Symbaloo! What the Who?!

This tool is a must for visual people!

Symbaloo is a free visual bookmarking tool that allows you to keep track of all your favorite websites in an icon based grid that you can share, embed and even set as your home screen. All of your favorite web mixes are now just one click away!

Symbaloo is an effective instructional tool that can enhance your course content. For instance, you are teaching a class where there are lots of great web resources for the students to use. You already have an extensive web links page in your Blackboard course.  You can transform that list of links into an interactive webmix that can be embedded right into Blackboard. Let’s take a before and after look at your Web Links page on Blackboard.

The first picture is your traditional Web Links page on Blackboard. Boring!

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Below is your updated Web Links page on Blackboard. Engaging!

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Is creating a symbaloo necessary to get your information across? No? But, it is a great tool to engage students and keep them interested in what we are presenting. Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed!

Remember, stop by the Annandale FSRC in CG206 if you need any assistance with instructional technology. We are here to help.

 

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Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality isn’t just what happens when you indulge a little too much. It’s the latest trend in instructional technology! You can now take a static picture and have it turn into video before your eyes without the help of hallucinogens! All you need is a smart phone, tablet or computer and the Aurasma App! Aurasma uses trigger images to automatically link to and play a video or as Aurasma likes to call them auras. They’re kind of like QR Codes, but better!

So, I bet your thinking this sounds cool, but how could I use it in my class? Well, luckily for you, I have come up with some great instructional uses. A few weeks ago I was sitting in on an Trigonometry class. The instructor was reviewing the previous assignment. He worked out all of the problems that students had questions about on the board. The students who asked the question were engaged. The others were just on their phone or daydreaming until it was their turn. At least 40 minutes of class time was gone and not all the students were actively engaged. Seems like a lot of time wasted!

What if the professor recorded himself working out the problems and then posted the trigger images around the room. He could then direct students to locate the problem they needed clarification on and watch the video. All the students would be able to get the review they needed and this would free up the professor to work with individuals or small groups of students that need additional assistance. Seems like a win-win for everyone involved.

I know what your thinking. When will the professor have the time to record all of the videos? And I get it. I understand the grind. You have to think of it this way. Once you record the video, you’ll have it for all future classes. Not only can you use it for Aurasma, you can embed it into Blackboard too!  With a little upfront time, you will be able to use your time more wisely in the future.

Auras could work for any type of class. I can envision it working in the lab setting to review safety procedures or directions. Or in language classes to master the basics. The Ted Talk below gives an excellent example of how it can be used in history and art class. Check it out for yourself!

And remember, if you need assistance with incorporating instructional technology into your class, The Annandale FSRC in CG 206 is here to help!

 

 

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How Can I Engage My Students?

Student engagement is the key to the student’s success! Gone are the days of having the students sit quietly in class taking notes and memorizing long lectures. Millennials want to explore and apply what they are learning in a risk-free supportive environment that aids growth and deep understanding. Having students demonstrate their understanding is an important part of this process. Millennial’s grew up in technology rich environments. They embrace multimedia and want to share their creativity in a multitude of formats that not only express their knowledge, but their personality as well!

Luckily, there are many instructional technologies out there to help you reach your students and keep them actively engaged. One such tool is called Glogster! Glogster is a web-based presentation tool that allows you to create interactive stand-alone presentations that are great for hybrid and online courses.  You can customize a presentation with text, graphics, video, and audio that can be shared with anyone, anywhere. Check out my Glog and then give it a try for yourself at our next Make & Take on Friday, June 5th.

 

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Educreations

educreations logo

Ever wished you had a portable whiteboard to capture all of your epic ideas?  Educreations is a whiteboard app for your iPad that allows you to record and share all of your mental masterpieces. You can work out a math problem, diagram an image, make a route on a map! The uses are endless. Check it out at https://www.educreations.com/.

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Popular Educational Twitter Hashtags

I found this great infographic at www.edudemic.com/guides/guide-to-twitter/

Click here for a printable PDF – or just to see it closer up!

twitter final 2

 

 

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A Walkie-Talkie on My Phone? – App of the Month

Ok, so before I start discussing the app, I would like to apologize for my lack of posts for the last couple of months. No real excuse other than I’m just not very good at this and need to get better!
Well, in honor of Hector’s birthday today (Happy Birthday Hector!!!) I am making a new post, and a promise to post a little more often from now on (I’ll try).

Also, you may notice, I’ve changed the title from “App of the Week” which was a little ambitious on my part, to “App of the Month” which may be more doable. We’ll see…

SO on that note, let’s begin….

Today I have for you, a fun and possibly useful app called Zello.

Zello-LogoZello is an app that simulates a two-way walkie talkie. Download the app, create an account, and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

Zello keeps a history of your conversations, and you can replay the messages. You can also create groups and set up a “party-line” to include as many people in the conversation as you want. Pretty nifty if you ask me.

Zello is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. Zello can also be accessed from a Windows PC if you go to www.zello.com.

Have fun!

See you next time :)

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If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em

Get Kahoot LogoSo we all know how much of a struggle it is getting students to pay attention to the lesson and not to their smartphones. Well, why not incorporate their smartphones into the lesson!

Kahoot is a game-based blended learning and classroom response system. Create a free account and build quizzes, surveys, and discussions that your students can access and take part in right there in the classroom.

https://getkahoot.com/

GetKahootImage3

 

 

 

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Are your Microsoft Office Documents Accessible by Everyone?

When you are creating a document are you considering all of your readers?

Many people who are blind or visually impaired are able to access documents independently with the use of screen readers. Screen readers interpret not only plain text, but also titles, headings, images, and other objects, such as tables and forms. In order for the screen reader to interpret your document properly, there are some formatting rules you need to follow.

Here are a few of the things you can do to make your documents more accessible:

1. Add alternative text to images and objects.

2. Use Styles to create titles, headings, paragraphs and tables of contents.

3. Use meaningful hyperlink text.

4. Use simple table structures.

5. Use page breaks, column breaks, continuous breaks, and text wrapping.

6. Use page numbering, headers and footers.

For how to use these formatting suggestions, and much more, please refer to these links:

Creating Accessible Word Documents

Adding Alternative Text to Images and Objects

Also, did you know that Microsoft Office products contain an Accessibility Checker that you can use to see what needs to be changed in your document?

Where to find the Accessibility Checker

Rules Used by the Accessibility Checker

 

 

 

 

 

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Re-purpose your old smartphone

android-smart-thermostat-640x0Do you have an old smartphone laying around? DigitalTrends.com suggest a couple of ways to re-purpose that old phone.

Consider turning it into a smart thermostat.

Or consider turning it into a home hub: “home security, remote monitoring and control, automation, or a hub for other connected devices.”

 

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Happy Monday

Good morning! I hope you all had a good weekend.
I’m always in search of new ideas, so if any of you have downloaded any great apps or software recently, or come across any amazing websites that you think the rest of the world should know about, then please drop me a line and let me know!

Also, I always welcome comments, questions, corrections, etc about any of my previous posts. Let’s share the knowledge!

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