Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Using WeVideo for EdTech Support



Everyone in education knows that teaching during a pandemic can be challenging. As a technology teacher, I quickly turned into a virtual learning specialist, where my role was completely flipped. This year, I did not teach students, but rather provide EdTech support to teachers, students, staff and parents to navigate the techie world of devices, Internet connections, software applications, professional development and much more.   

One of my goals is to ensure that teachers have the proper tools and training to deliver their content successfully to their students. Throughout the year, I want to make sure teachers are successful so that their students can be successful too. In order for that to happen, it is important “to be in the know” and stay up to date with the latest features and tech. More importantly, to model for teachers so they can see practical ways to use the technology in the classroom with their students.

When providing support via face-to-face or virtually, sometimes it is just easier to explain your point using video. Creating video tutorials allows your audience to learn at their own pace. By pausing or rewinding the video, students can take notes or perform an action to comprehend the concept.

WeVideo offers me a quick way to create video tutorials for staff and share my tutorials via YouTube. Having the ability to create “on the fly” videos and package them with music, animations or special effects allows me to model and deliver my message effectively, confidently and professionally. It also gives me the option to quickly create GIFs, which allows me to use and loop images to portray my message to an audience.  

One of the features that WeVideo offers is the ability to add multiple tracks to a project. When adding tracks, you can choose between a video or audio track.  They allow you to add different types of media on top of your video. Think of it as layers. Using multiple tracks gives you the opportunity to enhance your video. For example, in my tutorials, I always add a new video track and add images to overlay on my video. This allows me to easily adjust the appearance of the image without affecting the video. You can crop, rotate, flip, or fade the image. You can even use a  green screen effect by using the color keying option to mask the color green on your image. The possibilities are endless!

Another tip I sometimes implement is adding a track for backgrounds. I like including backgrounds in my video in case there are gaps between the media in my project. This hides gaps and acts as a nice transition or filler. Plus, it provides my audience with a  professional appeal that I really like. 

Furthermore, I use WeVideo to record my virtual training sessions. This allows me to provide staff with a recording in case they missed the live training. First, I create a new project, then I record my screen and WeVideo runs in the background. At this point, I can proceed with my training knowing that everything I do on my screen is being recorded.  

During one of my recordings, I noticed that it captured my entire screen! It was not limited to the content within my browser tab. This was such a lifesaver! It included all of my browser tabs, my Chrome profile picture, the puzzle piece icon for Chrome extensions, (in the Chrome browser), and all of my pinned Chrome extensions on the right side of the browser. For me, this was important because I needed to demonstrate how to create Chrome profiles, pin Chrome extensions and how to use the 3 dot menu which is in the top corner of the browser.  

In conclusion, WeVideo has played a tremendous part in my role as a virtual learning specialist and technology teacher in supporting teachers, staff, and the school community this year. I have used WeVideo for many school projects to support our community such as our Back to School Night Virtual Presentation, Veteran’s Day Presentation and our Book Vending Machine ceremony. Additionally, I have used WeVideo to present at virtual conferences and used it to showcase technology and STEM for my classroom. WeVideo has made such a tremendous impact on my daily EdTech life that I could not live without it. 


Check out my show The Suite Talk and for the latest episode on using technology in the classroom.

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Monday, February 15, 2021

Black History Month Virtual Gallery

 

February is Black History Month and to support and celebrate it, I decided to create a virtual museum using CoSpaces.  Staff at my school need to, who opted in, create a short video on their role model, in which it was and will be shared with the students on the school channel each morning.  The information was saved in a Google Sheet.

So, I decided to take the role models that were submitted and make a virtual museum, showcasing each person with their picture and facts about their contribution, accomplishment or milestone to the African American community.  Additionally, I created a 20 question Google Forms quiz to make students accountable while viewing the virtual gallery.  

As I mentioned, I used CoSpaces to create a 360°  virtual reality tour that mimics a museum.  I used a building template that was available in the CoSpaces library.  First, I found pictures and facts of each role model that was in the Google Sheet.  I uploaded the pictures into the project then placed them into the building.  I resized them and the text to fit proportionally on the wall.  

Next, I changed the appearance of the walls in each room by adding color and texture. I also added wall art to fill in the empty spaces.  On the outside of the virtual museum, I changed the texture of the wall to bricks and added more wall art. I included my school symbol, the paw print, and a sign for the building.  Then, I added some characters into each room, some were animated, and some were not, to make the experience more authentic.  

Finally, the placement of the camera was a bit challenging.  I did not know where to place the camera.  Every time I played the scene, the camera was not in a place where it would allow me to easily see the entire tour.  Also,  at first, I was not able to pan through the tour.  Then, I discovered the 'orbit' mode on the camera and that solved that issue.  The orbit setting allowed me to move through the virtual museum as if I was walking.  It made all the difference in the world.  Afterwards, I found placing the camera high above the building was the best placement for the students to be able to view the entire building.

So far, I received a lot of positive feedback.  I am so glad I was able to created a resource that both the teachers and students enjoyed.  I can't wait to create my next project. 

Check out my virtual museum.  Click the link or view it within the blog post. 




Check out my show The Suite Talk and for the latest episode on using technology in the classroom.

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The CoderZ Tech Bytes Event


If you are teaching STEM, robotics or coding and need a new resource to use with your students, give CoderZ a try.  CoderZ is an online application that will allow your students to program a virtual robot.  The application targets all level of expertise from grades 4-12 and offers block base programming or Python programming.  You can learn more about their courses by visiting their website, www.gocoderz.com and click on learn.  Additionally, I would recommend signing up for a 14 day free trial to see how your students respond to it. 

I just completed a debut live stream event of CoderZ called, CoderZ Tech Bytes for teachers by a teacher. In the session, I spoke about using CoderZ in the classroom, provided an overview of the courses, and how teachers can check and monitor student progress.  Additionally, I demonstrated the outline of each course, the supporting materials and resources for teachers, and coding platform that includes the solutions.  

I also demonstrated how you can differentiate for students by creating your own project using the My Projects option.  This provides you with the flexibility to define your own mission, or even have students create their own mission.  

If you missed the live episode and would like to catch up on the recording, jump over to my YouTube channel or click here to access it.

You can check out my CoderZ Tech Bytes Wakelet collection on the event to view what I covered and any additional links that I mentioned in the event. 

Don't forget to join the CoderZ Facebook Group

I plan on offering my Tech Byte events for teachers in the future. In the meantime, if you watched the recording, please leave any feedback or questions in the Facebook group.  This will help me plan for the next event.  

Thank you and I hope you found the event helpful.



Check out my show The Suite Talk and for the latest episode on using technology in the classroom.

Do you want to share and #PayitForward? Fill out the Guest Inquiry Form and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Remote Teaching and Digital Badges



Student engagement in virtual teaching can be challenging.  Having students interact with you with their cameras off or responding to a question in the meeting chat is not a normal.  For me, it is hard to adjust to this type of interaction and unfortunately, it is the new normal. 

During my robotics club, I wanted to encourage student engagement and spark conversations.  I wanted to see and hear my students.  So, I decided to take old concept of digital badges, and use them in my robotics club.  I explained to them how they would earn a digital badge and it  worked! The students turned on their cameras and unmuted themselves and even chatted with each other during club. I was so happy the digital badges sparked this type of engagement and conversations.

I created my own badges in Canva, downloaded them and added them into a Google Slide presentation.  I told the students to create a digital avatar of themselves and add it to the a slide.  Once they did that, I changed the Slides to view only, and started to add the badges.









You can also create a badge grid in Google Drawings. 

  • Set the page up for 9600 x 5400 pixels
  • Insert a table with the amount of rows and columns
  • Insert each badge into a cell in the table
  • Download the grid as an image
Use Jamboard
  • Create a new Jam and share it with your students as view only
  • Change the background image to the badge grid
  • Duplicate the frames
  • Add a shape to cover the badge
  • Add a label to describe the badge
  • When the student earns the badge, delete the label and text box to reveal it.
 

Here is a sample Jamboard of Badged Up.

Enjoy!



Check out my show The Suite Talk and for the latest episode on using technology in the classroom.

Do you want to share and #PayitForward? Fill out the Guest Inquiry Form and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Thinking Different with Jamboard

                      
Alice Keeler and I are working on a new book about using Jamboard in the classroom. We are providing Jam templates and ideas on using it with your students. 

While collaborating and discussing our view points, one thing we agree on is that Jamboard is not a presentation tool, but a collaboration tool.  Think about it, does it have a 'present' button like Google Slides?  If you want to create a presentation, use Google Slides.  There is nothing wrong with that.

With that said, think of how you can use Jamboard as an innovation tool to interact, and promote the 4c's of education as well as supporting Webb's Depth of Knowledge. Check out the DOK chart below and visit the website Rethinking Learning by Barbara Bray for more information about it.



So, as I create templates, I ask myself a few questions:

  • Does the activity promote higher order thinking?
  • How can students use it to collaborate together?
  • Is this replicating a worksheet?
  • Is this a presentation?

As I write this book, I continue to think and learn about new ways to use Jamboard.   One of the many reasons why I love Jamboard is because it gives the students the opportunity to organize and visualize their learning.  Everyone learns differently and Jamboard definitely supports that.  I always said, Jamboard is a space where you have to think out of the box! So, think big and challenge yourself! Your students will rise to the occasion!

If you are using Jamboard and would like to share your Jamboard idea with me, please fill out the form and I will add it to the PayitForward Jamboard Ideas by Teachers for Teachers presentation


Check out my show The Suite Talk and for the latest episode on using technology in the classroom.

Do you want to share and #PayitForward? Fill out the Guest Inquiry Form and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

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