Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to never miss a forum post in Moodle

Dear students and teachers,

Forums in Moodle courses are a great way for teachers and students to communicate.  The News Forum is where teachers can post announcements.  Because students can't post or reply here, this forum is viewable by guests, so parents may be directed here, too.  Other discussion forums are hidden from guests-- they are only for course members.
It is important to understand how forum subscriptions work.  Subscriptions allow you to receive an e-mail when there is a new post to a forum.  The short  video and the written instructions below will help you better understand how this works.

Click image for instructions

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Finding Music for your Digital Project

Recently, a student uploaded a school project to YouTube, only to find that the soundtrack was stripped
because of copyright infringement.  Don't let this happen to you!  There are lots of sources for music that you can use for your video or web site.

Take a look at this helpful list:

Remember that there is an even better way to get digital content, though-- create your own!  If you're a musician, record yourself using an application like Audacity.  If not, try using a tool like GarageBand  to mix together copyright-free loops.  Or give AudioSauna a try (I just created this loop there).

Image by Doug Wheller. Used under Creative Commons license.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Google Play for Education

In a recent post, I noted that the Apple App Store has introduced a section specifically for teachers.  Google Play (which is the Android version of the app store) now also has an Education section.  It is not as extensive as what's offered for iOS, but I expect it will grow as more Android tablets hit the market.
Whether it's Apple or Android, though, it seems that many of the education content-specific apps are geared toward K-6.  Take a look at most "top-ten" list of apps for high school students (such as this one), and you'll see that they tend to be "productivity" and "reference" apps.   In other words, while a 4th grade student may be learning math and language arts via an app, a high school student will more likely have a periodic table app, a graphing calculator app, a thesaurus app, etc.  High school students are also more likely to use apps for planning and organization.  The advantage is that many of these apps are used beyond education, so there are excellent choices available, whether on iOS or Android.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Google Sites Workshop Offered by the Tarrant Institute

I came across this today.  Looks good....

TIIE Tech Tips: Build a Google Site

Thursday, Nov 21, 4:30-6:30pm
Delehanty Hall, UVM, Burlington VT

Are you a Vermont educator who wants to get started with Google sites? Or do you use them already but want to get a little more in-depth?

Join UVM pre-service educators Cally Conron and Anthony Thomas Fairbanks for this free two-hour workshop, as they take you through a step-by-step how-to of building a Google site for use in the classroom. Bring a laptop and all your questions, as there'll be plenty of time for hands-on work and discussion. Meet up with other educators and hear how they're using this powerful tool with their students.

Light refreshments served; certificate of credential hours provided.

Please contact or (802) 656-2641 with any questions.

Audrey Homan, Web & Communications
Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education @ University of Vermont | twitter: @innovativeEd
ph (802) 656-2641 | f 656-3173 | e:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vermont Fest 2013

As always, the Vermont Fest educational technology conference had a lot to offer this year and I've come away with some great ideas to share.

Some take-aways:
  • Q: How can we share students' digital work like we do physical artifacts (posters, 3-D objects, etc.)?  A:  Make a poster with a QR code on it.  Scanning the QR code with a smart phone brings up the digital work.  Great idea for parent-teacher conference time-- let parents see what their kids are doing in the digital realm!
  • Lots of schools going 1-to-1 in some form or another.  Wifi is key.  Some schools are also looking at BYOD ("bring your own device") models.
  • Video is powerful.  Give kids a decent-quality camera and ask them to tell a story or learn about and report on their community.  Students who may not love writing can surprise you when given the chance to show learning in a different way. 
  • It's not the tool-- it's the learning.  We know that, of course.  But it always helps to be reminded.

Interested in what you missed? Most presenters (including yours truly) shared their resources here.

 I did a presentation entitled "How not to ruin a presentation with technology" (with help from the art deparment!) that I'd love to come into your classes and present.

OK, my notes (I'd be happy to share more if these are too cryptic.  Use the link above to see the actual resources):

REEL History
Matt Henchen
Civics teacher, Harwood Union
Kids need to be media savvy
Two Stories
Tanner’s story—his 10-year old son.  Hates to write. Tech honors multiple intelligences.
Use of voxpop = ask a diverse set of people the same question.
Kids speak through media.
Powerful video of students interviewing a homeless man.
Power of the media to bring people together who wouldn’t otherwise.
Place-based learning.   What are local places you could use?
iPhone 5s has slow-motion camera; use earbuds as unidirectrional mics

Augmented Reality
Tarrant Institute
Similar to putting up QR codes, but the "code" is the object itself.
Aurasma-- iOS app for creating augmented reality experiences. Recognizes the image and displays resources overlayed.
Science Fair idea-- physical object with additional digital components.

Tech tips top 40
Common Sense media has added Graphite for searching.
A Fair(y) Use Tail-  uses Disney clips.
Get Creative.

Gregory Connors- Rutland City Schools
Students bring their own devices and register them.
Complements 1-to-1. Not an expectation.
Info here.

Chrome Ninja
Jean Campbell, MMU HS
Showed extensions and apps
Nice extensions-
Send by Gmail
Diigo, etc.

Nice apps-
Loupe photo collage
LucidChart are all added to their Google Drive.

App development
Lucie Delabriere
Creativisy is not enough—need grit!
Make it social.
Programmer vs programmed-- kids should be "makers."
Buzztouch demo (tool for creating mobile apps-- iOS and Android)
Xcode for mac
Eclipse for android

When 1-2-1 and BYOD Merge

Luis Bango—Woodstock MS and HS

385 students in HS
Many devices on the network
350 school-issued netbooks on campus
iPad labs (20 in world languages)
6 technology interns
Spent a year “doing HW” to prepare for 1-2-1.
MS teachers helped the HS teachers get ready when 1-2-1 came to 9th grade.
Machines don’t go home.  Charge them during lunch.  Gets through the day.
Why don’t they go home? Couldn’t pay warranty.  Wanted to be sure they were there every day.  Didn’t want them in kids’ backpacks (sports teams).
Used Digital Wish chart for planning 1-2-1.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Showing dropped students in GradeQuick

If a students move sections in one of your courses, please note that their grades do not move with them.  Here's how to see the old grades when it comes to the end of a marking period:

  1. In the old course, go to Options...Preferences and deselect Hide Dropped Students (see the screenshot below).
  2. You will now see the student in the old section again (with a Dr, indicating "Dropped"), along with the grades.
  3. You can copy these grades into the new course. It may also be easier to put the new grades into the old section until the marking period ends, then start in the new section for the next marking period.
  4. If you put all the grades in the old section, double-click the quarter grade in the new section and overwrite it with the correct grade.  Just be aware that GradeQuick averages assignment scores, not quarters; this will be important for the end-of-year grade.

Friday, November 1, 2013

New look for the Google bar

Here's a heads-up that there will be a change in how you access other Google apps while using a particular Google app (for example, opening your calendar or Drive while in GMail). Those of you who have personal Google accounts have probably already noticed it.  The new look is now coming to Google Apps  for Education (what we use at CVU).

Essentially, instead of accessing Calendar, Drive, etc. via the bar across the top...

...there will now be a simpler bar with an icon that looks like a 3 x 3 grid.

Clicking this icon will bring up your other Google apps (note that these are determined by which apps CVU has enabled.  The image below is from my personal Google, which has different apps enabled).

I'm sure that when this is rolled out, Google will pop up messages to let you know, but a heads-up never hurts!