Monthly Archives: December 2015

Capture your Screen with Snagit

I will preface this by saying that I love Snagit!  I have been using it to create quick how-to videos when someone has a question that is answered more easily with a visual walkthrough, as opposed to an email or conversation.  I also use it to create help documents because I can easily take a snap shot of what a menu looks like or what to click on.  This is much easier for people to follow than text alone.

So what is it?

Snagit for Google Chrome is an extension that allows you to take a screenshot or screencast from within your browser.  The screen capture tool allows you to take a snapshot of all or a region of your screen and annotate it with text, arrows, and shapes.  The screen recording tool allows you to record and narrate a video of the activity within your chrome browser.  These are great tools for showing “how-to” or having students explain their thinking.  Here’s a quick overview:

Is there something that you need to show students multiple times for them to understand it?  Create a screen recording that students can refer back to as many times as they need.  Post it to your class website, Google classroom, or share it with students so it is available right within their drive accounts.  Your screen captures and recordings save directly into your Google Drive into a folder called TechSmith, so they can be shared in the same way as any other file; with a few people or an entire class.

Want to learn more?  Here’s an overview:

Snagit for Chrome Extension Overview

And a quick tutorial video (the look of the app is updated slightly, but features are the same):

4th Grade Learning and Sharing with Google Drive

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of 4th grade classes over the last couple of weeks on a variety of Google Drive topics.  We’ve learned how to organize Google Drive folders, share and collaborate on documents, create effective slide presentations, and even create forms to gather information for research projects.  Students have been enthusiastic learners and have surprised me with some of the things they have been able to figure out on their own.

Here’s what we’ve been learning:

  • How to create and color code folders to stay organized.
  • How to share documents and slides with peers and teachers for collaboration and feedback.
  • What makes a good slide presentation and how to create one.
  • How to create a google form to gather information or use as a pre-test and post-test.

Mrs. Ade’s 4th grade class is currently working on a self-chosen research project incorporating Google tools.  As a part of the research process, students created a google form to gather information from their classmates.  Some students used this a a pre-test of sorts to find out what their classmates already know about their topic, and will give the survey again to see how much they learn after the presentation.  Other students used it to gather information to inform their research.  For example, one student is using her research project to make a decision on what musical instrument to play.  Her survey asked what instruments students already play and what they would choose to play if they could choose any instrument.  Stay tuned for the final results of these projects in January!

Other classes are learning the basics of Google Slides, and how to create an effective presentation.  We have all sat through PowerPoints where the presenter reads paragraphs of text off their slides.  It’s boring!  We want to teach students good presentation skills so the audience focuses on what they are saying – and doesn’t just read their slides.  Here’s what I used to demonstrate basic tips of not using too much text, keeping slides readable (watch those color choices!), and focusing more on your content than the transitions and animations.

Contact me if you’d like to incorporate any of these things into your classroom and would like some support!

Hour of Code – Computer Science Education Week

In honor of Computer Science Education week – December 7-13 – schools are encouraged to host an Hour of Code Event.  The goal of these events is to introduce students to computer science and show them that coding is fun and accessible.  Anyone can learn the basics!

Computer Science students were on hand to answer questions in the LMC. They were designated with orange Hour of Code stickers!

Computer Science students ready to answer questions in the LMC.

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On Friday, December 11, high school math teachers used the class period to provide students the opportunity to code.  Some used the library space and others grabbed Chromebooks for their classrooms.  In the LMC, Computer Science students were on hand as volunteers to help out and answer questions.  Students chose one of the hour of code activities at code.org/learn and spent the period playing with code.

To provide inspiration as to why classes were spending on a day on coding, teachers began with a great video or two on why coding is important.  Find more inspirational videos on Hour of Code’s You Tube channel.

Feedback from students was positive:

“[I learned that] I could possibly be interested in this field.”

“We did the easier version, but it’s cool that this is a real job with many other options to consider.”

“I enjoyed this day more than I thought I would and it wasn’t too difficult.  I learned what types of things coding can do and how important the skill can be.

The resources provided through Hour of Code span all age levels and are available 24/7.  Another great resource is Scratch, provided free of charge from the MIT Media Lab.  These events don’t have to be limited to one week only, so feel free to introduce coding to your students.  They just might find a passion!

Bookmarking Digital Resources

Information comes to us from so many different sources – online newspapers, social media sites, emailed from colleagues – how do you keep it all organized?  Online bookmarking tools can help you stay organized.  As you find articles and videos, you can tag them to easily find them later.

Here are two to consider.  Pocket is a fairly simple save and search system, while Diigo provides many more options for searching and collaboration.

pocketPocket

Pocket allows you to save anything from the web into your account and tag it to easily find content later. It integrates with google Chrome so you can create and sign in to your Pocket account with your Google account.  It also has a Chrome extension, so saving an article is super easy.  When you find an article you’d like to save or read later, you click on the pocket icon and add the tags you’d like.  That’s it.  There are iOS and Android apps as well, so you can bookmark and access your bookmarks from any of your devices.

diigoDiigo

Diigo takes bookmarking to the next level.  In addition to tagging articles that are saved, users can highlight and annotate the pages they bookmark.  Make notes for yourself directly on a webpage as a reminder of how you plan to use that information or thoughts that come to mind as you read.  Each piece of information can be easily shared and there are collaboration features to share repositories of information with a group.

Diigo has a Chrome extension which allows you to save, annotate, and share information right from the browser bar.  Toolbars exist for Safari and Firefox as well.

A good tip when tagging is to include a tag by media type.  Did you come across a great video you might use to show cell division?  Tag it with biology, cell division, and video.  When you want to find it, you can combine tags in your search to find exactly what you were looking for.

The video below was created by a science teacher who uses Diigo to organize her teaching resources.  She is using Safari, but the Chrome extension will have the same features.  This can also be a powerful research tool for students to help them organize information or collaborate with others.