Epic, Brain Pop, and Seesaw Lead the Educational Migration to Apple TV OS

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Just a couple of weeks ago it was hard for me to justify paying nearly double for the newest generation of Apple TV for classrooms compared to the previous generation. In my living room tons of great entertainment apps make the difference well worth the money. In the classroom there have not been many reasons to not just buy the cheaper model since Airplay is really  the feature most want.

My thinking is starting to change now that educational entities are starting to code for the TVOS platform. There is still a lot of space for growth but three key players are charting a course through these open waters.

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Epic – Think “Netflix meets Childrens Lit.” This great site is full of the latest children’s fiction and non-fiction and is 100% free for elementary teachers and librarians. These aren’t poorly made ebooks; they are digital versions of some of the most-loved and newest books on the market. With the AppleTV app teachers can display the book on the big screen and read it aloud to the class. No more sore arms and no more hearing, “I can’t see,” as you try to read a picture book aloud to the class. Several books even have a “read to me” feature.

114_jr_ios_landing-main_screenshot-largeBrainPop Jr. – Movie of the Week – BrainPop has been producing great non-fiction animated shorts for years and now has brought its K-3 focused “Brain Pop Jr. Movie of the Week” to TVOS. Check out a different one each week with included educational activities. BrainPop Jr. subscribers can also login and access even more content.

Seesaw – This digital portfolio suite is taking classrooms by storm and now it comes to the Apple TV.  Teachers can log in to their classroom accounts and share on a big screen examples of student work or create slide shows and galleries. Think of how cool that would be to have playing during conferences or parents’ night. Parents can log in to the app at home and then be connected with their child’s individual portfolio. Now there is a great way for kids to show off some accomplishments the next time grandparents come to visit.

There are other non-education-specific apps too that could lend themselves to the educational setting. Word Girl and Super Why are great programs available through the PBS Kids app and a number of virtual planetariums are now available on TVOS.

Let’s hope that more educational entities continue to write for Apple’s newest platform, further bolstering an argument for choosing the newest generation of Apple TV over the previous generation.

 

 

Fidgits: Fabulous Design-Thinking Problem-Solvers from PBS Kids

PBS has a great show called the Design Squad and with it comes a ton of fabulous challenges at PBSkids.org where users have to save little robotic creatures called Fidgits.

Teaching the design process has found a home at the core of a ton of my teaching in our elementary technology classes. “Fidgits” lets kids design their own fictional robotic creatures or perform a number of challenges to save Fidgits in danger.

How many challenges can you complete?

Although I use a pared-down version of the formal design process, I start in second grade at teaching kids that every challenge requires them to follow the design process.

1) Define the problem

2) Ideate

3) Prototype your solution.

4) Test

5) Repeat the process until it is perfect.

Fidgits is a great exercise for practicing that mindset.

Play now.

#MiGoogleFest Returns in August

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It was a smashing success last Fall and it is coming back for its second year. MACUL presents Google Fest 2016 at the Amway Grand in Grand Rapids on August 9 and 10.Tuesday the 9th will feature a series of specialized “camps” for administrators and users with varying skill levels.  Incredible educator and all-around good dude Kyle Pace will keynote the conference portion on Wednesday the 10th.

GoogleFEST   
#migooglefest
August 9 & 10, 2016
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
Grand Rapids, MI
Registration Cost: 
  • One day: $89
  • Two days: $169
Keynote Speaker: Kyle Pace is an Instructional Technology Specialist and Google for Education Certified Innovator that has worked with K-12 teachers in his current school district to provide instructional technology professional development since 2004. For more information about Kyle, visit googlefest.macul.org.

Get an Insiders’ Look at the the S.T.E.A.M. behind Madden NFL

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Join Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins for an all-access pass inside EA SPORTS

Discovery Education, EA SPORTS, and the NFLPA have joined forces to give your middle school students an insider’s view of EA TIBURON (where the magic of Madden NFL is created). Join the EA SPORTS Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers team to see S.T.E.A.M. in action: we’ll meet the animators, producers, engineers, and designers who create some of the world’s coolest games. You’ll even get to see one student experience the motion capture process, with a special surprise result!

Good for athletes and mathletes alike, #MagicOfMaddenVFT is your chance to join Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins as we travel beyond the classroom walls and into the game!

April 14, 1:00 PM EST

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Ask the Coach
Don’t forget to submit your students’ questions ahead of time and Kirk Cousins or EA SPORTS may answer them during the live event. Questions can be submitted HERE.

Prep the Team
Before the virtual field trip, explore a variety of educator resources at EA SPORTS Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers, including an educational interactive developed for grades 5-9.

Be sure to share why you’re excited using #MagicOfMaddenVFT!
reposted from Discovery Education

#MACUL16 Movie Making McGyver Session Wrap Up

maculThanks to everybody who came out to my Movie Making session this morning. I loved the enthusiasm lots of people shared and I was blown away by all of the great tips shared in the slide deck of tips and tricks. Please email, tweet, or text questions or ideas this morning or the post generated.

Attendee creativity lower thirds slides  – Introduction in Google Slides of how just a picture can totally ramp up your experience. Make a copy and tweak them for yourself.

Attendee generated slide deck of tips and tricks for creating video in the classroom – Note: I was completely blown away when I opened this after session. Great ideas all generated in 10 minutes at the end of the session. Please add yours even if you didn’t attend the session.

We never quite made it to looking at this Google Site but please upload examples or share links to great resources to help other educators get ideas or examples of student/staff videos.

Other links and stuff I thought we would have time to cover but realized an hour is very little time.

Prelinger Archive at Archive.org

Pixect.com – Web based selfie cam and picture editor

 

Here are links for my EdCamp MacGyver video making session from last weekend.

iMovie Fifth Grade Book Reports

iOS Apps for mashing up movies
iMovie
Keynote
Replay
Splice
Avid Pinnacle Studio Pro
Action Movie FX
Canva
Path On – Swipe To Type
DoInk

WeVideo
iCloud.com

Video Story Problems
Preserving History
Caterpillar Nurse Cam
Covering Hawkeye Sports

Practical example of using the Shooting Gallery

Formative Assessment/Screencasting
ShowMe appExplainEverythingEducreations

Only you  can prevent Vertical Video Syndrome

Green Screen Effects Folder – VeeScope Live

Dave Tchozewski – Green Screen Resources

Keynote Animation Project from Linda Dong

“Participation Medals Are Not the Real World”: the Wit and Wisdom of Curt Schilling

Last night I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater Hillsdale College and the kickoff to its “Sports and Character” symposium.

World Series MVP Curt Schilling was the speaker and leadership was his primary theme. Schilling is best remembered for his bloody sock in Game Six of the ALCS in 2004. A lot was made of the courage it took for Schilling to pitch with an ankle tendon sutured in place and that he was a hero to the long suffering Red Sox nation.

“I only did what I thought every one of my teammates would have done,” Schilling stated. “In our world the words ‘hero’, ‘great’, and ‘courage’ have really been diminished.” He also mentioned that he had never been more at ease on the mound and credited a casual conversation with God that eased the nerves and any doubts about the ankle holding up. “That night I had a moment of true faith. Never in my life was I more relaxed and enjoyed playing the game more.”

Most of the night’s talk was a set of stories of both sporting and personal highs and lows. It’s quite evident that Schilling has taken every experience and learned something that has either helped him grow or is something he can share to help others grow as well.

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Curt Schilling sharing his life experiences on Sunday night.

Here are some quotes on a number of topics that give insight into the wit and wisdom of Curt Schilling.

On parents who push their kids too much in sports: “If you make your kid love a sport they will quit the minute you can’t make them love it anymore.”

On the “real world” that the college students will soon face: “Participation medals aren’t the real world.” and “If you leave your house every morning waiting to be patted on the ass for a job well done, it’s not going to happen. That’s because the rest of the world now is too busy waiting to be patted on the ass for a job well done.”

On becoming the first team in Major League history to come back from a three games to none deficit in the 2004 American League Championship Series: “I told my teammates down 0-3 that we don’t have to win the next four games. We don’t have to even win the next game. All we have to do is win the next at-bat and the at-bat after that and we’ll be fine. Just focus at the task at hand.”

What I found most applicable to my career as an educator was the time he spent talking about leadership and accountability.

“Anyone can be a leader but there are so few true leaders.”

“Leaders get paid to produce. Everyone else gets paid to work.”

“You can get a job anywhere but it is really hard to find a place where you are inspired everyday. That’s what real leaders do. They inspire people who are excited to come do what it is they do everyday.”

On lessons in accountability he learned from the failure of his 38 Studios video game company and the $50,000,000 he lost of his own money in the venture.

“When you put your head on your pillow there’s no escaping by making excuses that losing the 50 million was somebody else’s fault…If you want to know what accountability is try having to tell someone their job no longer exists because of your mistakes.”

Another part of the talk that really resonated with my life as a technology teacher and a dad of a daughter. A year ago Schilling began receiving an onslaught vulgar tweets directed at his daughter Gabby. Using his tech skills, Schilling tracked down the trolls and contacted their parents, bosses, and colleges. Several of the trolls were college athletes and immediately were cut from their respective teams.

“4 kids lost $140,000 of scholarships for 140 characters.”

“It’s hard to explain to kids ‘forever’ because the Internet is forever.”

All insightful thoughts. Probably the best thing that Curt Schilling modeled on Sunday night in Hillsdale is that you can be a world famous professional athlete but you still face the same ups and downs and trials that everyone else faces. The key is to learn from each of those trials and grow.

An hour well spent.

 

Movie Making MacGyver Stuff – #EdCampOAISD #MACUL16

Here are links for my EdCamp and MACUL MacGyver video making sessions

iMovie Fifth Grade Book Reports

iOS Apps
iMovie
Keynote
Replay
Splice
Avid Pinnacle Studio Pro
Action Movie FX
Canva
Path On – Swipe To Type
DoInk

WeVideo
iCloud.com

Video Story Problems
Preserving History
Caterpillar Nurse Cam
Covering Hawkeye Sports

Practical example of using the Shooting Gallery

Formative Assessment/Screencasting
ShowMe appExplainEverythingEducreations

Only you  can prevent Vertical Video Syndrome

Green Screen Effects Folder – VeeScope Live

Dave Tchozewski – Green Screen Resources

Keynote Animation Project from Linda Dong

60 Second Tour of Kiddle.co – Kid Safe Search Engine

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Parents and teachers rejoice! The best safe search engine for our kids is the new Kiddle.co. Not only are search results safe, they are from selected sites and prioritized by readability and depth. Icons are nice and big and image searches won’t return any random inappropriateness. News and video results actually contain quality content that kids can understand and use.

A couple of disclaimers: Kiddle looks like a Google product but IS NOT owned or operated by Google. It runs off of Google’s safe search. Also, it is not completely fool-proof. Some reports of questionable returns have popped up across the web. Thanks to Karen Bosch for sharing this article about that.

Let’s just call Kiddle “the safest search engine yet”. Always, always supervise searching and help kids evaluate the usefulness of search results.

 

It’s Time for an Educational Jailbreak

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Coding, Maker Space, Video, Photography, Graphic Design, Sound Engineering, and countless other great educational innovations have suffered far too long in the educational prisons of the world. It is time we break them out and truly integrate them into the core curriculum.

Coding is math. Video editing is story telling. Making is practical application of all kinds of “core” skills. They have to move though beyond being viewed as clubs, fun Friday activities, or just stuff hippies do to avoid integrating fully into society.

The education establishment has this terrible tendency to bottle up and lock away approaches to teaching and learning that don’t look like something it experienced in the classroom twenty years ago or worse isn’t obviously a part of subject areas measured by state assessments.

My former district took away specials like gym and art and made them test prep time. Recess was all but eliminated for more reading instruction. So much for educating the whole child.

This has to stop.

We can lament this all we want and nothing will change or we can begin to focus on the pedagogy and develop sound ways that coding builds success in the algebra classroom and that iMovie Book Trailers build excitement for reading and a demonstration of literacy. That is how we break down the prison walls that are keeping great innovation on the fringes of education and not at its core.

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