We just finished making history in our classrooms, wherever that learning site is. On March 17th we were all thrust into a distance learning mode. The next 10 weeks were filled with many lessons that went well and those that were horrible. We were all forced to actually look at all learning through the students’ eyes. Educators improved their teaching craft due to more realtime reflections and modifications.
Many students thrived in the academic side of distance learning. I’m not saying those students liked it, just that they found their learning path that was effective on their own. The path was theirs, not the way I feel students should learn or a friend does. That is probably the most powerful learning, in one’s self and style. Here is my list of positives from distance learning.
My blog has been an attempt to "Share the Learning" and give something back to those who the message has value. I have gained much from my favorite blogs, podcasts, and vloggers. The sharing intentions are good, but this educator doesn’t like to write and the process gets pushed to the back burner. The gap between blog entries goes from weeks to months. Then I get frustrated and disappointed in myself. This process shouldn’t be that challenging, but it ends up being that way.
Here comes a new direction in my “Share the Learning” spirit. When reading, listening or watching people I respect and enjoy, they have energy beyond the content. It is clear that these influencers truly enjoy what they are doing. I searched within my head and heart for that passion of what I enjoy sharing. I landed on video, which I use regularly in my classroom and for family life events. So here we go and thanks in advance for watching!
I have created an introduction video. The content is focused on laying the foundation of where I hope to take you and most important, “Share the Learning” along the way. My website and blog will partner with my YouTube channel, for resources. The landing page will house links to the tools, tips, and tricks, I use on a regular basis. I love to “Share the Learning”, for we can all grow together and it is pretty fun.
Rocketbook is so slick and easy to use. The design just makes sense to use and syncs with my Google Drive world seamlessly. Well, I have stumbled onto another great use case in the classroom.
To give some background, I have a few Nexus 7 tablets that I use for student Rocketbook submission. The tablets are connected to our school network, safely linked to my school Google Apps for Education account and still work perfectly. The students think the device is just cool, pretending it is a phablet.
As mentioned in earlier blog entries, I have a library of FREE Rocketbook pages. For our multi-view drawing assignment, I enlarged the Rocketbook A4 Graph blank sheet to 11” x 17”. I like this sheet for a place to write their name on the top and larger format to fit the drawing assignment, with grid lines to reinforce the alignment expectation.
I then create a “Summative Assignment” folder on Google Drive. I share that folder via Google Classroom for all of my classes. The one extra step is that students must add that shared folder to their Google Drive account. However, once there all assignment submission flow to that spot.
After completing the assignment students fill in the appropriate destination charm on the bottom. Then using the tablet, scan the assignment and review for accuracy in the app. If acceptable, change the generic file name to the student and send it.
Google Classroom is the easiest tool for students. Click on the assignment > add > Google Drive> shared assignment folder > student file > turn in.
Schoology adds a few steps. Click on assignment > submit assignment > resources > apps > Google Drive > shared assignment folder > student file > import.
Beyond the authentic means to submit handwritten assignments digitally, a student can view all files in the folder. I love the share the learning approach with peer-to-peer community viewing and conversation. In addition, I really like the clean copy, vs. trying to have the student take a legible image with their device. Rocketbook is such a great tool for my classroom.
A few years ago it was suggested to me to use musical alarms for the beginning and end of class time together. Our school is a “No Bell” school beyond the beginning and end of our day. Yet the audio cues are important to me and my students. I found a Chrome Extension tool called “Cool Clock” that fits my need perfectly and has emerged as a major classroom management tool for staying on task.
I have “Cool Clock” set to go off at the beginning and end of class, playing the tv theme song from Friends. The length of the song is 43 seconds which works perfectly for the students and class to be reminded it's time to get ready for the instruction. This reminder extension has become part of my beginning of the year routines. The music encourages students to have their device closed and focus on our agenda screen for what learning lies ahead. It is slick and works surprisingly well.
I have created a short video on how to set up this Chrome Extension tool for your classroom. It is fairly fast, efficient and easy to turn on/off as needed with a modified schedule day. Here is the Setup Video for the Cool Clock Extension. I hope you find the same success in your room.
I so appreciate the many in my professional learning network who share their journey and experiences. The blogs, articles, and videos have assisted me in so many ways. I just don’t enjoy blogging and it doesn’t spark joy as I create each written entry. This is my inner struggle for most if not all of my blog posts. It’s time to do a better job.
What better way than to share my experience on a high school trip to Peru. We traveled with 31 students who were going into 9th and 10th grade, as well as 5 chaperones and one guide in Peru. The trip was through EF Education First Tours. I was in charge of the digital documentary for photos and videos. The learning experience was amazing, with postcard views from almost every vantage point.
I enjoy what tech does for me and as a thrifty person, I'm always looking for ways to stretch my funds with the tech tools I have. Here are the tools I brought with me in my backpack to Peru: Nikon 5000 DSLR Camera, Samsung Note 9, Snapchat Spectacles, Mini Tripod, USB Type C Adapter & Sony Headphones. Through coupons, deals, discounts and other means, I have less than $900 invested in my tech bag. I wanted share how I used these devices on our trip.
The Note 9 was at the center of my travel system. Capturing daily reflection videos, importing photos and videos. I uploaded all content to Google Photos in a shared chaperone album. One for photos and one for videos. It is always nice to have the peace of mind knowing the digital memories are backed up, just in case something happens to the device. I did use a type c dongle to upload photos from the Nikon 5000.
Video quality was very good with the Note 9. Autofocus was fast and student reflections were very easy to capture. The only downside was the internal microphone on the phone. It was fine in a quiet environment, but hard to hear if there was much background noise. I will get an external microphone for next time.
I used the Nikon 5000 for candid still photos. This has been a great camera for me, turning 10 in December. It does have a video capture option, but autofocus doesn’t work once recording has begun, thus videos often lose quality unless shooting distance stays the same. I found it interesting how a DSLR camera sometimes seems less intrusive than a smartphone. Over 500 photos later and the battery was still nearly full.
Snapchat Spectacles are nothing short of fun. The quality is very good and getting those in the moment shots are priceless. The captured images and videos upload seamlessly to my Snapchat app on the phone, then backed up to my Google Photos account. The case is the battery pack, which I never had to recharge in 8 days. The glasses would last 3-4 hours of use before needing a charge.
The mini tripod worked so well as a selfie stick, or for more stability while getting video reflections from the students. I used with both my phone or the Nikon. It was easy to pack for travel and sturdy as a tripod or selfie stick. The video stability feature on the Note 9 acted more as a gimbal, for smoother video.
Creating the final reflection video of our trip was surprisingly easy. I used the android app PowerDirector. Since it’s an android app, I could edit video on the Note 9 or my Chromebook. Before starting I used the Google Photos Movie Maker feature in the Google Photos app assistant. Easily taking up to 50 photos or videos, to create a short movie. This movie is automatically saved to my Google Photos account.
It was time to download video clips and created movies from Google Photos. PowerDirector made it easy to drag, drop and produce each movie. In all, I created 7 movies, totally 87 minutes in length. Finally upload each video to my G Suite YouTube account, in a Peru Playlist of our trip, to share with students and families. I’m a little low on creative juices, so these tools all helped me to be more efficient.
Feel free to contact me if you have question or comments on my tools or process. I'm so impressed with what we can do with the tools we have today. I'm very lucky to live in this exciting time of learning and sharing.