Tuesday, October 21, 2014

EdPuzzle



I love the power of sharing. Carol Ann was asking for some creative ways for middle school kids to gather information from video for a teacher that she would be working with in New Mexico. There were so many great suggestions like Three Truths and a Lie, notetaking with Notability and Corkulous apps, predicting, Video 4 Square, AEIOU and then Kimmy posted EdPuzzle and VideoNot.es. I had never heard of them and of course it was Tuesday so my interest was peaked. I had just been introduced to EdCannon by one of the teachers I was working with in Miami and realized that EdPuzzle was a similar opportunity and then I had to choose. We may be having a series on these types of creative websites over the next few Tuesdays, but for now, I am really jazzed by the potential of video editing on the web. This “tuesdays” will be the beginning of these.
             
A creative website

EdPuzzle is a new, FREE adventure for teachers to use video in the classroom much more powerfully. Showing an instructional video full-length is difficult, time-consuming and generally does not yield the intended student engagement and learning. You will love EdPuzzle because you can crop a video to its essential parts, add your own voice with directions specific to your students, embed quizzes and track your students’ progress. Crazy, huh? I tried to create a video tonight to see if it was worth your time and I was amazed. I uploaded a rather large video of my grandbaby using the trackpad on my Mac for the very first time. It uploaded without issue. In fact, their video size limit is 1G – more than generous. I was only able to add a small voice narration because I ran out of time, but can see the huge potential for the classroom.  Videos of your own can be uploaded or you can link to YouTube, Teacher Tube, School Tube, Khan Academy or other web-based video. Congratulations to EdPuzzle for creating a solution to video integration that has the highest potential to increase student learning if used to encourage key learning.

An image to share 
Using a trackpad at 23 months

A proverb
Everybody’s a filmmaker today.

John Milius

An encouragement

Reaching our students is becoming more and more difficult in their clickable world. However, a point of connection is definitely video. Have you ever wondered why the room becomes quiet when you initially put on a video in the classroom? They get that glazed “zombie” look and you have to wonder if they are actually learning anything. Chances are, they are not. The absolute worse thing you can do is to ask them to take notes while they are watching a movie. Can you take notes? Really? Unless they can pause and play at their own pace, notetaking is an act of futility. Using appropriate graphic organizers is a great improvement, but EdPuzzle has the potential to take video learning to a whole new level. I want to encourage you to take a good look at the new website and share the potential with your staff. It’s the perfect solution to the flipped classroom so that a teacher can actually see who watched the video, who answered the embedded questions correctly and who is really learning. I also want to encourage you to use professional ethics when it comes to cropping or editing someone else’s video. Without permission, I would stay away from using others’ works and stick to original or copyright free materials. Please share your video if you make one! This is the video of my grandbaby I uploaded and honed down to 50 seconds for this “tuesdays.” Potential, potential, potential.


How do you do that?

How do you use EdPuzzle? They have done an excellent job providing video and printed tutorials that you can download and/or share with others.

Essentially, these are the steps:

Step 1: Create an account
Step 2: Upload your video or search for one you have online
Step 3: Crop the video to just the essential portion.
Step 4: Add your voice.
Step 5: Add voice notes for clarification.
Step 6: Embed quiz questions.
Step 7: Assign the video to your students.




I look forward to the day when all our video providers can help us to embed great questions to our instructional videos. Well done, EdPuzzle. I look forward to learning more.




As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,
K

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

KEN KEN



How would you like to learn something simple with the potential to challenge your students? In our world of Web 2.0 collaboration, it’s amazing to me how much fun it is to share. I wrote about these puzzles 3 years ago and actually forgot about it until someone asked me if I remembered that cool Math puzzle.  After revisiting it today, I am just amazed at what is available – just when you need it. Finding something challenging and fun to take the edge off was what I was hoping to bring you this week.  I found it! It’s KENKEN and though it’s a revist, it’s always a favorite.
             
A creative website

KENKEN puzzles were invented by a Japanese math teacher, Tetsuya Miyamoto, who wanted to  test his students’ puzzle acumen and improve their math skills at the same time.  The New York Times is exclusively featuring 6 new puzzles daily. In fact, the best way to understand KENKEN is to watch a short video by Will Shortz, the crossword editor for the New York Times.  He describes KENKEN as logic puzzles that make you smarter. The puzzles are perfectly named KENKEN after the Japanese word “ken” or wisdom.  The academic value of KENKEN puzzles range from increasing numeracy skills and logical thinking to developing concentration, perseverance and stamina. The real appeal is its ageless application from grade school teachers to Harvard professors.  It’s just a question of puzzle difficulty and taking the challenge.  The never-ending number of mathematical combinations creates an endless volume of puzzles.


An image to share



A proverb
The problem of puzzles is very near the problems of life, our whole life is solving puzzles.  If you are hungry, you have to find something to eat. But everyday problems are very mixed – they’re not clear….  Erno Rubik, creator of the Magic Cube

An encouragement
When we get past the first few weeks of school, the “familiarity breeds contempt” syndrome tends to sets in. I would like to encourage you to consider using these KENKEN puzzles as warm-ups, competitions or for those few minutes at the end of the period when you finish your lesson early. These simple yet engaging puzzles can be simple enough for just a few minutes or complicated enough that they become addicted to them and have to finish them at home.  The key to keep the interest up will be a little sense of competition. It’s the gaming theory in a low-tech version. Kids always choose the harder path when they play games. Hopefully, we can transfer that desire to rise to the next level to the classroom.



How do you do that?

How do you get started with KENKEN? I would begin with the New York Times site first where they offer six new KENKEN puzzles daily. You can introduce them with a projector on a screen and play as a class or if you are fortunate enough to have an interactive board, you could have the students do the puzzles hands-on. The site has all the rules and is very interactive.  If you have computers in your classroom, students could do the puzzles individually or in teams. The KENKEN site even offers FREE puzzles that you can print out by sending them your email. KENKEN is WIN-WIN because it is engaging, educational, exciting, and an exceptional way to trick the students into learning.


As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

K

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kahoot!



It still amazes me that some students can be so easily jaded with clickers (student response systems). The first few times they get to use clcikers is always amazing engagement particularly the younger they are. What happens to them after a few times using the clickers? I believe it all depends upon the questioning techniques. Asking a good question is quite difficult. Have you ever had your students make up the questions to your learning goals? They often create search and fine type questions and quickly realize just how hard it is to write a really good question that is not too easy and not too hard. Using student response systems are the perfect way to engage students. We just need to mix up the types of questions and times we use them to keep them guessing. This “tuesdays” is about a fun, FREE and online way to use “clickers” that will help keep the students engaged.

A creative website

Kahoot! is a cloud-based online learning game which consists of multiple-choice questions that can be used as a quiz, temperature gauge, discussion and/or survey. It can be used for any subject, and topic and any ability level. Typically the questions are projected from the front of the room and played by the whole class in real-time on mobile devices. (see it in action!) What really impressed me the first time I was introduced to Kahoot! was it’s colorful and simple interface for the participants. Its silly elevator music brings out the competitive nature in the most laid back participants and gives the user immediate feedback. Students can create Kahoots also which gives a greater value to the academic vocabulary and learning critical information. From the teacher perspective, creating a quiz/survey or discussion is simple and can even be shared with other users. Any time we can collaborate and divide and conquer the work, it’s a win-win.  Check out this 9th grade student’s reaction.


An image to share

I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.
In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so:
I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law. 


A proverb

“Judge a man by his questions, rather than by his answers.”

Voltaire

An encouragement

In this age of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), Kahoot! can be a major player. If students are using their own equipment, you don’t have to know how it works. That’s freedom. All they need to do is download the free app. Kahoot is agnostic and doesn’t care whether you have an Apple device, Android, Windows or any internet capable handheld, it just like to play. I would really encourage you to try this fun way to engage your students in your curriculum and to celebrate their success as their reflect on their learning.


                                                                                             
How do you do that?

How do you get started with Kahoot!? Here’s a shocker – you need to create an account. It’s FREE, no worries and no gimmicks later. They have an impressive tutorial that is graphical and instructionally friendly to download. My first Kahoot was a copy of someone else’s and that made it a lot less intimidating. As you fill out your profile with a little more detail, you will be able to find other users and they can find you. It’s really a social network of teachers who are looking for ways to keep our students engaged in their learning and mixing it up enough to keep them fresh. I think the part that impressed me the most was the ability to use multimedia (video, audio and images) throughout the questioning process. In fact, you are even able to set a video to the precise spot you want it to play and limit its playing time so the students have enough time to view and listen. Kahoot! – a great classroom addition. Try it, you’ll like it!


As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,
K

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Voxer



 Do you remember when you were a kid and being fascinated by walkie-talkies? There’s something magical about hearing your friend’s voice in short conversations that bleep out while hiding around the corner or up a tree. In this day of smartphones, walkie-talkies may seem antiquated but I was introduced to a simple app that replicates the walkie-talkie fun enhanced with images and text. I love the entrepreneurial spirit that can take a simple idea and make it potentially powerful for education. This “tuesdays” is an exploration into the potential of communicating differently for greater results.


A creative website
Voxer is an app driven technology created for effective communication. Although its website only serves businesses, I see incredible teacher potential. We all need to be a part of effective Professional Learning Communities now and we so often have one person take notes and the others file the notes away somewhere with little impact. What if you had a simple FREE platform that afforded your PLC the ability to chat, voice message and send images to each other? The Voxer app stores live voice, text and photos to anyone you place in a group. It gives you walkie talkie functionality on a smartphone (on all platforms) and syncs seamlessly across all your devices. What if you had a great idea for the group when you were nowhere near school? You could record you voice to the group or text your idea or even take a picture and upload it. The members of your PLC will hear a little walkie talkie sound on their phone and will have the option to check out your idea immediately or the next day when they can get around to it.  I do NOT recommend it for the students because we do not want to be in a position to monitor nor be a part of their conversations. However on a professional level, it has incredible potential.

An image to share 


Walkie Talkie - This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.


A proverb
“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”  ~Buddha



An encouragement
I would like to encourage you to talk to your PLC about starting a Voxer group. Everyone will need to download the Voxer app and once they create an account, they will appear in your contact list. Have one person create the group and post one item. Everyone will receive the idea in their Voxer app and a collection of voice, images and texts will be saved for a continued conversation. Consider doing a book study together through Voxer. Instead of a Google Hangout, a webinar of Skype, your group can interactive ubiquitously (any time, at any pace and from any place!) I have had a great time joining a group of Christian Educators from different states whom I have never met to share common joys and experiences by texting, listening to each other’s voices and looking at images posted. It’s amazing how you can get to know people when you’ve never even met them. Can you imagine how much more effective it would be to communicate through Voxer with people you do know?
                                                                                             
How do you do that?

How do you get started with Voxer? Download the app and practice with your family. Next, propose this platform of communication to your Professional Learning Community because you can be anywhere in the world and never be out of touch. You never miss a message, you don’t have to repeat yourself and you have no interruptions. All your voice messages, text messages and images will be in one place. You can even use Voxer on your mobile devices and desktop devices.  If you download it and like Voxer, send me a message (text, audio or image!) to Karen C Seddon in Voxer. Happy communicating!



As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,
K