Friday, October 11, 2019

Google Lens - Search What You See

Google just released a great tool called Google Lens! My only regret is that I didn't know about this app last week! 

I spent the first part of this week with about 80 students in Northern Wisconsin. We study the flora and fauna in the Northwoods at the University of Wisconsin's Treehaven Campus. I spend most of my time at Bearskin Creek. Part of our exploration involves identifying Benthic Macroinvertebrates as indicator species.

We have some great dichotomous keys and are pretty practiced at identifying most of the critters, but every once in a while we run into something we've never seen and can't id on the spot. While some great apps help identify plants (PlantSnap and PictureThis), we've never found anything that can reliably help us identify insects on the spot.

Today I discovered Google Lens and tested it out on some of my photos from the trip. It works great! It takes just a moment to scan the image and then up pops names, images, and links to learn more. 

Right now the stand-alone app is only available on Android Devices, but Google Lens is built into the Google Photos App and the Google App on iOS.

There are also some other cool features that I have not explored yet, including the landmark scan. You can learn more about Google Lens here

How could you use this resource with your students in creative ways?

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Padlet - Engaging All Learners

Padlet is a digital bulletin board where students and teachers can post messages, collaborate, reflect, share links, share videos, and share pictures. Padlet is a great resource to support engage students in digital learning experiences.
  • Padlet has 7 different styles that you can start with, including Wall, Canvas, Stream, Grid, Shelf, Backchannel, and Map. When you create a new Padlet you have the option of previewing each one to determine which fits best for your students and any connected learning goals.
  • Padlet posts can include file uploads, links, Google searches, photos, webcam recordings, audio recordings, screencasts, drawings, map locations, or links to other Padlets.
5 Reasons Why Padlet is an Essential Tool for Today's Classroom Connected to the ISTE Standards for Students

ISTE Student Standard: Empowered LearnerStudents leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.

ISTE Student Standard: Digital Citizen Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.

ISTE Student Standard: Knowledge Constructor Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.

ISTE Student Standard: Innovative Designer Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.

ISTE Student Standard: Computational ThinkerStudents develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.
Problem Solver

ISTE Student Standard: Creative CommunicatorStudents communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.
Authentic Audiences
ISTE Student Standard: Global Collaborator Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

What Can Padlet Do for Educators and Learners?
Padlet is a very versatile tool that can be used with both students and educators to meet a variety of learning goals. Here are a few reflective questions and ideas connected to my exploration of Padlet as a tool to support teachers and learners. 

How can Padlet be shared with colleagues?
I think I would start by doing a quick 20-minute presentation on how I use Padlet with my students, followed by 30 minutes of exploration facilitated by me and any other teachers who are already using Padlet with students. The focus would be on student voice and creative communication.
I would also include several related resources for any staff who are not sold on using Padlet for future exploration. 

How can Padlet be explored collaboratively with students?
When my students create something connected to our learning experiences, I want them to have an authentic audience. I will primarily use Padlet as a place for students to share and comment on creative digital work. Each unit will have a unique Padlet and students will be asked to share some of our creative digital work with the class.
Currently, I use tools like Flipgrid, Adobe Spark Video,  and Screencastify with students to create recordings connected to our classroom activities. Padlet can be another tool that we can use to record student's voices and create screencasts connected to different learning processes. 

How can Padlet be used to promote digital citizenship and empower student learning?
ISTE Student Standard - Digital Citizen: Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.
Padlet is a great tool to help students collaborate and communicate in a digital learning environment. Students can share digital creations and then comment on each other’s work. The backchannel options is a great place to host a digital backchannel during a learning experience. Students and teachers can work together to refine digital communication skills in collaborative Padlets connected to classroom content and objectives.

I really like the versatility of Padlet and I think it is a great tool to empower student engagement. The different options for posts can easily be connected to student choice. Students can share ideas and create responses in a variety of ways including text, visuals, video, and audio. Padlets can also be used to be students to create digital portfolios.

How can Padlet transform work with colleagues?
Padlet is a great way to create an archive of professional development activities. Educators can share ideas and ask questions as they explore resources to support learners. 
Padlet can also be a great tool to share resources. An individual educator can create and share a Padlet of resources or a Padlet can be opened up to an entire PLN to share and collaborate.

Which ISTE Standards can be connected to Padlet?
The versatility of Padlet makes it a tool that can be adapted for almost every ISTE Standard, but I would start by focusing on the communication and collaboration standards. 
ISTE Standards for Students - Creative Communicator: Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.
ISTE Standards for Students - Global Collaborator: Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.
ISTE Standards for Educators - Collaborator: Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems.

What questions do you have about Padlet? How do you or could you use Padlet in your role? 

How about modeling how Padlet supports collaborative engagement by posting your questions and ideas in this Padlet?

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Power of Google Drawings to Engage Students

Sorry that I've been gone so long. I don't have a real reason why I haven't shared anything on the blog for so long. I have quite a few posts started, but other stuff keeps distracting me from finishing any of them. Well, that ends today. I'm back and committed to blogging again. I hope you missed me at least a little bit?

Over the years I have become a huge fan of engaging students in visuals. I love to have students create and explore visuals. I believe we learn best when creating is part of the learning process. We need to design activities to get students creating before, during, and after engaging in a learning experience.

I've used a variety of different tools and resources to engage students in visual design, but Google Drawings is one tool that I have mostly ignored. I was recently inspired by this post by Tony Vincent to dive a bit deeper into Google Drawings. Tony has started to create and share Shapegrams in Google Drawings. I highly recommend checking out the incredible Shapegrams Tony has shared. 

"Shapegrams are pictures that are designed to be recreated using shapes, lines, and colors. Replicating the pictures helps develop and practice visual observation, spacial awareness, logical reasoning, and critical thinking." - Tony Vincent 

We work with visuals quite a bit in my Environmental Science Classes. This presentation has some links to activities and ideas that my students and I have enjoyed, but I rarely used Google Drawings. Thanks to Tony, I decided to engage my students in some quick Google Drawing Drag and Drop Activities. My inial goals for these activities is to quickly engage students in discussions connected to essential vocabulary.  Here are my first two attempts.

I know these are nothing fancy, but I enjoyed putting them together and my students seem to enjoy the drag and drop as much if not more than they enjoy drawing/writing in Docs and Slides. 

What do you think? How do you use Google Drawings with your students?

Want to learn more about Visual Design and Google Drawings? Check out these additional resources. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Recommended Book of the Week - In Other Words: Quotes that Push Our Thinking

The best educators are not content to do the same old thing year after year. Innovative educators push their thinking by engaging in social media, exploring blogs, attending conferences, and exploring the newest generation of educational books.

We've created a Recommended Educational Book Site to organize and share some great books connected to teaching and learning.

As part of my Summer Break Professional Development Exploration, I will share a new book that I am reading this summer each Monday. I am hoping to engage in a new book each week until we head back to school in August.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Collection of #ISTE19 Tips an Tricks Created and Shared by My Awesome PLN

Hopefully, you've had a chance to explore some of the ISTE19 Tips and Tricks I've posted over the last month.

Now the really good stuff is here for me to share and for you to explore.
I've taken a deep dive into the #STE19 social media stream and found some great stuff to support anyone attending the conference. There are even a few nice resources to support anyone who can't be there in person. 

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