Quizlet and Students

Simple free learning tools for students and teachers Quizlet

 

Quizlet was started by Andrew Sutherland in 2005. It has been used by students and teachers since then with much success. Each year new features have been added which for older students may be useful. This video will show you how to setup accounts for your son or daughter who is under 13 which will restrict certain parts of Quizlet. While teachers in the past have created classroom accounts and then shared the log in information with their students, the ability for parents to setup accounts would elimate this need. Teachers could still use the classroom account method for younger students. The ability of students to track their learning over the years makes the use of a personal Quizlet account an important step.

VISNet Onsite Training 2013 OER and You

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I will be presenting about Open Educational Resources or OER’s for the VISNet trained teachers workshop. These teachers are the first cohort of teacher who will be teaching the new VISNet Teacher Taught courses. If your school is interested in having your students take online courses with vetted and trained teachers, contact the fine folks at VISNet.

This link will take you directly to the slideshow where you can make a copy or leave comments. http://goo.gl/cVqCBM

This QR code will take you to the Google Presentation as well. 

Qrcodeoer

VISNet Teaching Academy 2013

VISNet

I will be presenting on the second day of a  2.5 day workshop presented by VISNet for teachers across the state. I am  presenting a session on learning with iPads after my school completed a successful first year with each of our students in grades 5 through 8 having a school iPad 24/7. This presentation is similar to what I did at the NCAIS Innovate conference last February.

I want to thank Nearpod for providing 3 teacher accounts as door prizes for my sessions. Check them out as they offer a wonderful solution for harnessing the power of the iPad for learning.

This link will take you directly to the slideshow where you can make a copy or leave comments.  http://goo.gl/VDYvvW

This QR code will take you to the Google Presentation as well.

QRcodeforiPadPres

The presentation I will be using is below.

Shameless Summer Camps Plug

plug

Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31490747@N08/3165600114

For the past number of years, I have conducted camps with the help of students whom I have taught. This year we are offering Scratch and Gamestar Mechanic. If you are interested in having your children attend a camp where they will be challenged in a nurturing environment to either extend what they already know or begin the process of learning how to create games with computer programming language.

 

To register please go to the Durham Academy Summer Program website. http://www.da.org/podium/default.aspx?t=17621

Scratch Computer Programming with Mr. Schaefer

Rising Grades: 2-9
Week/Time: Week 5 Afternoon  (WK 5 PM IS FULL); Week 6 Afternoon
Location: US Computer Lab
Max Enrollment: 19
Price: $190

Imagine, Program and Share are the key elements of what the free Scratch software can allow campers to create. The software is free, the application is logical and campers will be supported in their learning of the programming language by a seasoned crew of instructors. Young people need to be exposed to programming at an early level to learn how the technology behind computers and games actually work and this is a great camp for that exposure. Come to this camp and “scratch” the programming itch!

From the Scratch website: http://scratch.mit.edu/
“Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.
As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.”

Get Your Game On with Mr. Schaefer

Instructor:         Karl Schaefer
Rising Grades:    3-9
Week/Time:     Week 6 Morning
Location:           US Computer Lab
Max Enrollment:  19
Price:                $190
Get Your Game On with Mr. Schaefer will take you from a player of games to a creator of games. Using the amazing online community of Gamestar Mechanic, campers will solve quests to earn sprites and other game resources. Campers will learn to build their own games which can be shared into Game Alley for play by other gamers. Campers will be instructed in building games based on challenges provided to them by the talented team of instructors. Gamestar is a wonderful introduction to game design and drag and drop computer programming. All campers will receive a lifetime membership to Gamestar Mechanic for use after camp.

Quote from website: http://gamestarmechanic.com/
Gamestar Mechanic is a game and online community that teaches kids how to design their own games. Designing games builds Systems Thinking, 21st Century Skills, Creative Problem Solving, Art and Aesthetics, Writing and Storytelling, and creates a motivation for STEM learning.”

MS Studios is On the Air Literally

MS Studio Logo

The above logo was created by a student for the station using stock photos from our Google Apps for Education. We collaborated on making it together as he shared it with me and I added the DA logo. Just one part of how the 4 C’s of Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking are addressed in this student led project. From their ideas come the shows and images along with thinking how to involve as many students as possible while maintaining confidentially when needed.

We are pleased to share these links with you.
The blog:
http://msstudios.edublogs.org/

The iTunes subscription feed for automatic downloads: Click view in iTunes and then Subscribe
Subscribe to MS Studio Podcasts

If on the iPad it does not show up, search for MS Studios and you will be able to subscribe.

Listen in to what is happening each day and week by students for all of us.

Power to the Pupil!

What is Going On with My Brain?

Brain

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21611336@N00/3723710203

I am concerned both about my brain and my student’s brains. My brain due to aging and devices since each year I seem to remember less unless I have it on a device. Then of course I need to remember what device it is on. This is one reason why Evernote, Google Drive, Instapaper, and my new one Pocket is so important to me as they remove needing to remember which device as they are on all of them. I no longer have to remember as much as I need to know how to search. The time I used to spend trying to remember can now be used doing or not doing other things.

I listened/read the audiobook Brain Rules by John Medina and was fascinated by his research and findings. While his research and advice focuses on more then just the matters of distractions caused by our digital world. This is a big concern for educators and parents as we adapt to the changing world. I think that there are some reasons to be concerned or at least aware, but also more reasons to adjust how we teach and use devices in general. Some of this is based on the Brain Rules book while I have also learned much in the MOOC-Ed Digital Learning Transition class I am taking as well as Common Sense Media which is full of good advice as usual.

One thing to always remember is BALANCE being important regarding most activities in life. Too much of anything except oxygen is usually a problem. I received an email today from a parent about the issue of multi-tasking being a huge concern which prompted this post which has been percolating for awhile. The concerns are valid and if we all work at helping each other, we will be fine.

The Brain Rules web site if full of great videos and information about rules of the brain and I highly reccomend watching it and reading the book in whatever format you choose. This video is about attention which is important for both teachers and parents. 

Quoted from his site about Attention and the MYTH of Multitasking:

BRAIN RULE RUNDOWN

Rule #4: We don’t pay attention to boring things.

What we pay attention to is profoundly influenced by memory. Our previous experience predicts where we should pay attention. Culture matters too. Whether in school or in business, these differences can greatly affect how an audience perceives a given presentation.

We pay attention to things like emotions, threats and sex. Regardless of who you are, the brain pays a great deal of attention to these questions: Can I eat it? Will it eat me? Can I mate with it? Will it mate with me? Have I seen it before?

The brain is not capable of multi-tasking. We can talk and breathe, but when it comes to higher level tasks, we just can’t do it.

Driving while talking on a cell phone is like driving drunk. The brain is a sequential processor and large fractions of a second are consumed every time the brain switches tasks. This is why cell-phone talkers are a half-second slower to hit the brakes and get in more wrecks.

Workplaces and schools actually encourage this type of multi-tasking. Walk into any office and you’ll see people sending e-mail, answering their phones, Instant Messaging, and on MySpace—all at the same time. Research shows your error rate goes up 50% and it takes you twice as long to do things.

When you’re always online you’re always distracted. So the always online organization is the always unproductive organization.

Read the articles at Common Sense Media for tips to help your children and yourself as our children model what they see. I also think this study by The Frameworks Institute: A Hands-On Approach to Talking Learning and Digital Media (PDF) could help us all understand the changes taking place with learning and our perceptions. The parts I have read opened up my eyes to misperceptions and gaps in our understanding on how to even talk about some of the changes. The video (12:32) below will discuss the hightlights.

Digital Media and Learning: Trigger Video from Beth Fisher on Vimeo.

Being the Subject is Different

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/28826792@N00/5971423516

Joanne Shang, a colleague, is getting her Masters and needed my help. 

This is her request:

Hi Karl,
I need to ask you for a favor again!
I am working on an assignment, for my graduate course, to create a documentary on someone in my everyday world who lives creatively. 
I can’t find a better person than you who lives your life with an obviously creative approach, integrating technology and working with middle school children at work and 
managing a farm and working with animals at home. 
May I ‘interview’ (and videotape) you at work on Tuesday 4/2) and Wednesday (4/3) while you are engaged in creative work.  
I wish I had the opportunity to tape you working on the farm too, but due to time constraint, that will be for the next project. 
 Having nothing to loose I agreed as I am prone to do. I think she captured it very well and I am amazed at all that I do and have done since I was born on a farm in Southwest Wisconsin fifty-six years ago.
 

 

Launching MS Studios – Student Voices-Saying No is Not an Option

DAPodcasting MS Studiossmaller 20130405 080911 pngA group of teachers who are also members of the Middle School iTeam which supports our school’s iPad Learning Program took an Atomic Learning Catalyst Course on Going Mobile. During this coursework we collaborated with each other and teachers from around the country. We had a guest instructor, Brad Flickinger, one evening who introduced us to how his students produce KBOB Studios which are news, movies and other media projects with a few iPads. I have long wanted to have  a student voice for news and thoughts but was not quite sure how to get it going since I would need to find time outside of the “normal” class structure.

I looked up how he Brad was doing it at his school and kept thinking on how to weave it into our school. Then I got this message. How could I say no even though I had not yet figured out all of the details? We have motivated students with a passion to produce and all they need is an adult. I can do that and if I look at the long view this is the spark I have needed to say yes even though I have more then enough on my plate.

Dear Mr. Schaefer,
I heard that the teachers just finished taking a class where a school had a website that students could post podcasts to. I also heard that you were interested In bringing that concept to DA. The student body is in full support of your idea, we actually came up with the same one. I guess great minds think alike. There is a handful of us (not including myself) who already consider themselves online DJs. A few have volunteered to manage the site and even create a blog to go with it! Kids have volunteered to advertise and talk about the concept during community meeting as well (that’s the group I’m in). Ashley is considering proposing it to the student council as well. As this idea spreads across the school more and more people want to become a part of it. We have the strength in numbers, as well as passionate workers. Now all we need is technological talent, adult supervision and a faculty member that is willing to invest in this project and cares about it just as much as we do. Will you help us?
-Yaa B.

We have met about 3 times with me although I know they meet without me to discuss ideas. Two students created logos, one is above which will be merged with a new model since we now have a name and the other logo had good features we want to include. We decided to start with audio as it is easier to produce although we hope to grow it into having videos and a blog.

I felt it would be important to automate as much of the production as possible since there are many newsworthy events that happen that can simply be recorded. I checked out SoundCloud and Audioboo and decided on Audioboo as it has a nice app and will allow some customization as well as serve as our audio host for the podcasting part of MS Studios.

To prove the concept I recorded the morning announcements although I missed timed it so I did not get the start. Students will be better at this in time.

Thank you Yaa, Joseph, Sean, Ashley, Isabella, Jack, and Alayah for the efforts you are putting forth to get MS Studios and my hope off the ground.

Ready, Set, Portfolio!

portfolios

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/59217476@N00/6050805936

 

I am getting ready to work with classes to create and add artifacts to Google Site Portfolios. I thought this year I would make a sliderocket and embed it in the template so the students would have a tutorial after we worked together. I love how I can create presentations either in Google Drive or in sliderocket and then add my voice. I find doing tutorials this way better and easier then trying to do screen recordings especailly with the hoops you have to go through to record the iPad effectively. I always have to do multiple retakes as well since I mess up recording or the bells ring and I have to start over.  Since we use Google Apps for Education our sliderocket is free. I hope the new owners Clearslide continue with providing schools free accounts. Of course, if they stop, we will move on like I do each year.

This page will have a tutorial that we used to create the portfolio. It will help you in case you forget how to do something as you go through the Middle School. Since it is both a link and embedded, and changes that take place will be automatically updated to the tutorial.

 
Google Site Portfolios using Google Search App – A sliderocket
 

Getting Excited to Kno

Kno

 As I continue to look for alternatives to the heavy and expensive textbooks for our students, one company Kno, is rising to the top. I like their business model, (they have one) and the response time from their employees is swift. I have observed the company mature for a few years as they only continue to get better. In my opinion, they have now overtaken everyone but Amazon’s Kindle as the supplier of textbooks that are dynamic, affordable and easy to deploy if you work with them. I know that iBooks are wonderful, but they are device specific which is a real drawback as I want students to have access to textbooks no matter where they and there iPad happen to be located. Learning no longer happens only during class and with the textbook so access to the digital textbook at the point of learning is what is needed.

I am not sold on having novels and reading books as only a digital option as there is something nice and non-distracting about curling up with a book and reading. My iPad provides too many opportunities to take away from the reading even though I try to read. I know I could do the same with a paper book by putting it down and picking up my iPad, but that effort is just enough to prevent me. Besides, novels are not nearly as large as some of the textbooks.

I have the expectation that the books our students need will be setup with accounts they create for us. In addition, they will bill us so we can bill the parents. Cost is huge in that a Kno version of our current English textbook is $9.99 versions compared to $110.00 for a paper version. Besides the cost factor, there is much more interactivity and learning objects which will allow for deeper learning. I am hopeful that next year the backpacks of some of our students will be less as we begin to shift some of the mass from hard cover paper books to downloaded textbooks.

The movie below gives a nice overview of what the company is doing. I could have done without the whole Valley Girl stuff, but it does make the video available.