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!


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