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…

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Economy of Class

In the words of Pink Floyd, “Money, get away. Get a good job with more pay and you’re ok.”

I chose to return to the classroom this year and one of the biggest challenges of being a classroom teacher is finding a way to motivate students.

I hesitate to say classroom management because no one wants to be managed. They want to be motivated. Maybe that’s what I’ll call it: classroom motivation plan.

To read the specifics of set up and resources, check out My Classroom Economy. In addition, I have students deposit their money into their Bankaroo. Keep in mind with Bankaroo you are limited to 1 class of max 30 students.

I want to talk more about the impact it has had on my classroom.

1) Addressing curriculum – math and social studies:
I started out giving students their balance, but after two weeks of doing banking everyday I gave students their previous balance and had them add and subtract based on if they were depositing, withdrawing, or purchasing. Likewise, when students made purchases of multiples of the same thing, they started out doing repeated addition and moved to multiplication when they were ready. Economics are a required part of 3rd grade curriculum in Nevada. When certain items became popular, I raised the price and we talked about supply and demand.

2) Building community:
One of the positive side effects to using a classroom economy is that it allows students to build up the sense of community among them. I have students who choose to loan money to other students and purchase things for their friends. Likewise, they can share ideas for rewards or fines. Students with behavior plans or point sheets, have consistent motivation. I reward my students who use point sheets by paying them for earning 9 or more positive behavior points for the hour.

3) Natural and real life consequences:
Perhaps the most obvious natural benefit to using a classroom economy is that students get to see the results of their choices and how it impacts their financial well-being. They get to experience what is necessary to get what they want and see the consequences of negative choices as well. Financial literacy is something absent from our everyday curriculum and this is one way to begin to include it in a meaningful way. This is especially beneficial for students who do not have the advantage of receiving financial education at home.

If you would like to know more about my workflow, please tweet me: @WebersWords

E Highlighter for Close Reading

by @chocolateteacher

eHighligher is a pretty nifty way to integrate both physical books and technology into your close reading activities.  The app is reasonably priced at $1.99 and offers real value with minimal risk.

Say you are using a text book, reading a novel with your students, engaging in research, or having students read independently with certain goals in mind.  You have iDevices at your disposal and you want to integrate notetaking and transcription into the activity.  eHighlighter could be a tool you might employ.

Have Barcode? Will Scan

The first thing I love about the app is that you can acquire a books bona fides (title, Author’s name, and publisher) by just scanning the book’s barcode.  The app uses WorldCat, “The World’s Largest Library Catalog,” for reference and the speed in which it returns results is impressive.

If you’d rather search for the book and edition you possess, that option is available as well as just manual entering the information.

You scan a barcode and..."Voila!"

You scan a barcode and…”Voila!”

If you can take a picture…

Then you can bring in your text pretty easily.  Once the picture is added, you’ll have options to add page numbers, any notes and tags, which will give you the ability to organize any work you’ve done.

Take picture, bring in your text

Take picture, bring in your text

Adding a Note (for Metacognition)

Want a response to a text dependent question?  Want to record an “Aha!” moment, a question about the text, or something to bring up during class discussion? Make a note of it.

Notes for Metacognition? That's convenient.

Notes for Metacognition? That’s convenient.

Transcribe

You’ll be prompted to add highlights to the beginning and ending of the text you’d like to have transcribed.  This is my only real beef with the app.  It can take a while to transcribe something.  The good thing is that I wouldn’t necessarily be using the device for transcription as the original image and note you take are always available for viewing.

Even if the transcription process is labored, the functionality of the app makes it one that both teachers and students could use effectively.

It's not perfect, but it's pretty darn close

It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn close

Yakit, Hack it

by @chocolateteacher

I love Yakit kids. All the apps in which one can manipulate pictures tend to make me smile. It seems I’m easily assumed.  Yakit kids can be applied to many aspects of your classroom besides the obvious ones.  This app can tilt the “Dopeness” scale positively and it’s really easy to use.  Even my kindergarten friends on my day job can manipulative it pretty adroitly.

A Portrait of a Student as a Strange Man (or Woman)

I was never a great artist.  Try as I might, my dream of being Van Gogh took a rather large tumble quite early in life.  I still love to doodle and draw however.  If you want to integrate a bit of art into your classroom duirng your literacy block, you might do this…

1. Have students choose a character from a story that you’re reading.  It could be independent reading or a story everyone is enjoying.

2. Give out some construction paper or printer paper and ask students to choose a scenario that the character finds herselfr or himself in.  They should be mindful of the setting, the character’s attitude, and actions during the scenario.

3.  Have the students draw the character by beginning with a large circle (or another shape) as the head.  DO NOT HAVE STUDENT ADD EYES, EYEBROWS, LIPS, OR A NOSE.

4. Add a rendition of the setting that the character finds herself or himself in the background.

5.  Open the Yakit App on your iDevice and click on the camera to take a picture of the newly drawn artistic work.

6.  Have students add whatever flourishes they’d like, including the eyes, nose, mouth, etc., and then record themselves as if they are the character.

7.  Finished products can be shared by text message, AirDrop, Cloud Storage, or with an app like WeTransfer rather easily.

Tutorials

Now, this one takes a little more imagination.  Apps like Doceri, Educreations, Showme are far easier apps to pull tutorials off. They’re not half as much fun to use as Tellagami or Yakit kids because you can add an avatar or speaking image and you have to use a little ingenuity.

One way you might use Yakit kids to have students do tutorials, say in math, is the following.

1. Have students write a math problem down on something.  I’d use a white board personally, but you could just use a sheet of paper. Then take a picture of the white board from within the Yakit kids app.

2. Have students script how the problem would be solved.  Using storyboarding here would be awesome.

3. Armed with a script, pull in one of the characters into the scene in Yakit kids.  Have students record the first part of script/storyboard, then immediately stop as soon as they are done.

4. Press “Add a Scene” and change your math problem to fit the criteria necessary for the next part of the script/storyboard.

5. Add the new picture and continue the same process until the problem is explained.

*The only issue with this functionality is that there is a limit amount of recording time. 

You can just keep it Basic

So if you want to be basic, just use Yakit to take a selfie and make it run it’s mouth.  This is great for any subject area.  Also, you can just bring in any picture of any figure from historical period and then make him or her bend to your will.  To avoid complications with copyrights, one might acquire pictures from a site like Photos for Class so citations will be made for you.