VoiceThread Updates iOS App

VoiceThread

I have been a fan of VoiceThread for many years and use it with our school under the Ed.VoiceThread domain. The iOS app was a getting a bit long in the tooth so was excited to see that they have updated it to both take advantage of the iOS 7 update but also to make the use easier. I have been testing it and even though I had some issues to work out since we not only use the ed.voicethread sub-domain, we also use a single-sign on through Shibboleth which I think may have made things a bit more complicated on our end.

I was successful when I chose the following setup in Settings in VoiceThread:

VTiOS7

The sharing has improved but still not as powerful as on a desktop or laptop. The addition of groups will definitely help although I generally start in the computer lab where students create the VoiceThread and then embed it into our Moodle course inside of a forum. We could do the same with a group although I would need to manage those groups which can be more effort then I want to put into the process. Still, the fact that VoiceThread has continued to iterate and improve their product is impressive given they had to adjust to the mobile non-Flash world.

To learn more about the changes to the iOS app go here.

 

 

When Peering Disagreements Stop Digital Learning

YouTube Error Message for Khan Academy 9_23_13

YouTube error

 

There is so much promise of learning with video. YouTube, School Tube, Khan Academy, and the list goes on. Each day though at school the promise of learning is lost because of the way internet service providers and content providers get a long. We have struggled with having a solid dependable connection to YouTube since last January. This is about the same time that Time Warner Cable and Google/YouTube stopped working on their Peering Agreement. Google/YouTube wanted to put a caching server inside of Time Warner Cable’s network hub so the videos could be shared faster since they would be stored locally and not have to come from a Google server. No way would Time Warner Cable allow that since they are in the content business as well. So even though we pay for a 100 MB connection to our Gigabit Ethernet connection, we get this message. Out IT department has made adjustments to help but there is nothing more they can do. This is a great article from Arstechnica on why the promise of digital learning will not be fulfilled until these agreements stay out of the way of learning. http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/07/why-youtube-buffers-the-secret-deals-that-make-and-break-online-video/

Until then we will continue to learn less and don’t even ask about the filtering of information to prevent our students from seeing something on YouTube that might be offensive. Seeing this error message is offensive.

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

VISNet.png

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

liveeworkcreate

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.