Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TMST: Apple Design Gems

A couple of weeks ago, my team put on a webinar focusing on design resources.  I think most of the time as educators, we push ourselves to reinvent the wheel.  In some ways, this is awesome because innovation starts with creativity and new ideas.  But in other ways, I think part of our struggle in balance as educators has to do with feeling like design is all on our shoulders.

So how do we capitalize on the great design of others while continuing to seek ways to innovate and provide experiences that are customized for the needs of our learners?

There's no easy answer to that, but you have heard me say this many times over this blog...we learn better together.

That said,  I highly encourage you to add some of these Apple Design Gems to your summer learning plans.  Many resources in these Gems are made by educators like you and there are some great ideas just waiting to be uncovered.

Gem 1:  iBooks

A collection of books with resources that can be used when creating authentic learning experiences. iBooks are very interactive and can also be used for personal, professional learning.

Gem 2:  iTunesU Courses

A collection of resources for educators looking for inspiration. Inside each course you will find posts, assignments, and materials that are helpful when designing lessons.

Gem 3:  Apple Featured Collections

Features free lectures, lessons, audiobooks, iBooks, Courses and more.

Inspired?  Which of these resources will help you in designing learning?  How can I help? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

TMST: Thrively

What would you do if you could have a window into each learner's interests?  Would you engage them differently?  Would you consider designing learning content with those interests in mind?  

What would you do if you could create projects and collaboration activities around those interests?  Would you use them?

Meet Thrively, a place for learners to explore their passions and strengths inside and outside the classroom. Check out this 3 min overview video from the creators of Thrively to get a better understanding of what it can do to enhance the design of passion driven units, Genius Hour, or projects.

I have been interested in passion driven learning since reading Angela Maiers' book, The Passion Driven Classroom several years ago.  One of my schools dived into the concept of a whole campus Genius Hour not long after doing a book study on it.  Genius Hour lets learners explore and develop talents outside of traditional core content.  It is magical what our kids can do when given the chance and time to learn based on their preferences.

Thrively was something I bookmarked, pinned and came across several times after that, but it wasn't until I began playing with it that I saw how amazing it could be.  

3 things that are AWESOME about Thrively:

  1. Learners take an online interest inventory that is more than just multiple choice questions - it can be read to them, there are pictures, there are even questions that ask you to perform a specific type of movement. 
  2. Through the Teacher Dashboard, Educators can create classes of learners and can track progress, see strengths and push out "playlists" of course material like the one shown to the right.
  3. Learning is made active in Thrively through the use of journaling, portfolio and project collaboration features.
What would DLCoachAlli use it for?  

  • Gaining insight on what my learners were interested in with the interest inventory
  • Introducing the concept of Genius Hour through the Find Your Passion course
  • Creating journal reflection opportunities that add purpose to learning experiences
  • Managing projects that multiple learners with similar interests work on and add to
  • Understanding my learners better in order to build deeper relationships

What would YOU use it for? Interested in learning more?  I'd love to collaborate!  Let me know!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

TMST: Digital BreakoutEDU

I'd love to blame this late Teach Me Tuesday post on the STAAR tests we gave this week, but truthfully, there is another reason I am a couple days late - my new obsession with helping educators create digital BreakoutEDU experiences.

What is a Digital Breakout? Well, think escape room for education.  Learners are challenged to "unlock" a series of puzzles tied to their content using different Web 2.0 sites and Google forms.  When they successfully complete the challenges, they have "broken out".  

Take this one for example...I worked with some 4th grade educators on one to help kick off their Life Science unit. Learners are partnered up and must complete the scenario of being lost at the zoo using only the clues provided and what they know about adaptations, producers and consumers to figure out how to unlock a Google Form using codes.

Digital Breakouts can be a great way to switch things up and keep kids engaged and active as they construct meaning in your class!  Our 4th graders at Lee went "all in" while working on this one that connected to their Storyworks paired passages!

Shoutout to Ms. Knight, who co-designed this with me and tried it live in the classroom!

I learned a ton from the Digital Breakout site, exploring the ones already built and using this resource which provides help tutorials and different suggested tools that can be used to build!

The site is great, but as always, never underestimate the power of a thought partner. Collaboration with my DLC partners, Amanda and Megan, as well as some risk-taking educators was the key for me as I began creating my own Breakouts. After learning with them, I was able to create a quick checklist of things to think about when preparing to design one.

As your DLC, it helps me learn when I am helping you.  If you are interested in trying out this format for instruction, don't hesitate to let me know or join me next time we do FedEX to learn more!

This session will be rescheduled soon!  Keep an eye out for more details!

What excites YOU about Digital BreakoutEDU?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TMST: Let's go on an Expedition!

Once upon a time, I took some 2nd graders on a trip to Ellis Island.  We observed details about Lady Liberty and then explored the actual buildings where many of our ancestors were processed as they came to America.

No, we don't live in New York and no, I did not write a grant for traveling. But we did have an immersive experience in a place some of us may never get to visit.

Last week, I launched a Pryor Takeover to explore something I had never used before.  I borrowed my friend, Suzanne Saxon's class and used the Google Expeditions app to guide her learners through the experience.  We did it only with our iPads using full screen mode to access the 360 view, no Google Cardboard was even needed.

There are a ton of expeditions from which to choose.  We could have gone to the Space Station, the Great Barrier Reef or even the San Diego Zoo if it fit our instructional needs. Since Suzanne's class will soon be simulating a trip to Ellis Island as part of a study on culture, this was the perfect trip for us to try it out with!

How it works:

Simply download the free Expeditions app on your iPads.  In the app, participants must choose to be either a Guide or an Explorer.  As an educator, you will select to be a Guide and you will search for an experience to download and facilitate.  Learners will choose Explorer and must be on the same wifi as you to locate your experience. (The Guest network in CISD worked best for us!) Once they are connected, you will use the guiding questions and text information provided to lead them on the expedition.  When you highlight a talking point, learners are guided there with an arrow. They will move their iPad and body in order to see parts of the 360 experience, so make sure they have room to move! 

Check out this video clip of our tour in action:

We had such an amazing time, with learners making connections to their previous learning experiences while being amazed at what they were seeing firsthand.  

Ready to get started? Here are some great additional resources to learn about Google Expeditions!
Interested in learning more?  I'd love to design an experience with you!  Let me know how I can help!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

TMST: KnowRecorder

Welcome to a Thursday edition of Teach Me Something Tuesday.  Today, I will be trying not to squeal with glee as I write because, drumroll please, I think my teammate and friend, Leigh Ann Howard may have found us an alternative to Explain Everything for our kids.  

Know Recorder is a screencasting/whiteboard app.  It has many similar features as Explain Everything, allows you to save your video directly to the camera roll for easy uploading and sharing, 

You heard that correctly.  

Don't get me wrong.  I love Explain Everything and will continue to use my educator license.  But when I think of our elementary kids that do not currently have Explain Everything, I am overjoyed.  We have a ton of screencasting tools available, but many have moved toward a paid model or have limited features.  We have needed an easy to use way for them to record their thinking through drawing, inserting pictures and interacting with whiteboard tools.

Want to join me in seeing if this can fit our kids' needs?  Download KnowRecorder from the App store or find it in Self Service today.

You don't just have to take it from me...check out this article by Richard Byrne of Free Tech for Teachers to learn more!

Let me know in the comments how you plan to try it!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TMST: The Notes App

Are you a big fan of the Notability app?  Wish our elementary kids had access?  

Gather around, friends.  I'd like to change your life.  

For a recent webinar I co-hosted, my teammates and I were able to find a solution that mimics most of what we love about the Notability app for FREE.  In fact, it is an app that is native to our iPads which means that no download is even needed in order for our kids to annotate PDFs, create sketch notes and make meaning through note taking.  

The best part?

This app works seamlessly with Schoology.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, you think you know the Notes app on your iPad, but you have no idea.  

Check out this short excerpt from our recent Webinar that shows how to use the Notes app to annotate a PDF and share to a Schoology assignment.  

Want to hear more hidden Apple Gems like this one? Check out the full webinar recording with this and 3 other amazing tips!

Are you as pumped as I am about this?  Let me know how you might use the Notes app with your learners in the comments! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TMST: Schoology Calendar

If you know me, you know how I feel about Schoology. A one stop, EASY to use workflow solution, this learning management system has my heart as a teacher and coach.  It can benefit our learners so much.

As a parent, I love that I can get a glimpse of my child's day.  But I have to admit,  in this age of information overflow, I need all the help I can get in remembering ALL the things. 
(Can I get an AMEN?)

One thing that can really help us overloaded parents out is the use of the calendar feature in Schoology.  Not only can educators create assignments with dates that add to the calendar, but they can also create important dates directly on the calendar as well.

Are you an educator? 

Take some time to learn more about using the calendar feature in Schoology from my awesome team by checking out this archived webinar (HINT: fast forward to 27.26 and stop after 39.35 to hear the calendar features section).


Reference this Quick Tips for adding to the Schoology Calendar guide.

Are you too a parent like me, trying to keep your head above water? Check out CISD's FAQ doc about parent accounts and Schoology.  

Either way, I'm here for you!  Have a great week!


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