Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Public Domain Pictures

Student digital products often contain some form of image.  Many teachers are still using the, "If it is on Google Images, you can use it" method of providing images.  This would be a great time for teaching good digital citizenship!

There are many places you can find free and legal images from the public domain.  With barely any extra effort, students can use these resources to find high quality photography and make the strong effort to follow the rules about using found images online.  Public domain photos can be found in a number of places, but I saw this video today that shared a few great ones as well as how to use them.

Give this a good look and share with your teachers who are doing digital products!

Video: Richard Byrne - School Library Journal
What photo sources have you used in class?  Are there tips you would share with a new teacher about how you managed that part of your lesson; free classroom-ID'ed accounts, teacher-collected photo banks, citing the photos used?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

QR Code Resources

Updating a previous post about QR Codes for the Classroom.  (previous Post Aug 2011)

While QR codes are still enjoying popularity in discussion groups, the use of the codes hasn't continued growing as well. This blog-update is serving to share a few more QR resources that may prove helpful in the classroom.

Still my favorite QR generator, does a very nice job of not only making the code, but assisting in modifying the size for larger format printing and use outside a computer monitor. 
After generating the code, look for the download link for the 'eps' file type.  The eps file is a vector-imaged file which can be enlarged digitally without loosing resolution.  Print a large page or T-shirt QR? The eps files will usually work really well.

In my previous post, I used software called by Quickmark.  They have software for Windows, Mac, and mobile devices.  The desktop software will not only create QR code, but can use the webcam to read or use a software reader to read codes on the computer screen.  The software is not free, but it is very useful.

Sites like, and also provide the valuable service of keeping a history of the codes you have made and tracking them.  You can often see how many times someone has clicked through your QR code or when the last time someone used it was. 

Taking QR codes the next step can involve making them more artistic or visually meaningful.  QR readers only read a certain percentage of the pattern in the code.  You can creatively remove squares and place your own artwork inside the code and still be able to use it with a reader.  Be careful not to remove too much of the code.  For some great ideas, check out  and .  I made a very quick example of this during a Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute and it shows how I edited a QR code.

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There are more instructional resources for QR codes these days, but I few that I have used in the past include: for a school treasure hunt ,  a Livebinder of resources, and Twelve Ideas for QR codes on Edutopia.

I would love to see some QR codes that have been put into action.  Share a link to yours or comment on what you have done!  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Easy Classroom Radio Show iPad App!

Teacher circles have started sharing the question, "Aye, it's the end of the year. What creative thing can we be do'in?"  Forgive the accent, but I just spent 15 minutes listening to Scottish Free Independent Radio on  It was a wee bit entertaining, without the haggis.

Radio Shows are great tools for student publications because you don't have a video track that necessitates a great deal of protection from the teacher.  Student voices can be anonymous sources and allow for much more flexibility in publishing original student work. 

Spreaker DJ is a FREE app that helps you create a radio show.  The app is very simple to understand and, with the free account, very easy to publish to the internets.  You have access to audio from your iTunes, two soundtracks with a fader for them, sound effects, and a few nice technical tools for those that want them.  When you start the recording, there is no pausing, so it's a one-take recording with no editing available.

spreaker ipad app
Think of it this way, students must write, revise, and rehearse their show before taking a turn at publishing.  They will have a lot of fun with the creation of the show. The content could be the class' online Dailey Agenda or topic review.  What a great way to finish out the year by encouraging student publication of their thoughts and ideas learned in class!
Publishing the show can either be done as a live broadcast or recorded on the iPad and quickly published up to your Spreaker website.  Parents can be given the show's website address and keep up with the classroom events via the internet. 

I took 10 minutes to learn the app and make a recording.  Here is my first effort, as an example.

"I don't have an iPad.  I am so sad."    Don't be sad!! also has the ability to record your radio show off the website. 

I'd love to see what teachers do with this.  Please share if you get a class radio show online!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Module Six - GT Training

Well, it's come down to this last afternoon.  To refocus on the goal, we are already adept at differentiating our instructional time with our students' various learning levels, but in these last weeks we have been focusing on how technology can aid us in differentiating our instruction with the GT population.  Sure, we can use these same tools in other areas of our classroom, but we started by looking at why and what we differentiate.

Why do we differentiate?  We discussed many weeks ago that we work to provide for various levels of readiness, interest, and learning styles.

What do we differentiate? We can provide different content, processes, and product opportunities for the students.

We have looked at using a variety of technology, specifically netbooks, digital cameras, and document cameras.  We looked at webquests and research tools, online tools like Prezi and Wordle for presenting student products, the ability to leverage social sites like Edmodo in the classroom and more.

This last part delves into one of a student's favorite school memories:  the class field trip.  It's much more than watching a video or list of bookmarks.  The Virtual Learning Environment is a rich opportunity to use technology with our students in a mostly self-directed space.  There are a good number of these experiences already online, mostly for older students, leaving teachers time to practice using it before assigning to students.

Today's Resources: *,

Peruse these resources and find at least one field trip that you could use with your students.  Make a plan for: What materials you would need to accomplish this? What kind of timing you will need? What should the student produce by the end?

(This just in, Discovery Field Trip:   !)

*AISD provided a link to Christopher F. Mulrine's article, "Creating a Virtual Learning Environment for Gifted and Talented Learners". 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gifted and Talented Training: Module 5

Today, I again have the pleasure of working with an AISD elementary school and discussing Differentiating in the Gifted and Talented classroom.  Whether you have one or thirty GT students in class, all of our students are needing the first part of this content on Social Media.

In the previous meeting with this group of teachers, we discussed different Web 2.0 tools for the classroom.  Today, I'll use one of those tools to share my presentation.   I mentioned SlideShare as a tool to use for sharing a presentation.  Immediately below, you will find today's presentation, created in Powerpoint and uploaded to be shared in SlideShare.

The actual presentation that I am using is a Prezi, also mentioned last time.  Prezi is also free and puts a whole new spin on presentations.... literally.   Once I open the presentation, you can follow along using this link! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

GT Module 3 and 4 Notes

How very un-official this is, but sometimes your blog can be an easy way to share information.  For example, this blog contains links from today's presentation. These links almost all come from the GT office's GT presentation.

Links for online audio and/or video content creation:
›Audacity— easily installed sound recording software  
›BeatPick—free music
Jamendo—free music/share
Jing—audio and screen capture, free download Jing Download
Camstudio—screen capture and presentation recording
Screencast-o-matic—screen recording with free downloading 

Online presentation or Web2.0 content ›
SlideShare—online presentation sharing site
Prezi—web-based presentation application
Animoto—online video creator
Tagxedo—word cloud creator
Flixtime—online video creator
Bitstrips—online comic maker
Storybird—online story builder

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Easy Movie Making with MovieMaker

Making movies with a netbook can be pretty easy using Microsoft's MovieMaker Live.  Using just a netbook and MovieMaker, this three minute movie was completed in under 10 minutes.