Friday, 23 November 2012

Motivating writing using Apple Mac's Keynote

I was playing around with photos with a teacher today and showing her how to do masking and Alpha masking. When you do the alpha masking you need a fairly plain background.

I used this photograph of my dog and then removed the background green of the grass by clicking on the Alpha button on the toolbar.

Then I dragged another photo of scenery (a photo I took at Cooks Beach) on top of the dog and sent the background to the back.

The next step was to click on the dog and change the Opacity so he looks ghostly.

I then went to View - Show Presenter notes and now students can write their stories about the picture.

Take a screen capture of the photo and add it to a Presentation in Google Docs. Make a file up different pictures.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Collaborating with multiple iPads using Reflector

Pages ($13.99 for iPhone/iPod Touch and $13.99 for iPad)
Wordprocessing Software

Reflection ($14 for Mac or Windows)
Mirroring software for you laptop

I was working with some Year 7 and 8 students at 'The Gardens' school and they were getting ready to storyboard their iMovie Trailers.
Their teacher 'Anna' had emailed them the iMovie Trailer Storyboard PDF which we had sourced from Timothy Jeffferson's blog. The students took screen captures of the PDF and then pasted into Pages. They then used the text boxes to add their information.
So in a group of four
  • One student was filling in the PDF storyboard
  • Another student was filling in the iMovie trailer headings
  • Two students were just sitting there
They were not really working together anymore as they were more involved in their own little projects.
I had Reflector on my laptop so I hooked my computer up to the projector, launched Reflector and then showed the girls how to use the Airplay on their iPads to mirror to the projector.
menubar.png Mirror your iPad by tapping on the Air Play button button.png and select the name of the laptop and turn Mirroring on.

The whole dynamics of the group changed with all four students able to see what each other was writing and their group became more collaborative.
Later they added another iPad where one of the girls typed up a list of what they needed to do next.

There was a great discussion buzz coming from them.
They said they preferred working like that as they could easily see what everybody was writing.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Starting younger children reflecting

Kids Journal ($1.29 for iPad)
Diary writing, reflective journal for young students.

This is a great app to start young children reflecting on their day. It can be used for  for individual iPad owners and you can set up class sets of journals on one iPad.

Tap on the empty Journal box to add a new journal.
Add a photo, type in your name and choose a colour for your book.

Choose a Mood Picture
Choose a location picture

Choose a weather picture
Choose the 'Photo of the day'
Type in your reflection/journal/diary entry

These pages can be exported by tapping on the Paper Dart icon. They can be exported to iBooks, Kindle, Notability, Evernote and several more.

So it takes 5 steps to make a Journal entry
  1. Choose a mood
  2. Chose a location
  3. Choose the weather
  4. Choose a photo
  5. Type in your entry
The next step could be Kidblog which is an Internet based student blogging platform and which is now available as an app
Kidblog (Free for iPhone/iPod Touch; Free for iPad)

And then there is Blogger, if your students have a Google account through Google Apps for Education then they have a 'Blogger' account. It is a great way for students to blog as there are no distractions on the app, all they can do is type a title, type a post, insert a photo and post!

5 year old Chloe, doing her favourite thing...blogging on Blogger

    Thursday, 1 November 2012

    Tools we have used before and forgot about #1

    Telescopic Text
    I blogged about this back in  October 2009 and posted on my Literacy wiki a couple of years ago. Telescopic text is a great way of showing students how to expand their sentences. The original Telescopic text starts off with a sentence, click on a shaded word to see how it expands.

    You can now make your own Telescopic text, and/or you can also have an account where you can save them and return to them later.
    These would work well as an IWB activity where groups of children can collaborate on one piece of writing. Or if you have access to several computers, students can be independently writing their own and sharing their different stories later, which could possibly be further edited.

    Yesterday I was working with a teacher and we were thinking about different ways to make a student's reading experience more fun and interesting and then to link it into his writing. The following poem was part of the story she was going to use with him from a Junior Journal (Junior Journal 36, Dancing Bees by Lynette Bradley.) and it is perfect for enlarging and adding to.

    So here is a tool that you should add to your 'Teacher Digital Toolkit'.