Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Have you asked the duck?

A few weeks ago Doug and I attended an app creation workshop. The first thing the instructor handed out was a little duck to every participant. The idea is wicked simple and the impact it can make is immense. If you had a question during the session, you were to first verbally ask the duck.


The big idea is to talk your problem out. Most of the time you end up solving it on your own, it is a way of processing your own thinking.

I know you have seen this a million times already. A student has a question. They ask you and that light comes across their face, they suddenly realize how to answer their own question. 

Know any people who could benefit from a duck?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Video Editing - Beyond An App

While FilmoraGo is a powerful app, this post is dedicated to the video editing desktop software VideoPad. This post has a few tips to get you started editing with VideoPad.

Importing Clips
Make sure your clips are downloaded to the computer before you start editing.
1. Open VideoPad and click File.
2. Click Add File(s)... 

Select the video files you want to import.
Click Open.

Editing the Clips
1. The imported clips will show up on the far left side of the screen. Click on the first one you want to start editing.
2. Set the Start point. 
3. Set the End point.
4. Click Place.
Setting a start and end point will only place the video between those two points on the timeline. This process speeds up editing by about a billion percent. 

1. Select the clip before the one you want to add the transition between.
2. Click Transitions.
3. Click the type of transition you want to use.
4. Select the transition you want to use.
5. There will be a little tiny icon that will be added to indicate that a transition was added. Play the clips to see the effect.

Speeding Up
1. Select (click) the clip you want to speed up.
2. Click Video Effects.
3. Click Change Clip Seed.

Change the speed and click Set.
Play the clip back to make sure it is fast enough.

It is a really good idea to mute the sound.
1. Click the little speaker icon in the lower left corner of the clip.
2. Click mute.

Voice Over
1. Click the little arrow on the Record button.
2. Click Narrate.

Click the record button to start and stop.
The video clip will play as you voice over.

Saving Your Project
This is the most important step of all if you are using a shared computer. If you do not backup your files they will be deleted once you logout of the student laptop. 
1. Click File.
2. Click Save Portable Project As...

Choose a location and click Ok.

Save your project to Drive or somewhere other than the student computer.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Creative Commons Licensing, or, The grass is always greener...

This morning, I took a random picture of a patch of grass just outside my office.  Check it out:

Creative Commons License  DougGrassPic by Doug Barton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Beautiful, right?

No, not the grass.  The Creative Commons license!

Why am I nerding out over a Creative Commons license?  Because it represents two things that are often ignored in education:
  1. Crediting the author for their original work, and
  2. Publishing student creations intended for public use.
Most student creations have one intended audience--their teacher.  Reasons for doing the work include compliance and pleasing the teacher.  When students create for the world to see and use, the audience focus is shifted away from the teacher to a greater and more global audience.

Licensing can be a meaningful part of publishing.  When a student creates, their work immediately has a restrictive copyright that protects it.  Anyone using that work would need to get permission.  Creative Commons licenses let the public know how the work can be used.

Creating a license using Creative Commons is as simple as answering a few questions on their website and embedding the HTML code into the publishing destination (below the work or at the end of the page).  The questions lead the user to the license that matches their intentions.

Showing students how to license their own creative works empowers them to make something special and helps them recognize and respect the published works of others.  It is a lesson in digital citizenship that is integrated, not isolated.

In closing, if you have a strong need for a picture of grass, please use mine.  Click on the license below the picture to find out which permissions I have granted.  If not, I hope you'll give students opportunities to publish and license their creative works in the future.

MinecraftEDU - Teacher and Student

This post is for those of you wanting to use MinecraftEDU in the classroom.

Teacher - Setting Up The Server
Double click the MinecraftEdu launcher.

Click Start MinecraftEdu Server Launcher.

1. Create New World if this is your first time launching a server.
2. Click Load Last Played World if you have already created the server and you are launching it for the second time.

Create New World
1. Select both of the options listed under the World Settings section.
2. Click Start Server with New World.

1. When light turns green the server is ready for students to connect.
2. The IP address the students will use to connect to the server.
3. Click World Settings to adjust the settings. This is a must!

1. Click and select Creative.
2. Select these three options.
3. Name and save the world.

You can find the servers in the upper right corner.

Student - Getting On The Server

Double click the launcher.

Click Start MinecraftEdu.

Click Launch.

It is recommended to have the students use their real name. It makes it easier to give them items later on.

Click Multiplayer.

The first time they launch MinecraftEdu there won't be any servers listed.
Click Add server.

Have the students name the server. It is recommended to have the server name related to the project they are working on. This makes it easier in the future when you have multiple servers they can pick from.
Enter the server address.
Click Done.

Select the server.
Click Join Server.
Note - if the server does not have a green check by it something went wrong.
1. Is the server running on the teacher laptop?
2. The students might have entered the server address incorrectly.

     Teaching with MinecraftEdu - a great place to start. 
     MinecraftEdu World Library - downloadable worlds. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

WONDERING what to do with those awkward minutes between busses?

Have you struggled with those minute between when the first and last buses are called? Some days it can stretch as long as twenty minutes. Those twenty minutes can be the longest of the day.

I saw one of the most amazing ideas yesterday while at Sappington. Jillian Skouby created a Wonder Wall where students used Post-It Notes to write down things they wondered about.

This is where the real power of the wall comes into play. The class picks one wonder every few days or weeks and uses those idle twenty minutes to research that topic. The note above asks why drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth tastes so bad. (Now all I can think about is how terrible that experience is!) Once they have exhausted this wonder a new one will be placed in the center indicating a new idea to research.

What else does this do?

  • Helps teach the students what research could look like.
  • It guides them to understand how to create a researchable question.
  • Gets them interested in related ideas. The orange juice question lead the kids to start looking into chemical changes. 
  • Helps the kids start to question the world around them and ask why.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Everybody loves a faire!

Take 5-10 minutes this weekend and check out Barnes and Noble in Fenton. They are sponsoring their send annual Mini Maker Faire.

What might you see?

  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • 3D Printing
  • Robots
  • XYZprinter (wicked cool!)
  • and more...

Check out their webpage for more information.

Seesaw - Summer 2018

This post was created to help guide our Seesaw session. Seesaw is a student-driven online portfolio which can also be used for parent c...