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EasyBib

DEN Transformation - EasyBib

This video was made with Powtoon.com as a hook to a lesson we use to introduce students to EasyBib.

When I was a student, many, many years ago, and was assigned a research paper, I truly enjoyed doing the research and writing the paper. I truly hated writing the bibliography. Back in the day, I had to constantly consult my citation guide to figure out what information was needed, in what order and where to put periods, commas, and underlines. This was pure drudgery for me and often required all night bibliographic work. It seemed to take more time and work to make the Bibliography than it did to write the paper. Thank heavens; our students now can use EasyBib. EasyBib.com is a web resource that allows students to generate citations easily. I really love the fact that you can just enter a web address. The "autocite" often will cite your source from that URL. It allows you to check and add to the citation as needed. You can cite a book by searching by title, ISBN, or keywords. It is great to only have to put in the ISBN and choose the best citation offered. It offers more than 60 different sources that you can cite for free.

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#DENChat 14 - Technology Challenges

Evernote

Tips on getting started with Evernote

Evernote is my main tool for work and home. I've been using it for 5 years and love it. It can be tough for someone new to Evernote to get started with it.

Here is a great article by an on-line friend of mine, Tim Stiffler-Dean, about how Evernote can be a little overwhelming at first and how to get over that.

Here is also a great article, and video, from Evernote on getting started and main Evernote page has ideas on getting started.

I also told another on-line colleague that I would give him some tips on getting started with Evernote for his specific needs.

He teaches technology and physics, assists with the school network, and writes a tech column for a newspaper. Here are some ideas for using Evernote for each of these:

Teaching: (see here for more on how I used Evernote as a teacher)

    • lesson plan resources (from books, web sites, magazines, files)
    • lesson plans – schedule of what you are doing each day, linked to the actual lesson plan in Evernote
    • unit plans and resources (attached files, links, web clippings)
    • curriculum
    • project ideas
    • student work and e-portfolio's

    School Network

      • specs of all equipment
      • network map
      • to do list
      • web clippings of articles that are useful
      • equipment information
      • plans

      Writer: (I do this for the articles I write for this blog and two tech magazines)

        • story ideas
        • notes
        • clippings of research
        • articles themselves

        Hope this helps!

Bouncy Balls

Free and Fun Tool to Monitor Noise Levels in the Classroom

Need a way to provide a visual to your students to help them maintain appropriate noise level during activities in the classroom? Try Bouncy Balls! This fun website is free, and has a built in microphone that is sensitive enough to reach the back of a large classroom. It detects shuffling feet, chair movement, and most importantly, talking. When noise level is low, the balls stay low on the screen. As the noise level rises the balls bounce to the middle of the screen. When noise is at a high level, the bouncy balls bounce high and all over the screen. Students love watching the balls respond to their voices. I found this when I did not have enough money to purchase a Yacker Tracker.

3D Printing

A Shared Adventure

Sometimes you start an adventure only to realize that every time you talk about your learning, you are inspired by those around you. Our school has been extremely fortunate to have acquired a 3D printer for $100 as well as to have created a community partnership with Radiant Fabrication. Yesterday while presenting at DENapalooza Milwaukee, I realized how fortunate I have been to access this new technology not only to use it with our students but also to share our learning adventure with other educators.

At this time the 3D printer has been used to teach our kindergarten students about new technologies while also looking at how 2D shapes compose 3D shapes. While watching the 3D printer print a selected design for their teacher from Thingiverse, our students assembled 3D printed interlocking triangles to create tetrahedrons and then were given their own interlocking cube or tetrahedron. I sized the stl file on the MakerBot so that I could print many small interlocking shapes so that each student had one. I found that they became pretty fragile when sized too small, which is what I did.

Recently we have started to explore the idea of student designed charms using Charmr. Students in our after-school program really enjoyed this tool as well as colleagues at DENapalooza Milwaukee. The advantages to this type of printing is that it is excellent for entry level creation and prints in a short amount of time. We have created school charms for our rainbow loom because you can copy and paste multiple charms to the build plate and let the printer go.

For previous posts and to follow our SP Design Lab Journey visit our blog.

Design Lab – Four Months In

One of the greatest things about our school and state community is the generosity that I have found when I write grants. Our PTO has contributed to so much of the technology that we have at our school and they have been no different in their support of our Design Lab. In addition to the PTO, WEMTA awarded our Design Lab a PET grant. Now it is time to spend the money.

Part of the challenge of purchasing for a Design Lab is knowing what will work with students and not investing too much money in something that will not allow learners to take the materials in diverse directions.

Month 1 – December 2013 We started with the MakerBot 3D printer but since no one knew how to use it, it was not what started this journey. Rather it was the one classroom edition that I could afford for Minecraft EDU and one license of Minecraft. It started with $59 ($41 for the classroom edition and $18 for the license). I did not have the money to buy multiple licenses unless I could prove that this would be a good option for our school and students. I visited Fractal and watched Heather use Minecraft EDU with younger students. Heather shared with me so many important settings as well as things to be aware of when using Minecraft EDU with students. The hour that I watched, I learned so much about how to use both the server but also the program. I spent a good amount of time researching (here are some of my resources) only to realize that I just needed to jump in. Materials – Minecraft EDU

Month 2 – January 2014 I wanted to see what would happen and after reading Invent to Learn, I realized that I needed to start in after-school but I didn't want students who aren't able to participate in after-school to not have the opportunity too. So I looked at what time our computer lab was not being used and opened our Design Lab on three days a week during our lunch recess as our after-school offerings for the month were all ready set.

I quickly learned that many of our students loved Minecraft but were doing it on the iPad interface which required relearning how to move and navigate on the desktop. Also there were many students who had never entered the Minecraft world rather they had heard their friends talking about it and wanted to learn. I spent the month of January watching students. Okay I could tell them how to get into Minecraft EDU, direct connect to the server on my laptop, and basic controls like WASD and the space bar. But I really didn't know much and it was overwhelming to be the oldest non-expert in the room. It became easier to say to students that I didn't know something and they needed to ask each other but at first it was a really uncomfortable for me.

Meanwhile I was teaching myself about 3D printing. I found that I really needed to reach out to other people because I could read a book but that wasn't going to be enough. I needed to tap into those people in my community who already had the expertise. I was lucky enough to connect with Badger Bots who helped connect me with Radiant Foundation. Materials – MakerBot Replicator 2 (Donor's Choose), Minecraft EDU (one license and classroom edition), Gamestar Mechanic ($2 per student), Code.org (free)

Month 3 – February 2014 The second month of the Design Lab brought more learning and more financial support. First I realized that it was important to offer the Design Lab three times a week as well as two days after-school. iDesign is the after-school 3D design and printing offering while iCreate was a combination of Gamestar Mechanic, Code.org , and Minecraft EDU. Our school district gave our lab $250 which allowed me to purchase additional PLA filament for the 3D printer, a Makey Makey (which stayed in the box because I was overwhelmed with Minecraft and 3D printing), several sets of legos to do physical 3D designs, and clay.

The second month also brought challenges. With indoor recess, my plan of showcasing the 3D printer while also offering Minecraft EDU could not happen. The other challenge with the 3D printer was that very little of value prints in 30 minutes or less. So I realized that I needed to find a different way to share 3D printing with our students. February was a month of trying different things and watching many of them fail but learning from them. Materials - MakerBot Replicator 2 (Donor's Choose), Minecraft EDU (one license and classroom edition), Gamestar Mechanic ($2 per student), Code.org (free), legos, clay, PLA filament, one Makey Makey

Month 4 – March 2014 March was the month where all of the learning and connections seemed to come together in a very harmonious way. In March, we realized that we needed to have one day after-school dedicated to Minecraft so we now moved towards having iDesign, iCreate, and Minecraft EDU as after-school choices. First I was fortunate enough to have a colleague connect me with a student who wanted to design different scenarios for Minecraft EDU. Max gave me the opportunity to see what could be done without actually having to invest the time that I did not have. Check out the blog post on Max, my personal lifesaver. My other wonderful connection came in the form of Nathan from Radiant Fabrication who presented on the first after-school date for iDesign and introduced our students to 3D printing and his software Li which uses an interface very similar to Minecraft. In iCreate we focused on Gamestar Mechanic, Code.org, and Scratch.

Our Design Lab also received multiple sources of funds to expand our materials. Through the Code.org challenge of having 17 students complete the course, we received $1000 in Donor's Choose credits which were used to purchase more PLA filament, a Drawdio, a Spinbot, some LEDs, a Makedo kit, and 3 Chromebooks. We also received a $300 funded project through Donor's Choose and the LilySarahGrace Fund for more legos, knex, and art materials. In addition our PTO generously donated over $1000 to purchase a storage cabinet, additional Minecraft licenses as we now know that we can successfully use this software with students and more materials. Lastly our Design Lab received additional funds through the WEMTA PET grant. Materials - MakerBot Replicator 2 (Donor's Choose), Minecraft EDU (35 license and classroom edition), Gamestar Mechanic ($2 per student), Code.org (free), legos, clay, PLA filament, six Makey Makeys, Raspberry Pi, Drawdio, Spinbot, Makedo kits, LEDS, batteries

Stay posted for where these new materials will take our learning. Our students are very fortunate to have a community who is supporting our Design Lab (Makerspace).

Microsoft Excel for Educators:
Segment 5

Welcome all to a new week of Excel for Educators where I've tried to take some of the things that I do in my work with the Analytics, Research and Evaluation team here at Discovery Education and frame them in the perspective of the classroom teacher, and then divide them into 10 minute segments. This is the fifth post of the series, and this instructional video runs less than 10 minutes. It will be beneficial as you view the videos to also have the companion worksheet open so that you can try things in a hands-on environment as you see them (http://linkyy.com/excelforeducators).

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Microsoft Excel for Educators:
Segment 4

Welcome all to a new week of Excel for Educators where I've tried to take some of the things that I do in my work with the Analytics, Research and Evaluation team here at Discovery Education and frame them in the perspective of the classroom teacher, and then divide them into 15-20 minute segments. This is the fourth post of the series, and this instructional video runs just 9 minutes. It will be beneficial as you view the videos to also have the companion worksheet open so that you can try things in a hands-on environment as you see them (http://linkyy.com/excelforeducators).

In this video we will explore Excel the averageifs tool as well as investigate a great shortcut to quickly convert numbers to percentages in your gradebook.

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Microsoft Excel for Educators:
Segment 3

Welcome all to a new week of Excel for Educators where I've tried to take some of the things that I do in my work with the Analytics, Research and Evaluation team here at Discovery Education and frame them in the perspective of the classroom teacher, and then divide them into 15-20 minute segments. This is the third post of the series. It will be beneficial as you view the 15-20 minute videos to also have the companion worksheet open so that you can try things in a hands-on environment as you see them (http://linkyy.com/excelforeducators).

In this video we will explore Excel vlookup, countif, sumif, and averageif tools. The ability to use these tools can help us combine multiple data sets into meaningful charts for exploration using some of the tools that we've discussed previously.

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Microsoft Excel for Educators:
Segment 2

Welcome all to a new week of Excel for Educators where I've tried to take some of the things that I do in my work with the Analytics, Research and Evaluation team here at Discovery Education and frame them in the perspective of the classroom teacher, and then divide them into 15-20 minute segments. This is the second post of the series. It will be beneficial as you view the 15-20 minute videos to also have the companion worksheet open so that you can try things in a hands-on environment as you see them (http://linkyy.com/excelforeducators).

This second video focuses on Excel's formatting and conditional formatting features. The ability to use these tools can help us build a set of student data that we can wrap our head around, and also allows us to get some factual information from the data very quickly.

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Presented by

  • Discovery Education
  • ISTE