A New Excellent Interactive SAMR Visual for Teachers

September 2, 2014
Here is a new wonderful interactive SAMR visual for teachers. I just came across it while I was going through my Google Plus feeds and thought you may want to have a look as well. For those of you not yet familiar with what SAMR model is all about , here is a refresher for you:
 SAMR model  is a framework through which you can assess and evaluate the technology you use in your classroom. This framework is made up of 4 levels:Substitution

This is the stage where you use technology to substitute what you could have done with pen and paper. one popular example of this is using word processor to type a story instead of handwriting it.

This is where technology is used to carry out learning tasks in relatively more efficient ways. the technology here only adds value to the assignment and does not transform how it is done, examples of this include using spell checker, grammar checker or electronic dictionary. This one introduces small noticeable improvement.

This is the level where technology is being used more effectively not to do the same task using different tools but to redesign new parts of the task and transform students learning. An example of this is using the commenting service in Google Docs, for instance, to collaborate and share feedback on a given task task.

If you are to place this level in Blooms revised taxonomy pyramid, it would probably correspond to synthesis and evaluation as being the highest order thinking skills. Redefinition means that students use technology to create imperceptibly new tasks. Redefinition is "when students connect to a classroom across the world where they would each write a narrative of the same historical event using the chat and comment section to discuss the differences, and they use the voice comments to discuss the differences they noticed and then embed this in the class website".

Grab This Good Comic Creation App That is Free Today

August, 201
Halftone is now available for free for a limited time in the iTunes app store (at least here in Canada and the United States). Halftome is ideal for comic creation. It enables you to turn photos and pictures into vintage comics using a wide variety of tools including: speech balloons, different fonts, captions and many more. Users can also select from the various paper styles to add to their comics before they share their final work with others.

If you are planning to use comics with your students then you should definitely grab this app and try it out. Here are more features Halftone provides for users:

  • Open images directly from your photo album and from Facebook
  •  Send real, physical postcards through the mail
  •  iOS face detection for automatic balloon placement
  • Tight integration with Camera+ for improved image capture
  • Upload images directly to Dropbox
  • Save final images to the photo album, print them, or send them to friends via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and e-mail
  •  Share images with apps like Instagram, Camera+, Color Splash, and many more
  • Full size image editing, including: auto enhance, special effects, cropping, rotation, brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, redeye, whiten, and blemish
  • More than 25 paper styles, from crisp and clean to distressed and aged
  • Multiple caption styles
  • Six speech and thought balloon shapes
  • More than 25 stamps (BLAM!, Arrrggh!, etc.) with customizable colors
  • A customizable stamp that can use images from the photo library (including transparent PNGs)
  • Nine unique layouts, including layouts without any captions or borders
  • The ability to use any installed font at Small, Medium, and Large sizes
  • Three licensed fonts: Digital Strip, Alter Ego, and Billy the Flying Robot
  • Two of the licensed fonts include international characters (Alter Ego and Billy the Flying Robot)
  • Support for a front-facing camera, flash modes, zoom, and tap-to-focus
  • Settings screen for lots of additional customization, including halftone dot size, strength, and gain
  • Support for full size images

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Teachers Handbook on Creative Commons and Copyright

September 1, 2014
Integrating technology in your classroom is not only about knowing the technicalities part of the process, it is also, most importantly, about knowing how and what to do with that technology. Issues of copyright and  proper use of digital materials always comes to the forefront in such discussions and teachers usually face serious problems concerning the legality of the digital materials they use from the net. To clear out some of the confusion surrounding copyright in education, I created a section entitled " Copyright Resources for Teachers" where teachers can have access to a wide variety of copyright tutorials, guides, tips and tools.

Today, I am adding another excellent resource on copyright. This is a handbook created by Emily Puckett and Kristin Fontichiaro entitled " Shared Creations: making Use of Creative Commons". In this handbook, you will get to learn:

  •  the meaning of copyright
  •  the different licenses of CC and how to choose each
  •  how to give credit when you use digital materials
  •  how to find Creative Commons materials for your class.

I learned about this resource from  "What is Creative Commons and Why Does It Matter?". This handbook is available in free PDF format from this link.

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Notability App is Now Available for Mac Users

September 1, 2014
Notability, one of my favourite note taking app out there, is now available for Mac users. I have been using it on my Windows computer for sometime now and I must say that I like it better than Evernote. Some of the features Notability offers to its Mac users include:

  •  Quickly create notes by dragging documents, photos, or audio recordings from the desktop and dropping onto the library.
  • Enhance notes by dragging photos, audio recordings, and PDFs from the desktop and dropping onto a note.
  • Get more done with smart keyboard shortcuts.
  • Handwriting and sketches can be scaled, transformed, free and constrained rotated, nudged (with arrow keys), and restyled.
  • Notes look the same on Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
  • Sketch and write using a variety of colors, line widths, and styles.
  • Record audio during lectures and meetings to capture more detail. 
  • Import audio recordings from other sources.
  • Import and annotate lecture slides, meeting agendas and PDFs.
  • Fill out and sign forms.
  • Use all the tools to mark up photos, maps, schematics, and more.
  • Organize your notes by subject. 
  • Backup your notes to Dropbox and Google Drive automatically.
  • Share your notes with study groups and colleagues via email, Airdrop, Dropbox and Google Drive.

Notability for Mac is not free.It costs $9.99

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Ed Tech Terminology and Concepts Teachers Should Know About

September 1, 2014
Educational technology is a dynamic field of research and study. This dynamism stems mainly from the constant flow of new educational web technologies and the emergence of novel Ed Tech concepts that provide theoretical underpinnings for these technologies. The challenge for teachers is not only in keeping up with this fast moving trend but also with understanding the basic foundational concepts without which any talk about Ed Tech integration in class would be futile.

As a new teacher keen on understanding and using educational technology effectively in the classroom, you need, first,  to make sure you understand  some of the key Ed Tech terminology that you will be repeatedly coming across. To this end, I am sharing with you two excellent resources where you can have access to a glossary of useful Ed Tech terms and concepts:

1-Ed Tech Glossary
This is a great list of popular Ed Tech terms compiled and featured in Classflow. This list is organized alphabetically.

2- ED Tech Terms Visual
This is a visual I shared a while ago here in Ed Tech and Mobile Learning. The visual features around 15 important Ed Tech concepts.

EdTech Cheat Sheet Infographic
Browse more data visualizations.

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24 Questions to Enhance Students Reflective and Critical Thinking Skills

August 31, 2014
Reflection is a fundamental skill from which is branched out all other thinking skills. Reflection is a form of meta-thinking, a process of deep contemplation and pondering. It is also the basis of critical thinking for we can not raise critical thinkers if we do not have good 'reflectors'. When students are taught the art of reflecting, they become independent learners who are engaged in a constant process of assessment and re-assessment of their learning needs and strategies.

Reflection is all about questioning. To cultivate a reflective culture within your class, students need to be encouraged to pose challenging questions as to the way they learn and think. They need to be able to track the inner thinking process that lead them to the answers they come up with. There are a variety of questions to use with students in this regard. Some of these questions are captured in this beautiful visual below. Teachheath, who created this visual, divided these questions into 4 main headings: accuracy questions, understanding questions, clarity questions, and giving clarity questions. Go through the visual and explore the different questions featured there. This is indeed a great back-to-school resource to add to your teaching toolkit. Enjoy

Source of the graphic: http://goo.gl/72q0vH

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Everything Teachers Need to Know about Chromebooks (9 Tutorials)

August, 2014
Chromebooks are making gigantic inroads in the education sector. Several school districts here in Canada and the States are adopting them as teaching tools within classrooms. Their growing popularity among the education community is attributable not only to their reasonably cheap price but also to a host of excellent features that you can not find in other devices. Chromebooks are easier to handle, faster and more secure. They are also " instantly personalizable by each student or teacher, and easy to manage, making them an ideal solution for bringing the power of the web to your classrooms".

Here are some of the things K-12 schools can do with Chromebooks:
  • Scale access to the web with computers that are simple to use and easy to distribute
  • Share devices among students, with no manual set-up for different users
  • Enjoy constant connectivity through integrated Wi-Fi and optional 3G, for always-on access without relying on school networks
  • Administer machines throughout the school, no matter how many Chrome devices you have, or where they’re being used
If your school is integrating Chrombooks or if you are planning to use them with your student, the video tutorials below are definitely something you want to watch first. They will help learn more about how to manage and operate Chromebooks.

1- Chomebooks for Education : Overview

2- How to Log in for The First Time on Your Chromebook

3- Set The Background Are of your Chromebook

4- The launcher

5- Chromebook Tabs

6- Window Control

7- How to enable Caps Lock, use the special keys, and more on your Chromebook

8- How to create a new document (and find it later) on your Chromebook

9- How to print from your Chromebook

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