Tom Daccord – EdTechTeacher http://edtechteacher.org Leading Change in Changing Times Fri, 26 May 2017 12:27:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Highlight Tool – Google Doc Add-On for Writing and Feedback http://edtechteacher.org/the-highlight-tool-google-doc-add-on-for-writing-and-feedback/ Wed, 25 Jan 2017 14:35:49 +0000 http://edtechteacher.org/?p=11124 The Highlight Tool is a simple but powerful Google Docs Add-On that teachers can use to provide feedback on student written work.  The key benefit of the Highlight Tool is the ability to create a customized series of highlighters on different topics …

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The Highlight Tool is a simple but powerful Google Docs Add-On that teachers can use to provide feedback on student written work.  The key benefit of the Highlight Tool is the ability to create a customized series of highlighters on different topics that can also be organized in a library and shared.  

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Those familiar with the highlight feature available in Google Docs know that you can select a word(s), a sentence, a paragraph or more, and highlight it a particular color. With the Highlight Tool Add-On, you can not only highlight, you can also create, label, and organize sets of customized highlighters that help facilitate a wide range of instructive feedback.

To get started, the Highlight Tool is available via the “Add-On” menu in in a Google Doc. Look under “Add-On” for “Get Add-Ons,” click it, navigate to the Highlight Tool, and install it. Once installed, the Highlight Tool is available for use in any Google Doc.

To create a set of color-coded highlighters, select “Highlighter Library” and give your set of highlighters a name. Then assign a label to a color. For instance, if you want to highlight punctuation mistakes purple, type “punctuation” and select the color purple. Continue to add text and colors and then save your set of highlighters. Later on, you can always click “Create Highlighters” to add more highlighters to your set, as shown below.

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You can even share your highlighters by exporting the highlighted text to a separate document by sequence or by color. In this way, a teacher might share a customized series of highlighters with students so all understand the highlight color designations.

Some of the best uses of the Highlight Tool include feedback on student essays, reports, and stories and for categorizing themes or ideas.  For instance, a high school English teacher might use the Highlight Tool to create a set of highlighters labeled  “Grammar and Conventions” to provide grammar feedback on student essays. As pictured above, a teacher could create different color-coded grammar highlighters — yellow for Dangling Modifiers, orange for Passive Voice, red for Run-On Sentences, etc. — to draw attention to grammar issues and stylistic conventions in student essays.

A teacher might go on to create another set of highlighters, perhaps labeled “Comma Usage” with specific issues — say, yellow for “Introductory Phrase,” orange for “Items in List,” and the like. A history teacher might create a set of highlighters around aspects of historical writing and a science teacher might create a set of highlighters related to Lab Report feedback. Students might create their own highlighters to highlight and organize terms they are unfamiliar with or as a reminder to study these items.

One of the benefits of color-coded highlighter feedback is that students can receive specific teacher feedback without the teacher having to take considerable time to write complete sentences explanations (often over and over again to different students). So, instead of a teacher writing “This is a vague phrase which needs to be revised and include more specific language,” the teacher could simply highlight the phrase in question and use the combination of color and label in the Highlight Tool to provide quick feedback. The longer a student waits for feedback the less useful it is, so the Highlight Tool is very helpful in speeding up the feedback process.

Finally, a teacher can use the Highlight Tool to shift the responsibility of editing to the student by prompting the student to reflect on his grammar or stylistic conventions and make an improvement to the essay. Students taking greater responsibility over their writing process is a worthwhile goal and the Highlight Tool Add-On is a great vehicle to helps students and teachers to do just that!

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SAS Writing Reviser: Google Doc Tool for Writing & Feedback http://edtechteacher.org/sas-writing-reviser/ Mon, 09 Jan 2017 12:10:01 +0000 http://edtechteacher.org/?p=11051 SAS Writing Reviser is a terrific free Google Doc tool for helping students identify writing issues and improve their written work. Available as a Google Docs Add-On, SAS Writing Reviser analyzes a document for potential grammatical and syntax issues, highlights or lists …

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SAS Writing Reviser is a terrific free Google Doc tool for helping students identify writing issues and improve their written work. Available as a Google Docs Add-On, SAS Writing Reviser analyzes a document for potential grammatical and syntax issues, highlights or lists the issues it finds, and provides information for resolving them. Once installed, SAS Writing Reviser is available for use in any Google Doc. Simply open the Add-On in Google Docs and it appears to the side of a Doc.

 SAS Writing Reviser contains 5 major sections: Sentence Economy, Sentence Variety,  Sentence Power, Sentence Clarity, and Support Tools. Sentence Economy is designed to make your writing more economical, while Sentence Variety aims to make your sentences more interesting,  Sentence Power prompts you to incorporate forceful verbs, and Sentence Clarity prompts you to use words carefully to make your meaning clearer. Finally, Support Tools offers statistical highlights of your essay and identifies prepositional phrases, passive voice, and vague words. Each of the five sections contains subsections with related content.SAS Writing Reviser

        To use SAS Writing Reviser, select one of the 5 sections and then one its subsections. The image to the right shows that Sentence Economy contains the following subsections: Wordiness, Prepositional Phrases, Passive Voice, Relative Clauses, and Repeated Words. Click on any of these subsections to reveal potential issues. SAS Writing Reviser will highlight any potential instances of these writing issues in the document.

In the image below, SAS Writing Reviser has identified instances of passive voice in a student essay. SAS Writing Reviser does not assume that passive voice is used incorrectly, but prompts the student to review her work by asking “Is this the wording you want?” and “Or would an active verb be better?” To help the student, SAS Writing Reviser provides an “about passive voice” section that explains that passive voice often leads to weak sentences and offers ways of spotting passive voice in a sentence.    

SAS Writing Adviser

Other subsections in SAS Writing Reviser work similarly, with some variations. For instance, if you select Repeated Words, SAS Writing Reviser provides you a handy visual list of all repeated words in the document and the number of times they have been repeated. It also asks you to consider: “Have you repeated words on purpose?” “Have you repeated prepositions in clumsy or awkward ways?” and “Have you chosen a variety of nouns and verbs to clarify your subject?”

SAS Writing Reviser helps draw attention to writing issues commonly discussed in English and Language Arts and Social Studies classrooms at the secondary school and university level. For instance, the Sentence Clarity section can help students identify dangling modifiers, vague words, and cliches and jargon. SAS Writing Reviser also helps speed up the revision process by providing automatic feedback and saves the teacher from having to identify and spell out issues.

Finally, yes, I did use SAS Writing Reviser to review this article. It highlighted several potential instances of vague words, passive voice, and other issues. I guess students won’t be the only ones using SAS Writing Reviser to improve their essays!

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App Smashing on the iPad: A Guide for the Elementary Classroom http://edtechteacher.org/app-smashing-on-the-ipad/ Tue, 22 Nov 2016 13:43:40 +0000 http://edtechteacher.org/?p=10846 Are you an elementary teacher looking for creative ways to integrate iPads into student learning? App Smashing is a great strategy for increasing the creative potential of the iPad. In this guide, you’ll be introduced to a set of “evergreen” apps for …

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Are you an elementary teacher looking for creative ways to integrate iPads into student learning? App Smashing is a great strategy for increasing the creative potential of the iPad. In this guide, you’ll be introduced to a set of “evergreen” apps for use in powerful app smashing on the iPad.

What is App Smashing on the iPad? Why App Smash?

“App Smashing” — a term developed by EdTech Teacher instructor Greg Kulowiec — is the act of merging or “smashing” content from different apps together to create something greater than with just one app.  For example, a student might be writing or drawing a story with an app that can insert videos, but the app itself cannot make a video. A student could go use an app that creates a video and then insert their video into the first app. The final project would be more interesting than what one app alone could accomplish.

Furthermore, when we vary the way students can create — writing, drawing, images, audio, video, etc. — we give them more opportunities to demonstrate what they know, think, feel, and understand. When we start to think of the iPad as a portable media creation device, we can come to see new opportunities for active, immersed, and creative learning.

How do I App Smash? “Push & Pull”

The key to App-Smashing is “push-and-pull” apps. In order to “smash,” you need to be able to insert content from one app into another. This process requires a “hub” on your iPad, a place where you can save app content. The hub is your Camera Roll.

App Smashing on the iPad

“Push and Pull”

Say you take a picture or a video with the Camera app on your iPad. The picture or video you take is saved in the Camera Roll on your iPad. In other words, you have “pushed” the content you created to the Camera Roll.

Now, tap on the Photos app on your iPad to see all the photos and videos you have saved in your Camera Roll, The Photos app provides access not only to the photos and videos saved on your iPad, but it can also provide access to photos and videos on your other Apple devices (if you share via an iCloud account).

Below is a scenario to help you visualize how app-smashing can work. In this example, Tellagami is a speaking Avatar app that can “push” its content as a video to the Camera Roll. Book Creator is a digital storytelling app that can “pull” video from the Photos app:

App Smashing on the iPad

An App Smashing Scenario

In any event, apps need access to the Photos app to insert or “pull” Camera Roll content. So, app-smashing depends on using apps that can either “pull” content from the Photos app or “push” content to the Camera Roll. To optimize app-smashing potential, the apps you use should be both “push and pull.”Keep in mind that if an app does not allow for its content to be saved to the Camera Roll, than the app’s content cannot be pulled  from the Photos app into another app.

What apps should I use to App Smash? “Evergreen Apps”

It is possible to cultivate a small set of “Evergreen Apps” into almost limitless creative app-smashing possibilities. Evergreen Apps are non-subject apps useful throughout the year for developing essential skills, such as speaking, writing, listening, drawing, annotating, collaborating, sharing, and more.

The following recommended push-and-pull apps are popular in elementary iPad classrooms:

APP

TYPE

PULL?

PUSH?

Logo

Shadow Puppet Edu

Free storytelling app that integrates images, voice, music, video and text.  

YES

YES – saves as a video

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Pic Collage

For Kids

Free image-collage app that uses images (from Photos, Pic Collage, or Web) and includes layouts, stickers, text, & more. Web search is filtered.

YES

YES – saves as an image

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Tellagami

Free speaking-avatar app with male or female character and background image inserted from Photos or Tellagami.

 

YES

YES – saves as a video

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Draw & Tell

Free K-2 drawing and screencasting app that integrates images, voice, coloring pencils, stickers, stencils, and more.

YES

YES – saves as a video

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Moma Art Lab

Free K-2 drawing app that includes ideas and activities for working with shapes, lines, and color.

YES

YES – saves as an image

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Explain Everything

Paid screencasting app with incredible range of tools and possibilities. Grades 3+

YES

YES – saves as a video or image

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Green Screen

Paid app used to create “green screen effect” with video.

YES

YES – saves as a video

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iMovie

Apple’s versatile video editing app. Paid app.

YES

YES – saves as a video

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Chatter Pix

Free speaking-image app that integrates images, text, voice, and stickers.

YES

YES – saves as a video

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Toontastic

Free cartoon-creation, storytelling app that integrates images, voice, drawings, and more.

YES

YES – saves as a video

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Book Creator

Storytelling app that enables the creation of multimedia books, reports, stories, and many other variations of written, visual, and audio communication.

Free version is limited to one book.

YES

Yes – saves as a video

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How can I learn more about App Smashing?

So, which apps will your students use to create powerful and immersive learning?

A great place to explore more apps is EdTechTeacher’s App Recommendations guide at http://edtechteacher.org/apps/. Here you can search apps by learning activity, such as “create written content,” “create and edit images,” “record and edit video,” “record and edit audio,” and much more. Apps are carefully reviewed and rated and only a select few are presented per topic.

EdTechTeacher also offers two free ebooks on iPad lesson ideas and activities entitled “What Does Awesome Look Like?” These ebook can be downloaded at http://edtechteacher.org/awesome/. These are big files, so we recommend you download them on a computer.

In addition, you can read various EdTechTeacher App Smashing  posts and articles at http://edtechteacher.org/?s=app+smashing. EdTechTeacher also has many iPad video tutorials on Vimeo at vimeo.com/edtechteacher.

Furthermore, we have written a book on iPad integration called The iPad Classroom: From Consumption to Curation and Creation. It is published by Learning Sciences International and available at Amazon.

One Screen

Finally, we hope you’ll agree that all the apps your students really need to express themselves can fit on one screen. There is no reason to spend countless hours searching for specialized content apps. A small but powerful set of Evergreen apps are the foundation for more creative opportunities than you could possibly imagine right now.

App Smashing on the iPad - One Screen

“One Screen”

So, consider, what will be your “One Screen” of apps? Which core apps will you use and smash for active and immersive learning? With a handful well-chosen apps, you will have more than enough firepower to develop creative and purposeful activities for a very long time.

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When learning goals are clear, teachers get more out of PD – from Tom Daccord http://edtechteacher.org/learning-goals-clear-teachers-get-pd-tom-daccord/ Sat, 08 Oct 2016 11:09:26 +0000 http://edtechteacher.org/?p=10475 This post first appeared on eSchool News. As I look back on the summer, one of the things that strikes me is how often a workshop I’ve given has followed a “technology training” at a school. In other words, faculty had already …

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This post first appeared on eSchool News.

As I look back on the summer, one of the things that strikes me is how often a workshop I’ve given has followed a “technology training” at a school. In other words, faculty had already received tech training on the particular platform, device or tool I was asked to address. Sometimes this training had been administered in-house, but often it had been delivered by a technology company who came in and explained how their product works. Often, the school administrator would explain the reason for my workshop like this: “Well, the company came in and showed us the product, but the teachers don’t understand how and why to teach with it.”

Tom Daccord Creativity & iPads

As I see again and again, the real challenge for teachers is not learning technology. It’s developing a pedagogical vision of what’s possible and then a willingness to make it happen. A defining trait of effective technology programs is a well-defined, actionable, and motivating vision of technology-aided teaching and learning. If teachers understand, accept, and embrace an educational goal, it can become a focal point for a change in practice.

>> Read the full post on eSchool News.

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#ETTChat: App Smashing with Book Creator – an Interview with Tom Daccord & James Daley http://edtechteacher.org/ettchat-app-smashing-book-creator-interview-tom-daccord-james-daley/ Wed, 05 Oct 2016 15:27:05 +0000 http://edtechteacher.org/?p=10442 This fall, as part of our #ETTchat series, Communications Editor James Daley will be chatting with our EdTechTeacher instructors about some of their favorite tools, apps, and strategies for the classroom. In this first post, he interviews Director, Tom Daccord, about App Smashing with …

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This fall, as part of our #ETTchat series, Communications Editor James Daley will be chatting with our EdTechTeacher instructors about some of their favorite tools, apps, and strategies for the classroom. In this first post, he interviews Director, Tom Daccord, about App Smashing with Book Creator.

Tom Daccord is Director of EdTech Teacher, a professional learning organization that provides hands-on exploratory edtech workshops for teachers. As an educational technology speaker, instructor, and author, Tom has worked with school districts across the United States and overseas to help teachers use technology to create innovative learning opportunities for their students. I recently had the chance to speak with Tom about the creative potential of the iPad, and how apps like Book Creator allow students to demonstrate what they know, think, feel and understand about curriculum content.

Book Creator is a multimedia book-making app by Red Jumper Limited that allows users to easily create and share their own original ebooks. A consistent favorite in K-to-8 classrooms, Book Creator has an easy,  intuitive interface that allows users to create books, reports, and presentations. It’s an incredibly flexible app, providing users with a wide variety of media and tools, including handwriting, drawing, images, and video.

This flexibility is part of what makes Book Creator such an ideal tool for use in the classroom. By providing so many ways for students to create and incorporate content, it manages to touch on a great diversity of differing learning and communication styles. As Tom states, “We instinctively know that not all students learn the same and that not all students communicate their knowledge and understanding of curriculum content effectively in the same way. And so the more that we provide multiple avenues for students to express themselves, the better we have an understanding of what they know.”

Tom Daccord Creativity & iPads

Here are some of Tom’s suggestions for using Book Creator in the classroom:

Creative Collaboration

One of the best parts about using Book Creator in the classroom is that it affords the opportunity for students to work both independently and collaboratively.  An example of this that Tom discussed was an activity in which students create a multimedia tour of the ancient world. In this activity, each student works on their own to create an ebook on a specific subject and then combines their work with their classmates to create something larger than each student could have accomplished individually. For example, one student can combine images, drawings, video, and text to create a short ebook about Ancient Egypt, while another does the same for Ancient Greece, and another for Ancient Rome. When they are done with their individual work, they can combine all of their individual books into a collaborative tour of the entire ancient world, which they can then share with their teacher and classmates.

Passing the Learning Along

Another way Book Creator can enhance creative learning is by having students create their own educational content. As an example, Tom cites a middle school math teacher who used this strategy for teaching one-step equations–a concept his students consistently had difficulty with. Rather than simply going over the lesson the same way year after year, he tasked his students with creating a multimedia ebook that would explain one-step equations. Not only did the process of creating the book help the students to learn the concepts, it also provided future students with an excellent resource if they ran into the same difficulties.

Listening and Language

Book Creator can also be an excellent tool for language learners.  Tom suggests that language teachers take advantage of Book Creator’s voice recording features, and assign creative ebooks that incorporate live student recordings. By recording their own voices into the ebooks they’re making, students are able to hear and correct their own mistakes, while teachers are provided with a clear example of student speech for assessment and evaluation.

App Smashing

Perhaps the most exciting way to take advantage of the creative potential of Book Creator is by the incorporation of App Smashing. App Smashing, a term developed by EdTech Teacher instructor Greg Kulowiec, is the act of utilizing multiple creative apps on the iPad, and then “smashing” their content together to create something altogether greater than one could accomplish with any one app.  For example, say a student is creating an ebook on ancient Egypt. That student can go to the Tellagami app (an app that allows users to create animated, speaking avatars) and record themselves as an avatar in front of a sphinx discussing the history of the pyramids. That video could then be imported back into Book Creator and incorporated with the original ebook, creating a final product that is far more interesting than one app alone could accomplish.

Screencasting is another area with lots of potential for app smashing with Book Creator. Using a screencasting app like Explain Everything or Draw and Tell, students can record themselves solving math problems or demonstrating scientific processes on the iPad, while speaking through the processes they are using to solve or unravel them. These screencasts can then be imported into Book Creator and combined into an ebook that demonstrates their understanding of a wide variety of mathematical concepts.

These are just a few of the possibilities for using Book Creator and the iPad to enhance student learning through creativity. The best part about a platform as flexible as the iPad is that the possibilities for creative expressions are limitless.

Tom Daccord will be discussing this topic in far greater detail during his workshop on iPads and Creativity at the 2016 Boston Innovation Summit. To learn more about Tom’s workshop, or sign up for the summit, visit  edtechteacher.org/boston.

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