I will be talking at the Australian Maritime Museum for Apple (why don’t you come along?)

You know, because I don’t talk enough already…

In a previous post, I mentioned how I was invited up to Apple HQ to work on some resources for the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landing and Anzac Day. I will be heading back to Sydney on 31 March for Apple, but this time to chat with teachers and Principals about the whole process, or as Apple PR put it:

“Join us for a special opportunity to explore how Apple Distinguished Educators bring Australian History and the Gallipoli story to life with iPad. Experience the endless teaching possibilities of powerful creative tools and amazing interactive content”

If you happen to be in Sydney at the time, feel free to come along. The event will also be webcast on Apple’s site. You can register here. anzac

iTunes U How-To Video Series – How iTunes U works, general overview, taking notes, creating notebooks, and annotating videos & audio

I have been getting a lot of questions of late about iTunes U and how it works (remember I will be talking about this next week at the Australian Maritime Museum). I have put together a quick series of videos that go over key parts of how it all works. In a future series of videos, I will show you how you go about creating your on courses.

Catholic Primary Schools: Literacy Tests – Easier with Google Docs UPDATE – Pre Data Tests

Another post directed at my Catholic Primary School Homies’ (sorry, I am clearly not cool enough to drop lines like that)

In a previous post (here), I shared a way to collect literacy data far easier using the collaborative tools in Google Docs for upload to the CEO. All teachers could enter their data collaboratively as they went, instead of one poor sap doing it all one by one.

So, now it is time to upload Pre data. It seems there is a slight change now to the format.

I have detailed all the steps needed below in one handy animated gif (as opposed to an animated gif of kittens)

Pre-Data-Upload---How-to

Click image for full size view

New Arrivals and EAL iPad Program – Lesson 4 Video Update: The EAL Class teaches Math to the Prep class (using their Keynotes)

I normally don’t do follow-ups on how my lessons went (I really should start doing that…) but I wanted to share this video.

In my last post (New Arrivals and EAL iPad Program – Lesson 4: Creating Math Lessons with Keynote to share with the Preps (and Mr. Garcia can now speak Arabic!)) I ran a simple lesson teaching the students how to use Keynote and the flow on effect it had with their learning, today they went into the Prep class so the EAL students could be the teachers.

Other than us breaking them up into groups, the EAL students ran the show. It turned out far better than I would have imagined. Not only did the EAL students use their Math Keynotes, but they started to use some great teaching methods to help the students, such as using their fingers to help count, or trace out shapes on the iPad.

Saeed even learnt how tough it can be to be a teacher when one of his students walked out on him! (he made sure we knew this was not on!)

New Arrivals and EAL iPad Program – Lesson 4: Creating Math Lessons with Keynote to share with the Preps (and Mr. Garcia can now speak Arabic!)

Today we started to use Keynote for the first time. Keynote is a very powerful iPad App that will allow you to make presentations. It also does so much more like animations, books, movies, lots of stuff. For today we began with the basics.

In learning how to use Keynote the students created some simple Math Games (just a set of slides, remember we want to use the tools well first) which they will share with the Prep students.

So from this simple activity the students learnt the basics of Keynote, how to make slides, using their words, ordering (in the slides and transitions). They will then learn a whole new set of skills when they head down to work with the Preps including, sharing their knowledge, speaking with a younger group of children (in both English and Arabic) and presentation skills and confidence.

Oh, and I am now fluent in Arabic….well the numbers 3 and 5 (video at the end of this post)

Below I have a visual breakdown of the lesson (with info in the captions), I have also posted the full video of the lesson at the end of this post.

Keynote Math Lesson:

We created some simple Math problems (remember these are target at out Prep students) using slides. Students learnt how to add and edit text.

We created some simple Math problems (remember these are targeted at our Prep students) using slides. Students learnt how to add and edit text.

We then learnt how transitions work. By adding one at the start (Build In) our item will appear, and one at the end (Build Out) our item will disappear. We talked about how the 'Order' is important here.

We then learnt how transitions work. By adding one at the start (Build In) our item will appear, and one at the end (Build Out) our item will disappear.
We talked about how the ‘Order’ is important here.

We continue to use the tools and apps on the iPad to help in our English use, such as Google Translate and iPad dictation.

We continue to use the tools and apps on the iPad to help in our English use, such as Google Translate and iPad dictation.

We looked at different ways to represent numbers for the Preps such as shape.

We looked at different ways to represent numbers for the Preps such as shape.

We also looked at using real-world items and how they can relate back to maths.

We also looked at using real-world items and how they can relate back to maths.

Mr Garcia is now fluent in Arabic….Kinda’

Full Lesson Video (24min):

How-To: A simple and quick way to make interactive games for your students using Keynote (….or Powerpoint…)

Alright, a quick and easy lesson here.

My Prep classes asked for a way they could create some interactive games for their students that would be personalised and, most importantly, quick and easy.
Now everyone knows my love of Keynote (seriously, slides are a dirty word, this thing can do full animations… I will have some lesson on that down the line). It is also very easy to use to create some flash style interactive games.

In this video I show you how to make one from start to finish in under 10 minutes*, and an easy (and copyright free) way of finding resources and was you can embed these games into Multi-Touch Books

*Literally, 9.58!

You can download the example Keynote I made here

Or Powerpoint here

How-To: Using Meerkat in the classroom – Live-streaming your lessons, student work, sports events, camps…anything!

385132742-roundedMeerkat is an iOS app, linked to your Twitter account that allows you in a few simple clicks to live-stream from your iPhone or iPad.

When you use the app, it will send out a tweet to all your followers and begin streaming. Your followers can then jump on and view the stream in realtime. I have been playing around with this in the classroom and the possibilities are vast. Stream your lessons to absent students, stream a student presentation to their parents, a sports event or school performance…you get the idea.

There are other ways to live-stream, but nothing as easy as this, and as you could use your school or classroom twitter account you already have an audience. Of course, there is nothing stopping you from creating a new twitter account for a specific purpose, let’s say, Grade 6 Camp, and have worried parents subscribe for the week.

Just remember, this does use twitter and is a form of social media, always think about what exposure you want to these services for your students or school (does your school have a social media policy?)

In the video below I show how easy the app works. Have fun.

Click here to download the app now, it’s free.

New Arrivals and EAL iPad Program – Lesson 3: Maths and MineCraft (now in English, Chaldean and Arabic!)

In this lesson I joined the students and Stafro (Grade 5 student from Iraq) took charge!

He introduced MineCraft to the class and how to use it (and to make me feel even dumber, he did this in three languages! – English, Chaldean and Arabic).

We then looked at ways we can use a game like this for our learning.

Below is a small snippet from the lesson.

 

New Arrivals and EAL iPad Program – Lesson 2: Words, Spelling and Story

In this lesson I wanted to continue on with the skills the students were developing using Google Docs and working collaboratively.

Again, a very simple premise but one that, with the iPad, was an easy and fun way to do some deep learning.

I setup a blank Google Doc (this time using the Docs app in Goggle Docs) and invited all the students.

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Then, the classroom teacher and I worked on a completing a sentence together.

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I reminded the students on some of the tricks they could use to help them with their English (Dictation on the iPad and Google Translate)

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And let the students go. They all took turns in completing the story. There was some great teamwork as others offered to help with English words and spelling when another got stuck. Again a very simple lesson, building on some simple skills, but a great way for the class to work together.

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New Arrivals and EAL iPad Program – Lesson 1: Using Google Docs to work together to practice English, Google Translate in the Classroom, And Mr. Garcia gets beaten by a Grade 5!

Another one of my famous, overly long titles there.

So, we are still a little ways off from launching a 1:1 iPad program at our school but I thought we could get the ball rolling with a smaller group of students, but really the ones that would benefit most, our New Arrivals students. These are students that are not only new to our school, but also the country (most come from Iraq, Syria, Turkey) and I can tell you know, they are some of the smartest and funniest students to work with (if you get the chance I highly recommend it!).

Our New Arrival students work together for the morning and afternoon (they are from Grade 2-5) and then go back into their classrooms for the afternoon. Now I am lucky enough to work with them every morning as part of my new 1:1 program. My goal is to not only find engaging ways to use agile technologies and tools to help in working in Australian Primary Schools (i.e.: English) but also empower them with new skills to take back with them when the rejoin their classmates in the afternoon. Hopefully making these students fill more included, and show their classroom teacher some things that will help them also (and they think it is pretty cool that they have an iPad)

A little bit of background before I talk bout our first, very successful, lesson.

  • All students (11 in total) were given an iPad by the school, at this stage they will have them for the whole day and will be returned before they go home. After a few weeks of the program, we will extend that and allow students to take the iPad home with them (after some communication and permission with their parents).
  • All students have also been setup with a Google Apps for Education account for their email, document creation and online storage.
  • Finally, one important thing to note is the students in our New Arrival class have been given funding for 40 weeks, after that they are on their own, so that is my timeframe to work with them all (until a new group comes along in the following year)

Lesson 1:

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Apps Used in this lesson: Google Translate, Google Sheets. Click images above to download.

In this lesson, I wanted students to get familiar with using the collaborative features of Google Docs, and also continue a lesson they were doing the other day – looking at words to use, a What, What Doing, Who activity.

What, What Doing, Who Activity. Students would put their hand up and offer their word.

What, What Doing, Who Activity. Students would put their hand up and offer their word.

I then adapted this in the form of a Google Doc (in this case a Google Spreadsheet – also be aware that the iPad versions of Google Apps have some restrictions when it comes to tables and images, so get familiar with those).

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Google Doc – Web version on the left, iPad version on the right.

Now students were able to fill out their section, or work together if they needed help. They were also very excited by the prospect of being able to work together when they are at home (or as Stafro was happy to point out “eat food while working”), so we are definitely looking at the Augmentation stage of embedding technology into learning.
Using some simple features of the iPad we can now go even further. Students are still learning English and are all at different stages. I showed them some easy ways of helping them.
First, allowing the iPad to spell and define words. This way they can see if their English spelling is correct.

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Using the define function left, and using the speak to type function right.

Then, using the free app, Google Translate, I showed students how they could easily use this to test their English. Google Translate let the students speak in Arabic and it would then speak the English translation. They could also type or hand write and it would do the same, and vice-versa. This they were very impressed with (but less impressed with my Arabic – see video below). We also talked about how this would be a big help when they returned to the normal classroom. They could, or get their teacher or classmates, to speak or write the word they were having issues with and see the Arabic translation instantly. The app also stores the list of words so they can practice these later.

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Speaking in Arabic left, and the instant translation right.

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You can also hand write or type words.

And that was the lesson. Yes, very basic to begin with but the students had a lot of fun while also learning some very powerful collaborative working techniques along the way. In my next lesson I wan to take this technique a bit further and see if we can work on a narrative as a group using Google Docs. I want to introduce them to using Google Classroom soon, so it is very important to get these fundamentals working first.

Okay, now I did say you will see me getting beaten by a Grade 5 student….here you go, your moment of zen: