I enjoy using Hyperdocs. The way Lisa @lhighfill, Kelly @kellyihilton, and Sarah @SARAHLANDIS have built a system for lesson design (which, by the way, links to standards and the SAMR model) within a Google Doc is brilliant. They make it accessible for all levels and types of teachers. The flow and structure really guides teachers in designing learning so that it is structured yet still gives students differentiated and self-paced instruction. I love using GoFormative (@goformative). I have been using the tool for two years now ever since meeting Craig Jones at CUE in 2015.
Of course you can put a GoFormative check in a Hyperdoc. I've done it repeatedly. Students click on the link and go through the GoFormative activity/lesson. The teacher can review the data in real time or go over it later or during classroom review.
How is the data accessible? In a Hyperdoc, the teacher needs to simply click on the links and look at student responses or look at responses within the Hyperdoc. In GoFormative, look at the responses in the Formative or click on the links to see how students responded. Either way, I have access to student data and input. Is one easier over the other? Not really.
My opinion is that these two go hand-in-hand. However, you have to determine what your need is as well as what your purpose and even comfort level is. So, for me, I switch between the two. I love the flow of a Hyperdoc and the myriad of creative ideas and COLOR/IMAGERY I can put into one. GoFormative is a bit more structured BUT I can do the same type of setup in a GoFormative. So, how do I choose? Well, I rotate between the two. Access to student input is basically the same. What I get in GoFormative is the ability to place a grade to a response. Can I do the same in a Hyperdoc? YES, with Comments or with Kaizena Voice Comments. In the end, try both and see what you like using best. It can easily be about preference. You might lean one way or the other but I'd suggest rotating so as to give kids something different every so often. The same format too often can just get boring. Kids need a shakeup.
†How does the new GoFormative help meet the need for real-time data when working with students?
As a long-time user of GoFormative, I have seen multiple changes in the service. It has become more user friendly with the continued focus on having access to real-time data. Whether the tool is used in a flipped, blended, student-directed, or traditional model, GoFormative meets the need by providing teachers and administrators data to drive learning forward.
The new menu
The menu is similar to the previous version of GoFormative. Creating a new formative or folder is as simple as clicking on the +New Formative or the +folder icon to create a folder. Organization of content in a folder shows you:
First is the file. Clicking on the file allows you to access and edit/preview the file. To the right you can see how many students have completed the assessment (yes I only have 2 AP German students.) Clicking the icon (lightning icon) gives you:
Starting from the left you see the initials and then how many they answered and how they scored. The screen allows you to see where students didn't answer well. Clicking on the question number shows how the student answered for the particular question. This is particularly helpful with open-ended responses.
Student view (accessed through Preview)
Students can look at the text/prompt on the left-hand side and they respond on the right-hand side. This is a move from the previous (V1) version that had the questions below the text (or however you organized it.)
I gave my students the new GoFormative without letting them know we were doing so. After the initial shock, they settled into the look and feel with no issues. The only issue some of my students had was having the questions on the right side and having to match the scroll windows with the area of text they were looking at.
One of my favorite classroom tools is bulbapp. This is perhaps one of the best tools I have used for portfolios and also for blogging. It is streamlined and has an easy-to-use layout..
Create a 'Collection' then create a 'Page'
First, things first. Create a collection. This is where you store the pages in a topic. Then, create a page. Pages are parts of the portfolio or blog posts.
The layout toolbar is super easy to use and has the familiar tools we are used to: bold, italics, underline, basic styling (like heading), bullets/numbers, indent, and link.
Move your pages around
This doesn't work like a standard blog. What you are allowed to do is 'move' your posts around so that you can have them in the order you want and not in order by date posted. Of course you can create multiple folders to make sure that you can organize and move your stuff around to different categories too.
Free? You bet, but the 'Pro' version has cool features
So, I'm not using this part yet, but for $50 a year you can have multiple groups to organize your students and get private publishing. This is a big plus for elementary school classrooms.
Student Interview on Bulb
Student reflections on Bulb and what she's using it for.
Sadly the Touchjet's had to go back to #cuesteampunk but the time with them was well used! This week we explored using them in a collaborative format in conjunction with an Iron Chef lesson.
What is Iron Chef?
It is a quick-paced slide show presentation in which student groups of 3-5 collaborate on a small group of slides to present a concept. The slides use the Frayer model to break up the information.
At the center of the slide is the concept.
One quadrant defines the concept.
Another provides facts or characteristics of the concept.
Another shows examples of the concept in action.
The non-examples end up being the 'secret ingredient' and students provide something cool to share about themselves.
Each person in the group has a responsibility or is responsible for one of the slides. For roles, one might person might summarize, another may be responsible for graphics, while others may do the examples or create questions for the larger group to answer.
After 20 minutes everyone stops and the presentations begin. Each person gets 30 seconds to present 1 slide.
This starts working great when students begin to ask questions of the presenter and the magic happens.
Iron Chef and Touchjet Pond's
Student reviews of the Touchjet Ponds
The biggest issue students had with the Touchjet's was using the stylus (when we used the Pond's as a whiteboard.) Some students had great success and others had difficulty. The following interviews are opinions based only on those student's experiences.
Using the Touchjet's with Iron Chef
Using the Touchjet Pond's as projectors connected to a computer left students with a positive experience. Student's enjoyed the small group atmosphere of presenting compared to that of the whole class. They felt more comfortable about the task and felt more open with asking and answering questions in the small group.
Touchjet discount for #cue members and #cuerockstar teachers!
Touchjet offering a $399 special price on the @Touchjet Pond to the CUERockstar group and CUE teachers. Promo code is CUE. It is good until 01/31/16. Visit www.touchjet.com/pond for information.
Before using the Touchjet - update the firmware!
The orientation issue! OK, an annoyance sure, but an easy fix. Some of the Android apps orientate to the side as if on a phone. This is a downside when working with apps such as Quizlet or as you can see here, Google Classroom. Make sure you use the included micro USB OTG cable. If you don't have one, a simple look up at eBay or Monoprice will get you what you need nice and cheap.
Here's the update information I received from Touchjet:
How to update the Firmware on the Touchjet Pond Projector?
Touchjet in action! Whiteboard with small groups:
First use of the Touchjet had students in small groups using the whiteboard software. As with any new piece of equipment, there is a learning curve. Make sure the stylus' have new batteries and you will be ready to go. The biggest learning curve for the students was learning how to write with the stylus. You cannot use the stylus and have something blocking the tip of the stylus and the light from the projector. Make sure you have the projector in a good position and teach students how to write with it. My students either used the tip of the stylus to write on the board or the button on the stylus to write from a distance. I left it up to them.
Using the Gorilla tripod to mount to the ceiling
As far as positioning is concerned, mounting to the ceiling seems to be the best situation. The Gorilla Tripods from Joby were used to test the Ponds. These tripods are magnetic so I took the liberty of testing them on the ceiling. My level of trust for the magnets compared with a $600 piece of equipment wasn't established yet, but it appears as if they hold firmly to the ceiling. I owe this to the degree of the magnets and to the low weight of the Pond.
Pano of whiteboards in action:
Unpacking the projector:
I had the privilege to test and have students work with the Touchjet Pico projectors (touchjet.com). The Touchjet Pond retails for $599 and has a plethora of features to offer.
The Touchjet Pond is small at 1.3 x 4.3 x 3.8 and weighs 0.6 lbs. It has 80 Lumens, a native resolution of 854x480 and has an aspect ratio of 16:9. The lamp life is rated at 20,000 hours.
It comes with a remote and stylus and with the built-in software, turns any surface into an interactive touchscreen.
The built-in software is Android based. What I love best about the software is the huge amount of tools available through the Google Store. I've only begun to sample a few, such as Quizlet and Google Classroom, to see how well it would work for classroom use.
Setting up the projector:
Setting up is a breeze. Initial setup requires you to calibrate the surface. The calibration is based on 5 points and using only these 5 points the calibration appears to work flawlessly.
After calibration comes setting up the wifi. In my situation, I didn't have a network that was available so I set up Internet sharing through my iMac and we were ready to go.
Using the apps:
One of the easiest apps to use is the 'whiteboard' app. Students in small groups can now use the whiteboards to begin discussion and as a springboard to the next assignment. Today, students used the whiteboards to discuss a grammar concept then moved to a collaborative Google Doc in which they applied the concepts they discussed in their small groups.
Students noted that not everyone could write with the stylus successfully. According to the instructions you have to make sure that you do not block the tip of the stylus with the projector.
Next week: the projectors in action!
Building into the kids their communication skills and establishing trust with their community.
When you finally have your group of kids and have begun to train them in the art of #GAFE, #appletools, #iPads, #chromebooks, and #edtech in general, you (at the same time usually) need to begin building into their communication skills and have them establish trust with their community.
Communicating and working with teachers:
I have found that working with and training other teachers requires a certain type of communication skill. It's almost as if teachers themselves need a special brand of communication so that they feel empowered but not marginalized. Since the students are going to be working directly with teachers, they need to learn how to communicate well with them so that teachers will be able to learn and take ideas from the student techs.
#1 Be on time to appointments and be reliable:
The first rule I teach students is to be on time when establishing appointments and do what you say you are going to do. If you are going to show up at lunch at 12:30 to talk to a teacher about a project, be there at that time and fulfill your responsibility.
#2 Be prepared:
Teach students to take thorough notes before, during, and after so that they can have ideas going in, talk about the teachers needs, and have notes afterward so that they can do the project thoroughly.
#2 Active listening:
Teach students to be active listeners to a teacher so that they understand needs well.
A good phrase to teach students is to say: "What I hear you explaining is that you would like to........" so that the teacher can be reaffirmed that the student heard what the teacher wants.
#3 Constructive criticism:
Teach students to listen to criticism through lenses and a filter so that they can improve. Sometimes when doing a project they may not get it right and the teacher they are helping will want or need to give feedback.
Not many like criticism and few people know how to relate criticism well. Students should learn:
#1 Criticism is not usually an attack on their character
#2 It is an opportunity for improvement
A few useful phrases to teach students are things like: "Thank you for giving me this information." "I will take what you are saying and work on those issues." "I appreciate you allowing me to help you on this project. Thank you for the input."
Part 3 coming soon!
This year I have the privilege to begin a program for student techs that fix tech problems, train teachers and students on technology use, and get the opportunity to be leaders on their campus for some of the most important things in our life.
Gathering your students:
When you start your program, kids will come to you. They will want to be a part of a program that allows them to explore technology and how to use it in different ways for different classes. I have students from all sorts of backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: they love technology. Some come in because they like video, some because they like gaming, some because they like working on computers in general. Each student brings in their own interest and then you can work with them to mold those interests into awesome skills to share with others.
Let them explore:
Students may naturally lean to doing gaming, but when you present them with different software and tools, they will find things they think are cool and applicable. Let them! Let them learn about these tools, but have them go many steps further: Have them train you and train their class members on how to use it and how it applies to classroom learning.
Training is an every day experience in my class. Students are constantly exploring new tools and how to use them and in turn teach the class how to use them as well. It works out really well because they get play time, they teach others, and we get play time with the new tools as well.
Have them write:
Writing is a key component to success in running a student help desk. Students blog each week. They vary what they write about and alternate between personal and tech blogs. Students are given a general theme to write about and then they share and write about life. The tech blogs are for them to write about and share the technology they are learning about and any new tools they have used within the past week (this includes games.)
Next week, part 2: Building into the kids their communication kids and establishing trust with their community.
Coding Part 2:
Why do we need to include learning how to code in the classroom?
If you examine the standards for students at www.iste.org you will see Standard #6 for Technology Operations and Concepts. What does this mean? Kids need to understand how and why things work.
What about the time factor?
This can be a touchy subject, but honestly, can you not fit an hour into your schedule to teach students the fundamentals, the importance of coding? I understand that the schedule prevents some from doing so or some are not willing to change their schedule to bring coding into the classroom. I see it this way: It is an hour. We can adapt the coding curriculum into math, science, ELA, and social studies. If you can take an hour out of your school day to teach kids the importance of coding, DO IT!
How does it fit with the curriculum:
Science: I see this closely aligned with Math here, but my science colleagues can help me out with this one.
ELA: Both with English and World Languages this is all about language structure! As a language teacher, I like to work coding into the classroom by focusing on certain concepts like the imperative or giving directions.
Social Studies: Personally, I'd go with Google Lego Builder or even Minecraft to have students craft buildings and events from history.
What age can we start this?
My son was introduced to coding through the Minecraft tutorial at hourofcode.com. At 5 this was a bit challenging for him so I showed him two amazing iPad apps: Box Island and The Foos. He ran with it and I can't get the iPad away from him as he builds coding structures to get the sprites to do all sorts of commands!
In the end, give them coding. It's important. They'll like it!
Students love making movies. They love media. They live in a media-rich world. Almost everything they do is related to media: text messages, youTube, Twitter, SnapChat, etc. They are constantly on the move, connected to their devices and connected to media or connecting to one another with media. So, why shouldn't we interact and have our students interact with us using media?
Powtoon is a great tool to engage students or have students create great projects that are in and of themselves engaging. Powtoon is free (with limitations) and teachers and students alike can create presentations that draw the viewer in.
I first learned about Powtoon months ago and then ignored it thinking I didn't have the time to deal with it. This semester I reconnected with it and in 20 minutes created a presentation for my 3rd year German students that they absolutely loved and were engaged the whole time. I assigned it to my AP students so as a review project and they came up with a media rich project that I'll use later as a review for other students.
In the end, there are a ton of tools out there to connect with students. Connect with your students using these tools and let them connect with their classwork using them as well. If you want to work in the 21st Century, use 21st Century tools.