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Apps for Summer

Happy Last Day!

I hope you enjoy this last day with students and look forward to some time to relax and rejuvenate.

Whether you’re headed out on vacation or heading out to the back yard, here are a few ideas to play with:


Mobile Learning I: Stories to Share

The inaugural Mobile Learning I group just finished the class before Spring Break.  We wanted to share some of the project ideas they tried.  They’re committed to playing, setting learning goals, and trying new things with students!  Mobile Learning I will again be offered in June and in the fall.  Mobile Learning II is also on its way this fall.

Chris Smith (HS Art) is determined to dig deeper with Twitter.  He also created QR codes for The Glenn that point to YouTube videos of his students talking about their process for creating the murals inspired by Glenn Olson’s garden.

Caryn Odgers (HS Science) and Kari Diederich (HS F/CE) collaborated using a mind-mapping app called Mindjet.  They are using their mind map to help students learn more about medical occupations.

Briana Gustafson (HS Special Ed) used Audioboo, CamScanner, and Barcode Scanner along with QR codes to cue her students in daily living skills so that they become more independent.  One of her students is most excited about is seeing his own picture next to each code.

Jen Vogel (Early Childhood) used Audioboo with a student who read an alphabet book.  He was so excited to hear himself speak, as were his parents and grandparents!

Margi Wachowiak (HS Library Media Specialist) is using QR codes on her Summer Reading posters that point to book trailers for each book.  And she’ll be trying the codes out for Freshman Orientation next year!

Jodi Acker (MS Math) is using Audioboo to enhance student’s portfolios.

Tammy Breitlow (MS Social Studies) is using iPod Touches with students to create and edit propaganda ads as they learn about WWII.

Anne Tredinnick (MS Science, MS Computer Literacy next year) will be trying todaysmeet.com for her 5th and 6th graders to “backchannel” while watching a video about internet safety and digital citizenship.  She’s also going to have her science students use Audioboo to describe the robots they build as part of their energy unit.

Cyndy Johnson (MS Special Ed) is going to have her 8th grade students record podcasts of their own poems as part of their scrapbook project for English.

Rebecca McDermid (HS Science) used Socrative Teacher and Socrative Student to capture quick formative assessment check-ins.

Natalie Slaby (3rd Grade, WES) will be creating a QR code scavenger hunt to kick off her Fractured Fairy Tales unit with 3rd graders.

Dana Ringhand (2nd Grade, WES) used a QR code to share a podcast created by her 2nd graders reading a story they wrote about an alien they created using Abby Monster.  When you scan the code, you’ll see the “alien” and hear the story!  Listen for the elements of a story…

Many of these apps are also web-based.  Android4schools is a nice site for Android device users.

Norski Ninja: Week 9!

We’re in the home stretch of our Norski Ninja series. And today we’ll begin thinking about the ways we love GoogleApps as next week’s tip will be just that–sharing the good parts of this change. Here are this week’s Ninja skills:

  • Calendar: Sharing your calendar with others takes a few steps and we covered that in Week Three. Now you can take it a step further by creating additional calendars to share. How about a classroom activities calendar? How about a volunteer calendar? A project calendar? You may not want classroom, sports, club, or other activities merged with your calendar, so just create another one. Share it. Embed it on your web page.
  • Mail: February can be pretty busy and your Gmail box might be filling up now, so use filters to automatically categorize, label, color-code, and organize your messages.  Say you’d like all of the messages from your principal to be labeled “Important”–a filter can do that. (This feature is similar to Rules in Groupwise.) Here’s how filters work in Gmail.
  • Docs: Although it’s improving all the time (Tables! Presentations! Page Numbers!), I’ll admit that Docs does not do everything that Word does. Sometimes you might need a more elaborate layout than Docs can offer. In that case, try downloading your GoogleDoc in another format for revision or sharing. Go to File >> Download As. You’ll have a choice of formats:
    • Word: Use this one if you’re going to do a big layout, need more clipart or need to use the excellent SmartArt in Office.
    • PDF: Use this one if you’re not going to make changes to the document, but you want to “freeze” it for posting to the web, sharing with others, or as an alternative to printing.
    • RTF: This format is pretty universal. Almost any word processor will open it up. It won’t be fancy, but it will be shareable and editable by lots of tools, including the very confusing Microsoft Works.
  • Here’s more information on downloading, including Drawings, Presentations, and more!
  • You can download and upload files to GoogleDocs much like you would use a flash drive. You don’t have to convert them to upload and you may still share with others. When you’re using Docs, Mail, and Calendar to cut down on the paper in your life, you are definitely approaching black belt status.

Remember to comment on this post to be entered into our weekly Google drawing. Give it a try! Tell us how you’ve used any of these tools or any Google tools.

Open Labs!

I’ll be making the rounds to each school throughout the year to host Open Labs–a voluntary drop-in technology playground for you to work on whatever project you’d like with tech support and ideas available to you.  Each lab will run for 1 hour after school.  No need to RSVP, just stop in!

Here are the dates:

DAHS–3:45-4:45 in B203

  • Wednesday, September 7
  • Wednesday, October 12
  • Wednesday, November 16
  • Tuesday, December 20
  • Wednesday, January 25
  • Wednesday, February 29
  • Wednesday, April 10
  • Wednesday, May 9

DAMS–3:30-4:30 in Room 10

  • Wednesday, September 14
  • Wednesday, October 19
  • Monday, November 21
  • Wednesday, February 1
  • Wednesday, March 7
  • Wednesday, April 11
  • Wednesday, May 16

EPES/HEC–3:15-4:15 in the EPES computer lab

  • Wednesday, September 21
  • Wednesday, October 26
  • Wednesday, November 30
  • Wednesday, January 4
  • Wednesday, February 8
  • Wednesday, March 14
  • Wednesday, April 18
  • Wednesday, May 23

YES/MES–3:15-4:15 in the YES computer lab

  • Wednesday, September 28
  • Wednesday, November 2
  • Wednesday, December 7
  • Wednesday, January 11
  • Wednesday, February 15
  • Wednesday, March 21
  • Wednesday, April 25
  • Wednesday, May 30

WES–3:15-4:15 in the WES computer lab

  • Wednesday, October 4
  • Wednesday, November 9
  • Wednesday, December 14
  • Wednesday, January 18
  • Wednesday, February 22
  • Wednesday, March 28
  • Wednesday, May 2

Welcome Back Norskies!

This will be an exciting year in, among other places, the area of instructional technology!  Now is a good time to review the basics, brush up on a few skills, and learn something new.

Today, you will have some time to get familiar with the new house (network) we’ve moved into, find and unpack your things (files and tools), and get acquainted with the new residents (Office 10 and GoogleApps).  Don’t worry about getting to everything–pick what’s most important for you right now; you can always come back later.

The new staff handout with all things technology.  Even if you’re a veteran, this is a great review.

Here’s a list of things to work on or try today, and some resources to help below:

Google Apps:

Office 10:

Need something else?  Try:

Welcome to Our New Norskies

We’ll have plenty to do this Friday morning, but our flexible format will help. Besides the obvious things like getting into email and where to save documents, we’ll also be looking at GoogleDocs, your new Xoom, Twitter, and more. Here are a few links to get you started:

Mobile Learning: What’s #XLGDASD?

Big things are coming! Next week we’ll be handing out the first mobile devices for staff members meant to be customized. Our existing GoogleApps accounts make it easy to do this. Although we don’t have all of the kinks worked out, we’re still diving in because we know it’s time and we know it’s important.

Some of the thinking behind this move comes from Inevitable by Charles Schwahn and Beatrice McGarvey. In a chapter entitled “Facing Reality,” they ask, “What might these teachers accomplish if their beliefs about individualizing learning were openly and intentionally encouraged and supported by the organization’s structure?” Well, we think it’s going to be a good thing all around. If we give our teachers and administrators the tools to customize their own learning and collaborate in meaningful ways, we know it’s going to happen for students too. One doesn’t experience the power of personal learning and then seek to restrict it for others.

We’re starting with some strategic groups: Learning Improvement Team (LIT), our multi-age teachers, library media specialists, Journeys coordinators, and administrators. This fall we’ll add our new staff members. Each of these groups will move through the learning process in a different fashion, but all will be sharing their journeys throughout the coming school year. GoogleDocs, Moodle, and Twitter (#xlgdasd) will be our primary vehicles, but who knows what else we’ll come up with–that’s kind of the point.

Two “events” next week will kick off our journey. From there we’ll be embarking on a series of learning challenges . . . last fall we did a version of “Battle of the Network Stars“. This season will be similar, but with a watery twist.

Stay tuned to #xlgdasd.