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.











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

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sketchnoting: A primer

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in December 2013 and is re-posted here with permission.
____________________



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 usually 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.

THREE TYPES OF VISUAL NOTETAKING
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

PURPOSE OF VISUAL NOTETAKING
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 Education.com 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

INFO AND RESOURCES FOR YOU ON SKETCHNOTING
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
































Sharing is caring

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in September 2013 and is re-posted here with permission.
__________________________
(I wrote this blog post on the plane home from the ISTE 2013 conference in San Antonio. I wanted to give myself some time to reflect on it and add some additional resources before posting it.)
ISTE 2013 was a tech-filled extravaganza and I left with my head spinning with new thoughts and ideas! However, looking back, I realize the best part of the conference for me was the conversations I had with educators from all over the world. I was greeted by so many who knew me from my work, and I used that connection to continue the conversations with them.
I learned about district-level initiatives and projects for first graders. I discussed the merits of tablet platforms, 1-to-1, and badging. I offered opinions about items I was passionate about. As an ISTE Board Member, I also had some perks, like being able to wander in and out of ticketed workshops to both thank the presenters and learn new things at the same time. In Ginger Lewman’s PBL workshop, I became a member of a PBL group and made an iMovie traileron the iPad with three other educators in under thirty minutes. None of us knew how to use the software, but were able to get the job done. Take a look if you wish: https://vimeo.com/68951420
Continuing the conversation with colleagues after a face-to-face conference is not difficult. There are many ways to keep up with your new contacts, get answers to questions, and offer your own thoughts. Collaboration comes from the Latin word collaborare which means “to work together” and you want to make sure that happens!
Working together in a virtual space can be synchronous or asynchronous. Even asynchronous conversations allow us to work together. There are popular tools for each of these methods readily available.
Asynchronous sharing
Twitter
Twitter is my go-to place for both sharing and getting new ideas. It is surprising how much you can impart to others with only 140 characters! Here are some of my top Twitter tips….
  • If you follow a lot of people, your Twitter stream can quickly become overwhelming!   It is a good practice to make lists and file the people you follow into those lists. They will still show up in your main Twitter stream, but sometimes it is easier to click on a classified list of people and read “like” information in a single stream. This makes it more likely that you will add to the conversation, too, since you are more likely to come up with a resource or tip to share if you are reading information on a related topic or by perusing your list of school administrators, teacher librarians, etc.
  • To find new people to follow and collaborate with, look at the lists created by others or whom they follow. You can grab one of their lists for yourself, and, after monitoring it for a while, can find new people who you want to follow.
  • If you are not a Twitter user, take a look at the Twitter advanced search page (https://twitter.com/search-advanced) and search popular hashtags like #edchat or #iste2013 to see all the tweets tagged with that hashtag. Hashtags help tweets hang together when tweeters include them in their posts. Here is a page (http://www.cybraryman.com/edhashtags.html) with tons of popular educational hashtags. Another cool new site is TagBoard (http://tagboard.com/) which both allows you to view tweets tied to hashtags, as well as create a hashtag of your own to monitor and share.
  • Oftentimes, when sharing URLs via Twitter, the URL itself uses up many of the 140 characters. To allow yourself more space to add information, use a URL shortener. A URL shortener allows you to paste a long URL into a box, and it presents you with a shortened version to use. When users click on the shortened URL, their browser is re-directed to the actual URL. I use the Linkyy (http://linkyy.com) URL shortener. One nice feature of Linkyy is the ability to create a meaningful short URL, like http://linkyy.com/ipad, which leads to one of my iPad support pages.
Some other social networks to use for collaboration with others include Google+ (http://plus.google.com), Edmodo (http://edmodo.com), and EdWeb (http://edweb.net). Each of these tools allows you to create your own community on a topic you are interested in or passionate about. Once you create a community, tweet out the information to your followers and they will come!
Synchronous sharing
Google+ Hangouts is one of my favorite places to meet and share things with other educators in real-time. A Google Hangout allows you and up to nine others to have a meeting with all participants having both video and voice. It is easy to share your computer screen or other assets (like a YouTube video) with others in the Hangout. One interesting aspect of Google+ Hangouts is that it is “noise activated”. This means whoever is talking is showing up as the main speaker and the others as smaller.
However, this also means, if a participant is typing loudly, they will show up as the main speaker most of the time. Be sure to use a headset/microphone combo or keep your mic shut off when you are not speaking. This makes the Hangout go much more smoothly.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ekai/5885688948/
If you want to record the Hangout, chose to make it a Google Hangout on Air. This publicly broadcasts to anyone who wants to watch the Hangout, too. Once the Hangout on Air is complete, the recording is sent to the your YouTube account for future viewing. You can make the recording public or private, allow embedding or not, and assign a Creative Commons license to the work if you wish.
I will be hosting a Google Hangout on Air on September 16, 2013 at 7pm ET. The Webinar will be in conjunction with the Wilkes/Discovery Instructional Media Master’s program. The topic of the 30-minute conversation will be two upcoming MOOC’s that Wilkes will be offering to educators. (If you are on the DEN mailing list, you will receive further info about it soon.)
Some other popular ways to synchronously collaborate with one or more colleagues are via FaceTime for the Mac/iPad and Skype (http://skype.com), which works on all platforms. And Padlet (http://padlet.com) and Today’s Meet (http://todaysmeet.com) allow real-time, text-based idea sharing that can be archived and shared when the conversation is complete.
Remember… 
The main point is to continue the conversation by whatever means works best for you. Email, Facebook/LinkedIn posts, and phone calls can work, too. And be sure to make arrangements with your new colleague to meet up again in-person at the next ISTE or other conference you both attend. I have found that hugging is so much better in person! 🙂

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.


SUBSTITUTION LEVEL

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.



AUGMENTATION LEVEL

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 LEVEL

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.

http://screencast-o-matic.com/channels/clj6hlnqU

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 "Ancestry.com" model!)

https://library.usu.edu/instruct/tutorials/cm/Samples_files/cm.gif

REDEFINITION

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.


http://networkedmedicine.tumblr.com/post/43788097011/sketchnote-that-i-drew-reflecting-class-discussion

MAPPING BLOOM'S AND SAMR

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
  • Filmeducation.org'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

Friday, November 01, 2013

Mobile learning books and courses for iOS devices

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in November 2013 and is re-posted here with permission.
_____________________
Educators are creating great mobile learning content and sharing that content with the rest of us via iTunes U and iBooks. I am going to review some of these useful resources.
To read the iBooks, you need to use an iPad to view most of these. (The new version of the Apple desktop operating system, Mavericks, includes iBooks for the desktop….finally!) For the iTunes U courses, all you need is iTunes on your Windows or Mac computer or the iTunes U app on your iOS device. (Help here: http://www.apple.com/support/itunes-u/using/)

Mobile Learning Books



The Teacher’s iPadoPedia
Philip Johnston
May 2013
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-teachers-ipadopedia/id645391200?mt=11
Subtitled “An A-Z of Using iPad in the Classroom”, Johnston includes chapters on archiving, attendance, brainstorming, behavior management, calculating, communicating  co-curricular/coaching, and this is only through the letter “C” in the alphabet! This extremely well-written, 143-page book, is must-read for any teacher with access to the iPad for teaching or learning. The ideas and the overview of the apps to support each one are practical and up-to-date. A great publication!

This gem of a book comes from the UK and showcases lesson ideas using various Apple apps such as iWork and iLife for iOS as well as including many short lesson ideas across the curriculum. The book also includes a section of the authors “favorite” apps in each content area.The book itself takes advantage of many of the features of iBooks by allowing items to be brought to full screen and includes interactive hotspots on various images.

iPad Basics for the Classroom Teacher
John Patten
July 2013
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ipad-basics-for-classroom/id674738728?mt=11
This single chapter publication offers a wonderful introduction to the use of the SAMR model for technology integration. The bulk of the chapter provides a great lesson on how to use the iPad hardware. There is even an assessment included. This would be a good book to reactivate prior knowledge for occasional users as well as a follow-up to a beginner iPad lesson.

iPads in the K-12 Classroom
Jack Riviere
January 2013
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ipads-in-the-k-12-classroom/id593631488?mt=11
This short book includes practical tips for implementation of the iPad in the classroom written in a conversational style, similar to a series of blog posts. Riviere shares his thoughts and tips for protecting the iPads, as well as a small toolbox of software that can go a long way. In addition, he includes some humanities lesson plans at different levels.

iPads in the Classroom
Annalisa Kelly
January 2013
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ipads-in-the-classroom/id593799531?mt=11
Kelly provides a lot of information in this book. She includes case studies, overviews and links to applicable research in the field, how to critically evaluate apps for both instruction and construction, and a chapter devoted to the iPad as a learning tool for special education students. In addition, Kelly includes ideas for use of the iPad in the classroom, a deployment guide, and well-done overviews of classroom apps including ways they can be used.

Mission “Podsible”: A Teachers Guide to Podcasting
Rachelle Wooden
December 2012
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mission-podsible/id590364781?mt=11?
Rachel Wooten has created a wonderful guide for the use of podcasting in the classroom. It includes an extensive overview of what podcasting is, the research as to why it is pedagogically sound, and the the how-tos of hardware and software for creating the podcast.  It also contains full lesson plans, tied to the Common Core. that can be creative starting places as you investigate where and how podcasting fits into the instructional process.

Hunt provides a wealth of information on the use of the iPad for art activities including everything from turning clay apps to stop-motion animation. However, the examples she showcases can be used in any content area as a creative assessment. In addition, the layout and organization of this iBook is stunning and can serve as a model for how an education-related ebook should look and function.

iPad at Work
Apple, Inc.
August 2011
It is important to view books outside of the educational field, too, to see what they can offer for both you, as the teacher, and for your students. As well as the inclusion of useful apps, this book includes case studies from various industries showcasing their use for this tool.


Mobile Learning iTunes U Courses

Integrating the iPad and iTunes U in the Classroom
Chrissy Boydstun
May 2013
https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/integrating-ipad-itunes-u/id647985563
This course is a series of tutorials on the best ways to have students use the iPad and iTunes U. Including chapters such as “Getting started with iTunesU”, “Getting going with Google Drive”, “Linking resources to QR codes”, “Using YouTube in the classroom” and many more.  Each unit  includes links to resources, embedded tutorials, and downloadable support videos, too. All of the videos are also collected in a single list so you can see the content that is included in the course.

Using iPads in the Classroom: Time Lapse Video
Richard Needham, National Science Learning Centre
https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/using-ipads-in-the-classroom/id582959374
November 2012
This course provides an overview of the set-up and use of the iPad at the college level  and how to enhance learning in the science classroom. He includes information and resources for both stop motion video and time lapse video, as well as an overview of iMovie for the iPad.

Integrating iPads into the Classroom
Chris Colley, Eastern Townships School Board
July 2013
https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/integrating-ipads-into-classroom/id670931208
This course takes a pedagogical and practical look at the use of the iPad in the classroom. It includes information and practice activities dealing with various teaching models, like SAMR and MELS Inquiry Process Model, and Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. (I even found my own Bloom’s information in this course!) Another unit in the course deals with PBL and student centered instruction.The links to materials and the activities provided would make this a perfect textbook for a professional development series.

Integrating iPads into the Classroom
Dr. Eric Marvin, Union University
Last updated: May 2013
https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/integrating-ipads-into-classroom/id524980252
The purpose of this iPad course is twofold. First, it includes training on how to use the device itself, including the hardware, camera, and iTunes. The second part of the course includes the use of iPad apps for supporting teaching and learning including Keynote, group alerting and formative assessment apps, storing files, and much more.

Classroom Management with iPads
Jessica Pack, Palm Springs Unified School District
January 2013
https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/classroom-management-ipads/id592272181
Pack provides techniques for teachers in 2:1 and 1:1 environments, as well as those using iPads in small groups or learning centers. There are management strategies for teaching and for students. The course includes an eBook with apps, implementation ideas, screen captures and more.

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 Preview.app 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.


Tools-Annotate

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

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Stay connected all year long with your PLN!

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in October 2013 and is re-posted here with permission.
________________

Intro

Connected Educators Month runs during the month of October 2013 and there are hundreds of events, classes, meet-ups, and ways to use social media scheduled to allow educators around the globe to connect! But “connecting” should not just occur during this time period.
There are ways you can re-connect with other educators and connect with new ones throughout the year. This blog post will offer tips that can help you broaden and sustain your personal learning network.

Sue Waters, on her blog, way back in 2008, when there were few personal learning networks, asked educators to answer some questions about their use of personal learning networks. One of the questions she asked was “Why is a personal network important to educators?”
I loved these ideas from Derek Wenwoth from New Zealand–
  • Help each other solve problems
  • Hear each others’ stories and avoid local blindness
  • Find synergy across structures
  • Keep up with change
  • Reflect on their practice and improve it
  • Build shared understanding
  • Find a voice and gain strategic influence
  • Cooperate on innovation
And Robin Ellis, from PA, stated her heart-felt reason PLNs were important to her…
  • The most important aspects of personal learning networks for me are the ability to connect, communicate, and collaborate globally.
  • The network is always on 24/7/365 and always willing to share ideas and offer help.
  • It is a way to build relationships otherwise not possible.
There are many ways to both build and maintain your personal learning network. I have found, as I become interested in new topics, I grow my network to include experts and practitioners in that topic. I learn from them, have a chance to ask questions, and provide feedback on my thoughts, too. Remember that a PLN is a two-way street; you have to “pay it forward” and contribute, too! Everyone who teaches is creative, smart, and resilient. It’s the way we are. You all have great ideas and reflections to share, so please post to social networks, create a curation page with your favorite (annotated) links, and offer suggestions in Webinar chat boxes!
Alec Couros has created a wonderful graphic that illustrates what the networked teacher looks like. You can see the networked teacher is both a consumer and a creator of digital content and shares his/her expertise!
 
 
 

Ways to connect

Create a survey and share
One way I find educators to connect with is to create a survey on a hot topic that I am interested in, spread the word through my social media channels, and tell the respondents that I will share the collected data with them. Since people have to give me their email address if they want the data, after looking through the answers, I often find some creative new item or idea, and I can contact that person and connect for more information. And then, of course, I follow them, G+ them, LI them, etc., to keep up on the cool things they are doing!

Join online communities
Another way to find new colleagues to connect with is to follow some of the online communities sponsored by organizations and companies, like the ISTE’s Wikispace, EdWeb, Adobe’s Education Exchange, Discovery’s Educator Network, and Sony’s Education Ambassadors. As you peruse these communities, and find information that is useful or interesting to you, you can personally connect with the author and add them to your PLN!

Sign up for Twitter
Twitter is the most important tool in my PLN toolbox. It is easy to both share and receive information.
Some of the key points of Twitter are…
  • It is an online messaging service, like instant messaging, but it is one-to-many as opposed to one-to-one. It is not truly synchronous like IM, but, it can be pretty close to it.
  • The messages you post on Twitter are public and can be found in a Twitter search by anyone.
  • A Twitter message can only be 140 characters long.
  • Users can decide to follow your posts and you can choose to follow theirs, or not.
The most important aspect of Twitter to learn about is how to find experts to follow. The social networking component of Twitter helps with this. Once you find one good person to follow, you can look at the people that person follows, look at their tweets, and add them to your Twitter feed!
There are also lists of twitter users by category, like the Twitter4Teachers Wiki, which has teachers arranged by teaching topic and WeFollow, a directory of many topics to pick from.
Another useful aspect of Twitter is the use of the hashtag. A hashtag is used in a Twitter message to allow many  messages to be gathered together in one place. There are hashtags set up for conferences, classrooms, and regular Twitter events like #edchat, that sponsor an online chat at a certain time each week on a topic of interest. You can conduct a Twitter search on a hashtag, even if you are not a Twitter user, to get some great information and find smart people to follow!
There is a new online tool called Tagboard that allows you to search a hashtag and see all the “hits” and also limit it by type– Twitter, Instragram, Facebook, etc. You can also set-up your own hashtag and share the tagboard with others.

Multimedia
Multimedia can be part of creating your PLN, too. One way to both learn from others and to gain a following of your own is to create or subscribe to a podcast or video series.
The first thing you need to subscribe to a podcast or videocast is a podcast aggregator such as iTunes. Whether or not you use any Apple products, iTunes is a great organizer of audio and is available to download for both Windows and Mac computers.  People who have podcasts list them in the iTunes podcast store (they are not actually housed in the iTunes store), so that is one place to start looking for podcasts to subscribe to. Podomatic is another place to find podcasts to follow, since they actually host all the podcasts created on their site.
Once you feel comfortable about how podcasts work, you can create one of your own! For free, with Podomatic, you can create a podcast via your phone or computer microphone or upload an audio file. The uploaded file automatically gets the feed address that you share with others or register with iTunes.
One of the reasons many educators create videocasts is to demonstrate to students how to do something. A videocast which captures everything on your desktop is called a screencast. Screen-cast-o-matic is a free, online screen-capture program that allows you to capture up to 15 minutes of audio and video and host it online at YouTube or download it as an FLV, mp4, or avi file.

Blogging
Blogging can be another component of your connecting toolkit. You can read and subscribe to blogs, create your own, or join a group blog.
To subscribe to blogs, you need to use a newsreader, such as Feedly. Once you sign-up for a newsreader, you only have to visit this single place to find out about any new posts on any of yous subscribed blogs.
However, the hardest part about following applicable blogs is FINDING the ones that will help you the most. There are a couple of ways to do this…
  • If you know an expert in your field’s name, do a phrase search on “name’s blog” and you will likely find a blog maintained by this person
  • Many bloggers include a blogroll, a list of blogs THEY follow right on their blog, so you can check those out, too.
  • There are several directories of edubloggers out there, like the The International Edubloggers Directory and the list of Education Blogs by Discipline
Once you spend some time reading and commenting on the blogs of others, you might decide to create your own. Most educators use BloggerWordPress, or eduBlogs. Whichever one you use to make your blog, make sure to add it to the lists of educator-created blogs to make sure people come visit, subscribe, and comment on your blog! Comments are what creates part of the collaboration component of your PLN.
You might also decide to create a group blog. A group blog is a blog with postings from various contributors. One example of an education-specific group blog is Edutopia, which has many blog posters. A group blog takes advantage of the expertise of many to create a well-rounded blog.

Online conferences and Webinars
Many educational organizations and groups offer online Webinars or conference presentations by experts. During the presentation, the best part is sometimes the “backchannel”, which is the conversation that is going on among participants while the presenter is presenting. This is often done in a chat area, and you can find some great resources and educators to add to your PLN during these chats.
Finding listings of these Webinars is not easy but you usually wind up hearing about them either from others in your subject area, your professional organizations, or those already in your PLN.

Unconferences/EdCamps
An unconference ,or edcamp, is a participant-driven meeting. Many times these un-conferences are held before a regularly scheduled national or regional conference since participants can come a day early and attend the un-conference.  Usually, a small committee reserves a room, a mic, and tables and chairs. Early on the day of the conference, the time periods are put on the large screen, and participants vote on topics for the day. Educators volunteer to lead and moderate these sessions. It is more a conversation than a presentation. At an unconference, you really have the time to talk to others in an informal way and add them to your rapidly growing personal learning network.

I hope I have given you some new ideas to grow your personal learning network and collaborate with others all year long!