Friday, April 11, 2014

Augmented Reality Arrives in SD Primary School

Recently I attended the Computer Using Educators (CUE) conference in Palm Springs with three of my SD colleagues. Among the new educational technologies I learned about at CUE, I was most impressed with apps that integrated augmented reality.

Augmented reality associates objects or images with a video or other media using image and object recognition technology. Objects come to life when a digital device (such as an iPad) recognizes them through one of these Apps. Some of the apps I saw included Aurasma, Elements 4D, Anatomy 4D, and colAR Mix. 

I decided to use this technology in my teaching because I thought it would be a very effective way to engage both the young learners in my class and other teachersFor my first experiment I used Aurasma. 

The goal of this project was to review turning fractions into decimals. 

I provided each student with a different fraction. Students created videos explaining how they solved the problem. They uploaded their videos to the Aurasma cloud system.
Students then made an “aura” of their equation. The aura can be either an image or a three dimensional object. In this case I had my students make a small drawing of their equation.

Students used the Aurasma App to associate their video to their aura. Their aura became the trigger that launched their video in which they explain their thought process of solving their equation. 



Each “aura” and video is unique to the students’ iPad so that they are only watched with the student's permission.  Students were able to show off their work to adults visiting on Grandparents and Special Friends DayThe fourth-graders were beaming when showing their videos and it was amazing to see them take such pride in their math work!  

I definitely plan to use this app again for a geometry scavenger hunt. I can't wait to see how my next experiment goes. It's also great to hear that many other teachers plan to start using Aurasma as well so that we are able to collaborate and come up with new ways to incorporate this technology.


Ryan Hopper
Math Teacher
Primary School Technology Facilitator 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Using Book Creator For 8th Grade Spanish Cultural Reports

For several reasons, time with my 8th graders in the fourth quarter is scarce. I always wonder how I will fit it all in! Projects tend to be time consuming. Sometimes I am forced to omit a valuable project. In this case I used a time-saving App called Book Creator so that students didn't have to miss out on a chance to demonstrate their progress in pronunciation and to learn about Puerto Rico's rainforest.

With Earth Day approaching I also felt it was the perfect opportunity for cross-curricular learning.

Book Creator made this project quick, easy, and fun. Creating an e-Book allows students to express themselves creatively and quickly in the actual design of the book. They can make choices about what to write and narrate in Spanish. I like the fact that Book Creator allows them the opportunity to record their own voice speaking Spanish. Using only their iPad, they accomplished this in two class periods.

Assessment is an important aspect of project based learning. My eighth graders strive all year to speak with an authentic Spanish accent and pronounce unfamiliar words correctly. This app made assessment easy. By listening to one or two short passages, I am able to pinpoint problem sounds and make recommendations for each student.

Submitting work can be a challenge when doing digital projects. I developed a simple digital work flow where my students share their e-Book with me in Google Drive. I download the book and open it in iBooks to listen and assess. iBooks allows me to file and organize student projects by class sections.

Although reading and writing in Spanish about the rain forest were desired outcomes for this project, my main objective was to assess their pronunciation and reading abilities. Book Creator was a perfect choice to achieve this goal.

Deborah Fugate
Middle School
Spanish Teacher

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Training the Trainers - CUE 2014


The success of the San Domenico School 1:1 iPad program depends on a variety of components. Professional development and curriculum design provide important support for our teachers in the task of integrating technology in learning at San Domenico.

Our technology leadership plays an important role in this process. The leadership team includes a technology facilitator in each school level.

Ryan Hopper (primary school), Kali Baird (middle school), and Dr. Doris Brown (high school) are our technology facilitators. These teachers consult with their colleagues helping them build technology rich lesson plans.

You might wonder who trains the trainers?

This week we sent them to their own professional development program at the Computer Using Educators (CUE) conference in Palm Springs.

CUE 2014 provided a wealth of opportunities for any teacher looking to build a repertoire of classroom activities and lesson plans for integrating technology in the classroom. CUE had everything from Augmented Reality to Google tool SLAMs. Some sessions showcased software tools while others provided interactive discussions of best practices for technology integration.

One of my favorite sessions at CUE 2014 was presented by Scott Kley Contini. Contini is Assistant Director of Instructional Technology - Pedagogy and Integration Coach, The Harker School. In his session Ready, Set, Screencast! Contini presented Harker School teacher screencasts that describe their summer professional development activities.

The screencasts are part of the requirement for teachers who get stipends for summer professional development. They are presented at faculty meetings at the beginning of the year. Faculty may also view them later from a YouTube playlist. The screencasts help them learn new ideas and get excited about integrating new learning technologies.

Having teachers present their work for their colleagues is an effective professional development activity for everyone involved.

Of course San Domenico teachers wouldn't be able to attend a conference without presenting at a session or two.

Here is a Dr. Doris Brown doing a "CUETip" presentation on how she uses the student response app Socrative.

This June San Domenico School hosts iTeach 2014. Join our teachers and special invited guests for a fun filled schedule of interactive workshops, panels, and keynote presentations. There will be something for everyone. We look forward to learning with you this summer.

Brad Lakritz
Director of Technology
San Domenico School




Saturday, March 22, 2014

CUE the Learning - San Domenico Technology Leaders Learn With 5,250 Of Their Peers

It's been at least 15 years since my last Computer Using Educators (CUE) conference. This week I came back to a bigger and better professional development program for educators. San Domenico technology facilitators Ryan Hopper, Kali Baird, and Dr. Doris Brown joined me for three days of learning fun.

CUE is big! There were over 5,000 educators with us this week.

Many of us had to wait over an hour in line to check in at the beginning of the conference which meant we missed most if not all of the first session. There were many sessions where there were just too many people to fit in the space provided for the presentation.
Dan Meyer perplexes thousands of computer using educators

It is exciting when you realize there are this many educators supported by so many schools and school districts wanting to train their teachers to integrate technology in their classrooms.

It's bit daunting when you find that even the hall for the keynote presentation didn't have enough space for all the people to sit. They actually had live feeds into other rooms during Dan Meyer's opening keynote on Thursday evening.

There is something very special about having an opportunity to join together with your colleagues to learn, collaborate, and develop technology skills. I met so many educators doing amazing things in their classrooms.

Just to share one touch point from the week I'll leave you with a brief description of one lesson I learned from Kay Little and Sandy Patterson's workshop on iPad Projects for the 21st Century Classroom.

Kay and Sandy teach in a public school in southern California. When their school went 1:1 with iPads in the second grade two years ago Kay and Sandy began developing classroom projects together.

Today, Kay is a Teacher on Special Assignment who helps Sandy and other teachers learn how to integrate the technology in their classrooms.

This is significant because it shows the importance of the holistic approach to technology integration.

First the district and school decided that integrating iPads was an important step to take. Then they gave the teachers and students the tools while pairing these two teachers in the process of trying it out and seeing what works. Finally, after some failure and success, they decided that leadership and training were important to spreading the work throughout the school.

I look forward to hearing more about their work as these two computer using educators expand into bigger and better things. I also look forward to sharing more about what we experienced at CUE 2014.

It was very good to be back!

Brad Lakritz
Director of Technology
San Domenico School

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Animation Creation Helps Students Review Abstract Concepts in Science

Genetics is a unit of biology with many levels.  

There is the exploration of our traits when students compare some simple dominant and recessive traits and consider which genes they received from parents and ancestors. This leads to the logical problem solving of Punnet Squares.  

There is the history and biochemistry of DNA and all the new applications of technology, from DNA fingerprinting, cloning, and the creation of Genetically modified organisms. 

Ethical questions also arise from this new knowledge and ability. 

During this unit students do everything from lab work to debating the issues. When it is time to review for the unit test I find the biggest challenge for students is being able to explain what is happening during the biochemical processes that we cannot see with our eyes.

To address this limitation I incorporate an animation assignment into the review process.

Here is an overview of the assignment:

Students work in table groups already. For this assignment each table group is given a different topic: Protein synthesis, DNA structure and replication, creation of Recombinant DNA, or DNA fingerprinting

Students must have a clear understanding of their topic in order to plan, script and create their movie.

Students use dry erase boards, Bendaroos, clay, beads, and colored paper as props for a movie created in one 85 minute class period.


Using an animation App such as iMotion HD (Free) or iStopMotion ($9.99) each table had a stand to hold the iPad in place while they worked. Each group completed their animation shots and selected an appropriate play speed then saved the movie to their camera roll.  

Most groups made their entire animation in one series. Some realized they could build from a series of animations and even action shots that they would splice together later.  

From here the students could further edit their animation in iMovie, add subtitles, and include a voice over.  

The assignment is rushed but the point of the lesson was to review concepts and not create the "best animation." I could give more instruction in the App and time to storyboard if I was looking for a more polished finished product. I believe the film making process lead to the review of the material they needed.

My students easily figured out the apps and helped each other between groups if one person had more knowledge. As a teacher I am able to circulate and answer questions -- more about the biology than the technology. At the end of class, I show the short clips to the whole class and share all the movies with the Biology classes on our Moodle page for them to use for Review.

Below is an example of student created work for this assignment.

video


Hilary Staples
High School Science Chair
San Domenico School