There is More to Blogging with Your Students

There is more to blogging with your students than simply creating a blog and starting to copy and paste work, that traditionally was done on a paper journal or worksheet in the classroom, into that digital space. Blogging is about quality and authentic writing in digital spaces with a global …

You Have 1 Second to Hook a Potential Reader

If you are blogging with your students, you have been exposed to them. You have been exposed to hundreds of unimaginative, cloned, generic and uninspiring BLOG TITLES. When opening your RSS reader that contains the latest blog posts of your students,  you are confronted with a list, similar to the …

NASA’s Global Selfie Crowdsourced on Earth Day

Today, April 22, 2014, NASA is crowdsourcing Global Selfies. NASA astronauts brought home the first ever images of the whole planet from space. Now NASA satellites capture new images of Earth every second. For Earth Day we are trying to create an image of Earth from the ground up while …

The Story Behind Langwitches

I get asked all the time about the name of my blog: Langwitches. So here is the story… It’s a cultural thing… Some cultures see “witches” as a normal part of human history and playing an ongoing role in literature throughout different time periods. Other cultures don’t have a place …

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Canva: Graphic Design Tool

I have a new favorite designer tool :  Canva

Key Features:

  • A simple new way to design. Easily turn your ideas into designs for Web and print.

  • Search and drag simplicity. Search Canva’s integrated library of stock photographs, graphic elements and cut-out images then drag-and-drop to create your design.

  • It’s online and free to use. Canva is entirely online so there’s no expensive software to install.

  • Choose from one million images and hundreds of fonts. Design with 1 million photos, graphics and fonts, or upload your own.

  • Collaborate with anyone, anywhere. Canva lets you share and edit your designs with friends, clients and coworkers.

Canva has a very informative blog, if you are interested in blogging, visuals, designing and using design for your brand.

I have been using the tool for the last few months to create slides for presentations, posters to hang around school or for illustration purposes on my blog.

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  • Canva has beautiful layout templates but still allows you to start from scratch, customize and design with your own creativity.
  • There are plenty of images for you to use for free ( I have not felt the need to purchase any stock images).
  • The easy drag and drop features make it very intuitive.

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  • I believe, you currently still need an invite to be able to use Canva. Just sign up via their site and activate account after receiving email.
  • One feature I am desperately missing is a collaboration feature. For now, I am exporting the slides as images and inserting them into Google Presentations.
  •  I was really excited to be able to use the tool with students. It would be a fantastic support tool when talking with students about the importance of visuals while blogging, help in their presentation and visual design skills.
    Unfortunately, I read in their Terms of Services:

“Canva is a great service to use for creating your designs, but you have to be at least 18 years of age and fully able to form binding contracts in order to use it. You may not use the Service in violation of these terms or any laws or regulations.”

That puts a damper on being able to use the service with our K-12 students.

i_wonder

I wonder if the canva team is thinking of allowing  educational accounts for students under the age of 18 or allow schools to act as guardians in order for students to create accounts.

canva

Here is an overview:

The Cultural Phenomena of Selfies

The impact of the SELFIE on our culture has started to intrigue me. As I see my little granddaughter love looking at (and taking) pictures and videos of herself on the iPhone and iPad… I wonder what the long term impact will be. There are very few images of me, due to the fact that taking and developing images was expensive and I was a second child. The culture of taking photos back then (beyond for special occasions) was not common.

In wonder about the impact of selfies on our culture? I wonder if there is a difference in views on selfies, what types of selfies and meaning of them in different cultures around the world?

For now I am consciously aware of, documenting and follow the evolution of the selfie in my own family, at school, in different countries I visit and in the media.

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Image credit Elena- 22 months (picked her own filters too)

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Image (taking with Laptop webcam) by Elena- 7 months old

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My iPhoneography class at school collaborated on a list of TYPES OF SELFIES, and came up with the following

  • outstretched arm
  • duckface
  • mirror
  • “tongue”
  • smile/pout
  • tilted head
  • peace sign
  • sign language for “I love you”
  • rapper fingers
  • eyes squinting
  • winking
  • funny face
  • shadow

Here are their RECOMMENDATIONS AND TIPS for taking selfies:

  • don’t take it from below (your chin will look disproportionate)
  • don’t take it from above (your nose will look disproportionate)
  • have good light (don’t be in poorly lit environments)
  • be appropriate (keep LARK in mind)

When I started using Google Glass in school, it was one of the most common reactions for students to immediately grab their phone to order to take a selfie.

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Selfie- Photo Credit (used with permission) Marina D.

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Image used with permission by Jack

Looks like I am not the only one wondering about selfie and what does it mean for us as a culture?

“ordinary people doing ordinary things”

Dove, the creator of the Photoshop Transformation video, created another important video. This time about girls and their power to create their own image of beauty and redefine the view of society on beauty.
In partnership with the Sundance Institute, directed by Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Cynthia Wade and produced by Sharon Liese, Sefie reveals how we have the power to redefine what is beautiful in all of us. Selfie captures the digital journey of a group of high school girls and their mothers, as they create a new type of selfie – one that celebrates their unique beauty. Dove wants to inspire all women to redefine beauty

Interested in reading more about the phenomena of selfies?

 

 

 

Google Glass Reflection and Reaction

google-glass-reflection

Google Glass Reflection:

In the first few days, I made it a point to wear Google Glass all day at school (…well as much as the battery life permitted). My main point was to get used to the feel of them on my head, to increase my fluency. (Happy to report that my initial complaint of this lack of fluency after the first week  with Google Glass is dissipating. As with most technology devices and apps, it just takes time to get used to tapping instead of clicking, winking instead of pushing the button… speaking a new language to have my voice recognized…. swiping next to my temple instead of a mouse pad…:)

Wearing Google Glass all day, also allowed me to consciously make decisions on the fly, if I could use the device in certain situations (teachable moment, planning with a colleague, interesting discussion, worthwhile visual, googlable moment etc.).

As I am walking into more and more classrooms with Google Glass on (with permission from the teacher), I make sure that I spend a few minutes in the beginning to TALK to students about

  • what Google Glass is?…wearable technology, a mini- internet enabled device on my head… it is a device still in beta TESTING, which means that it is not perfect…does not work all the time the way I want it to work.
  • where did I get it… I received a beta-invite to the Google Explorer program from Google… it is not available to be purchased by the public yet.
  • why me?… I believe (maybe wishful thinking?),  I was chosen for the program as an educator and due to my philosophy of sharing my learning process.
  • what is an explorer?…An explorer is a person who explores unfamiliar territory; someone with imagination, a mindset of an adventurer.  According to Google: ” The Explorer Program is designed for people who want to get involved early and help shape the future of Glass.” I want to be a model for our learning community to be an explorer, an innovator and a shaper of how we can use technology to transform learning.
  • what are my goals and intentions?… my goals are to test Google Glass in school for education to improve teaching and learning. I want to find ways to use new technologies to find ways to transform our teaching and learning experiences. (Watch for an upcoming blog post about using Google Glass for filming at school). I want to make students and teachers aware of the implication of “disruptive technology” and spark conversation…
  • what I will NOT use Google Glass for?… I am not “policing” anyone… I am not taking videos in class to “catch” students anyone doing something wrong. I am not taking pictures in order to embarrass anyone…
  • my promise to observe digital citizenship… I will always ask permission to record or take an image… I will not share potentially embarrassing captured moments. I will observe a “no questions asked” policy of someone not feeling comfortable being recorded or photographed and I will take of my Google Glass if a teacher or student is uncomfortable around them.

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I  found it awkward in certain situations to continue having Google Glass on my head as I was continuing my field test.

  1. Cafeteria- I was there to eat… some colleagues at the table felt uncomfortable (unspoken feeling)… There was no need to wear Google Glass for the remote possibility of stopping a conversation and saying “Hey let me google that on my Glass”… It would not have felt fluid, but disruptive to the conversation (maybe just as disruptive, if I pulled out my iPhone to google something)… so as I have not found a need to use Glass during lunch, I make it a point to not even bring it into the cafeteria.
  2. Rest room- Yes, you read correctly… There comes a time during the day, ( even) if you are wearing Google Glass, that you will need to go to the rest room. I was not even thinking about the Google Glass on my head, when I entered. As soon as I saw that others were in the restroom , I felt that it was completely inappropriate for me to be wearing Google Glass (even in the turned off stage). I immediately disappeared in one of the stalls and closed the door (I don’t think anyone had noticed them on my head). Then the feeling of ” privacy invasion” increased when I thought of the possibility of Glass taking an accidental image and sharing it with my Google Plus circle. Not a good feeling… Where was I supposed to place my Google Glass when I “have to go”. I am making it a point to go to my office and dropping them off before heading to the “little girls’ room”
  3. 1:1 Teacher planning-  as teachers and I meet and plan together, I NEED a device to write notes, search, demonstrate, share resources and examples on the spot. My iPad is the first choice of device to take to those meetings. I am able to listen to a teacher and multitask by looking up examples or resources of interets at the same time to be able to share or project. It seemed awkward to use Google Glass to look  up any links. There was no way for me to instantly show the teacher (I am still not fluent enough to set up the scree share through my iPhone. Even then the iPad’s bigger screen seems to be a preferred solution. The lack of being able to take “silent” notes (to be shared later) in order to not interrupt the flow of the conversation also makes it impossible to rely on Google Glass to be the only device to bring to the planning meeting. It seemed silly and awkward to have both devices with me when the iPad was able to do the job for all my needs.

Looking for more reflection and perspective on Google Glass in schools? Head on over to our school‘s High School principal, Blair Peterson ‘s blog as he also reflects in a recent blog post titled How is your school handling Google Glass?

Google Glass Reactions:

Student Reactions
I spoke about the overwhelming range of reactions of colleagues during the first week  with Google Glass in school. The images below will speak for themselves of students’ reactions when trying on Google Glass. They continue to line up when they see me roam the hallways during their breaks. I have to chase them away so, they won’t be late for their next classes. Some of them had heard about Google Glass and were very knowledgeable about specific capabilities that the wanted to test out. Most of them were simply in awe of seeing the screen and being able to give voice commands and scroll though the timeline. Most heard comments were “Wow”, “This is awesome”, “Where can I get one”, “I will save money”, “This is incredible”…

google-glass-at-graded

Other Reactions:
Teachers and parents have voiced their concerns about privacy issue with Google Glass on campus. We need to have an open conversation, we need transparency in the intended use of Google Glass in educational spaces.

We need to balance fears with the desire to MODEL AND BE INNOVATIVE, to “boldly go where no one has gone before”…

We need to balance fears fueled by main stream media about the negative reactions. (Traffic Ticket for driving with Google Glass Facial Recognition via Google Glass, Going to the Movies. Interrogated by FBI for Wearing Google Glass.)

We need to balance fears with positive reports and documentation of how these technologies are making our lives better and can improve learning and innovation. (Google tests Smart Contact Lenses for Diabetics, The Future of Education Seen Through Google Glass, 365 Days with Glass )

Take a look at the article “New Privacy Menace? Cell Phones?” from Wired Magazine from 2003 (yes 11 years ago). The article was shared via my PLN on Twitter and we were asked to simply substitute the word “cell phone” with Google Glass. It looks like we had the SAME concerns about cell phones and their potential to invade our privacy as we do now with wearable technology such as Google Glass

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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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Guest Posts

Augmented Reality that’s “Real” and Focused on Learning

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 …

(2 Comments)

Upgrading Our Recipes for Learning: Digital Learning Strategies

digital-learning-stragegies

In an attempt to bring  new additions to your Blog reader, I am starting to feature  guest posts on Langwitches. Be assured that these guest posts are from educational bloggers, I highly value and their voices contribute significantly to my own learning. Today I am sharing a blog post and …

(No Comments)

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 …

(3 Comments)

Professional Development

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

Creating_a_BackChannel_or_Exit_Ticket_on_Google_Docs_on_Vimeo

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.

(1 Comment)

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)

SAMR Exercise Google Hangout: Mark Your Calendars

SAMR-exercise

Silvana Meneghini and I  have created a template for technology, learning and literacy coaches. In an effort to create a depository of examples and scenarios for lessons and activities and how an upgrade movement through the stages of the SAMR model actually looks like in the classroom, we are shared …

(6 Comments)

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 …

(2 Comments)

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

Is it personality? Are some people born with it? Can it be learned? I am talking about REFLECTION. At the beginning of the week, I had the opportunity to be part of a workshop during our pre-service ( we just returned from our summer break here in the Southern Hemisphere) …

(6 Comments)

The Digital Learning Farm in Action

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

minecraft-tutorial

It is no secret, that I am a big fan of Alan November‘s Digital Learning Farm concept. I especially believe in Teaching is the Highest Form of Understanding and the power of motivation and demonstration of evidence of student learning via the Tutorial Designer role. See a myriad of blog …

(3 Comments)

3 Need-Scenarios to Engage Students with Authentic Tasks

core-value-icons-tibet

Alan November’s concept of the Digital Learning Farm, asks schools and teachers to empower students by giving them relevant responsibilities that allow them to contribute in  meaningful ways to their learning community (class/school/etc.). How can we give students the opportunity to CONTRIBUTE versus completing projects that end up in the …

(4 Comments)

Blogging as the Official Scribe of the Classroom

official-scribe-poster

Alan November elevated the “Official Scribe” as one of the roles that empower student learners. I see the role of the scribe as follows: The official scribe plays an important role in the classroom community. Their work is essential for students who were absent from class or need a review …

(10 Comments)

Global Education

NASA’s Global Selfie Crowdsourced on Earth Day

GlobalSelfieLogo_verticalstack

Today, April 22, 2014, NASA is crowdsourcing Global Selfies. NASA astronauts brought home the first ever images of the whole planet from space. Now NASA satellites capture new images of Earth every second. For Earth Day we are trying to create an image of Earth from the ground up while …

(No Comments)

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 …

(2 Comments)

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

Following the post:  Note- Taking Learnflow of a Conference Workshop, here is the second story of my curated tweets from a session with Julie Lindsay. My favorite take away from her well run workshop was her quote “Flat learning is a pedagogy”. Amplifying our classroom, allowing students to reach out …

(No Comments)

Blogging With your Classroom

There is More to Blogging with Your Students

blogging-with-students_jpg

There is more to blogging with your students than simply creating a blog and starting to copy and paste work, that traditionally was done on a paper journal or worksheet in the classroom, into that digital space. Blogging is about quality and authentic writing in digital spaces with a global …

(No Comments)

You Have 1 Second to Hook a Potential Reader

hook

If you are blogging with your students, you have been exposed to them. You have been exposed to hundreds of unimaginative, cloned, generic and uninspiring BLOG TITLES. When opening your RSS reader that contains the latest blog posts of your students,  you are confronted with a list, similar to the …

(1 Comment)

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 …

(1 Comment)

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 …

(No Comments)

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 …

(2 Comments)

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 …

(10 Comments)

Digital Storytelling

Poetry on Record

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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

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After teaching a 1:1 Toolkit class for incoming Middle Schoolers tothe 1:1 laptop environment this past quarter, I am currently teaching a Media Basics course for sixth graders. I am using a school blog to document the class (among others), showcase student work, share resources and give written step-by-step directions …

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My StoryTelling App Folder(s)

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 …

(24 Comments)