Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What does it all mean?

So Apple is going to live stream their event tomorrow. To me this means one of two things. Either they really don't have much to show or share so don't care that it's streamed, or they have something so spectacular coming that they want everyone to have access to the info immediately. I am hoping for the latter, but not holding my breath.


Monday, August 30, 2010

iPad Discoveries for Me Today!

I made a couple of discoveries about the iPad today that have increased my excitement about this device. The first is the the release of an update to Pages that allows for exporting of documents in the ePub format. This means you can take documents and make books out of them pretty easily. Not 1-2-3 easy, but pretty danged easy.  I was able to create a document with pictures and even video that worked in iBooks. This is pretty powerful. It really ups the game for teachers. 
The second discovery really only applies to educators in Utah, but UTIPS (Utah Test Item Pool Service) is nearly fully functional on the iPad. You can create and take assessments on the iPad. The only thing I didn't try was uploading media, which I suspect won't work, but for the rest this is pretty cool. 
Here is a link to the example "book" that I created this evening. UTIPS Basics ePub


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Contrasting views?

A couple of items on social media caught my eye this morning. First Leo Laporte has talked about social media's failure for him. http://leoville.com/buzz-kill

On the flip side Elana Leoni in Edutopia, writes about how we educational entities are setting up students to fail in the digital space by no allowing access and teaching them to use social media responsibly. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/140conf-twitter-education


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good Day

Good day today. Got at least part of the house looking like a house again. Got to see brother and sister. Kids and grandkids coming this afternoon to spend family time with 18 yo before she heads away for school tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Design with Forever in Mind - ISTE 2010 Session by Ben Wilkoff

Capturing, Creating, and Collecting Learning - Ben Wilkoff - learningischange.com

This session was about what forever means as it relates to how our students work survives in todays world. It focused on capturing the student voice, whether that be through audio, video, text, etc. These are the concepts that Ben presented. (My comments in italics)

A great question to lead off... How do you create learning that last forever? ...and what does forever mean anyway?

  • Forever does not mean planning for storing things indefinitely.
  • Forever does not mean password protecting all of your ideas and creations.
  • Forever does not mean that your work remains unchanged over time.
  • Forever does not mean you are storing it.
  • Forever does not mean that everything should be preserved

Forever means more than that.

It means: 

  1. Done does not exist.
  2. Everyone has something to teach.
  3. Exit strategies are not optional.

So, how do you capture your learning? How do your students capture theirs?

This is where I think we as educators have to be extremely wise in the choice of tools. If we try to keep student work in a walled garden, we will fail. They want to be heard. If we don't provide the desired tools and the spaces there are many places online that will. But in providing those spaces there has to be an exit strategy, if not they will not choose to use our spaces.

How will you capture learning thorough Voice?

How do you (will you) use cell phones to capture learning?

Capturing Learning through Video and the Screen

  • The Record Button
  • Video Collaboration
    • Open Spokes - openspokes.com
      • Ask questions and record answer in video.
      • If you have a webcam 
      • Ask and frame a question at Open Spokes.

Capturing Learning though objects, Email, and Real-time creation:

This is an important message. Students are creating,we need to help them find spaces to help them do that and also will enable them to continue to build on their thoughts and ideas. Oh yeah, and be able to get to them again 3-5 years from now.

ABC Swap - App Review

App Title: ABC Swap Grade Level: PreK-2 Purpose: B Program Functionality: C Overall Educational Value: B- Cost: $-Free Recommendation: I found this app through one of the Free App of the Day Sites. It is still free, which in my mind always makes it worth taking out for a spin. It also doesn'traise expectations too high, however this app for it's simplicity yet variety surpassed the expectations I had.
When you open ABC Swap you see this screen with an Alligator and letters mixed up. Unless that is, the quiz mode is turned off, in which case you will see the word spelled correctly. Beneath the letters there are 4 icons. The first will take you back from any of the 26 screens (one for each letter) to the Ascreen. The second will speak the name of the picture. The third button flips the screen and allows the user to trace the upper and lower case letter with their finger. It also gives the pattern for creating the letter. This is my favorite aspect of the program. For children just learning how to write the alphabet I think this is pretty powerful. Although I did not check thoroughly, I do believe it uses the Zaner-Bloser styles.

The last button is for the preferences for which there are 4 setting you can change. The first preference is for the Quiz Mode. You can turn the quiz mode on and off. With quiz mode on, the letters for the word are scrambled. This for me is what extends the use of the program a little beyond 1st grade. Some of the words are pretty simple, but others are a little more difficult, like alligator. In the quiz mode, the user drags the letters around until the word is spelled correctly. The app corrects you with each move of a letter, which is good in some ways, but gets tedious and is not specific enough in its correction. Each time is just says Try Again.

This impacts the second preference which is Auto Go To Next. If this is turned one, when a user spells a word correctly the screen will automatically advance to the next word. The third preference is for the background music, which is basically bird and other nature noises. It can get a little irritating and distracting, but kids will like it. The final preference is for the size of the pen you trace the letters with. the default is medium and seems to be the best size for the activity.

To move back and forth through the screens you simply swipe left or right. Now, the test is how a child would react to this app, so I let my 5 year-old grandson have at it for awhile. He liked flipping through the screens and hearing the names of the animal. He flipped a few of the screens to trace letters, but that didn't hold his interest for very long. He did actually like having the quiz turned on and worked to get the words spelled. The longer ones frustrated him which I suspected they would. Next I gave it to the 3 year-old. He didn't care at all about the tracing, but he loved flipping through the screens and hearing the names of the animals and repeating them. This leads to my biggest criticism of the program. The app never gives the sound or name of the letter. It only speaks the name of the animal. It seems for an app called ABC anything you should probably here the sound and/or name of the letter. For this reason alone my wife (a kindergarten teacher) was not enthused about the app. This could be fixed in an update, but I don't know if the developer has the inclination to do so. This was previously a paid app, I don't know if the reduction to free is temporary or permanent. I will try to contact the developer to see if there are any plans for upgrades and what the pricing will be going forward. All in all I think this app might have a place in some classrooms, but with a few refinements could be much more helpful in teaching the alphabet and sounds to children. Classroom Use Examples / Ideas: I really like the variety of activities for such a simple app. For a K-2 teacher the handwriting aspect is interesting. I think this app would work pretty well in a center of 4-5 iPods/iPads in a K-2 classroom. Developer Website: http://touchnology.blogspot.com/ ITunes Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abc-swap-flashcard/id313357256?mt=8

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Oh Hail!

My wife and son insist these fell on our yard today. I'm skeptical. Also happy my car wasn't in the way. Although those who know my car wonder what it would matter.

Kelly Dumont
EdTech Team Lead
Canyons School District

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Kid trying out for a fall baseball team. I thought we just finished with this and no I am not coaching. KD