Monday, March 17, 2014

Holding Plutonium in your bare hands!

I was invited in to a Chemistry classroom today, where we allowed students to handle some of the most dangerous chemical elements in their bare hands! That's right, no protective gear what so ever, except iPads and cell phones.

Elements 4D by Daqri is an Augmented reality app that allows students to explore 36 of the elements using their devices, and even see what happens when elements are joined together.

When I asked the chemistry teacher which two elements would have the most violent explosion, he got a little nervous! I said, "Oh, I can't wait to combine those two in your classroom!" Which lead to a lecture on using the "explosion" chamber, and safety equipment, and how to use the fire extinguisher.

Unfortunately, the app does not show you the explosion, but it does show you what is formed when the explosion is said and done! The students were a little disappointed by the lack of explosion as well.

It was a very simple lesson, and students noted in a Google Doc what they learned about each element from the app, and what happened as they combined different elements. As simplistic as this lesson was, the engagement from students was remarkable! Who knew chemistry could be so much fun! (Ok, you probably did, but I sure didn't!) One student even quipped "I think I like Chemistry now!"

The app is not perfect, and our student would like to see more reactions (hello Iron and Oxygen!), and more explosions, definitely more explosions, but overall it was a very engaging mobile lesson for the students.

Download and print the triggers
iOS device
Android (not compatible with all devices)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ingredients for a Hero

The past two weeks I have been working with 5 classes of 9th grade English Students. What started out as a simple research project has turned into a fully functional Mobile Learning Unit!

Here is a brief synopsis of what has occurred:
Students were asked if Atticus Fitch (To Kill a Mockingbird) is a Hero

Students then use Google Moderator (via their own devices) to suggest qualities of a hero, and vote on their peers' suggestions:

Students were then asked to watch 6 different speeches and repeated the process of using Google Moderator to suggest what should go in to a good speech.

Emotional Control/Connecting the Audience/Body Language 

(start at 10:00 minutes)

Audience/Staying True to Objective

Inspiration/Connecting with Audience

Students were then asked to submit their choices for who they would like to research using a Google Form.

Students are now in the process of conducting research on who they think is a hero. They are to be sure to provide evidence that their person meets the criteria of a hero as selected by the class.

Finally, students will peer evaluate both the speeches and the heroes their peers chose, using the rubrics generated by the Google Moderator Activities, copied over into a Google Form.

All done....using mobile devices!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Students get ex*site*d about Fish Tanks

Each year, students in our Marine Biology classes are responsible for creating and maintaining an aquatic environment. Each year, the teacher requires students to research the fish they wish to care for and create information cards for anyone who wishes to visit the "Tank Room." This year, I approached the teacher and asked him if he was ready to take the project into the 21st Century. He said yes!

Step 1 - Students gathered information about their fish, including food, preferred environment, temperament  and place of origin. They recorded this information in Google Drive, and used it to make decisions and build their fish tanks.
Step 2 - Students used their own devices (cell phones, iPods etc) to take pictures and video of their tanks which would later be uploaded to the pages.
Step 3 - Students created a class page using Google Sites, and then individual pages for each of their tanks and the fish they contain.
Step 4 - Students began entering information about their tanks and fish on their web pages using a combination of computers, cell phones, underwater cameras and Google Drive. They also had to add an interactive Google Map, showing the origin of the fish.
Step 5 - Students conducted a longitudinal study of the temperature, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia levels in their tanks, noting when the environment changes, what happens to the fish (do they thrive? do they get sick? do they die?). Students chart this data using Google Spreadsheets, then created charts, which they embed into their site.
Step 6 - Students continue to update information on their web pages as things in their tank change.
Step 7 - Students created QR codes that linked to their tank so that visitors to the tank room could scan the codes and have instant access to the webpages!

Here are some screen shots of what the students created, with identifying information removed for privacy.

An example of a Class Page

An Example of a Student Tank Page

An Example of a Student Fish Information Page

Monday, October 1, 2012

Our first unofficial BYOD Unit - Digital Citizenship Day Kick Off

So we are still waiting for the official go ahead with BYOD (which is why nothing new has been added recently!), but tommorrow marks the beginning of our first BYOD style unit.

October 2 is New York State Digital Citizenship Day, which was designed to promote safe, responsible and ethical digital behavior among our students. With The Dignity for All Students Act going into effect as of July 1, 2012, there is no better time to address important topics with our students such as Cyber Bullying. This also happens to coincide with the Federal Partners of Bullying Prevention, who have launched a video challenge, which call for submissions of videos between 30 and 60 seconds long that address how to be more than a bystander and help others who are being bullied. The deadline for this challenge is October 14. We have developed a unit which blends Common Core Standards, Digital Citizenship Day, the ISTE NETS Standards, the BYOT initiative, the video challenge and the Dignity Act into a seamless package.

Students will entered the classroom tomorrow armed with cell phones (what else is new!) to be greeted with the following PollEverywhere Poll

(For anonymity, the above poll is a replication of what was used and does not show student responses) 

Then, they will see this poll

(For anonymity, the above poll is a replication of what was used and does not show student responses)

Students will then be given articles about Cyber Bullying. Ideally, they would use thier own devices to access the articles, but since the unit was time sensitive and we still do not have the BYOD official nod, we chose to print them out.

What is it?
What is Cyber Bullying?
What is Cyber Bullying Exactly?
How Cyber Bullying Works: Direct Attacks
How Cyber Bullying Works: Attacks By Proxy
Are You a Cyber Bully?

How to Prevent it/Stop It
Be More than a Bystander
Stop Bullying Now: Advice for Youth
Stop Cyber Bullying Before it StartsTop Ten Tips: Teen Prevention
Empowering BystandersRespond to Bullying

Cyber Bullying Overview
Cyber Bullying: Identification, Prevention and Response - Fact Sheet
Cyber Bullying

In the News
Cyber Bullying Threats Go Viral and Can Turn Deadly
LeAnn Rimes' Treatment - Celebrity Cyber BullyingPeace of Mind: Cyber Bullying an EpidemicTweet Monkey:Facebook Battles Suicide, Cyberbullying with Status-Reporting
Inside the Rutgers Cyber Bullying Case
Rutger's Student Dharun Ravi Found Guily in Cyber Bullying CaseRyan's Story
11-Year-Old Hangs HImself After Enduring Daily Anti-Gay BullyingCyber Bullying Led to Teen's Suicide

Some Victims of Cyber Bullying
Cyber Bullying: Case Studies
Please google the names below to find more information about their stories:

Megan Meier
Amanda Cummings
Alexis Pilkington
Ryan Halligan.
Phebe Prince
Seth Walsh
Asher Brown
Billy Lucas
Tyler Clementi
Justin Aaberg
Zach Harrington
Grace McComas
Megan Gillan

Finally, students will be asked to answer this poll

(For anonymity, the above poll is a replication of what was used and does not show student responses)

Day 2 and Beyond:
While immersed in this unit, students are also reading Lord of the Flies (that famous novel where a bunch of boys are stranded in the wilderness and bully poor Piggy).
After reading and discussing the articles about Cyber Bullying, students will be introduced to the Stop Bullying Video Challenge. They will spend the remaining days of this unit planning their entries into the challenge (a 30 to 60 second PSA on how to stop bullying). In the final day, they will use their own devices (cell phones, cameras, video cameras, iPads etc) to shoot their video. We will share the videos with each of the classes, and then, after the winners have been announced, we will post them on our school website.

Monday, September 3, 2012

DyKnow Guest Blog and Back to School

Check out my Guest Blog on DyKnow's Blog!
As school starts tomorrow, I hope to be able to share more stories and experiences with implementing BYOD at my school. As summer wound down, I found myself immersed in a million home renovations project, and can't wait to start posting again.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Google Moderator

Back from a much needed vacation, and ready to explore more ideas for incorporating mobile learning in the library!

Google Moderator is another back channel option (like PollEverywhere) except it also allows the audience to vote on comments. For example, I can set up a Moderator series asking for topics students would like to review for the midterm. Students can submit as many topic as they wish, and they can also vote on the topics their peers post. Then, Moderator will sort the responses based on popularity.
Moderator is easy to set up if you have a Google Account, and is available for Google Apps schools as well, just ask your administrator to turn it on.

Here are a few ideas I have for using Moderator in my school next year:

  • have students suggest review topics for exams
  • have students choose what topics they want to learn more about
  • have students choose their own research topics
  • have students suggest improvements for the library
  • have students suggest books for the library to purchase

And some ideas for administrators:

  • set an un-conference professional development day, have attendees suggest and vote on topics to be covered
  • use for faculty meetings to build the agenda
  • use for professional development days to get an accurate idea of what types of professional development teachers are looking for, and how many attendees you might have in a class if they got to choose

Once you have created your Moderator Series, you can share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or by email, you can also post a web address for users to access the series. For help getting started.

Here is a Moderator Series that I set up to get your feedback about what you might like to see on this blog!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

QR Codes

QR Codes, or Quick Response Codes, are becoming more and more popular in the business world. You can see them on your favorite cereal box, your carton of milk, on billboards, in magazines, in name it, you probably find one. What they are is a 2d barcode that turns text into an image. When someone scans the image using a QR Code Reader, they may be brought to a webpage, given contact details, shown a piece of text, a video, and image, or almost anything you can think of that is hosted on a webpage.
The benefit of using QR codes is that you can deliver an infinite amount of information with a simple code. They are easy to create, easy to scan, and easy to incorporate into your curriculum. Here are a few ideas I have come up with:

For Librarians
  • Database Access Links
  • eTextBook Links
  • Library Website Access
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Book Reviews
  • Screencasts showing the steps explained in a paper based tutorial
  • Apps I want students to download
  • Quizzes, Surveys etc I would like students to participate in
For Classroom Teachers
  • Links on homework to videos that reteach the concepts taught in class
  • Link to websites with more information
  • Links to Classroom Pages
  • Links to Classroom blogs
  • Links to assessments (quizzes, surveys etc)
  • Homework Assignments (like you would write in the board, but easy for students to scan than to write the details)
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Orientation Activity for new students to the building (such as incoming freshmen etc)
  • Posted at the front door of a school linked to a map of the school for easy navigation

Generate QR Codes
Read QR Codes
Android Devices
Apple Devices