Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Evernote Peek

With Spring approaching standardized testing looms on the horizon.  How do you prep your students for the test?  Do you make reviewing the content you've worked on all year fun?  Evernote Peek is a great app that turns reviewing into a fun activity!

Evernote Peek is a fun tool that takes your notes and turns them into flashcards...but not just any flashcards. This app uses your iPad's Smart cover (if you have one) or an on screen version (if you don't have one) to display the content in sort of a game style format. It's very cool!

It's really easy to set up*.
1. Take notes in Evernote (on your computer, iPad, or phone)
2. Open Evernote Peek and sign into your Evernote account
3. Select the notes you wish to turn in to flashcards and it does it for you. Here are some tips on how to set up your notes.

One of the really cool things about this app is that it has the capability to add voice notes! You'll see a great example in the video below. There are also a bank of notes already created for you to draw from (like the periodic table, world capitals, etc.), or you can create your own. This app would be a great way to review as a whole class, or for independent practice.

If you were going to use this in an Elementary classroom for independent study you could set it up this way:
  • Create a class Evernote account
  • Prepare the notes ahead of time
  • Have your students sign into the class Evernote account when they open the app
  • Have students download your notes to begin using Peek
In a secondary classroom for independent study you could use Peek like this:
  • Have students create their own Evernote accounts using their CSDdocs accounts
  • Have students take or copy notes on the topic of study
  • Have students sign in to Peek and download their notes to begin studying

Thursday, January 8, 2015

SAGE Writing Summative Test

The time of year has come that we begin to look at preparing for the end of year SAGE Summative tests.  The SAGE Writing test window for Canyons School District is February 2-10. As teachers begin to prepare for administering tests, the EdTech Department has been working hard to prepare training and support for the teachers and students.  A few things that will help prepare your students for the writing test is Utah Compose.  Utah Compose will help your students learn, use and practice writing skills with instant feedback. Visit the department webpage or ask your EdTech for more information.  In regards to the preparation for the actual test, students should explore in the SAGE Training Test.  This training site will allow students to explore the format that most closely represents the actual test.  New features to be aware of include the dictionary feature and the tutorials.  The tutorial videos are a great resource for students to explore the question types.  The dictionary feature allows students to choose from a list of similarly spelled words as well as look up the definition. There is also a thesaurus to find synonyms.  More information will follow and include testing information on the English Language Arts, Science, and Math tests that will occur April 20-May 30.      

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Timelines made easy!

I love timelines and maps, it's the history teacher in me, but they lack an interactive piece that my mind craves, it's the Ed Tech in me.  As a teacher, I used timelines all of the time and had my students create a timeline for the American Revolution and Civil War. Students can read a textbook but all of the dates will get lost (In our textbook there are 52 dates or years in the paragraphs from the French and Indian War to the signing of the Declaration), but the visuality of a timeline helps show cause and effect over time and increases comprehension of the topic.  No matter how great the timeline, I always wished it was interactive.  A timeline with large pictures, links, videos that added depth, and embeddable.

Thanks to my PLN on Twitter I found a great tool for making timelines, Timeline JS.  Timeline JS makes building visual and interactive timelines easy and its free.  It can pull media from twitter, Flickr, Google Maps, Youtube, vimeo, and soundcloud to name a few.

There are only four steps to making your timelines interactive (listed below).  The website does a nice job walking you through the steps.  If you would like help with step 4, embedding the timeline into a Canvas or a classroom website contact your Ed Tech.
    1)  Download a Google Spreadsheet template and fill out the spreadsheet.
    2)  Publish the Google Spreadsheet to the web.
    3)  Paste the "publish to the web" url on Timeline JS's website.
    4) Copy the embed code and add it to your site.

Whether you are creating a timeline for your students to interact with, having your students create their own timeline, or having your students collaborating on a Google Sheet to make a class timeline, Timeline JS makes it easy and fun.

My Sample:

Other tools that can be used for timeline creation:
Facebook (Article), Infographics (Sample), and (A vertical timeline)

Timelines are not only for history class:
1)  Have students plot a story your reading in class
2)  Have students create a timeline of their family or their future
3)  Have students create timelines about famous people in your subject area.

What are some other ways you can use timelines in your class?  Tell me in the comments below.