Thursday, 19 June 2014

June 20th, 2014 – Turn your computer into a ‘Mystery Machine’

I understand that everyone is in wind down mode; packing and preparing for a relaxing and restful summer, so when the time comes to begin planning for next year, I have a cool new idea to try with your class – Mystery Skyping!

The concept is simple – classes Skype call one another and try to guess where the other class is located.  One class I am aware of has connected with over 45 different locations around the world during this school year. 

You can either sign up via an online connection site such as 4th Chat Mystery Skype, #Mystery Skype or Mystery State or you can use twitter to make your own connections (#MysterySkype).  Then agree upon a date and time to meet up online – don’t forget about the time alterations due to time zone changes.  Prepare your students to begin answering questions about their part of the world, such as climate, weather, famous people from the area, etc.  Also help them to determine what questions they may be asked by the other classroom and how they will respond.  Some classes choose to group students into different roles - inquirers, researchers, responders, recorders, and mappers.  This way students will not be asking the same question multiple times, and the information can be synthesized into a coherent guess. 

When the call starts, you can simply take on the role of coach and facilitator and allow the students to lead the activity.  Many classes choose to take turns asking questions, however you and your partner class teacher may choose an alternate method. Once the students think they know the location of the Skype callers, they are allowed to make their guess. 

Once the classes have determined where they are located, allow them some time to discuss how their lives are similar or different and to interact with one another.  This is a great way to break down the classroom walls and bring other countries into your classroom.     



June 13, 2014 – Story Telling Made Easy

Happy Friday the thirteenth!!

Today I’d like to share a story making and presentation app that offers many 
options and can quickly turn your own voice recordings into animated presentations with just a few taps.  Adobe Voice is a free story making app that is simple to use and walks you through the process step by step to help create animated videos in minutes.

Once the app is downloaded, you can choose from the pre-made templates such as ‘tell what happened’, ‘show and tell’ or ‘explain something’ or take creative license into your own hands and choose to ‘make up my own’.  Once you have chosen your theme then simply
tap and hold the microphone button while you speak into the iPad to record single sentence snippets of your story.  Next, you can match the spoken words with one of the over 25000 images/icons included in the app or choose to use one of your own from the iPad, Facebook, or simply take one with the iPad camera.  Adobe Voice will add in the animation and background music turning your simple story into a work of art. 

I particularly liked the prompts at the bottom of the page which shows the basic steps in story creating (Who, when and where, this happened, how it ended, etc.) There are options to add text to your story, change the layout of the images, and add your own choice of music or even background themes and colours.  Finally, make your story viewable by the public or keep it private and share your story with others via email, Facebook, twitter or share by message.