Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Now You Can Add Images to Plickers Questions

Plickers is one of my favorite new tools of the last year. It has been a hit with every group that I have demonstrated it to.

Plickers uses your iPad or Android tablet in conjunction with a series of QR codes to create a student response system. Students are given a set of QR codes on large index cards. The codes are assigned to students. Each code card can be turned in four orientations. Each orientation provides a different answer. You can ask questions verbally or project them on a screen for students to see. When your ready to collect data, use the Plickers mobile app to scan the cards held up by your students. Plickers will show you a bar graph of responses. Responses can also be saved in your online Plickers account.

The latest update to Plickers allows teachers to add pictures to the questions that you create in your Plickers account. To add pictures you have to create your questions in your web browser instead of in the Plickers mobile app. Then to show the image-based questions to students you will have to project them from your laptop to a screen.

Applications for Education
Adding images to questions was the most requested feature in the Plickers user discussion forum. Many people wanted to be able to add pictures to questions in mathematics classes and art classes.

Here are three other ideas for using Plickers in your classroom:

1. Quickly taking the pulse of the class. Ask your students, "do you get this?" (or a similar question) and have them hold up their cards to indicate yes or no. You can do this with a saved class or a demo class in the app.

2. Hosting a review game. Create a series of questions in your saved Plickers classroom. To conduct the review have students hold up their cards to respond to each question. Every student gets to respond at the same time and you get to see how each student responded. This is an advantage over many review games in which only the first student to respond has his or her voice heard.

3. Take attendance. In a saved Plickers class each student has a card assigned to him or her. At the start of class just have them hold up their cards to check-in.

Collaboratively Create Multimedia Posters on LucidPress

Last fall I described LucidPress as offering the best of Apple's Pages with the best of Google Documents. Today, I was reminded of that as I explored the latest templates offered by LucidPress. LucidPress now offers an expanded set of templates for collaboratively designing and publishing posters.

I tried my hand at making a poster on LucidPress this afternoon. The process can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. I stuck with the basics of moving text and pictures around on the poster by just dragging and dropping. There are options for layering images with differing amounts of transparency, image cropping tools, and font customization options in each LucidPress template. You can also add videos into your projects (obviously they only play when viewed online).

You can use your Google Account to sign into Lucidpress and you can use items stored in your Google Drive account in your Lucidpress documents. Lucidpress has commenting and sharing features that are similar to Google Drive too. 

Applications for Education
Lucidpress is free for teachers and students (scroll to the bottom of the pricing page for information about access as an educator). Lucidpress could be an excellent tool for students to use to collaborate on creating flyers for school events, to create a collage showcasing a highlights of research, or to design a cover for an ebook.

May Flowers - A Writing Lesson

Disclousure: BoomWriter is an advertiser on this blog. 

Every month BoomWriter publishes a new writing lesson plan related to the season. This month's lesson plan is about plants. The lesson plan includes a botany vocabulary sheet, a list of standards, and steps for conducting the lesson through BoomWriter. This lesson is appropriate for students in grades four through eight.

The idea behind using BoomWriter for this lesson is to have students practice using vocabulary terms in context. Through BoomWriter you can assign word lists to students then monitor their progress as they work toward using each word correctly. You can provide feedback to students through your teacher dashboard on BoomWriter.

If you haven't tried BoomWriter or WordWriter before, check out my demonstration videos embedded below. The first video shows just the perspective of the teacher. The second video shows the perspective of a student receiving an assignment.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Six Styles of Classroom Video Projects - A Handout

The process of creating and publishing videos can be a great way to get students excited about researching, storytelling, and sharing their work with an audience. For teachers who have never facilitated video creation projects in their classrooms, choosing the right style of video and the right tools can be a bit confusing at first. To help bring clarity to the styles and tools, I have a rather simple outline that I use in my video creation workshops. That outline with suggested tools for creating videos in each style is included in the PDF embedded below. You can download the PDF here.



Wanted! Guest Bloggers

Once a year I put out a call for guest bloggers and share those posts for a week. This year, I'm going to run those posts during the week of June 1st. Over the last six years I've had some awesome guest bloggers share their knowledge and experience with us. If you would like to be a guest blogger please read on and complete the form below.

I'm looking for guest bloggers who can share current (2014/2015) experiences of using technology in their schools. Guest bloggers should be current classroom teachers, teacher-librarians, technology integration coaches, or school-level administrators. I would like to share stories of trying new things (apps, websites, strategies) and what you and your students learned from the experience. If you can tell the story in 600 words or less, that's a bonus. While I cannot pay you for your post, I will include links to your blog or website as well as a short bio about you. Past guest bloggers have reported still getting traffic to their blogs more than a year after their posts appeared.

Please note that the last time I put out a call for guest bloggers, more than 100 people responded in 48 hours. I wish that I could publish all of the posts, but I simply cannot do that. I'll select 25 to 30 posts at the most. I will send notifications to accepted guest bloggers by May 25th.