May 23

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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May 16

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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May 09

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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May 02

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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Apr 25

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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Apr 22

Chad’s Choices

Sure April is here and that means Spring weather, right? It’s also a time to share a few more articles and blog posts I’ve come across that made me think, wonder, and learn. If you haven’t seen these, I’ve included a snippet from the article to pique your interest.

Today’s classrooms should not be like the classrooms we experienced 10-20-30 years ago, but many still do. Besides more technology, what should be different? My friend George Couros, a Division Principal for Parkland School Division in Canada, recently shared 8 things to look for in today’s classroom. I like these ideas, but do wonder how to fit all of them in with everyone else that needs to get done. With that said, take a look and let me know what you think.

In the “factory model” of education, students were meant to be compliant and basically do “as they were told.”  This is not something that sticks with a child only, but goes into adulthood as well and it creates “yes” people who tend to lose all originality.

Read the entire article here.

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Do we know the strengths of our students? Sometimes, these strengths are not easy to discover or aren’t seen as “school strengths.” However, those strengths are important to the kids and should be utilized. This interesting article looks at 10 ways to determine the strengths of our students.

An important activity is for students to understand that each and every one of them has strengths.  These can come in the form of activities (ex. dance, hockey, math, etc) and in the form of character strengths. It is also important to share what these strengths could look like in each student; strengths are not something that a student needs to be the best at but more about personal skills, qualities, traits and virtues that students have developed.

Read the entire article here.

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School librarians of today are very different from those 10 or more years ago. Their role, and my role, is very different yet there are still many teachers and administrators who don’t realize the benefit school librarians have on students. Unfortunately, districts are cutting this position more and more and the impact won’t be seen immediately. Many voices need to keep spreading the word at the value a good school librarian can bring to the table.

Libraries and librarians are at the forefront and often the hub of the school. They are a community resource, a public face, a service profession, a helping hand, relationship builders, collaborators, and educational technology leaders. Librarians of 2015 are not the same librarians you remember from 1985. They still order books and teach research skills, but it is very rare to hear them shushing students, or hiding meekly behind the stacks. Librarians wear a number of hats and information literacy is closely tied to educational technology.

Read the entire article here.

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It’s testing season all over the place and there are articles everywhere about too much testing, the opt-out issue, and more. However, I’ve never read anything like the article below that tackles standardized testing from a very different angle. Take a look at the quote below – have you ever heard anything like it? Me neither. This is a very interesting article that will make you think.

“Removing the requirement for annual testing would be a devastating step backward, for it is very hard to make sure our education system is serving every child well when we don’t have reliable, comparable achievement data on every child every year,” Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, said in recent testimony before the Senate education panel.

Read the entire article here.

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Apr 22

Stop Motion Fun

stopmotionstudioThis week, state testing has consumed the library and computer lab. As a result, I’ve had to hold my classes in regular classrooms. This is actually kind of fun for me, but I wouldn’t want to do it on a regular basis. It’s nice to be in a different space once in a while and to see the learning environments set up in various classrooms. When I hold my classes elsewhere, I have to use different devices, since I can’t really move the desktop computers from the lab. This week, I grabbed the iPads and headed into the classrooms with the goal of having the students show their creativity by making stop motion videos.

We used the free Stop Motion Studio app, which is super simple to use and allows quite a bit of flexibility. For the project, I had the students use their name as the animation. Each student wrote one letter of their name on a small paper square and after a demonstration from me, went to work. I was super pleased with the work of the students. The students did a great job, created some exciting animations, and had a lot of fun in the process. Below are a few of animations.

Lila

 
IMG_1779Frequently, I run into problems getting the saved projects students create into a place where I can access them easily and share them out. The students also access to the saved work for their own use. Often, the saved work is on each device and you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to put it all together. Sometimes that means having students log into Google Drive on each device and upload the project or emailing it. It could mean uploading the work to a shared DropBox or Box folder. This was not a problem with Stop Motion Studio.

In addition to the normal save to Camera Roll or YouTube, there is an option to Save to DropBox. I created a DropBox account for the school library and had the students log into DropBox when using this option. A folder was automatically created for this app and all of the student work was saved to one location, where I, or a student, could access the projects easily. The only hiccup was that the projects all had the same file name because I learned after the fact, how to rename the default file name for each movie in the app.

IMG_1778When saving/exporting the movies, there are a lot of great options and sizes available, but one stuck out to me. You can save the movie as an animated gif. I found this to be very cool option and the first example above was saved that way. The file size of this project is much smaller than the video, which we downloaded as a “large, non HD” video. I would think students could have more flexibility using the gif in a future project compared to a video file. Images are generally easier to use, manipulate, and add to projects compared to videos. Whether or not that’s true, I don’t know, but I really like the fact that this option exists.

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Apr 18

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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Apr 16

iCab Mobile & Green Screen Apps

A couple of days ago, my friend Dave posted a question on Facebook looking for an answer to a problem he was having.  The task involved downloading a video from Discovery Education using the iCab Mobile browser and saving it onto an iPad. The next step would be to use that video as part of a green screen project using another app, Green Screen, by DoInk.  I was able to help solve the problem and the steps are below. Thanks to Dave for helping out with this.

Follow the steps below to download the video to your device.

1. Launch iCab Mobile
2. Log in to your Discovery Ed account (if the video you want is there)
3. Search for and play the video
4. Tap and hold on the video
5. Select Download
6. In the upper right corner of iCab, tap on the circle with the down arrow. That will open the iCab download window
7. Double tap on the file you want to save to your iPad
8. Select “Save File in Album” from the menu.

At this point, the video should be saved to your camera roll on your iPad. From this point, you can launch the Green Screen app, import the video and create your green screen project with the video playing in the background.

Below is a screen cast showing the process.

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Apr 11

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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