Friday, December 16, 2011

iPads and apps, apps and more apps

Am Exchange’s recent focus was on iPads and various education apps. We were very fortunate to have Jacqui Pritchard and Mary Ann Apple join us to share ideas and prompt discussion. Here’s a summary – and links-- from our two meetings (Nov. 29 and Dec 14):

A background Research Article for this topic is available here: “7 things you should know about iPad apps for learning” from Educause (Feb. 2011).

Looking for ideas? These 3 sources provide links to numerous apps and are a great overview:

On November 29th, the Am Exchange group talked about the iPad supporting visual learners and we noted that teachers can now project with iPad 2. We also shared information on specific apps, including

Visual Learning

  • imovie app cost: $4.99 – our anatomy classes have used this and Liette shared how her daughter had used it for a college project.
  • Photogene (editing tool) cost: $2.99
  • Corkulous cost: $4.99 -- bulletin board/word wall

Auditory Learning

  • iBand cost: $.99
  • Songify FREE – suggested by Matt
  • Dragon Dictation FREE – very positive comments from Matt, Julia and Liette about the possibilities, especially for language classes
  • VoiceThread FREE; we may have school accounts with more options

Organizing and Logistics

  • Library Anywhere FREE – JudyG briefly noted the trial she has been working on to make our catalog available through a mobile app.
  • Numbers cost: $9.99 – like Excel
  • We also briefly touched on IT’s work with Webdav for students to collaboratively edit projects.

Overwhelmed? More of a visual learner? Here's a relatively short video from West Lake High School (near Austin Texas) where librarian Carolyn Foote and others talk about their favorite iPad apps:

On December 4th, Jacqui and Mary Anne shared another round of apps, including some for Classroom Management:

For Kinetic Wellness: iMuscle

For Note taking and Reading:

  • Good Reader
  • iAnnotate this is used by ESL students in their iPad pilot.
  • Evernote
  • Dropbox If the group is interested, we will probably plan to spend additional time with Evernote and Dropbox (whether as an app or with laptops/computers) during second semester.

Jacqui also talked about how you can pair a bluetooth keyboard (apple) with an iPad, especially for those who are not completely comfortable with a virtual keyboard. She and Mary Ann demonstrated a Virtual Desktop on the iPad with the potential to give us full access to the New Trier systems that can presently only be accessed on the network OR when signed into to WebVPN. What we did not get to was a quick demo using the QuickOffice App. They think this is an ideal App for those who would like to access and modify their Word, Excel, and PPT files on their iPad. Thanks again to Jacqui and Mary Ann.

The next Am Exchange meeting will be held, Tuesday, January 10th at 7:30am in the Library. Agenda topics will include Today’s Meet and how to set up a back channel discussion in your classroom (Peter Tragos presenting; postponed from November).

In attendance (11/29): Mary Ann Apple, Liette Brisebois, Raquelle Brennan, Judy Gressel, Andy Horne, Julia Kessel, Keta McCarthy, Jacqui Pritchard, Linda Straube and Matt Stuczynski.

In attendance (12/14): Mary Ann Apple, Liette Brisebois, Raquelle Brennan, Judy Gressel, Andy Horne, Julia Kessel, Keta McCarthy, Jacqui Pritchard and Linda Straube.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30+1 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom

A thoughtful blog post on how you might use Facebook for the classroom.

Polling Students and posting class notes seem really useful to me!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What do you think?

(click on image to enlarge)
Image from Scott McLeod's Dangerously Irrevelant Blog

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Facebook Fan page and more ....

Judy Gressel presented on Facebook Fan pages, reviewed New Trier's rationale, and showed 3 examples:
  • New Trier Library
  • AP US (where we looked at students raising questions and teacher responses) and
  • IGSS, Integrated Global Studies School (with pictures from a recent field trip, information like Safe Rides of interest to students)

She discussed not friending people and setting up the page with a gmail account. An issue, in her view, is the frequent changes to settings and language (e.g., friend, fan, and like) which Facebook imposes. As a group, we commented upon the amount of information which is available (often permanently so) from personal pages.

We also had a reminder to not forget about this important information from Steve Hargadon:

Keynote speakers, including Sandra Hirsch and Steve Abram, are profiled here. Topics include Exploring what a connected world of continuous computing means for twenty- first century library service. (11/2, 8pm CDT) and The experience of information literacy and learning (11/3 5am (from Australia) CDT). Many, many other sessions are available over the 2 day conference time.

And coming soon:

Another fun place for experimenting was presented at the recent NICE meeting: Trendmaps for Twitter, including specifics for each country, like Spain, allows students and teachers to see what the big topics are around the world and in other languages.

The next Am Exchange meeting will be held, Tuesday, November 15th at 7:30am in the Library. Agenda topics will include Today’s Meet and how to set up a back channel discussion in your classroom (Peter Tragos presenting).

In attendance: Raquelle Brennan, Judy Gressel, Andy Horne, Erika Immel, Julia Kessel, Linda Straube and Matt Stuczynski.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nings and Student Survey

Our talk centered on two topics:
  • Using a NING with advisery (Matt) and
  • Student Survey Responses (Linda)
Matt gave a short overview of the Ning which he had started for his advisery about 2 years ago (at that time, Nings were free to educators, there now is a nominal cost). He had decided to do this because he felt it was more versatile that Blackboard, although he pointed out some newer communication tools may work better now. We definitely liked the FAQ’s and Events/News sections that he had incorporated. Another plus was the the option to password protect part of the Ning (for student writing on events like their Beach Clean-up) while making the main page readily available to parents.

As a group, we talked about the value of these electronic places as a space “to be,” especially for quiet students. Although Nings can be a means of increasing student willingness to share overall, Matt did point out that without having computers readily available in advisery, it was more difficult to encourage students to contribute to the Ning. We also talked briefly about how other Modern Classical Language classes, including Julia's summer China trip, have used Nings. They found several positives, as summarized by these researchers from the University of Hawaii:

“… that Ning has been a positive asset in the course, by providing a formal structure for required discussions, for helping students as they work on collaborative projects, and for the informal comments and messages that helped personalize student interactions.”

More information about Nings is available here, including several more examples of using Nings in education.

Linda briefly reviewed student survey data which had been collected as part of Banned Sites Awareness Day. More than 10% of our Winnetka students responded, indicating that roughly 2/3 felt that Social Media Sites (like Twitter, Facebook, etc.) should NOT be blocked at school. The other third were undecided OR felt that these sites should be blocked. Many mentioned too much distraction and others brought up bullying as a concern. Girls and older students tended to be more in favor of blocking the sites. We are still completing the analysis of the data.

The next Am Exchange meeting will be held, Tuesday, November 1st at 7:30am in the Library. Agenda topics will include How to create a Facebook Fan page (Judy Gressel presenting).

In attendance: Andy Horne, Erika Immel, Julia Kessel, Linda Straube and Matt Stuczynski. Both Raquelle Brennan and Judy Gressel were at other committee meetings.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

First Meeting for Fall 2011

We briefly review the areas of interest for the group, with these areas scoring highest on our survey:
  • iPad and various apps (new amazon tablet?)
  • Curriculum resources (new materials, needs and resources)
  • Productivity (Bookmarks, DropBox, Google Docs, Outlook, Live Binders)
  • Social media: Google+, FaceBook, Twitter
Group members offered to present about QR Codes and an advisery Ning. We will try to have an iPad "expert", perhaps Mary Ann Apple, meet with us in the future. In the meantime, this link to her LibGuide about iPads will be helpful.

We discussed changing the time and frequency of our meetings, but the group consensus was to keep things as scheduled (before school, every other Tuesday). Members preferred an open, less planned opportunity to collaborate informally with other faculty members, perhaps using NICE's "share-a-rama" as a model. One referred to Am Exchange as an "Idea Place".

In that spirit, we investigated a New Tool: Kwout demonstrated by Judy Gressel. Simply download the free tool and then (like our snip-it tool), capture part of a web page and embed it elsewhere. This will give students a more visual link to resources and we experimented with using it in Blackboard. The kwout image retains the link to the original web page and any links included in the capture - like this one:

More examples can be found on this recent ClassLinks page created by JudyG.

The next Am Exchange meeting will be held, Tuesday, October 18th at 7:30am in the Library. Agenda topics will include follow-up on Kwout and How to create a Facebook Fan page.

In attendance: Raquelle Brennan, Judy Gressel, Andy Horne, Julia Kessel, Linda Straube and Matt Stuczynski. Erika Immel was at Northfield and unable to attend.

post by Linda Straube

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wrap-up for the Year

On Tuesday, we briefly reviewed the year and spoke about possible plans for next year. Overall, there was definite interest in continuing next year - whether or not AM Exchange is part of the new learning cohort structure which is under development. In general, the group seemed to feel that meeting twice a month was a good frequency. We also noted that having a pre-determined topic was useful. Members generally liked that the group was not formal and that we could have some “laid back” discussions about what might or might not work in a classroom, while also creating awareness of new tools.

Several people liked the idea that topics covered were generated by us and wanted to continue that format. Andy noted how he had presented Twitter to his Department and then had some follow-up discussions with a colleague. We spoke briefly about experimenting with meetings next year so that the first meeting each month could focus on a new tool or topic and the second on actual “hands-on” trial and maybe even application with a class.

Since we agreed to take a hiatus for the summer, here are links to 2 recent articles of interest:

Enjoy and thank you to everyone!

In attendance: Raquelle Brennan, Erika Eich, Judy Gressel, Andy Horne, Keta McCarthy, Linda Straube and Matt Stuczynski.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May Meetings

Due to various conflicts (AP exams, field trip excursions, advisory situations), we had a small group on Tuesday so we disbanded to investigate tools on our own.
Our next meeting is Tuesday morning, May 17rd at 7:30am in Jim Foster’s office. This is the LAST meeting of the year. We will use our meeting time to review, to talk about a format, if any, for next year and/or summer opportunities to experiment with topics from this year.

In attendance: Raquelle Brennan, Erika Eich, and Linda Straube.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This week's topic: Top Tech Apps

Erika Eich summarized an ICE 2011 presentation called Top Ten Tech Applications for Education by Jason Janczak from Grayslake Central High School. Her handout included links to his recommendations and some possible ways that the tool could be used.

Several of the applications which Erika covered were also included in the recent Edublog Teacher challenge The challenge link is also noted below. We plan to spend our next meeting experimenting further with some of these ideas.

teachers have editorial power; 140 characters or less about WHATEVER!
great for: book reviews, exit slips, summarize a reading (brevity), questions at the beginning of a class
Lino – An option instead of wallwisher:
not as much control as to what students post
Online map making
more collaborative
great for: mapping out chapters; mapping out books
Google Search Stories Video Creator

Edmodo: - we would be likely to use Blackboard, but if you have colleagues who need a free option, here is more info from the Edublogs Teacher Challenge for Edmodo.
My Fakewall
create Facebook accounts for historical characters
Tagxedo: “Wordle on steroids.”
Xtranormal: Students write the storyline, and the program puts the video together for them.

Jaycut: online movie maker; will work at home or at school; not real-time
Glogster: great tool for getting to know others at the beginning of the year

Our next meeting is Tuesday morning, May 3rd at 7:30am in Jim Foster’s office. We will use our meeting time to experiment with one or more of the tools discussed above.

In attendance: Raquelle Brennan, Ian Duell, Erika Eich, Jim Foster, Judy Gressel, Andy Horne, Linda Straube and Matt Stuczynski.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This week's topic: twitter

Judy Gressel presented on Twitter. She began with a brief review of a previous presentation and stressed the ease of using Twitter and the importance of certain symbols like RT (retweet) , DM (directly messaging another person, # (for a keyword session) and @(to reply to someone). We talked briefly about using an image or icon and then more extensively about whom to follow. Separately we forwarded some KW/Phys Ed ideas to Andy. Mashable published suggestions on finding people to follow this week.

Judy also showed an example of a tweetdeck as a way to help organize your tweets. We looked at, too, especially the edchat version. That provides a “newspaper” look with an aggregation of tweets on a subject. Today’s has a link to a slideshare on 25 ways to use Twitter in the classroom. You can create your own personal, also, based on tweets from those people you are following.

Another aspect of our talk was how powerful and how “viral” this type of communication can be. Judy is still excited about watching the tweets fly by so fast that they could not be read on the day that Mubarak was removed from office.

In fact, I turned to after the meeting and saw this Video from the ASCD 2011 conference (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development). I am embedding it here since it discusses the “Best Practices in Social Networking for Educators”:

Our next meeting is Tuesday morning, April 19th at 7:30am in Jim Foster’s office. We will review several free tools which Erika Eich learned about at the ICE Conference.

In attendance: Raquelle Brennan, Erika Eich, Jim Foster, Judy Gressel, Andy Horne, Linda Straube and Matt Stuczynski.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sharing Some Resources on How Educators Connect from Steve Anderson

At today's AM Exchange I will demonstrate the use of Twitter to help colleagues understand that one of the great things about it is to get professional development on a continual basis, any hour of the day. 

Two Popular Starting Points For Building A Personal Learning Network

The Educators PLN Ning (moderated by Tom Whitby hosting the thoughts of 7,000 educators)

Twitter  (#edchat on Twitter)

Resources recently shared by Steve W. Anderson

Articles From Professional Journals


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