Ipevo Ziggi HD Plus Document Camera

ipevo_ziggi-hd_plus_slide_04.jpgTeachers like goodies. We like things that make our jobs not only easier, but more effective. Projectors are becoming more the norm in classrooms rather than the exception. Teachers are finding ways to best make use of this wonderful tool.

At a recent EdTech conference (MECA in Mississippi) I was able to obtain the Ziggi HD Plus document camera. To be honest, I wondered just how effective this tool would be, as it was priced at around $100. Talking to Alex, at the Ipevo booth, he promised that this camera had great resolution. I decided I would take this little guy for a spin. Continue reading

The Life of a Chromebook

samsung chromebook

Ask a public school administrator about a cost effective way to try to go 1:1 in a school, and the odds are a good many of them will say to buy Chromebooks.  We had the privilege of being asked to come to a school to pioneer paperless classrooms. We were always known as those teachers who were out there, dancing around the room, doing whatever we could to keep kids engaged. We were also known as those who were always looking for new ways to engage students. To us, this sounded perfect. Continue reading

Using “Fakebook” to teach Point of View

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So, a few months ago I stumbled upon Fakebook. Fakebook is a tool put out by classtools.net that allows students to create what looks a lot like a Facebook page.

I used this while the class read The Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan. I assigned one of the three major characters to each student, and they were tasked with creating a Fakebook page for their assigned character. Continue reading

Paperless Grading Using Flubaroo, Google Sheets, and Google Forms

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To many, going paperless seems like a daunting task. Most teachers have gotten into a comfort zone. They know how things run, they know how long tasks take, they have it down. However, as we progress as educators, we must change with the times. Kids are growing up in a digital age, and it only seems logical that we would teach them the way they are growing up.

The age old pen and paper tests can often be digitized. Let’s face it, many of the tests teachers give are multiple choice. Google Forms is an excellent way to digitally deliver the same test. It saves paper, ink, and grading time. Yes, grading time. One of the chief concerns I hear from teachers is they don’t wish to go paperless because they don’t know how to test and grade tests on a computer. This is where the Google Sheets add-on Flubaroo comes in. Continue reading

Google Sheets and Essay Metrics for Writing

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A couple of weeks ago, I read a tweet about a Google Sheets add-on called Essay Metrics, by Oli Trussell. I clicked the link and did a little reading, and quickly realized just how awesome this tool could be. I added it to my Google Sheets and played with it, and confirmed, yep… this is awesome.

This is one of those add-ons that are great for any subject area. Let’s take a look at it and see how it works, and go from there.

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Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller

I recently finished reading a great book, by Matt Miller, called Ditch That Textbook. For those of you out there who are at least considering the move to being more paperless, I highly recommend this book.

ditchbook

Miller describes his transition to getting rid of the traditional textbook in his foreign language class, a journey similar to what we have experienced doing the same in our English classes.  I rather like that Miller does not just paint it as a happy go lucky experience, where everything went perfectly. He kept it real, which is what educators need. (though not always what educators want)

Continue reading

Wikipedia… a credible source?

Over the years, Wikipedia has managed to create a chasm between educators. Some educators have preached that great evil resides in all things Wiki. Others, such as ourselves, have always said Wiki is a great place to begin research.

Wiki has many advantages over a standard dusty set of 10 year old encyclopedias. Obviously, the fact that it is probably more current is a huge one. Another is the fact that Wiki is searchable. That fact makes it extremely easy to find information that would otherwise be extremely tedious to find.

Wiki has stated that they are not a credible source, however, many educators in the K-12 and Higher Ed systems are beginning to accept Wikipedia citations.

We had the pleasure of presenting paperless classrooms at the Alabama Educational Technology Conference recently. While we were not presenting, we attended other concurrent sessions. One of those sessions was presented by Jeff Utecht. Jeff showed the audience things about Wiki that many of us were not aware of.

For example, all Wikipedia entries are ‘graded’. Entries that are ‘stubs’ or ‘starts’ are generally considered not accurate or credible. However, articles graded as a C level article could be considered credible, and A or B graded articles almost certainly are.

The key here is that you have to teach students how to tell what is credible. You can no longer just preach Wiki is bad, when in fact, it is often more up to date and more accurate than other sources.

So, the question is, how do we see what each article is graded?  It is far simpler than we think.

First, let’s start with the Wiki quality scale. An example of this can be found by scrolling down on the following page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Cricket/Assessment#Quality_scale

Next, in order to find an articles rating, you just click on the TALK tab near the top of the article.

wiki talk link

You then see the screen that gives you some of the nitty gritty about it’s quality rating. This is where you see just how credible an article is.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2bkbfkwtz9fevlw/Screenshot%202015-06-12%2009.01.46.png?dl=0

So, the answer to the question… Is Wikipedia a credible source?  The answer is changing over time… it could be credible.