Friday, August 5, 2016

The Updated 10 Ways to Show Off the Learning Beyond the Classroom

I first made this list in the summer of 2015. With each year of experience behind me and changes with the tools I'll keep updating this. Most updates were made in 2016, but a few have been added in July, 2017.

New items and information are clearly noted below.

When teachers and students show off the best things they learned, perceptions change and the culture changes. I want to make sure my district is known as a place where important learning happens every day.

But a lot of teachers in my district like hands-on, physical projects. Just how many art exhibits and science fairs can you do a year?

So I compiled this list so even those paintings done with real paint and the science experiment made of food can be shown off to the world.

I made this for the teachers I work with daily, so please keep in mind:
  • It is a tool for awareness, not a how-to guide. Teachers in my district would contact me for one on one help. Since most of you won't have that option, I added links below to many of my Tech Project Packs. They were designed to help teachers quickly incorporate tech into their projects. I wrote about them all on this blog here.
  • Most classrooms in my district use laptops or Chromebooks. I didn't include options for tablets with most of the ideas.

1) Live broadcasts of student presentations - Use The Cube
  • You can broadcast to the internet easily with an iPhone or iPad. 
  • Someone from your school will have to sign up and create an admin account at the site.
  • Share the link to your broadcast with parents or to the community beforehand so anyone can watch live. 
  • The recording can be left online, so people can watch it later if you want.
  • When using live video, be sure you have parent permission to post online and remember not to identify students by first and last name.
  • New information:
    • I actually haven't used The Cube for a couple years now, since I wasn't involved with any live broadcasts in my district. It appears that service still works as described here, but now the two social media options below might be better.
    • I have used Periscope for some personal projects and I love its simplicity.
    • And of course Facebook Live is a very popular way to go now.
    • Update 2017: If I do live announcements now, I'll use YouTube Live.

2) Websites and Blogs - A simple site or blog (created by you or the students themselves) is the starting point for sharing all the other types of project presentations listed below.

3) A PDF ebook - Within seconds anything students make in Google Docs or Slides can be turned into a PDF. From there it can be posted on any blog or website so anyone can open or download it like an ebook.
  • With the file open, go to the File menu and select the option to Download as PDF.
  • Once the PDF is downloaded, upload it to Drive again and share it as needed.
  • New information: This tutorial is specifically about making a comic, but it does show the process of downloading a PDF from Google Slides.

4) InfoPics - If he didn’t invent this simple concept, Tony Vincent is the one who named it and he sings its praises. This really is just a process of adding notes or other text to pictures that are related to a topic. 
  • Here's Tony’s blog post about it (with examples).
  • It would be very easy for students to make these and share the images on a website or blog.The pictures could also be shared by a teacher or a parent on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or any other social network.
  • The device you like to use will dictate the tools, but I’d suggest Google Drawings for computers or Chromebooks. is a good tool on many devices if you want to add more effects to your pictures.
  • New information:
    • Update 2017: I used to recommend Adobe Spark as the first tool to check out for this. They call the pictures with text "Posts". Here's a tutorial about using it. It's still a great tool, but students under the age of 13 cannot sign up for an account without lying about their age.
    • My Tech Project Pack for Infopics has tutorials for all the tools listed here.

5) Infographics
- Students can create infographic images to show facts in a concise, visually appealing way.
  • Finished graphics can be posted on social media or websites and blogs.
  • Piktochart is a great tool for this.
  • Users can log in on Piktochart with their Google accounts.
  • Here’s a good article from Matt Smith with ideas for Piktochart in many subjects.
  • New information:
    • They have added a presentation option to Piktochart. Now with the click of a button the infographic can be used as a more traditional slideshow for live presentations.
    • Here's my Tech Project Pack for infographics.

6) Audio Recordings (podcasts) - Students can create audio recordings and share them online in a variety of ways. These can be completed much faster than a video project. Here are a few details.

7) Virtual books on Flipsnack - This site is a great tool that turns any PDF into a fun virtual book. 
  • Important Note: I found out if students sign in using a Google Apps for Education account it uses the first and last name in the URLs. This is not a good practice. See the link to my new tutorial below about changing the username so it doesn't include student names.
  • I usually create the PDF in Google Slides or Google Docs first, then upload to Flipsnack.
  • Here’s an example I use for a comic assignment.
  • Users can sign into Flipsnack with their Google accounts.
  • Free Flipsnack accounts are limited to three virtual books at a time.
  • New information: Here's an updated video tutorial on turning a Google Slides presentation into a Flipsnack. Be sure to watch the part that shows how to change the username in Flipsnack.

8) Screen Recordings - Think of these as somewhat informal recordings of something the students show on the screen. 
  • These are great for tutorials or presentations.
  • Here’s an example from a teacher who has his students use this method a lot.
  • They’re informal because editing is usually not part of the process. Students need to practice before recording!
  • On a computer with a mic, use Screencast-o-Matic.
  • Final results can be uploaded to Google Drive or YouTube for sharing as necessary.
  • New information: Update 2017: I used to highly recommend the SnagIt for this, but it is no longer available. I use Screencastify. Here is a recent post about how I create these.

9) Digital slideshows - These are a series of pictures combined into a video by using an editing program.
  • These are a step up from screen recordings because you can (and should) edit them.
  • Students can add audio. It might be just background music or they can narrate the slideshow.
  • With narration, these become presentations that present themselves.
  • They make a good introduction to video production, but don’t require as much time.
  • New information:
    • Forget everything you read from my blog about previous methods for this! I now recommend Adobe Spark Videos as the best tool. See this video tutorial for an example and how-to tips.
    • Update 2017: I still like Adobe Spark for video, but we had problems using it on Chromebooks. Also, students under the age of 13 cannot sign up for an account without lying about their age.

10) Videos - Producing a good video is the pinnacle of technology integration in most classes.
  • Good videos require several technology skills and a deep understanding of class content. 
  • There is a huge range of possibilities for complexity. Don’t just tell students they can “make a video”! Know the options and set guidelines that are appropriate for your students.
  • Here are my tips for teachers and students for any video project.
  • New information:
    • I'm in the process up updating some resources for these projects. Honestly, I've found they take a long time and I have been encouraging the digital slideshows over full videos. I will say I now prefer the paid version of WeVideo for the editor. Note that the free version is not COPPA and FERPA compliant.
    • I did post about two video projects we did this year. One was a team building challenge and the other was designed to introduce students to iMovie on an iPad.

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