Become an Apple Teacher

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In September, Apple Education announced its Apple Teacher Program, a program aimed at helping educators unlock the magic and potential of Mac, iPad, and apps in the classroom. Teachers sign up and learn new skills, test their knowledge, and earn badges to be ultimately recognized by Apple as an official “Apple Teacher.”

The best part about this program is that it is self-paced and teachers can participate while in their pajamas at home! Teachers can decide if they want to focus their learning for the Mac or the iPad and choose the path that works best for them. Once teachers complete a module, they will be given a quiz. No pressure if you don’t get the questions correct, as you can test again. The purpose of the test is so that educators can truly get the most out of these modules and the tests force you to master the concepts rather than skimming through.

THE BADGES

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Once you earn a badge in each one of the categories and learn not only to use the app to get the best results, but you also learn how to infuse this into the classroom as a powerful teaching tool. Each module is full of ideas that relate to classroom content and help bring its use to life in meaningful ways teachers will appreciate. Click here to get started.

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You will use your Apple ID to get started.

I am a huge supporter of this program.  Apple’s commitment to education is evident and I appreciate the way Apple continues to give teachers quality tools to enhance learning and teaching. My favorite tools as a creative professional will always Keynote and iMovie. I couldn’t live without those two apps and neither could my students. If you choose to accept the challenge of becoming an Apple Teacher, I promise you that you will learn something to take back to your classroom TOMORROW as a result and perhaps you will have a new favorite tool.

TEACHER RECOGNITION

Since I am the instructional technology teacher and leader of the technology program, I am encouraging teachers at my school to join the program and earn their badges. I put together some fun rewards to recognize the commitment and time teachers put aside to further their learning in this area. We are an Apple school and we have access to all of these applications and tools, so I can’t think of a better way for teachers to learn on their own time, and I do think they should be recognized for their commitment!

  • Upon completion of the Apple Teacher program, teachers will earn a spot on the “Wall of Fame” located in the hallway of our school.
  • Teachers will also receive a certificate showcasing their skills at this will be hung outside their classroom.
  • Teachers will receive a “shout out” on our school Facebook page to congratulate them on their extended professional learning.
  • Teachers will receive the official logo from Apple to use in their professional email signature.
  • Most importantly, teachers will gain knowledge in unlocking the  potential with these great productivity and creative apps that are already on their iPad and Mac. These are the native apps and most people don’t realize the potential in these applications and how they can be used as tremendous tools in the classroom.
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The “Wall of Fame” located in the hallway of our school.

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Wall of Fame photo and school Facebook page recognition.

OTHER WAYS TO OFFER INCENTIVES

I have seen other schools and teachers provide a variety of incentives for teachers to earn their badges and expand their professional learning. Here’s two examples:

Do you have another idea? Please share it! #AppleTeacher

 
Here’s the link for further information: http://www.apple.com/education/teachers/
 
Here’s the link to get started: https://appleteacher.apple.com/auth/#/signin/
Good luck and happy learning!

Custom Folders on Your Mac

 

keynote-folders-001A friend recently shared how she found out how to change the colors of the default light blue folders on your Mac. It’s fairly easy and can make a gal like myself jump for joy at the thought of another way to organize my files. 🤓

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Steps to make colored folders!

  1. Go to this site: Colored Folders
  2. Download the folders (free download)
  3. Drag the colors out of the downloaded folder onto your desktop and rename them. Delete the unwanted files inside the folder to the trash.
  4. Add your files just as you would any other folder on your Mac.

Another fun thing you can do is search for images of folders that other users have created and are available to download for free. Example below:

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CREATE YOUR OWN! 

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I really wanted to learn how to create my own folders with textures and colors. I went to my go-to tool, Keynote. Here are the steps to create your own custom folders:

  1. Open Keynote and use the shape tool to draw with pen. You can search for an image of a folder to use as a guide to trace over. Trace over the image of the folder and then delete the folder. You can fill the folder with your own custom color or a background image that you like. A great royalty-free background is from this site: backgroundlabs.com. There are many others out there, as well.
  2. Once you have your folder the way you like it, you can take a screen shot of the folder or you can save the Keynote slide as an image.
  3. Now, you need to get rid of the white or colored background on the slide. To do this, open the image using Preview. Use the instant alpha tool in  Preview and save the image as a transparent (.PNG) picture.
  4. Create a new folder on your desktop (File>New Folder)
  5. Click on your newly created image of the folder and press Command+i or use your secondary click and click GET INFO.
  6. Press Command+A to select the entire picture and then Command+C to copy the image.
  7. Click on the new folder you just created and press Command+i and click on the small image of the folder and press Command+V. You will now see that the folder has changed to your custom created folder.
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Using Instant Alpha to delete the background image of the Keynote slide.

 

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The folder will change once you paste the copied image.

**Important tip: I would recommend creating your custom colors that DO NOT include the color of your background image. For example, if your background color of your Keynote slide is white, I would recommend not using any white in the image of your folder. When using instant alpha, it is very difficult to not take out the same color as they bleed together.

Hope you have fun creating these folders! It does spice up your organization if you like that kind of thing! Plus, it makes your MacBook look more unique than anyone else’s! 🖥

 

Build Beautiful and Engaging Online Assessments and Worksheets

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I am probably late to the party on this one, as many of you might have already heard about this! Since I haven’t heard about it, I thought I would share with others who might be as surprised and delighted as I was! I love it when you stumble upon little gems!

So, this gem is called app.wizer.me and it is a site that allows teachers to build and design online quizzes, worksheets, and other material to test student’s knowledge or build a great review for them. What I loved most was the ability to add a variety of questions and tasks (open question, multiple choice, blanks, fill on an image, table, sorting, text, image, video) to reach all learners. I also loved that there was a “listen to instructions” button where you can record instructions or dictate questions. This is really great for formative and summative assessments and immediate feedback for students. Additionally, there is a teacher area that allows teachers to remix someone else’s quizzes/worksheets in a public gallery. This works well on computers, iPads, tablets, and Chromebooks. It works seamlessly with Google Classroom, too! It was super easy and I am already thinking about the possibilities in how I could use this in my classes. Here are the steps to get started:

  1. Create an account. This was painless.
  2. Begin building your document/worksheet
  3. Select which type of question you want to add (a little similar to a Google Form)
  4. Choose a design
  5. When you are finished, give it a title, and choose how you want to distribute to students. Can share via Google Classroom, copy the link and share it, or have your students enter the pin code. Students will need to enter their first and last name and create a password that they will use each time they go to the site! I love that the students didn’t need an email address in order to use! HOORAY!
  6. Loved the options of distribution…whenever there is a direct link, I do the happy dance.
  7. Share with other teachers!
  8. Boom! You’re done! I selected the option to allow my students to receive immediate feedback when they submit the assignment to see how they did. Then, you can review the work of your students and provide comments.
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First step is adding a task. Look at all the cool options!

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Lots of great design options!

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Assign to students by sharing the link with them. They will go to a new screen that asks for their first and last name as well as a creation of a password.

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You can also have students go to http://app.wizer.me/learn and type in the PIN code.

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Gives students automatic feedback once they complete the tasks.

Hope you are able to use this with your students. A fun and easy way to ditch the paper tests and worksheets!

On the appwizer website, it states how long it takes to set up…(and it really is that easy)

  • 5 minutes to set up and learn
  • 20 seconds to assign via Google classroom, Edmodo, Moodle, or direct link
  • Automatic grading
  • 5 minutes to make your first worksheet
  • 5 minutes to check grades and give personalized feedback

 

QR Code People

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At the beginning of the year, I like to have the students participate in technology integration projects where students get a chance to describe themselves to their classmates. This project allowed students to use written expression to describe themselves, create a QR code with text, and create a self-portrait. I did this project on the Mac, you can most certainly do this project on the iPad as well.

This project has three parts:

Part 1:

Have students create a QR code with 5 descriptive sentences. I have students use my favorite QR code generator, goqr.me. I like this site because it’s easy to create a QR code with text as well as a QR code that points to a URL. Simply click what type of QR code you want to create, type in the text, and download the QR code to your computer or save it to your camera roll (iOS).

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The QR code will become some part of the “body” of the self-portrait the kids create. I suggested that they could use it as the head or body. I used Kid Pix for this project, but you could use any drawing app on the iPad that will allow the user to import the QR Code into the picture. NOTE: Do not get any ink or color on the QR code or it will not scan. I had students save their work as an image and put it on their desktops for the next step.

Part 3:

The last part of the project is always the most fun for students. Now is where they can scan one another’s QR Codes. Using a QR code reader of your choice, have students use their iPad to scan each other’s “QR Code Person” and read about that person as they determine who is in the self-portrait. Hopefully, this fun project using technology will allow students another way to get to know their classmates while incorporating written expression, typing skills, desktop drawing skills, and using QR codes as a way to get a quick response.

Here are a few examples:

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Organize Your Desktop Background!

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I wish I could take the credit for this awesome idea, but I actually stumbled upon it when I was on Pinterest searching for desktop wallpaper. If your desktop looks like mine, then you’re a cluttered mess. I usually know where everything is, but when you use three different computers like I do, you tend to forget what file is in which location. Plus, I feel like I am always working on various projects, taking screenshots, grabbing images, and saving files. I like to save files to the desktop because I can SEE it all right there. When I came across these desktop wallpaper organizers, I knew I had to make my own! So, here are some examples and then I will go through some steps to create your own. It takes about 10 minutes TOPS! For the example I am going to show you, I used Keynote to create the desktop wallpaper image.

This is what my desktop usually looks like (YIKES!)

This is what my desktop usually looks like (YIKES!)

 

This is what it looks like AFTER you organize your desktop!

This is what it looks like AFTER you organize your desktop!

So, here is where I got my great inspiration! Pinterest: Desktop Wallpaper Organizers. Most of those sites have free downloads for wallpaper organizers, but I think it’s fun to create your own and then you can create headings that work for you. These steps are for a Mac…

Steps:

1. In order to make a wallpaper that has the resolution you want for your particular computer screen, you need to find out the size of your display. To do this, go to the Apple and click on System Preferences. Click on Display. In order to see what your display is, click on the button that says SCALED and you will see which display your computer uses. Now, you know what size to make your wallpaper.

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2. Open Keynote. The first thing you will want to do is format your slide so that it is the same size as your display. This is over on the right hand side of your Keynote screen.

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3. Now the fun part begins! You can insert shapes, change the color, and move them around so that the layout fits your needs. Insert text at the top of each shape. You could also fill the shapes in with a background image and adjust the transparency, but to keep it simple and clean, I just chose solid colors.  As you insert the shapes, keep in mind that you don’t want to take the shapes all the way to the top of the slide or the bottom. Leave room for the menu at the top of your desktop as well as your dock.

4. Export your slide as an image and save it to your desktop!

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5. Now, either right-click or go to System Preferences>Desktop and Screen Saver and drag in your photo! Have fun arranging your desktop and stay organized! If you want to use my desktop wallpaper organizer, just drag the below image to your desktop (my display is 1920×1080)…maybe I’ll make some more to put on here that my friends could use! Stay tuned! 🙂

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Cheers!

April