Reflections on CUE

At the 2014 CUE conference, CUSD’s own Valerie Cypert, Molly Hardy, and Greg Pitzer each presented about EdTech.  Click Here to check out our collaborative notes and other presentation resources we have found.  In addition to the collaborative notes we took we wanted to share some of our main take-aways.

Molly:  Jon Corippo gave an amazing presentation with “Uber Geeky” tricks on how to use Keynote.  Biggest mind blowing moment was when he showed us how to make a green screen in Keynote then move it over to iMovie.  Boom!  You can find his slides below by clicking the icon.  I also learned about View Pure which allows you to block ads before a YouTube video, and it won’t post the suggested videos at the end.  Sometimes you don’t know what you are going to get with those “suggested” videos.  Quiet Tube will block comments and ads in the beginning of a YouTube video, but it will keep the suggestions of other videos at the end.

Uber Geeky Keynote Slides

Stephanie: CUE14 brought me up to speed about STEM education. Specifically, I learned about the design process and that some well-known resources (Khan, PBSKids, KQED science, Lego WeDo, Logo, to name a few) already include STEM projects we can use right now. I left wanting to learn more about how to integrate Scratch programming (Scratch.MIT.edu)** into our math and science curricular offerings and am ready to work alongside teachers who are interested in doing so. It was also satisfying to hear multiple presenters discuss how the Math Practices and NGSS can be addressed when weaving technology into instruction to enhance the learning experience.

**Teacher should contact parents before creating any accounts for students under 13

Greg:  I found several nuggets in two categories at CUE – the systems level and individual tools level.  On the systems level, the highlights are evaluating LMS systems, new iPad management solutions from Apple, and iTunesU.  The individual tools I found of interest: Easel.ly, Infogr.am, Tackk.**

**Teacher should contact parents before creating any accounts for students under 13

Easel.ly and Infogr.am are great tools for students to create infographics.  What are infographics?  They are digital posters where students can show research and data about a particular concept.  It’s a great combination of information literacy, data analysis, and communication skills.  You can see the presenter’s website on how to structure an infographic project.  Tackk is a new publishing service which is a combination of website, poster, blog and works on either a laptop or iPad.  Publishing is easy with a variety of items you an insert from photos to videos.

As Amy references below, we are looking at a learning management system that will provide a safe environment for teachers and students to interact with each other.  There were several session looking at the pros and cons of different systems, how they interact with other schools systems such as SIS and report cards.  I think one of the major takeaways was how to ensure that the LMS we select can import data from our SIS and other resources and data tools can export data from the LMS as well.   Apple has released several new programs for managing iPads in the last month.  Now, students under 13 can get a protected Apple ID with their parent’s permission which is beneficial for moving towards a 1:1 environment.  When the student turns 13, the ID turns into a regular Apple ID.  We are trying this our currently with students at Lawson MS.  This ties into the next system which allows schools to purchase apps, distribute them to specific iPads and then pull them back and reuse them. In the past, once an app was used, you couldn’t reclaim it.  The last change is the way district iPads are tied to our management system.  With the new system, we can force our iPads to be enrolled with us and users will not be able to delete the profile – as is what happened in LA.  So look for some new ways to manage the iPads which should make it easier to get what you need on them and into students’ hands.

Amy:  High on my radar for CUSD at CUE14 was how to improve digital workflow between apps on the iPad and getting them seamlessly stored in a secure place for students, teachers, and parents to access.  With so many shared iPads across classrooms, getting student work saved is becoming quite a challenge!  I spent time looking at different Learning Management Systems (LMS) that could help accomplish this so we could come up with a coherent solution for our district.  No decisions have been made yet, but one is forthcoming!

I also spent time learning about other district rollouts of BYOD programs (Bring Your Own Device).  We might as well learn from their mistakes, right?  Definitely some interesting tidbits as we think about how to meet our board priority to have more students using technology in their individual and group learning everyday in an equitable and coherent way!

What seemed to be missing from this conference was attention to some of the data privacy issues that have been surfacing in light of recent criticisms of InBloom (or the Shared Learning Collaborative) and the Department of Education’s recent release of the Privacy Toolkit and Hotline to help protect student data and privacy.

Now for the fun stuff.  Have you ever heard of the term “round-tripping”?  Round-tripping is basically when you send files between two different applications to do what you can’t do in just one app.  It’s similar to “App Smashing,” but instead of being a linear workflow, it goes back and forth between two different applications.  I learned about this from Jon Corippo, edtechie extraordinaire.  I highly recommend checking out his website.  Here’s an example.  Let’s say you want to make an interactive movie with animations and text.  That’s pretty tough to do in iMovie – it’s easy to record and edit video on iMovie, but create animations with text?  That’s tough.  One of the easiest tools to make your own custom animations, however, is Keynote!  Start with what you want in Keynote: create your slides with text and animate whatever objects you desire.  Then export the Keynote as a Quicktime Movie and import it into iMovie.  Now you have a movie you can edit and you can also add audio tracks.  But you don’t have to stop there.  You can import the iMovie BACK into Keynote and turn it into an interactive presentation where you can select to play the movie based on which slide you jump to (think DVD main menu).  You can do so much with two apps that are now free!  These two apps can help middle school students build awesome projects!

One last nugget that I thought applies not only for students who have difficulty with vision but also for adults!  It’s the accessibility features that are available on both the iPad and on the Mac OS.  Apple has done a really nice job making accessibility features seamless to the user experience.  Do you ever have trouble finding your mouse?  Make your cursor size bigger!  Have trouble reading small text on your screen?  Use the Zoom feature and set a few shortcuts to zoom in easily!  Do you get frustrated when you try to use the keyboard shortcuts but can’t seem to hold down two keys at once?  Enable Sticky Keys!  If you’re struggling with using your technology, there is likely a solution that can help you.

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