Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Another Blog Post about SAMR

Yes, I know what else can be written about SAMR? I just returned from a road trip vacation, which was awesome, thanks for asking. ;-) Anyway, I started thinking of how things have changed when traveling from back in the day, you know the day of paper foldout maps for each state you travel. We have come a long way!

Lisa Johnson, AKA TechChef, wrote a post on S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR in which she included four awesome questions to help guide educators in transforming instruction. So to give you an idea of real world SAMR application, I'm going to share the technology we used on our trip and let you think about how they relate to the four questions. Ready?

Does the technology/tool allow for collaboration (e.g. within a school, district, state, nation, globe, experts, PLN)?
Does the technology/tool allow for publishing to an authentic audience and archival?
Is the technology/tool student-driven?

Does the technology/tool allow for feedback and formative assessment?

Waze - GPS Navigation, Maps & Social Traffic

I highly recommend this app. It is real time routing based on a community of drivers providing real-time traffic and road info. Through the collaboration, we knew traffic jams, road hazards, cars on the side of the road, etc. so we could re-route if necessary. Easy to report what you see as you travel too. 

You have to eat while traveling, so let's use collaboration to find the best places to eat and even top things to do in that area. Enter the next two apps:
Yelp & Trip Advisor

With Yelp, you can filter the search results, so you can find things within in the neighborhood you are in at the moment and what is open. And it's easy to leave your reviews as well to help travelers that come behind you. 

With Trip Advisor, you can find hotels, restaurants, and things to do in the community. And it's easy to leave your reviews as well to help travelers that come behind you.

And last, but not least is Gas Buddy
Again, by crowdsourcing information collaboratively we can find out gas prices at stations close by for the best price. 

So notice how all these integrate into a trip? And how all were based on collaboration? Notice the tools are user driven, providing the information we need when we need it in an authentic way?

That is seamless technology use and that is what I love to see happening in classrooms. Talk to your ITF about tools that can help you make this happen for your students. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tools to Help Struggling Readers

I'm a reader. I can devour fiction books in hours and nonfiction texts in a day or two at the most. My friends are amazed by my reading abilities. I'm fortunate, a love of reading was instilled early and I have never struggled with reading difficulties.

Some of our students, however, do struggle and the wonder of books are lost because of that struggle. We are a G Suite for Education district, so teachers are always looking for ways to help their readers while using Chromebooks and Google accounts. Below are a few options that may be worth checking out. Let me know what you think and if you have others to add to the list.

Books that grow - paid subscription
Closed captioning on Discovery Education Videos

Text to Speech extensions:
Announcify - reads aloud websites

Simplify text on screen
Beeline Reader - adds text gradient to help students with tracking

Audio Books
Librivox - public domain classics read aloud
OverDrive - must have an associated public library card

Monday, October 3, 2016

iPad Accessibility

Scanner & Translator App
I recently had a teacher asking for resources to scaffold instruction for students who are having difficulty reading. She was using an iPad app called Scanner & Translator which allowed any text to be digitized and then read aloud. It's a free app, but the drawback was it would start back at the beginning of the text when students really were needing to be able to select where to start.

So I immediately begin to think about the built-in functionality of iPads for accessibility. There is a plethora of accessibility features and one is called Voice Over. As long as the documents are true PDFs and not just a photo, the iPad will read the text. And yes, you can tap where you want it to read!
My thoughts are to encourage sharing of the PDFs with students through Google Classroom or Google Drive. Students then can open that PDF in iBooks and use Voice Over to read aloud.

I found this great resource online to show how to access it and how it works. It does change the normal touch features of an iPad, but I'm sure students can handle the changes.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Formative Assessments - Checking for Student Understanding

As teachers help their students grow in understanding and learning, they "take a pulse" during lessons to make sure students are understanding and grasping the concepts. The idea, of course, is to  make sure that once students reach the end of a unit of study or the end of a school year, they will show mastery of the content. In the past, teachers would verbally ask the students and most would nod their heads. Oftentimes, when teachers probe deeper they would find the students really didn't understand and would adjust teaching accordingly.

In classrooms of today, teachers have a plethora of devices (whether BYOD environment or 1:1) for students to use to show understanding. There are many choices for teachers as well from Socrative, Nearpod, Kahoot, Quizizz, and goFormative. Even for classrooms without devices, teachers can use their tablet or phone and Plickers.

I met with teachers this week to show them two of the above-mentioned tools: Plickers & Quizziz.

Plickers is super easy to use provided the teacher has a tablet or smartphone available. Go to the site, create your account and add your students. Next, print the cards. The cards can be used for multiple classes, so for those of you in secondary, you can use this tool as well. You can verbally ask questions or embed them in your presentation. When you are ready to ask the question, simply open the app on your device, select the question, and choose scan. You will see the student's name pop-up on your screen and their answer choice will be recorded as you use the camera to scan the cards. Plickers work for multiple choice and true-false questions. You will need to teach your students how to hold the card and not to turn the cards while you are scanning, otherwise their answer will be changed.

Quizizz is one of my all time favorites. Why you ask? Well, if you ever played Kahoot, you know how much fun that is and how it engages students. Students even love to create quizzes for their classmates. Quizizz is similar except, wait for it...the questions display on the student devices! You don't have to project the quiz and this allows students to work through questions in a different order than their peers and at their own pace. Points are still awarded for speed and correct answers. Students also will see memes after each answer. You can search many of the public quizzes or create your own. You also have the choice to duplicate a public quiz and edit to suit the content you are assessing. Quizizz also provides the option to let the students complete the quiz as homework. You select the date and time the homework quiz needs to be completed. And finally, Quizizz is customizable as you can see from this image.

Take these tools for a test run with your students and let me know what you think. My presentation is below.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Check out these cool links! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.