Making PowerPoint INTERACTIVE Easliy With ActiveOffice

Microsoft PowerPoint

Image via Wikipedia

I have always been a big fan of cross platform integration.  Many times I have worked with programs and wished I could blend applications together seamlessly to create projects and lessons. Well, finally there is an integration that just makes sense.

Promethean is now offering  what they call an ActivOffice application that will integrate their software, ActiveInspire/ActiveStudio with Microsoft’s PowerPoint.  This feature will place a toolbar within PowerPoint that will allow you to access many of the features of the Active software.  With this extension in PowerPoint you will be able to incorporate Promethean LRS student devices to assess learning by quickly and easily by  adding questions and importing questions for assessment. This software also allows you to display these results within PowerPoint. ActiveOffice will also provide you the ability to annotate on PowerPoint slides and save them for later presentations. ActivOffice will provide instructors the ability to create interactive presentations within PowerPoint.

For more information on this great application take a look at Promethean Planet at the following links.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Keeping “I GET IT!” & “WHAT?” Students Engaged

A special education teacher assists one of her...

Image via Wikipedia

Every teacher knows that students learn at different rates.  We know that students need their own time to process the content that they are presented. The problem is that in many cases they are required to move at specific times to keep up with the scope and sequence of the class. This causes problems for some students.  While some are ready to move on early and are stuck waiting for the class others are just not grasping certain concepts and need more time.  Both scenarios cause students to be disengaged with school. This dilemma really seemed to be a problem with my students this year.

Sound familiar? We all have those years where we have two kinds of students the “I get it!” kids and the “What?” kids.  So it has caused me to rethink my delivery method and class organization.  Through some experimenting I came across a method this week that does show some promise. I call it pod learning.

My room is broken up into three groups. I have them color coded by rugs on the floor, red, black and green. At the beginning of each unit I give a pretest to see where my students are at. Depending on how they score on that test they are placed into each of the pods. The black groups is for kids who are struggling with the concept. Green students have a basic knowledge of the content and red who seem to have a good understanding of the concept. Once they are placed in their groups each pod has scaffolded instruction to their specific needs. Black will receive a lot of my attention and I will move them along slowly while green and red can move more at their own pace. My scope and sequence has not changed I have just added some enrichment activities to the green and red groups.  In some cases my red students get into their own course of study on the subject. This process really seemed to work well over the past couple of weeks and has led me to begin looking at refining this system even more.  While this is not true differentiating instruction it is allowing students to move at their own pace and has not created an excessive burden as far as planning my lessons. I am optimistic about this concept and wish to hear your thoughts on this little experiment. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Students Know Technology NO THEY DONT!

This past month I received a set of netbooks for my classroom.  I feel very fortunate to have received these and wanted to incorporate them into my class as much as possible. So I decided to make my class a paperless classroom.  As my classes have begun working in this new digital learning environment I have found that many students really do to know how to use technology and really need to be shown how to correctly use a computer.

So often I hear teachers say things like, “I don’t want to teach kids technology because they already know it all and I don’t.” Or that “the kids know more about this stuff than I do.” To put it bluntly, NO THEY DON’T! This is a myth and in fact I believe that you will find that things like file management, proper email, and using many online tools will be foreign to them.  Although many students will pick up how to use these digital tools quickly we must remember as teachers, students need to be taught how to use many of these tools. Assuming that students can use technology is a pitfall that many educators and schools fall into. Any technology to used in the classroom must be taught to the students before its use to ensure the best possible application of that learning tool.  This is a lesson that even though I knew, really has been pointed out to me in the past few weeks.

Enhanced by Zemanta

20 Student Favorite Cartoon Creators

As I watched Tom Wujec’s TED talk today I was struck by the simplicity of his message. All teachers know that a good visual is key to success in the classroom. But what really intrigued me was the concept of students creating visuals to cement their learning. Over the past two years I have noticed that students who create visual projects in my class often retain information better than those who wrote papers.

In my project based classroom one of the most popular mediums for students projects has become cartoon creators. Not only do students enjoy creating these projects but the the process of taking their knowledge and depicting it visually on paper seems to be very effective in their learning process. I have often talked to students about one of their projects that they created at the beginning of the year and not only can they tell me about the project but they still remember the underlying concept taught at that time. This has always intrigued me and led me to create a long list of cartoon creators for students to use.

For those of you interested in giving this a try here are 20 of the most popular cartoon creators my students like to use.

  1. GoAnimate.com
  2. Toonlet.com
  3. Toondoo.com
  4. Pixton.com
  5. Chogger
  6. Comic Creator
  7. Comic Lab
  8. Make Believe Comix
  9. Strip Creator
  10. Strip Generator
  11. Zimmer Twins
  12. Do Ink
  13. Comic Strip Generator
  14. Comic Master
  15. Captain Underpants
  16. Comicbrush
  17. Marvel Comic Creator
  18. Witty Comic Creator
  19. Cartoon to Customize
  20. Bitstrips

Failure = Learning

My son went to a basketball camp recently and at the end they had a contest.  At the conclusion of the contest all of the participants were pronounced the winner.  I was amazed that everyone thought that this was just great.  Everyone received a ribbon and the camp was over.  After the ride home I asked my son to see his ribbon and he replied, “What ribbon?” “The one you got 30 minutes ago at camp” I replied.  “I am not sure I think it is in the car” he replied and walked away.  This response really made me think.  All the parents felt great at the end of camp but the kids were robbed of any real feeling of accomplishment.

As I thought about this event I began to think about the conversations in my PLN.  Over the past week we have been discussing grading and the value of letter grades. When students receive a grade on an assignment what does that really mean to them?  Is the real value and learning moment being lost with this traditional assessment.  Life is learned through failure.  More specifically through the reflection and correction of mistakes.  So why does education for the most part avoid this type of assessment.  This traditional assessment robs students of any real intrinsic value to that assigned task.  Causing students to become disconnected with the learning process.  Having student assess and reflect on their individual tasks is key to developing a true learning environment.  Then this morning I see Diana Laufenberg’s   TED talk on “How to Learn? From Mistakes”.   In this talk she discusses the value and importance of helping students assess their own work and learn from their own and others mistakes. Take a look.

A Call For Help! Standard based grading in a traditional world

Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.
Image via Wikipedia

Over the past few years I have really begun to move to a standard based classroom.  The idea of moving away from grades and focusing on learning and not the letter grade really appeals to me.  I also have found that the students really do respond well to standard based grading.  My dilemma is that my district works on a traditional grading system.  I am asking for help here!  Is their a way to combine these two styles of grading?  My hope is to find a temporary solution until I can convince my district to switch to standard based grading.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Top Five-Creative Projects- “Book Creators”

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, 1957
Image via Wikipedia

Over the past two years I have been exploring project based learning.  I have asked students to come up with creative ways to present what they have learned in class.  My students have amazed and inspired me with their ideas.  One project that seems to be really popular this year is creating picture books for younger students.  They take the concept learned in my class such as “explaining why the Articles of Confederation failed” and create a book that would teach this concept to younger students.  I have found that these projects really re-enforce what they have learned in my class.  As students put these concepts into terms that younger students can understand they really gain a more developed understanding  themselves of the topic they are covering.  I have been amazed at the the learning that takes place in some of these projects. Here are the top five book creators that my students like to use.

  1. Zooburst
  2. Flip Book
  3. Kerpoof Studio
  4. StoryJumper
  5. Storybird

For more links check out this link Digital Story Telling Book Creators.

Enhanced by Zemanta