Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Collaboration is a Daily Activity

This morning I am giving a talk about using technology for collaborative learning. One of the points that I plan to emphasize is that collaboration should be happening in your classroom on a daily basis. Collaboration in the classroom isn't new, what's new is that it can happen in real-time and it can happen 24/7. Collaboration can happen in the manner pictured above in which the first grade students I worked with last week helped each other with GoAnimate projects. Collaboration can be using TodaysMeet to exchange ideas to support a classroom discussion. Collaboration can be using a Padlet wall to create collaborative KWL walls. Or collaboration can be asking your students to text a parent during class to get additional perspectives to add to a classroom conversation.

Certainly, technology enables you and your students to undertake collaborative projects that in the past would have taken weeks and complete them in shorter periods of time. Think about the peer-editing process for written work. In the past a student would write his or her paper, print it, bring it to school, swap papers with a classmate, and then read, edit, and return the paper. Now you can use Google Documents and speed up that process which in turn allows you to spend more time on the writing process and less time waiting for the process to happen. Bigger projects like video creation projects can now be completed by a team working remotely. I like WeVideo for this purpose. By using the combination of the website and the Android app students can work from anywhere to make contributions and edits to their projects.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Map of the Cables Connecting the World

TeleGeography has produced a couple of interesting maps of the telecommunication cables that cross under oceans and seas. The interactive Submarine Cable map allows you to click on various points and lines to see the locations that they connect. The map also shows you who owns the lines depicted.

A poster (infographic) version of the Submarine Cable map is available too. The poster version includes a timeline of cables connected between 1997 and 2012.

Applications for Education
Students today grow up just assuming that the Internet connects everyone, but they probably don't think about how that actually happens. These maps could be a nice way to show students how much cable it takes to connect us. An extension of this would be to have students try to calculate or research how many miles of cable are under an ocean or sea.

H/T to Cool Infographics.

Add Prezi Presentations to Your Knowmia Lesson Library

Knowmia is a free service that offers a huge library of videos and presentations for flipped lessons. The library is generated by the contributions of teachers. Users of Knowmia's free Knowmia Teach iPad app can create their own flipped lesson videos and submit them to the Knowmia library. I recently learned that you can also submit your Prezi presentations to the Knowmia library.

To submit a Prezi presentation to the Knowmia library all that you need to do is copy the URL of your Prezi and paste it into the "import lesson" field in the myKnowmia tab in Knowmia. Screenshots of the process are available here. - Games and More for Practicing Multiplication

When I was in elementary school one of my teachers would play records (yes, vinyl records) of people singing multiplication tables to use. These records were played during our morning line-up times and other breaks during the day. Today, there are many more ways for children to learn and practice multiplication facts. is one such example of that.

Applications for Education
On students can choose from dozens of games to play to practice their multiplication skills. Students can play single-player and multi-player games. Before they play the games students can refresh their memories by working through the "fact" and "quiz" navigators that provide visual explanations of multiplication facts.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Create an Audio Slideshow With Narrable

Narrable is a neat service for creating short narrated slideshows. Wes Fryer wrote a glowing review of Narrable and when Wes gives a service high marks I know that I have to try it out. My initial impression of Narrable is that it is kind of like VoiceThread mashed with Animoto.

To create an audio slideshow on Narrable start by uploading some pictures that you either want to talk about or have music played behind. After the pictures are uploaded you can record a narration for each picture through your computer's microphone or by calling into your Narrable's access phone number. You can also upload an audio recording that is stored on your computer. Narrable projects can be shared via email, Facebook, or by embedding them into a blog.

Applications for Education
Narrable could be a good way to get students to tell a short story by adding narration to pictures that they have taken or found online. Have students search for some Creative Commons licensed images arranged around topics that they're studying then record a short slideshow about them. 

Narrable allows you to have five projects for free. After that you can "earn" more free projects by sharing your projects on Facebook.