Monday, September 28, 2015

Terms of Service



Any website or app that requires a login to use it will have a "Terms of Service" agreement.  The agreement is usually linked at the bottom of the app's website.  These agreements generally have age requirements in place in order for the site to comply with COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) and CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act) laws.  Generally these fall into several categories:

No age requirement:  Anyone can use

Must be over 13 (or sometimes 18) to use:  Students under the age of 13 (or 18) CAN'T use the site no matter what (even with parent permission)


If under 13 (or sometimes 18), students must have parent permission in order to use:  Rather than teachers having to get parent permission every time they find a new app, in GCISD, parents give permission through InfoSnap at registration.  Your data secretary can print a report of students who do not have permission.




Even if the app or website touts itself to be educational or you hear another teacher talking about it, it is still your responsibility to be sure that you are in compliance with the terms of service.  Terms of Service do change.  Some of our former favorite apps like Animoto, Prezi and Haiku Deck no longer allow students under 13 to use the service. 

The flowchart at the top gives you an easy to follow sequence for determining if you can use a site or app with your students.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Schoolkit Math


Original Post: http://goo.gl/ZvUmpD

Amy posted about Schoolkit Math in February of 2014. For this week's Throwback Thursday, we're going to revisit this app and why it's so great! Schoolkit Math is a free app with math tools and manipulatives, perfect for elementary students. Just using this alone, might be in the substitution level of SAMR. To ramp it up a notch, and for deeper learning, have kids take a screenshot and import it into Shadow Puppet Edu or Doceri, and they can then add a layer with their voice explaining their thinking about that concept! (Then, of course, upload to their Google Drive accounts!)

Check out the post above for Amy's information on Schoolkit Math, and some screenshots of work!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Thinglink


I originally posted about Thinglink in 2013 and again earlier this year.  Since we have "gone Google" in GCISD, there is now an easier option for getting students logged in to Thinglink and in your class group.  Now, instead of you having to create logins (that auto-generated a really hard password!), students can login with their GCISD Google account and join your class via a code.  GCISD is also now a Thinglink Verified District so teachers can join our GCISD group to learn and get ideas from each other.

As a reminder, here are some things I love about Thinglink:

  • It can be used in ALL subjects in ALL grades.  
  • It's an easy way for student to "smash" or "layer" products (video or picture) from other apps into one final project.  
  • It's a website and an app. Perfect for 1:1 or BYOD classrooms.
  • It's a great way to combine paper products with digital.  For example: students can draw/illustrate a diagram of the water cycle on paper and then use a picture of it as the background of a Thinglink with video explanations for each phase.

Here's a sample I made:

Here's what the lesson workflow would look like: 

Ready to get started with Thinglink Edu?  Here's a helpsheet with instructions + links to tutorial videos available on YouTube.  https://goo.gl/NCayQT

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

1:1 iPad Lesson Ideas in Your Curriculum Documents!


One component of the GCISD Instructional Technology CIEs for elementary is "iPads will be used to create original products, enhance research, collaborate with others and communicate beyond the classroom."  During our summer "Designing Work" classes and August professional learning on campuses, elementary teachers created sample lessons to meet these expectations.  



As you begin planning for a new unit in math, science and social studies (we're still working on ELA), you can now look for a "1:1 iPad Lesson Idea" link that will take you to a ready-made activity like the one below!  




Want to learn more about designing iPad work using the Information Gathering, Information Processing and Information Sharing workflow model?  Check out this presentation:  https://goo.gl/xpSOml

There won't necessarily be a lesson for every unit yet.  We need your help to continue to add to our curriculum! Go to this presentation (http://goo.gl/xaCiO0) and follow the directions on the first slide to add your ideas.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Tweetdeck vs. Hootsuite

In GCISD, we believe in continuous professional growth to move us forward on the road to LEAD 2021. Twitter is one of the best ways to build your Professional Learning Network and learn from educators just like you! Once you get into Twitter, though, you may find it becomes very overwhelming. Reading from the app on your phone or from the Twitter website, information can start to get lost in the mix. 

Back in 2012, we blogged about Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is a fantastic way to organize tweets by hashtag or by lists. By adding a column to your Tweetdeck, you can easily follow information on specific topics. Make sure to check out the blog on Tweetdeck for this week's Throwback Thursday and check out the video below:




If you are an advanced Twitter user, or have been using Tweetdeck for a while, Hootsuite is a great next step for you. In Hootsuite, not only can you add columns of information, but you can also add different tabs of columns. So if your Tweetdeck is currently a mile long with columns, you  might want to switch over to this new tool. As you can see in the photo below with the red arrow, I was able to add a different tab for Elementary, Secondary, and Department hashtags for GCISD. Under each tab, I set up columns just like on Tweetdeck. This enabled me to organize my columns a little more, for those of us that are a little hyper organized in our digital world. Give one of these tools a try and let us know how it goes!




Wednesday, September 2, 2015

National Parks: Free for 4th Graders & Families


For the 2015-2016 school year, the National Park Foundation is announcing the Every Kid in a Park initiative. In an effort to create and engage the next generation of parks visitors, the National Park Foundation is offering a free pass for all families of 4th grade children this year. 

The pass is good in all national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges and more! The pass starts on September 1, 2015 and is good until August 31, 2016. 

Visit this site to get started on receiving your pass: https://www.everykidinapark.gov/get-your-pass/
4th graders can complete an adventure diary, and educators can even get passes for their 4th grade students! 

This opportunity is not one to pass up! Visit the site and use the hashtag #EveryKidInAPark on Twitter!


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