Monday, July 9, 2018

New School Year is FAST Approaching.......Some Things to Think About:)

As the school year fast approaches, I was contacted regarding a post I had previously made regarding 50 ways to use technology.  This link provided shows the benefits (and cons) of using technology in the classroom.  In other words - THINGS TO THINK ABOUT as you prepare and use technology for the upcoming school year! 

We all know that technology, when used the RIGHT way, can add a WHOLE new world for kiddos - however, we have to understand WHY we are using it - WHAT is the purpose for it - and DOES IT better the students understanding and learning process - THINK ABOUT IT ALL as you prepare for the 2018-19 School Year - YOU GOT THIS:)!!!

Good luck to you all,
 Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What is coming next?

About three weeks ago, Casey and I started talking about the iPad Mini 3s that we have here K-12.  The discussion came up because we have been exploring zSpace, and all the capabilities that this machine has (CHECK OUT IF YOU HAVEN'T)!!  This then brought on the discussion of virtual and augmented reality, which our iPad Minis CAN NOT do right now. As we continued to talk, I just thought, "Why not reach out to Ryan, our Apple guy, and just SEE trade in value, pricing, etc.."  Well, let me tell you we were PLEASANTLY surprised to see the numbers he threw back at us.  Now this was STILL in talking phases, so Casey thought, "Let's just bring this to the technology committee."  So we did - and THEY were pleasantly surprised at the numbers as well, and they said why don't you pursue it a little further.   SO, Casey and I went and talked to Superintendent Loeslie and share with him the findings and number crunching, and he thought, "Why not bring it to the finance committee for discussion?"  SO last night Casey and I went to the finance committee and they were impressed as well, therefore, it is now going to the board on Monday.  What started as a "Let's See" discussion, might become reality now!  SO we might be turning in our 920 iPad Mini 3s and going back to full size iPad 6s.  That would make me happy for SO many reasons:

1. We would be able to do virtual and augmented reality with apps like Froggipedia ($3.99), WWF Free Rivers (free), InSight Heart ($.99), and My Very Hungry Caterpillar AR ($2.99).  IT's CRAZY cool and just unbelievable to see and use!  Expeditions is also crazy fun and allows kids to BE in places they might not be able to otherwise. 

2. Our devices MIGHT not make it through another year.  We have had a TON of home buttons that are starting to fail, cracked screens that have been replaced but the touch on them isn't great, and will the iOS work another year - all things that make me think this is a great time.

3. We can take our MCA MN Standards test ON the full size iPads and turn the labs into another SPACE - maybe Makerspaces?  Maybe more space for the CAD lab now, but regardless it would give us TWO more rooms that are NEEDED in each building.

4. MANY teachers really wished we would have NEVER gone to an iPad Mini.  Between swiping between a smaller screen, trying to write and work, and reading alone has been a little more difficult for some - and they would be SO SO HAPPY to see the full sized iPad back.

5. The price is RIGHT:)!  When we traded in three years ago - we saved over $100,000 because minis were cheaper than the full sized iPads.  NOW that is reversed - the full size iPads are cheaper than the minis.  SO again - we will save money if we opt to go with the full size ones.

6.  Trade in pricing is really good this time also - and if we wait another year, the trade in value of the minis will drop another 25%ish - so again - the timing might be right!

7.  We will be getting keyboard cases for the 10-12th graders.  We pondered and pondered the idea of Chromebooks, but can't find something that works great with writing on PDFs, so that was a HUGE turn off - since even Kami extension on the Chromebook touch screen isn't great!

SO - there we have it and what has been happening in our world for the past three weeks.  Things have changed FAST FAST, and hopefully will for the better of our needs here!  OR maybe not and we will be having these discussions next spring about doing it for sure - time will tell;)!!

Take care all and Happy Week -
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Augmented and Virtual Reality

I am not sure how many of you are using, or have starting diving into the world of augmented or virtual reality, but we had some really good discussion regarding this at our technology meeting yesterday morning, and whether or not we should consider upgrading our iPads.  LOTS of factors come into play, and there is NO decision made by any means, but it's a good point to start with, and VR and AR were key components of the discussion.  If you don't know:

Augmented Reality is, " technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view."  It's a PRETTY powerful thing if you have NEVER seen it.

Here are some videos of apps that SHOW you what it is:

Virtual Reality is, "the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors."

Here are some videos of apps that SHOW you what VR looks like:

NOW - those are just a SMALL SMALL snippet of what's available out there.  You can use everything from Google Cardboards (darn near free) to the Oculus Rift (around $400), or ANY OTHER type of Virtual Reality viewers on Amazon and other places to purchase:)

GOOD LUCK - if you have been using this already - WAY TO GO!!  If you haven't yet started - take a look and get going - your kids will absolutely LOVE LOVE it!

Happy Wednesday all
Mrs I:)

Friday, March 23, 2018

GET Dave Eisenmann to Your School:)!!!

Yesterday, we had Dave Eisenmann, a technology director and speaker from Minnetonka come to our school and talk to our 7-12 graders about technology, being safe and smart online, and leaving a positive digital print.  HE WAS FABULOUS!  He didn't lecture the kids, he didn't tell them they are doing dumb things and stop.  He encouraged them to continue to use the technology for positive things and outcomes.

He started out by explaining to kids that technology is like a game or slot machine; it has the addiction piece to it, which makes it hard to stop using and put it down.  We have to make a conscious effort to be present where we are, and put away the technology once in a while.

He further went on to remind the kids of the changes that are taking place and that technology is the way everything is and pretty much how everything works.  It was neat because he used polls throughout the presentation for kids to answer, and I think they were surprised by what they saw.  He asked them about the amount of time spent on technology, if they are jealous when others post things and they aren't included in it, and how their "digital" footprint is.  Here are a few of "our" statistics.

His last comments were about bullying and cyberbullying and the differences between them.  He ended by showing kids that Burger King Commercial made about bullying.  Check it out if you haven't seen it - it's pretty powerful!!!  In closing and review of his speech,  he reminded kids to
1. Find a healthy balance 2. Have clean screens 3. Positive digital footprint and 4. Use it to build others up

Dave also mentioned an app called Moment that you can install for free and it tracks your time and what you are doing on your phone.  I installed it and it's interesting to see where you might need to make improvements.
Dave went to speak at a church later that night in Fargo, and was going to talk to parents and students about a variety of things, but mostly including Raising Tech Healthy Kids.  Use the link for some great advice and resources for you as parents!!

I would HIGHLY recommend him!  We have NEVER had someone come and talk to our student body about this and IT WAS NEEDED!  Some kids rolled their eyes, yes, but many kids really enjoyed it as it served as a reminder to them of what they are doing and how their digital footprint is never really lost, so make it a positive one!  He won't be our last person to talk to our kids about this - I KNOW they hear it from parents, and if they aren't THEY SHOULD BE, but every person that talks to them hopefully helps in this "raising of our tribes" to help them grow into amazing peeps making good choices along the way:)!!!

Happy Weekend all,
Mrs. I:)

Friday, March 9, 2018

A few new sites.......

I had my monthly tech integration session at Lakes Country in Fergus yesterday and learned about a few new sites:)!!  They are ones I haven't seen so I thought I might share:

1. Dollar Street: This site is a compilation of photos take from different countries at different socioeconomic levels.  You will notice that there's a slider going from left (poorest) to right (richest).  You can choose "what" you would want to see, and it will filter out and show you based on monthly income.  This was an EYE OPENER!!  What a great way to "show" kids what they have and what others do or don't as well.

2. Classroom Screen: I know at first this one seems like, "Why would I use that?"  BUT, after playing with it for a while I REALLY like it and find that I would constantly have it on my screen in my room while the kids were working independently!!  You can have a timer, use a random name chooser, show the clock, have a stop light, sound level, etc.. it's pretty fun!! 

Not a TON for today - but some gems:)!
Happy Weekend all,
Mrs. I:)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Apps Gone Free............

I have totally forgotten about this website until TODAY - so I hope you are STILL USING IT!  DO NOT forget about Apps Gone Free!  This website lists apps daily that are free for a limited time.  This is a great way to get apps and check out particular ones before you think they might be worth purchasing, OR to just get for free for your personal devices - remember to check it daily - as clearly I haven't in a while;)!

Happy Thursday all,
Mrs I:)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Some New GREAT Sites and Apps.............

I have just been digging around again and have found the following to be pretty cool:

1. Coggle - This a pretty cool site to use for mind mapping and brainstorming.  Students can create their own "coggle" or they can use ones already created there for studying purposes.  IT IS COOL!  They can also share it with someone, similar to a Google Doc and work collaboratively with it - LOVE THIS:)!!!

2.  Green Screen by Do Ink: Our Kindergarten teachers have been LOVING ON this app ALL YEAR LONG!  They have a few areas in their classrooms painted green, for their screen, and then take photos of kiddos by that.  They are then able to insert just about ANY background onto the back - they have taken field trips, written about jobs they wish to have, and even shared Olympic themes for Olympic Day.  CHECK THIS ONE OUT - it's $2.99, but would be worth to put on student iPads as the creativity they would have would be amazing.  Really, you could hang green paper, green table cloths, green fabric, etc in common areas for kids to access the use of it - pretty neat:)

3. AnswerGarden: This is a great tool to use for online brainstorming and coming up with ideas as a group.  The answers are then compiled to create a cloud of words with the answers. You can also create a QR code, which is embedded in there, to use for scanning and directly having access to the question and site.  It is pretty cool:)!

4. Flipgrid:  This website allows students to post responses to your questions, topics, or discussions in short video clips and share them on grids.  Students can then watch one another's clips and respond.  You can use their responses in assessments or use them for collaborative purposes.  Create your own of use already created and uploaded ones - check it out!

That's all I have for today - have to get working on social studies curriculum - take care and happy Tuesday all!
Mrs. I:)