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Lots happening in Palliser leading up to Xmas!!

02 Dec

Can you believe it – it’s almost Xmas!  Seems like the years go faster and faster.  Or it’s just me and my old age!

Palliser is awaiting the arrival of 85 Chromebooks that will be deployed to three classrooms to pilot the use of these laptops in ‘Google Apps for Education’ (GAE) environment.  As we keep discovering, GAE keeps looking more and more impressive and the potential is tremendous. 

I just discovered the other day that GAE has OCR capability.  This is huge for users of Read and Write Gold (RWG) which is an assistive technology from TextHelp.  When a teacher photocopies a document and emails the work to their email, it arrives as a PDF image.  This is not readable using RWG.  So if one doesn’t have Adobe Acrobat Pro, the RWG user would have to use the ‘screenshot reader’ which is time consuming and counterproductive.  With GAE OCR capability, a teacher can now convert the PDF image to a Google document which will convert the image to readable text and allow RWG to readily read the text.  TextHelp just came out this year with a Google Doc reader as well!!

A lot of talk out of ATLE (Alberta Technology Leaders in Education) has been centered around the storage of student work on the Google servers located in the USA.  For the most part, Google states that the student work is theirs and that they would not be data mining it – with the exception of the USA ‘Patriot Act’.  This Act states that if there is a potential security threat to the USA, they have the right to explore the data that is stored anywhere – Google in this case.  Many comments out of the ATLE comments indicate that if any hacker wanted, they’ll get what they want regardless where the data is stored – Google or on MS SharePoint.  Edmonton Public Schools (EPS) have had their lawyers look into the fine print and they are satisfied that their students work is safe and secure on the Google servers.  As a result, I believe that they currently have 80,000 students and staff on GAE.  EPS is also in the process on moving all the staff Exchange email to the GAE Gmail. 

The iPad continues to further infiltrate the Palliser classrooms.  This is a great tool that teachers are continually finding ways to incorporate it into their classrooms.  As a tool, it is especially useful for enhancing the learning of concepts of students that Learning Support Teachers with.

We now have access in Canada to the Apple Volume Purchasing Program (VPP).  This will allow schools to purchase apps at a reduced cost.  Hopefully Palliser will get the program Manager and Facilitators in place so the apps can be purchased at a reduced cost as the demand is sure to great greater with the influx of the iPad tablets.

A couple of links and apps to check for the iPad:

Thanks to Carol E. who is teaching grade four, she introduced me to See Math (http://www.seemath.com/).  This site animates how to solve various types of equations.  One can speed up or slow down the animation.  It is neatly designed and I believe could be a great little tool to use in the classroom.  We already have Khanacademy and Learnzillion which are way more robust than See Math, but it’s just another tool to help our students overcome their difficulties in math.

For the Social Studies teachers, you have to check out Google Maps (not the maps we use within Google) at https://maps.google.com/.  You will have to log in using your Palliser share.pallisersd.ab.ca account (or any Gmail account).  Once in, you have the means to carry out a lot of neat activities.  As an example, you could have the students use the shape tool and outline each province in Canada.  Once they have outlined the province, they could then label it and then add a placemark for different sites to visit.  They could also use the shape tool to display the different geographical areas (boreal forest, Canada Shield).  These maps can be saved synced you are logged in and they can also be printed out and linked or embedded

Other sites to check out:

  • Need to create an avatar?  Try out Clay Yourself site to create just that – http://clayyourself.com/.   
  • Looking for another tool to present your images?  Kizoa is a web tool that will create a slideshows complete with effects, text and music.  Kizoa can be used to create collages from templates, with ‘magic’ or you can create a collage from scratch.  Kizoa can also be used to edit your photos using filters, effects and frames. 
  • If you are looking for another tool that is very similar to  Animoto, have a look at One True Media (http://www.onetruemedia.com/).  You can create a video using photos and video with music.  But like Animoto, the free version only allows you to create a 30 second video.  Animoto now has an educator account which allows one to create a video longer than 30 seconds.  Doesn’t appear that One True Media has an educator registration.  The cost per month is $3.99 and you can create up to one hour videos.  Not a bad cost!
  • Muvee Cloud (http://cloud.muvee.com/) is yet another cloud to create and share your photos.  Unfortunately (I say this knowing that these sites/companies have to make money to stay afloat – but I know that I’m so used to see these tools offering the basic free version), it provides this service with a cost.
  • This one has been around for a while but since then, it has evolved over this period of time.  If you are looking for a web tool to do a specific function, check Go 2 Web 20 at http://go2web20.net/.  Look to the right side and select the area or tool that you want to investigate for use in your class and the site will present a magnitude of sites that will be available.  Of course you need to be aware of those that have a cost associated with them.
  • I recently took in a keynote presentation at this year’s ATLE by Steve Dembo.  He gave an excellent presentation and he share the following video found on YouTube – A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work (http://youtu.be/aXV-yaFmQNk).  Talk about Marc Prensky’s digital native!!  Check it out – makes one wonder what the student of the future will be walking in with in regards to their expectations and expertise in the area of mobile technology!
  • As always, 2Learn continues to publish their monthly edition of Vantage.  The last edition had its focus on Language Arts.  Click here Vantage Language Arts Nov. 14 2012 to see the PDF of the sites listed for each class.

DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP

I am continually looking for resources to create a Palliser Digital Citizenship program.  Here are some more links that I’ve found which I need to take the time and research as to their effectiveness and usability in the classroom:

Richard Byrne has a blog which everyone should monitor.  If not his blog (http://www.freetech4teachers.com/), then follow him on twitter at @rmbyrne.  In the following link, Richard mentions the MIT Video which provides more than 10,000 educational videos organized into more than 150 channels!  Might be worth a look at, especially for the Div. III and Div. IV teachers.  (http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2012/07/mit-video-more-than-10000-educational.html#.UJGfdcXA8uB)

Check the following for what the 21st century Education should be encouraging in the area of Student Skills – http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/11/a-must-have-poster-about-21st-century.html?goback=%2Egde_2811_member_187180359

 

 

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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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