Common Sense Media

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Struggling with how to integrate digital citizenship into your classroom, or how to support a school wide digital citizenship curriculum?  Look no further than Common Sense Education.  This is a resource for educators, administrators, and parents who have one goal in mind- educate our children to be successful and safe in the digital age.  

CSM has a plethora of resources available on their site- commonsensemedia.org.  I would encourage all educators and parents to peruse the site.  It is a gold mine of information.  

Educators and administrators should look at the scope and sequence tool found here.  


As you can see in the screenshot above, the curriculum covers all essential areas of digital citizenship.  The drop down menu allows you to filter by grade band, making it even easier to find age appropriate lessons.  The lessons are amazing quality.  This is what I would consider an essential resource not to be overlooked.  



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Collaborate & Annotate in PDFs with Notable

Wednesday, February 18, 2015



I am a huge fan of using Google docs for collaborative work including reading and writing activities. I have often wished that I could get the same functionality for PDFs.  Enter, Notable.  Notable PDF is a Chrome browser extension tool.  I believe it also works on other browsers with a web app.  I am a huge Chrome fan, so that is what I used.

Once installed, you can easily view any PDF and annotate it.  Even more impressive, you can share out your uploaded PDFs with groups to allow for collaborative annotation.  Imagine the possibilities!  For educators, this can mean collaborative discussions around reading material, or groups annotating during a close read.  What's more, your collaborators have the option of signing in, or they can skip the sign in step and log-in as a guest.  I have used both, and when using guest I have simply asked my collaborators to add comments with their first name.

In addition to collaborative reading and discussions, you can easily use this as an assessment and feedback tool.  Great way for students to get feedback from teachers or peers.

How to get started?   Head on over to their website: https://www.notablepdf.com/.  They have a great tutorial video and instructions to help you get started.  Once you load the extension, it is really self-explanatory- the tool walks you through step by step.

Here is a sneak peak at what the tools look like once you have uploaded your PDF.  In this example, I have pointed out the comment bubble.  As a teacher, you could use the comment bubble to post reading prompts or questions.  Students can simply click "reply" to the comment for a threaded type discussion in the PDF.

When it is all done, you have the option to save to Google Drive, or export (with or without the annotation layer).

Try it!! You will not be disappointed!



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Visual Literacy & Information Literacy Lesson to Support CCSS

Thursday, November 27, 2014

This lesson is based on the work of my sister- Fawn Canady- thank you for sharing!  :)

What I like about this lesson is that it uses visual information to ignite critical thinking skills.  It can be scaled and modified to fit the needs of almost any subject area or grade level. The extension activity of utilizing the CRAAP tool as a framework to guide critical thinking for research is a lifelong skill that all students need.

Objective: Utilize images to develop inquiry skills.
Standards
CCRA:R-  Integration of Knowledge and Ideas K-12
7.  Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
CCRA:W- Research to Build and Present Knowledge K-12
7.  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
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.
CCRA: SL- Comprehension and Collaboration K-12
1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing  their own clearly and persuasively.
2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Activity:
  1. Observe the photo.
  2. Document your observations using the tool > primary source analysis tool.
  3. Then, as a group compare and share.
  4. In your small group, generate a question to guide inquiry and research.
  5. Research your question (using the CRAAP test
Resources:


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Support Close Reading with ThingLink!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thinglink is an amazing digital tool that can be used to support learning in many different ways.  It is used to capture visual information and add "links" or "hotspots" to deepen the meaning.    These links might take you to a website, a video, or text.  I have been experimenting with different digital tools to support close reading and tried out using Thinglink to see how it might work out.

Here is a simplistic example of an excerpt from the text, Plastic Ocean, by Captain Charles Moore.  Keep in mind, this is me just messing around- not an exemplar, you get the idea!

There are many ways you could leverage this tool:
  • Reading- ask students to create links to answer text dependent questions.
  • Vocabulary- support vocabulary by linking to images that help make meaning.
  • Discussion- use as an ongoing discussion platform (can use the comment feature below the "Thinglink") 
Get creative and make an interactive collage!  Below is a video posted by Julian Buss that explains how to use pic monkey and Thinglink to create an interactive collage!  Here is my simple example, and another. These are by no means an exemplar, but you get the point!


Another extension idea- why not link voice recordings to visualize thinking!  Using a quick tool, such as RecordMP3 would work great. 

As a teacher, you can sign up for an edu account.  When you sign up as a teacher, you can register students (no e-mail needed).  This will allow each student to actually create their own individual thinglinks.  I would recommend setting up "channels" for different classes, or even projects.  When students create their individual product, they can pin it to that channel.  This makes it easy for you as the teacher to see the final projects and assess.  Check out the tutorials for teachers, it helps!






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Make videos INTERACTIVE!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ready for a video tool that will make video and media viewing interactive?  Try Edpuzzle.  This tool is amazing.  You can easily upload videos you have created (perfect for teacher created flipped learning videos), or use videos that are already created from other sites- like YouTube.  See all the options for source videos-


Once you have chosen your video, you can add different interactive elements- comment fields and questions, add voice over, and clip/ edit your video.   As a teacher, you can choose whether or not your students are allowed to skip ahead.  After your students have completed your tasks, you can check on the progress.


Below is a look at what a teacher dashboard look like- (this one doesn't have any student data, but you get the point!)

This is truly a game-changer.  It allows students to gain practice viewing and analyzing media (which is a crucial skill for a 21st century learner).

 Check out this video to learn more:




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Curriculet- Digital Reading to a Whole New Level!

Friday, August 15, 2014


Curriculet takes digital reading to the next level.  This interface allows teachers to customize the reading experience and share it seamlessly with students.

Check out this video for an overview:



You can add elements to make the reading experience more dynamic.  Selecting text allows you to interact by defining words, adding questions, quizzes, or annotations.


Here is an example of an image that was added as an annotation to help students visualize the French Quarter.


In this curriculet, the annotation contains a video for students to explore:



You can embed questions to check for understanding:


As you can see in these examples, curriculet adds value to digital reading in so many ways.  Check it out and see for yourself!








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Collaborative Reading Experience with Subtext

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I finally decided to dig in and try out Subtext.  It certainly lives up to the "buzz".  With a teacher Subtext account, you can share any digital text with your students while adding conversation prompts, questions, and more.  Below is a sneak peak at some features that I tested:

At this point in time, you will see more functionality on the app than you will on the web version.  They plan to release a full web version in the Fall of 2014- at this point it is in beta format.

As you can see in the screenshot below, it has a very simple menu interface.



You can find content or, load a "save to subtext" browser clipper to add content from the web.  This is a very cool feature- you are not limited to curated content from Subtext.... any digital content you find on the web can be used within Subtext.    

To create a class, you simply look for the groups block and click on "create group".  It will generate a code which your students can use to sign up for your class.  When students join, they will see what content you have shared with them to read.  

When you click on the book or article that has been added to your library, you can then open it up and look for the discuss bubble.  (This is a free feature)


After clicking the discuss icon, this is a sample view of what you will see.  (This particular example shows another Subtext reader who has posted some comments)  If I choose, I can simply reply and add to the conversation.  (I blacked out this user to protect privacy).



When you find an article, it is very easy to share with your groups.  


Once you have chosen a text and shared it with your group, you as the teacher can start by adding some discussions.  Check out the types of interactions you can add- comments, questions, polls & quizzes.  


To get the most functionality- data tracking and assignment features you have to buy licenses.  However, even the basic free functions are impressive.  

One more thing- you can use Subtext within Edmodo!  I haven't tried this out yet, but I can imagine it is a very slick way to use it!!






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