Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Electronic Writing Portfolios with Evernote and IPEVO

Everyday, I find myself bookmarking sites and reading tweets, blog posts, etc. about great uses of technology in the classroom. One of the areas I have been paying close attention to is the use of Evernote in the classroom. Evernote and its integration with the IPEVO document camera makes it a powerful combination to be used as an electronic writing portfolio. So how would that work?

First, you would setup individual notebooks for each student in Evernote. To do this, click File and then New Notebook. By setting up a notebook for each student, teachers can share each individual notebook with parents. This makes for great home communication. To share a notebook, right click on the notebook and choose Share Notebook.

Share a Notebook

From there, you can invite parents to view the notebook via email or you choose to make a public link. That link could then be sent to the parents. As you continue to update the portfolio, parents can use the same link to view their child's portfolio. Students could also see their portfolio and look at how they have grown as a writer throughout the year.

Invite viewers or create public link

Once the notebooks are setup in Evernote, it is now time to start adding student work to the electronic portfolio. Images can be captured and inserted into notes within Evernote in a multitude of ways. If you have an IPEVO document camera (for around $70 it is a great deal), then this process is simple because Evernote  integrates into the P2V software that comes with the IPEVO document camera.

Here is how it works:

When in the IPEVO software, you click on the Evernote tab and sign into your Evernote account. Once signed in, you click "Take a snapshot".

Then, snap your picture(s).

Finally, give your note a title, choose the notebook you want to put it in, and click Send to Evernote. You can take multiple pictures and then attach them all to a note.

The IPEVO and Evernote integration makes the process of creating a digital portfolio so much easier. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Creating Infographics in the Elementary Classroom

Infographics are a great way to display information and corresponding data. Ever since seeing a presentation by Kathy Schrock at METC last year, I have been eager to learn more about infographics and how they could be incorporated into the classroom. Creating a quality infographic is a higher order thinking activity. Students have to collect data, research and find corresponding data, bring together these data sources and combine them into one visually appealing infographic. This synthesizing of information makes infographics a high-quality assessment for students.

Being more comfortable with infographics, I started to work on how I could integrate this into the elementary classroom. Infographics could be incorporated into math class when working on graphing, science class when students are reporting data from an experiment, or in any other subject where a lot of data or knowledge needs to be condensed into just the essentials. All of these tasks fit into the elementary classroom curriculum.

With curriculular ties in place, I then started to look for the best programs to use. After looking at online resources such as Piktochart, I actually think Microsoft Publisher and SMART Notebook 11 are great programs for elementary students to use when creating infographics because...

  • They already know how to use them so there is no technology learning curve (this is the case in many of my buildings)
  • each program can export out to image files
  • graphs can be copy and pasted from Excel with ease
  • each program allows students to move and insert objects anywhere on the page
  • both programs have their own clip art to use in addition to images from the web.

Here is a short demonstration for using Microsoft Publisher to create infographics.

Here is a short demonstration for using SMART Notebook 11 to create an infographic.

Infographics seem to be everywhere so it is time to see them in the classroom as well. The benefits of being able to research and collect information and then turn it into an informational graphic, provides students with a real world, higher order thinking task. Give it a try in your classroom today!

Monday, October 15, 2012

From the Golf Course to the Classroom: A Simple Reflection

This past weekend, I had a real learning experience. In the course of 3 days, I played 5 rounds of golf while away on a golf weekend. Golf is a passion of mine and is always a learning experience. This was my first golf weekend and was the most golf I have played in such a short period of time. As I play golf, I am always learning lessons that can be applied to life (and education).

Lesson #1 - Creativity can overcome any obstacle.
Throughout the weekend, I found my golf ball behind a tree, in a bunker where a bad shot would lead to a water ball, and much more. A normal shot just would not do, so I had to be creative by hitting a hooking shot or using my putter out of a bunker (yes that actually happened). The course provides many obstacles but the goal is the same...get the ball in the hole. In education, things are the same way. Students are going to have difficulties and situations that are going to get in their way. They need to learn how to creatively solve their problems so they can reach their goal. The path they take to learning might not be the planned route because certain obstacles just might be in their way. We need to encourage our students to solve their problems by thinking outside the box while seeing the end goal.

Lesson #2 - Failure is going to happen, embrace it and learn from it.
My golfing skills are average at best. I know that I will have some good holes and then I will have some really bad holes too. I embrace the fact that I am going to fail on the golf course. But to improve, I have to embrace my failures and learn from them. By learning from them, I can hope to not make the same mistake twice. This will lead to more success in the future. Learning is the same way. We need to prepare our students for failure, how to cope with it, and how to grow from it. With lessons learned from failure, students can apply this to their future learning and ultimately be more successful. If we do not teach our students how to deal with adversity and failure, we are depriving them of a valuable life lesson.

Lesson #3 - Acknowledge your surroundings and adapt to them for success.
This weekend, golf was played in sunny conditions, in a heavy rain storm, 45 mph winds, and everything in between. We had no control over the elements and so we adjusted to them. If you did not adjust to what was happening around you, you were doomed to not play as well. In education, students deal with different surroundings everyday. Every classroom has a different feel to it, different routines, different peers. To be successful, students need to make subtle adjustments to be successful. The skill of flexibility is something that students need to have for success.

I could go on and on because golf has so many connections to learning and life, so let's get to the point....golf is a passion of mine. When you have a passionate about something, you could talk about the subject all day. In the classroom, every subject is not going to be a passion for all students. To make those subjects more interesting, we need to find those connections between our students' passions and the content being learned. Those connections can lead to greater understanding and hopefully more student learning/achievement.

Find those connections today and foster that environment into your classroom. Pretty soon your students might start making connects between their passions and their learning just like I have done with golf and education.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Heart of Tech Integration

Last week was eye opening, enlightening, and thought provoking for me. It all started at a district level technology committee meeting. Our Superintendent came to speak to the committee about his vision for technology usage in our district. There were things that I could not believe I was hearing...in a good way. To hear the words "game based learning" come from the number one in your district was shocking...again in a good way. Game based learning seems like a forward thinking concept and not something that is mainstream. But to me, this was something minor. It was everything that followed that got my attention.

He then talked about BYOD and all the possibilities it represented. Again, this was great to hear district leaders talk about this but it was not the highlight for me. I became excited when all these buzz words and hot topics came together to talk about student learning. When talking about devices, game based learning, connectedness, etc., he showed that he understood our students and the world in which they live. This world of information at your fingertips and the possibilities of unlimited connections is where our students thrive and where we need to take instruction.

So in the tech committee meeting where we could just strictly talk about the technology, the discussion was brought right back to student learning. That is the heart of technology integration. All of the technology components are important but none are more important than the product of student learning. Student learning should always be the focus with technology just being a component.

I am excited to see where this will go in my district. You beat the drum and keep pushing for change but it takes buy in from the top. It looks like it could be there and I hope we are all ready for some positive change.

I think this video that was shown at the meeting sums things up pretty well.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blog Posting (weekly)

  • tags: notes notetaking evernote bookmarking

  • tags: games language

  • tags: social studies socialstudies

    • Shows us how we compare to the rest of the world. - post by Clayton Theleman
    • This was an interesting video! It really surprised me what percentages of the world are poor, illiterate and malnourished. - post by Greta
    • This shows the distribution of people on earth and the shocking econmonical gap. - post by Anthony Doouglas
    • I think that this is an interesting video, and it appeals really well to everyones emotions with the pictures, and the music - post by Kelsey
    • A great video that goes over many of the Principles Dr. Wesch has talked about in class. A good source of inspiration as we create our own miniature earth. - post by Nick Timmons
    • A breakdown of what the earth would look like if the population were reduced to 100 people, all while keeping the relative proportions the same as they would be as reported at the start of this century. - post by Matt Warren
    • This video puts life in the US in perspective. - post by Will Richardson
    • Shows what the world would be like if its population was reduced to 100 people. - post by Doug Belshaw
    • miscellaneous source 2 - post by Alisa
    • This website shows a video that demonstrates what the Earth's population would be like if it were reduced to a hundred people, keeping statistical proportions correct.
      While some statistics are purely demographic, others depict the state of literacy, poverty, health and living conditions. For instance, it is shocking that "If you sleep on a bed, keep your clothes in a closet, have electric light, and have a roof over your head, you are richer than 75 of the other people."  Also, just over a dozen people would own a computer and only two or three would have internet. Incredible, but true, the statistics are enhanced with striking images. 
      While this website has a lot of emotional appeal, there facts of it are credible and have an even more profound effect on viewers like myself.  The emotional sympathy for poverty-stricken populations generates income in donations to the site and purchases of the downloadable video, and the money is used to fund the site and small public projects. For me, however, watching the video graphically demonstrated the need to improve living conditions in many paces around the world, as well as the previously assumed, but now obvious, relationship between lack of housing, lack of education, poor health, and financial need.

      - post by Alisa
    • nice avp, like the concept, but a litte weak - post by bvalshaiv
    • Nice way to start a conversation with kids, though. I think it makes a good springboard for introducing globalization. - post by Beth Cullinan
  • tags: common core assessment ipad

  • tags: text

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.