Tech Tip Tuesday

January 27, 2015

In this Issue: Storehouse, My Study Life, Seesaw Digital Portfolio, URL Shorteners, and SmartBoard Resources

Storehouse - "Your stories, as they happen."

Storehouse is a web-based/Apple app that is for creating and sharing stories. This app was the "2014 Apple Design Award Winner." Storehouse is a great tool as it allows students to capture pictures or videos and put them in a story with text. Think of this as the next presentation or sharing tool for students. As students finish a story, they are able to keep it saved on their free account, publish it, email it, or grab the URL link to easily share with others. Check out the promo video here.


How to Use in Your Classroom

Let your students take charge of their learning and allow them to document the process of learning. With this tool students could capture steps of the scientific process, document their field trips, show growth of a plant, give tutorials of tough math problems, do book reports, etc. There are so many possibilities to the use of this tool in the classroom. As students finish their projects, these could be presented to the whole class from the projector or turned into the teacher.

My Study Life App

Here is a very helpful app, My Study Life, that works on all devices and is also web-based. The idea behind this app is to give students an easy way to keep track of all their classes and assignments. When students first download the app, they will be prompted to enter their courses/classes (as well as some other details about each class). Once the classes are added, students may add tasks or assignments to each class. This will give them a calendar view and a list of upcoming tasks that need to be completed. Click here for the apps: Apple, Android, or Windows.


How to Use in Your Classroom

If your school is 1:1, then this would be the ideal app for students to use. If your school is not 1:1, then students could use this on their own device or a computer. Just like paper planners, planners only work if the student fills it out correctly. So this app will only help students if they are dedicated to filling it out. To keep students accountable, parents could download the same app to their devices using the same username/password. This would give parents a 24/7 view on their child's school work (that is if the student is filling it out correctly). This program is useful because no matter when students use it, as long as they are connected to the internet, they can access their planner.

Seesaw Digital Portfolio App on the iPad

Seesaw is a way for students to digitize pieces of work they complete at school to be a part of their portfolio. Their portfolio will not only track them as they get older, but parents are able to have access to ONLY their child's portfolio through an Apple device. Parents can get instant notifications from any new content added to their child's portfolio. Teachers are able to manage settings which require portfolio pieces to get approved by the teacher first before it is uploaded to their portfolio. This setting allows teachers to make sure appropriate items are only posted.


How to Use in Your Classroom

Even if your classroom is not 1:1, students are still able to share iPads to keep their portfolios updated. Students as young as five have been using this app, and parents love the instant notification of what is happening in their child's education. This app would also be great for parent-teacher conferences. Conferences could be a little less stressful as students would be required to update their portfolios with pieces of example work. This would be a great conversation piece with parents and the quality of work can easily be assessed. Also, from the teachers account, teachers would be able to view all students work, making the management side of things quite easy.


Check out the promo video below.

Seesaw in 90 Seconds

URL Shorteners

URL shorteners are such a helpful tool to use in the everyday classroom. A URL is an exact web address to anything that can be found on the internet. For example, the URL for Google is www.google.com. That is a very simple URL to remember, but most of the time, URLs are much longer than that. Here is a long URL of my T3 meetings sign-up sheet: https://docs.google.com/a/rc.edu/forms/d/1d-vKVcfMI_NyUqCIeXiZOAbIfmvd-Gcyvm8voM8qUW8/viewform. If students were to type this URL on their device or computer, it may take them hours to get it right (believe me, I have done that before). To make this URL shorter, there are many sites to use to condense the link. Here are some of my favorite:


Bit.ly - Users have the ability to use this without logging in, or, if you want to create a free account, users can customize their shortened links or create bundles of links. Bit.ly also tracks how many people access the website that was shortened.


is.gd - This site is great because users never have to log in. It also gives a QR code of the site you are shortening.


goo.gl - This is Google's URL shortener. It can be used if you have/do not have a Google email. With a Google email, it will track how many times the website is accessed, where in the world it was accessed from, what browser it was accessed on (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.), and what platform it was accessed on ( Windows, iPads, Macintosh, etc.).

SmartBoard Resources

I recently did a small tech PD and gave a few resources for teachers to use in their classroom. I broke the resources into two categories: Smart Notebook files (these are the interactive files on a SmartBoard) and internet games (games which students can play on the SmartBoard). Here is the list broken into the two categories. Each site has a lot of resources, so you may have to do a little digging.


Smart Notebook Files

SmartExchange

Modern Chalkboard

ES Lessons

Boardmaker Online (Not a Smart Notebook file, but this is a whole program that works on the SmartBoard. There is a free account and this program has been said to be much better than Smart Exchange.....)


Internet Games

SmartBoard Team Games

Book Flix - Free E-Books

PBS Whiteboard

SmartBoard Favorites

SmartBoard Games

Math Skill Builder

Math Playground

Sheppard Software