Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Google Salon: Let's Add Some Extensions!



Welcome to the Google Salon! Let's give your chrome browser a much needed makeover. Chrome extensions are great ways to highlight and brighten up your browser through useful tasks for both teachers and students. See how to maximize your workflow and minimize common headaches. Add these extensions to turn chrome into an interactive whiteboard, easily add common notes to any assignment, quickly create and share a list of important web links, and so much more. You work hard, let the Google Salon pamper you!

Did you know your chrome browser is actually an extremely powerful customizable application? You can add extensions, which extend the power of your browser, to enhance the learning goals of your students and the classroom capabilities of you the teacher.


Below are awesome chrome extensions for you and your students which have been used and tested in classes at Alta Sierra and beyond.

These links are for the chrome browser only, they will not work on internet explorer or edge browsers.

To use them just click on the link, then select the blue button that reads "add to chrome" in one click it will add the extension to the upper right corner of your chrome browser for easy use. 

1.Dualless: Split your chrome screen per tab in any shape. Great for any reason to split your screen such as grading student work and imputing grades into Google Classroom. Great for research for students or keeping the instructions visible while working on an assignment. You could also use "Tab Scissors" extension, but Dualless allows you to predetermine how the tabs will be split in size. 

2.Tab Glue: Bring your split screen back together just like they were prior to splitting them.

3. Awesome Screenshot: Capture any webpage in any fashion, whole page, whole site, whole screen, you name it. This also has built in info blur to protect any sensitive information.

4. Page Marker: annotate over any webpage. Turn your Chrome browser into an interactive whiteboard. Have students practice their annotation skills on any article from any website. Use this in conjunction with "Awesome Screenshot" above and have them screenshot their annotations and turn in via Google Classroom. 

5. NoteAnywhere: Leave a "Sticky Note" on any webage and it will be there when you return. I always bookmark webpages, but forget why or how I was going to use the information. Not anymore! With this extension leave a sticky note on any webpage and it will be there when you return.

6. Screencastify: Record your screen to document a lesson or have students record their screen to show proof of Knowledge. Super great tool to allow student to share their knowledge and growth. The free version allows up to 10 minutes of recording. Use this in conjunction with Flipgrid to create a whole classroom of student tutorials. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Flipgrid Fever! Hacking The Grid

Hacking the GRID!

Flipgrid Unplugged #3: Hacking the Grid with Joe Marquez from Flipgrid on Vimeo.

Flipgrid is one of the best educational programs to come out with in the last few years. At first look it seems to be a simple student video response program, but when you look at it through a hackers eyes it becomes much more. The more I look into the program the more usefulness I find for it and the more creative my students get with this. This post will be a live living post where I will update, add, and tweek all the ways I find to hack flipgrid within my classroom:

Flipgrid in YOUR Classroom:


  • Intro Ticket/Exit Ticket
    • What do you remember, what did you learn
  • End of Lab Summaries
    • When you ask a student to write a short summary of what they learned in the lab, the only question they tend to ask is "How long does it have to be?" 
    • When you ask a student to do a Flip, they ask how many people are going to see this. It becomes a community post and because of this they tend to take thier time and trully investigate the best way to explain what they have learned. In fact they may record thier post 3 or 4 times, unprompted, to make sure they look and sound good to their peers. 
  • Mini-Movies
    • ex: Newtons 3 Laws
    • Using the Flipgrid mobile app our class has been able to create some creative "Vine" type Flips of classroom topics. The mobile app allows us to get outside and record the science around us instead of being couped up in our four walls.
  • Group Science Scavenger Hunts
  • Lab Station Responses
    • I love doing "Station labs" in the tune of "Speed Dating" The groups need to get to their station, conduct their Mini-experiment, then explain the science behind it and its relation to the world around them. By creating a Lab Grid and a Flip Topic per station I have been getting truly insightful responses, much different than having them write a few sentences of explanations at each station.
  • Classroom to Classroom connections! In school or beyond!
  • Student Tips to incoming grades
  • Back to school night parent introductions
  • State of the Classroom Updates for parents
    • I used to use YouTubes quick record feature to give my parents weekly classroom updates in a "State of the Classroom" sort of way. With the quick record feature removed, Flipgrid is perfect. Just record a quick weekly wrap-up of the week and use the date as the thumbnail. Great way to keep All Parent in the loop.
  • Get to know the class activity
  • Science Fair interviews
  • Upload Screencasts!!
    • Screencastify
  • Clamation/Stop-motion Models
  • ANY TIME TUTORING  
    • Get your AP High School Students to Tutor your Jr. High Students



Flipgrid on your Campus or School Events:




  • Get to know the Staff/Teachers
  • Whole School interviews
  • Virtual PixelPal
  • Senior Legacy Posts
    • Have senioirs (12th or 8th) lave a memorable event from thier time at the school, or leave the incoming students tips on how to survive.
  • School Rules
  • Sports Clips
    • Upload your school best sports highlights to a grid topic
  • Great for EL and Foreign Language
    • create FlipPals; join classes from other countries of students who speak the language you are studying.
  • Flipgrid Booths at School Dances
    • Forget photobooths! FlipBooth is so much more! Leave comments about the dance, or messages to friends who are or are not there.



Flipgrid in YOUR everyday Life:




  • Birthday/Wedding Wishes
    • Dont go around asking people to say a quick wish to the man/woman of the hour, leave the flipgrid code/QR code in the program and let them wish them well on their own time. Even people who cant attend can participate!
  • Conference Presenter Quick Looks
    • record 30 sec presenter slams for each session so your attendees know what to expect from the session and the presenters style!
  • Neighborhood Watch
    • Upload thos videos of the strangers on your block
  • Twitter PD
    • #FlipgridFever

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Kahoot! vs Quizizz

Kahoot vs. Quizizz

I am often asked: Are you Team Kahoot! or Team Quizizz?
I reply I play for both teams!

Both apps have as place in my class and they should have a place in yours as well. I like to use Kahoot! for Monday review of games that are no longer than 10 questions. I like to use Quizizz for reviews that are up to 40 questions. Let me tell you why and give you a quick over view of each.

Kahoot!
Create a Kahoot! HERE
Play a Kahoot! HERE

Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform where the teacher controls the pace of the review and puts a timer on the length of the questions. The students view the question up on the main board, and the students select the answer with the corresponding question on their device. After each question the students are ranked and the top five leaders appear on the main board. 
  • The teacher can select the game to be played in classic mode, where the students play individually or Team mode, where the students play in a team of three. 
  • I only play Kahoots with questions of 10 or less to prevent students who are in last place from giving up and dragging the game on for as long as possible.
  • Teachers are provided with instant feedback of correct vs inccorect after each questions to review the material right there for the students to understand.
  • Teachers can create their own lessons from scratch OR use/modify pre-existing reviews from the community.
  • Teachers are provided with a spreadsheet of analytics if they wish to review the students progress for their records. 
  • Have students create their own Kahoots to show their knowledge. Only downside is that they have to create their own accounts so this could be a sticky situation with student privacy Laws.
  • Easily put a Kahoot Play button on your Google Classroom as a Topic Item.

Quizizz
Create a Quizizz HERE
Join Quizizz HERE
Quizizz is also a game-based learning app, the difference here is that students pace themselves, student directed, and can be played with the class as a whole using the live function, or as "Homework" to be played when the student is ready.
  • All is true about Quizizz which I said above about Kahoot, but since it is student paced and they have the the game on their machine, they have more ownership of the review and can last form longer sessions than Kahoot.
  • On the live version there are three different types of analytics to view on the teachers dashboard:
    • Overall Correct vs Incorrect answers
    • Individual Student Progress on the "Racetrack Screen"
    • Individual question correct vs. incorrect.
  • Integrated with Google Classroom, easily push the game with the code to Google Classroom for easy one click access.
  • Homework mode can be played in class or at home. They play against all students who are reviewing the material, but at their own time. Great to use for team teaching across the hall, across the state, or across the world.
  • You can create your own quiz, or copy/edit from the gallery. You can even create your own by borrowing individual questions from multiple pre-made quizizz. 
  • Crowd Source questions from your students with this easy trick:
  • This trick prevents the hassle of students needing permission to create their own account. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Augmented Reality. AR, is used in the classroom to enhance a student's learning and increase engagement in the classroom setting.  I have found that the use of Augmented Reality can motivate, excite, and give equity of a lesson to the students. Here are a few ways I have encouraged my students and staff to incorporate AR into school activities.

Aurasma Projects:

I love Aurasmas ability to allow the teacher and or student to overlay a multimedia aspect on top of a selected target image. Because of this I have used aurasma in a variety of different ways throughout the year in and outside the walls of my classroom.

  • Interactive Classroom\Lab Rules

    • In class I find that over time the walls of my classroom become static. The pictures and classroom rules which seemed to be placed in the perfect place at the beginning of the year, become white noise as the months progress. Because of this I decided to allow students to create short videos which represent what the poster or rule is trying to convey. These short videos can be something as simple as a motivational pep talk from one student to another, or a “do and don’t” set of rules for the laboratory setting. I take these student created videos and overlay them with Aurasma on to the posters on the classroom wall. Throughout the year i change the videos based on student submission, creating a changing classroom environment throughout the year. With this process I have student coming into my class at lunch with their Aurasma phone app to see if the posters have been changed.

  • AR Digital Yearbook

    • A few years back I noticed that our student yearbook team had a lot of free time in class once the yearbook went off to the publisher. This left one to two months of free time for the normally busy crew. As an Idea I introduced our team and their advisor, Sheryl Milhous, to the idea of “Aurasmatizing” our yearbook. I explained that since the yearbook was already done we can get with our videography team and match already made videos to their pictures in the yearbook. After a short explanation the team was off and running, “Aurasmatizing” as many pictures they could. The result was an amazing journey, in both print and digital, our our students amazing year. It was such a success that we brought back the “Aurasmatized” for our most recent yearbook. The yearbook advisor, Mrs. Milhous said “This makes our yearbook unique and special, as well, because students love connecting technology and digital devices to everything around them. I realized that using Aurasma helps get even more students “in” the yearbook.  While a photo may feature one, two, or even a group of, students, the video covers several seconds of the event or the context of the photo, and shows even more student faces as they enjoy that moment of the school year experience.”

  • AR Digital Sports Program

    • Last year after seeing that the Alta Sierra yearbook had be augmented with Aurasma, our High School (Buchanan High School) asked if I could create an Augmented sports program for their football games. I assured them it could be done with some help and planning in advance. We got together and planned to get our Senior Football players to do a short 1 minute interview on the same days they were getting their team and individual photos taken. Doing the photos and interviews on the same day ensured the photos would transition well into the videos. We asked the seniors to tell us about their position, where they were headed to college, and any message they wanted to tell their parents and/or coaches. Once this was completed I “Aurasmatized” the senior photos with their one minute interview to allow the parents and fans to see their favorite athletes come to life. We also augmented our program dedication page, producing a short video on the life and accomplishments of our districts founder Dr. Floyd “Doc” Buchanan.

  • Back to School Digital Gallery Walk

    • Last year one of my teachers, Brooke Valenzuela, mentioned to me that she wanted to do something amazing for her parents for open house. She wanted to have her parents experience her students work rather than just seeing it. After a few discussions, the idea of using Aurasma to bring the work to life was decided on. Mrs. Valenzuela had her students create a video of their work, the experience of creating it, and why they were proud of it. Once the video was created they used a picture of their work as a “Target” image, then overlaid their video on top of their work. The night of open house her parents took a digital gallery walk through their students work, experience their work first hand in their student’s own words. After the night was over Mrs. Valenzuela said “Both the students and their parents were amazed with how the auras worked. They loved being able to hover their smartphones over the pictures and see them come to life.  It was a really unique and memorable showcase of all the students work.”

  • Personal Tutor at Home

    • Early on in my teaching career, I used to handout paper worksheet to assess my students growth on a particular topic. A problem with this practice was what I asked of those kids who did not finish the work in class. I told them that if they did not finish the worksheet in class it would have to be finished at home as homework. Looking back I know this was not a good practice because one of the many reasons the students did not finish the work in class was because they didn’t know how to do the work in the first place. If they didn’t understand the work while in class, why did I expect them finish and understand the work at home. As a remedy to this problem I would video myself using a DocCam, completing and explaining how to successfully complete the various problems asked in the worksheet. I then used the worksheet as a trigger and overlaid the recorded help video onto the worksheet in Aurasma. Now when my students got stuck on a portion of the worksheet, they would use their aurasma app to a personal step by step guide on how to complete the problems. I became a digital on demand tutor.

  • Science Fair AR

    • This past year we toyed with the idea of augmenting our students science fair boards for our county and state science fair participants. We decided it would be a good idea to have our students record and document the trials, experiment, and data explanations. On the board our students placed pictures in the necessary locations and augmented them with their hypothesis, data/graph explanations, and results. The result was a board they dug deeper into the results than a normal type and printed project would have done. This coming year we will dig deeper into how AR can transform our boards like no board has ever been put together.

  • Student created Book Review AR videos

    • Our library has lots of posters to encourage kids to read. These poster were like movie posters to me, which got me thinking about movie trailers and movie reviews. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if a student could see a review of the book by a student or a trailer of the book to decided if they should read it or not? So we decided to ask students to record reviews, which we would then Augment over the poster so students would be able to listen to the advice of one of their fellow students about the book. Once the poster was taken down, the poster was removed as the trigger image of the review and replaced by the book cover image. This way over time our books will have more and more reviews attached to them right off the shells. This coming year I plan on working with our teacher librarian to introduce green screen videos to see if we can get students to create creative trailers for the books as well.


Elements 4D

  • AR Element Bonding Lab

    • Elements 4D is an AR app from Daqri that brings elemental blocks to life right in the hands of the students. Because of the power this app has to inspire awe and amazement in my students eyes, I was trying to figure out a way to convert its use from a demonstration into an actual lab. After trial and error I decided to put together a bonding lab that incorporated covalent/ionic bonding, equation balancing, and the students favorite digital device. I asked my students the night before to download the Element 4D app from the play/app store while they were at home. When they came in I randomly handed out the the element block templates, there are six different templates with six different elements on each one, to each of my students printed on card stock. I asked my students to lightly shade in the elements which would have a positive ionic charge one color and also shade in the elements that would have a negative ionic charge another color. Student would then walk the classroom with their blocks placing them next to another students block. If the elements were able to bond the app would transform them into the compound they would create in real life along with the compounds balanced equation. For example, if a student had the element sodium (Na+) and touched it with another student with the element chlorine (Cl-) they would see that it makes the compound salt (NaCl). The student would record their bonding results on their lab sheet, and then find another element to bond with. Soon the students started to see that elements with opposite ionic charges formed ionic bonds. This was a fun and exciting lab for both my students and myself.


Quiver


  • About me ARt

    • On the opening week of class I like to get to know my students through a little art project called :About Me Art. In this project my students would be given a blank piece of paper and asked to draw five things that represent them. I thought it would be fun to use this project as a way to introduce my students to augmented reality by instead of handing them blank paper I gave them a choice of a Quiver Flag, Starbucks cup or Dot Day target. In the targets blank space they would draw in color five things that represented them. For the flag I said to imagine that they were a country, what five things would represent you as a country. For the Starbucks cup I said what if instead of your name the barista had to list five things that represent you and that what they would call out to give you your drink. My students had a blast finding the quiver app and watching their drawings come to life. What great ARt!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hacking Remind



Ok, before you start reading let me let you in on the idea of hacking and educational tool. I am not referring to the tactic of breaking into a digital location and lurking around. I would never want any of my favorite edu-tools to be hacked by you or anyone. When I use the work "Hack" here I am referring to a practice of turning the tool on its head, and begin utilizing it in a way that it was not original attended. I believe ALL of our educational tools can and should be "Hacked" in this fashion to best benefit our kids each and every year. Below I will layout some of the ways I have used remind in the past to increase student engagement even when they are not in my class.

Lunch Time Scramble
I love keeping my student on their toes, both in and outside my classroom. Because of this I am know to throw out lunchtime questions via remind to keep my students thinking. These questions can be as simple as "What is Newtons 3rd Law" or as complicated as "What is the balance equation of Photosynthesis?" Regardless, I throw these questions out to my students during lunchtime. My students are instructed that if they know the answer and are the first to write the correct answer on the board in my room, they will win a prize. It is hilarious to see the door burst open with 5 to 10 students rushing to the board to answer a science question with a white board pen in one hand and a burrito in the other. 

Lunch Time Photo Scavenger Hunt
No that remind allows students to message you back via the remind app, scavenger hunts are so much fun. At Lunch I will ask my students: "Science is all around us, look around. Try and find any instances of Newtons 1st, 2nd, and 3rd law in action right now. Take a picture and tell me how it represents one of the three laws. Best picture and description wins a prize." It is great to see our lunchtime photo journalists out in the field surveying the field of their fellow students trying to find science in action.

Vacation Photo Chasin': Random Acts of Science
Just because our students are on vacation doesn't mean they have to be away from learning with us. Charge your student to think back on what they have learned so far and take pictures during their vacation and post them through the remind messaging feature in the remind app. Its fun for the students to see science in their favorite vacation spot, and fun for you to get random acts of science from your students over vacation. And why just do this over vacation? Encourage Random Acts of Science throughout the whole year!!!

 I do not claim to be the only educator in the world utilizing Remind in the hacked fashions listed above, but I had not yet seen a blog post listing these learning opportunities. If you are an educator who uses remind as told in the descriptions above AWESOME! Let me know and share out with the community. If you use remind in a way I have not listed PLEASE share out and let us know, I will update this post with any new ideas and be sure to link your info along with the addition. Now Lets Get Hacking!!!


Pokemon Go Edu


I have seen a lot of blog posts and ideas about using Pokemon go in the educational setting, but many of the ideas have to do with conversation starters or a discussion on Augmented Reality or GPS. I think all of these are great examples of ways to bring in the phenomena into the classroom, but how can we actually utilize the platform and gaming aspect of PokemonGo during an actual lesson., The following are a list of my thoughts on how I can see an actual, practical, and factual way of using Pokemon Go in the classroom or Edu setting.

This of course is a fantastic way to answer the question on how technology and PE can be brought together. I am a huge fan of competitive scavenger hunts and have always believed technology could be used to add a digital component to an already competitive and gamified subject. I could see Pokemon Go being utilized as a tool to create a variety of activities to be run through PE.Now I am by no means a Pokemon Go expert so I would love to hear back whether these ideas are practical or impractical to be completed in a class period.

Also before I run down my ideas let me ask you who you think your Poke' experts will be. Will it be your star athletes? Maybe, but probably not. Most likely it will be your introverted students who would rather be in science class than PE. Wouldn't it be a phenomenal experience for you and the students to see those students who reluctantly follow in PE, become Team captains to train their hand selected group of Pokemon catchers? 

  • PokeTrap Dash: I know that use of Poke' traps/lure  in the game are used to entice a Pokemon to head to the trap. How about utilizing this feature to allow teams to place traps all over the campus. Here would be the rules:
    • Each group will have one leader with the Pokemon Go App at his disposal. His team will have 5 flags, of the teams color, at their disposal. 
    • Each team will need to place 5 traps/lures around campus. Each trap must be placed at least 50 yards apart for their own and other teams traps. 
    • The team will need to use the App to identify their next trap location and RUN to their next location before another team puts down their trap before another group does.
    • After the team finishes they must run through the designated finish line.
    • Once completed, each teams distances are vetted by other teams to ensure the 50 yard rule was obeyed.
    • In this fashion on a few students, the captains, would need to being out a digital device.
  • Pokemon Go (non-digital): I can see some reluctant PE teachers worried about students bringing an electronic device outside. Questions like "What if a kid loses it?" or "What if he drops it and I'm responsible?" Both are valid points, so why not create a non-digital form of this game. I could see using Hula Hoops as Poke stations, and small foam balls used by the participants to catch Pokemons. You could separate teams and designate students as Pokemon to be captured. You could use a large field to create an arena with possible areas of where a Pokemon will appear. Students as Pokemon can jump in a Hula hoop full of flags, if he stands in the hula hoop for longer than 10 sec without being tagged by the foam balls he grabs a flag and then runs out of the hoop. If you "catch" the Pokemon he joins your team and his flags get added to your group pints. This way the "Fastest" Pokemon Students end up collective more flags and become more valuable to the team who catches him. Think of this as a combination or capture the flag, freeze-tag, and dodge ball. 
  • Pokemon Go Edu Expeditions: Now I know this does not exist, YET, but wouldn't it be fun if the creators of Pokemon Go created an Edu version where a teacher could place Pokemon's around campus and had their student run to each new character they find. This would allow teachers to create isolated games for their students and reset the characters or replace each character after each game is over. The instructor could see the whereabouts of each group via a dashboard view ala Google Expeditions.
  • Pokemon Go Scavenger Hunts: Have the students the first few days of school travel around campus on a scavenger hunts to discover all the campus buildings and meet the support staff of each building. The could get to the building and screen shot that they are there. Bonus point if you capture and screenshot a Pokemon Character. 


No as I have said above, I am NOT a Pokemon Go expert and I have only casually played the game, so if there are suggestions on how to make the above work OR you have a better way to utilize this app in an Edu setting PLEASE let me know. I would love to revise and add to our Pokemon Go Edu list!!.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The "Inception" model of differentiation using Nearpod


In my class I have had great success in utilizing Google Classroom as our mission control. For this reason everyone of my students come right into class, get out their BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), log into their GAFE (Google Apps For Education) account and head right to Google Classroom to see what we have on the mission agenda. In this analogy of Google Classroom being mission control, all of our activities can be considered missions, and in a mission you need a powerful ship to get you there. For me one of the most powerful ships I have many in my dock, is Nearpod. With Nearpod I am a Captain with complete control of the mission, using the ship to help steer my crew (students) though a great expedition of discovery. 


Nearpod is a great ship for discovery because of the extensive student interaction capabilities and the malleability of the teacher (captain) to take the lesson in any direction based on student interest. With the included "on the fly" features within the Nearpod console, a teacher can take control of the mission and send the students to a selected website, where students can gather more information on the topic being explored. After a selected amount of time a the teacher can bring all the students back into the mission, leaving no man behind, and discuss what was discovered on the website. This discussion can be completed though a short answer question posed trough the Nearpod platform, through a pair share with group members, or both. The biggest benefit to this "on the fly" capability is that the teacher sends the students to the website and brings them all back with the push of a button. This prevents any student from hanging back on the website and missing out in the class discussion. The ability to prevent leaving anyone behind is a huge benefit to the class, the teacher, and the discussion.

The true power of Nearpod comes when you begin to utilize the "Inception" model of Nearpod. I have labeled this the "Inception" model because of the ability of the teacher to send students on a mission within the mission in the Nearpod console. So what is the "Inception" model and what is its benefit in the classroom. Well, lets go back to analogy of Nearpod being a ship, the lesson is the mission, the teacher is the captain, and the students are the crew. Lets say that in the middle of a mission our captain notices our crew does not have all the necessary information or tools to successfully complete a mission. Does the captain move along anyway and hope all the crew will successfully complete the mission, or will he pause the mission to train the staff in ways that will give them a better chance to complete the mission. This is DIFFERENTIATION at its best! Instantly having a way to enhance the learning opportunities of those students who are falling behind, and enhancing the learning opportunities who learned the information the first time. 


The get the most out of the "Inception" model you will have to plan ahead by creating three Nearpods for your students for each lesson. You will need to create the class lesson which everyone participates, a smaller Nearpod with a reteach of important concepts for those students who do not understand the material the first time, and finally another smaller Nearpod with higher level explanation of the material for those student who DO get it the first time. To execute the "Inception" split you just need to include one slide with the following text "If you understand the material so far please input the following code on the next slide: ######. If you DO NOT understand the material so far please input the following code on the next slide: ######"


This split will help to those who do not understand the material the first time, while enhancing the instruction for those who did understand the material the first time. After the students have worked through these Nearpod lessons within the Nearpod lesson, the teacher with a simple click of a button on the Nearpod dashboard, can bring ALL the students back together. The students now have a better chance of understanding the lesson now all to the end. The mission now has a greater chance at succeeding.