Monday, September 3, 2018

Students Authoring Books with Pages

Every year on September 8, International Literacy Day is celebrated. In conjunction with this year's celebration, AppleEDU has launched a #PagesBookChallenge. The challenge is simple. Create a digital book with your students in Apple's Pages app (free creation app for Mac or iPad). Then, simply tweet a short synopsis of the book along with its cover and tag #PagesBookChallenge.

To encourage all educators to participate here a series of short tips and recommendations for creating digital books with Pages.

1. Begin a new Pages project using the Books templates.

Tip: Use Portrait templates for primarily text-based books (so that the reader can resize the text and the pages will adjust accordingly) and Landscape for fixed layout books (where you control the exact design and layout of the pages and the reader cannot adjust).

2. Author and Edit as you normally would in the Pages app. 

The beauty of the iWork suite, in my opinion, is its simplicity and consistency across apps. Unleash your creativity!

3. Add narration with authentic audio

On Mac: Create a Quicktime Audio Recording and drag icon next to filename onto your Pages document.
On iPad: Tap the +, choose the Media tab, and Record Audio, then add to page.

4. Export as ePub for Publishing and Sharing.

Title your book and name the author. Set your options for book cover: (None, from first page, or upload your own).
There you have it! Anyone can create a book with Pages. 

 Student books authored in Pages by Mrs. Troester's English 8 class, Spring 2018. (Science "Explainer" books for younger learners)

As educators the possibilities are endless when authoring books with Pages. To help learners experience authentic authoring, encourage them to work through all stages of the writing process. Here is a 60 second reminder of how to do so within the Apple ecosystem.

Finally, teachers can use Pages templates to help students focus more on the content of their books, and less on the the design of the pages. Whether for professional learning experiences, class books where every student authors a piece, or even shorter individual writing projects, simply create a Pages book as a starting template. Share the Pages document as a starting point and allow the learners to customize the content. Be sure to take advantage of the following features:

Media placeholders

Add image gallery placeholders from the Media button. This is a preset placeholder for the author to add an entire gallery of images.

Add text boxes and utilize Paragraph Styles

Text boxes are automatically ready as placeholders. Simply change the paragraph style and/or formatting.

Build your own photo/video placeholder

Add an image (or screenshot). Select the image and choose:
On Mac: Format > Advanced > Define as Media Placeholder

Add pages as desired and distribute to all your budding authors.  

I cannot WAIT to see what creative ideas you and your students have when creating books in Pages!

Friday, August 31, 2018

4 Types of Sentences... Zoom Clues in Clips!

Shirley Rossman, 4th grade teacher at West Holt Elementary, just finished teaching her students about the four types of sentences. In order to reinforce these key concepts, she had the idea to adapt the concept of "Zoom Clues" videos made in Apple's Clips app and challenge her students to demonstrate mastery.

Here is the project workflow:

  1. Students choose a "mystery object" and author FOUR sentences (one of each of the four sentence types: declarative, imperative, interrogative, and exclamatory) giving clues about the object's identity. 
  2. Students take a photo of their chosen mystery object with the iPad camera. The image should be fairly close up, but show the entire object, as this will be the view shared as the "answer" to the Zoom Clues video. 
  3. Students start a new project in Clips and add a poster image to introduce their video.
  4. From the Library, bring the photo of the mystery object into the "stage." Pinch to zoom in as far  as possible, and position the image in a way that guessing the object could be challenging. Add a label with the first clue and press the big red record button to add to the Clips project. 
  5. Zoom out just a little and/or change the viewpoint, add the second sentence clue with a new label, and record the clip. 
  6. Repeat for the last two sentence clues. 
  7. Add a conclusion slide that shows and reveals the answer.
  8. Add music and export the final video to share it!

Here is a sample "4 Types of Sentences Zoom Clues" that the West Holt 4th graders and I quickly made together, but hopefully soon they will share some more clever examples of student creativity! Check back soon!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

If I Were a Wizard: Coding for Littles... And More!

Last week, I was delighted to find this book delivered in my mailbox from Amazon. 
"If I Were A Wizard" (hardback) by Paul Hamilton
At first glance, it looks like another delightful children's book, doesn't it? In actuality, "If I Were a Wizard" by Paul Hamilton teaches readers young and old all about computational thinking and coding concepts. And it does this without intimidating terminology (and yet provides connections at the end).

When I talked with Paul this July at the 2018 Apple Distinguished Educator Institute, I was amazed by his humility. It struck a chord with me when he mentioned that humans are drawn to story, but true connections are made via characters. Thus he created Hazel. And Hazel is more than a beautiful mouse on the pages of the book or the digital swipes in iBooks. Hazel is a relatable comrade for all those who get to know her. Students can "meet" Hazel and experience her world through Augmented Reality with the free app Wizard AR. While exploring this magical world, teachers like Katie Gardner can capitalize on creative writing opportunities. Or simply enjoy an original title track performed by a beautiful young vocal wizard. Teachers can build closer relationships with Hazel by visiting the website and downloading the numerous free educational resources-- writing, math, art, and even more beyond just coding. It is clear to see that Paul has created more than just a coding book! 
It is hard to debate the value in teaching coding concepts in today's primary classrooms. With "If I Were a Wizard" young children of all ages and backgrounds will be inspired to consider today's reality-- that they, too, can code.  And I will continue to be inspired by the author's dedication to education that matters. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Getting to Know Your Students: Back to School Activity Ideas with Keynote Shapes

Many teachers may remember the brilliant "All About Me" project shared on the Apple Teacher Learning Center.

In it, students use the Shapes Library in Keynote in creative ways to share all about themselves.

This is a wonderfully simple and adaptable activity for those first days back to school.

Below I have shared some additional prompts for a similar "Getting to Know You" activity.

You can download the Keynote file (for Mac or iPad) and adapt it even further here:
Getting to Know Students- Shape Collages_blank template for Keynote

Or see some finished examples for additional inspiration.

How do you plan to use and customize the incredible Shapes Library in Keynote to get to know your students this school year?

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Challenge Based Learning: the momentum continues

What a summer for Challenge Based Learning!

In June during ISTE in Chicago, Challenge Based Learning celebrated its 10th anniversary with an event sponsored by Digital Promise and supported by Apple. The celebration was well attended, and stories were shared from the past decade of this important educational movement.

Photo credits for above photos: Dimitri Moore, Digital Promise Global

During the event, as stories were shared by Karen Cator, Katie MorrowMarco Antonio Torres, Kayla Canario (Beardon Middle School), Mike Hoffman (Crane Elementary), and Mark Nichols, a new challenge was issued to all of us.
Big Idea: Community
Essential Question: How can we have a positive impact on our communities while learning?
Challenge: Create a positive and measurable change in your community!

How can we as ADEs and the greater education communities that we work with, continue the forward momentum? According to Marco Torres, we need to "CBL the crap out of everything you do. Be RELENTLESSLY curious, ask more “what if?” questions, and share broadly how you’re figuring things out."


Photo credits for above photos: Dimitri Moore, Digital Promise Global

In July the WorldWide Apple Distinguished Educators Institute was held in Austin, TX. Challenge Based Learning played a pervasive role in ADE projects and collaborative creativity being put into action.
Midweek an impromptu "Expert Lab" was set up and ADEs were encouraged via Twitter to drop by and discuss CBL. Another great turnout ensued. Adam Brice​ led a sharing session and general discussion on infusing Challenges in our work as educators. Several ADE projects have already been publicly posted that incorporate CBL and aim to help it grow.

So, what's next? 

How can we support each other on the CBL Journey? As always, there exists a growing collection of resources available on Case in point, this recent CBL Challenge centered on 360° Media Production.​ But what is missing? What do you and your students need to launch the school year with a Challenge or use the CBL Framework to guide deeper, more impactful learning for your greater learning community?

Please join in the conversation. 

What are you currently (or planning on) doing? What do you have to share from past CBL experiences? And what do you need to continue to take action and make a difference through Challenge Based Learning?

Let's continue the CBL momentum for another decade and beyond!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

10 Ways to Transform Student iPad Workflow
In a recent NETA 2018 presentation, co-presenter Ann Feldmann and I shared 10 simple ways to reach all learners with built-in iPad features- designed to take learning in your own hands!

Accessibility features were not created merely for learners with disabilities. Rather, with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, all students can be empowered to customize and streamline their own personal workflows.

“Designing learning for all empowers every single student.”
-Ann Feldmann

 Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. 
~Chinese Proverb

"iPad accessibility helps each student be in charge of their own, best learning… for a lifetime."
-Katie Morrow 

The following videos are screencasts to illustrate the slides on the digital handout found at:

UDL Guidelines: Provide multiple means of Engagement

1. Assistive Touch


 2. Airdrop

3.  Split Screen + Notes

UDL Guidelines: Provide multiple means of Representation

4. Speak Screen & Speak Selection 

5. Dictation & World Languages

6. Scan & Annotate

7. Screenshot & Annotate

UDL Guidelines: Provide multiple means of Action and Expression 

8. Assistive Touch

9. Screen Recording

10.  Sketch in Keynote


Six Shot Stories

Every once in awhile you find that tech integration idea that withstands the test of time. Even as the tech tools evolve and change, the learning still holds its value. "Six Shot Stories" is one of those practices for me. As an English teacher, the value of writing Six Word Memoirs created numerous educational benefits with my students. Theme, concise word choice, summarization are all skills emphasized with this simple activity. Pairing the concept with media was brilliant, and Don Goble's One Best Thing book: "Six-Word Story, Six Unique Shots" remains an invaluable resource for delivering the lesson to students.  
Recently I worked with the 4th grade classes at West Holt Elementary to share their school's stories through this technique. And Apple's Clips app on iPad was the perfect medium to create some powerful digital stories in a short timeframe.

I began the lesson by viewing Apple's latest commercial for iPad "Homework" and asking students to count the number of cuts, in order to establish the importance of storytelling through a wide variety of camera angles and shots.

Then students paired up to author a Six-Word Story about their school, their classroom, or their daily activities as 4th graders at West Holt Elementary. It is amazing to see such powerful stories created in just six words by students!

I used Don Goble's book on iBooks to demonstrate different shots that were possible, and reminded students of some simple best practices when capturing with iPad. Instructions were emphasized that each shot should be between 3 and 5 seconds and no technique should be repeated (each shot is unique). Students used a storyboard to plan their six shots and then used the camera app to capture each on their iPad.

Finally, with only literally a few minutes of instruction on the Clips app, students assembled and edited their story. Some added all six words of text at the very end, some used one word per shot, and others split up the text in varying ways. Many were able to experiment with the other creative features of Clips as well, even within the one-class time period we had together. Each team of students exported their product to camera roll, then Airdropped to their teacher's Mac in order to upload on a YouTube channel and organize in a playlist.

What I appreciate most about this project as an ELA teacher, is the tremendous focus on concise, clear communication it entails. As a technology teacher I value the creativity and composition techniques that allow student media production to instantly be raised to the next level.

Enjoy some of West Holt Elementary's Six Shot Stories!