Friday, October 23, 2015

The Worth of SAMR

As the Instructional Technology Coordinator for Pequea Valley School District, it is my job to coach and train our teachers on industry standard, emerging, and any other technology of interest. We are very fortunate to be in a situation where we have a technology rich classrooms and environments! This age of teaching is so cool because we are shaping the future right now!

In our trainings we've been focusing heavily on the SAMR model developed by Ruben Pentedura. It's a great way for you to gauge at what level you are integrating technology to gain the most bang for your buck out of your time and technological investment. Watch the video below for a bit of explanation. 

Teachers are rightfully thinking about how to roll things out best in their classrooms for their students and with the four letter word of school in mind: TIME. SAMR can take time but when you consider the benefits of the global perspective, feedback cycles, authenticity, and myriad of other added benefits, it's really worth the effort and time to make it work. 

One PV teachers experience with SAMR at PV. There are many other amazing examples like it:

Mrs. Collins' class has created a blog where the teacher has posted content the students created to get the content out to the world. The teacher has also connected the students with others around the world through a platform called ePals. This platform allows teachers from around the world to connect their classroom via email, video conferencing, or the ePals platform alone! It's really awesome. 

See what the kids saw and what the teacher said below. This should convince you better than anything I can say about how worthwhile SAMR can be to the classroom environment you are cultivating as a teacher. 

Mrs. Collins says, "So my class iHELP members made some connections with other classrooms around the world using ePALS. One teacher in particular, George, from GHANA, AFRICA. :) They typed the message (from my point of view), and he responded. I thought it was great, because when they were checking the STATS from our blog they found that he actually looked at the blog as did the classroom we connected from in India. They were so proud of themselves. :)"

Christy invested the time, just like all the great teachers at PV do, in the tools that they know can empower the kids' education. She invested time in Blogger and ePals and is now seeing dividends from that time investment. As a teacher you really need the most bang for your buck! Find tools that you can use multiple ways, connect your kids to each others and the world, and will evolve with you as you grow. Master that small set of apps through the levels of SAMR, then move up the ladder with other additional apps that suit the same criteria listed above.

Christy's kids had the opportunity to extend their learning because of these connections and have opportunities for learning they wouldn't have otherwise! That's the coolest things, to be able to provide extended learning and unique opportunities!

This is just one example of how SAMR has helped us evolve education at PV. Our teachers go above and beyond to promote higher learning through multiple modes, such as SAMR and many others. It's why I'm #PVProud.

I hope this example can help you #SAMR and #edtech on! Let me know what else I can do to help. ~ Ryan

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mirror Your iPad to Your Mac with Quicktime

AppleTV is a great device to have but if you're shy $99 and have a Mac, there is another solution. Quicktime. That is if you have OS X Yosemite or newer!

When you tether, see also: plug-in, your iPad to your computer, open Quicktime --> New Movie Recording, you have the ability to begin mirroring your iPad to your Mac!

Once you click the carrot beside the record button, you should see your iPad as a camera source. Select your iPad as the camera source.

If you want to create a screencast of anything on from your iPad, simply follow the steps above, press Quicktime's record button and go to town! Your computers mic will pick up your audio, Quicktime will be capturing your every move on your iPad! Once you are finished you can save the file to your computer or begin compiling a "Playlist" in Google Drive like I suggest in this post.

Now if I only had a longer iPad cord...

Let me know what I can do to help you #Edtech on! ~ Ryan

Google Drive Addressing: How to Force "Make a Copy"

Ever spend time creating a document in Google Drive, share the link with students, ask them to follow the path File --> Make a Copy? There is just always somehow that one student that tunes out during that snippet of the directions and then A. Tells you they can't do anything to the document because they have View access or B. Edits your original, leaving you with a mess to clean up.

You are in luck, there is a better way! The process that I'm about to show you will work for Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Here's an example Anyone with the Link can view Sheet

 If you want the students to have a copy of this Goal Setting spreadsheet to enter their own scores and see how they are doing in class against their goal use this process.

Force Make a Copy

Usual Share Link:

Edited Link to Force Make a Copy

Students will see a Make a Copy screen like the one below: 

Video version: 

Note*: You can also force view only mode by changing the word edit to the word preview.

Let me know what I can do to help you #Edtech on! ~ Ryan

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Google Add-Ons and Writing

With Common Core, writing is more critical than ever and we are all teachers of writing! We are also in luck, there are great Google tools being developed to help us through the writing, revision, and editing processes. One such Add-On is called SAS Writing Reviser. 

SAS Writing Reviser

What this tool allows my students and I to do is check our writing for things like strong or weak verbs, repeated word usage, sentence variety, and much more. Signing up for an account is great because I can use my GAFE or other Google Account to sign up! Check out how and more on what SAS Writing Reviser has to offer in the video below. 

Revision Assistant

Revision Assistant is an add-on that allows you to add mark-ups to your or student writing in a easy and seamless manner. This tool would be great for marking up student work, or better yet, creating a peer revision feedback loop! You could have students add this add-on, share their writing with one another, then use Revision Assistant to mark-up each others writing! Check out the features of Revision Assistant below. 

I hope you found these Add-Ons to be an advantage to yourself and students. They will certainly move you up the SAMR ladder and Modify the way you do revising and editing in your classroom!

Please let me know how I can keep helping you #EdTech on! ~ Ryan 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Use Drive to Share Video Playlists

 Google Drive is a great way to work, collaborate, and share with anyone across the table or across the world. Video is no exception to these rules! Richard Byrne recently posted that he recommends privately sharing videos through Google Drive on his FreeTech4Teachers blog.

I would take what he says one step further. Frequent Drive users will already know that items within a shared folder, carry the same share settings as the folder, i.e. if the folder's share setting is "Anyone with the Link can View", then everything within the folder is automatically set "Anyone with the Link can View" unless you individually change the setting. This is great to be aware to because using this knowledge you can easily create a playlist within your Google Drive for students to access. Here's how:

  1. Create a folder in Drive, giving it a relevant name to the topic. 
  2. Set the share setting to "Anyone with the Link can View". 
  3. Add relevant videos to the folder, making sure the name of the video also includes a number in the order the viewer is supposed to watch the video. 
  4. Share the Link to the folder through your LMS, website, or social platform. 

Note: You can absolutely use other share settings to make the videos more private, such as privately adding singular people at a time to share the playlist. Anyone with the Link is just an easy way to share the playlist with an entire class of student through another password protected platform!

Thanks for reading! Hope you found it helpful! Let me know how I can continue to help you #EdTech! ~ Ryan