Friday, December 1, 2017

Links and Loves

Sometimes the power of technology, computer science and education amazes me. It has been a week of learning, exploring and creating.

Next week is the Hour of Code. Many jobs today require employees to code or program in some way. Coding is what makes this possible.

Since it is the season to listen to holiday music, why not try Incredibox and make your own music??  You can even share your musical creation.

What if Holocaust Survivors Could Teach Your Class? I love this idea! Virtual Reality is such an amazing learning tool.

Inserting images on Docs, Slides or Drawings has changed.  The ability to take a screenshot is no longer available.  Perhaps this extension or this extension can help with taking screenshots?

The 70 / 30 Principle - Who’s working harder?  In my opinion, today’s students should be much more active in the learning process.  

As I enjoy my weekend, I'm going to think about all of the ways that technology makes my everyday life easier, richer and more enjoyable.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Five Sites for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

What is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the ability for computers to perform tasks that are usually performed by humans such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translations in languages.

Machine Learning is a type of AI where computer systems learn to make decisions based on collected data.

After listening to the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast on the topic of AI and Machine Learning,  I was inspired to write this post.

Here are some examples of AI and Machine Learning that you can use in your classrooms.

Quick Draw by Google - Draw the object and see if the computer system can recognize the object. 

Auto Draw - a game where the computer tries to guess what you're drawing and lets you replace your drawing with an artistic drawing.
I drew a turkey

Here is one of the recommended artistic images

Mystery Animal - The computer pretends to be an animal, and you have to guess what it is using your voice.  Ask 20 yes or no questions to see if you can guess the animal. 

Story Speaker  - Create talking, interactive stories with no coding required.  Just write your story in a Google Doc with the Story Speaker extension.  Create forks in the story similar to a choose your own adventure. Then play the story and ask the reader to answer, with voice, which choice they want. The story continues according to the reader's choice.  The stories can be written quickly using the templates. Try this one out.  Use the chat feature if you don't have Google Home.  Remember to get the extension.

Teachable Machine -  Teach a machine using your camera with no coding needed. Use gestures in your camera to have various actions take place such as playing a gif, making a sound, or speech commands. Machine Learning is difficult to understand until you show others this site and how it works.

I hope you check out these sites to keep up-to-date with the latest advancements in technology such as AI and Machine Learning. Share these with your friends, colleagues and students. Enjoy!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Links and Loves

It has been a week filled with great technology learning moments.

I attended the Amplify CollaborateIT conference on Tuesday. Here are some of the incredible takeaways from the keynote speaker, John McElligott who talked about Embracing Disruption. John works at York Exponential in Pennsylvania. He spoke about Robotics,  Humanized Computing and mind controlled bionic arms OH MY!  To say the least, I was in my techy element.

This week I listened to this podcast - Is Facebook Spying on You? Have you experienced talking about a product and then having it appear on your Facebook Ads?

This book was recommended to me and I’m going to start reading it over Thanksgiving break. It’s about coping with the exponential increase in computing power.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. A friend made me a turkey placeholder like this one.  Simple and fun!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Links and Loves

Happy Veteran’s Day - today and tomorrow I celebrate all of the men and women that serve or have served in our military. Thank you to Andrew Schaller for putting together this honor wall at Oshkosh West High School. My Uncle Jerry Kunde is on this wall.

I listened to this podcast this week which gave me so many things to think about and consider with technology and deep thinking.  Are we using the applications and tools to the fullest potential?

Did you read my blogpost on Ways to Use Animation for Student Projects and Engaging Lessons?  It amazes me how far animation and 3D design has come in just a few years.

This week I am working with a teacher and her students to record a Ted Talk using Flipgrid. I also set up a new BreakoutEDU, a scrapbooking and card making station and we finished a pixel art poster in the Innovation Lab.

This week, someone surprised me with free printable pumpkins for our Innovation Lab. What a thoughtful thing to do.

And yesterday, I received a Boogie Board with Liquid Crystal Paper from Blackboard to try out. Think of a modern, cutting-edge way to take notes and share them digitally.

It has been a productive week and I'm thankful for all of the wonderful surprises.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How to Use Animation for Student Projects and Engaging Lessons

Animation Comes in Many Forms

Using animation tools can help to add engagement, creativity and technological knowledge for students . Animations can also add excitement to your lessons. With plenty of applications for animation, the days of static imagery and boring presentations are long gone. Here are some of the possibilities.

Create looping Gifs 
ABCya Animate or Giphy can be used to make looping animations called gifs. Students could show a process, change over time or movement through a gif. 

With ABCya Animate, students can create scenes that will play in a short animated video.  This site seems most appropriate for elementary and middle school students, however, when I showed this recently to some high school students, they enjoyed creating gifs and with the ability to add your own images this site becomes more attractive. 

Giphy can be used to upload a series of images to turn into a gif or a paste in the url of a YouTube video and select a portion to turn into a gif.


Comic Strip Animation
Sometimes an appropriate way to show learning or creativity is through a comic strip. With the growing popularity of graphic novels and of animated films, comic strips are a popular choice for student creation.

MakeBeliefsComix is a simple comic strip creator that has a very low learning curve. No account is needed to use this site and the options for sharing include email, print or save image as a png (image file). Add backgrounds, characters, thought bubbles and objects easily. Use the selection window to customize the look of each item being added. Here are 25 ways to use Make Beliefs Comix in the classroom.

StoryboardThat is one of the most advanced free comic strip creators out there. With the ability to edit and customize every frame and object in the comic, students will be able to create very detailed and realistic comics.

3D Animation
With the advancements in 3D printing and virtual reality and 3D animation in movies, this technology is of interest to most students and educators. Uses in the classroom might include creating 3D models, designing home decor or jewelry, prototyping a product, creating unique objects, character creation for games or displaying objects for viewing.

TinkerCad is a free online 3D design tool where the user can add or import shapes, adjust those shapes to exact dimensions, rotations or levels, and combine shapes to build models, characters or objects. Download as a stl file for 3D printing on a 3D printer.

SketchFab is a place to create, upload, view and share your 3D creations online. Import a stl file (stl is a file for 3D viewing and printing), perhaps from TinkerCad, and enjoy the ability to edit your creation. Use the SketchFab app on your phone to view your creation in VR mode.

Animation Videos
The days of boring presentations and still imagery are going away. With the ability to create animated catchy videos and avatars, today's students can delve into exciting new options.

Powtoon is free, easy to use and helps to create clever and entertaining videos and presentations. With ready-made templates, a simple click and drag interface, a quick voiceover tool and easy animations, Powtoon is a great choice for student and teacher creation. 

Voki is a great free tool for creating an animated avatar with some features available with a premium account.  Add a computer generated voice or your own voice to send a spoken message to your audience. Create avatars that resemble a real person, characters from a story, historical figures, famous people, etc.  
click here
I hope this blog post inspires you and your students to give animation a try. I love all of the possibilities and options.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

CheckMark - Give Feedback and Grade Writing Quickly

CheckMark is an Extension for Giving Feedback Quickly

Classrooms continue to become more and more paperless with writing assignments in Google Docs and extensions such as CheckMark can make the process of giving feedback and grading writing assignments much more timely and efficient.

Here is how the extension works. First add the extension in the Chrome Web Store. Once you have added the extension, open a writing assignment in Google Docs. 

Next click on the extension to turn the check mark green.

Then highlight any word or group of words and a popup list of possible comments will appear. 

If the popup list does not appear, you may need to click on the Secure or i next to the url to allow for popups. 

When you hover over an icon in the list, the feedback text will show.  When you click on a icon, the feedback will be added to the Google Doc as a comment. 

Here are all of the choices for possible feedback that can be given.  If you wanted to give feedback that is not on this list, you could simply insert a comment by highlighting text and typing in the feedback. The difference is with the CheckMark extension, you do not need to type anything in for the comment to appear. Simply selecting the icon will insert the comment.

Giving critical feedback in a timely manner is important for increasing student engagement. Students should know if they are doing things correctly or if there are areas that they can improve on. The Chrome extension CheckMark can help teachers to add comments quickly and give this critical feedback to students.  If you give this extension a try, let me know how it works for you.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Links and Loves

Happy Fall Ya’ll

Today is my Friday, so I’m sharing some Links and Loves a little early.

I want to try making these pumpkins - this is called Hydro Dipping and it is sooooo interesting!  Or perhaps I will make these since they look simple.

This is an excellent video for National Stop Bullying Month (October)

The people of Puerto Rico are getting some help with Internet through Project Loon.  Read more about Project loon and other moonshot thinking projects here.

Padlet now has
voting and grading. Woo Hoo!  I use Padlet all of the time.

One of my goals this fall is to eat healthy and prep meals for the week on the weekend. Here are some recipes I’ve been giving a try.  I made the Quinoa and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash and it was so flavorful! And because I had a lot of leftover Quinoa, I also made this recipe. YUMMMMMMM!  Finally, I’ve been savoring this lovely zucchini bread.  You can follow my healthy (low carb) recipes on Pinterest.

Happy Halloween and stay safe.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Survival Tips to Get You Through the Day

Survival Tips

Today's post is all about knowing a few tips for helping you to survive your incredibly busy day.

Create that To Do List with Gmail Tasks:
If you are like me, you probably get a lot of emails throughout the day.  I often don't have time to deal with emails right away, but I don't want to forget to go back and take care of them later.  One way I manage the emails that come through is to add them to my task list. 

Click on the box to select the email, click on "more" and "add to tasks". The task list will appear at the bottom of your screen. 

Later when you are ready to take care of the email, open up your task list. To open the Task List click on the top left corner where it says Gmail and choose tasks.

Look under the tasks that you have saved and click on "related email" and the email that is associated with the task will open up.  Click on the box in the Task List next to the email item to mark the email as dealt with.

Save your Browser Tabs for Later
The Chrome extension called Tab Cloud will allow you to save all of your open tabs so that you can open them at a later time. You can also save all of the tabs that you need for a lesson and easily open the tabs at the beginning of class.
Open Webpages with One or Two Letters
Did you know that you can edit your Chrome browser search engine?
Simply RIGHT click in the omni box (where the url is located) and click on Edit Search Engines

If there is a site that you go to often, you can add the site to your search engine and determine the letter or letters you will type in to the omni box to open the site. Under Other Search Engines, click on Add and fill in the following information
  • Search Engine is what you would call the site. For example Amazon or District web site
  • Keyword is the letter or letters that you will type in the omni box
  • URL is the complete url of the site

Now, when you type in the key letters in the omni box and hit enter, the site will automatically load. You can also edit the existing saved search engines to have shorter keywords .

I hope these survival tips were helpful. Do you have a survival tip for getting through the day (tech related)? Please share.