As normal, I peruse the web searching for the newest tools to turn into Ed Tech super weapons to annihilate traditional teaching methods fed to today’s digital student. In my search over time, I have found myself connected with more than enough social media platforms. Therefore, having a way to share, participate and be in all places at once is attractive. While looking at my social media hangar, one of my twitter PLN buddies posted something from MobyPictures and described it as a place to share photos on all your social media networks from one place. Perfect…so I thought. As soon as I went to the home page, my computer was flagged for inappropriate images. (I have it set up that way because I have kids.) Well, come to find out, Mobypictures does allow you to use one site to share with them all, but anyone can share anything, and I mean anything, including…well, I Leave it at that.
If you are looking to eliminate having to access multiple social media points in your classroom and simply use one to share to all, pass on Mobypictures, you could lose your job because of it.
Ok, years ago, I become enraged when walking passed a classroom and students were putting together boring presentations on Power Point instead of using animation tools on Keynote or Xtranormal (When it was free and G-Rated). My how time has flown by. Most people are now hooked on Prezi and for good reason. However, I think I may have found something that will provide a great alternative.
PowToon is the brand new Do-It-Yourself animated presentation tool that supercharges your presentations and videos! It’s marketed as a time and money saver for creating Presentoons that bring the WOW!-factor to product demos, business presentations, social media clips, and much more. The educational factor is what interest me. Most teachers ooh and awe at Speed Draw Cartoon Presentations, or demo put together by the folks at Creative Commons. Well now, teachers and students can create those type of presentations themselves.
I highly recommend the tutorials before jumping in and you have to keep in my that PowToon is in Beta form, but oh the possibilities. I’m ecstatic. I love Prezi, but…. I’m may turn real soon.
How to get more done quicker using your voice in Evernote
As I’m trying to become more familiar with the impact Evernote can have in the classroom, I came across this piece that actually taught me something new. It’s worth looking at for certain, plus I definitely trust the Cool Cat Teacher!
Social Media games can be time consuming and very addicting, however troublesome if you get to caught up. Well, this year I got into a game for my first time and immediately saw how it could impact the classroom in a powerful way. Tap Zoo is a virtual zoo application that allows a player to grow his/her own zoo. The player will manage the animals placed in the zoo and have the opportunity to collect revenue for each animal and revenue generating object used to enhance the decode of the zoo environment. Some animals generate more revenue than others so how you spend your money and calculate your profit determines the success of your zoo.
What I did was download the app to my iPad and found an animal buying guide (http://tapzooguide.com/animals) to post to a Google Doc to create a discussion board. Then we held a discussion surrounding the guide about profit. We looked at the animals in each level that would allow us to make our investment back the quickest. Then we developed a strategy and timetable for making our purchases. Then I let the kids grow the zoo. The students used Google docs to collaborate on ideas and document the expansion of the zoo. As a class they decided on who the buyers would be, who would be in charge of breeding, who would cross-breeding (mixing of the animals to create more exotic creatures and sometimes highly profitable) and finally they chose designers who would be responsible for not only the upkeep of the zoo (you have to clean the zoo), but would also try to make the zoo look good.
This idea worked so well to improve the higher order thinking skills of my students that I plan to implement this again. However, this time, I may set up a few iPads and have team zoos and let the students compete…maybe. Just thought I would share.
While completing my Master Degree at Full Sail, the class that I dreaded the most was Game Strategies and Motivation. I’m not a big gamer… I’m afraid of the addiction, however, I have gotten over the fear and used some games this year in the classroom that created great success in a few Student Expectations in Science.
Spore is one of the games that I have loaded on the student computers to simulate everything from ecosystems to adaptation. With this game, you create a creature that you take through various stages of survival. You can add traits to your creature to make it a canivore, herbivore or omivore and then teach it to adapt to the different environments that you encounter along the way. As the environments are affected by outside variables, your creature evolves and has to adapt to the changes that are taking place while avoiding predators and consumers. Therefore, you have to teach your creature certain skills in order to compete to avoid extinction. It’s a really cool game that goes on and on and can be set up in stations around the classroom. However, the lesson in adaptation becomes a real-life experience for the students…virtually that is!
Another game that I used this year was Angry Birds to teach force and motion. You’ve all played it, but I used it to demonstrate how speed and trajectory impacts force along with what happens when force is acted upon either by another force or the impediment of another object. I used my iPad…well my wife’s at the time to project the game on the Promethean Board and the kids were so engaged. Not only did they have fun, but if I recall correctly, the questions on the Benchmark dealing with force were answered 100% correctly by all my students.
Which leads me to another game I briefly played in class, Cut The Rope. Now, are these questions that keeps floating around like the one above and some of my students were having a difficult time conceptualizing the proper response. So, I once again allowed them to play a game on the iPad, once again hooked up to the projector. Thy physics involved in the question is duplicated throughout Cut The Rope and by playing, students were able to problem solve the question and later, easily visualize how to go about answering the questions.
I know that here in Texas, we don’t have time for “fun and games”, but in order for this generation to obtain continued success, we have to change what we do and meet them where they are. It works for me.