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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Presentation.io - Sync Your Presentations To Your Audience's Laptops and iPads

Presentation.io is a new service that is designed to help your audience follow along with your presentations. Presentation.io does this by allowing the members of your audience to see your slides on their laptops, iPads, and Android tablets and watch them change when you advance your slides. This ensures that everyone is on the same slide at the same time. Presentation.io includes a backchannel that allows your audience to comment on and ask questions about your slides.

To start using Presentation.io upload a PPT or PDF to your free Presentation.io account. Presentation.io then gives you a URL to distribute to your audience. When the members of your audience open that URL they will be able to see and follow along with your presentation. When you're done with your presentation just click "stop presenting" and the synchronization stops.

Presentation.io's free service allows you to share your presentations for 48 hours then you'll have to upload them again.

Applications for Education
Presentation.io could be a great little service for teachers to use in a 1:1 environment to make sure that their students are all following along with the presentation. You may also want to use the service to have your students share their presentations with you and their classmates when they're presenting to the class.

Create an Interactive Image for a Chance to Win an iPad Mini

ThingLink and Rosen Digital have teamed up to run an interactive image contest for K-12 students. The ThingLink Interactive Image Contest for K-12 is giving away ten iPad minis, one to each category winner. All K-12 students are eligible to enter in one or all ten of the categories. Entries are now being accepted through this form.

The contest categories are as follows:
My Favorite Books or Authors
Science — Think Like a Scientist!
Health & Well-being — You, Your Family, Your Friends
Environment — The World Around Us
Community — Volunteering & Making a Difference
Money Smarts — Earning, Saving, Spending
Art & Music — Express Yourself!
Sports — Game On!
History & Social Studies — From Yesterday to Today
Animals — Furry, Friendly, & Fierce

Voting: Friends and family can vote on their favorite images by using “touch” icon on a ThingLink image. The most “touches” counts for a portion of the score. A team of educational advisors will review entries and determine winners.

Prizes: One iPad mini will be awarded to the top winner in each category. The winning school in each category will also receive one Rosen Database subscription for a year (Teen Health and Wellness, Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy or the Power Knowledge Science Suite). Certificates will be awarded to second and third place winners in each category.

Applications for Education
Even if your students don't or can't enter the contest the list of categories is worth looking at for some ideas for using interactive images in your classroom. I like the idea of having students create interactive images about their favorite books. Students could create story maps then upload them to ThingLink to make the map interactive with pinmarks that contain additional images, video clips, audio clips, or links to additional reviews of their favorite books.

Disclosure: ThingLink is currently an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

Using Google Drive for Online Discussions of Primary Sources

This same information is included at the end of my slideshow on Teaching With Technology and Primary Sources, but I wanted to share it as a separate post as well just in case people had trouble accessing the linked document at the end of the slideshow.

One of my favorite ways to use the commenting feature in Google Documents is to host online discussions around a shared article. Doing this isn’t a radical departure from having a classroom discussion about an article that you’ve printed and distributed to your students, but there are some advantages to hosting your discussion in Google Documents. The first advantage is that your students can participate in the discussion from anywhere at any time they are connected to the Internet. Students absent from your classroom can still participate and can read others’ comments. The second advantage is that your students can have a digital archive of the ideas shared by you and their classmates.

Here’s the process that I use for hosting an online discussion about a primary source.
1. Find a digital copy, preferably in the Public Domain, of the primary source document that I want all of my students to read.

2. Copy and paste the primary source document into a Google Document.

3. Share the document with my students and allow them to comment on the document. I usually use the sharing setting of “anyone with the link” and then post the link on my blog. Alternatively, you could share by entering your students’ email addresses. See the screen captures below for directions on sharing.
Click for full size view.



Click for full size view.
4. I will highlight sections of the primary source document and insert a comment directly attached to the highlighted section. In my comments I will enter discussion prompts for students. They can then reply directly to my comments and each others' comments.

Using this process in a classroom that is not 1:1
If you teach in a classroom that is not 1:1 you can still take advantage of some of this process. Consider having one or two students play the role of note-taker in the Google Document while you are hosting your classroom discussion with all of your students reading the printed version of the article. Have your note-takers tie comments to specific parts of the article. When the activity is over, posted the final set of notes on your classroom blog by selecting “public on the web” in the sharing setting of the Google Document and then post the link on your classroom blog.

Shameless plug: More about this activity and many other uses of Google Drive in the classroom is included in my Practical Ed Tech webinar How To Use Google Drive in School

Teaching With Technology and Primary Sources

This morning I had the pleasure of giving a virtual presentation to teachers in the Christian Teacher Collaborative based in Frisco, Texas. The topic of my presentation was teaching with technology and primary sources. In the presentation I talked about some of the collections that I've used over the years and how I've used them to teach high school social studies lessons in honors level classes as well as special education classes. I've embedded the slides below. With the exception of the first two slides, all of the images in the slides are linked to the sources so just click on the image in the slide to jump to the collection of primary sources featured on that slide.

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