Digital Skills Learning Badges

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 12.14.00 PMHappy back to school! If you’re like me, I have loved the #AppleTeacher movement to encourage teachers to learn more about using Apple tools in the classroom! What I love about it is that teachers can learn new skills in utilizing the most powerful technology tools for learning and teaching all at their own time! I thought, why not make this same concept available for my students? I have created digital skills badges for all of the Apple applications I use in my classroom as well as other applications that we use frequently. Additionally, I created badges for skills such as Internet Safety and Keyboarding. Here’s what you need to know to create your own Digital Skills Badges!

  1. Think about what skills are most important for your students to master. You can create skills on just about anything and you can use my template or create your own. My template is broken down into skills using a variety of applications and included are both iPad and Mac versions.
  2. I created a website where students can take the skills quiz to earn their badge once they are finished with a final project within that application or learning component. For example, our first learning module is on Internet Safety. Once students have learned about Internet Safety, they will work in teams to create a project. Once their project is finished, they will take the quiz and upload their final project. I felt that taking a quiz wasn’t enough…I wanted to see the projects attached to the skill so that I could understand the creative process students went through to finish their badge.
  3. All of the apps I have listed involve creation. To me, it’s not about how well you know the tool, but what you can do with the tool AFTER you’ve learned the skill. (Can I get an AMEN???) 😜
  4. I put all of my quizzes in Google Forms so that I can view or grade them once they are turned into me, but you could easily use something such as Quizlet, Quizizz, Go Formative, Survey Monkey, Socrative, Padlet, Flip Grid, Answer Garden, or Wizer.
  5. Once students earn their badge, then, I will add their name to two different versions of “shout outs!” First one is I have a bulletin board outside my room where I have each badge and I will add student’s names as they earn their badge (coming soon!) The second one is a Padlet where I have each badge with student names as they earn them. Adults love to earn badges, so why not give kids this same experience!

RESOURCES:

I will post more resources and examples of student work once I kick this off with students, but I just couldn’t wait to share it with all of you!

For more information on the Apple Teacher program: https://appleteacher.apple.com

Cheers!

 

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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!

Use Numbers or Excel to Create a Mystery Pumpkin Spreadsheet.🎃

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A great way to introduce Apple’s Numbers program or Microsoft’s Excel program is to have students paint cells within a spreadsheet. Students will use the Format tool and fill the cells with colors to create a picture. Additionally, it’s a great way to reinforce columns, rows, or coordinates. Once students get finished with this, I always have students that want to create their own pictures by filling the cells with colors. This example below is using Numbers to create a jack-o-lantern, but this can easily be modified if you are an Excel user.

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You can download the PDF with instructions here. halloween-picture-in-numbers

 

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Use the handout to create this pumpkin.

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Under the Format tool, click on the cell tab to fill a cell or cells with a color.

Hope this gives you some fun pumpkin inspiration all while learning how to use a new technology tool with your students! 🎃

Teaching Students to Create Their Own Pixel Art!

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Pixel art is all the rage thanks to old school video games and today’s gaming such as Minecraft. I thought a great way to reach my students is to have them create their own pixel art. It’s quite an intricate process and takes time and determination to complete. In this post, I’ll share the resources I used to teach my students about pixel art and how to create their own though a variety of ways! Be sure to scroll down to the bottom as I share three very important pieces to this overall lesson: History of pixel art, creating pixel art using a web tool, and creating pixel art from scratch using a spreadsheet called Numbers.

History of Pixel Art:

This was a great paragraph from Mary Winkler on an article she wrote explaining pixel art. “Considering that everything you are viewing on your monitor, tablet, or phone is comprised of many, many pixels, the often asked question is “how is this not pixel art?” It’s art, it’s made of pixels, so surely all digital art is pixel art. While technically correct, when talking about “pixel art”, we’re focused on a specific style of artwork most often employed within the gaming industry. Pixel art is a raster-based digital work that is created on a pixel-by-pixel level. Typically very small, the art form is similar to mosaics or cross-stitch in that it focuses on small pieces placed individually to create a larger piece of art.” Click here to view the full article.

Create Your Own Pixel Art Online:

I searched for the most student-friendly pixel art creator, and this is the one that I loved. I thought it had the most user-friendly platform and easy enough for young students to learn to create pixel art. I gave my students three prompts:

1. Recreate an image of a character, person, or thing.

2. Spell your name in pixel art.

3. Create your own pixel art.

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Here’s some samples from some of my second grade students:

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Another web tool option: http://makepixelart.com/free/

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A fun way to pixelate a photo of yourself is here and the effect is called focal pixelate.

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Create your own pixel art using Numbers or Excel:

If students can use a generator to create their art, why not teach them how to create their own graphs and plot their colors using a spreadsheet like Numbers or Excel? For this project, I used Numbers. This was a great extension for the younger students and an even better starter for the older students. It really introduces or reinforces commands, such as copy/paste and selecting more than one object to modify. Additionally, it takes the user through the process of adding and deleting cells as well as creating the cells in the shape of a square rather than a rectangle. I also thought that it took quite a bit of time for students to conceptualize what they wanted to create and make sure that they started in the center and had matching blocks on each side to create symmetry. There are many ways this could weave into an art lesson, a math lesson, or a creative lesson using technology.

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Here’s a sample using Numbers from a third grader in one of my classes:

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I’d love to see what you and your students create! Have fun!