Learning Walks

We are fortunate to live in an area that is surrounded with nature right outside our doorstep. The popularity of using “learning walks” add new elements to our day. I can think of the power of this opportunity in every one of the curricular areas.

“What if” we placed devices in the hands of students and asked them to capture images that they felt were significant. Now that takes focused observational skills to weed out the many and only select visuals that are “significant”. What would significant mean? It might mean something quite different to every individual. Imagine the conversation that would open. 

VOICE RECORD PRO (professional grade audio recording app with immediate feedback) allow audio recording of thoughts including the option to embed an image. Save the named clip as an mp4 and it is ready to upload to student blogfolios or websites.  (*Uploading requires wifi.)

Imagine the possibilities of this simple addition of technology in the immediacy. These might include: 

  1. decision making in the present moment 
  2. hone observational skills (slow down to appreciate the details)
  3. include every student in their efforts to communicate their choices of significance (written requirement is removed)
  4. oral language development practice (app provides immediate feedback through a visual needle gauge)
  5. collaborative conversation in partners with assessment feedback
  6. responsibility in care of a device

I was so excited about this idea that I tweeted it out last weekend. 

 

 

 

 

 

We would love to hear your stories of how this might work in your curricular environments. 

2018 Top “15” iPad Apps

Yes, yes..apps come and apps go. Some maintain their longevity and merely get face-lifts, while others no longer exist. This is one reason we do not rely on apps themselves and focus on the goals of learning. As always, we have connected them to the Competencies. 

So here goes with our newly edited list of Top “15” for 2018

Audio –*Communication Competencies   Voice Record Pro (free!) – Professional voice recorder that uses a visual needle gage to provide feedback on how loud your voice is recording. Possibilities for use might include supporting reading fluency,  self-assessment, speeches, radio show or embed in other videos. Save in standard formats or upload to a website. Let the world know what you’re thinking/learning. 
Design/Video –  *Communication, Creative, Thinking, Personal Competencies   Explain Everything 3.0 ($5.49) – “They know when they can teach it.” Communicate learning by screencasting and using an interactive whiteboard to annotate,  teach, narrate and animate. New feature – collaboration! Incorporate products from other apps. Export to/from anywhere, making this app incredibly flexible. Integrates with GSuite and OneDrive. So powerful. 
  Design/Video –  *Communication, Creative, Thinking Competencies     Green Screen by Do Ink ($3.99) – Use any green coloured background and turn it into your own TV studio. Tell a story, teach an idea, share your research, be a newscaster. Consider how this might access oral speech, critical thinking, sequencing, design, dramatic skills. Do Ink Animation – create your own animations and add them to your green screen projects or any other project.  
 Design 
 *Communication, Creative Thinking Competencies
    Popplet (free) – Graphic organizer gone crazy. Connect your ideas and concepts via images, maps, images, text, drawing, group by colours. Great tool to organize and process thinking. Exports as jpg to camera library (or email) – you can upload to another web area. 
Productivity plus –  *Communication, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Personal Competencies  app_googledrive   Google Drive/Google Docs/Google Sheets/Google Slides/Google Classroom (free) – Still at the top of our “go to” list as the most simplest way to do almost anything. This suite of tools include Docs, Slides, Drawing, Forms, Sheets allowing for writing, collaboration with teams, any time, anywhere, commenting in real-time (*think formative assessment), an accurate speech-to-text synthesizer (imagine having those words magically appear on the page as you speak). The app version has word prediction. Contact your Learning Technologies team for more information. The educational suite is GSuite. (*To apply for GSuite > click FORMS. We do the rest to set up your classes. BONUS! – an authentic place to practice digital citizenship and collaborative communication!) 
 Design –*Communication, Personal Competencies   i-Nigma (QR Codes) This QR code reader not only sends you to the right place, it saves the locations for future reference. Embed audio, video, text in the codes – use to invite discussion, dialogue, showcase thinking processes or launch a mystery. Stick the QR codes out in the hallway to make the walls talk and teach! What a great way to communicate and extend learning. 
  Design –*Communication, Creative Competencies      Splice (free) – Video editor that adds pizzazz to your videos. Use to trim, adjust transitions, add text, add slow motion effects to create the ultimate story.
  Design –*Communication, Creative Competencies app_piccollagekids

app_piccollage

  Pic Collage Kids (elementary), Pic Collage (secondary) (free) – Bring creative options to the forefront by layering your images with a variety of tools (draw, highlight, add multiple layers and stickers) to extend your story. Consider using this for Literature Circles or defending your research thesis.
  Audio/Visual –*Communication Competencies

  ChatterPix Kid (elem); ChatterPix (secondary) (free) – Take a photo, draw a line to represent a mouth and record your voice. Teach a lesson, share a story,  sing a song, do a rap. You’re only limited by your imagination. Share it on your class blogs. Stitch a few videos together to make a longer video. Or keep to “shorts”. There’s something to be said for brevity (30 seconds or less).
Design/Draw –*Communication, Creative Competencies app_drawingpad   Drawing Pad ($2.79) – Everyone needs an art/sketch app to give possibility to your creative self. Use photo-realistic crayons, markers, paint brushes, coloured pencils, stickers, roller pens. An entire box of tools is at your finger tips. Products are saved in the camera library for export or upload. Use to enhance artistic voice, upload to eportfolios or blogs, presentations or smash with other apps like ChatterPix, Pic Collage Kid and Explain Everything. 
 Design/Draw –*Communication, Creative Competencies app_paper   Paper by FiftyThree (free) – Sketch notes are all the rage. This app gives freedom to design, take notes, create diagrams in detail. A stylus pen is helpful but not necessary. More complex than Drawing Pad. 
  Design –*Communication, Creative Competencies      FilmmakerPro (free) – Video editor extraordinaire includes video and audio tracks, Chroma Key green screen, text overlay to 360, illustrations, Ken Burns effects.  Consider using this for the next phase of film making and communication. 
Productivity – 
*Communication, Personal Competencies
app_mstranslator    Microsoft Translator (free) – We have many students from many countries. Communication is challenging when there is no one in the room to translate. Translate text or speech (whew!) into other languages. Think of real-time conversation on the device or across devices. Best with single sentences.
 Productivity tool – workflow app_documents   Documents (free) – My “can’t do without” app for downloading and saving music clips or other files for import to other apps. Now you know my secret for expanding multimedia options. Tell your story with umph! 
Video Editor – *Communication, Creative Competencies videoslimmer_ap Video Slimmer ($3.99) – While there are many in this category, this one is worth the price if you use video a lot and would like to upload the results to a web presence (eg. from camera, iMovie, Adobe Spark, Book Creator …). Shrinks video files while keeping the quality. Simple editing tools include trim, merge multiple videos, rotate, and customise. Saves to camera library. 

We’d love to hear about your “Must Have” list. Drop an idea in the comment box. 

Technologies Amplifies and Changes the Way We Create

Is it “technologies amplifies our ideas and changes the way we create”? Or is it the other way around or both in tandem?

Last week our district came together for Pro-D. Aptly named “District Day”, it’s a day dedicated to learning and exploring together – meeting and connecting with friends and colleagues from other schools. Certainly it’s a day of “connectedness” where the buzz of excitement is palpable, exploration and new ideas are plentiful and teachers sharing their passions are the norm. While I must admit that this is an exhausting day but one of the most extremely worthwhile days ever! I always come away rejuvenated and filled with possibilities. It’s a sparkly time. 

What do the concepts of social emotional (perseverance, resilience, self regulation), curiosity, exploration and problem solving have in common? They are all intricately woven in the fabric of  Applied Design, Skills and Technology. At the 6/7 level, we invited lead teachers on the Thursday to experience Coding Quest. At the K-5 level, ADST is meant to be included in the regular curriculum. Inspired by Ian Landy (principal in Shuswap district) who presented at the CUEBC conference, we put together a number of centers focused on developing the mindset skills in ADST. The twist? – incorporating the core competencies of Personal Awareness, Communication and Critical Thinking. Just to give you a flavour, some of the centers were: 

  • Elenco Snap Circuits (electronics from basics to multi-levels) 
  • Keva planks (understand the dynamics of physics and architectural design) 
  • littleBits (snap together parts to code) 
  • LittleCodr (unplugged activity of developing specific logic and communication) 
  • Makey Makey (create something to do something awesome) 
  • Sphero and Ollies (code robots to do what you want them to do) 
  • Coding apps on ipads (from simple to advanced)
  • Pixel Art (post-it notes create an image – bitmap style) 

Why centers? We wanted multiple entry points to include something for everyone (a success story waiting to unfold). Each center is designed for active engagement in both the building/making aspect, as well as revealing self regulation, perseverance, resilience… (Personal Awareness Competency). Reflection during and afterwards is key to explicitly connect the maker mindset and language of the competencies (critical thinking, communication, personal awareness) in “I can…” statements.
Click here for all the center instruction cards and information on setup. 

We’d love to hear about how you’re implementing ADST in your classrooms? Send us your ideas below.