Thursday, March 29, 2012

ClassParrot-Safe Texting for the Classroom



Finally! A Hassle-free way for teachers to text their students!  ClassParrot is a closed messaging system allowing educators to reach students and parents without exchanging any personal contact information.

How it works:
First, teachers sign in to ClassParrot and add one or all of their classes.  A private code will be created for each class.  Next, students (and/or parents) will text the code using their cell phone to ClassParrot.  Then, let the communication begin back and forth between teacher, students and parents with last minute reminders, homework help, or anything to support the needs of the students. In this unique format, text messages can quickly be sent to entire classes.

Another convenient option is scheduling future messages.  Will your class remember to bring that important piece of research for Monday’s discussion?  Type the reminder on Thursday, schedule it for Sunday afternoon, and you’ve done one more thing to encourage your students.

For most teachers ClassParrot is a free service.  The first 500 credits (messages) are free.  Every month an additional 200 free credits are added to your account.  Need to send more messages? $9 a month will cover unlimited messages for unlimited classes.  There are also bundled plans for larger groups if teachers wanting to work together. 

Visit http://classparrot.com/ to find out more.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Keynote Tips

Keynote Info - Version 1.6 (515)

Keynote Tutorial

Keynote Animation Direction

To change the size of the picture within a preset placeholder or frame, select the photo, click the paintbrush at the top of the screen, edit mask. You can also choose whether you want the photo or the text in front.

Self Playing
- Wrench Tool, Advanced, Presentation Type, Self-Playing

Slide Transition on Self Playing with a Movie Inserted (this allows time for the movie to play before the slide advances)
-
Select the movie, Animate
Build in (Start Movie), Options, Start Build After Transition
Select Movie, Build Out (Stop Movie), Options, On Tap
Click Done

Spell Check
- Close Keynote, click Settings (for the iPad), Scroll down to the App Section on the left, click Keynote, Check Spelling - ON

Dropbox



Dropbox is a great tool for sharing, syncing, and saving files. It creates a new kind of folder on your computer. When you save or drag and drop photos, videos, or documents into that folder, they are automatically available on all your computers and phones. There is no uploading and downloading involved. It is as simple as saving the file or dragging and dropping it into your Dropbox folder. You can also share a Dropbox folder with another user to easily share files.


The basic Dropbox account is free and gives you 2Gb of storage. It can be installed on every computer you own. If you are not near your computer you can log into your Dropbox account on the web.


Go to https://www.dropbox.com/ to try it for free!

Resources for Creating "Web Trips"

Imagine that you have a collection of websites that you want your students to visit.   There are many ways to get the links to students rather than having them type in each one individually.  You could create a Schoolwires webpage of your links or you could use one of these web resources.


 Stich.It- http://stich.it/
Stich.it is a service that lets you “stich” almost anything together on the Internet. That means that you can quickly and seamlessly create a slideshow-like experience that can include Web pages, video, music, photos and more. You can even add annotations to each page.  Use this to give your students a task for each site.  All you need are links!


 Fav7- http://fav7.com/
Fav7 is a service that creates a single page for up to 7 URLs.  You just enter the addresses you want your students to visit and the site gives you a single, short URL to a landing page with screenshots of each URL.


Jog the Web (Education Edition)- http://www.jogeduc.com/

Jog the Web is a web-based tool that allows you to create a synchronous guide to a series of web sites. Its step by step approach of taking viewers through web sites allows the author to annotate and ask guiding questions for each page. Give it a try and start creating your own Jogs.
For more information about Jog the Web-  http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/2011/05/17/free-tools-challenge-25-using-jog-the-web-in-the-247-classroom/


Have you already used one of these sites in your classroom?  Be sure to let us know how it worked in the comments below.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hopper



Hopper is a super easy way to get text, links, photos or files from your desktop computer to an iDevice. This would be a great way to get information to student iPads quickly and easily. Simply create an account with any email address, paste the desired data to your "bin" and then access your bin on any other computer or iDevice.  


Here's how to get started:
1.  Go to http://gethopper.com and create an account.  For those of you using iPads in your classroom, use your iPad set's email address and create a password that you can give to your students.
2.  Once you're logged in, either copy/paste or drag/drop text, links, files or pictures to your "bin".
3.  Students then go to http://gethopper.com and login to the class account.  Students will see any text or files that you have pasted in your bin and can access or save them to their device.



Monday, March 19, 2012

Wonderopolis



Wonderopolis, a part of the Thinkfinity community, is an amazing resource for getting kids to think.  Each day the site posts a question for students to ponder.  Some recent wonderings include... 

"What time would you travel to?"

"How much rain can a cloud hold?"
"If blood is red, why are veins blue?"


Click on the Wonder of the day for more information and further questions.  Each one has the same sections:
  •  a short introductory video
  • "Have you ever wondered..." with more questions on the topic
  • "Did you know?" with short tidbits of information about the topic
  • "Try it Out" with interactive resources for learning more about the topic
  • "Wonder words to know and use" with key vocabulary for the topic
  • "Still wondering?" for enrichment information and activities
This site could be a great bell ringer activity each day or, since all the previous Wonders are archived and searchable, it is also an excellent resource for introducing a new topic in class.  

For example, if you're starting a unit on... 
Read this great blog post about a first grade class that uses Wonderopolis every week.  Very cool!  http://ipadsatburley.blogspot.com/2012/03/big-day-for-big-learning-active-agents.html


Try it out today at http://wonderopolis.org.  Be sure to leave us a comment if you've used Wonderopolis in your classroom or if you find a good "Wonder" that your colleagues can use!

iWork.com Going Away

Apple recently sent out the following email to all users of iWork.com:
Dear iWork.com user,  
Thanks for participating in the iWork.com public beta. 
Last year, we launched iCloud, a service that stores your music, photos, documents, and more and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices. Today, there are already over 40 million documents stored on iCloud by millions of iWork customers. Learn more about iCloud 
With a new way to share iWork documents between your devices using iCloud, the iWork.compublic beta service will no longer be available. As of July 31, 2012, you will no longer be able to access your documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web.  
We recommend that you sign in to iWork.com before July 31, 2012, and download all your documents to your computer. For detailed instructions on how to save a copy of your documents on your computer, read this support article at Apple.com 
Sincerely, The iWork team
As you may know, iWork.com is what we originally started using as a way to share Keynote and Pages projects from the iPad back to the computer since they would not transfer to Dropbox.  We have since moved on to using student email accounts for the iPads so the students can email their work directly you rather than using iWork.com as the middle ground.


If you are still transferring student work from Pages and Keynote using iWork.com, you will need to log in to the account and retrieve your documents.  Please contact your campus technologist if you need help with this process.
Another storage solution is being worked on for next year so email will not be our only option.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wordle Advanced

We all know and love to use Wordle to create cute word clouds, but it can take the kids a while to type, even if they are copying and pasting.  Enter Wordle: Advanced!  This is the last tab across the top on the Wordle site (direct link: http://www.wordle.net/advanced).


The first advanced feature lets you type in your words or phrases and then just enter the number of times you want them weighted.  No need to type the word several times, or copy and paste, or even put a tilde in between words to keep phrases together!  Simply enter each word or phrase on its own line followed by the colon and then the weight (note: do not enter a space after the colon). Here's an example:

This is what I entered in the box:


Technology:100
GCISD:75
iPads:80
Apps:40
Digital Classrooms:60
Student Centered Learning:70
Project Based Learning:30
Collaborative:20
Cutting Edge:30
Differentiation:40


After clicking Go, this is what I get:















How easy is that?  Such a time saver for the younger students!  Give it a try!


The other advanced feature lets you pick your specific colors for each word or phrase.  You have to know the hex color code for each color to use this feature.  If you are interested in trying this, visit http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_colors.asp for color codes.
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