Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Haiku Deck Awesomeness

Haiku Deck sent an email late last week telling me about how first, I was on the leading edge of awesome simply by using their app--thank you!--and second, that it’s possible to be thatmuchmoreawesome by utilizing their new notes feature. (Side note - if you’re NOT using Haiku Deck in your class let me put a plug in right now.  It’s a fantastic presentation app that functions like a PowerPoint on your iPad.  Right now PP or it’s more leading-edge cousin, Google Presentation, isn’t available on our devices and Haiku Deck is a great substitution.  The graphics are stunning--and plentiful--and it’s easy to share.  Students simply send me a link to their creation when they’re finished.)

Up until this point, the amount of words that you can include on each slide is limited.  This can be both positive and negative.  Similar to Twitter, limiting the characters forces the students to be concise and to the point.  Unfortunately, if you wanted further explanation about the slide they often did not have the room.  I saw an English class use Haiku Deck for a vocabulary assignment.  It was such a fabulous idea!  Students chose pictures, that to them, represented the new vocabulary word.  Think how these students would be thatmuchmoreawesome if they were allowed to explain the reasoning behind each photo and embed it into the presentation!

Utilizing the notes feature is simple.  

1.  Have the student email themselves the link to the presentation after they’ve added all of the pictures and titled the slides.

2.  Open the link, from their email, in Safari & sign in to their Haiku Deck account.

3.  Add additional notes to the slide(s).


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pinterest Possibilities with Vocabulary

Provide an authentic and engaging project for your students while tapping into their critical thinking skills!

By having students create their own Pinterest board (think of it as a visual bookmarking site) to show their knowledge of new vocabulary words, they employ critical thinking skills while collaborating with others.

Here's a Pinterest board that I created for an upcoming vocabulary unit in English 7.  Here’s another one I created for a Spanish I class.  I signed up for a work account using my school email.  I also used the Pinterest App on my iPad--it's seamless!* Quick disclaimer- I currently teach in a 1:1 environment with iPads so their use is incorporated into many of my lessons.

Create - After creating a board you can pin pictures directly from a Google image search or repin from Pinterest itself.  (Pinterest does not store the entire image file but it does 'pin' the URL that your picture comes from.)  

Communication - You have the ability to comment (500 characters max) on each picture so you could include an explanation for each.  Another cool thing - if you put a link in your comment section it will automatically hyperlink it when you save it.  I left one in (check the chess pieces in my Ron Weesley board- more on that board later) so that you can see what it looks like.

Collaborate - Students can repin images from other students and add them to their board; so students could work together in a group creating pictures for the whole vocab unit.  Four kids could work together, creating only 5 pins on their own, through sharing they could have a board of 20 words.  Students can also comment on one another's pins.

Critical thinking - There are a few ways that kids could use it w/ vocab:

  • A picture that illustrates the vocab word
  • A picture with the synonyms or antonyms listed & they have to guess the vocab word
  • Pictures with English word descriptions for a particular word/phrase (ex: el vaso de jugo de naranja) - specifically for world language vocab
  • Pictures that represent the word - then I explained why I chose it in the comment section
  • Pictures that were antonyms to the word - I explained why I chose this picture as well

* Well...ALMOST seamless.  At this point, on an iPad, you can't create a public link (in Google Drive or in Skitch) so that your own picture (that you took with your camera) has a URL.  So I had to upload the Skitch photos from my laptop, not my iPad.  Also, on an iPad, if you want to pin an image you find in a Google search you need to go through Safari & not use the app.   Repinning pictures while in the app works great, however.  The app is really easy to use!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Inaugural Post - It’s not perfect but that’s OK, right?

Hi.  Hello.  Welcome!  How are you?  I’m glad you’re here!  

This post/blog/idea is a long time coming.  I’ve wanted to share my education experiences for so long.  I love working in a middle school with middle-schoolers & middle-school teachers!  I love helping kids ‘get it’ and watching them get excited about projects.  I love teaching (science), technology, and especially I love working with other teachers & helping them with technology.  OK wait; stop.  This is why this thing has taken so long.  I get sidetracked and I feel like I can’t post anything until it’s perfect, which is what has prevented me from sharing anything thus far.  So I’m just going to get over it & get started.

This year my position has changed.  I’m in the classroom less to allow for more time working directly with staff, integrating technology into their courses.  We’re also 1:1 this year with iPads so not only have I - along with an (or my? what article is right here? the team doesn’t belong to me, I’m a part of it.  See what I mean about needing the post to be perfect?  OK, I’m leaving it.) amazing & talented team -  been teaching & creating learning experiences with these mobile devices, I’ve also been having some learning experiences of my own: what it’s like rolling out over 600 student & 150 staff iPads in two buildings over the last 6 months. Is it 150? Wait- I think it's more like 120? 130?

Hopefully by sharing my experiences and ideas I’ll be able to help you.  That’s really my only goal.  I’m going to try and post as often as I can but I’ve learned from reading other bloggers (T-Y BTW) that it’s OK to start small. Also, here’s my ‘fair warning’ that the posts won’t be perfect (and also again...no more apologizing!  We’re all doing our best, no?).  

Let me know what you think & I’ll try my best to help!

:) Becky

p.s. - thanks to Larry David I always 2nd guess this emoticon as a Complimentary Close; maybe I’ll switch to “Yours, faithfully” or something, but (for this post) it feels OK -just this once!