EdCampLA – Educators Teaching Educators

On a frigid Saturday morning, droves of educators gathered in West Hollywood, CA at the The Center for Early Education to talk technology and education, all for FREE! Yup, this was an un-conference called EdCampLA, where participants are invited to post 45 minute sessions on something they are passionate about and lead a discussion, how-to or just sit back and enjoy all of the great information being delivered. The following is a second look at wonderful presentations, ideas, resources and thoughts that I was fortunate to be part of!

Evernote was the first session on my agenda and in un-conference fashion, the speaker had posted the session on Evernote but wanted to learn more about it, rather than lead the session, and quickly, educators chimed in about their experiences. Just like that we had a full blown discussion on Evernote. Evernote is an online based product that can store notes, documents, audio and much more. Use it with students, share information anywhere, anytime from multiple devices.

@nerdyteacher for hands-on experiences using Evernote
Laurence School has great resources for teachers regarding Evernote
artsonia art online gallery for displaying kid’s art (can also monetize)

Apps! App Differently
This was the second session of the day for me and as the title states, apps! Jo Ann Fox (@appeducationfox) moderated this discussion and many apps discussed. Below is a small list and some of their attributes. See the image below for a more comprehensive list of apps that were discussed in this session. My favorite by far was MyScript Calculator (see video below)

-madlip app- free version gives you 15 seconds of audio. Have students make a talking book cover using
-imovie app. Use to make trailers with your content
-explain everything
-bugsandbuttons, bugsandnumbers, etc (for lower grades)
-imotionhd for creating stop motion movies
-remind101 – a single directional text for parents and students (can set up groups and for field trips )
-vintagio (for silent films)
-creative book builder
-pickplaypost (create collages) idea: take pictures that relate objective, make collage and explain
-myscriptcalculator (Microsoft version is mathmatica for PC). My favorite of the day (see below)
-join.me (cost?)

Apps mentioned in a session at EdCampLA

MyScript Calculator Demo

The 1 iPad classroom
John Stevens (@jstevens009) and Eduardo Rivera led this session on how they use a single iPad in the class to teach 8th grade and 9th grade algebra respectively. They utilize both Apple TV and/or the Reflector app to connect their iPads wirelessly to create an interactive and collaborative experience. Here are a few of the apps and resources they recommended:
-educreations and explaineverything (.99)
-appshopper (track apps for pricing)
-class dojo for participation
-Jumbo Stopwatch

After a great lunch I headed off to John Omekubo’s (@jumekubo) session on Subtext. Subtext is an app that allows students and teachers to collaborate on the same book. Students can be invited to a group by their teacher and then both parties can interact by asking questions, tagging and highlighting text , adding resources for the students and much more! Below are a few ideas and resources to support this app.

-readlist.com: turn web articles into chapters
-make an epub file

The day culminated in a Slam session, where educators stood up and presented their favorite thoughts, apps, websites or whatever they wanted to reflect on, from the day’s events. My favorite is listed below. I actually stood in line to present my slam of the day(MyScript Calculator) but @jstevens009 beat me to the punch, SLAM!
video 514.mov for playing youtube
– upload any video from google using google docs

Here are some other links that might be useful for finding information on sessions that I did not attend or did not cover in this blog post. You can also peruse the EdCampLA website to search for specific information. Thanks to all of the folks @EdCampLA for a great day!

EdCAmpLA Blog
EdCAmpLA Wiki

Make a Movie: Part One

I currently teach 6th Grade Math, Technology and Spanish and its always exciting for students, not to mention myself, to make a movie about what we are studying. There are many ways to make a video or movie. You can simply have students shoot raw footage of the content of your choice, transfer it to your computer and display it to the whole class or place it on your class website for everyone to enjoy! You can get a little more sophisticated and import your video into some software, like Garageband which is part of the Apple iLife suite, which also is bundled with iPhoto and iMovie. With Garageband you can add narration video or images and background music to your project. On the Windows side, I have only used Audacity which does the job for composing audio but lacks the image and video components of your project. I did some research on a product for windows that is very intriguing. It does a very similar job to Garageband and most importantly it has the capability of combining images or videos and narration to your project. The name of this software is Acoustica Mixcraft 5.

  • Checkout Mixcraft 5:
  • These are just some of many ways to go and make a movie from your content and have some fun along the way.For those of you who really want to wow ’em and take your movies to the next level, there are more robust programs such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Quick Time and Avid Technologies just to name a few. I recently came across a piece of software that I have not used yet, but I am certainly taking a look at and it is Illusion Mage. Click on the link and watch some of the videos of what it can do. Simply “Amazing.” Stay tuned for part two of this blog post, where I am going to show you how to use some of this software and give you some ideas on projects that you can put together for your students!



The iPad and Classroom Management

Classroom management has many layers and aspects to it. It includes being organized, keeping students engaged and the ability to deliver meaningful content. Hey, you can also have some fun along the way. So this is where the iPad comes in. You hear all the chatter about the iPad, it’s this, it’s that and truly, it is whatever you want it to be. The iPad is extremely flexible and the apps give a teacher, an assistant, so to speak. The first app that I recommend is Teacher’s Pick. You should always have a way of selecting students, because we all know that squeaky wheel gets oiled and we tend to pick the students who always raise their hands. The Teacher’s Pick is the perfect app for this and students will take notice. In order for your students to see your selection, you can hook your iPad up to an LCD projector, place it under a document camera or simply show them the iPad screen. The app beats using popsicle sticks, especially in the middle school or high school classroom because of the volume of students. Teacher’s Pick allows you to keep track of who has been chosen during the day or even all week. You can reset your picks at any time. A great tool to get everyone involved! Another great app that allows you to take full control of your classroom is the Lan School Lite app. This app comes complete with free software for your main computer, to over see what is happening in real time with the laptops that your students are using in the classroom. The beauty of the Lan School Lite software, is that the app that is installed on the iPad, allows for you to monitor student computers on the go! You can move about your classroom, help students with their projects and continue to monitor your student’s computer screens at the same time. I my opinion, the key to this app is the mobility and you are not stuck in any one place. Students will respect the fact that you are watching and also willing to help. Check these apps out. I know they can benefit your classroom and improve classroom management.

  • Photo Booth: How to use it for making movie clips!

    If you have a Mac and it has the Leopard Operating System, then you have Photo Booth. If you do not see it in the lower icon tray, then you can find it in the applications folder from the desktop Macintosh HD icon. Once you find the Photo Booth icon, drag it to your icons tray.


    What is nice about this version of Photo Booth is that it has the capability of inserting a static (still)  image or a dynamic (moving) image behind you as you record yourself in front of the image. It is very easy work with and gives, you the teacher, a great way to demonstrate a lesson or students the ability to create great projects. Creating is at the top of the updated Blooms Taxonomy model, so this is just another way to create, design and develop. Look under the TUTORIALS tab for step by step instructions on how to create a presentation using Photo Booth and its green screen properties.


    Presentation Software: Skitch

    In the never ending commitment to enhance the presentation of content, I give you SKITCH! This freeware, in beta version, is truly dynamic and has changed the way I review homework or introduce new material. Skitch allows you to snap, draw and share. I use this tool in conjunction with my wireless Wacom tablet. I am able to quickly access the internet, open Skitch, click on snap which displays cross-hairs that enable me to snap a shot of whatever I would like to highlight. Then I can annotate or draw on the whatever I have snapped. Avery simple tool with and endless amount uses. Go check it out. Download it. Have fun while getting your students attention.