Success with AirPlay!

Yesterday, I finally was successful in projecting exactly what was on my iPad wirelessly to an older projector with only VGA. It took 3 tries to find the correct converter box, but ViewHD was the success. I was able to hook up the projector to the converter and the converter to an Apple TV. The key to the proper conversion was HD in to VGA out. A lot of the other converters were doing the opposite.  I then used AirPlay to mirror what was on my iPad. Today, I did it again, only this time, my high school students figured out how to do it, as well. Five minutes later of them booting each other off of the projector screen, we settled down to read our iBook of I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. This novel study is going well. I purchased a wireless speaker to attach to my iPad and we use that to listen to the audiobook and follow with the ebook. We use the highlighting tool to highlight difficult vocabulary, the dictionary tool to look up a word (although my new favorite dictionary is and our Google Site to share definitions and summaries. I have also started a forum site on Leflora to have the students answer discussion questions. The kids seem to like the content and how I’m delivering it. It’s been a good, but busy week.

Google Site

Yesterday, I was developing my unit plan for our new novel study, I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. As I was doing this, I was trying to figure out the best delivery model for the assessment pieces (vocabulary, comprehension, collaboration). I found this teacher’s wiki: This was exactly as I wanted to do. I started recreating it on my wikispaces (which I hardly ever use), but then realized I had everything I already wanted at my Google Site. My ELLs are already pretty comfortable with getting on the site. We’ve saved it to our home screens for easy access. I currently use the site for uploading class files and giving them their warm-ups. All I had to do was grant them access to edit and we were set for the collaboration piece. I created pages for the vocabulary and the comprehension. I left the vocabulary blank, because I want this to come organically from our reading. I bought the book as an iBook. Students will use the highlighter tool. We can then add these words to our google site and do the student-friendly definitions and translations. As for the comprehension, I wanted it to look like a discussion forum. Google Sites does not have this embedded (yet), so I had to create an outside one and use an iframe to embed the forum. I chose Lefora based upon a recommendation. I emailed the students invites. Hopefully, this all goes smoothly. We shall see today at 1:06. #wishmeluck

My Perfect Digital Textbook

I have a vision. It is so clear; it’s almost as if I can feel the digital pages curling beneath my fingers. The textbook would be full of the most current content available on the web. It would have important people and ideas hyperlinked to 3D images that can be spun with the flick of a finger. I’m thinking of a bust of Mozart being able to be turned to see all 360 degrees. It would have vocabulary linked to the glossary, which was also in every language available on sites like Google Translate. Speaking of which, the entire textbook could change languages at the tap of a button on each page or as a setting for the whole book. Timelines would not be static; they would be dynamic, interactive hyperlinks. At the tap of a button on the timeline, images, video, and links within the textbook would become available. Charts, graphs, and tables could be drilled down to access even more data. Maps would of course be Google Earth-like. Videos would be embedded throughout with additional content. Music would even be included as an extra insight into something historical, cultural, or artistic. The typical quiz/review features would be clickable quizzes which provided students with feedback and show more content to help them understand what they missed. Project-based learning and social networking would be embedded throughout with instant access to twitter feeds, wikis, blogs, and creation apps to enhance the learning. This is my vision for the perfect digital textbook. Does it exist?

Terrific News Re:iBooks

Long story short, I was trying to buy I am Number Four as iBooks for my class set of iPads through iTunes. I thought I was being all legal and whatnot by trying to buy 17 copies. As it turns out, you only have to buy 1 copy per account and you can share it with ALL devices under the same account [Verified by speaking to an Apple rep on the phone]. Whoopee!! This means in a school setting, if all iPads/iPod Touches etc. were under the same account (even if it’s 100s) they could all have the same ebook (and audiobook and movie). Wow! Thank you, Apple. Once again, I bow to you.

iPad apps and activities- Part 2

Next, I decided to do a unit on Little Red Riding Hood. Perhaps I was inspired by the new TV shows Once Upon a Time or Grimm, but I knew the story would translate across cultures and we would be starting with already developed schema. This unit is leading into reading a novel, so I want to shore up my students comprehension for that.

First, I introduced the story of Little Red Riding Hood by viewing a YouTube video of a British version. I then used a SmartBoard activity I found on SmartExchange to go over the characters, setting, problem, and solution of the story. We then viewed Lon Po Po on YouTube and completed the SmartBoard lesson. Next up was a Reader’s Theater script. The next time I do this type of activity, I would use GoodReader, but instead we did paper version so the students could highlight the script. Now we were ready to use the iPads for creating a project. Students went to Google Images and saved images of each of the five main characters and three settings in their camera rolls. They then used Puppet Pals (buy the Director’s Pass– it’s worth the money over the free one). Each student was responsible for adding their characters and setting them up properly into the app. The students then broke into 2 groups and recorded the actions and voices for the puppets. The key language learning that went on during this part of the activity was they students had to take the reader’s theater previously used and simplify the script. They also had to make the actions represent the words which demonstrated deep understanding of the text. The ELLs did a great job with this. They even incorporated humor, which was amazing for these low beginners to intermediate students. Lastly, the kids exported the movies into iMovie, connected the clips together, and exported once again to my YouTube channel. Wow, did they ever work hard!