Monday, April 20, 2020

Awesome Augmented Reality with EyeJack

Shirley Rossman, 4th Grade Teacher at West Holt Elementary, leads her students in a creative autobiographical writing project each year. Based on the book "Who is Melvin Bubble?" by Nick Bruel, students engage in perspective writing, as each page describes themself through the eyes of a friend or family member. The final page is all about the student from the point of view of the student themself, and this is where we collaborated for an augmented reality twist to this project. 

  • Students wrote their drafts on paper and collected digital images of the family members and friends who were "telling the story."
  • I created a template file in Keynote that students could personalize with their content and eventually export as pdf for self-publishing/printing. 
  • Using the camera on an iPad, students took pictures of each of their handwritten final draft pages and added them to the appropriate placeholders in the Keynote template.
  • Each photo of the "narrator" of the page was opened in the Clips app, a cartoon filter was added, saved to camera roll, and then Airdropped to the students to add to their book file. 
  • We took photos of the students themself (one close up of their face for the cover and a full-body waving shot for the first and last pages) and used the Clips app to "cartoonize" and Airdrop as well. 
  • Using the free voice memos app each student recorded an audio narration of their final page of text (explaining who they are from their own point of view). 

Using Keynote again, students created an animation for their final page. The trigger image was their waving photo. It was added to a slide and then that slide was duplicated. Slide 1 will become your trigger image (export as png with transparent background) and Slide 2 is where you lock the image to the background and then create your animation around it. Then shapes, drawings, images, etc. were added, formatted, and then animated with motion paths and effects. Timings could be set to automatic, but students were encouraged to aim for about 30 seconds of total animation length (to match the maximum audio recording duration). When complete, the background image was unlocked and deleted, the slide background was set to transparent, and the 2nd slide was exported as a gif. 

I used the EyeJack Creator app (free download for Mac) to assemble each student's augmented reality experience for their final page. 
  1. Add trigger image (exported png from 1st Keynote slide)
  2. Upload animated gif (exported from 2nd Keynote slide)
  3. Add audio (mp3 from Voice Memos)
The EyeJack Creator app generates a QR code which is also saved and placed on the page in each students' Keynote "book."

Now, when people read their book, they use the free EyeJack app on their phone to scan that QR code and then hover over the trigger image on the page to see the animated come to life in AR. 

Each student's finished Keynote book was exported as a pdf. 
I used the softcover Tradebook option (Economy, color) on to order a printed copy for each student and their family. (Approximately $5 each when all was said and done.)

In addition, for fun, I made a version for Mrs. Rossman and myself that had just the final page from every student's book into a class compilation of Augmented Reality student "About Me" animations. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

March 17th We Knew Everything Would Be All Right: a coronavirus collaboration book project

Every year on 9/11 Mrs. Beth Laible, 2nd grade teacher at West Holt Elementary in Atkinson, Nebraska, reads to her students a was inspired by a story called “September 12th We Knew Everything Would Be All Right.” It was authored and illustrated by a first grade class from an elementary school in Missouri.

Inspired, she wrote "March 17th We Knew Everything Would Be All Right" for her second grade class during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent school closures. She read her version aloud to her students in one of her Facebook posts during their first week of remote learning. Then she asked her students to collaborate with her to help illustrate the pages. Her students created the illustrations for the story during their remote learning experiences at home and sent back with their weekly work to Mrs. Laible. 

Beth reached out to Katie Morrow from ESU 8 for help in printing copies of the book to give to her students as a keepsake from their 2nd grade year, cut short by the pandemic. 

In addition to printing on, Katie created a digital version of their book. Using Keynote and iBooks Author, she enhanced the pages with digital animations to bring the story to life. Mrs. Laible recorded the audio narration in Voice Memos on her iPhone and sent to Katie to add to the pages. The digital version of the book is now published on Apple Books

Now, anyone with an iPhone, iPad or Mac and an Apple ID can download for free and read this beautiful story for themselves!
*Note: The book is best viewed in Apple Books on iPad in portrait orientation. Tap the first page thumbnail and then swipe to each subsequent page for the media to auto-play. Enjoy this story and important message!

If not able to view on an Apple device, you can watch a screen recording of the book on my iPhone here:

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

DigCitCommit Virtual Congress - Febr. 11-12, 2020

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Facebook Headquarters for the first ever DigCitCommit Virtual Congress, sponsored by ISTE and a number of other educational partners. We are still overwhelmed by the people and the mission of this initiative.
The importance of "flipping the narrative" around digital citizenship in schools is necessary now more than ever. Instead of scaring our young people into being safe online and sometimes over-encouraging them to "put away their device", we instead should be promoting positive usage and healthy presence in online spaces for all. 
The DigCitCommit competencies include the following:

  • Inclusive - I am open to hearing and respectfully recognizing multiple viewpoints and I engage with others online with respect and empathy.
  • Informed - I evaluate the accuracy, perspective, and validity of digital media and social posts.
  • Engaged - I use technology and digital channels for civic engagement, to solve problems and be a force for good in both physical and virtual communities.
  • Balanced - I make informed decisions about how to prioritize my time and activities online and off.
  • Alert - I am aware of my online actions, and know how to be safe and create safe spaces for others online. 

I can truly say that because of the DigCitCommit Virtual Congress event, I am inspired by student activists, fueled by positive change agents, and surrounded by new friendships.

Watch some video highlights from the event here:

Resources to join the DigCitCommit efforts in your school: - Full schedule of presentations and topic focus for the two day event - Wealth of DigCit resources from DigCitCommit partners

from ISTE’s YouTube channel - 

Additional Fun

Drew’s project - “Be the Change” video - grand prize winner in the inaugural DigCitCommit Challenge. 

Photos from the event - a Flickr album

Quick Peek at Facebook HQ:

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Template for Literature Circles Learning Journal

Use this template for Lit Circles in Keynote with your students. Distribute the file and show students how to add pages from the template chooser for the various roles they will take on during Literature Circles each week.

Download this template for Literature Circles and open in Keynote

Postcard template for Quick Writing Activities

Use a postcard template for students to practice writing in smaller chunks than a full-length written assignment.

The following templates can be downloaded and shared with students so that they can customize both the content and the design without the fear of "the blank page."

Use this activity as an exit ticket, an end-of-unit review, a mini book report, geography practice, or even grammar practice (use one of each of the 4 types of sentences in your postcard).

Early finishers can add a photo or drawing on the second slide and design the front of the postcard as well.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

An Elf's Key(note) to Toy Making

Considering applying to be hired as one of Santa’s elves? Complete a written application and demonstrate your toy making abilities with Keynote!

Learn some Keynote skills along the way. All it takes is your imagination and you can prove to Santa that he should hire you as his next lead Elf!

Download the Keynote file here

Enjoy some elves-in-training from Mrs. Sladek's Writing classes here:

And a sneak peek into the toy-making process of these elves:

Monday, January 6, 2020

ESU 8 App Design Challenge Day

On December 10, 2019, ten teams of middle school students from ESU 8 schools put their minds to work designing app prototypes for community challenges.

We started the day with a kick-off on the power of learning to code. 

Every student accessed an App Design Journal (in Keynote) and began customizing their journal to document their journey. 

We utilized Challenge Based Learning as a framework for our day's learning. An overarching challenge "Use app design to solve a community challenge" was presented.

Then three community experts presented Big Ideas & Community Challenges for the student teams to ponder. 

Teams each decided on which Big Idea/Challenge they would take on and immediately got busy investigating through guiding questions and activities.

One of the coolest things learned was how easy it can be to create an app prototype in Keynote. After watching this app developer share his WWDC presentation, teams quickly started creating app prototype design plans, storyboards, and hyperlinked Keynote slides to showcase the main features of their thinking.

The day was culminated with an App Showcase where teams presented their app prototype in rotations sharing a 3 minute pitch and time for feedback from visitors.  During round 1 half of the teams presented three different times, while the other half of the teams served as feedback givers. Then in round 2 the roles were reversed. ESU 8 professionals joined the app showcase and were impressed by the ideas and quick turnaround on product by the student teams!

Teachers and students alike were anxious to get back to their schools and explore coding and app design with even more learners. 

A snapshot of an exciting day at ESU 8!