Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Google Timelapse

An amazing new platform that has come out recently is Google Timelapse which allows users to see what urban growth and sprawl has looked like between 1984 and the present. When you visit the site, you can search for various locations or see the suggested places at the bottom, and zoom in and out as needed.

Suggested places at the bottom, much like Google Earth
The key use for this tool is to monitor change over time. The most disturbing searches for me were not urban sprawl on the city fringe but deforestation in Brazil and Borneo. Great for any social studies, science, history, well, ANY teacher! Perhaps even our elected leaders?

A section of the Brazilian rainforest in 1984
The same picture above, 22 year later

Monday, 21 November 2016

Helping your Staff Grow Professionally

One of the best articles I read recently was out of Forbes on tactics for developing your employees. Likewise, I read one of the best questions ever asked of a potential employer was 'How do you help your staff grow professionally?'

This has been my goal this year as a Edtech integrationist. Rather than just providing professional development to staff during school hours and integration during lessons, I've been doing the following:

  • Providing after school training for certification. For instance, we offered Level 1 Google Certified Teacher Courses this fall, and will continue to do so in the spring and also add a level 2 Google Educator course as well. 
  • Encouraging staff to present at workshops internally at the school and regionally. 

Although there is albeit joy of teaching staff a new skill set, the most rewarding part of my job is helping teachers become mentors, and teachers of teachers themselves. When I'm old and gray, I think I'll look back most fondly not on the memories of dazzling others, but helping them grow as teachers and how technology can make their teaching practice, and student's learning experience, better.

Image Courtesy of Creative Commons

Monday, 10 October 2016

Analyze Class "Understanding" with Persuall

One of my favorite take aways of many from the Learning 2.0 conference in Vietnam was "Persuall" that is absolutely dynamite. It's a great Close Reading platform wherein a classroom teacher uploads a document and the students (who access the room with a code) comment on the text with their text based highlights visible to all.

Perusall in student view. 
What's cool though is that Persuall collects data on the comments and analyzes class understanding with an artificial intelligence algorithm that assesses class and individual understanding of the text.

Student can see comments from one another, Google Docs 2.0?

After a number of comments are collected, it generates a report to the classroom teacher which shows patterns of student learning and identifies paragraphs that are difficult to the class as a whole for remediation and reteaching.

The "Confusion Report" shows patterns of class understanding based on comment location. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Presentation Tools to Use This Year

Allowing Audience Questioning in Google Slides
Google slides has a nice feature that allows the audience to ask questions while the speaker is presenting. This is a nice feature because it adds to audience engagement as they can non only ask questions, but "vote" for questions pop up in the question feed that the presenter can respond to based on popularity or interest.

After clicking "Present" select "Presenter View" in the lower left hand corner. 

When this prompt comes, select "Start Now"

Viewers will see questions which can be posted with identify or anonymously. 

Teachers can respond to questions as needed. 

Air Server and Air Play to Present from the Ipad
Gone are they days when plugging the Ipad into the dongle and being forced to present from the projection cable. Air Server allows you to mirror the Ipad on your computer which can be plugged in, but allow you to roam around the room and interact with the audience.

After installing on both your computer and Ipad, scan QR Code to sync devices.

After enabling at the bottom of your Ipad, you're free to roam around the class and teach!

Splashtop to Control your Desktop from Mobile Device
Splashtop allows you to control your desktop from your mobile device. After installing it on your Ipad, go to the splashtop website and install the software onto your computer.
When Splashtop is activated, it will look for computers that have it installed. 

Controlling the computer from the mobile device.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Search for Free to Use Music in "Youtube"

I've been working on a highlights video for our Grade 6 Experiential Education trip that we did last week and no matter how many free sound effects Final Cut has, and were searchable on Creative Commons and Soundcloud, my video was lacking some great music that the kids would appreciate.

Youtube's Free Use Audio Library

Click on your channel in the upper left corner and select "Video Manager"
To access the free use audio library in youtube, you'll have to dig deep. After going to your channel click on the upper left and find your video manager. From that, go to creator studio and go down to the audio library and music policies tab. From here you can search youtube's data base from their audio library and find information about which songs are "ok" to use.

The audio library shows songs that are popular and what their use policy is on youtube.

For instance, if I want to know if you can use the song "This is what you came for" by Rihanna and Calvin Harris, youtube shows you that it will be blocked in 244 countries, so "no". However, Justin Bieber's "Sorry" will be fine everywhere except Germany. 

This is a fantastic place to search for and find easy to use music that even students can understand. I was told that this feature has been available for over a year and a few people in our tech department have just learned about this. Isn't that the case with all things Edtech?

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