Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK and Instagram

Last school year, I snapped photos from my trip to Dallas, TX and the location where John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.  Although I am somewhat hesitant to share these images from this tragic event in American History.   I think this event needs to be discussed on it's November 22nd anniversary, while also displaying how social media can be used for instructional purposes.  

To promote social media and it's value for bringing Dallas to a classroom hundreds of miles away, I want to share how I didn't need to save these images onto my computer or print them at Walgreens.  Instead, because I uploaded them to Instagram, I will have these images to share with students and allow for interaction for many years to come, or at least until Instagram goes Kaput.  

To mark the JFK Assassination anniversary, I am sharing images from the location.  It's not much but a simple way to share and spark a conversation with students.  This shows how I had a teacher-eye, while on vacation and away from home.  But, the technophile in me caused the social media attack on infamous Elm Street.  Of course, before the Instagram and Vine apps were opened, I started my experience in Dealey Plaza with a FourSquare check-in.  

Please click the upper-right corner of the image to view the image on Instagram and feel free to provide a comment on these photos.  

Additional Vine Posts 

During my visit, I also took several Vine videos just to get a little perspective on the area.  In the video below, I start with the Book depository and scroll down  toward the street view.  While filming, I was about near or on the grassy knoll.  



This man set up a booth on top of the grassy knoll, and he believed that the government had something to do with the assignation.  What do you think? 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blogging with Blogger, What?

Getting Started with Blogger

These slides show the basic steps for getting started with Blogger and were used during this last weeks after school session on Blogger.

Blogging Basics & Some Tips

These slides present some basics on blogging as a teacher and were used during this last after school session on Blogger.  

Making your Own QR Code

Not too long ago, a teacher asked me how to make a QR code.  With so many web-based tools out with the ability to create a QR code, it is difficult to just pick one and share it.  I wrote about this nearly a year ago.  In fact, it is almost exactly a year ago.  Check out my old post entitled Increase Time On-Task with QR Codes for more ideas if needed.  I am going to share a couple websites just so there is a little variety, but I also took one of these tools and created the video below to demonstrate how-to create QR codes.

Google's URL Shortener - this website works with Google accounts, which allows a user to save and track, or see the how many people used, any of their shortened URLs created.  At the same time as creating a shortened URL a QR code is also created.  If a teacher want to track his/her QR codes usage and keep a record of all the shortened URLs, this might be the website to use.

Vocaroo - is a website that can record audio and create a QR code to take others to the recording for playback.  This could be good for introducing something to students, reading a poem, reading a story problem, providing directions, or simply giving them a message of the day.  Students can also use it to record quick snippets of audio to share via QR code.  If a teacher is looking to record audio and share via QR code, this might be the website to use.

Classtools QR Quiz - is a QR code generator for quizzes. Teachers can input questions and generate QR codes for each question to be displayed somewhere in the room.  Then, have the students locate each question and answer them with a clipboard and looseleaf paper.  If a teacher is looking to create quizzes, this might be the website to use.

QRHacker - is a website that will allow you to create custom QR codes and is probably one of the easier ones to use.  Paste in your URL, generate a QR code and save the image to your computer.  This is the website demonstrated within the video below.

Not on a Tablet - Here's an Option

If a classroom isn't on a MacBook, or a device that isn't a tablet, this web-based QR code scanner can access the computer's webcam and scan QR codes.  It can even scan images of QR codes from your computer.  However, with all of the social bookmarking sites available, I would probably just use a site like Symbaloo, Blendspace, or a simple list of links on a blog with laptop and desktop computers.  

How to Create your Own Video

How to Distribute them

Teachers can distribute QR a couple different ways.  First, teachers can spread QR codes throughout the room as a scavenger hunt game to incorporate movement, while completing the activity associated with the class learning goal.  I didn't mind this movement within my room, but this can get chaotic without ground-rules discussed prior to the search.

The second and less chaotic way is to print off a few of the QR codes, laminate them, punch a hole in the corner, and attach them to a ring to be placed on a bulletin board.  Then, whenever needed, students can go to the group of QR codes, bring them back to their desks, and scan the website they want/need at the time.  This method would be good for study units.  If the teacher knows of several reliable websites, create a group of QR codes to keep students focused on the topic being studied.  Then, the teacher can worry less about students randomly searching the web or misspelling the URL repeatedly.  All in all, this method would require minimal movement around the room and focus students attention on specific teacher-vetted sites.

The third method that I can think of is posting the QR code on the SMARTBoard with SMART Notebook, Keynote, Pages, Google Docs, Google Slides, Etc.  I sometimes QR codes to link my audience with a copy of the presentation; however, you can also link them to a homework assignment.  Basically, just use something that will display the QR code through the LCD projector.

Of course, these are the only ways QR codes can be used in the classrooms.  Please list any additional ideas about how to distribute codes to students or parents within the comments section below.