Monday, September 19, 2016

Make Presentations Easier With Google Cast For Education

UPDATE: The following app is designed to be used for computers (Apple, PC, Chromebook) on the SAME wired or wireless network. As of now this app will not work on iPads, iPhones, and only a few Android devices.

If you are a teacher that likes for students to collaborate and learn from each other in group settings or through presentations, have I got the Google App for you. Google Cast for Education is an app designed to allow students to share their screen to your digital whiteboard or projector. The app is designed to be used in a situation where a particular student has found something that they want everyone to see without the need to find it on everyone's device or share the URL. 

In the video above, I give a breakdown of how to get set up with Google Cast for Education, but here are the basic things to know:

1. You and your students must use the Google Chrome browser in order for this to work.

2. The teacher can share with students as they request or share with an entire Google Classroom or Google Group.

3. The teacher can control who shares their screen by accepting or denying any screen share.

4. The teacher can close the connection at any time.

For those of you familiar with AppleTV or Chromecast, this is a free alternative for screencasting available to you. For more information on setup and teacher/student views, watch the video above.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Innovative Marching Band

Image result for Drone with camera

When I think of a drone, I think, "That's a cool hobby. The video looks amazing and it would be fun to learn how to fly one." At Central High School, the music department has made it more than a hobby. 

The use of a drone for the Marching Maroons, under the direction of John Currey, started as a solution to a problem. "We could only take video of the marching forms from the sideline, or from a scissor lift," says Stephen Larson, Assistant Marching Band Director. "With the drone, we get a vantage point that makes it easy to see the entire picture."

The process started with Central High Schools administration. "We purchased this for the school because I had seen one used in other venues and at other schools' functions," says Central Principal Joe Williams. "I asked John Woods, Assistant Principal for Facilities and Programs, if he thought there would be a use for it from his point of view.  I also asked our marching band directors if they would use it." After seeing interest from both parties, Williams then purchased the drone, which has been used for athletic practice, performances, and games ever since.

For coaches or teachers interested in possibly using a drone in the future, Mr. Larson also provided a little information on the ease of setting up and using the drone. "The particular model, the Phantom 4, has numerous steps to set up for flying, but they are easy to follow. The company has how-to videos on their website. The controls are also easy to master after a few minutes."

But Larson not only views this as an opportunity to make stunning visuals of the Marching Maroons, but also as a learning opportunity for their students. He shares the footage with the synced audio (provided through a separate device) for students to not only critique and reflect on their sound and movement, but also to look for areas to improve and see their progress from week to week.

For Band Directors that are looking to use a drone in this way, Larson had some advice for accessories as well. "The package our Principal purchased included extra batteries, and a solid storage case for all the equipment." He also recommended a dedicated iPad, multiple micro flash cards for storing videos, a high quality audio recording device, and an extra video camera to use for an audience view angle. 

So if you teach at Central High School and would like to use this drone, it is available to you. If you teach elsewhere, get the conversation started in your school or district. Because having a bird's eye view can help your students gain a whole new perspective.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Collaboration in Practice at the Digital Age Teaching and Learning Summit

Teachers working on creating a plan for technology integration. Front (left to right): Isoke Wilson-Pridgen, Lisa Riecks-Soucek, Dan Kuglich, Carolyn Kodes-Atkinson, Back (left to right): Marian Wyatt, Phil Dempsey, Joel Bergener.

Small group sharing ideas about classroom procedures. Pictured (left to right): Marian Wyatt, Dan Kuglich, Julia Pratapas, Joel Burgener, Phil Dempsey, Matt Hopkins, and Jen McQueen

I was absolutely blown away by the Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age Summit (wow, that's a mouthful). Yesterday, a group of teachers from Central and Centennial came together to learn about all sorts of wonderful concepts and ideas from the framework of technology in the classroom. The event was sponsored by the Unit 4 Teaching and Learning Department with assistance from the Educational Technology Department.

Matt Sly, Coordinator of Teaching and Learning for grades 6-12, organized the event with the assistance of Joel Burgener, Secondary Coordinator of Teaching and Learning, and myself, High School Educational Technology Coach.

The event was designed to not only provide teachers with tools, but provide a model for the student-centered approach in the classroom. Teachers were given choice in their learning process that allowed them to collaborate on multidisciplinary activities, communicate through group discussion and digital means, and focus on using instructional tools with intentionality with regard to their own content and curriculum.

By the end of the day, teachers were setting goals for themselves regarding the continuation of this awesome work. These goals included:
  • bringing tech talks into department meetings
  • using communication tools to enhance classroom experience
  • providing students with collaborative activities 
  • using new re-teaching strategies
  • connecting the classroom to the community
  • using targeted standard-driven data to inform teaching practice
We also learned about blind kahoots as a tool for efficient introduction of a concept or unit. Click here for more

If you want to find out more about what happened yesterday, I am confident that one of the following attendees would be happy to speak with you about it.

Centennial: Phil Dempsey (Student Teacher), Kara Downs, Daniel Kuglich, Jen McQueen, Julia Pratapas, Lisa Riecks Soucek, Isoke Wilson-Pridgen, Marian Wyatt

Central: Matt Hopkins, Carolyn Kodes-Atkinson, Nicole Markovich 

Thanks to all who attended! It was an amazing day.