Author Archives: jonathanwylie

The Apple Adapter Classroom Gear Guide

Check out this great post from my sister site The Edtech Gear Guide…

The Edtech Gear Guide

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If you use an Apple device, you are probably increasingly used to using dongles, adapters or whatever else you want to call them. They give you the functionality that Apple doesn’t natively include because of design constraints or a forward thinking approach to new technologies. However, there are dozens of Apple adapters available, and it can be hard to know which ones are the right ones for a given situation. This edtech gear guide was written to help remedy that problem.

The adapters below are ordered by price (from low to high) and include a number of likely scenarios for when you would want to use each one. Official Apple adapters will usually work best and these can be purchased in a number of different places, but third-party versions are available too. The list below is not an exhaustive list, but it does include the most commonly used dongles and adapters…

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5 Alternative Uses for a Classroom Podcast Station

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Sometimes it’s hard to justify the expense of new technology at school, but if it can be used in multiple ways, the added value almost sells itself. So, if you are looking to add a podcast station to your classroom, here are some quick ideas for what else it can be used for when you are not podcasting.

1. Fluency Practice

Elementary students will work on reading fluency at pretty much every grade level. With a podcast station, students can record themselves and listen back to what they read in order to hear themselves and listen to the areas that they think they need to improve on. The teacher also gets a record of each student that they can use to share with parents or peers. Older students who are in speech or are practicing an oral presentation can use the podcasting station in much the same way.

2. Listening Comprehension

A good way to meet some of those speaking and listening standards is to practice some listening comprehension. This is particularly useful when you consider that many state standardized tests already have this component. This station could be part of a blended rotation and need not require multiple computers if you have something like this 5-way headphone splitter that allows up to five students to listen to the same audio at once. Websites like ListenWise already cater to this demand, while others have already noted that Listening to Podcasts Helps Kids Improve Reading Skills.

3. Video Creation

A podcast station is basically a collection of computers, microphones and headphones. Coincidentally, this is often what you would have if you were putting together a video station. Teachers can use the very same equipment to make videos for flipped classroom lessons. Students can use the computers to edit video and the microphones to add professional sounding voice-overs.

4. Audio Responses

I think it is always good to give students options over how best to submit assignments. That is one of the reasons why I like SeeSaw so much. Text, audio, video and more can be used as a way to showcase learning. Your podcast station is a perfect place for students to leave audio responses to question prompts and another way to reinforce those speaking and listening standards. What if you had a question of the day for your elementary students to answer each time they came to school, or the option for older students to record an video response in Recap?

5. Skype Station

Another great use of your microphones (and headphones) could be for video conferencing. Whether you are playing Mystery Skype or taking a virtual field trip, the technology you put in your podcast station could easily be repurposed for the duration of these activities. There are many Skype in the Classroom ideas that are available to teachers, so your microphones and computers will go to good use here.

 


Curious as to what you might need to create your own podcast station? Take a look at the Podcast Classroom Gear Guide on my sister site, The Edtech Gear Guide.

Getting Creative With iPads in K-12 Classrooms

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My iPad is a bit of a mess right now. Too many apps are in need of a folder for some kind of organization. As I began that process today, I noticed that I have an abundance of apps that were designed for creative purposes. I wasn’t surprised that I had all these apps, (they are absolutely my favorite type of apps), but I was surprised at how many new ones I have added this year. So, I thought I would take some time to share the ones that mean the most to me and to group them in some kind of order that might make sense on my home screen.

Feel free to add your own suggestions to the comments at the end because you can never have too many creative apps! These are not the only creative apps on my iPad, (that would be a very long list), but it is a good chunk of them. (Note: this post contains iTunes affiliate links).

Creative Video Apps

Creative Photo Apps

  • Pic Collage Kids – a safe, fun, collage app that is very versatile
  • Annotate – Handy editing tools like crop, draw, arrows, text, emoji and blur
  • Photoshop Lightroom – the mobile version of Adobe’s Lightroom editor
  • Photoshop Mix – cut out, combine & blend pictures to create multilayered images
  • Photoshop Express – fast, powerful, and advanced editing now with collages
  • Pixelmator – a powerful, full-featured, layer-based image editor
  • Superimpose – create superimposed or juxtaposed photos on your iPad
  • Snapseed – a complete and professional photo editor developed by Google

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Introducing The Edtech Gear Guide

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Today I am excited to announce the launch of a new website that I’ve been working on. It’s called The Edtech Gear Guide. It was created to help answer the emails, tweets and face-to-face questions I get about what technology hardware is best for a variety of classroom projects. Everyone wants free options to enhance teaching and learning with technology, I completely understand that, but there are some things are worth paying for to get the results you want. In essence, this is the mantra of The Edtech Gear Guide. If it can be done for free, here’s how to do it. Otherwise, here’s the gear you need.

So, what can you expect to find on this new site? Recently, I wrote a couple of posts that proved to be quite popular – What to Buy For a Green Screen Classroom and Build Your Own Google Expeditions Kit. These posts were a little different from others that I have written because they were basically a list of technology things that you could beg, borrow or buy to accomplish a task. I got some great feedback on these from educators who were looking for ideas and inspiration like this, so it got me thinking that there are many more topics that could be approached in this way.

I’m still in the process of adding new articles to The Edtech Gear Guide but I would love for you to drop by and take a look. Questions, comments and ideas are more than welcome, and if you like what you see I would love it if you would share this project with others.

You can visit The Edtech Gear Guide at https://edtechgearguide.com.

 

What to Buy for a Green Screen Classroom

Green Screen Buying Guide(1).pngAre you ready to do green screen in your classroom? This short guide walks you through the basics of what you need to buy, borrow, or build in order to do just that. I get asked what to buy on a regular basis and although you don’t need to spend a lot of money, (you might not need to spend any), there are definitely a few essentials that you will want to take a look at in order to get the best results. So, here’s a rundown of some of my favorite green screen apps, tools and technology…


NOTE: This post has been updated and moved to The Edtech Gear Guide, a brand new website for educators who use technology to enhance teaching and learning. Please follow this link to view the full article and get the latest recommendations for using green screen in your classroom.


 

Spiral is 3 #Edtech Tools for the Price of None

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Recently, I came across an interesting website for teachers called Spiral. It has three collaborative tools that are completely free and aimed at 1:1 classrooms. The tools are web based, and work on laptops, Chromebooks, and mobile devices. Spiral integrates with Google Classroom and includes a full set of data tools to track student progress. Here’s a quick look at what each tool does, along with some ideas on how to get started using them.

1. Quickfire

As its name would suggest, the first tool is geared towards some fast data collection. The teacher creates a question for students, (ahead of time or on the fly), and students respond on their devices. The teacher can ask for text/typed responses, or they can choose the canvas option that lets students draw their answers on a whiteboard. Once all the answers are collected, the teacher can share any answer (anonymously) with the whole class in order to discuss it further as a group. Lesson data is saved to the teacher dashboard. Quickfire is perfect for lesson starters, topic reviews, checks for understanding and more.

2. Discuss

With Discuss, teachers can create an interactive slideshow that students can follow slide by slide on their own device. You can upload an existing PowerPoint or create your lesson from scratch with text, images and videos. Best of all, questions or tasks can be added to slides at different points in your lesson. It includes a back channel type option where students can reply and comment on peer ideas. Again, individual answers can be shared to the whole class by the teacher for further discussion, and all data is saved to the teacher dashboard area. Discuss is perfect for empowering quiet students, facilitating conversations around learning, brainstorming ideas on a given topic, or for synchronous online lessons.

3. Team Up

Lastly, Team Up is a group work tool that teachers can use to sort students into groups and have them work together in a collaborative space. Teachers can set a single task for the whole class or separate tasks for each group. While working in a Team Up space, students can collect ideas and build a presentation in much the same way that the teacher does in the Discuss app. Students can work on individual or shared devices to produce their final product. Team Up is perfect for facilitating collaboration and group projects.

See all the tools and register for your free teacher account at https://spiral.ac/

Help & Further Resources

Here are some resources to learn more about Spiral:

 

#edtechTO Podcast – EP15: Live at ITEC 2016

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Regular readers may know that I co-host a podcast with my colleague, Mindy Cairney, called The Edtech Take Out. We started in January 2016 and have recorded 15 episodes so far, with more planned for release very soon. For our last podcast, we were invited to record live at the ITEC Fall Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. It was a great experience, and we loved connecting with other educators to learn new things to take back to the teachers we work with.

Because the content of the podcast is very similar to the content I add to this blog, I thought I would do a little cross-promotion and add a post here when new episodes are released. So, if you have never listened to the show before, those of you with Apple devices can listen on iTunes while Android users can use Google Play Music. The Edtech Take Out is also available in all good podcast players so you should be able to search and find the show in Overcast, PocketCasts, and more.

All new episodes are posted at dlgwaea.org/podcast and can be listened to there on the embedded web player. I also upload all our episodes to YouTube, so there are multiple ways to listen, depending on what is most convenient for you. If you haven’t listened to the show before, we would love to have you as a listener, and maybe even a future guest! The YouTube version of our ITEC episode is below, so feel free to take a peek.

Are you new to podcasts? Wondering what all the fuss is about? Fear not, I have just the information you need to get started: