Photo Mapo

Sample image created with Photo Mapo app

Sample image created with Photo Mapo app

I have a bad habit of downloading apps that look interesting and then forgetting to try them.  Photo Mapo is a free iOS app that should not be overlooked.

Photo Mapo allows you to integrate any photo with a map and short description.  It offers 13 different styles, and you can determine what shows on your “postcard”, such as the zoom level of the map, the date, or the latitude and longitude.  To choose the map to go with your picture from your camera roll, you can have Photo Mapo determine the actual location where the picture was taken, or you can type in your own address.

To create the sample above, I used a Creative Commons image that I saved to my camera roll from Wikipedia, then I typed in “Rome, Italy” for the address, and wrote a short description.

How can this be used in the classroom?

  • students can add these to research reports on countries, people, or famous landmarks, including “travel guides” or “scrapbooks” (Use the Scrap It app or Pic Collage for a great app-smash!)
  • use these to create a visual representation of classrooms you have virtually visited through Twitter or Skype connections
  • use it to record a field trip (map zoom level can go down to street view)
  • create geography quizzes or mystery questions
  • have students use it to show how a particular location has changed over time
  • combine with Aurasma and Tellagami to make your postcard tell a story when scanned

I’m sure my creative readers can think of even more ideas!  Please add them to the comments below!

 

If You Are an Administrator, We Would Like Your Help!

Cafeteria Flipgrid

My 3rd grade GT students are currently working on a project that involves improving behavior in the cafeteria.  They are focusing on two separate things: noise in the cafeteria and messiness in the cafeteria. From one of their systems thinking books, they learned that it can help to solve a problem by looking at others who don’t have that problem.  They would like to hear from administrators from schools around the world to learn what works.

The students came up with some questions.  We are using a tool called Flipgrid to collect video responses to the questions.  (If this works, I will publish a post about this unique tool next week!)  The reason we are asking administrators to respond rather than other students is partly due to the privacy concerns with video and also because we would like a different perspective.

Here’s how you can help:

Easiest way – Send the link to this post to any elementary school administrator you know.

Even better – If you are an administrator, click on one or both of the links below, and submit your video answers to all of the questions on that grid.  The links should also work on mobile devices, so if you want to actually show your cafeteria (without students) that would be awesome.  And send this post to any other administrators you think may be willing to give us a hand.

Best – If you are an administrator, click on both links below, and and submit your video answers to all of the questions on both grids.  The links should also work on mobile devices, so if you want to actually show your cafeteria (without students) that would be awesome.  And send this post to any other administrators you think may be willing to give us a hand.

Cafeteria Messiness

Cafeteria Noisiness

If you could help us out as soon as possible, we would greatly appreciate it.  And if you would like me to share your Twitter handle on my follow-up post, please feel free to include it in your video!

Augmented Reality for Visual ARts

My favorite use of augmented reality is when it enhances student creations.  Sherri Kushner, a Media Arts Teacher at Chute Middle School recently shared a presentation she had made for NAEA 2014 that astounded me with the creative use of the Aurasma augmented reality app for many amazing student projects. I added it to my Augmented Reality in Education Flipboard magazine, and tweeted the link, but I know that many people prefer to get their information in a variety of ways.  I was so blown away by Sherri’s students and their imaginative use of augmented reality that I don’t want anyone to miss out on these fabulous examples.

For anyone not familiar with using Aurasma, Sherri gives links to the basics of viewing augmented reality with the app, as well as how to create your own auras.  If you would like more information, I also have several tutorial links, including to some great videos from Two Guys and Some iPads, on my Augmented Reality Resource Page. (You can also check out a recent episode of the Two Guys Show in which they interview Aurasma’s Head of Operations, David Stone, here.)

To view the example above, you will need the free Aurasma app.  Follow the channel for Chute Middle School, and point the app viewfinder at the picture.  Be sure to visit Sherri’s presentation to see even more amazing ways to create augmented reality art!

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

fantastic elastic brain

One of my student’s parents made a request for me to talk more about mindsets with my first grade GT class.  I’ve been sending information home to the parents about fixed and growth mindsets, and infusing my own language with “growth mindset” phrases, but I haven’t done any explicit mindset lessons for the K-2 crowd.  I went to work hunting for something that might appeal to 6 and 7 year-olds without overwhelming them.

There isn’t much.  I’m going to add that to my list of “Books I’m Going to Publish in the Future Because Apparently No One Else Has Thought of Them Yet.”

I did find this gem, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, by Dr. JoAnn Deak.  The illustrations are colorful and cartoonish – appealing to younger students.  The book is a bit longish, so you may need to split it up into a couple of sessions.  It gives a simple explanation of the basic parts of the brain, but the best pages deal with the elasticity of the brain.  There are relatable examples of skills that we learn over time, and the importance of stretching our brain by taking chances and trying hard.

There is a $4.99 app for the book, but I haven’t downloaded it, so I can’t give you a review.  It appears to be the book in electronic form with some additional interactive features.

The book was published by Little Pickle Press, which is “dedicated to helping parents and educators cultivate conscious, responsible little people by stimulating explorations of the meaningful topics of their generation through a variety of media, technologies, and techniques.”  You can find other books and interesting resources on their site, including a lesson plan to accompany Your Fantastic Elastic Brain.

neurosculptor

illustration by Sarah Ackerly for The Fantastic Elastic Brain

 

 

Elements 4D

Chlorine This isn’t a new resource.  Drew Minock and Brad Waid (Congrats again, Brad, on getting on this year’s 20 to Watch List!) have mentioned the Elements 4D Cubes several times on their website as well as on their weekly show, Two Guys and Some iPads.  I thought the cubes looked pretty cool, but didn’t really see a use for them in my classroom at the time.  Also, I missed out on the Kickstarter campaign for the wooden cubes, and figured I would be out of luck unless Daqri started selling them.

The wooden Elements 4D Cubes are still not available to the general public. (I tweeted them last night, and they responded that they are planning to make them available for sale in the near future.)   And I still don’t really have a use for them in my current curriculum.  But I sense a Genius Hour project may be planned in the immediate future – because my daughter and I have been having a blast with the free paper version of the cubes for the last two days.

My daughter came home from school the other day and mentioned that they had begun studying the elements in her science class, and that she had to do a report on Chlorine.  She chuckled at the coincidence (she is a synchronized swimmer who spends a lot of time washing chlorine out of her hair), but didn’t sound too excited about the project.  We were busy that evening, but I had a fleeting memory that someone had mentioned something about the paper version of the Elements 4D Cubes, and I decided, before school the next morning, to give them a try. At 6:45 A.M., I cut out 2 cubes, glued them together, and downloaded the free app.  My daughter, who had just woken up, got a demonstration at the breakfast table.  My performance was not well-received – probably largely due to the fact that she is not a morning person.

After school, she came home and started playing with the cubes and the app. The next thing I knew, she was busy cutting out the rest of the cubes.  As I sat in our home office trying to think of a post to write, I could hear her Facetiming her friend so she could show her the app.  When that call was done, she gathered all of the cubes to bring to the office to show me all of the elements she was discovering, and the fascinating combinations that could be made. Suddenly, Chlorine is an incredibly interesting element.  My daughter had no idea that it is a gas in its natural state (as the cube clearly shows), or that it combined with Sodium to make salt. Every new discovery she made with the cubes was exciting. We took a lot of iPad screen shots. I encourage you to try it out for yourself.  Download the free iPad app, print off the free cubes (I highly recommend printing them on card stock if possible), and spend a bit of time cutting and pasting so you can give yourself hours of fun.

(For more Augmented Reality Resources, check out my page of apps and activities here.  Also, you might be interested in Daqri’s Enchantium app, which Drew Minock reviewed here.)

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Scratch Your Itch to Learn Programming

Yesterday I mentioned the free online course being offered by Mitch Resnick and his colleagues at the M.I.T. Media Lab called, “Learning Creative Learning.”  It starts today, so check out my post if you are interested – no registration required!

Mitch Resnick, of course, is one of the creators of Scratch, a great (and also free!) way for anyone to learn the basics of programming.  I noticed that there is a Scratch Day coming up on May 17, 2014, and I want to encourage to mark your calendars for that date.  Even if you don’t choose to host a Scratch day event, you can visit the site to find events in your area.  According to the site, “The events are for educators, parents and children 5 years and older. Beginner Scratchers are welcome!” If you haven’t done any Scratch programming before, this might be a fun opportunity for you to learn.  Last semester, I attended a Scratch class with my daughter, and I was so glad that I did!

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 4.24.59 PM

You also might be interested to know that Scratch Jr. is currently a Kickstarter project.  Scratch Jr. is designed for students 5-7 as an introduction to programming.  It uses the same concept of snapping together programming blocks on the screen to create interactive stories and games as the original version of Scratch (designed for 8 years and up).

Scratch Jr. is being developed for the iPad, but will hopefully be available eventually on multiple platforms.  The creators are determined that it will be free for everyone when it is released, so they are looking for Kickstarter backing now to pay for the cost of creating it.

I have seen how excited students get about Scratch, and about programming.  I can’t wait for Scratch Jr. to be available for my younger students.  This will be a valuable resource for educators and parents everywhere to help their children learn sequencing, logic, and the joy of creating in a new “language.”

To see more of my posts about programming for kids, type in “programming” in the search bar on this page, or visit my Pinterest Board.