Virtual Reality Creation Tool: StorySpheres

Our most recent weekly tech emails have been resources that allow you to take virtual field trips or visit museums.  This week we decided to share a way to shift from using virtual reality for consumption only and present a way where students can create and eventually become virtual reality storytellers.   If you are interested in learning more about this Ed Tech Teacher has a tutorial on the web-based Virtual Reality Creation Tool: StorySpheres.  Click here to learn how to create a virtual reality environment with audio and be inspired by their ideas for incorporating 360 degree images into poetry, historical research, art, science and more.  Virtual reality images combined with audio provide a new and amazing way for students to demonstrate their understanding, reflect on their process and explain their inspiration.

(Pictured below: a 360 view and story created of the last watchtower in Berlin from the Story Spheres website)

 

Google Expeditions – Field Trips from the Comfort of your Classroom

Google Expeditions allows you to take your class on a Virtual Fieldtrip. Tour the Aztec and Mayan Ruins, the International Space Station, or Gettysburg National Military park. You can do all of this with your classroom iPads. When using Expeditions, you become the leader on your iPad and students join you on the tour with their iPads. Edtech teacher has created and quick video to show you how this works. Start by downloading the app on your iPad.  After that, you will be ready to take your students on a virtual Field Trip!

New Video option in Google Slides


Google recently made it possible to insert videos into Google Slides without the need to host your videos on YouTube. You can now simply upload a video to Google Drive then insert it into any of your Google Slides presentations. If you would like detailed How To instructions watch the video above or click here to watch the 2 minute video via Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne.

Google Arts and Culture

Now you can virtually explore many museums from several countries around the world via Google Arts and Culture.  You or your students can take advantage of this awesome resource via a browser or with their free iPad app.  The zoom views and virtual tours allow you to experience many of the world’s greatest treasures and landmarks.  This resource is a perfect thing to try if you are looking to amplify one of your lessons with a real view related to your curriculum.  Thanks to Google Arts and Culture I was just able to escape my snowy morning and “travel” to Italy and experience a 360 view of the Floating Piers installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude (see screenshot above).

Thanks to Kate Moran for sharing this awesome link with us!  If you have any interesting new resources please share them with us.

Formative Assessment Apps

Formative assessment is assessment for learning rather than assessment of learning.  It is a way to check for understanding along the way and guide teacher decisions about future instruction.  It allows teachers to differentiate instruction and ideally occurs on a daily basis.  This can feel overwhelming due to the competing interest of covering material.  But, reflecting and checking for understanding is an important part of learning.  It helps students get a better sense of how they are doing and teachers know what needs review and what doesn’t. Formative assessment apps can help with the time aspect.  They are easy to implement, ensure that all students are heard from, and organize the results into quick to understand bar graphs, pie charts, or excel spreadsheets allowing teachers to easily see if the class is ready to move on.   Tony Vincent has put together an excellent blog post called “Know Students Better: 16 Tools for Formative Assessment” where he details the ins and outs of 16 different formative assessment apps. Many of the apps are the same but some offer short answer, others offer premade exit tickets, fast past quizzes, or drawing features.  I encourage you to read through the brief descriptions of each app and choose 1 or 2 to try out and work into your repertoire of formative assessment strategies. Do you use one of these apps regularly? Which one is your favorite?

Deleting pre-installed Apps

Did you know that you can delete some of the pre-loaded Apple apps on the iPhone or iPad?  If there are some on your device that you never use and would like to get rid of follow these steps:

How to delete a pre-installed Apple app:

• Open a folder or locate an Apple app you want to delete
• Push down lightly on the app icon until it starts to dance.
• Tap the small x icon that appears on the top left.
• Tap Remove.

The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use and Creative Commons


Digital copyright awareness is an important responsibility that often gets overlooked or can be easily misunderstood.  
The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use and Creative Commons is an excellent explanation of the many layers of responsible use and has many resources for teachers and students to use when working with or creating online content.  

In addition to the educator’s guide, Fran and Linda also recommend the links below:
Cyberbee interactive copyright Q and A (Flash version) (non-Flash version)
Be Copyright Cool Google Slides presentation by Brisbane Catholic Education

We encourage you to check this information out, since understanding digital copyright is an essential skill for students.  Also, remember that we have excellent in house resources about this topic, so be sure to be in touch with Fran and Linda in the Library if you have more questions or need help.

Quick Tips For Removing Distractions

iPad or iPhone  – Use the do not disturb feature. This will silence notifications on your device so you can work distraction free.  

Laptop – Close all apps. Turn off all notifications. Only use one app at time.

Extra Challenge – To give yourself larger blocks of time to focus. Check email only 2 or 3 times a day.

What works for you?  Let us know in the comments.

Tips for Handling Distraction at Home and at School

Let’s be honest, devices can be distracting for everyone, not just students.  Who among us hasn’t had trouble ignoring the buzz in your pocket during a conversation or a task that needs your focus.  The problem is that focus when learning is critical. Contrary to popular belief research has shown that it is not possible to multitask while learning new information.

So how do we deal with distractions in the classroom when students have devices. Common Sense Media has a great web page with lots of resources for teachers, students, and parents.

Have you mastered distractions in your classroom.  What techniques work well for you.  Do you see something on this website that you want to try?  Share them in the comments section.