3 Exciting Updates to Keynote for iPad

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It was a surreal experience to be involved in the Apple announcement in Chicago last week. There were so many moments to write about and so many amazing updates to Apple technology (and implications for our learners) but for now I will share my three favorite updates to Keynote for iPad.

Exciting Keynote Update #1: Add drawings

As most of you know, Apple has a new iPad that is compatible with Apple Pencil. This truly is a game changer for education. The addition of drawing in Keynote is my favorite game changer EVER! The great news: you don’t have to have a pencil to draw…you can draw with your finger or another stylus if you have an older iPad. The implications for creativity are HUGE! Before, if you wanted to add a custom image you either had to create it in another app and use Instant Alpha to delete the background or you had to use the Draw with Pen feature in Keynote for Mac. Not anymore (picture a 40-year-old woman skipping with jazz hands and you’ll understand my excitement). Additionally, the power of the drawing tool is amazing! Lots of great features to play with, including changing the opacity, filling an image with color, custom colors, and a variety of drawing tools to make your drawings interesting. One of my favorites to the update is being able to pick my own colors to match a project that I am working on! Students can trace an image right in Keynote and match colors perfectly and there are no copyright infringements!

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Don’t judge my drawings…but I used the color picker to pull color from an image I found online.

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Exciting Keynote Update #2: Animate your drawings

So, yes, drawing on slides is awesome! So exciting! But wait…there’s more! You can animate your drawings! You can also animate each drawing as a separate object! There’s so much you can do here and I can’t wait to share more! This is just so exciting! Think about the possibilities this has for storytelling, showing work in math, experiments, and more! Here’s a sample drawing animation of a growing flower: https://vimeo.com/262884017

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Think of the possibilities in animating a story as each drawing can be animated separately!

Exciting Keynote Update #3: Change slide size

My next favorite addition to Keynote is having the ability to change the size of the slides to fit screens with different aspect ratios! HOORAY!!!!! This is seriously just the best! When I wanted to do this before, I could only change the size of the slide on my Mac and then I could send it to my iPad. It’s little things like this that make my creative heart go pitter patter! Here’s a link to one of my favorite projects, where the size of the slide has to be portrait!

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Click here to learn more about all the newest features in Keynote for iPad!

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10 Apps Teens are Using that Parents Need to Know

April Requard appsolutelyapril.com

March 20, 2018

Not all social apps are bad. Most of the apps our kids use are truly an extension of your child’s “real world” social life. For the most part, our kids talk to people they only talk to in “real life.” With the influence of technology in our kids social lives, we can’t panic or over think every single thing, but we do need to empower each other and be aware of what our kids are doing when they are online and engaged in these apps. We teach our children how to swim so they don’t drown and the same is true for online social behaviors. We have to talk to our kids and teach them how to navigate through this rapidly-changing online world. I believe strongly in not blocking everything, but in my opinion, there are certain apps that are just off-limits. I will share some those with you in this post. The problem in most cases is that parents just don’t know how bad some of these apps can really be. The truth is told so perfectly by Kevin Honeycutt when he says, “Our kids are growing up on a digital playground and no one is on recess duty.” So true.

It’s not all bad…

For every heart wrenching story about cyberbullying, there are many stories of teenagers and adults using social media for good. When people come together on social media to start a movement or create awareness for something they believe in, change really does come and that’s amazing. As an educator, I have witnessed teachers using social media to change their teaching practices, gain new perspectives, and completely transform who they are as teachers as a result of being connected to other educators.

It’s all about parent empowerment!

It’s our job as parents to help our children navigate through this world that changes so fast as a result of our ever-changing technology ecosystem.

Here’s a blog post I wrote a year ago about a fabulous app that I use every single day as a time-limit allowance for my kids using their phones. You can read about it here. I HIGHLY recommend this application.

Enabling Parental Restrictions for iOS:

Step-by-step guide to enabling parental controls and restrictions on an iOS device:

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Click here for an article for Android devices.

Location Services:

If location services are on, chances are your child’s location is being shared while using one of the apps. This is an important feature to turn off in specific applications.

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Multiple User (Fake) Accounts:

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Many social media platforms allow for more than one user account. Kids will use one profile to interact with their friends and the other one is their “angel” account where they’d only post what they’d want their grandmother to see. In Instagram, kids call it a “finsta” which means “fake Instagram” account. In order to find out if your kiddo has multiple accounts, you need access to their phone and you need their passcode. If you don’t know their passcode, it might be time to have a whole other conversation. 😬 Once you are in the phone, open Instagram. Tap the head icon and that will open the profile. Tap on their name at the top of the screen. If there are multiple accounts, you will see them, if not, you won’t see any other accounts. It’s really easy to create a secondary account, so just watch for this and do periodic phone checks!

Secret Apps:

These apps are a photo vault that hides many types of photos when you open the app, it functions like a regular calculator, but when you type in your passcode, your secret photos come up.

There are child predators who know about these apps and try to engage with your child. Additionally, your child could be keeping secret photos (sexting or otherwise) that they don’t want you to see.

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Hope you all find this helpful! #themoreyouknow #ittakesavillage

 

Name Equations in Keynote

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This project collides literacy and math in a way that allows students to express themselves creatively. When you have combinations like that, a lesson is sure to be a success.

This project takes students down a powerful path in understanding a program such as Keynote (traditionally only thought of for presentations). Here are some of the skills they will learn in this fun project:

  • Inserting text to create name (change font, size, color, and alignment)
  • Learn to organize and space items appropriate for proportion of slide size
  • Align text and shapes (spacing and sizing are important for this!)
  • Search through the shapes library to find shapes that begin with the letters of their first name (phonics in action)
  • Add up how many shapes are in each letter column
  • Create an equation based on the number of shapes in each column
  • Change the background color of a slide
  • Export each slide as an image (Mac) or take a screen shot of slide in full screen (iPad)
  • Share!

Ways to share student creations:

  • Have each student upload their image to a Padlet wall.
  • Each student uses Airdrop to drop their image to one iPad and that one iPad can combine all to create an iMovie or Clips video with all of the class images.
  • Each student can create a checkthis.com site where they upload their image and write about what each one of the shapes represents. When students are finished, they can publish their site and share their URL with their friends and families!

Each child’s creation will be different and students will interpret the shapes in different ways. It’s important to note that some shapes have multiple meanings and can start with various lettters. For example, in the creative piece below, Austin uses a fork for the word utencil under the letter U.

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#ObserveMe: Improving Our Practice as Professionals

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“The best teacher learning comes from seeing each other in practice.” –Lainie Rowell

What if…

What if a school dedicated a year to focus on the strengths and ideas of each other? What if students walked by teacher’s classrooms and saw signs outside the doors inviting others in to observe their teaching? What would this tell our students?

Being observed is often nerve-racking and as educators we feel vulnerable having others observe our teaching practices. What if we flipped this to something that was valued and encouraged growth as teachers rather than something we often have negative feelings towards?

If you haven’t heard of this movement, I’m excited to tell you about #ObserveMe. This is a movement that began by Robert Kaplinsky @robertkaplinsky. Simply stated, it’s a movement that encourages a growth mindset in teachers where teachers observe each other during the school day and provide feedback specific to that teacher’s needs.

Many of you may be familiar with Pineapple Charts. These charts have similarities to #ObserveMe, but here are the main differences.

Pineapple Charts are located for the entire school to see in a common area, such as the teacher’s lounge. The teacher’s advertise what they will be teaching and if it’s something you are interested in learning more about, then you go to that classroom for professional learning and inspiration.

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Pineapple Chart from GATOR RUN ELEMENTARY, WESTON, FLORIDA

I think this type of chart in the lounge makes the thought of Professional Learning fresh, inspiring, and fun. What a great way to learn a new tool to use in the classroom! Did you even know there was an expert in using Plickers for student discussions just a door down from your room? Most often, the answer is no because we rarely get the chance to go in someone else’s room.

So, let’s take this idea just a bit further. The #ObserveMe method not only opens up the classroom to peers and other stakeholders, it allows for deeper feedback and reflection. In the #ObserveMe classroom, the teacher puts a sign outside their door. The teacher asks for very specific feedback to something he or she is striving to improve. This not only helps the teacher being observed, but it encourages growth from the teacher who is doing the observing. Being in the classroom and looking for that specific feedback may give that teacher inspiration and might alter his or her goals for the future. It’s a win-win.

The teacher being observed provides a QR Code or link to take the observer to a Google Form, where they can be specific in their feedback. Robert Kaplinsky suggests feedback on a 5:1 ratio. The feedback might include 4 positive things the visitor saw and one suggestion for improvement. I think it’s important that the school has norms for this so vulnerable teachers will feel empowered instead of defeated. You want to be honest but not offensive. You also want and need to get genuine feedback, not something vague such as, “You did a great job.” That isn’t going to help improve anyone’s teaching skills.

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Principal’s can get in on the movement, too! –Casey M. Roberts @VAeducatorCMR

Here’s some things to consider:

  • Asking for feedback might be harder than one might realize. Truly question what you’d like to know about your teaching techniques to make you better at your craft.
  • Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound.
  • How will you use this feedback to change your practice? What is the time frame that you will turn around and use the feedback from your peers?
  • Feedback should be used to inform your practice as an educator.

Ideas for feedback:

  • Checking for understanding
  • Questioning techniques
  • Technology integration
  • Student engagement (be specific)
  • Students interacting
  • Teacher role…is the teacher stepping back to let students problem-solve?
  • Classroom environment
  • Fostering critical thinking skills
  • Allowing for the design thinking process
  • Can my students describe what they are working on and explain why they are doing it?

Other ideas:

  • You can record video of yourself teaching and post it to Twitter! You can get feedback from educators all over the world the same way you would from the colleagues in your building.
  • Share how this is improving your practice on social media!
  • You could combine both the Pineapple Chart and the #ObserveMe to get people in the door!
  • As time goes on, you need to change what you are looking to improve. Think of it as a call to action on becoming a better teacher. This call to action is constantly changing as we improve and grow.

Creating Your Door Sign:

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We have so much to learn from each other and there is inspiration just a few doors down from you. Let’s empower each other and learn new teaching practices that will encourage greatness from our students.

#ObserveMe

 

 

 

 

Hide Your Desktop Icons in One Easy Click

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Hi everyone! Let’s start the new year off right by being organized (or at least pretending to look organized). 😆

I saw someone use this tool and I knew I had to install it on my computer. I love to store files that I am currently working with on my desktop and as a result, my desktop can become quite cluttered. When I am presenting in front of large groups of teachers or students, I don’t want them to see my desktop. Although I try to keep it tidy, sometimes it just isn’t the case. This solution is quick and easy!

Click here to see a previous post about organizing your desktop.

This is a FREE app called HiddenMe Free: Hide Desktop Icons. It is available in the Mac App Store. Download it and then you will have a small black circle in your menu bar. Once you click on it, you can hide your desktop icons like magic! Additionally, you can set up a hotkey that will automatically hide your icons when you press those keys you’ve set up. Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 10.39.07 AM

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Happy clean desktop to all! 👩🏼‍💻

Classroom Screen: The Best Screen for Every Classroom

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Ok guys, this is cool. As soon as I saw it, I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

When I have my students work on a project, I typically use my big screen to display a QR code, set of directions, maybe a diagram for students to follow, timer, etc. As you can imagine, that’s a great deal of various windows to have up on your screen at once. Well, that is no longer the case. Laurens Koppers, a teacher in the Netherlands, saw a need for this and he created one screen that has all of these options for teachers. This is one of those great tools for teachers to use on a daily basis. There are options for a random name generator, sound levels for classroom management, QR code display, text for directions or assignment guidelines, timer, clock, and a traffic light for students to monitor their behavior.

www.classroomscreen.com

All you do is pick which widget you want up on the board for that particular working period and your students can refer back to the board for the information they need while they are working.

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This is an example of the screen I was using today. I love to use timers because my classes are so short. Then, I always have the steps for our projects up on the screen so my students can refer to those if they forget a step.

 

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Tips and tricks from the creator of this site.

I hope that you find this as useful as I did when I saw it a few days ago. I think it’s a great tool for teachers!

Cheers! 🎉

Create Transparent Images in Keynote and Preview

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Happy New Year! I am so excited to share this cool tip with you all! It is with two of the most powerful tools: Keynote and Preview!

What I typically do is use Keynote and create images that I use in many other projects. After I create my graphic, I take a screen shot of my image or I save the file to my computer as an image. From there, I open Preview on my Mac and I use the Instant Alpha tool to erase the white background that came along with my screen shot. This was very time-consuming because I was making over 20 images to use in one project.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S AN EASY FIX FOR THIS!!! I discovered that you can create your image in Keynote and copy your entire image and use Preview for Mac to create your graphic with a transparent background. After you copy all elements of your image, paste to your clipboard and export the file as a .png (Portable Network Graphics) file. HOORAY! Don’t you love it when you find a simple solution! So, here’s how to do this on your Mac!

Visual Instructions:

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*Make sure you uncheck the Alpha box.

Text Instructions:

  1. Use shapes to create your image. This can be anything from photos to badges you want to make for your classroom.
  2. After you have everything the way you want it, select all (Command A) and then copy all of these elements (Command C)
  3. Open Preview
  4. Click File>New From Clipboard
  5. Your image will appear and it is the perfect size, too! Just the elements from your creation!
  6. File>Export (make sure you uncheck Alpha because it is saving it as a transparent image)
  7. Now you have your perfect image with no white in the background!

Cheers! 🎉