Wednesday, May 8, 2013

5 Eggs … and Waiting!

This is an update to my previous posting about a Robin's nest at Bursley Elementary.

We are now at 5 Robin's eggs with an anticipated "hatch" date sometime this weekend, May 11 & 12.

Never would I have envisioned that a Robin's nest would attract so much attention. This "small" project suggested by RanĂ© Garcia, Principal at Bursley Elementary, has blossomed into something quite unexpected. As of Tuesday, May 7, ten days into the live stream, we have over 1000 views of the bird's nest.  With a little social media assistance, this has become a living project of Robin's nest research.

Bursley 5th Grade Teacher Becky Steele has helped to launch this project into a living research project. Her sister, Dr. Christy Burns, is an Ornithologist at Indiana University. The two of them have put together a live research project where viewers of the Robin's nest can actively participate. To submit your own observations for this research, visit the 5th Grade at Bursley website.

You will need to scroll down past the live stream feed to the form to provide your observations.  Once you have entered your observations, scroll down a bit more to view the previous submissions. You will see that people, often students, from all over the United States have entered observations.  I am still waiting for this to extend to global proportions. I suspect it will happen.



Stream videos at Ustream


Let's not stop with viewing a live stream and recording observations. Extend this nature lesson by logging into your Discovery Education account. I have added several resources that support this live project. You will find those resources in a folder called Robin's Nest Project. To get to that folder, go to My Content and click on My District. Open up the first District Content folder and you will see the resources.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Live View of a Robin's Nest

Bursley Elementary has a guest and that guest number will grow very soon.

A mother Robin has built her nest on the window ledge outside of one of the rooms. At the request of Principal Rané Garcia, I have configured a livestream of the nest. Below is the "live" video. It actually has about a 40 second delay, but we will call it "live". Here is a link to the livestream in case it is not showing below.

Because this setup utilizes a free Ustream account, you will see occasional ads pop up. Such is the price of FREE. Be aware, I don't have any control over the ads that appear, so use with caution when viewing with younger kids. I encourage you to mute your computer when viewing.



Live streaming by Upstream

I had not set up a livestream system before, so I used this as a teaching/learning moment for me and my son, Matt.  We worked together to figure this out.  Here is what we used for the livestream setup.

1 digital camcorder
1 tripod
1 MacBook
Ustream Producer software

Using a firewire cable, we connected the camera to the computer. We have the camera running on camera mode, plugged into electrical power.

I downloaded and installed Ustream Producer. Producer is software that is necessary to broadcast the video.  A Ustream account is required to stream the video.

When you launch Ustream Producer, you are prompted to log in to your account. Once you do, you choose a few settings and click on Broadcast.  I chose not to record this event as it will be running over the next several weeks, but it is possible to record your event for future viewing.

Since JPS teachers have access to Discovery Education, here is an added resource for you to enhance the Robin viewing and learning experience.

  • Login to your Discovery Education account.
  • Click on this Discovery Education link. This will take you to a specific page within Discovery that has materials for Robins as well as other birds.
  • Click on the "More To Explore" tab. Here you will find more images, videos, reading passages (with audio support) and quizzes.
  • Add any/all of these resources to YOUR Discovery "My Content" and assign to your students for school and at home viewing.

Spring is alive in Michigan!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hey, hey! 

I've been nominated for a Bammy Award! in the category of School Technology Support.  I am humbled and honored to have been nominated by Lori Barr, a 6th Grade Teacher at Pinewood Elementary. Thank you Lori.






From the Bammy website: 

Presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, the Bammy award is a cross-discipline award recognizing the contributions of  educators from across the education field.

While this feels totally odd, the Bammy folks really encourage nominees to self-promote their nomination.  So, here it is; incredibly awkward self-promotion. If you care to "Vote for Dave", just click on the link provided, sign up for an account, and cast your vote.

Click here to vote for Dave for a Bammy Award!

You will have to create an account in order to cast your vote. Click on the Vote Now link and then choose to Register. It is a bit clunky, but it is necessary for the process.

The Bammy voting system requires that you actually provide some comments regarding the nominee, so if you are short of words, send me an email. I have a file full of self-promotion statements you can use. Just kidding. This is sooo uncomfortable. 

Thanks for your support, not just for a Bammy, but your every day ongoing support!

Chirp.io Makes Picture Sharing Easy

Transferring pictures from a student iPad to a teacher iPad just got easier. Chirp.io, a free app available in the iTunes Store, makes file transfer simple. While this app is designed for an iPhone, it works just as well on an iPad.

I recently demonstrated Chirp.io at the Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) Conference. With this app, I was able to "send" a photo from my iPad to over 75 people instantly.

While there are other apps that can accomplish the same task (Bump, PhotoSynch), Chirp.io does it in a way that others do not. Chirp.io uses sound waves to transfer the files.

Imagine this scenario: you want all of your iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone holding students to visit a website that you have selected. You can have them launch Safari and enter the URL, or, you can send them all the link via Chirp.io.

The process is easy. Your have a sending device and one or more receiving devices. All devices launch Chirp.io. The sender takes a new picture using the device camera, selects a photo from the camera roll, adds a note, or adds a link and transmits an audio signal. The receiver launches Chirp.io and simply waits for the application to "hear" the senders signal. Once the signal is heard, the file magically is received.




Thursday, March 7, 2013

Flash Card For Sale

I was rummaging though some old technology at home the other day and ran across the item pictured here.  This is a Sony 16 MB memory stick that I must have purchased, but never used, quite some time ago. The price tag on it is accurate. $49.99 for a 16 MB stick.



I had my son, Matt, do some quick calculations for me to compare prices of old and prices of new.  Take a look to see what he has found.

If flash memory pricing of today had the same pricing as the old, you would be shelling out quite a bit more for your portable memory.

MB = Megabyte, GB = Gigabyte, TB = Terabyte

1 GB = 1024 MB

1 TB = 1024 GB = 1,049,000 MB

The cost per MB is calculated by dividing the cost by the size of the stick.
$49.99 / 16 MB = $3.12 / MB

Remember, 1 GB = 1024 MB

Then, a 1 GB flash drive today would cost a whopping $3,195 (1024 x $3.12).

That handy 4 GB flash drive that you received as a gift at your last tech event would cost $12,780.

The nice 32 GB flash drive available at Costco for $25 would cost you a mind boggling $102,236.

The relatively small, in today's terms, 1 TB external hard drive at Best Buy for $100 would set you back $3,272,880.

Well, I am willing to part with this gem. I'll take cash.

Don't forget to claim your free flash drive on your taxes.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

JPS is Now In iTunes U

I tackled a new project over the recent holiday break. My goal was to get Jenison Public Schools set up with an account within the K-12 sections of iTunes U. The goal has been met.

iTunes U is one of the world's largest online resources of free education content. Contributors can create and upload course materials including:
  • Audio and video
  • Presentations
  • Documents
  • PDFs
  • iBooks textbooks for the iPad
  • ePub books
  • iOS apps
  • Web links
To get the ball rolling, I created our first collection, Working with Discovery.  Visit our iTunes U site and you will find 5 videos that demonstrate basic use of Discovery Education resources. Each student and teacher in our district has a Discovery account which provides access to vast resources for teaching and learning.  My videos cover basic login and logout information, search functions, My Content use, and more.


I encourage each of you to take a moment to explore these resources. Then, I ask you to consider creating your own course that could be included in our JPS iTunes U portal. The opportunity for delivering YOUR educational resources to students is at your fingertips.  I would be happy to partner with you to publish your work.



Dave Tchozewski
Jenison Public Schools
Director of Information Technology

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Flubaroo Makes My Job Easier


 

As teachers, we are being asked to do more and more every year. As the stakes for assessments have increased, we are expected to use formative and data-driven assessments to increase students success in our classrooms. With a full load of students this year, I have been forced to reassess how I can gather data quickly enough from 150 students in order to make the data useable.



Last spring Dan Scott, Jenison Director of Orchestras, introduced me to a program called Flubaroo, a grading tool used in coordination with a Form created in Google Apps. Currently, I use the Flubaroo script for pre & post-testing for each unit as well as grading a weekly homework assignment for students.



To gather and analyze data quickly I do the following:



1 - Create multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions using a form on Google Drive.

2 - Post my form on my website or email it to my students.

3 - Google Drive automatically collects data in a spreadsheet as students complete the assignment.

4 - The Flubaroo tool can be installed into spreadsheet. (Insert - Script)

5 - Flubaroo allows you to create a key and check all the responses, in minutes!







Students complete a pretest for their Earthquakes & Volcanoes unit. I project the spreadsheet so that they can watch their names appear in the spreadsheet after they submit their answers.



One of the biggest advantages to the Flubaroo script is the variety of ways it displays data. In addition to grading all the assignments in a matter of minutes, Flubaroo also shows the average for all the assignments, computes the average score for individual questions and flags low-scoring questions. Two of my favorite functions are the ability to see a grade distribution graph for each question and the option to email each student their grade, including an answer key and the answers they chose.



(This summary is visible at the top of each graded spreadsheet)

Summary:

Points Possible 15

Average Points 12.08

Counted Submissions 78

Number of Low Scoring Questions 1

This blog posting was submitted by Kristin Graham, Science Teacher at Jenison Junior High School.

Jenison Public School teachers, if you would like some Flubaroo training, contact Dave Tchozewski, Director of Information Technology to set up an appointment.