The Power in Educreations

I’m a huge fan of apps on the iPad that allow students and teachers the opportunity to record their thinking and share it with others. I love Explain Everything, Screen Chomp, Doceri, and Educreations. My top two are Explain Everything ($2.99) and Educreations (Free). In this post, I’d like to specifically focus on Educreations as a powerful tool in reaching goals to meet Common Core Standards. Here’s what I love about this app:

-If you visit http://www.educreations.com, you can view free lessons that other teachers and students have created. For example, if you are looking for a lesson on equivalent fractions for 4th grade, you can search for that and learn from someone else.  Here is an example.

-It allows you to turn your iPad into a recordable whiteboard.

-You can insert photos directly from your camera or camera roll and annotate onto the photos while recording your voice. Additionally, you can move photos around and place them in various places on your screen all while recording.

-You can easily email recordings to parents, teachers, and students. You can also share these to the “public” on the Educreations site.


 

Here’s some ideas in supporting the CCSS:

-Screen recordings allow students to share information on topics in a way that is completely unique to them. For example, a student might have a difficult time conveying his or her knowledge on equivalent fractions in written form, but might find it particularly easier to “teach” it to his or her teacher via screen recording. Students will find different ways to answer questions in ways others may not have thought about.

-Screen recordings give the teacher an advantage to really “get inside a student’s head” and listen to them explain a concept or problem.

-Screen recordings aren’t just for students. Screen recordings are a powerful tool for a teacher to record lessons on content and share it with students who are absent or need a review.

-Think about using screen recordings for an assessment tool. Play their assessment for parents at P/T conferences.

-Use screen recordings as an “Exit Ticket” in making sure standards have been met and understanding has set in.

-Share a student’s creative and powerful work with others by sharing their recording on your blog, wiki, or to your class Edmodo page, to name a few.

-Use Educreations as a weekly assessment in math or reading. Think of the great digital portfolio you could build to document student’s growth.

-Have students record oral descriptions for something they’ve created on the iPad. For example, my students recently created faces using the app, Faces iMake, and I had them create screen recordings to orally describe what they had created.

-Have students practice reading text aloud and talking about key vocabulary while recording.

If you haven’t had your students participate in screen recordings, you will be amazed at the power in these tools. I encourage you to check it out…create an account on educreations.com and begin the next school year by recording your student’s as they think aloud and see how it deepens your understanding about their knowledge.

A few examples:

Click here for a math example

Click here for an example of practicing oral descriptions

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Sharing Made Easy with iPhoto for iPad

Have you ever had photos from an event, field trip, or project your students were working on and wanted a quick way to share them with families? Look no further than to utilize the iPhoto app on your iPad to create an awesome web journal and share the unique web address with others. In order to do this, you need the iPhoto app (free) installed on your iPad (iOS7) and an iCloud account. Once you begin, you can add text, photos, videos, and customized items. This is such an awesome resource for educators and students! The web journal acts sort of like a webpage that you can hyperlink your pictures to text and websites!

Here’s a sample of what a web journal can look like: https://www.icloud.com/iphoto/projects/#1;CAEQARoQKCtNjTTcGEVLt3WrukmkhQ;F14AB19A-9956-4805-B956-D56295D9DFC0

Sample of my Web Journal

Screenshot of my Web Journal

This is something that is very quick and easy to do. Even quicker if you take the photos/video from your iPad! Share your next event, project, or even have students create a web journal to showcase their learning! Possibilities are endless!

Parental Controls and Restrictions

We had a Social Media workshop at our school last night that was very eye-opening for parents and teachers. One quote that I walk away with, which was shared by Social Media guru, Maralyn Beck, is “Our kids are growing up on a digital playground, and no one is on digital recess duty (@KevinHoneycutt)”.  This quote really resonated with me and I felt that a small part I could play in equipping parents with some digital tools is to help them set up parental controls on their Mac and restrictions on their iOS Device. Our kiddos can accidentally stumble upon horrific content if we are not careful. Why not prevent that from happening by setting up parental controls and restrictions on the devices they use. It’s easy to do and will prevent future heartache. Once in each set of controls, you can customize what your kids can and can’t have access to. This really is a must for all parents whose children have access to a smartphone or computer with Internet access. Here’s a handout I made with some basic instructions. See below for step-by-step instructions.

Restrictions in iOS

Restrictions in iOS

 

For step-by-step instructions, please click on the following links:

Restrictions in iOS

Parental Controls in Mavericks

Parental Controls in Mountain Lion

 

 

Mother’s Day App Smash Project

 

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I always try to do a video or something sweet to show the mom’s of my students just how special they are! This week, as we celebrate our moms, my students did some “App Smashing” (When you use one or more apps together to achieve a final product) with ABCya’s Word Cloud App, Photo and Video Transfer Over Wifi, Explain Everything, and I put it all together in iMovie.

The first step was brainstorming words that described our moms. Since I did this project with first and second graders, I knew the words written on the board would help them tremendously once they began working on their word cloud. Once we brainstormed the words, then the kids were all set to add the words they wanted (about 10 words) and customize the font, color, and layout to their word cloud. Once they finished, they saved their creation to their camera roll. Next, they used the app Photo and Video Transfer Over Wifi (a personal favorite of mine) and sent it to my iPad. From there, I saved all of the student’s work in my camera roll on my iPad. You could most certainly have each student open Explain Everything on their own iPad and do the next step at individual iPads, but from a classroom management perspective (I only have 45 minutes with my classes), I chose to do it this way. Once I had all of the student word clouds in my camera roll, I called them over one at a time and they recorded their narration with their picture in Explain Everything. Once all student’s voices were recorded, then I imported the whole movie to iMovie to add background music and text, but you could just end this project with a finished Explain Everything movie…either way works! When you are finished, you can upload this to YouTube, Vimeo, Blog, Website, etc. and make a mom’s day! Happy Mother’s Day to all those hard working moms out there!

Here’s a sample video:

 

 

Here’s a video I did a few years back that just warms my heart! Thought I’d share it!

 

 

Using Creative Apps with iCloud’s Photo Stream

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Who knew that using iCloud’s Photo Stream would be such a powerful classroom tool in sharing resources, encouraging discussion, and promoting collaboration? Teachers can share resources with students and students can share their work with their teacher and classmates. The most powerful tool in the Photo Steam is the ability to comment on one’s photos or videos. This creates a very rich dialogue for students working on a collaborative project, or for a classes to share their work with one another. The Common Core Standards and the NETS states that students should be able to:

With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

(NETS) Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital media.

(NETS) Demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

(NETS) Create original works for personal and group expression using a variety of digital tools.

The first step to using the Photo Steam is to make sure you have either an iCloud address for each student, or as in my case, a shared iCloud account.

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Here’s a sample project from what we did in my second grade group today. We used the app called Faces iMake. I love this app because it really encourages originality, exploration, discovery, and right-brain thinking. For this assignment, I didn’t give my students guidelines…I just left it open-ended to promote creativity. In this app, students use everyday objects to create art. My students LOVED using this app and they were unhappy when time was up! Once students were finished with their art, they saved it to their camera roll. Next, I had students open their Photos and select the Shared camera roll. From there, they chose the Photo Stream I made Called “Faces iMake” and there they were able to add their creation to the stream. Once their photo was added, they could add comments to their classmates’ photos. They loved doing this! The guidelines I gave them for adding comments where that they had to add their name so that we knew who was commenting (if you have individual iCloud accounts, you can add your name as a contributor and then you don’t have to add your name again for individual comments you make to photos). Once they added their name, then I asked them to give a positive comment/feedback to their classmates. Maybe it’s a comment about the unique way they added hair to their face, or perhaps it’s a way they used layers in their picture…it just had to be positive. Now that my class has finished this project, I would clarify that they HAVE to use complete sentences with correct punctuation. Once I looked through the stream’s comments I saw a lot of “LOL” and “That’s cute” which isn’t what I wanted them to write, but since this was their first go at it, I let it go. As I reflect on this lesson, next time, I would make all of the above a requirement.

Since we were combining multiple technical skills in this lesson, (creating a face in Faces iMake, saving to camera roll, uploading picture to shared photo stream, commenting on classmate’s work) I’d call our learning a huge success. My students loved going back through and reading the comments that others posted on their photo. Other ways to use the Photo Stream are in collaborative projects (creating group iMovies), shared writing projects, research projects, debates, math, reading, and vocabulary, creating visual posters, poster made in Keynote or Pages, the list goes on and on…think about the power in having students discuss an idea, concept, or project with each other. Think about the ease in sharing photos out with your students! This is engaging for our students, which results in powerful learning outcomes here, friends!

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IMG_6151Here are my students adding comments to the Photo Stream:

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