Monday, November 24, 2014

Instructional Technology & Digital Learning Update For November 1st -7th 2014 Andover Innovation Lab & Help Desk

Parth Valecha Andover Innovation Lab Student Inducted Into National Honor Society At Andover High School

I had the opportunity to attend the national honor Society induction because one of my former students that I had at the Andover innovation lab had selected me as a teacher who had inspired them. Parth Valecha  had worked on a business project last year during his time at the Andover Innovation Lab which combined bluetooth technology for headphones and sports which required swimming or boating. Parth and I had many in-depth conversations on his business plan and how he could more narrowly target his market.  It was an honor that he had invited me to this important event and selected me as a teacher. Parth is a hardworking student who will surely be successful in any venture he takes on.

Release Of Our Help Desk Promotional Video
With the editing of Dan Brennan and the assitance of some of our help desk students we have been able to produce a video which outlines the work we do at the Andover innovation lab & Help Desk.
Check it out below!

Math Department Head Working On Blog With Bryce Corbitt

This week Bryce Corbitt from the Andover innovation lab also began working on the Math Department website with Math Program Coordinator Katherine Richards. They were able to determine a layout that they would like to use with Google sites and also begin to conceptualize some of the content that will be included on the site.  Bryce is been a great asset to the team this year and I know he will do a great job working with Ms. Richards.  This project will probably take the next couple months to complete and will become one of his projects. Bryce has been a great resource to several teachers with his great attitude and approach to helping.

Homework Document for Google Drive

In the process of trying to simplify how to add homework in a streamlined way and Sherrett with parents and students using Aspen I have been showing the use of a Google doc with a shorten link.  On this Google doc I create a table and organize the tables according to the days and weeks of the school day this is an opportunity to keep it consistently organized homework schedule on a live document that teachers do not have to go into Aspen to edit.  This is one of the huge benefits of Google Docs and using shortened personalize the links in order to share materials.  By being able to edit the doc you can consistently update the homework assignments with those who view the consistent link located on the Aspen pages.

Best Practices for Sharing & Editing With Google Drive

I recently started having conversations with both the English and Social Studies Department members about creating a series of best practices for the use of Google Docs and the editing of longer papers.  This process requires an in-depth look at what are the best ways of using the commenting features, sharing features and add-ons that are available with Google Apps for Education.

One of the very cool add-ons that’s available is the Easy Bib for Google docs.  This add on enables students to select a piece of text in their paper and then search for a source for citation on the add one. 

The add on locates the source and adds the citation to an area at the bottom of their page and organizes the citations for the student.  This tool ultimately saves a lot of time and helps keep citations organized within a document.

Flubaroo Training-Tech Byte

This past week I conducted a training for the use of Flubaroo at the Andover Public Schools Tech Byte training. Flubaroo is a great add-on to assist with grading quizzes that are you created with the Google Apps for Education Forms documents.  I have created some tutorial videos that I will link to which shows you how to get started with using Flubaroo and how it can improve the way in which you streamline your quizzes that you provided classes. View Part 1 Of My Video Series On Flubaroo.

Pixlr Tool as Web Based Photoshop Alternative
This past week I was able to recommend the Pixlr tool to our web design teacher Mike Messina.  He was looking for a web-based alternative to Photoshop that allowed him to create graphics of different resolution and size and also enabled the ability to add different types of text and layer styles.  This tool is a great web-based tool that allows you to download any of the images that you create as well as upload images into use within the interface.  Definitely check this tool out if you're on a computer that you're not used to working on our really just need a great web-based option and don’t have Photoshop.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Andover Innovation Lab & Instructional Technology Update Andover High School Week Of October 27th- 31st 2014

What a great week to be back after a rejuvenating MassCUE conference at Gillette Stadium! At Andover High School we are really in the flow of integrating Google Sites, Google Classroom and a variety of other technology tools into the classroom.

Class Charts Seating Chart App
 I will start off with a share that I got from researching the ability to create class seating charts online with World Language teacher Jen Deschenes. The Chrome Application which is an application available in the Chrome web store on the Chrome Browser named "Class Charts" allows you to create web based seating charts for your classroom. It is simple to use and will help you create multiple class charts in a jiffy.

Health/Physical Education Department
On Monday I had the opportunity to work with the entire Health/Physical Education Department on the creation of their Google Accounts,what it means for them and how they can begin to create,share and work with students using the tools of Google Drive.

They were a great receptive group and many had great questions about getting started in simple ways. My suggestion for many of them was just using a single doc for their continuing update of homework assignments.

Mike Messina
Diagramming for Game Development
In the Digital Learning course Game Design Michael Messina is developing lessons which encourage students to look at the format in which games are developed with HTML5 for the web. Michael Messina has engaged students on a variety of project development concepts in both Web Design and Game Development and we are excited to see his projects through the semester.

Here is Michael outlining the pixel dimensions for students of a web interface of a game.

Karen Stevens
Karen Stevens Entrepreneurship course has been delving into the creation of business plans for their projects. Karen has been developing rubrics which will help students envision their business projects in terms of the key concepts of a business plan. The students have been excited to work on their own ideas and problem solve their concept development.

Dan Brennan & Bryce Work to update iPads
The help desk has been busy updating the iPad cart for the Social Studies department and preparing their formative projects for review. Be sure to check put their most recent blog writing which includes their perspectives on the MassCUE conference and their project work.

Librarian John Berube fresh off MassCUE has been suggesting some great new tools for staff to use in addition to the many research tools such as Ebrary and Boston Public Library tools he already administers. One tool he found was the presentation tool Emaze which can be alternative to other presentation tools such as Goolge Slides, Powerpoint and Prezi. Emaze's features include a very graphic interface for content and many nice templates.

Google Classroom Interface
Tom Powers has continued to power through the use of Google Classroom engaging his students with
the assignments and the ability to submit them online. He has pioneered the use of the platform at the high school and has begun using the high school lab as a tool with classroom to submit the students audio recording as assignments through the use of web tools such as Vocaroo which enables students to record their voice online and send a link to Mr. Powers in Google Classroom.

Jen with her Memes
My week ended with a great meeting with Jen Deschenes on fine tuning who has included the use of student created memes in her classroom to have students quickly form sentences using a "meme" app on their phones. Memes are small photos with text added to give context or create communication.

Jen is also using Google Drive to store student created audio files for quick sharing within folders on her drive.