Friday, April 13, 2018

Making Connections

I'm so excited to have co-written a blogpost over at my friends, Monica and Kelly's blog, Teacher Tech Tools in Under 2 Minutes this week.

Hop over using the link below to learn more about an awesome collaboration project between our campuses that proves that no matter what the age of the learner, connections help us construct meaning.  

Connecting, Collaborating, Creating

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Great iPad Challenge

I once read that in order to grow, we must learn something new everyday by getting out of our "comfort zones".

I think we sometimes make this too hard - like we have to make a big jump like changing a job or a grade level or a school placement.  But the truth is that little steps out of our comfort zones have the potential to provide just as big shifts in thinking.  

We just have to be open and take the step.

Last week, I challenged myself and my team to ditch our MacBooks for a couple of days.  It doesn't seem that big of a challenge...after all, educators in our district have been issued both Macs AND iPads in order to support learning design for our 1:1 iPad district.  But what I found was that much too often, I default to using just my MacBook.  My team felt the same.  

Now, we all tend to have a preferred device and there is nothing wrong with that.  However, I wondered what kept us going back to our MacBooks and how our perspective would change if we truly stepped into our learners' 1:1 environment.  That was how the Great iPad Challenge was born.

Day 1 of the challenge we would use only iPads.  On day 2, we would be allowed to use supplemental tools like Apple Pencils and keyboards.  We would go about our business as usual, but also try several challenges along the way.  For both days, we used the following bingo board to guide our challenges.  My teammates, Brian Timm and Brad Cook helped me brainstorm some ideas that helped with the design (Our document was created using Pages).  Sam Neal and Brooke Sims assisted by setting up reflection discussion boards in Schoology for our team.

My day 1 and day 2 experiences were very different, but I think it was less about the device/tools and more about my mindset.  Check out this video I made in Clips to share my big takeaways!

My team had some great reflections too.  We decided to share out via Twitter in an activity designed by Kelly Skillingberg and Monica Champagne. We then arranged our thoughts in a Twitter Moment, which is a great way to archive and tell a story with your tweets!

Click here to go to the Twitter Moment

Overall, it was such a valuable experience.  I can't wait to work with Trisha Goins to lead our team on some group discussion and a SURPRISE additional reflection that I will share with you in the upcoming weeks!

What do you think would happen if YOU ditched your laptop and took the iPad Challenge?  Let me know in the comments!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Apple a Week Series Wrap Up

When I started this blog series, my intent was to challenge myself to really explore how Apple can be used for deeper learning. I wanted to develop my answer to the question, “Why Apple?”  and encourage you to consider it as well. I hope it has opened your mind to some different ways that the Apple foundational programs can be used within your classroom. Though our series ends with this post, I challenge all of us to continue to share ideas in the comments, on our Flipgrid and via Twitter.  Learning, after all, isn’t ever “over” - it morphs and changes and shifts, but with an open mind, it never ceases.

I owe a great deal of thanks to my teammates who co-wrote, linked up, brainstormed ideas and recorded Flipgrid videos. Could I have written all of the posts? Maybe. But there is such power in different perspectives and learning collaboratively.  I hope that my teammates have learned from me through this process as well.

To my inspired educators who are in the trenches trying some of these ideas out - thank you.  I look forward to sharing images and videos of your classes’ music videos, book club journals, Keynote animations and more.   I am always here as a learning partner.

Lastly, I have always taken much inspiration from the Apple Distinguished Educators.  Next year, when applications come out, I hope that some of you will consider applying to be part of this collective group of outstanding educators.  Until then, our learning can continue every Tuesday night at 8 pm CST when the ADEs host #appleeduchat.  It is a GREAT way to develop your PLN and gather new ideas and resources.

So my question once again to you is this...Why Apple?  Our Flipgrid is still waiting for your answer:

What reflections can you share from your experience reading this series?  Let me know in the comments...I’d love to know how this series has impacted your design!

Check out other posts from this series here.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Movin' and Groovin' With iMovie

Open house was this week here in Coppell, Texas.  So many amazing things were shared and celebrated.  The best part is how proud our kids are when they get to show off what they have created.  What better week to talk about the selfie generation and their love of film? This week, get ready for your close up because it's time for...

I loved working to help my teammate, Megan Kozar, pen our post about iMovie.  Her perspective is phenomenal.  If you don't subscribe to her site, The Lightning Lab, you totally should!  Let's link over to her blog, to learn more about the magic of iMovie for learning!

Movin' and Groovin' with iMovie by Megan Kozar

What awesome creations have you and your learners made using iMovie? What helps you when teaching learners how to film?  Share some examples and ideas in the comments!

Check out other posts from this series here.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Gather a GarageBand

Who’s ready to ROCK this week’s Apple a Week Blog?

Growing up the baby of 6 kids was an experience.  Any given week, I was a spectator at multiple sporting events and band concerts.   One of the coolest parts of my childhood, though, happened right in our basement.  My brother’s “garageband” was named Zephyr and they practiced weekly - amps, microphones, instruments and all.  My 10 year old self knew all the words to “I Wanna Rock N Roll All Night” and our floors shook on a regular basis.  

My brother’s passion for playing music was contagious and continues on now that he is an adult  (though the music choice is quite different than the heavy metal of Zephyr).  I often think to myself what he would have created if he had the tools of GarageBand at his fingertips during school.  This week, put your listening ears on...because its time for...

GarageBand provides all the digital tools you need to compose and play original music. With the tap of an iPad or click of the trackpad, creativity can come to life.  

I decided to gather some information to help us explore the benefits of Garageband in education. First, I talked with my fellow Digital Learning Coach, Brad Cook, about some of the things he loves about GarageBand as an educator.  

I also talked to Wesley Baskett, an 8th grader at Coppell MIddle School North.  Sometimes a learner perspective can really open your eyes.

Lastly, I reached out to find an example of a finished project.  Our learners can do great things when we let them create.  My teammate, Trisha, shared these original raps by Anisha Bhattaru, a learner from Coppell Middle School West.

GarageBand can be used with learners to:

  • Compose original music for iMovie projects
  • Show what you know about a concept through an original song
  • Learn more about fractions by exploring notes and time signatures
  • Record a weekly class podcast in place of your classroom newsletter
  • Use the microphone tracks to record reading fluency over time
  • Practice class presentations using only audio to listen back and provide targeted feedback on scripts or written elements

You could even try this:

New to GarageBand?  Learn more below!
How could you use GarageBand to enhance classroom content and understanding?  Let me know in the comments! (Extra points if you record me a track in GarageBand!)

Check out other posts from this series here.

Monday, February 26, 2018

TMST: The Internet is Down, Now What?

As I pulled into the campus parking lot last Thursday, which also happened to be Digital Learning Day, I received a text.  It went something like this:

Create at Imgflip
The internet is down is not something ANY of us wants to hear.  It is inconvenient and most of the time throws our best laid plans out the window.

But as the time ticked on and I kept hearing the half-hearted laughs of a no internet Digital Learning Day (many from myself), I began to think...why does everything have to stop?  Digital learning is not about tools.  It's about creating. It's about processing thinking.  It's about more than just connecting via the web.

You might remember that I am on a mission this year to really explore how to better provide deeper learning experiences through Apple devices. So I challenged myself to make a list of all the things that worked on my iPad, even with no internet.  

What I found was...well, awesome.  

Many of the apps and functions I love about my iPad still worked. Don't believe me?  Try it!  Put your iPad on Airplane mode and test out some apps. 

Find any good ones I haven't thought of yet?  Add them to my list below!

Alli's List of Apps that don't need WIFI 

Sure, changing plans at the last minute is not everyone's dream of a stress free day, but what could our learners create if we thought outside the wifi?  Could a group of learners have collaborated on a video explaining a process? Could learners still have been able to make observations throughout the school via a photo walk? Could learners have spent time working on composing digital reflections to be shared once the internet was back?

How will your day look different the next time there is a "blip" in service? I now know mine will be rich with creations. Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Book Creator

Hi friends!
My recap post of my top learning moments from TCEA is coming soon...until then, here's this week's installment of the #appleaweek series!

Once upon a time, a young 3rd grader proudly wrote a book for a Young Author’s competition.  The book, like all the others was displayed in the library for parents and families to read.  How special that girl felt to know she was an “author” and that her work was being read.  

Imagine if that girl had access to publishing to the world...where would she be?  What would she have dreamed up?  Would her passion for writing extend to more than just this blog?  

For this week’s Apple a Week, we take a look at Book Creator for Chrome, an online multi-touch book creation tool that is easy enough for our littlest of kids to create content.  It is one way our kids now can write for the world.

Let’s take a look at Book Creator for Chrome in this 5 min vlog:

With Book Creator for Chrome, our kids can:
  • Publish creative works as part of writer’s workshop
  • Inform others by designing books as part of research projects
  • Create comics that showcase understanding of historical events
  • Collaborate with others to design a how to book that contains different ways to solve math problems
  • Design original stories for a virtual library collection 

Check out this awesome book of 50 ways to use Book Creator in your Classroom!

What will YOUR learners create when the audience is unlimited?  

Check out other posts from this series here.


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