Several years ago a colleague that is no longer with our division brought Nearpod to my attention. Nearpod helps facilitate instruction by integrating presentations with opportunities for students to provide feedback using computers, tablets, or smartphones. I loved it from the very "get-go"!
Recently with the availability of Google Cardboard I have been searching for ways to instructionally use virtual reality with my students. The ITRTs in our division applied for the Google grant to get devices into our students' hands. Google denied me so the hunt continued. I was really excited to see Nearpod pop up again in my Facebook feed one day. Using the same technology as Google Cardboard apps Nearpod has combined VR (virtual reality) with the ability for students to provide feedback on the trips they are taking. If you do not have Cardboard devices, this does work well on tablets. There are over 25 different fieldtrips and most of them are free. The ones that are not free are merely $4.
This would be even better if they allowed you to add your own panos. WHICH, BTW, they say is a future functionality.
Plus, this works well with Google Classroom. I think I am in love. . .
This is an amazing new Augmented Reality app that lets you create “auras” or interactive images using your AURASMA Studio account online and then viewing the “aura” using an app on your smart phone.
First head over to https://studio.aurasma.com/login and sign up for an AURASMA account. It’s free!
I have created some public “auras” at MHES’ request for Black History Month. To find my “auras” locate the search bar at the top of the page.
In the search bar you may type my user name: mclewis63. You may also search by hashtag: blackhistorymonth.
These are the results you will get if you search by hashtag. Note: Morgan Freeman is not mine. (You can click on the trigger and print each out or view them online once you have the app.)
Now click on the people icon in the bottom right corner of the app. You should see my channel.
Finally, get with Mrs. Lewis so you can learn how to create your own!
The Winter and Spring sessions of the six-week Intel online professional development courses are currently open for registration. These courses are free for all educators in Virginia. The deadline for the Winter session is January 6, 2016.
For information on courses and how to register, go to http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/technology/professional_dev/index.shtml
EdTech 2016, March 9, VCU (proposals being accepted now)
Free Webinar: December 17
A Conversation with the 2015 iNACOL National Blended & Online Learning Teacher of the Year
CCSSO - Personalized Learning Webinars
Each year we celebrate National Computer Science Education Week. It's over for this year but here are some resources from the VDOE. Many think coding should be taught as a second language and I would love to do more in our schools with coding.
Today while researching for a workshop for our upcoming Summer Technology Academy, I stumbled upon a great activity on the Smithsonian website called The Secret in the Cellar. The Secret in the Cellar is an interactive web comic that is based on an actual forensic case of a 17th century body that was recently discovered. Through graphics, photos, and activities, students begin to unravel a mystery of historical and scientific importance. Students can analyze artifacts, and examine the skeleton for clues to determine a cause of death.
The Secret in the Cellar is an amazing way to excite students about the history of Colonial life in America and the science behind archeology. This site takes students on a journey of discovery and critical thinking. Throughout the web comic, students will find links to additional articles about the actual forensic case and the display at the Smithsonian Museum.
There are so many ways to integrate this fabulous resource. You could use it in a computer lab where each student can explore at their own pace or maybe in a classroom center. It would even work as an ongoing activity that the teacher could come back to before or after a daily lesson during the unit on Colonial America like a cliff hanger! How cool would it be to encourage students to keep a record of their inferences about how the boy died as you touch base on the story..
Teachers spend a great deal of time creating Smart Notebook files. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could send your files home with students to work on the file at home? Well, actually you can.
SMART Notebook Express is a "lightweight version" of SMART Notebook software that is accessible online anytime for FREE. It does not have all the bells and whistles that the full package does but for an absolutely free tool it is hard to beat.
With the SMART Notebook Express web application, you don’t need to log in and there’s no software to download - all you need is Internet access. Of course, you can download it if you choose.
SMART Notebook Express is accessible at http://express.smarttech.com.
By sending students home with a CD or flash drive containing your notebook files used in class, you have have students review and revisit concepts covered in class.
Symbaloo is a web based tool that my colleague, Gail Moore and I stumbled across several years ago at a VSTE conference. It is a bookmarking tool that uses visual tiles instead of text links to save sites. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Portaportal (and still use it) but for education, Symbaloo has so many possibilities as well. Below is a tutorial that I created to show you how to create your own Symbaloo.
Here is a cheat sheet you can print out to help you.
Today in computer lab we started one of my favorite units to do with students; we are beginning to learn to program using Scratch. Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create interactive art, stories, simulations, and games – and share those creations online. I love seeing the kids get excited. after creating a stack and seeing it come to life.
I plan to spend six sessions on Scratch. The first two are play dates for the students to explore and discover just what can be done using the site. On our third time in I hope to have the students create an account and really start to get their feet wet. By the end of the six week period perhaps we will be able to share some projects. In the meantime, look at some of the comments and conversations below that I got to hear today during lab.
"I don't know how to get my dinosaur to turn around." "Oh! I do! I'll show you."
"This is so cool!"
"Dude, look at this. This is so hilarious."
"Look at my dove fly around my screen."
"I am going home and show my dad. He will love this!"
Below you can see some of our students hard at work!
Hi, my name is Melanie Lewis. I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Amherst County Public Schools, located in the beautiful state of Virginia. I LOVE my job! I get to work on my hobby, anything that has to do with computers. I get to work with teachers and students, and I am definitely a people person. Plus, I DO NOT have to give grades. Wonderful, huh? Let me know how I can help you better integrate technology into your classroom.
ACPS' 1st computers
I know only one thing about the technology that awaits us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with it. ~Jason Ohler