Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Newscast From The Past Using Green Screen by Do Ink In World History

Last year, we conducted the same learning opportunity, but some things were note perfect.
  • Students didn't stand in the correct place for adequate backgrounds
  • Students were expected to record and create all within the same small amount of time.
  • Students were sharing 30 iPads.
This year, we are organizing it differently.
  • Due to the flex mod schedule, I was able to teach the following information three times to all of our sophomore class students (about 350) in one day.
  • Students viewed the Green Screen during the entire large group mod to "make it real."
  • Students will sign up for a specific recording time.
  • Students will only use one iPad (we've purchased more iPads).
  • Students will have one one full week to create the video using the Green Screen app by Do Ink.

To practice and to show students an example, I created  a video for the iPadU Conference which I will  be speaking at in July.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

One of Three Things Happens To All Educational Information Acquired In A Learning Environment

Lately, I've added a few more podcasts to my learning network.  Because of this, "The Sport of Business", especially episode 49, has provided me with some thinking material.

Matt Scanlon, Business Mentor and owner/operator of CrossFit Memorial Hill in Kansas City, MO recently stated in a podcast that three things happen to businesses.

  • The Business Closes (goes out of business)
  • The Business is Sold (or acquired)
  • The Business Gets Passed On To Someone Else (as a legacy business)
Over the last week, I have been team teaching with Mr. Todd Rodal, allowing students to learn, comprehend, and present information based on four groups.  Students need to meet the objectives, but have choice in how they learn the information and in how they present the information.

Because of my recent team teaching experience and "The Sport of Business" podcast, I have added important information to designing lessons.  Of course, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and creativity are always prevalent while designing learning opportunities.  However, combining that with one of three things that happens to all educational information acquired in a learning environment may drive designing a lesson to new levels.
  • Students Disregard Content Closing It Out Of Their Brain
  • Students Ask More Questions To Dig Deeper Into A Concept
  • Students Pass On The "Amazing" Information That They Learned To Someone Else
Think about that!

Students take the information and disregard it!  They can't see how it relates to ANYTHING in their life.  To a greater degree, they start asking questions, because they are somewhat engaged and intrigued by the information that they would like to know more about it!  Finally, the information is so amazing, the students have asked so many questions to know more about it and feel motivated, compelled even, to tell someone else about how great the information is so that the information can be utilized by other people in a positive way.

The next time it's "lesson design" time, consider how the "three things that happen to all educational information acquired" will influence the educational experience for students.

Come to think of it, what are you going to do with the information in this blog post?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Adobe Slate on iPad Featuring The Flex Mod Schedule

This morning on Twitter, I discovered a presentation given at #NETA16 using Adobe Slate.  I liked the flow of the presentation as it resembled an elegant website.

I downloaded the free iPad app and embarked on creating my story.  I chose to highlight the unique features of the flex mod schedule in our high school. You can see the embedded presentation below or view it as its own webpage.
Click on the image below to view the Adobe Presentation.

I liked that an account needed to be created as it allows for individual creation on an iPad or on the web using a different device.

The user interface was self explanatory on the iPad.  The "+" sign is the key.  Multiple items can be added:

  • Photos
  • Text
  • Links
  • Videos
  • Photo Grids
  • Glideshows
Along with that many options for finding photos exists, including the iPad or Google Photos.

Adobe continues to produce and distribute some pretty incredible creation products for the iPad!  I'll add this to Adobe Draw and have one more option for students and teachers to use while presenting engaging information.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Snapchat In Education: I'm Using It; You Should, Too!

I'll admit it!

Snapchat was not my thing.  In fact, I know the very time and place I was TURNED OFF to Snapchat.

November 2013.

Pulaski High School Library.

A student (who shall remain nameless) stuck his finger up his nose, "snapped" a picture and sent it to a friend via the Snapchat app.

Immediately, I was not a fan.  I even "warned teachers" about the use of the app!

Fast forward three years, and I have found many uses, including but not limited to Spring Break!

I had been using Twitter for communicating with athletes, Instagram for sending images of team accomplishments, but truthfully, athletes weren't engaged.  I heard about all of the research.  Students are leaving Twitter and Facebook in droves for the more "personal" social media tools.  Always wanting to connect with students and meet them where they are at, I found a way to communicate with them.


I am able to see students' stories which allows me to have a connection with them.   For me, coaching athletes and connecting with them in a positive way is a continued need to build team unity!  I have challenged football players to "check in" everyday with "how they got better"! It's working!

I'm not the first educator to utilize the powers of Snapchat.

Michael Britt, adjunct professor at Marist College in upstate New York, uses it to provide real life situations his students are studying. He states, "The best way to learn new material is to try to personalize it."  He does this by creating "snaps" of concepts that pertain directly to items he sees in life.

While Mr. Anderson is not specifically using Snapchat, he is allowing one of his students to utilize Snapchat's drawing and text features to quickly annotate images in Anatomy & Kinesiology.

Even further, I see multiple businesses using Snapchat! (Over 10 Billion Videos A Day!)  They know where the customers are at.  Sports teams, especially Major League Baseball, recently had a "Snapchat Day". The entire day was devoted to Snapchat stories that gave tremendous behind the scenes action and drew me in closer to the team, especially my Dodgers!

Examples of Snapchat uses in education:
  • Sociology group dynamics - attaching terms to items viewed in local or global society 
  • Psychology - attaching terms and concepts to visuals that students can view
  • Mathematical concepts found in the world
  • Chemistry definitions that can be found in the world
  • Global Issues that can be found in geographical location of a high school
  • Civics definitions that are found while experiencing everyday situations
  • English - pointing out grammatical errors found in advertisements, news stories, and more
  • Motivational quotes and challenges for athletes
  • Reminders of upcoming opportunities for learning
  • Biology terms and real pictures of the objects
  • Environmental Science - sharing real world concepts!
Steps for connecting students to an educator.
  • Create an account after downloading the app on iOS or Android
  • Be sure to choose a name in which students or athletes will recognize you/your classroom
  • Get the settings to represent what you want.
  • Share your Snapchat handle in class
  • Start snapping
  • Talk with students about Digital Citizenship.  Sending inappropriate snaps can and will get you in trouble.  Even if the snaps go away, these images are present forever.  Explain to students that sending inappropriate snaps will get them blocked from classroom/athletic material.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Innovative Ideas: Objectives Met Through Choice In A Flex Mod Diversity Class

Through a conversation, I reached out to Mr. Rodal, Social Studies (Diversity Class), to provide an opportunity for students to meet specific objectives while choosing the product they create.

It's always a balance between "old school" education which entails read this, listen to this, and answer questions that somehow shows you understand the objectives that need to be met, and the "new school" movement that allows for students to meet objectives while choosing the path to acquire the information.  In addition, providing students the opportunity to "show what they know" in a creative fashion.  I say "balance" because this class is "transcribed" with a technical college which, in my opinion, is of the "old school" model for learning when comes to this class.

The objectives met with choice!

Mr. Rodal's students will

  • Discover the four main groups to study in a flex mod large group
  • Know the objectives that need to be met 
  • Propose (through a Google Form) why they should be able to study the group during a flex mod large group (partners are acceptable)
  • "Pitch" to their peers in a flex mod small group what their final product will be to display that they "know the objectives."
  • Peers provide feedback to each "pitch person" during flex mod small group
  • Students work during flex mod labs with students possibly not in their lab group through a collaborative technology tool.
  • Students "polish" the product during second flex mod large group
  • Students produce a "final product" showing objectives being met during a flex mod large group.
Students will be held accountable for "work time during the work day" during flex mod PLT (personal learning time) by acquiring signatures from monitors.

We would like technology to be used because of the skills we are seeking to master other than just the objectives.

All the resources can be found HERE

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Creative Methods For Bringing Characters To Life in College English

Really enjoyed teaching with Mr. Krause, College English teacher!  I thought we did a great job of presenting content together.  Each of us added relevant information in a timely manner to keep the presentation lively!

When done correctly, team teaching is a "whole lot of fun"!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Creator App on iPad Export as Movie and eBook

Book Creator App on the iPad which we have used since 2014, will be our creation tool of choice to create both videos and eBooks for "7 Minute Workouts" developed by students.  We chose the app because it can be published as an interactive eBook (suitable for the iBook app), a PDF, or a movie.  All of this can be sent to our Google Drive for sharing!  We also wanted the ability to have words, images, drawing, and embedded video.  Lastly, we wanted to try a different creation tool.  Readers of iPaddiction know that Explain Everything is a go to app, because it's that good!  We'll allow students to use this app to broaden their creativity toolbox. 

The Movie

The ePub Book that can be opened in iBooks. At this time, we are not sending books to iTunes so the iBooks are not interactive.

The PDF book that can be opened anywhere. Video examples of exercises won't work.

During the day, I team taught with Mrs. Logue and Mr. Karcz.  I taught two of the classes while Mrs. Logue observed.

During the third class, Mrs. Logue taught the entire technology piece.  I supported her a few times during her presentation.  However, she did a great job of teaching with confidence.  This was a perfect demonstration of the gradual release teaching strategy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Innovation Ideas Opportunity For AP Students

Everyone associated with high school AP (Advanced Placement) classes knows that "after the test" can be a challenging time to engage and empower student to continue to learn.  This year, through the original creation of Ms. Slusarek, I adapted the Genius Hour she created for her Spanish I students to Innovation Ideas that any content teacher could use.

Mr. Martinson, AP Stats, and Mrs. Krause, AP European History, spent one hour apiece with me understanding, learning, and designing what a two to four week "Innovation Ideas" learning opportunity looks in their classes.  We really want students to find their passion relating to a concept or two that was learned during the year.

Students will need to

  • Find passion utilizing tools such as the "Passion Bracket"
  • Devise a question that will help them create a product
  • Create a "Shark Tank" pitch for peers with constructive feedback
  • Develop several quality steps to accomplish the learning
  • Create a final presentation of concepts learned and problems solved
  • Reflect on Epic Fails and Epic Successes
For those teachers who have seniors and a smaller time frame, we will utilize a Canvas assignment for uploading of the presentation slides along with an audio recording of their final presentation.  If seniors want to video tape a presentation they can do that as well.


All of the resources can be "copied" by clicking "File" then "Make A Copy".  They can be customized to the teacher's content.

From a technology stand point, we are focusing on "creativity" and "communication".  As educators, we are asking students to complete tasks and reflect on the process.  We will do that as educators as well with the entire process.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I Finally Bought It!

I finally bought it!

You know, my first domain name.

I've been talking about it for years.  I've even told other people it's a great idea.  We had a Lunch N' Learn in 2013 to inform staff about how to positively brand yourself online.  I've provided students with three digital artifacts that they should have prior to leaving high school.  One of those things being a positive professional website.

If I'm being honest, I first wrote a blog post at in 2008.  I was tentative in posting my name as I really wasn't sure if I wanted or if it was safe to be placing my name and image all over the place.  In 2007, I actually signed up for Twitter using my real name, but automatic, unwanted computer bots were retweeting and following using all Twitter user names.  It was unnerving at a time when the WWW was really not fully understood.  I deleted my "real name" Twitter account.  In November 2009, I came up with an idea to use RecessDuty and didn't put my picture in my profile.  I accumulated Twitter followers, without my real name.  I even experienced in 2014 being at a conference where I tweeted something.  The man two seats away from me looked back at his friend and said, "Hey, RecessDuty is here!" I cautiously looked at him and said, "I know...I'm him!"

In 2010, I started videoing every activity that we used the iPads for while teaching 8th grade students.  I never video taped me.  It was always about the students and the innovative, educational practices we utilized in everyday lessons.

I've presented in so many places, but for some reason, I was uncomfortable putting my face on the web.

It started to change this year.  I'm not sure why, but it hit me.  You've been telling everyone to "write their story, yet you aren't writing your own story."

I was impressed and encouraged along the way by people such as Tony Vincent,  Kelly Croy, Andy Losik, George Couros, and many others. I decided to use to buy my domain I am so glad I did.   Customer service has been great.  The personal dashboard has been easy to use.

I'll encourage you (educators, students, leaders), if you haven't done so already get yourself a domain name and write your story!  Every educator should write their own story and positively portray themselves online.  You're doing great things in your classroom. Tell people about it!

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