Friday, November 18, 2016

Flipped Classroom - The Basics

This post originally appeared on FTISEdtech


A Flipped Class is one where the teacher develops or curates content that would traditionally be delivered in a lecture and assigns students to watch video, listen to podcasts or read articles or books so that class time can be used for projects, practice and activities.  It is also sometimes referred to as Blended Learning.  And with practice can be used as a method of differentiating instruction and allowing students more freedom to explore and learn content at a pace that meets their needs.

I first learned about the Flipped Classroom model about four years ago and delved into an extensive study of the concept.  To my surprise, it is something that unknowingly I had been experimenting with since about 2006 when I began using a Moodle classroom online with students and began recording audio lectures for students if I was going to be absent.  The concept, in my position as a librarian, really helped me create an archive of screencasted work that students could go back and play at will, pause and rewind or fast forward if needed.  In essence it let me be in a bunch of places at once and deliver content at the time it was most needed.  

In my research I learned that Jonathan Bergmann and Eric Sams were the Flipped Class gurus, and I bought their book Flipped Your Class: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day and found it to be filled with practical information.  

Let's Hear About the Basics

Hear about what Flipped Learning is from Eric Sams:

Let's get a little deeper with some information about why you would do it and some things to consider:

Things to Think About 

As the video above says, start with one lesson, one screencast, one note-taking strategy.

This infographic will give you a quick overview of strategies to construct a flipped lesson:

Ready to make your first screencast?

What do you need?

Depending on your computer set up, you may need a microphone, and a webcam is also a useful tool for "Picture in a Picture" where you show a live video of yourself in a small screen over the larger screen. If you have a laptop with a built in camera, you shouldn't need any extra peripherals, just a quiet time to record. 

PC/Windows Users 

My favorite tool for PC/Windows users is Screencast-o-Matic.  You can download the free version of the software here.  The site does allow you to record without downloading their software, but I found I often had trouble loading it.  They do also offer a subscription service for a fee that allows you to create screencasts longer than 15 minutes, but for most elementary teachers 15 minutes of recording time is plenty.

See an overview here:

If you choose to download the software, it will put an icon on your computer.  You can access the Screencast-o-Matic recording tool directly from your computer instead of going to the website as shown in the video. 

You will want to check the microphone to make sure it's working in a test run, and when you have finished recording, you will want to save it to your desktop or somewhere handy where you can find it when you need it. 

Mac users
Mac users can just use Quicktime, which comes with the Mac.  See how to use it here:

I would suggest option to use mouse clicks.

iPad Users
For a basic presentation from the iPad you might try IPEVO.  This is perfect for screencasting slides that include math problems.

IPEVO Basics- Creating boards:

IPEVO - Annotating

IPEVO - Making the Recording

One of the benefits of using IPEVO is that you can create a saved list of your screen recordings right on your iPad and airdrop them to your students if your students do not have wifi access at home and need to view the videos offline.

How to Share Your Video

You can share the screencasts you made in a number of ways with your students. One of the easiest ways would be to upload the video as a file to Schoology.  That way, if needed, a student could download the video to their iPad to use if they were going to be out of a wifi area.

See how that looks for the student here:

You could also create a YouTube channel and upload there, and send students the link through Schoology or by posting on your webpage, or you could just upload the videos to your school webpage.

If you need help with any of these sharing options, let me know!

For a plethora of information on getting started or for current research on the model, check out Flip Learning 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Digital and Information Literacy K-5

Post originally appeared on FTIS EdTech

What is Digital Literacy?

Digital Literacy, according to the ALA is the "ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, and communicate information requiring both cognitive and technical skills".

Students who are strong in Digital Literacy could be considered "Knowledge Constructors" under the ISTE Standards and can "plan and employ effective research strategies" and "evaluate accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information" amongst other skills.

For elementary students this means that they can identify the very best places to go to find information and can demonstrate persistence in looking for information that meets their needs and ability.

For teachers it helps to direct students to quality information sources from the very beginning and provide them with enough choice so that they can begin to develop an understanding of the strategies to find the best information.

I would recommend a "tiered approach" to looking for information. It helps if students get into a habit of looking for information in the best sources first: Books and Databases. The second tier for exploring would include high quality websites like BrainPOP and Newsela, the third tier would be conducting an effective search on a kid friendly search engine like Kiddle, and finally students should understand that for academic work they should avoid using Wikipedia as a source, but instead explore the sources cited on Wikipedia.

The  graphic below includes links to sources, along with how to videos.



 Using KYVL: Overview 

The Kentucky Virtual Library is a great resource that we have available to us with high quality databases.  The available databases allow students and teachers to access information at appropriate reading levels.  When searching databases, be sure to instruct your students to check their spelling - the databases don't often autocorrect.

Get an overview of how to use KYVL here:

For more information on using the individual databases, checkout the KYVL playlist on YouTube.

 Digital Literacy Includes Using Images and Music Responsibly

In education it is easy to make an excuse that any image and song are free game since it's being used for an educational purpose. In reality, we aren't doing our students any favors by letting them use any image they find off of Google Image search or any song they have in their personal library.

It's important to teach students about mindfully selecting images that they have permission to use either through subscription services like Britannica Image Quest or through sites that let them search for Creative Commons Licensed work like Photos For Class.

If students are unable to find what they are looking for on one of these sites, they can do an advanced image search on Google, where they search for images that are labeled for reuse with modification.

For songs, have students stick to music and jingles that are available in applications they are already using like iMovie or loops in Garageband.
Google Image Search by Usage Rights

Citing Sources

Even our youngest students are capable of citing their sources, even if it just means giving the title of their source at the primary level.  At the intermediate level, students should be encouraged to record source material as they are doing their research including title, author, publisher or website, and important dates. 

Students can easily create a Works Cited page using Microsoft Word on the desktop computers.  Check out the how to video below:

Helping students develop digital and information literacy skills will help them navigate in a media rich digital age. Teaching students to assess sources of information for quality and accuracy from, even the kindergarten age, will provide them with a much needed foundation to become 21st Century "Knowledge Constructors" and critical thinkers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

PowerPoint: For More than Presentations

This post originally appeared on FTIS EdTech

Integrating Technology into Vocabulary Lessons

This post was originally published on FTIS Edtech


For a number of years we have been using "Best Practice" strategies developed by Robert Marzano to help students graphically organize their work and organize their thinking so that they can retain information at higher levels.  

When it comes to teaching vocabulary, researched, Best Practices, from Marzano include the following strategies: 
  1. Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term.
  2. Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words.
  3. Ask students to construct a picture, pictograph, or symbolic representation of the term.
  4. Engage students periodically in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in their vocabulary notebooks.
  5. Periodically ask students to discuss the terms with one another.
  6. Involve students periodically in games that enable them to play with terms.
To target these strategies, many teachers use a weekly format of having students fill in graphic organizers that include the above listed strategies, study and test over vocabulary.  

We can easily incorporate these same strategies into every day practice using technology.  In considering use of technology, we can frame that in reference to the SAMR model and the revised Bloom's Taxonomy.


At the Substitution/Remembering level of Bloom's Taxonomy, The Chegg Flashcard app is a great way to have students create decks of flashcards to study.

See how to use it in this tutorial.

 Augmentation/Applying & Analyzing

Students can use technology at the SAMR Augmentation level to apply and demonstrate analysis of vocabulary words through Marzano strategies: 

3. Ask students to construct a picture, pictograph, or symbolic representation of the term. 
4. Engage students periodically in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in their vocabulary notebooks.

Students have a number of ways they can create visual representations of vocabulary words.  There are some great apps they can use for drawing and creating images.  When working with images and doing image searches, students should be mindful of using images that are Creative Commons licensed. The best way to find images that are safe for us to use, is through our subscription to Britannica Image Quest.  If students are using this at school, it will automatically log them in. If students are not at school, they will need to get the username and password from the librarians.  Students can download images to their devices, or take a quick screenshot.

Two apps you might want to try out for creating visual representations of vocabulary words are PicCollage Kids and IPEVO.

PicCollage Kids
Students can create vocabulary posters in PicCollage Kids that includes images that represent the words, text for definitions in their own words or sentences that use words, and even stickers that might add to the meaning in some way.

Have students share their word posters in Vocabulary Discussions on Schoology, or AirPlay and present to the class.  

If you're unfamiliar with PicCollage Kids, this video will give you a good overview.
IPEVO is a whiteboard app that allows for students to create simple drawings, insert and annotate pictures and create recordings.  Students who are visual and auditory learners could benefit from using this app by creating a visual representation of the word and then record discussing it.

These recordings could be shared with the class through AirPlay, in small groups, or again, through Schoology Discussions.

IPEVO Basics


Modification/Applying, Analyzing & Evaluating
For Modification level activities that allow students to not only apply their understanding of the vocabulary words but also work towards more collaboration and even evaluating their understanding, students can make use of tools like PowerPoint and Superhero Comic Book Maker.

PowerPoint Study Decks

PowerPoint can be used for much more than a presentation tool.  Students can use it to engage in all of the Marzano vocabulary strategies through an Interactive Notebook concept.  You can find out more about how to use the Interactive Notebook strategy PowerPoint: More than a Presentation Tool. You can find the template for the Vocabulary Interactive Notebook in the FTIS EdTech Schoology Group or as a file available for download here.

Using PowerPoint graphic organizer templates based on Marzano strategies, students can add text boxes or handwritten notes of definitions, synonyms and sentences.  They can import pictures, videos that review the words and through add-ins, create their own multiple choice quizzes.

Check out how to use the PowerPoint Add-In for creating Multiple Choice Quiz checks below:

See how to access the notebooks on our Schoology Group here:

As a differentiation strategy, students can create "Study Decks" for other students and share with the PowerPoint share feature - or on a Schoology Discussion.

Students can also collaborate on a study deck by inviting other students to edit using the "Invite People" icon.

Superhero Comic Book Maker
To really have students engage in using the vocabulary in context to demonstrate their learning, students could write an original story in panels and include audio recordings with Superhero Comic Book Maker.

Have students use the drawing tools or the letter stickers to spell out the vocabulary word they are featuring in the panel or the scene of the storyWhen they are finished with each scene, they can put the scenes together into a video.  See the how to video below for an overview of how it works.

See how this app works here:


Those are just a few of the ways that you can integrate technology into student vocabulary work with an eye on Marzano's best practices.  In what ways do you use technology with vocabulary?