Tag Archive for tools

Pinterest in Art Classrooms

Yesterday I had a “drive by” consult with an art teacher soon to go on sabbatical focusing on art and technology.  I’ll be working on schools for her to visit and resources to explore.  I Tweeted for suggestions from online friends for using technology in art.  The first thing that came back to me was Pinterest.  It’s a tool that lets you “pin” online content to a wall for future use.

Julio Ojeda-Zapata in our local Pioneer Press had a story on it in Sunday’s paper: If you have an interest, Pinterest . He also has a companion piece: What’s with all the pinning, anyway?

When I did the search for Pinterest in art classrooms, this is what I saw:

Pinterest walls:

Other sites related to Pinterest in art:


Google Apps For Education – Working on a Wishlist

I just blogged about the conference experience at the Google Apps for Education Midwest Summit.

Here’s my first stab at a wishlist for Google Apps for Education:

  • Make them inkable.  It would be REALLY cool to make Google Apps more friendly for tablets and those with touchscreens so that ink annotation would be supported.  This would be especially helpful for math and visual tools.  Right now, we can ink in Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, etc.  I would love to move away from Office, but we need inking.  Touch or pen/stylus.  Lots of others are using touchscreens, iPads, Smartboards – this would be a huge benefit.
  • Make them a little more iPad friendly.  I’ve seen vast improvements in the past year, but it could be much better.
  • Add a speech to text module.  Windows 7 speech to text doesn’t seem to work.  iPads have Dragon (free).  I bet Google could do it if they wanted; they have speech commands built into Chrome.  Feels just a few inches away.
What’s on your wishlist?

Back from the GAFE Midwest Summit

I was fortunate to attend the GAFE (Google Apps for Education) Midwest Summit in Wisconsin Dells with two colleagues from my school last week.  We’re not a GAFE school (yet) but a number of faculty have been using Google Apps as an instructional and/or professional tool, primarily with forms in the classroom or collaborative documents for committees. After two days at the conference, I’m no longer concerned about security issues regarding GAFE (no more than with any other online tools we use or provide).  I’m liking what I see as far as Chrome and Chromebooks are concerned (not feeling the love, but I did sip the Kool-Aid; Chromebooks are right for some schools – just not for ours for a while).  I can see a TON of uses of GAFE, both in the classroom and beyond, for students and teachers.

As a conference, this was unusually collaborative.  It was built by educators who collaborate for educators who collaborate.  I could easily attend and participate in one session and follow the rest on Twitter.  There was a doc set up by an attendee for other attendees to add collaborative notes.  This was especially helpful as there were multiple sessions for each rotation most of us wished we could attend.  Most of the presenters used Google Presentations and linked them to the table of sessions, so anyone can access the preso resources.

Next steps at my school:

  1. Get our domain properly registered.  It turns out that we had a Google Workgroup registered with our domain several years ago as part of another project, so we need to properly register our domain with GAFE as a school and switch over to a GAFE account from workgroups.
  2. Determine structure for implementation – domains for students and faculty, modules to implement, etc.
  3. Get accounts set up for tech coordinators, those who attended the summit, and potentially other early adopters for initial use.
  4. Create any documentation necessary for parents and students (MS kids are mostly under 13).
  5. Set up organizational structure for use with students.
  6. Begin piloting in the classroom in middle school.
Once we’ve done this, we’ll be on the road to scaled implementation.  I think I’m going to be busy for a while.

Looking for a tool…

I’ve been having an exchange with a creative, enthusiastic middle school English teacher in search of a tool she’d like to have in her 7th and 8th grade English classes.  As you know, we have a 1:1 laptop program.  Most of our teachers are using OneNote for content management, and for most teachers it’s a good tool.  This teacher would like to do more than OneNote is currently capable of.  Here’s her wishlist combined with mine:

  • Teacher management – teachers would be able to see content and decide what’s public (or if anything is public) and what stays within the course pages
  • An inbox – a notification system so you know when something new is added
  • Ability to embed multimedia – text, video, audio, photos, illustrations
  • Version tracking – see each version of what’s been done – see the prior drafts, planning, process pieces, comments, reflections
  • Multiple ways to sort/organize content – chronological, topical
  • “Pages” feel – something you could turn through
  • Attachments – ability to attach any electronic file to become part of the portfolio
  • Privacy – control who gets to see what
  • Student to student and student to teacher collaboration
  • Fun, funky, kid-friendly vibe – we’re talking about English class and kids; should be obvious
  • Tablet/inking support would be nice, since all of our kids and teachers have them
  • Offline content creation or support pasting from Word w/o crazy formatting issues

Ideas, anyone?  None of the tools we currently use seem to tick all the boxes – Schoology, Wikispaces, Voicethread, Quia, OneNote…

Would love your suggestions.  The closest I’ve come is Google Sites – misses a handful of boxes.  Anything better out there?

Web 2.0 Megalists

I just sent this to my faculty and thought others might be interested:

Good afternoon,

Many of you are already familiar with numerous Web 2.0 (collaborative internet) tools – blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook – but the list grows so quickly that it can be difficult to choose the best tool for each application.  Of course, your division tech coordinator would be a great resource if you’re looking for a specific tool or application, but these are some sites you might like to explore further if you’re curious about what’s out there in terms of Web 2.0 tools.

We can help if you need assistance implementing ideas in the classroom, finding out about account restrictions (most sites requiring accounts need users to be 13+), or requesting school subscriptions (for education-specific tools – like Schoology).  We usually know if others in your division have used similar tools, which is often helpful as students will already be familiar with the interface and may already have accounts.