Friday, November 30, 2012

Thing Link to Create Annotated Images

Thing Link is an easy to use tool that allows you to annotate images and share them with others.  You simply upload an image and then create tags to links of information you would like to share.  This is a great tool for having students organize information about a topic or concept.

Some easy ways to use this:
1) Have students create an annotated version of a process, like how photosynthesis works.
2) Use an historical image and have students explain the key points or people.
3) Use a picture to construct an outline for a story.
4) Share student work

Check out this Thing Link I created to share some of the work our students have done this Fall.

Move your mouse over the image to discover links.

We Won!

and other comments overheard from 1st graders using iPads for math.

Today our first graders used their iPads in pairs to study their math facts.  We used the basic (free!) app called Math Drills Lite, which allows the students to be drilled on math, subtraction, multiplication and division, and has some handy setting controls so students and/or teachers can set the program for certain facts, or numbers, and turn on or off the helps like a number line.  After a quick demo our students jumped in.  It was exciting to see their enthusiasm for studying their basic math facts, a task that is not always so thrilling.  This was a great way to engage the students and provide extra practice on concepts that are important for the students to be learning.  When students are this engaged, we all win.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blogging for Professional Reflection

One of my professional goals this year was to post more regularly on my blog.  I use my blog for a variety of purposes: sharing things that are happening in tech around our district, introducing or sharing resources to our staff, and as a way to reflect on lessons and other professional experiences.  I strongly believe in accountability and reflection as tools for learning and self-growth, and I have found that my blog has been the tool that has helped me facilitate to these practices.  I admit that it is difficult to find the time to write my blog posts, and I always find myself saying, I could be doing something else rather than spending the time to reflect and write these posts.  But I have decided to make it a priority to find the time, and the teachers and administrators in my district are doing some really great things and they deserve to be recognized for their enthusiasm about technology and willingness to try to new things that are often outside of their comfort zone.

I strongly encourage all teachers and administrators to take to their blogs and make it a priority to share that good and the challenging.  I promise you will find it will help you make connections with others who want to see you succeed and you will learn much from taking the time to reflect on all that you do.

Three 30 Minute Tech Sessions for December

I know this time of the year is crazy, but it's also the perfect time to
take a minute and learn something new to share with your students. I am
offering three 30 minute tech workshops in December at Hartford.

The location of the workshop will be determined by the school that has the most participants sign up.  All workshops will last 30 minutes, with an option to stay for a full hour for guided help and question and answer.

If anyone outside of HSD is interested in joining these virtually, I am able to set up a videoconference and will have a backchannel (most likely on Today's Meet) open for questions.  Just email me or contact me on Twitter if you're not at HSD and are interested in 'attending'.

The topics are:
1) Setting up your Google classroom (12/15)
2) Setting up a class site or blog (12/13)
3) Podcasting with students (12/19)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stop Motion HD and Food Chains

Our 5th grade classes were learning about Food Chains and decided to show their understanding of these natural relationships by creating stop motion animation videos using the Stop Motion HD (free app) on their iPads. The students worked in groups to create the characters needed for their videos and then coordinated filming and constructing the movie. This was a simple project that allowed the students to creatively display explain their understandings of food chains. Check out their work below.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trying Out iBooks Author

I have been playing around with iBooks Author.  When it first came out earlier this year I was psyched at the implications for teachers creating multi-media books for their courses and students.  I couldn't wait to test it out, but just recently set aside the time to really play with it.  A few of my administrators and teachers have asked for more information about the technology expectations embedded in the new Common Core State Standards, and I thought, what better way to share the information than through an iBook (all of our admins have iPads).  Not only will this make the information easier to access and interactive, but it can also demonstrate some of the potential for creating our own iBooks in our district.

As I previously posted I attended Matt Henchen's iBooks Author workshop at VT Fest.  He shared some great tips and resources, which you can find on his blog:

After that workshop I was more equipped to embed more versatile gadgets that allowed me to embed YouTube videos and browser links (Thanks, Matt!).  I also realized it might work better if I broke my book into sections or chapters and published them in a smaller file size to make distribution and downloading easier for all involved.  So after playing a little more over vacation, I finished the first section of my first iBook, ELA Writing CCSS and Technology (catchy title, huh).  If you are interested in checking it out, I am embedding the PDF in this post.  The links should work fine, but the video clips will not work.  If you would like the iBook, just contact me by email: or Twitter: @HartK8 and I'll send it to you.

ELA Writing CCSS and Tech Book

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

VT Fest 2012

Last Thursday I attended the VT Fest Tech Conference in Killington, VT. I want to highlight two sessions in particular.

The first was presented by Susan Hennessy and Audrey Homan from UVM's Tarrant Institute. The presented about the online game platform, ARIS.

Here are some of my notes from the session.

ARIS: Augmented Reality Interactive Storytelling (iOS)
  • Open source platform, runs through web browsers
  • Plaques pop up through landscape
  • Assigning players quests
  • Characters can give quizzes
  • If Then logic script
  • Free App
  • Support robotics integration--can create physical tasks through programming
  • Notebook feature--players can record reactions to game as they’re playing
  • Teachers can collect notes in a webpage (keep track of student progression through game and interactions)
  • Game design to tell local VT history and uncover truths/mysteries about local history
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Incorporate skill and content (flesh out these ideas)
  • Drag On Tape (youtube cutter)--check out later
  • Use QR Codes for scanning
  • Map overlay: Use for fictional locations in books
  • Connect directly to content with specific items as prizes/badges from text
  • They are building V. 3.0 and looking for student developers with teachers
  • Students have to create an account, but don’t need a valid email address (teachers can create accounts for students)
  • How is notebook share to teacher: linked to Game Developer tab (sent to developer)
  • Only works wirelessly-not 3G yet
  • Can be created on Mac or PC, only played on iOS

The other great session was iBooks Author by Matt Henchen.

Matt's session led us through the basics of using iBooks author to create textbooks and other media sources for students. Matt's presentation materials are located here:

iBook Author is an excited new tool to create materials for our classrooms that include a variety of media sources like videos, interactives, images, text, and websites. This tool can really be a game changer in the way we present and facilitate interactions with information in our classes. Just think, now you can combine information from a variety of sources into one book for your students.

There are a few drawbacks to using iBooks author, namely that you can only create an iBook on a Mac, and that students then need access to a device to read the book. While this is an initial investment, in my opinion, it will pay off in engagement and savings from purchasing textbooks, and other print media.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Civic Engagement using Technology

Some of our 5th graders traveled to the polls today (located at our high school), to ask voters, "Why is it important to vote"?  They took along their iPads to capture their interviews.  These students have been studying government and the Presidential Election.  Together with their teachers, they decided what better way to learn about the value of voting, than to ask real voters.

The students were fortunate to also be interviewed themselves by reporters from The Valley News and WCAX Channel 3 News.  Not only were they interviewing voters, but they were able to share what they were learning with others.

Back at school students will complete a writing response about the information they collected.

Check out some of our students in action. WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Friday, November 2, 2012

Moon VoiceThread from 1st Grade

As I previously posted, the first grade at White River was studying the moon.  They have finished their unit, and we have compiled their notes into a VoiceThread that they chose to narrate.

Check out their Moon VoiceThread, and leave them comments if you have something to add.