Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tech Learn Coffee - Podcasts for Classroom Innovation

If you are looking for a new source of inspiration and ideas, start following TLC Ninja Teachers. This podcast for Teachers by Teachers is designed to inspire classroom innovation. It is the creation of two California educators, Nancy Minicozzi and Lisa Nowakowski. These podcasts are planned for a 15 minute time slot so they are quick and easy listening.

Their latest podcast feature Sandra Chow talking about Virtual Reality:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Global Audience Project

When you are ready to break down the walls of your classroom and connect your students with the world, where do you start?

That question is asked by many teachers each year.

Enter The Global Audience Project as a solution. This site, created by Google Innovator Brian Costello, works like an online dating service for school projects. There are several searchable databases. Share your projects so others can connect with you as an audience. Find other classes to work collaboratively together. Meet a coach if you are just getting started with breaking your classrooms walls down.

Brian Costello appeared on the TLC Ninja Podcast talking about this project. Watch below:

Global Green Screen Challenge with PicForward

Here is a simple and fun project that could have a global impact.

Lord Lansdowne School in Toronto, Ontario has started a global green screen challenge called PicForward. Each month, they will post new green screen images on their site. Participating schools can download the images and add them to the background of their choice. You can add other images and text to the picture. When finished, share the image on Twitter with the hashtag #PicForward or add to their Facebook page. It is that simple!

Their site,, is full of examples, tech tips, and software suggestions. They want to get images from all over the world so students can see the reach of their project and start global conversations. There is even a map on the site to see where the images are coming from.

I sent my students to take pictures that are uniquely our school. Being the Unicorns, we have a some interesting murals and artwork. Here is what we submitted:

Look, Mom! Unicorns do exist!

The students took pictures with my iPad. We used the Green Screen for Do Ink app (, which is only $2.99, to create the image. It was incredibly simple to make. I shared it through my Twitter account when it was finished.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Student-created Review with Video Clip Projects

Yesterday my high school daughter was doing homework in the car and started to sing, "I'm so nefarious that means I'm evil." If you instantly recognize that line, you too have watched the Quack SAT vocabulary videos. When I taught 10th grade English about ten years ago, I used those videos in my class. My daughter, who would have been about seven at the time, still remembers the vocabulary she learned while watching those with me in lesson preparation. If you have never seen these videos, watch below:

These videos are a great way to teach SAT vocabulary with audio and video clips demonstrating with actions and jingles what the words mean. They are silly and really help the vocabulary stick.

So I was thinking, wouldn't this be an awesome way to review for a major exam?

If students collaboratively create short review videos after each unit, they can watch them all when reviewing for a final exam. Use movie clips, original recordings, and commercials. Find ways to make the content catchy and memorable. Allow students to use technology to learn in a more meaningful way than completing a printed exam review. Plus, you can share the videos across class periods so they are building knowledge for the whole student group.

As for the technology needed, students can use iPads, web cams, Smartphones, digital cameras, 360 degree cameras, or any recoding devices available. Edit the videos using software like iMovie, Media Player, WeVideo, or Mozilla Popcorn Maker. The possibilities are as vast as their imaginations!