We sent our young man off to school this morning. For the first time, he was quite excited to get back into the routine. I think the summer was a little too long, if that is possible. He was ready to see his friends. Hope all of you had a fun and productive summer. We had a lot going on the past three months, so there wasn’t much down time.
One highlight of the summer (besides the gardening project, MultiMedia PD event, and all the fun workshops in schools) for me was that I finally made it to ISTE! San Diego was lovely, too. While the temps were in the 100′s here in Kentucky, it was a pleasant 65-75 degrees there. I came home to the shocking, oppressive heat.
It was the largest and most fantastic conference I have ever experienced – a little overwhelming at times, but I sure learned a lot. Here are some of the tricks and tools I learned about (many of you may already know about these, but they were new to me).
Want a more secure passcode setting on your iPad? You can create an extended passcode. The default simple passcode has four digits, but you can choose many more digits and they don’t have to be just numeric. Here’s how:
SETTINGS>GENERAL>PASSCODE LOCK>SIMPLE PASSCODE (turn off – if you already have a passcode, you will need to enter it in order to get in to change it). Then you will be able to enter your new passcode and have access to all keyboard characters.
Also, the volume switch can take a picture so that you can have more stability. Don’t forget the grid option as you compose your shot.
Cool Free/Affordable Apps/Sites:
- zite: customizable content by topic. It creates your own personal “magazine.” One stop for all the articles you like and suggestions based on your interests. Kinda like Netflix is with recommending videos based on what you watch. FREE
- flipboard: a personalized magazine of all things shared with you (facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, youtube, etc.) FREE
- notability: great for storyboarding, has audio capability – said to be the best notebook app out there. You can handwrite notes, annotate pdf’s, sync with your dropbox, advanced word processing, audio recording, media insertion, library organization.
- paperport: a lot like notability, but limited in options. Still very good, audio, shareable files, freehand note-taking, etc. FREE
- FotoPlanet: tons of creative commons photos
- iAmJazz for iPad: direct a jazz band. FREE
- appshopper.com and the App Shopper app: see a list of freebies, organize your apps wish list, get updates when they go on sale, keep track of apps you own with push notification to automatically sends updates to your device. Track price drops. Display the current top 200 apps. Sync app with website. FREE
- Team Shake: puts a group of people into teams for sports or any other reason. It’s random, so there are no questions of favoritism.
- Group Games: provides team building, ice breakers, and other game ideas. There is also a Group Games Guide for Facilitators and Teachers that’s more directed toward P.E., drama, outdoor games.
- Formative Feedback for Learning: allows for collaboration between teachers and students (or other groups) in conference setting. Uses camera to play back video that can be marked up by students for feedback.
- Apps Gone Free: a website that lists the best free apps of the day. It’s based on Pacific time, so one has to be aware of that. It’s recommended that you check the price in the app store before installing the free app because vendors’ prices can change at any time.
- Garage Band: a portable podcast studio and don’t forget about the different amps you have to choose from.
- TodaysMeet: allows for comments and follow up information after a workshop is conducted. There is an option as to how long (up to one year) you want to keep the “room” active. FREE
- Idea Sketch: mind map, diagram, flow chart, etc. for storyboarding. FREE
- Yogile: free acct for sharing photo albums via email – keeps up to 30 days and is password protected
- Comic Life: sketch storyboard with images to make a comic strip
- Fotobabble: iPod touch or iPhone only – instantly share narrated slideshow with others, includes photo editing capabilities and filters.
- SonicPics: for Narrated Slideshow – snap photos, narrate, and share
Other Awesome Organizations and Resources:
Taking It Global is a non-profit organization cased in Toronto and Ontario that provides an online social networking community that deals with global environmental issues and gives youth a voice in how to make a change for their futures. They claim that this social network came out prior to myspace and facebook. It’s really a very cool organization and the resources are free for all.
- The education component supplies a virtual learning platform, PD, global learning programs, and database of curriculum-linked resources for all content areas and levels to teachers.
- More components include live international events where students are taking action to save the forests in various locations around the world. The current focus is Borneo. http://treadlightly.tigweb.org/ and http://dfa.tigweb.org/
- They also have an app: http://www.commit2act.org activation code: INSPIRE
Special Event on Sept. 22, 2012: International observance of the moon. Sounds pretty cool.
“Look! I’m Learning!” A Story of Digital Learning Success is a full length film about a new revolution led by kids that tells a much larger story inside the experiences of early elementary teachers that go ‘one-to-one’ using mobile learning devices with their students, forever transforming teaching and learning in their hometowns.” Screenings are available in Oct. The film will be available on youtube in November. Saw the trailer at the conference but you can take a look at the site, too.
If any of schools are looking for ways to get extra funding, FundingFactory seems to be a good place look. It’s green fundraising. No one has to sell anything, schools just collect and ship unwanted inkjet/laser cartridges, small electronics, and cell phones to FundingFactory to earn points that can be redeemed for technology, equipment, or cash.
TeachersFirst is a free repository of resources.
The Science Bank is a free library of humane science products (realistic modules, DVD’s, CD-ROMS, mannikans in multiple quantities) that are available for loan in the science classroom.
Also, wanted to give you some PBS updates:
- NewsHour: Student Reporting Labs connect “6-12 after school programs to local PBS stations/journalists to produce unique, youth-perspective news reports on national issues.”
- Women and Girls Lead is an interesting resource about issues women and girls face.
- Recommended films for the classroom (part of Community Classroom): Wham! Bam! Islam! and FUTURESTATES (short films and gr. 9-12 lesson plans)
Again, check out this crazy line of people waiting to get in on the PBS goods. I believe there were well over 100 people in line. The booth was basically a block and folks were lined up two aisles away! Go PBS! It was great to see and talk with these folks that I have emailed or spoken with in teleconferences.
We have quite a few new resources and announcements coming soon. There have been a lot of interesting and fabulous developments over the summer. You will be hearing more about:
- Formative Assessment PD
- Think Garden
- The Social Studies Arts Toolkit
- PBS LearningMedia
- New KET Virtual Physics Labs
- New Distance Learning Courses
- and much more!
Have a terrific start to the new school year, and, as always, we look forward to working with you.