This year I moved to teaching middle school science. I teach two classes of each grade six, seven and eight. In addition we are starting a VEX IQ Robotics Team and our first Science Olympiad team. Interest for these two activities has been high and we are hoping to have a successful first year. Feel free to share any tips, tricks or websites to help!
This should have been written sooner but my summer has flown by. Since I got home from DENSI on July 20, I had two additional adventures. First, I had a booth at the Maker Faire Detroit at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. After that I was part of a high adventure trek to the Florida Sea Base in the Florida Keys. We spent four days on Big Munson Island. During our adventure we did deep sea fishing, night snorkeling on Patch Reef, kayaking through the mangroves and snorkeling on Looe Key.
The Discovery Education Summer Institute (DENSI) has been the best professional development I have ever experienced. Even though I knew just a few people through online connections, I felt immediately at home. New connections were made and old ones were strengthened. Everyone was willing to share what they knew and help with any challenges you may have.
At many professional development sessions I feel lucky if I can get one good idea to bring back to my school or classroom. All of the sessions here were filled with good ideas I will use in my classroom and school. The keynotes made you think of education differently and inspired you to do more.
The activities (formal and informal) were a blast! We had a great time at Shelburne Museum and Farm. I think the quilt and the circus exhibits were my favorites. We also attended a Vermont Lake Monsters baseball game and got to run the bases afterwards. At the dorms there were late night TV theme song trivia games (Thanks Dean Shareski!) and Artemis missions (Starship simulator Thanks Steve Dembo!).
It didn’t feel like a professional development experience, it felt more like going to camp with the coolest people and learning together. It really was an amazing experience and I look forward to more to come!
Its been a crazy year, but I recently got some great news. I have been invited to attend the Discovery Education Summer Institute in Burlington, Vermont this July. Its going to be a great week of professional development in a state I haven’t been to before. It will also give me an opportunity to visit Cooperstown and some other scenic locations along the way. This is looking to be a fantastic summer. Is anyone else going?
Foldify by Pixie Foldify App is a great tool for creation on the iPad. A student can use the app to create and decorate a 3 dimensional papercraft. When they are done they can then print it out, cut it out, fold and assemble.
The interface is a split screen. On the left is a rotatable image of the final product. It is updated as the user makes changes. The right side of the screen is the flattened template of the papercraft. There the user can paint and draw with unlimited colors. In addition there are a wide variety of stickers to use to decorate their design.
I have been using my iPad a little differently lately in my classroom. I have a document camera in my classroom but due to its location, it’s not the easiest to use. It’s also very difficult to allow the students to use. Instead of using my document camera for activities such as Daily Oral Language or Math Word Problem of the Day, I have been using my iPad.
To do this you need an iPad 2 or later, an art app that allows the use of layers, some way of mirroring your iPad display to your computer or projector (I use Reflection) and a stylus.
It works like this…Take a picture of the document you wish to use with the class using the camera on the iPad. Import it into your favorite art app that allows layers. Create a new layer on top. This will be the layer you use to make your notes. Set up mirroring on your computer and iPad. Use your stylus to make your notes or better yet hand the iPad to students and allow them to make the notes.
Curiosity has just checked in on Mars and is soon to be the Mayor of Mars. Although I am sure Marvin would like to say something about that. “That makes me very, very angry, puny earthling…” Check out the article here: http://thenextweb.com/shareables/2012/10/03/mars-curiosity-on-foursquare/
This made me think what would other historical check ins look like….
Seal Team Six checked in at Osama Bin Laden’s Hideout and ousted Osama as the Mayor.
Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln checked in at Ford’s Theater
Neal Armstrong checked in at The Sea of Tranquility on the Moon
This idea might make for an interesting history activity for students familiar with FourSquare. It could also be used by students studying a novel. Students could write FourSquare check ins for historical events or characters actions within a novel.
Silent Film Director, one of my favorite video creator apps, is free until tomorrow August 19. Check out this easy to use movie creating tool for the iPhone and iPad here.
These are some additional notes from Screencast Camp that I attended in August of 2012.
The Quest for the iPad screencasting app…
By Anton Bollen
Currently there is not a real good solution for using screencasting to capture how to use an iPad or it’s application. This presentation will explore some possibilities…
To Visualize Gestures
Gestures are important as they show how to use an app, much like a mouse on a traditional keyboard
Create graphics to show touch and animate within Camtasia, such as a circle animated in different ways.
Use a green screen to record various actions using your hand, then use the resulting video in Camtasia to layer over captured screen cast.
GestureWorks software with fonts showing icons for gestures
Screencasting looks like it can be a good tool for providing simple to complex tech support for teachers. Students can also use it to create mini videos commenting on a picture in a foreign language or explaining a concept in a subject. Here are my notes from this morning’s session at Screencast Camp 2012 at TechSmith in Okemos
By Anton Bollen
Teams- feedback, sharing across time zones and places
Who is the audience? What is the expected quality level expectations for the product? As quality increases- time required increases..
Two types of Screencasts
Basic- audio and video is recorded at same time, no post production, less professional looking, less flexibility for output formatting.Quick easy way to show a skill, providing tech support
Prof- video and audio recorded separately, editing necessary, scripted, huge time commitment, can add annotations/drawings
Tools for Screencasts
SnagIt, Jing (free download) use Jing to record foreign language report using a picture
Screencast.com (can create a table of contents)
Remove icons from desktop prior to recording screencasting, right click…
Short lengths work best 2-3 times,
Break them up into short sections, to make it easy for user to find what they need.
Two column chart for organization… One column indicates on screen action, paired with script
Prep ahead of time
Use a plain background, grey will make the application stand out
Bigger cursor makes it easier to follow
Possible create a screencasting account on your computer
Pay attention to size of viewers video, optimize what you need to show, advanced programs will allow you to zoom in.
Recommended dimensions 1280 x 720 (16×9 ratio) in SnagIt it will show the size. Good for YouTube videos.
Sizer …PC only
Audio matters, use a good quality microphone. Snowball microphone is pretty good quality around 100$
Watch your surroundings, background noises should be limited, for separate audio use Audacity
Applications and ideas for schools
Install Jing as part of image for teacher and student computers.
Use screencast for directions and tech support.
Need to create dummy classes to use for tech support
I am starting a series of posts about using the iPhone and taking good photos. I have an iPhone 4 and seem to get pretty good results. This first post will be just a simple list of the apps that I use most often for creating good photos. Later in the series I will explore each of them in more detail.
Tile Shift Gen
Just for Fun Photography
How about you? What apps do you use with your iPhone for photography?