Increased Apptitude: VixT

 

Video Mashups are fun.  You see them ubiquitously strewn throughout social media spaces.  They make us laugh.  They make us think.  They make us want to create one.  Why not use them in your classroom for instructional purposes? VixT allows you to do just that easily on your iOS or Android device.

Having students create video mash up poems, exit tickets, or answers to questions could add a little extra spice to lessons with minimal investment.

Need help getting started? Check out their Youtube Channel! 

Anchor Yourself

You came back!

I’m excited you’re here.

Let’s talk anchor charts.
Why are they good practice?
They reference processes, procedures, and concepts.
They are easily accessible.
How would going digital extend their effectiveness?
They would be accessible when kids (and you) are not in the classroom.
They won’t get damaged or lost.
They can be remixed.
What tools would you use to build them?

Powerpoint/Keynote/Slides

Canva

Piktochart

Paper by 53 (iOS)

Try one of those. Tomorrow.

Build one chart. Take something you already made and make it digital. Don’t feel like it has to be brand new.

Oh and good job today. You nailed it.

Dynamic Duo(Book)

Though the selection of text is a bit scant at the moment, this app has some serious potential.  Duobook allows you to alternate between reading a story and having it read to you.
The only real impediment to use in a classroom is that one must create an account via a phone number.  This could potentially complicate the use of the app in a K-8 classroom as I’m unsure at this point the maximum number of devices one (the teacher) can be logged into at once.  In addition, the stories have to be downloaded which could present issues for 16gb devices.
Overall, it’s a solid product that would only get better with more offerings, especially those geared toward early readers.

Get Ghost: A New Browser’s Possible Impact on Classrooms

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The internet is a fount of knowledge that is important to tap during school.  In order to access its vast amount of information, there are number of different options.  Firefox. Safari. Chrome.  But there’s a new browser that I’ve begun using that might be a game changer for students and teachers alike.

The Ghost Browser bills itself as a tool for tech professionals, but it has a few applications that educators might want to take advantage of.

Having limited computers

Say you’re a teacher at a GAFE school and you have less computers than students.  One of the complications that could arise could be multiple students sharing the same computer.  While you could have every student create profiles in Chrome, it still wouldn’t give students the ability to all have their information available immediately.

Groups (File > New Group) is a function of Ghost that allows one to have multiple log ins in one window.  This would allow multiple students to be logged into different gmail accounts in the same window.  While one wouldn’t attempt this without some digital citizenship lessons, it would be a feasible way to make computer usage in a classroom a little more efficient.

Each group tab is given it’s own distinguishing color which makes it great for very quickly viewing information. When links are accessed from a group or tabs are opened from them, they remain associated with the group.

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I have three groups opened and I’m logged into three different Google Accounts.

Research

The other great thing about groups is the research possibilities.  One could have multiple streams of information from multiple projects or ideas all color coded in a single window.  For tab hoarders like myself, this is a wonderful way to stay organized…and sane.

Social Media

If you’re teacher that is managing multiple social media accounts, Ghost is a godsend.  Using the groups tool, you can be logged into multiple Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram accounts for example.  This is a great functionality as I have my own social media presence and manage social media for my day job as well. Ghost gives me the ability to very easily divide separate business from pleasure.

Chromium

I love Google Chrome and it’s currently my default browser.  It’s fast and it’s simple. I instruct my students using Google Chrome.   That’s another reason love Ghost. One of the best things is that Ghost is built on Chromium.  If you’re a Chrome user, the interface will be familiar. It’ll allow you add Google Chrome extensions meaning you’ll not lose the functionality that Chrome gives, while acquiring some cool new abilities.

 

 

Pitch…Perfect?

Here at Hoodlum Central, we believe in Design Thinking. We integrate it into most things we do and it’s been pretty fruitful both in our day jobs and in our business practices.

No matter which flavor of Design Thinking one subscribes to, ideation is essential. You can’t prototype anything if you don’t have a smorgasbord of ideas to play with. While Webs and I generally do this with the Googles, I recently came across a tool I hope to use during my 9-5 hustle. Pitchcard seems like a promising tool to use in a classroom looking to encourage designing.

Pitchcard allows you to ideate publicly if you wish. You title your idea, choose a color, and then write a brief (200 word) description, which I think is awesome. Being forced into being concise allows one to hone the “spirit” of the idea more authentically in my opinion.

Once your idea is placed on the card, you can distribute it publicly on social media or privately via email.

The feedback that your idea garners is sent to the email that was entered which hopefully allows one to refine the idea into a better concept.

Classroom Applications

GAFE

If you are at a GAFE school, one could utilize this tool pretty easily. Everyone of your students would have an email address, giving them the ability to send ideas to classmates efficiently and to archive the feedback so that it could be referred to when needed. Generating feedback on ideas for projects and writing assignments just got #mosexy.

Exit Tickets

Looking for thoughts about what students learned during class? Don’t want to create a Google Form or use Exittix? This is a pretty streamlined way to gather information from your students about what they learned or struggled with during the school day.

Lesson Feedback

So you want to know if your lesson was the bomb or just bombed? Send a Pitchcard to your students and allow for feedback.

Lesson Plan ideas

Send a Pitchcard to colleagues about an idea for your have for that quantum physics lesson and see what they say.

A Open Ear to the World

Say you’re a teacher with very little technology at her disposal and you’d like to use the tool. If you had a classroom email or social media setup, you could have students generate ideas that could be posted for feedback and then disseminate that feedback to students. Class project could be #mosexy if you sent a Pitchcard rather than used snail mail or limited contributions to conversations in the room.

In short, Pitchcard is a tool I hope to roll out next week during my day job. Students will be pitching video game ideas and Pitch could be a very slick way of making students feel even more empowered.

There in a Gif-fy…

I love making gifs. LOVE it. I just recently became aware of the a new site called Gifs which is pretty “baller” as Webs would say. It makes making gifs insanely easy from media that is already uploaded on Youtube or to upload gifs you’ve made on your device. It’s free.99. It’s ease of use definitely has implications for your classroom especially if you’re a GAFE school. ***As always, set your students up for success and model proper digital citizenship. **

Exit Tickets

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? A gif is worth a million views. Have students stretch their creativity in order to describe what they learned in class and how they feel about it.
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Assessments

Instead of having students write responses to questions, have them answer in gifs. The created gifs have links that can be placed in Google Forms, Wizer, GoFormative , etc. Talk about taking the mundane and making it the magical.
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Projects

So one of the things one can do with gifs is have students use them to present research. They embed nicely in websites, blog posts, and learning management systems.
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Teaching with gifs is pretty slick as well. Embed them into your Smart Notebook files and ClassFlowsto help students visualize information. The entertainment value is priceless and it’ll make your lessons far more unforgettable. Just ask Drake…

//gifs.com/embed/NknPWN

Express-o Yourself: Adding a little caffeine to your writing

I’ve been a Hemingway user for a while. I even bought the Mac App because, though it’s not omniscient, the feedback it provides me is invaluable to the content I create. This allows me to reflect on the decisions I made while writing which hopefully lessens the number of mistakes I’ll have to have someone else help me find.

That being the case, another product I’ve begun using is Expresso, which is currently in BETA. Expresso is a little more “busy” than Hemingway and it also does a good job of spurring one to reflection. I won’t go into how to use the product as there is a “How to use” page, but the classroom uses are pretty evident.

Vocabulary Acquisition

The most obvious usage of the app is for kids to expand their vocabularies. The app can find synonyms for words used in the text that is either typed or pasted in. It turns these words green and lists possible words that are synonymous. Great for teachers with “word graveyards” in their classes or logophiles of all ages.

Parts of Speech

The app also does an analysis on the parts of speech used. Have an activity where students need to practice using a particular part of speech? This is a pretty nifty way to track it.

Twitter Chat

Looking to stream line your writing? Expresso identifies filler words for you. I quite like filler words sometimes so many times I ignore this functionality. However, if under the rule of the dreaded “Word Count,” this could be maximized to weed out words that you included in your verbosity.

Remember the app is in BETA and hopefully it will get even better. The Expresso App is currently Free.99 and waiting to be utilized in a classroom near you.