DIY Instructional Video Consultation

In the spirit of John's recent post-per-consultation (PPC) to broadcast valuable information from our consultations at the Center for Teaching Excellence, I am writing my first PPC.

I just met with Mark Norris, a professor of linguistics who recently participated in John & I’s eXperience Play faculty learning community. (Check out the game Mark created here!)

Anyways, Mark is interested in creating instructional videos for his students. Specifically, he wants to show students his problem solving process and explain the reasoning behind every step. This sounded like a fantastic opportunity to provide extra instruction for students who need to focus on certain concepts.

I was excited to see Mark had already experimented with instructional videos, because this helped me understand what Mark wanted to produce for his students:

In the name of features and consistency of quality, I recommended Mark consider digital annotation for his instructional videos. Such tools offer the ability write on documents, expand the annotation space at will, and streamline the video editing workflow. After some discussion, and checking what equipment was available for checkout, I offered Mark two methods for producing digital whiteboard videos: (1) iPad Pro with Apple pencil and Explain Everything Classic, (2) Surface tablet with stylus and Open Sankoré. Mark chose the former and we started exploring what annotated instructional videos would look like when produced from an iPad Pro. Combined with a high-end Blue Spark Digital microphone, Mark now has all the tools he needs to produce some excellent resources for his students.

Working with Mark was phenomenal because I love interacting with faculty who are passionate about teaching and are always exploring how to best engage their students. In other words, I’m excited to see what Mark produces in the coming months!

iPadPaloozaOU Reflections

Last week was the first iPadPaloozaOU! Thanks to my colleagues that facilitated this event, in particular Anne Beck for ensuring the conference was fun and engaging!

Highlights

Keynote speakers – Both Jessica Herring & Lisa Johnson gave excellent keynote addresses. Learning about Jessica’s curriculum to bring robots into her english class was fascinating. And Lisa’s call to think about our perspectives as teachers in the classroom was a valuable chance to reflect and grow. In particular, I enjoyed Lisa’s activity of completing an Uffe Elbaek Model and discussing our strengths with our neighbor teachers:

 

Pre-service teacher involvement – Working with students is always a treat. As Jessica stated in her reflections:

“It makes my heart so happy to know that these are the people that are coming into our schools and are preparing to make a difference in the lives of students.”

I felt the same invigoration while learning from/alongside the education students that attended iPadPaloozaOU. (Not to mention, I got to hear feedback of what students think about Canvas so far.)

 

Connecting with folks – For me this was a pivotal event to meet folks on Twitter that I have been following for a while, many of which are from the #oklaed community. Using iPadPaloozaOU as an opportunity to learn more about their various passions as teachers in Oklahoma helped me connect with these fantastic educators. For example, I know much more about the practice of #sketchnote-ing thanks to Wesley Fryer:

Twitter

For #iplzaOU, I used TAGSExplorer to capture all of the tweets containing the conference hashtag. This allowed me to track some interesting data like the most frequent tweeters:

 

And the most used hashtags:

 

If you want to look at the data yourself, check it out here (I’m assigning a CC-BY 4.0 license to this content). A good place to start analyzing this data would be using a software like Voyant Tools 2.0. For more information about all this, checkout this post and let me know if you have any questions.

My Workshop

I hosted a workshop at iPadPaloozaOU titled “Student Creators: Cultivating Success & Amplifying Voices with Mobile Blogging.” Without a doubt the highlight from this session was the discussion that took place. Specifically, there was a point at which a pre-service teacher was providing some frank feedback to a dean on what motivates them as a student to participate in class discussions versus class blogs. In summary, the student was only motivated to contribute to a class discussion to satisfy the minimum effort required for a good grade. In contrast, the student stated that posting a blog would solicit more effort from her/him as such work would be accessible to the public. I was trilled the attendees of my session were comfortable sharing their candid perspectives, especially between students and dean.

Another highlight was the curriculum development that happened during my workshop. Here’s one example from an individual looking to integrate blogging into her science class:

Turning a Blog? into a Blog!

If you are interested in the contents of my workshop, checkout the companion website I made to house my presentation and the work of the participants. Alternatively, you can read more about the workshop from the proposal I submitted.

Closing

I am already looking forward to next year’s iPadPaloozaOU and will consider submitting another proposal. Specifically, I am thinking about developing text-based games to engage students with writing and digital storytelling. Can’t wait till learn and explore this topic! Thank you to everyone for making this event a blast!

The featured image is provided CC0 by Maarten van den Heuvel via Unsplash.

iPadpaloozaOU Proposal

I am looking forward to iPadpaloozaOU this fall! iPadpaloozaOU is a local conference being cohosted by the Gaylord College of Journalism and the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma and is being organized by my friend and colleague, Anne Beck. What sets this conference apart for me is that it seeks to engage both pre-service teachers and K12 educators from around the state. This opportunity to engage both education students and teachers in iPad edtech is part of the reason I wanted to submit a proposal. And of course, anything related to mobile device productivity invigorates my passion in edtech!

While I was brainstorming topics I wanted to submit to iPadpaloozaOU, I kept coming back to some of the professional development I have done with mobile devices and blogging. Having focused on socioeconomic accessibility of mobile devices and equipping students as creators over the last year, these  subjects are close to my heart. Eventually, I decided engaging participants in these topics would be best in a workshop format and this led me to submit the following proposal:

Session Title

Student Creators: Cultivating Success & Amplifying Voices with Mobile Blogging

Session Description

Mobile blogging can be used inside the classroom to increase student engagement. This workshop seeks to both raise awareness of the variety of applications of blogging in the classroom and provide hands-on guidance demonstrating the ease of blogging from a smartphone or tablet. Working in small groups and using personal mobile devices, participants will experience how blogging can be seen as an equalizing technology in a classroom by allowing all students a voice.  Both traditional writing and student engagement are transformed with the utilization of cameras, touch screens, and the streamlined app workflows of mobile devices. As we demonstrate the practicality of mobile blogging, participants will also discuss how blogging can be used to increase understanding to yield student success. Between applications in the classroom, research, and academia more broadly, this professional development workshop aims to provide a comprehensive look at what it means to blog in the context of cultivating student success. For more information about mobile blogging and scholarship and to preview this workshop’s content, visit mbs.keeganslw.net.

Workshop Technology

Assuming my proposal gets accepted, one thing I am looking forward to is introducing a blogging workflow I started using this week. It entails having individuals submit posts to a WordPress website without the need for an account. This workflow will allow me to engage participants at iPadpaloozaOU in blogging without any required setup. In other words, I am looking forward to demonstrating how a “low barrier to entry” technology can be used to engage students. If you want to see what this workflow looks like in practice, check out the Canvas course I am running this week over Mobile Blogging & Scholarship.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal to iPadpalooza, there is still time! You must submit here by June 1st.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Timothy Muza via Unsplash.

Chromebook: Manual for Mac User – 2016

I’ve been exploring the current state of Chromebooks this past week and I wanted to document all of the analogous softwares and workflows I use to be productive on a Chromebook if you are coming from a Mac. From word processing to photo editing, here is my list of recommended software alternatives if you are switching from a Mac to a Chromebook:

Mail

Chromebook: CloudMagic

Mac: Mail

CloudMagic offers similar functionality in terms of adding multiple accounts and sorting emails to their respective inboxes and folders as the Mac Mail client. On my Chromebook I added Gmail, Yahoo Mail, iCloud, and Office 365 emails to the CloudMagic app in a couple minutes. So far, I’ve been really pleased with the performance of CloudMagic, not to mention it is a nice looking app to use for reading and writing email.

Calendar

Chromebook: Sunrise Calendar

Mac: Calendar

I needed a way to access my iCloud calendars, Google calendars, and work Exchange calendars from one app on my Chromebook and Sunrise Calendar allows me to easily do this. However, first you need to sync your calendars from another device, and if you need to use iCloud calendars, you have to install the Sunrise Calendar app to an iPhone, iPad or an Android device first (this will not work from the Mac version of Sunrise Calendar). Once, you overcome this syncing hurdle, Sunrise Calendar works well and looks great for organizing meetings and events. Unfortunately, this solution may not be viable in the future as the team behind Sunrise Calendar is now working for Microsoft and does not plan to provide updates to their Sunrise Calendar product in the foreseeable future. For now, it is my recommendation, but be aware it may not be a permanent calendar client solution for Chomebooks.

Office Suite

Chromebook: Google Docs Suite –> Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides

Mac: iWork –> Pages, Numbers, & Keynote

My go to office software on my Mac is Pages, Numbers, & Keynote. Although you can use iCloud.com to access these apps, the Google Docs suite loads much faster for me on Chromebook. If you prefer using Microsoft Office, you are also able to use office.com on a Chromebook if you have an Office 365 subsription. However, the Google Docs suite still loads faster for me and benefits from the Google Drive integration that is part of the Chrome operating system. All that to say, you can always export documents, spreadsheets or presentation slides to their most universal formats (.doc, .ppt, .xls) with any of these aforementioned office suites on a Chromebook.

Music

Chromebook: Google Play Music

Mac: iTunes

If you are not already using Spotify (or another music service), I recommend Google Play Music on Chromebook. Before you move from your Mac, use the Google Play Music Manager app to upload all of your iTunes music into Google Play Music. Once complete, you are able to stream all of your music to your Chromebook from music.google.com. As an added benefit, from this point, you will be able to stream your Google Play Music to your Android phone, iPhone, or any computer that can access music.google.com.

Photo Storage

Chromebook: Google Photos

Mac: Photos

Since Chromebooks have very limited amounts of internal storage my suggestion for storing photos is Google Photos. Similar to the process of uploading your music to Google Play Music, there is a way to upload all of your pictures from your Mac before you move to a Chromebook. Use the Google Photos Uploader software to store all of your pictures in Google Photos for free. Once your images are uploaded, you will be able to access them from your Chromebook (or any other computer) using photos.google.com. In fact, this is a great solution to combine your library of photos from all of your computers and mobile devices into one place!

Photo Editor (Simple)

Chromebook: Canva

Mac: Preview

For basic editing beyond what Mac Photos and Google Photos offer, Canva is my recommendation. Canva can be used to alter the pixel dimensions of a photo and is robust enough to be used as an alternative to Photoshop for basic photo editing. Not to mention, Canva is way easier to use than a traditional photo editor. Just be aware Canva requires signing up for an account before you start creating memes and other graphics from your Chromebook!

Slack

Chromebook: Slacky

Mac: Slack

I use Slack at work to instant message my coworkers from my phone or laptop. It is a great alternative or supplement to email when having online conversations. I prefer the Slacky app to the regular Slack app in the Chrome Web store because Slacky displays Slack within its own window. This makes it is easier to separate Slack messages from other work I am doing on my Chromebook since I can minimize Slacky.

Twitter

Chromebook: Tweetdeck

Mac: Twitter & Tweetdeck

Simply add the Tweetdeck app from the Web App store to your Chromebook and you will have similar access to Twitter as you would on your Mac. The only difference is that Tweetdeck on Chromebook is used through the web browser versus its own window like the app that is available on Mac.

Trello

Chromebook: Trello External Window

Mac: Trello Website

Trello has been my main app for tracking of projects and to-do lists for the last year. I recommend using the Trello External Window app on Chromebook for the same reasons I prefer Slacky to the regular Slack app, it has an external window interface. This makes it easier to separate Trello content from other web browser work.

Feedly

Chromebook: Feedly

Mac: Feedly Website

To access RSS news feeds, I have used Feedly for a long time. It keeps me up-to-date with education blogs and technology news outlets I follow. Like with Tweetdeck, add this app to your Chromebook and you are ready to access news the same way you would have on your Mac.

Ending

This list of 10 Chromebook recommendations covers many of my major productivity needs and workflows that I am accustomed to on my Mac. I hope it has been helpful to you! Also, I am happy to continue this list if you are interested in more suggestions, just let me know.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Tran Mau Tri Tam via Unsplash.

How to Blog, Develop Curriculum, Microblog, & Discuss in 50 Minutes

Last Friday I had the pleasure to present at OU’s 5th annual Academic Technology Expo with John Stewart. Since our “presentation” was more of a hands-on workshop, titled Mobile Blogging, Scholarship, and Cultivating Student Success, we had participants blog, develop curriculum, microblog and discuss applications of mobile blogging in their classrooms. It was phenomenal, and here’s how we accomplished everything in 50 minutes:

Minutes 0-10

First, John and I started with a Paper Tweet microblogging exercise, asking participants to name and describe their favorite classroom activity in 140 characters or less. Individuals shared some of their examples before we engaged them in a followup discussion.

“Why blog?” and “Why blog using a mobile device?” were the initial questions we posed to the group. And with each inquiry, John and I wanted to establish reasons why instructors might employ blogging and mobile blogging in their classrooms.

Minutes 10-30

Next, John and I asked participants to take their favorite classroom activity—the one from their Paper Tweet—and modify this activity to include a blogging component. We requested participants record these responses as a blog post to let them experience the nuances of writing a post. In other words, we were asking participants to develop curriculum while simultaneously documenting this content as blog posts.

This exercise was the primary logistical challenge of our workshop. For individuals that had their own blog, we encouraged them to use their own digital space to publish responses. For other, John and I brought several tablets to be used to accomplish this task. Following several minutes of collaborative and individual curriculum development, we heard many excellent classroom activities that now included new blogging components.

For example, some responses included having students blog about articles they had to research for assignments. Other examples included having students respond to photographs as blog posts or “live tweeting” during classroom presentations. All that too say, there were several, viable new pieces of curriculum that were outlined and shared in this short period of time.

Minutes 30-45

At this point, John and I led more discussion about mobile blogging. We wanted to know what participants had to say about “how the nature of an assignment is changed when blogging is introduced?” and “how could student success be determined as a blog?” These are a few of the questions that we used to develop the concept of how mobile blogging could be applied in a classroom.

Minutes 45-50

Lastly, John and I spent a few minutes presenting our thoughts on Mobile Blogging. Some of which included:

Reflection

Overall, this experience was excellent. Many participants where introduced to mobile blogging and experiencing it for the first time, while others had attended related training.  During our workshop, John and I wanted to make sure everyone got to discuss mobile blogging applications in the classroom and generate a piece of curriculum that could be used in their courses. We designed this workshop to be hands-on and give participants an opportunity to produce something valuable—and to accomplish all this in 50 minutes was an exciting challenge!