Monday, March 17, 2014

Red is the new black!

Black technology cases don't show the dirt, but I love red cases for my technology! I was recently forwarded two new red tech cases for review and love both of them!

The Snugg Red Leather Macbook Pro 13" Wallet Case

I like to carry my laptops in wallet cases-- I don't need extreme padding since, when I travel, the laptops are always in a padded section of a computer case or backpack. The Snugg Red Leather MacbookPro 13" Wallet Case has a magnetic flap which makes it easy to open and close and avoids that noisy velcro sound! The back of the case, as you can see above, contains a full-width pocket for papers, file folders, or that new issue of MacLife or MacWorld! (This case is also available for the MacbookAir 13" and MacbookPro 15". And, maybe if we ask politely, Snugg will create the case for the MacbookAir 11", too!)

Snugg has put some other thoughtful touches into this MBP 13" Wallet Case, too. Under the flap, you have a place to store business cards (or flash drives) as well as a cut-out in the case that allows you to charge your computer while it is in the case. And you can see the inside is lined with a soft material that keeps your Macbook scratch-free!

Note the cut-out on the left that allows you to charge your computer while in the case!
Now, if you are not a lover of red cases, the Snugg Leather MacbookAir and MacbookPro  Wallet Cases are also available in black, brown, candy pink, orange, gray, baby blue, electric blue, hot pink and white leather, too! You can order the item from Snugg's site or on Amazon. The price at this writing is $35.99 on either site. 

This case provides protection for your computer as well as being slim and stylish! (And I still like the red color the best!)

Case Logic Griffith Park Backpack

Case Logic makes a lot of backpacks for all different purposes, but I was drawn to the Griffith Park Backpack in red. This backpack also comes in black and gray.

I am very particular about my backpacks. I only carry an 11" or 13" laptop when I travel, but I also have an iPad Air, my Google Glass and its case, and, of course, the chargers, cords, and dongles that are needed for presentations.

The Griffith Park backpack has two main zippered sections. The back section has a padded pocket for the laptop and an additional pocket for a full-size iPad (or any 10.1" tablet). This section also has room for files, newspapers, or magazines.

The second zippered section has a large pocket with two sections and another full-width pocket with a zippered, mesh pocket on the front of it with a key fob. This section has about a 2.5" width bottom. This is where I will carry my cable case, my Google Glass, or a light jacket for the plane.

There are also other interesting pockets on the Griffith Park backpack. There is a felt-line zippered pocket at the top of the backback which is perfect protection for reading glasses, sunglasses, a point-and-shoot digital camera, or your phone. 

There is an open pocket on the front of the backpack with a quick-release clip where you can put those items you have to get to quickly like snacks, your boarding pass, or your paperback book. There are also two side pockets that can be used for storage and these are also designed to hold a water bottle.

The most interesting pocket is one that is on the very bottom of the backpack. It is decent-sized, but not too deep. I might use this one for my toiletry quart-sized bag or even my small pocketbook, since it is easy to get to. You could also store cables or unbreakable items in this bottom pocket, too. I bet I can even pack my airplane pillow in it if I squish it down enough!

Size:  12" x 10" x 17.3"
Fits laptops up to : 9.8"x 1.1"x 14.3" 

I like the fact the backpack is not wide and will fit nicely under a plane seat and, of course, I will stand out in a crowd with the cool red color! The Griffith Park backpack is available from the Case Logic site for $79.99) and from Amazon.

Neon image courtesy of

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sketchnoting in the Classroom

This post originally appeared on the Discovery Educator blog network in December of 2013 in my blog "Kathy's Katch" at this URL:

Way back in 1999, I was asked to be part of a team to craft the goals for the second version of the US DOE National Technology Plan.
There were about fifty people in the room, from all areas of education. We had lots of discussions, then jigsawed to share thoughts, then shared out with the whole room, then had additional discussions with our new group, and then moved to more jigsaws to share, and then, again, sharing out publicly.
However, as this was all going on, there was a gentleman who was sketching the whole-group sharing discussions on big pieces of chart paper that lined the room. I was fascinated watching him take our verbal ideas and turn them into visually-beautiful works of art that represented exactly what we were saying! He never asked a question or for a clarification of the content.
During a break, I went to talk to him and asked him how he knew so much about educational technology that he could keep up with us as we both raised our hands and, sometimes, interrupted others. He told me he knew nothing about the content we were discussing and his company did this same type of visual notetaking for any content area or company. I was then TRULY amazed!
On that day, these great works of art were photographed, and they were shared on the Web for a bit, but they are long gone. Fast-forward to today, and these same visual notes are starting to be created using digital tools. For whole group sharing, the visual notetaker is ususally using a tablet device, drawing software, and projecting the results to a large monitor. They are easily saved this way, but the participants cannot usually view them all at once. Even if the visual notes are created with pen and paper and then photographed or scanned, there are many new places to share them online. Visual notetaking is both an art and an organizational tool.

There are various ways visual notetaking can be used. The first, as my story outlines, is about the notetaker visually recording what is taking place in a meeting or lecture. The notetaker is not a participant in the conversation.
The second type of use of visual notetaking occurs when the facilitator of a meeting or group is the one creating the visual notes. He or she is interacting with the others as the notes are created. As the facilitator, he or she may also be sparking additional conversation by adding elements to the visual notes to spur new avenues of thought or to keep the group on task.
The third use of visual notetaking is now being used by many students and teachers and is commonly called “sketchnoting”. Sketchnoting, in its purist form, is creating a personal visual story as one is listening to a speaker or reading a text. I also believe the interactive notebook, which includes the process of taking “regular” notes” while listening to a speaker and later creating a sketchnote of the text notes, should also be considered sketchnoting.
My friend, Tracy Sockalosky (@tsocko) who has just begun to sketchnote, was attending the EdTech Teacher iPad Summit last week. Here is the link to the presentation she sketchnoted.  Tracy has just begun to sketchnote, but, as you can see from the image below, she is really getting it!

sketchnote sample

What is the purpose? Why should one draw and connect thoughts and ideas visually? The research is clear about the benefits of visually representing content and it is based on the research in the area of Allan Pavio’s dual coding theory. I am no expert in the theory, but I have found that this article by Mark Sadoski does a good job of providing a general overview and references for the work of Paivio.
In addition, there is an extensive article by James M. Clark and Allan Paivio that provides some of the research into the relationship between the dual coding theory and education. It includes everything from teacher education to learning, memory, and study skills.
Ben Norris created a Slideshare about sketch notes and includes his version of an image to illustrate the dual coding theory. The image was created by Sunni Brown and re-created by Norris.

dual coding theory
Dual coding theory visual

I have done a lot of reading and watching on the topic of sketchnoting, and all the tutorials and overviews state that one does not have to be an artist to sketchnote. It seems to be all about learning how to listen and how to plan and organize your sketchnoting. One way to practice sketchnoting would be to watch a short Discovery Education Streaming clip and sketchnote the content. Pretend you are in a graduate class or at a conference lecture. This would also be a great way to provide professional development for your teachers and students in sketchnoting. Their sketchnotes could serve as an introduction or summary of a Discovery Education Streaming video!
Here is a well-done video about visual notetaking so you can learn more about it.

I have also recently created a support page with resources for learning about sketchnoting in education and tutorials on how to sketchnote.
Schrock sketchnote page

Do you sketchnote? What tools do you use? Have you posted your sketchnotes and would like to share them with us? Have some favorite sample sketchnotes or tutorials? Email me or find me on Twitter @kathyschrock with any resources…thanks!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

IPEVO Video Stand

IPEVO Articulating Video Stand
IPEVO has come up with another winning device to help teachers in the classroom-- the IPEVO Articulating Video Stand for iPod and iPod Touch.

This useful product holds your iPhone or iPod Touch in a sturdy metal stand to allow you to use your iDevice in any number of ways.

The unique holder has springs which enable you to spread the holder open to easily insert the device and then gently release the springs.

The holder with the springs

The holder can rotate easily to allow you to have the device in the direction you need it to be.


Using the device as a doc camera
By hooking up the iPhone or iPad Touch to a VGA projector or Apple TV, you can use it as a document camera, as shown. You can see that the articulating arms allow you to put it as close or far away from the item being projected as you need to.

You can also use it for recording a video of a process for students or when editing an essay paper.

Another great use of the IPEVO video stand is to use it to hold the iDevice steady when using animation software and the camera on the device to make an animated movie. When making an animation movie, it is important to be able to have the camera be steady.

Using the front camera on the device

You can also use the front camera on the iPhone or iPod Touch and hold the item steady while having a Facetime or Skype video conference.
The IPEVO Video Stand can articulate in many directions and heights to allow you to project or photograph items from small to large. The weighted base keeps it sturdy at all times!

The IPEVO Articulating Video Stand comes in black or white and sells for $69.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Google Glass in Class

I was contacted to have an interview with a CNN reporter about Glass use in the classroom. I knew I could not participate in the interview because of some family events, so I just wrote a lengthy email with my thoughts. The article came out on February 10, 2014, included a a bit of what I wrote about, but I wanted to share the full text of my thoughts.

An an educational technologist, a Google Certified Teacher, and in my role of ISTE Board member, I am always thinking about the role technology can play to improve teaching and learning. It is not about the technology, but about having a choice of tools available for students to support their learning. Educators are bringing blended learning and project based learning into the classroom. Students are researching, collaborating, and creating projects and products to showcase their mastery of content by using technology in meaningful ways.

Wearable technologies, such as Google Glass, are  beginning to be used by teachers and students to support the instructional process. Teachers and students are sharing the ways they find to include Glass seamlessly into the curriculum via blogs, Twitter, and Google+ postings. Even though there may be only one pair of Glass in a classroom, the ability to screencast what the wearer sees and project it via an iOS or Android device, opens the world of Glass to everyone in the room. The ongoing development of applications to be installed on Glass, called Glassware, also provides various tools that can be used in the classroom.

Some of the uses of Google Glass in the classroom include

  • Students or teachers creating videos through the eyes of the wearer to share with others. These videos can be recorded and shared via YouTube as well as be shown in real-time by starting a Google Hangout.
  • When wearing Glass, the wearer can use both of their hands, and can easily document a science lab, presentation, or other  class-related event and post that up to a class Facebook, Tumblr or Google+ account, all via Glass.
  • WordLens is a Glassware app that translates what the viewer is reading to and from many languages. This can be very beneficial to a second language learner in the classroom.
  • For students with physical handicaps, being able to search the Web via their voice as well as easily send  messages to a classroom backchannel, Twitter, or the teacher, can assist them with various classroom tasks.
  • For students who are interested in developing applications, Google Glass provides another avenue of developing for a specialized device.
The possibilities are endless as more applications are developed for the device and as Glass gets into the hands of more teachers and students. There are many educators in K-12 who are documenting how they are using Glass in the classroom. Educators are always eager to share and help one another!

One great project is Margaret Powers (@mpowers3) “365 Days of Glass Project”.  (http:// Each day she documents how she and the students are using Glass in her schools. Recently, she recorded kindergarten students in her Maker Club, as they create flowers out of cups, cardboard, and additional materials. And the next day, after their unit on snow, the kindergarteners wore Glass to record images and videos of the snow outside and share them with classes they are collaborating with in Brazil and Singapore. The first-person perspective on her site becomes instructional for other teachers and makes it easy for them to replicate the lesson or project in their own classroom.

Ms. Powers is also spearheading a global collaborative project between her K-2 students and other classes around the world who want to participate in virtual field trips and Google Hangouts to exchange cultural information and learn about other places in the world. These include classroom tours and first-perspective lessons. (

An interesting pilot project that should provide teachers and students with more ways that Glass can be used in the classroom is the one at Lufkin Independent School District in Lufkin, Texas. The middle school students are encouraged to wear Glass and come up with ways for it to be used in school. As more schools get Glass in the classroom, there will be widespread sharing of thoughts and ideas.

Having a single pair of Google Glass in the classroom reminds me of the days of the one-computer classroom. Everyone had to wait for a turn to use the device. I think once we see a K-12 school pilot with a classroom set of Glass, there will be many more practical and creative uses showcased.

Resources for the support of Google Glass in Class
Google Glass in Class Resource Page

Google Glass in Education Google+ Community

What are your thoughts about Google Glass in the classroom for teaching and/or learning? Email me or find me on Twitter @kathychrock

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Screencasting with Screenmailer

Screenmailer is a new screencasting/screen recording tool for Mavericks on the Mac. It is easy to use, quick to render, and can be used as an on-the-spot solution for teacher or student screencasts!

As with any screencast, you should first plan your recording, get things set-up on your desktop, practice your script, and then start the recording. 

Setting up the screencast

Screenmailer runs on your Mac, and, once installed, allows you to log-in with Google credentials or create a Screenmailer account. You will need to be connected to the Web in order to use Screenmailer.

Once logged in
Sign in or create an accout

Once you log-in, as you seen above, you can see your previously-recorded videos, play them, delete them, email the link to someone, or copy the link. And, of course, you can begin a new recording by picking the record button.
You then get a choice of the audio input source and whether to record the full screen or to outline an area of the screen to record. The developer of Screenmailer recommends outlining an area rather than using the full screen option, especially if you have a hi-res screen.

You can record a video for up to 30 minutes and easily pause the recording to collect your thoughts or change what is on your computer screen. This comes in handy when showcasing different content during the screen recording. Also, you can see you can easily record yourself (or any other video) at the same time you are showcasing content.

The screencast is saved to the Screenmailer server, and you are provided with a private URL for sharing your video and you can email the link to students or colleagues. Any video you record and post will appear whenever you log-in to your accout, so you always have access to the private URL and can delete a video if you no longer need it. Here is the latest test video I recorded. (One tip: if you are planning to show a video during a class period, load and play it beforehand so it is buffered on your computer.)

One option that should be coming soon to Screenmailer is the ability to download the video either in the app or on the video play page. Until that happens, you can use the Firefox extension Video DownloadHelper to download the video to your computer for use in a presentation, putting into a content management system, or uploading to your YouTube or Vimeo channels. (Thanks to Tom Gavin for the find!) It has worked for me on my desktop with no special set-up. I suggest you pick .MP4 as the download format so it is compatible with many sites and programs.

If you have any ideas or thoughts for the developer of Screenmailer, his contact information is on the Screenmailer home page. He is very receptive to ideas for future features. And follow @screenmailer on Twitter to find out about any new features!

If you are going to be creating screencasts for students or having students create their own, I have a blog post dedicated to the idea, Screencasting for Educators, and a Web page, Screencasting in the Classroom, with links to successful practices, resources, and much more. 

If you create any screencasts for the classroom with Screenmailer, share the URL with me via email.  We can all learn new techniques for creating engaging screencasts from each other!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Addressing the CCSS with the Use of Infographics

First published in the AWSA Update Bulletin, October 16, 2013. 
Some information has been updated below.


Infographics are everywhere! We see them on the Web and in our professional journals.    Students see them on Facebook and on advertiser’s pages. How can the use of infographics be used to address the Common Core State Standards?
An infographic is a visual representation of information. It differs from a poster in that it usually includes graphs and charts of information. Not all infographics include data, though. There are quite a few types of infographics, as listed below.
  • Statistical infographic: includes a summation or overview of data
  • Timeline infographic: shows the progression of information over time
  • Process infographics: demonstrate a process, whether linear or branching
  • Informational infographic: similar to a poster, but with some data included
  • Research-based infographic: compares unlike items with a known data set
  • Interactive infographic: a Web-based infographic that allows the user to have control  and modify the infographic
There are two basic ways infographics can be used to support teaching and learning. The first is showcasing already-created infographics to support a specific content area. For example, a health class might use an infographic entitled “A Tale of Two Meals” or an English class might use one called “A Literary Map of Manhattan” which includes clickable links to the places in Manhattan where famous literary characters resided.
The second way infographics can be incorporated into teaching and learning is by having students create an infographic as a formative or summative assessment. By creating an infographic, students are conducting research and gathering assets to use for their infographics (information literacy) working with color, fonts, and layout to impact their audience (visual literacy), presenting their infographic to persuade, convince, or inform (media literacy), and using technology tools and data visualizations to create the infographic (digital literacy). In addition, of course, they are demonstrating mastery of content knowledge with the content-specific information they include in the infographic.
Infographics Rubric
The rubric below can be used for both of these purposes. When analyzing infographics, students should pay attention to the topic of the image, the type of infographic and whether it is appropriate to the information display, whether the pictorial elements of the infographic and the data visualizations are understandable, if the color, font, and layout add to the presentation of the infographic, and that bibliographic citations are included to allow access to the original source of the information. When creating their own infographic, students need to consider all of these same items while, at the same time, considering the purpose and audience for their infographic.

Common Core State Standards and Infographics
The Common Core State Standards do not specifically mention “infographics”, but there are many standards, both content-based and literacy-based, that can be addressed with both the analysis or creation of infographics by students. Here are a few from both the CCSS ELA Standards and the Standards for Mathematical Practice.
ELA Common Core Standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.7 Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.7 Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.

Standards for Mathematical Practice K-12
  • Represent a mathematical situation with symbols
  • Use objects, drawings, & diagrams to create an argument
  • Map relationships using tools such as diagrams, two-way tables, graphs, flowcharts
  • Find digital content and use it to solve problems and use technological software and tools to do so
  • Graph data and search for regularity and trends 
Creation of Infographics
Infographics can be created with any software program that allows layer-based image editing, which simply means images and text can be placed on top of other images. There are commercial packages, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements as well as online and downloadable tools that allow this layer-based editing. Some of these include:
•       Google Drawings (
•       Pixlr (
•       Inkscape (
•       Sumo Paint (
•       Sketchpad (
In addition, presentation programs such as Microsoft's PowerPoint and Apple’s Keynote program allow layers of images and text on a slide, so these tools can also be used for student creation of an infographic. 

There is also an iPad and Android tablet app that helps students create infographics on their mobile devices called iVisual Info Touch Light (iOS) and iVisual Touch Free (Android). The full-version of the app allows students to bring in their own images and other features.
There are interactive, online tools available that are meant specifically for the creation of infographics. Each tool includes templates to edit and the ability to add data or graphs to the template. Students need to have email accounts to sign-up to use these tools. Some of the online tools include:
•       Picktochart (
• (
•       Infogram (
Introducing Infographics to Students
When introducing infographics to students, teachers should first showcase what data visualizations look like. A great site for students to become familiar with the  different types of data visualizations is the Periodic Table of Data Visualizations ( When students have collected their data, they can then use Chart Chooser ( to determine how best to present their data.
Students should study the infographic rubric and then, in small groups, evaluate infographics on the Web or in print. By looking at infographics with a critical eye, they will gain some insights on to how best to create their own infographic.
The use of infographics in support of teaching and learning is a natural fit. Students practice with many types of 21st century literacies. The completed infographic projects meet many of the Common Core State Standards. And students learn the important skills of meeting the needs and interest level of their intended audience by choosing the right type of data visualization. You can find more information and links to resources here:


Friday, December 06, 2013

SAMR and coffee

Since this blog IS the Kaffeeklatsch, I thought I should share some of the ways people have been using coffee analogies to explain the SAMR model. I cannot vouch for the analogies, but thought it was interesting this seems to be a common practice!

The SAMR Model

The image below was created by Jonathan Brubaker and appeared in a blog post here.

SAMR Model and Starbuck's Coffee

Email me with any other coffee analogies you find in the education arena!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

SAMR Model Musings

I have been asked to elaborate on my understanding of the SAMR model, a model written about extensively by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. This model suggests a structure for the design of embedded technology use in the classroom to have a significant impact on student outcomes.

My feeling is this model supports teachers as they design, develop, and integrate digital learning experiences that utilize technology to transform learning experiences. Along the continuum, the student engagement becomes more of the focus and students are then able to advance their own learning in a transformational manner.

Puentedura's visual of the SAMR model is self-explanatory, as seen below.

SAMR model

I decided to take the typical classroom process of note taking to demonstrate my thoughts for how the SAMR model might look in a classroom.


Note taking is traditionally done with paper and pen/pencil.

At the substitution level, you first have to think about what will be gained by the use of technology for the task. You want to make sure you are not advocating technology use just for technology's sake.

In the case of note taking, however, the benefit of having notes in a digital format for ease of sharing and uploading, and providing access to them anywhere, any time, is a useful substitution activity. 

At this level, the technology substitution, with no real change in student engagement, would be the use of a stand-alone or cloud-based word processing program.


At the augmentation level, there again is a direct tool substitute, but there is some improvement in student outcomes. At this level, one of the benefits is teachers can receive almost immediate feedback on student level of understanding of material and students can also learn from others.

One way this can occur is by the use of a backchannel tool (such as Today's Meet or Padlet) for whole-class note taking. The augmentation level starts to move along the teacher/student-centric continuum. The impact of this immediate feedback and collaboration is that students should begin to become more engaged in the learning process.


Modification allows for a change in the task redesign. Students can be asked to take notes using a screencasting tool and then later go back and add the audio component and post these online for their peers and anyone else who wants to see them. Because they are working for an public audience with this task, each student has a personal stake in their note taking.

Another modification option for note taking using technology would have students creating mind maps or concept maps as they take notes. Again, these can be easily shared. A collaborative version of this mapping could be implemented as groups of students take notes on certain aspects of the lecture, presentation, reading, etc. and then pull all the maps together to complete the picture. (I call this the "" model!)


With redefinition, the emphasis is on student-centered learning. The student learns new skills and concepts as they complete the task. Sketchnoting, or visual note taking, is a way for students to practice listening as well as planning an organizational strategy for taking notes. There are drawing and note-taking apps for all platforms available for sketchnoting. (A lot more about sketchnoting can be found here.) A redefined task would be for students to sketchnote, share online, and provide answers to questions about the content included in the public venue.


Below is a visual of my initial thoughts on the relationship between Bloom’s and the SAMR model. I feel teachers need to both create tasks that target the higher-order cognitive skills (Bloom's) as well as design tasks that have a significant impact on student outcomes (SAMR). It's as simple as that.

Educators will argue that they have seen redefinition tasks that only target the remembering level or have a creative assessment that is only at the augmentation level. Of course that is true, but I believe we should be planning for technology tasks, activities, and assessments that include both the higher levels of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy and the transformation area of SAMR model.

I have created a page of SAMR resources if you want to learn more and come to your own conclusions about how it might be implemented in your classroom.

Comments? Thoughts?  Email me or find me on Twitter @kathyschrock

Monday, November 18, 2013

iMovie Trailers Across the Content Areas (republish)

This post originally appeared in September of 2013 on my Discovery Educator Network blog, Kathy's Katch, where I pen a monthly blog post. Please take a look at it when you get a a chance. The new posts go up the first day of the month!

I have finally had time to work with iMovie movie trailers on the iPad, and it is so much fun! A movie trailer is a perfect summarizing activity. It can also act as a "teaser" as an introduction to a presentation or student paper. A movie trailer can readily showcase the acquisition of knowledge of a lesson or unit. 

A movie trailer includes many of the literacy areas. There is a component of information literacy as students search for and gather assets to include in the trailer. There are reading and writing skills (traditional literacy) as students write out their ideas and scripts. There are elements of media literacy as students identify their audience, use words to persuade viewers, and maybe transfer another mode of publishing (like a research paper) into a video. Visual literacy comes into play with the choice of colors and font. 

The movie trailer component of the iMovie app for the iPad includes several themes to pick from. The transitions and animations are already built-in, but students can do some editing of these themes to showcase their work in a different way. 

The first step in making an iMovie movie trailer is taking a look at the script and storyboard pages. It is a good idea for students to spend some time thinking about the theme of the trailer they want to use and start gathering the pictures and videos to use in the production. 

One great site by Timothy Jefferson includes PDFs of all of the theme scripts so students can work things out on paper first, as they are going through the development process. Here is a sample of one of the PDFs. 

storyboard sample

Some ideas for using movie trailers across the curriculum include:
  • Have students create an "end of course or class" trailer to introduce others to the course
  • Students can create an advertisement for a product they created in a STEM class.
  • Movie trailers can put a new spin on the "all about me" presentation.
  • Students can help create promo pieces for upcoming school events, class elections, and fund-raising activities
  • A movie trailer can be a very short, but exciting digital story, summarizing the content and/or process in any curriculum area
  • Roz Linder's ideas for using movie trailers as a way to introduce different viewpoints
  •'s great resource about the use of film trailers in the classroom
  • Mr. Manion's Movie Trailer Analysis which could easily be turned into a rubric
You can also find many tutorials which include instructions on the process of using iMovie movie trailers on the iPad
Discovery Education Streaming, with its editable videos and hundreds of images, is a wonderful set of resources to use in iMovie movie trailers. I decided to utilize DES to make an iMovie movie trailer and only use the iPad. 

I logged in to Discovery Education Streaming, did three searches (tornado, storm, lightning) and limited the search to images. I added the images to My Content. When I had collected enough (with three personal ones also), I opened each one and "saved to library" which then put all the images into my Photos app Camera Roll. 

I picked the Scary trailer theme, entered the credits information, and added the images to the storyboard, as you see below. I adjusted some of the Ken Burns transitions to highlight the important parts of the photos. 

iMovie Movie Trailer scrneechot 

I then simply sent the completed movie trailer up to YouTube! 
Give iMovie movie trailers a try today! 

Do you have some ideas for the use of iMovie Trailers across the content areas? Email me or find me on Twitter @kathyschrock

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Preview App on the Mac

I have only been a Mac user for about twelve years, so did not "grow up" with Apple computers as many of you did. I am still making discoveries about the operating system every day!

I have been spending some time with Preview (I am using OS 10.8.5) and have learned many of the cool things it can do!  The first thing to know is that the is located in your Applications folder. It is worth the effort to add it to your dock so it is always there when you need it!

PDF documents and Preview

Annotating PDFs

If you open a PDF document in Preview, you can annotate it in several ways and can use any color you wish! Go to Tools-Annotate to see the menu.
  • Text can be highlighted with a highlighter that always stays on the line!
  • You can easily underline and strike out full lines of text.
  • Rectangle, oval, line, or arrow shapes can be added, re-sized, and easily moved around. Their line-weight and line-type can be modified, too, as well as being able to fill the shapes with a color.
  • You can add speech (smooth) and thought (cloud-like) bubbles and type notes inside of them as well as adding plain text to the document.
  • A sticky note with text can be "posted" on the PDF document.


A suggestion from William Baker (@MrWilBaker) for a classroom use of one of the annotation features is to use the filled shapes to blank out student names from a PDF document you are sharing or posting.

Carole (@ReginaReadsPA) tweeted to me that she uses the text annotation tool to add citations to images and documents. This is a great idea for attribution for Creative Commons-licensed images!

One of the most useful annotation tools is the signature. How many times have you been asked to sign a PDF document and return it? If you have Adobe Acrobat, of course, you can use a special digital signature in lieu of a handwritten one. 

However, to use your own, handwritten signature, the process is easy with the Preview application!
  • First, you have to create your signature. (You have to do this once on each computer you use.) Open Preview and go to Preferences, click Signatures, and pick the + sign to make your signature. A Signature Capture window shows up. You are instructed to sign your name in black ink (the thicker, the better) on a piece of white paper and hold it up in front of the camera on the Mac.  You will see the signature on the screen, and, when you click Accept, Preview will save it.
  • When you want to use it to sign a PDF you are viewing in Preview, simply go to Annotate-Signature, and the handwritten signature will show up on the document for you to place and re-size. 

Other PDF tips

  • If you want to save the PDF document you are viewing in Preview to iCloud, simply pick File-Move To and pick iCloud. You will be able to view these PDF documents from your iCloud on other computers, but not via the iPad.
  • Another neat feature of Preview is, if you are using Safari 6 or better, when a PDF opens in the browser window, you can place your cursor towards the middle bottom of the document and a pop-up will appear that allows you to open the PDF document directly in Preview. (This only works if you do not have any other PDF reader set-up to open PDFs.)
  • When you have a PDF document open in Preview, you can open the View-Thumbnails menu item and rearrange the order of the pages in your document and then save the rearranged copy! 
  • John Larkin (@john_larkin) told me you can merge PDF documents in Preview, too. I figured out how to do that. Open both PDF documents in Preview and choose to View-Thumbnails. Once you can see the thumbnails, simply pick the pages you want to merge from one document and drag them on top of the thumbnail area of the other document. (Don't put them at the end of the other thumbnails, just drag them on top.) Move the thumbnails around in the merged document if you need to and save it!

 Images and Preview

The Preview application also has image editing capabilities, too. Here are some of them...

Screen Captures
  • Screen-captures are easily created with Preview. Open Preview and go to File-Take Screen Shot. There will be three options-- From Selection, From Window, From Entire Screen.  Many of us use the key commands (CMD+SHIFT+4, etc.) to take our screenshots but this is another way.

  • However, Preview has one neat feature that can help you out. When you pick the From Entire Screen option, Preview provides you with a 10-second countdown which gives you time to move things around on your screen before the screenshot is taken. This is helpful, at least for me, since I often wind up with things in the screenshot that I do not want there!

  • In addition, if you hold the CTRL key down while taking a screenshot from within Preview, the image will be put on your clipboard to easily paste somewhere else. 

Editing images
  • You can crop images when they are open in Preview by picking Tools-Rectangular Selection which gives you the crosshairs to highlight the area you want, and then you simply pick Tools-Crop and save the edited image!
  • There are also additional options available for editing images. If you open an image in Preview and View-Show Edit Toolbar the options appear right on the image, as you can see below. You can add text and shapes, change the color saturation, re-size the image, erase the background, and more. You can also rotate and/or flip the image if necessary.

Image editing toolbar in Preview

  • Preview also allows you to change the file format of an image. Simple open the image in Preview, go to File-Export, and you are presented with the choices of saving the image as a JPEG, JPEG-2000, OpenEXR, PDF, PNG, or TIFF. You can also change the quality of the image to a lesser quality if you need to decrease the file size but want to keep the same dimensions.

Viewing images 
  • To open multiple photos in Preview at one time, first select the images you want to view. (It is helpful if they are all in one folder!) Then right-click or CNTRL+click and pick Open In-Preview. The images will show up with a navigation bar on the side as you see below. Once items are in Preview, you can highlight multiple images and batch edit them with the image editing tools. (Thanks to @john_larkin for this tip!)
Viewing multiple image in Preview

  • Once you have the images in Preview, you can also choose to view a slideshow of the images by picking View-Slideshow.

  • If you load a large number of images into Preview, you can also view a contact sheet by going to View-Contact Sheet. This is handy for printing out or viewing many images at once. You can see a sample contact sheet below.

Contact sheet as viewed in Preview

Customizing Preview

Once you become familiar with some of these tools in Preview, you may want to add or subtract items from the default Preview toolbar. Once an image or PDF is open in Preview, just go to View-Customize Toolbar and you will be presented with the choices below.  You can remove or add items by dragging, rearrange icons on the toolbar, and decide if you want icons, text, or both to show up. (I like to keep text on until I become familiar with the icons.)

Customizing the Preview Toolbar

Do you have other Preview tips to share? Do you have special ways you use Preview in the classroom? Email me or find my on Twitter @kathyschrock