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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Flipped Classroom: Response Tools

This post is the second in a series on flipping your classroom. The first post, Tools for Student & Teacher Production, can be found by clicking this link.

A large part of "flipping your classroom" involves giving students multiple opportunities to respond and interact with content that is being delivered to them. Students no longer have to wait until the next day to turn in a piece of homework, or have a conversation with students or teachers about their work.

There are many tools that this blog has shared over the last few years that explain that purpose. This post will highlight some of those tools, as well as introduce some others.

Video Interaction - EdPuzzle & PlayPosit


These two EdTech tools offer an interactive video instruction experience to students and teachers. PlayPosit (formally known as EduCannon) and EdPuzzle allow you to upload a video, or take one from YouTube, and add multiple question types. You can even prevent skipping ahead in the video, so the students must watch it in it's entirety.

Multiple Choice, Open Response, Voice Instruction, and Voice Response, are just a few of the options available in the tools. They both have subtle changes in what they offer, so it really is a matter of personal preference.

Video Response - Recap & FlipGrid


Let's Recap and FlipGrid allow teachers to ask their students questions and receive a video or audio response back from them.

I personally like to use Recap if it is just going to be a question that I want to keep in the classroom, no outside sharing. They have a newer feature called Journeys where you set up a lesson flow for students to follow and complete. Recap also allows you to use it's platform for free, without asking you for upgrades.

FlipGrid allows teachers and students to share globally. They can send out links to their grid globally, and have control of who can see responses. Conversations that start in one classroom can quickly get traction from all over the world. FlipGrid allows you to have one Grid for free with some options. To utilize the full experience of the tool, you do need a paid FlipGrid Classroom account.

Gamification Interactivity - Quizziz


Similar to Kahoot, Quizziz is a game styled quiz experience for students. It allows them to compete with each other for the best score. What Quizziz has to offer is that it has a homework option. The teacher can assign a Quizziz between a specific window for the students to complete. It still allows students to compete by showing a leaderboard according to correct answers and time taken to complete. Teachers also have the ability to shuffle questions and answer options.





Other Online Response Tools

Here are links to two other previous articles from this blog on Classroom Response Tools:



Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Flipped Classroom: Tools for Student & Teacher Production

Flipping your classroom, what does that mean? 

It's the idea that most direct instruction moves from whole group class time to an individual space. This allows the classroom to become a place where the teacher is allowed to take on more of a facilitator of learning roll, as opposed to a lecturer. In part, you are setting up a piece of your classroom as an asynchronous learning environment. Meaning that you can and will learn outside of the classroom: at anytime, anyplace.

A misconception about the flipped classroom is that it is dependent on the teacher making all of the content in a classroom for students to read and view. If that were the case, you would simply be recreating a digital textbook. A flipped classroom involves communication from all stakeholders involved. In other words, teachers & students are involved in the creation process of a flipped classroom.

This post will be the first in a series that will focus on tools that both students and teachers can use for a Flipped Classroom.

Production Tools

Apple Clips
iPhone & iPad App

Clips is a newer app from Apple that I think of as a cross between the camera app and iMovie. It has some editing abilities, but keeps it very simple for users of all ages to quickly produce a short video.

A great bonus for Apple Clips, is that the app does real time subtitles as you are talking! Here is a clip that I made right when I learned about this feature




Ideas for flipping your classroom with Apple Clips are:

  • Sending out class announcements.
  • Showcasing Student Projects
  • Book Summeries
  • Field Trip Highlights and Learnings


Screencastify (Free & Pay Versions)
Google Chrome Extension

Screencastify is a simple yet powerful tool that anyone can use with just a few simple clicks. As the name implies, the Chrome Extension allows students and teachers to record and voice-over anything on their computer screen. The camera function also allows recording the presenter’s face in the corner of the screen to add personality to the clip. Along with its ease to use, Screencastify automatically saves all files directly to your Google Drive automatically. The extension is free for 10 minutes of recording time per clip, with 50 clips to record per month.


Ideas for flipping your classroom with Screencastify are:
  • Recording teacher lectures for students to review
  • Recording student presentations
  • Creating virtual tours with google maps or google earth
  • Making quick tutorials for multi step procedures students may need to follow to complete a task
  • Student explanations of how they solved problems
Adobe Spark (Free & Pay Versions)
Multi-device - Chrome OS & iOS Friendly

Spark has a few creative options, but let's just focus on Spark Video.

Spark video allows teachers and students to put together videos through a "PowerPoint style" format. This is a nice feature because it will allow for voice over to be recorded on each individual side, as opposed to having to do an entire recording in one take.

Spark allows users to import video clips into a project, but is not set up for recording videos straight into it. In other words if a teacher or student wanted some video slides, they would need to record them with another program or camera and import them.

Spark will save all projects into its cloud system so you can access them from multiple devices.

Explain Everything (Trial then Pay)
Multi-device - Chrome OS & iOS Friendly

Explain Everything is a recordable whiteboard that teachers can use for their classrooms. The trick on a laptop will be trying to free draw with a mouse, but if you have a touch screen device with a stylus or a Smart/Promethean Board, you may be able to use it with ease.

Explain Everything is actually much more than a whiteboard app, it allows you to import documents, videos, and more and then annotate and record on top of them. You have unlimited pages to add to your project, and each page has unlimited zooming capabilities (both in and out). You may also record page by page in your presentation and pause in the middle of your recording.

Explain Everything also has it's own cloud storage where your projects can be accessed from multiple devices.




Thursday, January 18, 2018

EdTech for Struggling Readers



A teacher's number one responsibility is to meet the needs of their students. Now this sounds like an obvious statement, but it isn't always as easy as it sounds. In fact, it is hardly easy at all. The reason we use technology in education is to support student learning by helping teachers meet the needs of their learners.

This post will focus on two support tools for struggling readers. Whether they are Native English Speakers, English Language Learners (ELL or ESL), or Dyslexic, our schools are filled with a large amount of students who struggle when they read. These tools will obviously not solve the problem for the students, or teach them how to read (only skilled teachers can do that). Yet, these tools might give some support to those students at a time when a teacher isn't available to them.

Speechify - Chrome OS & iOS app
I was introduced to Speechify in Episode 99 of The House of #EdTech Podcast by Chris Nesi. Speechify does what many apps and accessibility features on devices do by reading text that a student highlights on their screen. So you may be thinking, then why use it? My answer would be, ease of use and quality of voice. The drop-down menu in the chrome extension allows you to change the speed of speech and voice with a couple of clicks. There is even a child voice that can be used, which sounds surprisingly real.

If you decide to go the premium route with Speechify on your iOS device, the app goes the extra mile! You can connect the Google Chrome Extension to your iPhone and it will share text between the two devices in a clean and organized manner. Send multiple multi page documents to your phone and have them read to you. It's like taking anything on your computer screen and sending to your phone as an audiobook.

Speechify also does something rather phenomenal with your iOS device. Take a picture of a page of text and speechify will import it as a text file, and then read it to you.

 
Think of how this can support your students that struggle reading classroom content. Also, think about your students that have hectic life schedules, they can now listen to their science book on their way to work or practice.


OpenDyslexic Font Extension - Chrome OS
This extension simply changes all of the font on the webpage you are viewing to the OpenDyslexic font with one click. It's that simple!

OpenDyslexic font has been in development for at least a couple of years now. I do want to state that I'm not licensed or trained enough in dyslexia to know if it is actually proven to help students with dyslexia. I have however had a handful of students try this font extension on their chrombook screen, and some claimed that it helped them read their screen better, while others didn't like using it. So like many things EdTech, it will probably come down to a preference by the student.