Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Web 2.0-Class Parrot

Thanks to my friend, Cynthia, I just signed up for and started using Class Parrot @

It's very easy to get started, you create an account (free) and then create your classes.  If you teach/sponsor only one class/activity, you might only need to create one class.  I created three just for practice, I also created one class for my Professional Development class so that I can demo the product. Once you've created the class, you get a unique log-in for each class.  You can print out instructions for the log-in that look like this:

My students were able to send the text to sign up and got a response immediately.  We then sent a few practice texts and even a poll! They loved it, actually asked me if I would start using it to remind them about tests, etc. 

I can see it being very useful for large groups like band, choir, cheer, etc.  The best thing about it is that no phone numbers are exchanged. You do have to set it up and send from a computer at the moment, the web site says they are working on an app that you could use from a smartphone.
The initial setup is free and you earn credits by signing up others. So, if you're interested, please sign up using my link!
Hope you enjoy this little APPle! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

RILS Reflection

This was a very fun activity, I definitely see me doing it again for my second semester classes.  I was thinking about changing the brainstorming process, to make sure that students picked accurate analogies BEFORE they took pictures.  But, after talking with my students, I think it's better to have them figure it out during the evaluation phase.  By waiting, both groups will learn from the analogies that are not appropriate.
Next semester I am going to work on an evaluation form that they can give back to the team with the "graded" analogy.  I'm also going to find some other activities that they can do using the iPod Touches and Strip Designer!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

W4-RILS Links to Comments

My FSU classmate, Cyndee Taresh has posted her RILS on Educator Studio.  Cyndee's project involved using Wordle and Facebook!! I love it when teacher's use social media in the classroom, kids are going to use it no matter what we do...we might as well use it to our advantage.  Here's my comment on Cyndee's project.

Another classmate, Sahpreem King, designed his project around a web 2.0 tool called StoryJumper and used his son Kahlil to illustrate the effectiveness and ease of use for this tool.  See my comments on his project here.

My classmates, Kristen and Katie, have created and implemented an interesting project using Voki that involves a group of students using the animated avatars to tell about themselves.  Great work, ladies! Here's a link to my comment on Kristen's blog.

Another classmate, Irving Peralta, posted an awesome Final Project for ETC using iGoogle.  Irving introduced his teaching team to the organization tools in iGoogle and Google calendar, as well as Blogpost.  In his video you can really see the interest and excitement in his team, it put a smile on my face!  Here's a link to my comment: Irving Peralta's Final Project.

BP7-Final Project-RILS

Relevant and Innovative Learning Scenario
Cynthia Madanski and Amanda Rhymer

Brief Overview: As part of the National Science Standards students must learn about the form and function of each organelle in a eukaryotic cell.  This can be a daunting task for students who can’t relate to a “powerhouse” or a “control center.”  Using analogies, a camera and a comic application we can turn this into a fun activity.
  • Cynthia Madanski’s 8th grade students will only focus on the nucleus, cytoplasm, and cell membrane.
  • Amanda Rhymer’s 9th and 10th grade biology students will focus on eight organelles.

1.  Target Audience- Rhymer: 9th & 10th grade biology (60 students) Madanski: 8th grade general science
2.  Materials
1.  Background worksheet: The Cell and the City
2.  Student Worksheet: Cell Analogy: The Cell as a School
3.  Technical Equipment:  Cameras (iPod Touches)
4.  Software:  Comic App (Strip Designer, Comic Life, etc.) and/or Comic-making web programs (Bitstrips, Comeeko, etc.)
3.  Objectives
    a.  The students will be able to explain the structure and function of eukaryotic organelles
    b.  The students will be able to use analogies to understand how cell parts work together
    c.  The students will create a comic strip to illustrate their analogies.
    d.  The students will analyze each others comic strips and evaluate them for accuracy and originality.

1.  Procedure
a.  Complete the Background worksheet (The Cell and the City) as a whole class. Discuss each organelle and how it is “like” a part of the city.  Go over the concept of an analogy and explain how it can vary by student.
b.  Hand out the worksheet (Cell Analogy) to small groups(4) and have the group brainstorm quickly what part of the school each organelle could be “like.” They should fill out the worksheet before moving to the next step by giving the function of each of the eight organelles and describing why they chose the analogy that they wrote down.
(Cynthia Madanski’s class will not focus on 8 organelles, only 3)
c.  Give students a camera, or iPod Touch, and have them quickly go out into the school to take pictures of their “organelles.”
d.  When students return they can either upload their photos onto one computer, visit the computer lab or use the comic app on the iPod Touch to make their photos into comic strips. They should add titles and descriptions to explain their analogies.
e.  Print out the comic strips and share them with the class.  A good follow up activity would be to have the groups swap analogy worksheets and comic strips and have them analyze the final product for creativity, originality and accuracy.
2.  Web 2.0 ToolStrip Designer (iPod/iPhone App) or a comic-strip tool such as Bitstrips that has a free 30-day trial.
3.  Social Participation/Social Learning– This activity requires students to work together to brainstorm the analogy for each of eight organelles.  They must agree on each analogy and record it on their worksheet.  Students will then divide up the organelles (two each) and go out into the school to take pictures.  When they return to class, the group must work together to complete the comic strip, adding titles and captions to explain their analogy.
4.  Making Connections– The scenario must offer opportunities for the learner to connect on different levels. Include the three types of connections below in your plan.  How are the connections being made and how will they help deep learning take place. How will your learner connect with:
a.  Class discussion about the cell-city analogy prior to the assignment.
b.  Relating the function of the organelles to a part of the school that they are familiar with.
c.  Share the finished product with the rest of the class for analysis.
1.  Create/Produce – Comic Strip Analogy: The Cell is Like a School
2.  Assessment –Rubric for the activity:

RubricSuperior (20pts)Good (15pts)Average (10pts)Fair (5pts)
Met RequirementsAll requirements met.One required element missing.Two required elements missingMore than two required elements missing
CreativityProject showed creative choices for all eight cell parts.Project showed creative choices for at least six cell parts.Project showed creative choices for four cell parts.Project showed creative choices for less than four cell parts.
OriginalityFinal project looks completely different from other groups.Final project only has a few elements like the other groups.Final project has many elements in common with the other groups.Final project shows a lack of original thought.
Group GradeGroup divided the tasks and the required work. Every member contributed to the final project.One or two people did not participate in the project letting others do the majority of the work.One person took over the project and completed all of the work on the project.The group fell apart and did not complete the project.

3.  Reflection
a.  Students will fill out a Google form when they finish answering questions about the activity.  They will have the opportunity to identify their favorite parts of the project, as well as those that they didn’t like.
b.  Teachers will reflect on this activity and determine what should be changed for the next implementation.  When I do this project again, I will make them spend more time on their analogies.  They will need to check with other sources, such as their book or the Internet, for the exact function of the organelle that they are working with.

Persuasive Statement:  
Strip Designer was a fun and effective tool for encouraging student collaboration and active learning.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

PE5_ComicLife2 for RILS

For Part 2 of my Relevant and Innovative Learning Scenario for the ETC class at Full Sail U, I will be using a program called Comic Life to merge each group's cell analogy comic strips.  Comic Life2 is a program that was part of our tech package when we enrolled at FSU.  I've used it several times now, and really like the ease of use, printing/sharing options, features and overall "look" of the program. I didn't need a tutorial or any instructions to figure out the program...I just opened it up and took off! 

Here is a screenshot of the Comic Life2 interface, you can see that there are only four panes to deal with:

The large pane is your working project, this is where you will work with your photos and other elements to make the comic page.  Notice that each of the other panes are numbered: 1, 2, and 3.  That's basically all you need to know! 
1--Choose your page layout.  There are basic blank pages with various numbers and arrangements of pictures.  Then there are special layouts from comics over the decades, Euro comics, futuristic comics, Manga comics, maps, etc.
2--Drag in your photos or artwork.  The default here is for iPhoto, and you can choose an event, person, etc.  You can also use Finder to select any folder on your Mac.  Or, you can select the camera and take a picture with the Mac's built-in camera.
3--Add Balloons or Captions.  This is where the fun starts! You can add custom lettering and change the color and style to fit your comic.  You can also add a text balloon or banner, you can adjust everything about it from size to background color including the direction of the speaking bubble.

I only used Comic Life in this project to merge four students' separate comic strips onto one page.  I wanted to have them printed out in color, but save a little money! In the future, I will let my students use this awesome program...I know they will love it as much as I did!
Once your comic page is created, there are several options for sharing it.  You can only save the comic as a Comic Life document inside the program.  But you can choose print and save it as a PDF, then convert it to a JPEG (which is what I did.) You can also choose to email the page or share it on Facebook.
Hope you enjoyed my review of Comic Life2, and I hope you can think of ways to use it in your classroom or in your personal life.  It's a fun little APPle!

The Mitchell 20...They're not waiting on Superman!

Just saw a great post at The Tempered Radical for this awesome movie! I can't wait to see it and see how these 20 dedicated teachers take matters into their own hands.  Here's a trailer:

That's a mighty big apple to eat! Can't wait to see how they do it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Comprehensive List of Web Tools

For all of my friends at Full Sail, and all of my teacher friends, I found this link on Pinterest.
Check it out! Lots of working links (with descriptions) for Web 2.0 Tools!

That's today's Apple(s)!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

PE4_Strip Designer App

My next project for the Emerging Technologies class at Full Sail I am creating and posting a Relevant and Innovative Learning Scenario using Web 2.0 tools.  My goal with this project is to engage my students, have them come together and work as a cohesive unit to enhance their learning in my classroom.  Since my overall theme is a little play on the Field of Dreams slogan..."if you build it, they will come"...I am using this project to illustrate one of the strategies I'm planning on using to make my class so much fun that they won't want to miss a single day of learning!

 My RILS project will have my students using cameras (our class set of iPods) and an app to create comic strips.  Their subject matter: How a Cell is like our School!  The first tool they will be using is an iPod app called "Strip Designer" that costs $2.99 in the app store.  It is well worth the money! I tried a few free and "lite" versions before buying this one, it is BY FAR the easiest to use. 

The only instructions I gave my students were for the analogy itself.  I didn't give them any instructions for using Strip Designer.  Of course, they are all very familiar with apps and smartphones, they had ZERO problems creating the cutest comic strips!

As you can see, the app has filters that the students could apply to the photos to change their appearance.  I was pleasantly surprised with all of the effects that my students used, many that I would not have thought of.

Some of the analogies that they made were not ones that I would have used, but I didn't correct them as Step 2 of this project is to have another group analyze their analogy and decide whether they made valid choices or not.

Also, you can see that this student had trouble getting the text to fit in the text bubble on the right.  I watched my students help each other learn how to use this app.  It was very rewarding to see those kids that are maybe not known for being the smartest kid in class, but that have alot of mechanical aptitude, take over and shine with this project.

Here's a video of my students' work.

Hope you've enjoyed this APPle!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

PE3_iMovie Tutorial

Finished the iMovie Tutorial at last night. Most of the information towards the end of the tutorial I already knew, I'd figured it out by trial and error since I've had to publish/share my iMovie videos already. So it was just a matter of finishing up and getting my certificate!

I used the information that I learned in the tutorial to put my Popplet video clips and photos into a new iMovie.  Adding background music was a new trick, I really like it! I probably could have made the video half as long, but I love watching the kids "play" with their vocabulary terms! I could have added some narration, but my students were doing just fine without my voice overlaying theirs. Yes, those are birds in the background, two lovebirds.  Funny how we don't notice them in class, but it's the first thing I noticed in the video clip!
Enjoy this Apple...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

PE2_iMovie Tutorial

Almost finished with the iMovie Tutorial at  The second third of the tutorial deals with editing clips and photos, and using the transitions and themes provided by iMovie.  In my experience with iMovie so far (in the first three months at Full Sail),  I've found iMovie to be very user friendly for people who have never worked with video editing software.  I've made three or four movies since I started the program and figuring out how to work iMovie has been the easiest part so far! Of course, I had Lynda to watch when I got confused, but still...
In the movies that I have created myself, I have used the editing tools to break my movie clips into pieces so that I can add transitions in key places.  I've used the themes to create a professional looking end product. I've used title overlays and adjusted the Ken Burns effect.  I didn't know how to use the cropping tool, so I was glad to see that segment of the tutorial! I also didn't know about stabilizing the video and applying video effects to my shots.

The best thing I learned today was about the green screen! I can use the green screen in photo booth and apply it over video in iMovie! How cool is that!

                                                                                         Screenshot of Garrick Chow from

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PE1_iMovie Tutorial

I am working on the iMovie '11 Tutorial at for my Emerging Technologies class at Full Sail U.  If you haven't taken a look at Lynda,  you don't know what you're missing!! Lynda offers video tutorials in a wide range of subjects, it's really nice of Full Sail to include the price of a membership with our tuition.
At first glance, the 3.5 hrs of iMovie tutorials looks daunting.  I'll admit that my first thought was, you've got to be kidding! When am I going to find time to watch this?? Well, those smart people at Lynda have all of that figured out.  The tutorial is broken up into sections that go together, and within each section the video segments range from 1 minute to 4 minutes long.  Lynda keeps track of the videos that you watch for you as long as you're logged into your account while viewing them.  When you finish all of the tutorial, you get a certificate of completion!
I've finished approximately a third of the training, some of the episodes I had watched previously to help me with earlier projects for Full Sail. I did learn a few helpful things in these beginning segments.  I learned how to mark my segments as favorites and tag them, I can already see how this will be handy as my iMovie gallery of clips grows and grows! I also learned how to organize the clips and move them around, and how to edit clips...trimming the ends and splitting clips. I have used these skills repeatedly in the assignments at Full Sail.  It's remarkable how much more professional your video looks when you trim out the dead time and the goofs.
The best thing I learned this time? How to swap the project window and the window that holds the clips. Now I have so much room to work on my project! Priceless!

As you can see, I also learned how to close all of those extra boxes and whatnot.  It's so much easier to figure out what you want to keep and what you want to cut when you have room to spread it all out.
I can't wait for my next installment of the iMovie tutorial.  I'm working on a video of my students using Popplet to map vocabulary terms.
Stay tuned! More Apples to come...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BP_6 Blog Comment: Kim's Review of Simple Diagrams

Check out my comment on Kim's page here.  She reviewed another mind-mapping program like Popplet called Simple Diagrams!

Monday, October 3, 2011

BP_5 Blog Comment: Cynthia's Review of PhotoPeach

My good friend Cindi also reviewed a photo animation tool, PhotoPeach.  I commented on her review here.

BP_4 Web 2.0 Tool: Animoto

For my second Web 2.0 Tool I will be reviewing Animoto! With Animoto you can turn your photos, video clips and music into video presentations.  For my first Animoto presentation I took the photos from my Popplet lesson and inserted them into the project photo frames.  I was able to control the order of the flow and the timing of the video.  I was able to add text and a title for the video.  Then I added an appropriate music loop from the free music provided on the Animoto site.  The whole process was unbelievably easy! When I finished adding the photos, I hit done and Animoto notified me by email when my video was ready to view.

This would be a wonderful tool for my students to use in class to present a project or collaborate on a problem. They also have the ability to add short video clips to their presentation. This tool doesn't require any technical ability beyond click and drag! Exactly the kind of quick and easy program I need in my classroom.

You can sign up for a free Animoto account, your videos will be limited to 30 seconds.  An upgrade will cost you $5 per month or $30 per year.

This is today's Apple...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

BP3_Web 2.0 Tools: Popplet in the Classroom
I used Popplet for an assignment in month two at Full Sail University. It was a little like falling in love! I started out looking for a tool that would work well in my biology class, using it for reviewing important vocabulary and connecting related concepts. Concept maps are very difficult for me to use, in the past I have only tried the pre-printed variety, which doesn't stimulate learning in my opinion. What I wanted to find was a way to have the kids make their own connections between words, connections that were meaningful to them, not to me.  This allows them to internalize the vocabulary, or the concept, in a way that will stay with them after my class.
Popplet on the iPad

My first activity involved using Popplet on the iPad to stimulate discussion about the relationship between vocabulary words in a biochemistry unit.  Students were given a list of twelve words, they had to type in each word and recall the definition. Then they connect the words and share the reason for each connection that they made.

All of my classes really enjoyed this activity. We have used Popplet's since this activity to relate the parts of the cell, connect genetics vocabulary, and to create ecological pyramids with ecology terms. This is the best tool I have found to get my students interested in their vocabulary and actually USING the terms!

Popplet Concept Map

I have also used Popplet on the web to create graphics for assignments in my Full Sail classes.  I've shared these projects with my students, they absolutely loved them! The parts that they like: first, it's free!! Second, the ease of use! It really is so easy that a first grader can do it. Third, it's customizable. You can use your own color scheme, add movies, pictures, etc.  And finally, you can collaborate with your colleagues via the web tool.

In summary, I can envision Popplet being used in any classroom. I've shown here how it can be used to relate vocabulary terms or concepts, but there are many other uses.  Students could brainstorm elements of a story/book and connect them. You can make a timeline of any event very easily.  You could map countries/states/capitals.  A friend in another class had his students relate each state, the state flower, bird, etc. The tool is very easy to use no matter what level of expertise your students have with computer technology.  But most importantly, Popplet is FUN! And in the end, that is what sells this tool.
This is today's Apple...