Friday, December 16, 2011

We Give Books -reading for a great cause

This is a great site for teachers and students.  This program, developed by Pearson and Penguin Books, requires a simple sign up procedure.  Books can be read online and then gifted for free to the organization of your choice illustrated below.

Here is the information from the website:
"We Give Books is a new digital initiative that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don't have them, simply by reading online.
We Give Books combines the joy of reading with the power of helping others, providing a platform for caregivers and educators to inspire children to become lifelong readers and lifelong givers.
We Give Books also helps some of the world's best, most inspiring, literacy organizations by spreading the word about their great work and by providing books to the young people these organizations support.

 

Who Is Behind It?

We Give Books was created by the Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation. Together, we support literacy through programs that engage entire communities through literacy and awareness programs like Booktime and Jumpstart's Read for the Record. We hope that We Give Books proves to be a way that young children, together with their parents or caregivers, can come to understand the power of reading—and of giving—as much as we do.
We are dedicated to delivering award-winning books empowering you to read and share beautiful stories with children in your life. With age-appropriate content for young readers, our goal is to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Books are right at the heart of this program — books for reading and books for giving!
All of the books available for online reading are children's picture books appropriate for children through age ten. There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction, a range of authors, and an equal balance between read-alouds and books for independent readers. We'll be adding news books every month, together with special seasonal offerings."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WeVideo

WeVideo is a collaborative, online video editor that stores your working and finished files in the "cloud".  By setting up a free account using an email address, users are able to make polished videos with the aid of this program.  It allows you to edit clips, add transitions, add titles and some neat animated graphics similar to other movie making programs.  This program is very easy to use, but does contain sufficient helpful hints along the way if you get stuck using a part of it.  You may invite others (up to 5) to collaborate on the same project via a unique URL.  The free version of this program has the following components: 
  • 1 GB storage
  • 360p resolution
  • 15 export minutes per month
  • Export to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and Twitter
  • 5 invites per project
  • 390 licensed music titles
Files can also be saved as an mp4 file for permanent storage to your devices.  The great thing about this is the cloud storage.  If students don't finish in class, they can finish from home.  Please ask your tech coach for assistance if you would like to start using this but don't know how!  We are just starting a project at QE where the students are going to make some stop motion movies using WeVideo.  The still images will be imported into WeVideo from digital cameras.  We will then reduce the time each picture is shown to have a seemless animated movie, complete with music, titles, graphics, and credits.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lloydminster meets Kaohsiung, Taiwan!

For students at Queen Elizabeth School in Lloydminster and their teacher, Justin Saulnier, it is the chance of a lifetime.  Partnered with Fo Gong Primary School, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, it is a chance to make new friends on the other side of the world.

Here is an article from the Lloydminster Source on this project.  The article is found on page 12 and 13.


Newcap News also highlighted this project in Beyond the Classroom from Dec. 14, 2011.

Using technology such as Google Earth, the partner school is brought to life for students here on the prairies.  The globe shrinks with the use of technology that can connect students at the click of a mouse.  Although the time difference limits Skype time (14 hour difference!), we have other methods to have students share their culture and experiences face to face.  Justin's class spent some quality time walking around Lloydminster, capturing videos of Lloydminster landmarks and locations using the LPSD ipod touches.  They were able to make short videos that have been shared with the class at Fo Gong Primary School.  You can find these videos on the QE website (Video Blog link) as well as on the partner teachers' blog "Little Stars".  Look for more videos to be posted over the next few weeks.

Future collaboration and sharing will likely include:  Sharing artifacts through the mail, sharing information on our winter activities as a contrast to their climate and activities.

Fo Gong Primary School website (English)


View Larger Map

For teachers that are interested in partnering with another class, there are many ways to accomplish this.  S. Merth can help you create and find a project.  This particular contact was found using an ad posted on "Around the World With 80 Schools".  In addition to our new friends in Taiwan, LPSD teachers currently have projects underway in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, Tulita, Northwest Territories, and Alabama.  Another option is to post an ad in "Skype in the Classroom".http://www.tubechop.com/watch/248730

Free Science Demonstrations

PhET provides free interactive simulations of different physics, chemistry and biological phenomena.  PhET enables students to make connections between real-life phenomena and the underlying science, deepening their understanding and appreciation of the world around them.
To help students visually comprehend concepts, PhET simulations animate what is invisible to the eye through the use of graphics and intuitive controls, such as click-and-drag manipulation, sliders, and radio buttons. The simulations offer measurement instruments including rulers, stop-watches, voltmeters, and thermometers. This is fully interactive at every point, and, as the user manipulates these tools, responses are immediately animated, illustrating cause-and-effect relationships.

All grade levels can use these animations and online activities/simulations. 

Here are some examples from the Sask. Curricula that could access these simulations.

Grade 4 Physical Science:  Light and Sound units
Grade 5 Physical Science:  Properties and Changes of Materials
                                       Forces and Simple Machines
Grade 7 Physical Science:  Mixtures and Solutions
                                       Heat and Temperature
Grade 8 Physical Science:  Optics and Vision
                                       Forces, Fluids and Density
Grade 9 Physical Science:  Characteristics of Electricity


Circuit Construction Simulation

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Twitter in the Classroom

Twitter is an excellent tool for students, teachers and parents to use. 

From the book "Historical Tweets"
http://historicaltweets.com/
Why use Twitter?
  • sharing resources
  • asking questions
  • connecting
  • spreading the word
  • chatting
Visit this site to watch the slideshow:  35 Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom

Please ask your tech coach for assistance if you would like to set up an account, set up student accounts, tweeting and use the ipod touches to facilitate using this tool in a classroom setting.  You may just want to use this tool to communicate quickly with parents.

Here is an example of Twitter used in a history class:  TwHistory
In this website, students take on the role of historical figures and tweet historical events.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Math, Literacy, and Special Ed Resources


SEN Teacher Website houses many Print and Math Literacy activities (suitable for printing).  As well, this website contains many resources for Special Education.

Print Literacy tab
  • flashcards
  • word family cards
  • scrambled word sheet
  • printing
  • wordsearch puzzles
  • literacy dominoes
Print Math tab
  • nets for 3D objects
  • numeracy fans
  • number cards
Print Other:
You can also print certificates, name labels, spinners, facial expressions, behaviour charts, photo cards and many more items.


There are also free downloads in a variety of curricular areas.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Geogebra

GeoGebra


This is an web based applet or a computer installed program.  Free mathematics software for learning and teaching.



  • It contains interactive graphics, algebra and spreadsheets.
  • It's free!
  • It has many, many online learning resources to learn how to effectively use the program.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Draw a Stickman


This one may just be for fun.  
Draw a stickman, start the story and draw your way out of  trouble.  


While this is a simple web tool, it has some entertainment value but perhaps limited educational value!  This interactive story can be completed by kids of all ages.  No real artistry required!

Online Video and Audio Editing: FileLab

FileLab

This website, usable on Chrome, Firefox, Explorer 9, contains two web-based editing programs, one for video (FileLab Video Editor) and one for music (FileLab Audio Editor).  Both are equally easy to use and require a free sign in process. You may have to use this one at home for now as the Internet Explorer browser may not have the correct update.

More QR Codes: Unitag


There are plenty of online QR generating code websites and readers.  This particular website allows you to produce a colour QR code (no improved functionality...just looks better than black and white!).  It also lets you place a logo in the middle and gives you control over the shading of the QR code.  So, if you like the look of this, consider this free QR code generating website.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Where are the Children?

This is an interactive website suitable for middle and high school students.  Information below is quoted directly from the Where are the Children? website.

Why Learn About the Residential School System?
Because the Residential School System has been acknowledged as “part of the process of
nation building and the concomitant marginalization of Aboriginal communities” (Royal
Commission on Aboriginal People), its legacy is part of the nation of Canada’s legacy.
The impact of the schools has had a profound effect on Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
peoples alike; therefore, the Canadian education system has an important role to play in
teaching all students about this period in our country’s history.
By studying the past, students learn about the origins and causes of current issues and
events, which in turn will affect the decisions that they will make in the future. By studying
different cultures and traditions, students also acquire an understanding, respect, and
acceptance of others. This understanding will, we believe, promote the ability of students
to find unity in diversity, and to celebrate the strength of multiple perspectives.


General Student Learning Outcomes
The Where are the Children? website course will develop students’ abilities in four specific
skill areas:
  • • Students will learn to manage information and ideas by:
  • Finding information from various sources, including oral, print, visual, and electronic sources;
  • Organizing and recording information in various formats, and using correct referencing methodologies and vocabulary;
  • Selecting appropriate tools and technologies to accomplish tasks; and
  • Learning to interpret various documents and texts.
Students will learn to think critically and creatively by:
  • Formulating questions to plan and develop their inquiry and research;
  • Considering all sides of issues through events, accounts, ideas, and interpretations;
  • Drawing conclusions and making decisions based on research and hard evidence;
  • Understanding subjective and objective information, and biases in various types of information; and
  • Evaluating information to determine its reliability, validity, authenticity, and perspective.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Using Clickers in the Classroom

Most schools in LPSD have at least one set of SMART Response clickers.  These remote control-like units allow students to instananeously communicate with you. While they certainly can be used for summative assessment, their power comes from using them for formative assessment.  You can easily take an anonymous poll or track responses per student.  The information you gather and display for the class can help you teach to a particularly difficult concept.  They’re quite easy to use, they provide instant feedback, and they do engage students.

How SMART Response can be used in your class.

1. Formative Assessment that guides teacher instruction.
How well your students understand the lesson? Take a perception check part of the way through and use this to guide how the lesson progresses. You can teach to some misunderstandings or use this to help provide guidance for differentiated groups.  This can be very useful for teaching material that is sensitive in nature ie) puberty, reproduction to younger grades
2. Pre-test material.  
How much do your students know at the beginning of a concept or unit?  Use a quick test to guide your unit and lesson planning.
3. Assessment as student feedback.
Students can go through the quiz or test at their own pace. Clickers can be set to provide immediate feedback on whether they got the question right or wrong.
4. Opinion polls.
Voting for something in your class (i.e. class representative)? Clickers can be set up to record the student’s name with their vote, or to keep it anonymous. Show the results in a bar graph.
5. Game show review.
Vote for a response just as if it were a game show.

Please contact S. Merth for assistance setting up your classes or for help administering SMART Response for the first time.

Arounder: Travel the World!

"Arounder gives travelers a vivid sense of what a city has to offer: historical cathedrals and works of art, museums featuring famous artists, local cafes and stores, breathtaking mountain-top views, quiet parks and gardens. Each issue contains a series of interesting panoramas giving you a full immersive view of the cities. Navigation is easy with Google maps of the city and surrounding area. Every issue also links to local merchants with virtual tours of hotels, restaurants, spas and stores."
In addition to the same content through their website, there is also a free download from the Apple Store: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/aroundertouch/id335574325?mt=8

Arounder will be added to the LCHS ipod and ipad image this fall.


Examples of included locations:  Amsterdam, Barcelona, Atlanta, Helsinki, Paris, Oslo, Venice, Beijing, Moon, Mars

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Saving YouTube & File Conversion Programs

Some people have been using Save YouTube or KeepVid as a way of saving video files to their computers.  This can be very efficient for content delivery as you may have noticed that videos are removed from YouTube, or that download times can be slow.


Find a video on YouTube, then type the word kick, kiss, save or keep in front of YouTube and you will be directed to the Save YouTube or KeepVid websites.  Some of these sites do get blocked from time to time or may not be free.


If those methods are not working for you, another option may be Zamzar.


Zamzar takes a little longer but the options are better than most websites for online file conversion.  While the choices are better, sometimes the download times are slow.  It does take an extra step as a link is sent via email when the conversion has been completed.  Sometimes that link comes right away, sometimes it can take much longer if their server is busy.  Conversion is free and will handle files up to 100 MB.  Once the file is converted, you have 24 hours to download the file (via your email).  Zamzar no longer allows you to save YouTube videos.

VidGod
Zamzar also allows you to take the audio from a video file such as a music video.  For this purpose, to make an mp3 file from a .flv file (YouTube), an easier method is to use VidGod.  It is an easy tool for stripping the audio from a video.  Copy and paste the YouTube URL into the correct box on VidGod, then convert.  Conversion is free and very fast.

More YouTube! Tube Chop

TubeChop
If you would like to select a portion of a YouTube clip to show to students, this website service will allow you to edit a clip by chopping out the portion you want.
1. Find the video you want to chop. 
2. Select and cut the interesting part of the video. 
3. Save or copy the hyperlink of the new "chopped" video.


Two Methods:


a.  Copy and paste the YouTube URL into the box found on TubeChop.
b.  Replace youtube with tubechop and add/delete as shown below.


Original YouTube URL:       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDthMGtZKa4
Modified TubeChop URL:   http://www.tubechop.com/chop/MDthMGtZKa4

Dealing with YouTube! ViewPure & Quietube

There are many programs that can help you manage YouTube clips in the classroom.  Are you annoyed with the inappropriate comments listed below the clips or perhaps the suggested videos that appear on the side of the page?  Although you can show the video in full screen mode to hide this content, there are still times during class when it appears.  Perhaps you want to give the video link to a student on a netbook to watch - this way you don't have to worry about exposing them to undesirable material. 


Try Viewpure to get rid of the content around the video clip.  There are two ways to accomplish this:
1.  Copy your YouTube clip URL and paste it into the box on the Viewpure site.
2.  When in YouTube, replace http://www.youtube.com/ with viewpure.com .  Then erase watch?v= but leave the number/letter string


Original YouTube URL:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckP8msIgMYE
ViewPure URL:              http://viewpure.com/ckP8msIgMYE


These new links can be added directly on to your Notebook, PowerPoint, and Word documents as a hyperlink instead of going through this process during class time.  It makes the lesson go a bit smoother and faster.


Other options within ViewPure: 
a) show with black background
b) return to original YouTube URL


As with ViewPure, Quietube works in a similar fashion.  

Bugscope: Look Closer!

How would you like access to an industry standard, $600,000 Scanning Electron Microscope?


Bugscope:
"The Bugscope project run out of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign allows students to examine their own bugs using a high power environmental scanning electron microscope that can magnify samples up 20,000 times. Students are able to operate the microscope remotely via the internet. It is suited to students from kindergarten, to high scholl and all the way up to college and allows kids to look at real life bug samples.

Scanning Electron Photograph
In doing these examinations, the students are also able to gain a better understanding of insect anatomy, gaining valuable insights into how bugs eat, breath and move.

The project is simple and free to access, with applications taking less then 10 minutes. Each classroom proposes its own experiments using their own samples. Once approved, the students have remote access to over $600,00 worth of high tech equipment as well as scientists and microscopists who can assist during examinations proving valuable insights about the instrument and samples.

Another benefit of the project is it help to promote science and helps prepare students to become scientists through real interaction .

To date the Bugscope project has been used by over 580 classrooms in 415 schools all over America, with students acquiring over 120,000 images of bugs.

A live Bugscope session typically runs about an hour and is scheduled to allow the teacher to participate during his/her class period. Teachers can choose to login from a single machine, connected to a projector, or allow students to login individually or in groups on their own computers. The live interface allows all participants to see the latest images coming from the microscope, ask questions via the built-in chat, and have the opportunity to control the microscope.

The live session experience is flexible and exciting: Parents can join their student's session and kids home sick can even join their classrooms online!"

Please contact S. Merth if you would like help in running this session.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

SMART Notebook Express

If you were not aware, students and teachers can access SMART Notebook Express from anywhere.  It does not require an installation to any computer as it is web based.  You can view, save and interact with Notebook files.  Caution:  None of the lesson activity toolkit interactives will work with this version. 

Why would I use this?  The download takes a while to install but if you would like to share files with students for exam preparation or review, this can be an easy way to share with students.  They can edit the files, or create from scratch.

Attention LPSD teachers and students:  you can download SMART Notebook (full featured) onto your computer at home.  Please check with your technology coach for the product key. This program is free.  You can also get the product key for SMART Response (create formative and summative test items to be used with the 'clickers').

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Twurdy: Differentiated web searches

Twurdy (Too Wordy)
This free, web search service powered by Google, differentiates web material for students and colour codes websites from easy to difficult.
The following is information directly from the Twurdy website: 

The name "Twurdy" comes from a play on words with the question "Too Wordy?".

The philosophy
Everyone has different reading abilities. Some people searching the web are university professors and others are 5 year old children. Twurdy has been created to provide people with access to search results that suit their own readability level.

What does it do?
Twurdy uses text analysis software to "read" each page before it is displayed in the results. Then Twurdy gives each page a readability level. Twurdy then shows the readability level of the page along with a color coded system to help users determine how easy the page will be to understand.

The Goal
Twurdy's goal is to provide web searchers with information that is most appropriate for them. This will mean that 10 year olds doing school assignments don't have to click through difficult material to find something they can use. It will also mean that older students do not have to click through websites designed for kids in order to find what they are looking for.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Go Wild!

Presented by the New York Zoos and Aquarium, the website, Build Your Wild Self allows the user to select different animal body parts in order to create a new species.  You can print your Wild Self which can include a list and short description of the type of body part added such as spider crab claws, monarch butterfly wings and an African lion tail.

How can I use this in my classroom?  Here are some Saskatchewan curriculum examples.

Grade 1 ELA curriculum: Compose and Create
CC1.4  Write and share stories and short informational texts about familiar events and experiences in a minimum of five sentences.

Grade 2 ELA curriculum: Compose and Create
CC2.4  Write stories, poems, friendly letters, reports, and observations using appropriate and relevant details in clear and complete sentences and paragraphs of six sentences.

Grade 3 ELA curriculum:  Compose and Create
CC3.4  Write to communicate ideas, information, and experiences pertaining to a topic by creating easy-to-follow writing (including a short, a procedure, a letter, a story, a short script

Science 6 curriculum:  Outcome DL6.4 Examine and describe structures and behaviours that help:

  • individual living organisms survive in their environments in the short term
  • species of living organisms adapt to their environments in the long term

Google Squared Labs - Instant Table Builder


"Google Squared is an experimental tool that takes a category (like Canadian provinces, roller coasters, or digital cameras, etc.) and attempts to create a starter "square" of information, automatically fetching and organizing facts from across the web. You can modify your square by removing rows and columns you don't like--or by adding new rows and columns and having Google Squared attempt to fetch the relevant facts. Verify and correct the facts in your square by exploring the original sources and investigating other possible values. If you're happy with your square you can save it and come back to it later. Google Squared does the grunt work for you, making research fast and easy."







Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Maximizing Web Browsing Experience Using Google Chrome

If you're frustrated by being blocked updating Flash while using Internet Explorer and some websites will not view properly there is a simple solution..... Use Google Chrome.

Google Chrome Download Homepage

Please note that Google Chrome will be part of our new image when it's deployed in the 2011-12 school year, but some staff may want to take advantage of this browser now or at home. As this program installs to your personal "Documents and Settings" folder (which we have permission to), any staff or student has the capability to download and install this program at school.

video

Is Chrome Right For You?


Advantages of Using Google Chrome
Chrome Webstore Explained
Web Apps Explained
Installing Apps and Extensions in Google Chrome    (note: Create Google account to allow installation)

Some Neat Google Chrome Apps To Consider
3D Tin - 3D Modeller
Solve a Cipher - American Cryptogram Association
The Raven - Edgar Allan Poe (great for Hallow e'en)
Sort Sort Revolution - Comparing objects by different categories
Brightstorm - Thousands of free Math and Science videos
Psykopaint - convert any photo into a piece of art

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SMART Notebook Tutorial Videos

SMART Notebook Software 10 Tips and Tricks

These videos help you to create interactive lessons that will engage your students.  Please use Microsoft Internet Explorer to view this set of videos.
Free SMART product training website.  More products are featured here such as SMART Response and how to use SMART Exchange to download free Notebook files.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Paper Templates

Do you require specialized graph paper or templates for storyboards?


Incompetech.com/graphpaper is a website that can help you create and print your specialty paper needs.

You can create custom paper of squares, triangles, and hexagons.  In addition you could make circular and polar graph paper, number lines, writing templates such as storyboards, and music templates for notation and fret boards.


All documents are in created in pdf format.  You have full control over the paper size (8.5" x 11", 11" x 17", A4, A3 etc.), grid line weight, horizontal and vertical sizes and line colour.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Better Searches, Better Results

For help in improving your internet search techniques and therefore results, you may want to try out some of the helpful ways to search for information courtesy of Google.


These tips will aid in searching for an exact phrase, excluded words, similar words, multiple words and numerical ranges.  For example, you can start a search but exclude certain words in that search.  bass -fishing  This way you will get results about a bass instrument, rather than a fish.
Using the Google search suggestions can also be used to more easily find definitions, site specific information, math answers and conversions right within the search engine.  For example, you can type a simple math equation into the Google search bar and the answer will be given directly below - no need to go to a website or calculator.


Google Search posters


Google Search help -see this for more features you can use to narrow the focus of your searches

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mind Mapping/Brainstorming Web Sites

Would you like to capture and connect ideas?
Would you like to share and collaborate ideas?
Would you like to have access to your files from anywhere?

There are numerous websites that focus on mind mapping/brainstorming.  These are diagrams that represent words, ideas, tasks or other items link to or arranged around a central idea.  Mind maps can be used to generate, visualize, structure and classify information.  They can help to study, organize, problem solve, decision make and write material.

Some of these websites require a free user account, but this would enable students and teachers to save work, collaborate and edit.  The mind mapping sites can allow the users to add text, pictures, geographical maps and documents to their work.

SpiderScribe.net
-sign up but free
-can make the mind map private or public
-allows for sharing and collaboration
-can add text, images, files, calendar events, geographic locations

Bubbl.us
-sign up but free
-can make the mind map private or public
-allows for sharing and collaboration
-text bubbles only
-save as .jpg (good size and quality for email and websites) and .png (transparent image)

LPSD iPods/iPads:  Mind Mapping Applications (free)
We have the following applications loaded on the 2 cases of ipods.  Some of these may not be on the iPad image.
iTunes Links:
SimpleMind+ 
ThinkTree Lite
MindBlowing
Idea Sketch
Total Recall

Monday, May 16, 2011

Free Aviary Online Image/Audio Editor & Creator Suite

For those who are looking for an online alternative to Photoshop, Audacity, Garage Band, and Fruity Loops software there is now the Aviary Suite which offers the ability to create/edit images and audio files.


 Aviary Online Home


There are 7 main tools within the suite with excellent tutorials offered to your skill level.
Phoenix - Image Editor Home & Features Tutorial   
Peacock - Effects Editor Home & Features Tutorial
Toucan - Colour Editor Home & Features Tutorial
Raven - Vector Editor Home & Features Tutorial
Myna - Audio Editor Home & Features Tutorial
Roc - Music Creator Home & Features Tutorial
Falcon - Image Markup Home & Features Tutorial
There will also be a 3D image creator (Hummingbird) that has not been released yet

Aviary Educators Beta Home

Teachers can also request an Educator's Beta Account which will allow you to create and manage student accounts in a protected environment and be able to create shared projects. Much like GlogsterEdu, the teacher has full control of each student's account to monitor progress and assess their completed projects. As this new feature is a Beta you must first request this account. Please expect a 2-3 day waiting period before getting approval as there has been tremendous interest for these special accounts worldwide and they are quite overwhelmed with requests.




Google Art Project: A Museum of Museums

Google Art Project
This site houses virtual tours and artwork from some of the world's best museums.  Photos are of very high quality and the website allows you to zoom in to unprecedented magnification.  It comprises of approximately 17 gigapixel images and around 7000 megapixel images. This comprises of the 17 world famous museums with its inner street view. Google offers the internal galleries of the museum by the familiar street view tricycles application. An estimate of 1,061 artworks may be available on the newly launched web portal.
Virtual Tour


TED Talks:  Explanation of the Google Art Project and its development.
Amit Sood:  Building a museum of museums on the web (5 minute video)

What are QR Codes and Why Would I Use Them?

QR codes are starting to appear everywhere.  You may have seen them in stores or as part of print or T.V. media campaigns.  QR (Quick Response) codes are essentially bar codes.  As with their straight-lined cousins, these codes contain information.  Whereas bar codes are useful for storing information such as prices, QR codes can store different types of information such as internet website addresses or text.  

Why would I use a QR code?
QR codes provide a quick and efficient way to navigate to a web site address.  Using a webcam, smart phone or a camera enabled ipod touch (4th edition), and by scanning the code, you will be automatically directed to the desired web site.  WiFi must be enabled on your device for this to occur.  Within our schools, one could use the newest ipod touches to scan these codes.  It saves the user the hassle of going to the browser and typing in the URL. Students of all ages can make and use these codes!

Why would I use a QR code in school?
QR codes have many uses:


  • making or using a book with embedded codes (pre-made or  teacher/student made to supplement a story).  Around the World in 80 Days QR
  • recorded book review by students (placed on cover of book for others to watch). These QR codes could be added to library books or a class library.
  • answers to questions (remain hidden until student tries to solve on their own)
  • supplemental help via YouTube clips (how to solve a particular equation, explanation of a process)
  • make printed posters that contain multimedia information that would normally require a computer to access
  • add codes directly to your class notes that are given to students.  Please also include the written link so that students who do not have this technology are able to get to the same websites or video clips.
  • put "price tag" codes on products (like bar codes) and have students shop for the best value to put together a recipe for a meal or a family budget.  Link to further nutritional information or the Canada Food Guide.


What type of information can I link to via a QR code?
You can link directly to a YouTube video clip, a website, or a piece of text that contains up to 250 characters.

How do I make a QR code?
The easiest and most common site to construct these codes seems to be kaywa.  Simply copy the URL from the desired website and paste it into the URL location.  From there, you generate the code, copy and paste it into your document (Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Notebook etc).

How do I read a QR code?
There are many apps out there.  Listed here are a few that can be downloaded from the app store (Apple):  ATTReader and NeoReader.  Both are free applications and work very well.  Simply start the app, hold the camera up to the code to centre, and the rest is done for you as it will take you directly to the website.

What else do I need to know?
You cannot make a direct link to any video you already have collected and are storing on your computer.  Instead, it must be uploaded into YouTube or onto a website.  To upload video content to YouTube, you will have to set up a free account.  Caution:  If this is student work, please make sure your students have signed their FOIP forms.  It is also strongly suggested that you make the YouTube videos Unlisted and turn off the features for comments, ratings etc. You can upload video directly from the ipod touch into a YouTube account (ie the teacher makes the account and students use this one).
Note: If using existing YouTube video clips, the comments below each clip are often inappropriate.  Please be aware of this and take steps to either avoid using these clips or moving the clips into your account.

How can I make this happen with my curriculum?
Contact your technology coach (S. Merth).  We will help you integrate this technology into science, social studies, history, language arts, food studies, or you name it!
Book the 4th edition ipod touches!  Contact your tech coach or administrator for the schedule of when these are available.

Please contact your technology coach for assistance with any of these items.

Solar System Scope: Online 3D Solar System!

The Solar System Scope is a flash based 3D website that highlights the planets of the solar system and the night sky.

The Model consists of 3 main Views (Heliocentric, Geocentric and Panaromatic), including:
Precise Positions of all Celestial Objects according to NASA Calculations
Schematic Distances and Sizes for better understanding of Planet Surfaces and Motions
• a unique feature to Drag Planets through their Orbits
• a lot of interesting Settings which allow you to Observe particular Motions and Events
Distance Calculator to measure distances between Planets even while in motion
Earth Observatory set-up with which you can watch Celestial Happenings on your own Night Sky

video

Monday, May 9, 2011

Saskatchewan Settlement Experience

Saskatchewan Settlement Experience Website

This website is produced by Saskatchewan Archives and the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, and is an excellent place to find primary documents, photos, and other information.


The website is easily navigated by years:  before 1870, then 10 year spans after that ending with 1920-1930.  There are also tabs that highlight information on the following topics:

  • Saskatchewan Today
  • The Landscape
  • Aboriginal Peoples
  • Steps to a Homestead
  • Settlement Patterns
  • Life on the Prairies
  • Agriculture
  • Labour and Economic Growth
  • Transportation and Commerce
  • Women
  • Education
  • Religion 
Within the website, you can search by community, photos, documents, maps, video files, audio files, and drawings.  There is information on topics that are relevant to our general geographical location such as the Northwest Rebellion (found under the 1880 - 1890 tab) and the Barr Colonists (found under Settlement Patterns tab).

Friday, May 6, 2011

Storybird

Storybird:  collaborative storytelling

Features:
  • Free class account: 
  • No student emails required (change student passwords if they forget theirs) 
  • Safe, secure, and private (set privacy levels) 
  • No chat feature
  • No personal profiles
  • Unlimited classes (manage from one dashboard if required)
  • generate thematic libraries that can be shared with parents or other schools
"Storybird reverses the process of visual storytelling by starting with the image and "unlocking" the story inside.  Choose an artist or a theme, get inspired, and start writing." 

There are many, many pictures from which to choose as noted on the sides of this graphic.  Students choose their image from a fantastic gallery as a starting point for a story. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Prezi: Take Presentations to a New Level

Prezi is a free, web-based program for students and teachers who are looking for a different way to present multimedia content.  While it is not likely that you would use this everytime, variety can be a welcome change to using Notebook, PowerPoint or Glogster.  Give your students many options to challenge their creativity.  Teachers and/or students (>13 years) can create accounts.  For younger grades, teachers may want to consider setting up an account that their students can use.  5 Reasons to Use Prezi


Prezi is also called the Zooming Presentation Editor.  It is a user-friendly web tool and requires a free account setup.  While the presentation is constructed on only one slide canvas, you can set the presentation pathway to showcase your points in a particular order.  You can add video, flash (flv/swf) animation, pictures and text. You can also import existing Powerpoint presentations into Prezi.   Instructional technology coaches can help you and your class become familiar with this tool.

On the website, there are many tutorial videos if you would like to learn this program on your own.  Learn Prezi