Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Calendly - Conveniently Schedule Meetings Through Google Calendar

Last week I shared directions for creating and scheduling appointment slots in Google Calendar. Today, I discovered a tool that makes it easier to create appointment slots in Google Calendar. Calendly integrates with your Google Calendar and makes it easy to create appointment slots with just a click or two. More importantly, people who want to schedule an appointment with you just have to click a time on your calendar and enter their names in order to reserve an appointment. Visitors do not have to have a Google Account to view or enter information into an appointment slot. Visitors who make appointments with you through Calendly can sync the appointment to their own Google Calendars, iCal, or Outlook calendars.

Applications for Education
Calendly could be a great tool to use to schedule parent conferences. I like that appointments will sync with non-Google calendars as that makes it accessible to parents who are dedicated iCal or Outlook users.

5 Fantastic Apps for Digital Storytelling on iPads

This is a guest post from Samantha Morra of EdTechTeacher.org

Computers, and the digital tools on those computers, brought video editing to the classroom years ago. As those tools became easier to use, more and more students were given opportunities to share and demonstrate knowledge using video. iPad continues to transform the process by integrating the key elements of digital storytelling - capturing photos, videos, and audio - all in one mobile device. Through apps, iPad provides a variety of options for how to compose or combine those key elements to create an effective demonstration of learning.

Digital storytelling is a powerful tool in the classroom. It is engaging for students and teachers of all grade levels and can be used across the curriculum. Most of all, digital storytelling gives students a voice and a way of communicating information in an authentic manner. One of the great things about digital stories is that there are no “cookie cutter” answers. Each student creates a unique piece that demonstrates their understanding. Digital storytelling on iPad can empower, motivate and engage students, helping them to make deep connections to learning.

So, grab your iPad and check out some of the best free apps for digital storytelling:

With Tellagami, students can create quick animations that liberate them from the physical world and remove concerns about appearance and general physics. Tellagami allows them to create an avatar and custom background, as well as to have the avatar speak with the student’s voice or via text-to-speech. Students can place their avatars in all sorts of interesting places like a plant cell or next to George Washington. They can have their avatar sit on a library book shelf or stand on the ocean floor. You can read more about Tellagami in a previous post on FreeTech4Teachers.

Videolicious allows students to shoot, do short quick edits in a matter of minutes, and easily share their videos. The app is being used by reporters from newspapers, like the Washington Post, to have their reporters capture and report news quickly. Students can use this app like the experts, quickly and easily creating videos.

ScreenChomp is an awesome way to use screencasting for storytelling with our youngest learners. Just put up a picture and have your student talk about it, draw on top of it, and record. This app allows for authentic communication of learning as students are able to show process and understanding.

Animoto has been around a long time on the computer. The app is even more powerful because of how quickly and easily images and sound can be strung together, helping. Additionally, this app helps students understand the power of images, requiring them to think critically about the images they choose and what information, tone and emotions are conveyed by those images. Captioning and choice of music add to the impact of each student’s work.

If you hand an iPad to a student with Puppet Pals on it, just be prepared for a little fun. This highly engaging app allows you to move “puppets” and record your voice to create a story. It's fantastic for all sorts of things such as public service announcement, telling a story from different characters’ points of view, and sharing information. There is a paid version which gives you more characters and more options, but even the free version allows for a great deal of flexibility and an authentic expression of writing.

Digital stories help students to become creators of content for the Internet, not just consumers. They give students a voice and allow them to express themselves at a higher lever. iPad takes digital storytelling to a new level by making the process easier and mobile. When paired with great apps, digital storytelling is the perfect tool to unleash student creativity.

Samantha will be presenting Digital Storytelling with iPads at the upcoming November 13-15 iPad Summit in Boston.

CK-12 Adds Group Q&A Options

CK-12 recently added a new Q&A feature that you can use in your class groups. The new feature allows you to post questions and answer questions about the content of your shared CK-12 materials. This feature can be used by students to ask questions of you and their classmates. Classmates as well as the teacher can reply to questions and comments posted in the group. Group Q&A essentially creates a message board within your group. Watch the video below to learn how to use the new CK-12 Groups Q&A feature.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Pit and the Pendulum Rap

With Halloween just a few days away a lot of students may be getting acquainted with Edgar Allan Poe's classic The Pit and the Pendulum. The Simpson's brought the story to animated life in the 90's and that is still a good go-to resource if you have access to a licensed copy of it. Another way that you might introduce the story to students is through Flocabulary's rap of the story. That rap video is embedded below.

EDPuzzle - Add Your Voice and Text Questions to Educational Videos

EdPuzzle is a neat tool that I recently learned about from David Kapuler. EdPuzzle allows you to add your voice and questions to educational videos. On EdPuzzle you can search for educational videos from Khan Academy and Learn Zillion. Once you've found a video you can insert your own voice comments. You can also create a series of questions to go along with your chosen video. Questions are inserted along a timeline that matches the video. That means that your students don't have to wait until the end of a video in order to answer the questions. In that regard the EdPuzzle is similar to Blubbr.tv.

Applications for Education
EdPuzzle could be a good tool to use to create short review videos or flipped lessons for your students. You could also have students use EdPuzzle to annotate videos by pointing out important aspects of videos by using the voice comments option and or the question building option.