April Newsletter

Technology Newsletter

Feature Article

Are You Integrated?

I start with this question to refer back to a focus from the beginning of the year when we talked about the levels of technology integration. I shared about SAMR or Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. At the lowest level (S), technology is used as merely a substitute for the traditional pen and paper activity. At the highest level (R), the activity is completely redefined and only possible with the use of technology. As we approach the end of the year, I wanted to offer some lesson ideas and examples that might spark your interest in bumping your lesson up a notch from being less about technology and more about learning. As a lesson is redefined or modified with technology it becomes less about the device and more about learning. Below are some ideas and programs that could get your started. As always, I'm here to help - from lesson planning to carrying out a lesson, feel free to call on me!

  1. Use Book Creator (free or $3.99) to have students create flipbooks on the iPads about a topic or concept they are learning. Book Creator allows users the ability to add photos, sound, text, and handwritten drawings into books which can be designed by students.
  2. Use iMovie for the iPad or Mac to allow students to make a movie or movie trailer. Students could make book trailers like movie trailers explaining the main idea of a book. They can also conduct science experiments and document them as videos.
  3. Use TouchCast (free) on the iPad to allow students to make newscasts. TouchCast allows you to record from the camera and bring in elements like text, photos, news banners, and even websites as the video is playing. A great ways for students to demonstrate knowledge of a topic.
  4. Use ExplainEverything ($2.99) on the iPad for students to create screencasts to explain, well, almost anything. With ExplainEverything, students can annotate over almost any kind of content you can bring to the iPad - photos, movies, PDFs, and content in Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Skydrive, etc. Once you add that content to ExplainEverything you can annotate, record and send back to Google Drive or save on the iPad. With this app your students can make a movie or presentation on about almost anything. This is a swiss army knife app!
  5. Use Haiku Deck (free) to make amazingly simple presentations. Haiku Deck is a simpler and much easier version of powerpoint for the iPad. It's great for younger students. It searches and finds applicable images based on the content of the presentation. By using AirPlay to your Apple TV, students can create and share amazing presentations about almost any subject right to your board. Presentations can also be exported to PowerPoint if you desire to use them as a PowerPoint too.
  6. Use PowToon (free on the Mac) or PuppetPals iPad app (free with in-app purchases) to make cartoons where characters inside the app can explain and teach a concept or idea. Students can manipulate the characters and record the session to make a movie which can be shared with others.
  7. Use Write About This (free or $3.99) to use as engaging writing prompts for almost any age. The free version has a limited number but the paid version offers many more. Teachers can create their own writing prompts (complete with a photo and audio if desired) and display them with the Apple TV to get the creative writing juices flowing.
  8. Use Email built right in to the iPad. Every student has a google email account first.last @ evsck12.com which can be added to their student iPads. Once email is setup on a device, think of all of the possibilities. Now, students can email projects, photos, and work from your class. To help manage your inbox, you may want to set a rule to keep your inbox from going crazy! You can also email photos, PDFs, etc. to your students this way too. Please let me know if you want to get this setup in your class.

This is just a starting point. If you're still not inspired, I've included some videos below from different grade levels which may spark your creativity or inspire you.

Click here to watch a K-2nd grade example. Keep in mind students can use iPad cameras and Haiku Deck (above) for PowerPoint.
Click here to watch a 3-5th grade math example. Keep in mind our students have access to all of these tools already on the iPads and MacBooks.
Click here to watch a 6-8th grade ELA example. Keep in mind this project could be about almost any topic and use Google Docs, iMovie, and web cams, iPad cameras, or flip cams to capture interviews.

New Information

WorldBook Free Trial

You may have used WorldBook before with your students for great internet research tools with your kids. From now until the end of the year WorldBook is making all of their products available for the EVSC to try. Most everything is iPad friendly and will give you access to some tremendous resources for your classroom. Go to this link for more info.

Free Online Assessment Tools

I encountered this a few days ago and thought this was definitely worthy of sharing here. At this Hubpage site, Jonathan Wylie shares some really great ways to use free technology tools to assess students.

Find Great Education Apps

Ever wondered where to find great app ideas for your classroom? This Hubpage site, includes several places you can look. Impress your friends and colleagues with the apps you find!

Chrome Extensions you Should Consider Using

In the last last newsletter I tried to convince you to use Chrome in place of Firefox or Safari on your desktop computer. Based on the data from the last newsletter about 60% use Safari followed by Chrome at about 20%. If you're still not convinced here are some great tools, called extensions, which can be added to Chrome to give your web browser added benefits. Visit the Chrome Webstore on your computer (while using Chrome) and search for some extensions. Some extensions to try are: Google Dictionary, Explain and Send Screenshots, Docs Quickly, Save to Google Drive, Print Friendly & PDF, goo.gl URL Shortener & QR maker, YouTube Options, Incredible Startpage, Turn off the Lights


EVSC eRev Summer Conference

I encourage and challenge you to consider attending the EVSC eRev 2014 conference at Central High School this summer (notice the venue change). This years's conference has some special surprises, student-led sessions, and some surprise guests that will wow you. The keynote speakers this year will be worth attending alone! The conference is July 9 and 10 with an optional full day workshop before on July 8. Visithttp://www.evscicats.com/erevolution/ for more info. If you are interested in attending, let me know.

In addition to the two day conference, I will be offering a full day workshop on Teaching and Creating with the iPad on July 8th. Let me know if you have questions.

App Requests

Don't Forget: App requests should be sent to webdesk@evsc.k12.in.us from now on!


As you consider creating class supply lists for next year, you may want to add inexpensive earbuds to the required list of supplies for for the 2014-2015 school year. Our school supply is depleted and will not be replenished. Many schools have added this as a class supply for use with student technology.

Update your iPad and Mac

This section is not meant to alarm you but it is highly advised that everyone using a Mac or iOS device (like iPad, iPhone, iPod) check for an update. Apple has released some important updates that fix a security issue that was discovered. On your Mac click on the Apple and select "Software update . . . " On the iPad, go to Settings -> Software Update. If you use your Mac or other Apple device for anything personal like accessing online shopping, banking, accounts or purchasing, you should definitely update.

OVER 95% of your iMacs have updates waiting for you to install!!

Promethean Board Bulbs

Please be sure to turn off your Promethean Board projectors when they are not in use. We are starting to see a lot of them left on during lunch, plan, and times when the room is empty. Your bulb will not get replaced until it completely quits working, so save the hours it is on and save energy - they do use a lot of power too! Rumor has is that the Promethean gnomes will be in our building this month and turn off energy wasting boards!

Promethean Board Video - Please Watch

Jeff Thornton, eLearning Coach

Jeff comes to the technology world following 8 years as a high school music teacher. Originally from Illinois, he attended The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jeff earned a bachelor degree in music education followed by a graduate degree in Piano Pedagogy. After completing a graduate degree, he taught music in the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY. Following 4 years in Louisville, Jeff became the director of choirs at Bosse High School. Throughout his time as a music teacher, Jeff was always interested in finding ways to use audio and video technology in the classroom. Jeff is currently an elearning coach at Evans School.