Evaluating iPad Apps

I wanted to take a closer look at the iPad Evaluation I previously blogged about in Evaluating Apps with Transformative Use in Mind. The section of Content and Components deserved a closer look and explanation. You can  download the PDF file of the iPad App Evaluation for the Classroom with …

Poetry on Record

Inspired by Poetry, Performance & Taylor Mali and Beyond…, 8th grade Humanities teacher Shannon Hancock coached her students to create their own original “Mali Poem”and record a visual and vocal performance. I joined the class to give a brief overview of presentation design. I used selected slides from my slidedeck below to …

Student Led Conferences: Sick and Tired of Blogs & Reflection?

Our students just finished a second round of Student Led Conferences (SLC) this school year (one in Semester 1 and another in Semester 2). SLCs are a formal opportunity for students to present to their parents about the state of their learning. The students’ advisor (a teacher responsible for a …

How to Create a Backchannel Exit Ticket for Class, Presentation or Workshop?

This screencast below will show you how to use Google Docs as a backchannel or exit ticket during a presentation, lesson or workshop. Creating a BackChannel or Exit Ticket on Google Docs from langwitches on Vimeo.

Recent Articles:

Evaluating iPad Apps

I wanted to take a closer look at the iPad Evaluation I previously blogged about in Evaluating Apps with Transformative Use in Mind. The section of Content and Components deserved a closer look and explanation.

You can  download the PDF file of the iPad App Evaluation for the Classroom with the following sections of evaluation included:

  • Considerations
  • Content & Components
  • Logistics
  • Fluency
  • Substitution vs Transformation Model (based on SAMR model of Ruben Puentedura and Alan November‘s work)
  • Evidence of Learning (based on conversation with Stephen Wilmarth)

After looking at iPad apps through the lens of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, November’s Digital Learning Farm, 21st century Upgrades, let’s take a closer look at the content and components of these apps.

ipad-components-content

It is important to remind ourselves that shiny visuals and audio not automatically translate into pedagogical value of the program. It is our job, as educators, to assure that by using specific apps, the learning goal for our students is supported. A selection, combination and variation of the above six characteristics should be evaluated in the assessment process for learning. In addition, as you are strategically evaluating the content particular apps provide, these components will serve as critical support consideration as they are being brought up to your school, district or decision makers for potential app purchases. These considerations will also provide a wealth of support in speaking with parents or other stakeholders to articulate the value of iPads as a tool for learning.

bookcreator-icon

After each component consideration, I am going to put the Book Creator app (By RedJumper Studio- ) through the test, as an example, to see how it stacks up against the evaluation of its content and components.

Curriculum Connections
Using an app for the thrill of the bells and whistles any particular app under the educational umbrella promises, is not a good enough reason for adding it to your app library. Careful examination is in order if the app supports or practices skills and literacies that are strongly connected to your curriculum content, standards and your individual student ‘s needs.
Start out by looking at your standards, lesson/unit goals and objectives. Where do your students need to be supported and given time to investigate new content, analyze, apply what they have learned or give evidence of their knowledge and understanding? Can a product created by your students with a particular app be used as an assessment of curricular objectives?
While there are apps that are geared to be replacement for textbooks or worksheets and bring in a myriad of multimedia support of a specific subject or topic, does the amount of content they provide justify the cost or use of the app? Is the content static in nature or does the app allow dynamic information flow (via RSS feed for example)? Is there an option of adding your own content? Is the app flexible enough for you to find, import, insert, tweak or create your own curriculum related content?

bookcreator-icon

The BookCreator app does not come with a pre-loaded content geared towards a specific grade level, subject area or proficiency level. It is an app that allows for complete freedom to create an eBook about any subject, topic, genre, level, etc. Any standards, from research skills to content knowledge (history, science, math, language arts, foreign language, etc.), writing for an audience, multi- and transmedia skills, design elements and more can be addressed. The app molds to any content requirement you are in need of.

Authenticity:
Too many times, students do not know why they are filling out this worksheet or completing that assignment. “Why do I have to do that?” and “I will never use this again” are sentiments we are hearing too often in our schools.
Be aware of apps that are specifically designed for the educational arena. Ask yourself, would someone outside of school use this app? Is there a genuine purpose for this app outside a school environment?
Strategically chosen apps can help students not only learn and practice skills in case they will need them one day, but are targeting skills that are practiced in an authentic format and are part of just- in- time solutions. The app is not a simulation of a process, but allows students to get hands on time to do real world work like creating products with tools that are used  outside of school, gaining important digital literacy skills in the process.

bookcreator-icon

The BookCreator app is not designed for a school environment only. The ability of creating your own eBook and publish the book for others to download and read fulfills an authentic need for the world outside of the classroom as well. The era when book publishing was in firm hands of publishing companies, editors and agents are gone. The skills to be able to produce and publish our own content is real, relevant and desirable.

Personalization
We live in a time when customization is king in business and our personal lives. We all are used to, including our students, to be treated as individuals. From the special laté we order at Starbucks to the movies we watch on Netflix, the personalized T-shirts or shoes we order, the targeted ads on Google or the customized recommendation list we receive from Amazon, based on our previous browsing and purchasing history and yes, also the way we outfit our smartphones with apps and customized covers. We are individuals and don’t want to settle for “one size fits all”.
In order for an app to earn high marks in the personalization department, it should be able to offer options to import our own images or videos to personalize the content. Personalization can mean, the app supports streaming content of our own choosing, allowing RSS feeds from a variety of sources. The app also contributes to organization and curation of the user’s learning and facilitates personalized workflow, by connecting easily or automatically to photo gallery, research, content and preferred input or dissemination channels.

bookcreator-icon

The BookCreator app allows for an easy and complete personalized experience. Users create eBooks with their own content, images, audio and/or video. Formatting options for background, colors, fonts and size are left to be customized for the user. Organization of the content and easy access to personal content are present.

Differentiation

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differentiated_instruction ) , differentiation in education is defined as

“a framework or philosophy for effective teaching that involves providing different students with different avenues to learning (often in the same classroom) in terms of: acquiring content; processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and developing teaching materials and assessment measures so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability.”

Comparing differentiation with the other component of personalization, differentiation deals with the teaching component, while personalization is closely related to the learning aspect.

Applying the above definition of differentiation to the context of apps, the app should offer flexibility to alter the settings to meet individual students’ needs. “One size does not fit all”, applies to both sides. An app that does support differentiation does not impose any limits to grow skills and to create. It seamlessly allows each individual learner to be challenged their strengths and support their weaknesses.

bookcreator-icon

The BookCreator app gives ample flexibility for customization of differentiated expected results of the final product for each student. It also has the capability to address and accomodate preferred learning styles to give evidence of knowledge and learning.

Personal Learning

Personalized learning is about using our own content, such as text, images, video or audio, while personal learning is about the learners’ interests and passions. An app that supports personal learning supports the flow of receiving, organizing, annotating, adding value to, remixing, creating and connecting to these areas of interests and passions. The app could allow users to add feeds that filter information by their personal chosen requirements and is set up in the “just perfect” way to make the learn flow of the individual learner smooth and fluent.
An iPad, as a personal learning device, contains specific apps, that together support the individual’s pursuit of the just right amount of desired information, delivered in the preferred media of choice, capable of allowing the user to use, add, remix, create and disseminate.

bookcreator-icon

The BookCreator app encourages the creation of eBooks to publish and share with others about any desired topic. Users could use the app to become the expert and author of a book about their chosen interest or passion.

Publishing

The learning environment in and outside of schools has and is continuing to drastically change. While learners once were only passive recipients of knowledge, learners have now become active participants and creators of knowledge, collaborating and contributing to a worldwide network of learners. The boundaries of experts and learners are blurring more and more and the transparency of sharing one’s work with the world is possible and is becoming the norm for the new generation.
The ability of an app to support the publishing and dissemination process of created content is an important component to consider. Be aware of the degree of ease to export or embed the product in a variety of formats and directly to various platforms (Ex. blog, wiki, Facebook, twitter, Flickr, YouTube, etc.)

bookcreator-icon

The BookCreator app allows for export as a ePub file, by sending the file via email to a recipient. It can be directly sent to iTunes, be opened up in a variety of other apps, that support the ePub file extension or it also give the user the choice to print the book on paper. I

Poetry on Record

Inspired by Poetry, Performance & Taylor Mali and Beyond…, 8th grade Humanities teacher Shannon Hancock coached her students to create their own original “Mali Poem”and record a visual and vocal performance.

I joined the class to give a brief overview of presentation design. I used selected slides from my slidedeck below to talk about image quality, typography, white spaces, metaphors, rules of third, etc.

What type of tools could students choose from to heighten the message of their original writing with sound effects, vocal effects, music and images?

Movie Editor &  Presentation Tool Combination

  • First start out by creating slides in a presentation tool, such as Haiku Deck (web based or on the iPad), keynote or PowerPoint. Add relevant images that represent and support your poem mood,  text and message. Haiku Deck will automatically search within the Creative Commons domain for images and add the proper attribution citations on each slide for you. If you are using another program, search for Creative Commons, Public Domain images and give proper attribution for each image used. As always, you are encouraged to take your own images to use.
  • Keep presentation design principles in mind: more image, less text, rules of third, quality images (high resolution photographs)
  • Export the slides as individual images. When in Haiku Deck, export as a PowerPoint File, then save as jpegs (all slides). You can also take screenshots of each individual slide and save as images.
  • Drag and drop exported images into movie editor software (iMovie or Movie Maker) timeline
  • Add transitions, sound effects, voice recording, music
  • Export movie project as a movie file
haiku-Deck

In HaikuDeck
Enter text, Search and choose images, Select a layout for your text

ppt

In PowerPoint or Keynote
Export individual slides as images

ppt2

Under option, choose “Save Every Slide”

If I am everything that I ever touched…. from langwitches on Vimeo.

Animoto, Voice Recording & Presentation Tool Combination ( Animoto is limited to a 30 second video as part of the free version)

  • First start out by creating slides in a presentation tool, such as Haiku Deck (web based or on the iPad), keynote or PowerPoint. Add relevant images that represent and support your poem mood,  text and message. 
  • Keep presentation design principles in mind: more image, less text, rules of third, quality images (high resolution photographs)
  • Export the slides as individual images.
  • Upload images to Animoto (note how long the video clip ended up being)
  • Record an MP3 file (ex. Audacity, Garageband, etc.) of you reading your poem (make sure the length of your recording is the same length as the video clip)
  • Before you produce Video, click on pre-chosen song and then choose to upload your own “song”(audio file)
  • Produce video

animoto-uploadsong

I am from

In the end, all students chose not to use Animoto due to the length of video limitation. Haiku Deck was a big success, since looking for quality images and the citation was made easy ( I wish many more web 2.0 tools, would make it as easy as Haiku Deck to observe copyright while not sacrificing the quality of the images)

Student Led Conferences: Sick and Tired of Blogs & Reflection?

SLC

Our students just finished a second round of Student Led Conferences (SLC) this school year (one in Semester 1 and another in Semester 2).

SLCs are a formal opportunity for students to present to their parents about the state of their learning. The students’ advisor (a teacher responsible for a specific group of students during the school year) serves as a facilitator to prompt and guide the students if needed, but is a silent presence as the students share their learning with their parents. SLCs are not a time to talk about grades, student behavior, but about learning habits, process, improvements and goals.

Although there was emphasis placed on an ongoing documentation of each subject area as learning and reflection happened throughout the school year, a significant amount of time was dedicated to prepare for the SLCs

Preparation for Student Led Conferences

Each subject area had to be represented with at least one blog post. Each SLC blog post was to contain a title, an artifact, a reflection and be properly labeled.

slc-post-components

Min Kyung’s Blog

SLC-example

SLC-example2

Karin’s Blog

SLC-example3

Juan Carlos’Blog

SLC-example4

 

SLC-example5

 

Ji Won’s Blog

SLC-example6

Using the documentation posted to their blogfolios (process and showcase items), they select posts and artifacts that best demonstrated improvement or mastery of a learning target. Students connected their learning to specific school identified Core Values.

The slides below were shared with students to guide them through the process of preparing for the SLC.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

 Student Led Conference

Students and parents gathered with the advisor for up to 30 minutes in a classroom setting. The student’s blog site was projected to the screen and students used the artifacts as a trigger to talk about their learning. They spoke about their challenges, successes and areas of growth in relationship to the Core Values. Parents were encouraged to ask clarifying questions at any time. To wrap the SLC up, students spoke about the learning that occurred by going though the process of preparing for the conference and their learning goals for the last quarter.

Notes and Reflections

There was a loud rumbling noise among students in the days that lead up to the SLC.

Comments such as the ones below were expressed by many:

  • “We are tired of writing reflections”
  • “I am sick of having to write a blog post in EVERY SINGLE CLASS!”
  •  ”Why do I have to do this?”
  • “I am writing what my teachers want to hear, but not really what I think.”

I seriously started to doubt the approach to support Blogging Beyond One Classroom. Was it inevitable, if students were expected to “learn, reflect, share”for all their classes  (from Math, Humanities, Science to Orchestra to Physical Education), that they were going to burn out? Could the “exponential explosion” of reflective blog posts  clumped together in the immediate days before the SLC be blamed for it?

reflective school culture

Was “too much of a good thing”…. well simply too much?

  • Did we need to be more selective with WHAT types of reflections we asked students to make their learning visible? (Not every assignment, project or activity needs to be documented and reflected on?)
  • Did we need to adjust our language to not bunch everything under an umbrella of “Please write a reflection on your blog”.
  • I am reminded that “It’s one thing for us as teachers to articulate the kinds of thinking we are seeking to promote; it is another for students to develop a greater awareness of the significant role that thinking plays in cultivating their own understanding.” ( Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhard, Mark Curch and Karen Morrison). Do we need to double our efforts in helping students develop that awareness and continue to give them the why behind maintaining a blog (learning, reflecting and sharing as part of an overall process)?
  • Did we need to change/alter/modify the routine of adding the reflection as a separate piece, tagged on the end of a assignment, project or activity?

Despite the fact that students openly did not seem to “enjoy” the process  of  blogging and reflecting as it was happening in the days before the SLC (among my advisory students), it was unanimous (again informal survey from among my advisory students) that the process of reflecting, thinking about one’s learning and going back to re-read/watch/look at previous posts and artifacts  to identify areas of growth HAS helped and they are glad to have gone through the process.  Students also recognized and articulated in their SLC specific learning opportunities and teaching methods from many of their classes that inspired and supported them in their learning process.

SLCs are an opportunity for:

  • Authentic opportunity to showcase skills in information literacy (organizing, categorizing and archiving of information created and published)
  • Building blocks of a positive digital footprint (How do we support and guide our students to positive online publishing? What does it mean to be “googlable?” How do we not only build, but also maintain a positive digital footprint?) 
  • Digital citizen issues come to surface (What is shared? Why should we share? Observance of copyright. How do we keep ourselves safe? )
  • Evidence of using technology to demonstrate learning (Technology is not only about Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or video games. “Digital natives might be wizards in using technology in other domains, but need guidance for using it for learning)
  • Resource or non-academic subjects are given time in conference and equally contribute to the students’ learning profile
  • Advisors have a chance to step outside of their own classrooms and learn about their colleagues’ work

As compared to first semester’s SLC:

  • Overall blog quality has improved (communication through a variety of media forms, logistics of inserting & embedding different media, beginning of hyperlinked writing, advantages of writing  in digital spaces became evident)
  • As blogfolios are continued being  maintained, it is possible to track learning over time
  • The connections to the Core Values seemed much more natural and not an add-on
  • Student (oral and visual) presentation skills were practiced  in a supportive environment
  • Students and parents focused less on academic grades and more on learning habits and process
  • SLC served and supported parent education in terms of modern skills, literacies and learning pedagogies

Juan Carlos‘ Blog:

“I used to think my learning was accomplished by simple things such as paying attention , doing my work and taking it seriously but now I know that learning has more than those things , you need to be reflective , critical thinker and also a communicator. You need to apply all the core values to able to learn in an effective way.”

Kari’s Blog

“In which of the core values did you show the most progress or growth?  What makes you say that? 
I am getting better at communication.  I am learning more Portuguese and improving with my blog and other technologies.  This is very important in terms of communication.  Balanced says that you can communicate in multiple languages.  Improving in Portuguese means that I can communicate more to people who do not speak English.  Also, I am getting better at using my blog which is another form of communication.  People can come on and see my work and how I use my Blog.”

“I used to think my learning was mostly about critical thinking, but now I think my learning is more about being reflective.  Sometimes you cannot really grasp what you have learned unless you reflect on what you have done.  This is an important part of learning and changing your learning habits and becoming better at something.  If you just do something once and then never again, you don’t really learn anything .  Reflection makes you rethink again and understand better. “

Now what?

Where do we go from here? My hope is to continue:

Where are you in your journey of student digital portfolios/blogfolios? How do you prepare, run and learn from Student Led Conferences?  Contribute to the exchange of ideas, thoughts, experiences, doubts, failures and successes? We are all pioneers. No one has done this for years and is an expert. We are all learning along the way. Let’s help each other. Leave a comment or connect on Twitter, but don’t keep your observations and perspectives on the topic to yourself.

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Want to Learn More About iPads in the Classroom?

Professional Learning Board just released a Self-study iPads in the Classroom course I wrote. It is a self-directed course to take in your own time and at your own speed.

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aurasma1

cross posted with permission from Dr. Silvana Meneghini,’s On The Edge Blog. Silvana, the High School Technology Coordinator at Graded, The American School of São Paulo, shared a How-To post to connect augmented reality to student reflection by adding a layer of learning (not technology for technology sake). I highly …

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digital-learning-stragegies

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Is Technology shoving Pedagogy to the center stage? TPACK Reviewed

TPCK

Guest post by Silvana Meneghini, Academic Technology Coordinator, Graded- American School of São Paulo. Originally posted on her blog On the Edge. Pedagogical ideas like student centered learning, collaboration, and critical thinking have been around for a long time and are slowly making the way into the classroom. When technology …

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Creating_a_BackChannel_or_Exit_Ticket_on_Google_Docs_on_Vimeo

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story

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SAMR-exercise

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Download

21st Century Learning

Visible Thinking in Math- Part 1

fail

The conversation about visible thinking in Math started with one of our teachers at Graded, The American School of São Paulo, Adam Hancock, wanting to know how he could incorporate having students’ use their blogfolios in Math class. It seemed natural to have students write for Humanities (Language Arts and …

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Redefining My Learning

story

Silvana Meneghini and I  work as Academic Technology Coordinators at Graded, the American School of São Paulo. ” A flashlight in the fog of technology integration“, initially the title of a conference workshop proposal, quickly developed into the desire of creating a framework to guide and coach teachers based on …

(1 Comment)

Reflection in the Learning Process, Not As An Add On

Reflection

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Student Tutorials- MineCraft, How to Ride a Horse, iMovie and more

minecraft-tutorial

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3 Need-Scenarios to Engage Students with Authentic Tasks

core-value-icons-tibet

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official-scribe-poster

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Global Education

Selfies Around the World

selfies

  On the heels of The Cultural Phenomena of Selfies and  iPhoneography: Photo Challenges, Ideas & Literacy, students from the American School of São Paulo, Brazil want to know more about Selfies around the world. If you and your students would like to CONTRIBUTE with actual images for an in- school and online exhibition …

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Julie Lindsay: Designing Engaging Curriculum for Global Collaboration in the Classroom

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eduplanet

As part of Curriculum21 Social Learning Institute and in collaboration with Eduplanet21, I have authored a Learning Path for the Globally Connected Educator. Take a look at the modules offered. If you are interested, Eduplanet is giving away 5  free access codes to the learning path.  Continue reading to find …

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Blogging With your Classroom

Student Led Conferences: Sick and Tired of Blogs & Reflection?

SLC

Our students just finished a second round of Student Led Conferences (SLC) this school year (one in Semester 1 and another in Semester 2). SLCs are a formal opportunity for students to present to their parents about the state of their learning. The students’ advisor (a teacher responsible for a …

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Visible Thinking in Math- Part 1

fail

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How to Cite Images on Your Blog

citing-images-thumb

When using Copyrighted work with written permission from owner… Used with permission from “name” , URL link to original source and or owner online presence. Ex. Used with permission from Silvia Tolisano http://langwitches.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/google-glass-recording-225×225.jpg When using images licensed under Creative Commons… Image licensed under Creative Commons by “name or username “. …

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iPads

Evaluating iPad Apps

ipad-components-content

I wanted to take a closer look at the iPad Evaluation I previously blogged about in Evaluating Apps with Transformative Use in Mind. The section of Content and Components deserved a closer look and explanation. You can  download the PDF file of the iPad App Evaluation for the Classroom with …

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Visible Thinking in Math- Part 1

fail

The conversation about visible thinking in Math started with one of our teachers at Graded, The American School of São Paulo, Adam Hancock, wanting to know how he could incorporate having students’ use their blogfolios in Math class. It seemed natural to have students write for Humanities (Language Arts and …

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Self- Directed Course: iPads in the Classroom

image2-lens-of-pedagogy

Professional Learning Board just released a Self-study  iPads in the Classroom course I wrote. It is a  self-directed course to take in your own time and at your own speed. “You have an iPad in your classroom, now what?” The iPad helps us prepare today’s student for today’s world in …

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Digital Storytelling

Poetry on Record

Slide1

Inspired by Poetry, Performance & Taylor Mali and Beyond…, 8th grade Humanities teacher Shannon Hancock coached her students to create their own original “Mali Poem”and record a visual and vocal performance. I joined the class to give a brief overview of presentation design. I used selected slides from my slidedeck below to …

(No Comments)

Workflow & Learnflow of an Animation Story

pedro

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storytelling-app

Matt Gomez shared a post today with a screenshot of his storytelling iPad app folder. I wanted to reciprocate and share mine. Storytelling I Folder StoryBuddy StoryBuilder StoryPagesHD Toontastic Tappy Memories StoryBoards Premium StoryMaker HD StoryPatch In a World … Drama Build a Story PhotoPuppets HD Epic Citadel Sock Puppets …

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