Recap App: 3 Back-to-School Ideas for Student Videos

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Last time we co-authored a blog post, Steven Anderson and I shared Blab. It was so much fun and such an easy app to integrate into the classroom we wanted to share another favorite of ours!

Recap is a free video response app created by Swivl which allows students to reflect, respond, and demonstrate through video. Recap is easy to use as both an educator and as a student. It is also an excellent way to model and use digital literacy modes in the classroom! Simply create a class and assign a Recap to students. Questions or prompts can be teacher-created in the forms of text or video, and can be assigned to individual students, small groups, or to the whole-class. When completed, teachers can share the whole “Review Reel”, or each individual child’s video. Share options include email or weblink!

Here are 3 Back-to-School Ideas that will have your students (and parents) Recapping through video response:

  1. Reading Interest Inventory – At the beginning of the year, giving students a “Reading Interest Inventory” provides valuable information about each students’ reading preferences and how they view themselves as readers. It also provides a launchpad to place the “right book” into their hands that may hook a reader for a lifetime. Using Recap, students could record themselves on their computer or ipad. These video responses would provide valuable insight to climate and culture of literacy in the classroom. Here are a few of unique questions to include on a Reading Interest Inventory: What is your earliest memory of reading or books? How do you choose a book? What do you notice adults reading? When should a person leave a book? What two books or magazines do you wish we had in our classroom library?
  2.  Student Goals and Reflection – Another way Recap could be used at the beginning of the school year is to capture a student’s goals for the year. Part of educating the Whole Child is helping the student see where they are with their learning and where ultimately they want to end up. We know that learning is a continuum. So using Recap students can record where they’d like to see their learning be at the end of the school year. Maybe they want to be a better math student. Or perhaps they want to be able to read more proficiently. What ever their goal they can capture it. Then throughout the school year they can refer back to it. Use it as part of their own personal reflective practice. How are they progressing? What do they still want to do. Have they met their goal and maybe it’s time for another. These videos can become a part of a larger learning portfolio where students examine their learning throughout the year.
  3. Parent Involvement – At the beginning of each school year, many of our youngest learners attend a back-to-school night or an open-house in which they meet their teacher, unpack their school supplies, and explore their new surroundings in the safety of their parents. It is also a time that many parents and family members come to the realization that their child is growing up and “leaving the nest”. What a perfect time to have a “message station” set up for parents or family members to leave a Recap for their student. Imagine the joy in a child’s eye after receiving a message from their parent or family member on their first day of school. Recap classes can be accessed through a pin number assigned to the class, so those parents or family members unable to attend can record their message from anywhere. It is also a great way to demonstrate to parents how you will meet the digital literacy demands in the Common Core State Standards, as well as how technology can be used in a meaningful way even with our youngest learners!

Recap is an engaging and creative way for students to share their understanding through video response! Recap is a free app and is available via the web (so perfect for chromebooks), as well as an iPad app. Coming soon – a  phone app, Recap from anywhere at anytime!

5 Conditions to Improve 1:1 Success

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I have been asked many times what one should consider to aid in a successful 1:1 Initiative. The following is a list of the top 5 conditions, I believe, helps to ensure this success:

1. Sustained and High -Quality Professional Development – Provide PD that is research-proven, as well as data-driven by student needs. Allow time for sharing and collaboration throughout the year. While PD may contain apps and tools, focus should remain on pedagogy and curriculum. Apps and tools should never be pushed upon staff or mandated that ALL teachers use them in their teaching.  Allow teachers to grow at their own rate, some may be more skilled/comfortable than others at tech integration in their curriculum.
2. Climate of the Building – The climate and culture of the building should support risk-taking without punishment and places trust in students and teachers. Administration should be fully aware that some things will not always work exactly as planned, but teachers who think outside of the norm or want to try something new in the classroom should not live in fear of being punished for a lesson that fails.  Finally, beware of over-blocking and denying access to teachers and students. Trust in students and staff to utilize what works best for their curricular areas.
3. Infrastructure – If the technology doesn’t work in all areas of learning (in a building) it loses it’s potential and causes frustration. Also, when the comfort level with technology use grows, you will see multiple devices being used in learning. Students and staff will bring and want to use phones, ipods, and other personal devices along with their laptops. Is your building ready to support all of these devices?
4. Focus – Technology will continue to advance, apps will become obsolete as others take their place; remember to make curriculum and pedagogy the main focuses. Utilizing technology in the classroom should not be a separate event, technology should be infused naturally because it is the best option available. Make sure the tech is relevant to learning and their lives, easily replicable for student use and applicable to other areas of curriculum and life.

5. Vision and Goal – How does technology play a role in your school’s vision and goals. Most successful 1:1 initiatives identify what they want students to be able to do with access to a device. Administrators identify look-fors when conducting walk-throughs in classrooms. Shared ownership in sharing their story is discussed and a plan developed. And finally, how technology supports current initiatives so it is not a silo.

Christmas 2013: Tis’ the Season to Give Technology

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Technology tops most Christmas lists, but with so many options available, choosing the perfect gift is daunting. Considerations in price, use, and longevity will help one narrow down their search. The following are three questions I ask myself before purchasing technology for others:

1. What do they want to use it for? Educational purposes? Personal uses? Both?

2. What is the price range?

3. How often will they use it and what is the life expectancy?

Below is a list of popular technology gifts for 2013 and priced to fit any budget. Many times there are comparable alternatives to the name-brands, so it is important to be informed. Do your research before making a purchase. (Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of the product)

Children:Ages 3-8

  • Learning Tablets: The most popular is LeapPad. Options/accessories, learning games, parental controls.

  • VTech Challenger Laptop: Preloaded curriculum, educational, mimics the “look” of a laptop.

  • VTech Kidizoom Twist Plus Camera: Durable, digital camera.

Tweens and Teens:

  • Tablets: Popular devices include iPads, Kindle, and Google Nexus. Tablets are portable and functional. Used primarily for photos, videos, ereading and surfing the web.

  • Laptops: Popular devices include MacBooks, Chromebooks,and PCs. Laptops are portable and available at a variety of price ranges. The keyboard and functionality for creation and gaming make laptops a perfect choice.

  • Phones: A new phone or an upgrade on an existing one is a popular “want” for many teens. The cellular phone has become a pocket computer for most people. Internet access, apps for photos, videos, music and social media; a new phone this Christmas would be a perfect choice.

  • Beats: High-end, high-powered headphones that provide listeners with the ultimate music experience. Pricey and popular with today’s youth.

Adults:

For those techie adults in your life that already have devices, here is a short list of possibilities:

  • Chromecast: An inexpensive gadget that hooks up to your HDMI television and allows users to stream their device to the screen.

  • Amazon Prime: This upgrade in membership provides fast delivery on items purchased, unlimited streaming of movies and television programs, and access to thousands of titles.

  • Bluetooth Speaker or Keyboard: Accessories that have bluetooth capability pairs with a smartdevice and allows users to stream music from their phone, ipod, etc. The Bluetooth keyboard is wireless and a nice alternative to the touch-screen keyboards on devices.

  • Netflix Subscription: Movies and television shows available on-demand. From an iPad to the Xbox360, Netflix allows users to stream their selection on many devices.

  • Gift Cards: iTunes, Microsoft Points, and Gamestop allows those hard to buy for people choice in their purchases.

Happy Holidays! Wishing you successful Technology Gift Giving!

iPad Apps for the Elementary Classroom

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As a mother of two elementary students, finding engaging and user-friendly apps for the ipad is a MUST in our household. Oh, did I happen to mention, I prefer the FREE apps as well!

The link attached to the image above will take you to my Smore flyer I created for training purposes. These are a few of the favorite apps of the moment that meet the following criteria:

  1. Fun, will they hold the attention spans of my children? or will they be looking for a different app in an hour?
  2. Easy to use independently at the elementary level
  3. Aligned to teacher goals, objectives, and/or Common Core
  4. Cost Effective, and in this case, they are all free

Enjoy!