a week and flip a lesson that way. As you start to see the increase in student interest of that flipped lesson then start adding to flipped lessons a week. Please note that you need buy in from all stakeholders so the lessons that you start off with must be extremely interesting and engaging. Lets get those students and parents hooked on this concept first by engaging them. Flip the lesson first, don’t try to do too much. By flipping the lesson once a week and adding lessons as you see fit, your class will eventually morph into a flipped classroom. Do not rush it.
As stated earlier you can not have success in flipping the classroom or lesson without, the proper hardware and software, proper website or learning platform. You must communication to all stakeholders, have a plan for how to handle the students that have connectivity issues at home, and a plan to meet the needs of your students by differentiating your instruction.
I am always looking for great classroom tools to help our teachers and students with digital story telling. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves with little to no time for students to spend on learning programs such as iBook Author, which also happens to be one of the best book creators ever designed. Then there are other schools that do not have the 1:1 resources like iPads and can’t use apps like Book Creator.
After I presented at FETC, (Florida Educational Technology Conference) Mrs. Krystal Princehorn from Lake Mary High suggested a great resource for student collaboration/creation for those of you who have one or more computers in your classroom. She suggested FlipSnack. After a quick look at FlipSnack I thought it would make a great addition to any teachers digital tool belt.
FlipSnack easily converts PDF’s to Flipbooks. The flipbooks are mobile friendly and can be created in just minutes. FlipSnack allows you to share your flipbook with others by converting it to an easily accessible link or share your flipbook through social media for all to see. Publishing student work and sharing their creations globally not only gives our students a voice but also allows them to understand that what they learn, and what they create does not stay in the classroom but can be shared globally. Students must always be reminded that they can and do have a positive impact on others based on their creations and their ability to share it.
I often read blogs and attend great presentations that share great tools but fail to discuss ideas on how these tools can be used in the classroom. So here you go:
Teaching strategies: Team up with another class, school in your city, state, or country and share your flipbooks with them. Use the flipbook as a way to demonstrate the knowledge that you have gained in one lesson or a series of lessons. Share the flipbook with other students and see their feedback. It can also be used as a classroom publication for students, parents, or create one for your school.
Teaching strategies with Special Education students: Have students create books for special education students and flip it around as well where the special education students are sharing content with the other students. After this has been done – take it to the next level where they collaborate together to create flipbooks together.
Final thoughts: Technology should not separate us but bring us together. What we create is important but what truly is important is what we do with our creations and whom did we create them with. Share your works with the world by using resources like flipbook that can be seen by anyone no matter the device.
Move over Socrative you have several serious web 2.0 tools that are attempting to dethrone you. There is no shortage of student response systems ranging from physical devices to web 2.0 tools that can be used with any mobile device. If you are not familiar at all with Socrative, I strongly suggest that you visit Socrative.com as quickly as you can. I have yet to run into an educator that speaks negatively about such a phenomenal tool. Socrative is a FREE web based student response system that also works on android and IOS as an app.
For any school that is implementing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative or wants to get more out of their teaching in a computer lab atmosphere, then Socrative for you. For the last 2 possibly 3 years, teachers have been raving about Socrative and its ability to do multiple forms of questions such as polls, surveys, multiple choice, short response and even questioning games like Space Race.
So should Socrative worry? I am not sure but here are two other great resourcesthat are worth a look. Competition can only make products better so my ears and eyes are open for new educational resources.
Infuse Learning is a web based student response system that can be used on any platform. Educators can assign a question and push them out to students. Infuse Learning allows the teacher to push out true or false, short answer, multiple choice, and more. What really does take infuse learning above and beyond is how it allows students to reply by creating drawings/pictures on their device (no matter the device). For those visual or artistic students this could be a huge game changer. It allows students another way to express themselves and show growth and understanding, when speaking about curriculum.
GoClass is like the other tools mentioned above, and is a solid student response system for the digital teacher. The concepts of SHOW-EXPLAIN-ASK are the tested teaching methodology that GoClass believes in. The application allows you to create, deliver, evaluate, and update content from the same application and store the information that you create on the Cloud.
Educators get excited about these tech tools all the time specially after they go to incredible technology conferences such as FETC, ISTE, ICE, TCEA, and others. Socrative, Infuse Learning, and Go Class are just three incredible classroom tools, but what makes these resources incredible are the well though out activities and questions that the teachers create. Technology is not going to make you a better teacher. If used correctly it will help you with student engagement and give you another tool to help take your teaching to the next level.