June 28, 2013

How to Create a QR Code

As more and more smart devices (such as the iPad or Android phones) are used to access online services or information, QR codes are rapidly becoming a way to get people to websites in an efficient manner.  Maybe you've seen them on posters, on groceries, in newspapers or on receipts.  They're becoming more and more prominent in education, too.  

Jenny Magiera wrote a great blog entry called, The DaVinci (QR) Code: Using QR Codes to share digital student work in which she lists some great examples of how they can be used to share work students create on the iPad.  Maybe you have ways you use them as well.  

QR codes can be generated and saved through your district Google account (the one you use to log into your Gmail).  The reason I like using the district account is that the codes you create are saved in a list.  You can go to this list periodically to see how many times the link was clicked.

 Here's how:

1.  Find the link for which you want to generate a QR code and COPY it.
2.  Log in to your district Gmail.
3.  Go to goo.gl.  If you've never used this before, your list will be empty.

4.  Paste your link and click SHORTEN URL. 
5.  Your link will be shortened (which makes things easier when sending the link to others) and it will be saved in a list below as long as you have your account; you won't be able to see them unless you are logged into your Gmail.
6.  Click the DETAILS link.
7.  Your QR code will appear at the top of the page.  Save it to your computer by RIGHT CLICKING and choosing SAVE IMAGE AS.

8.  Give the image a name and click SAVE.

Now you can upload this image anywhere, add it to a Google Doc, project it on the wall, or print it on a piece of paper to pass around the classroom or place on a poster.  When the code is scanned with a QR code reader app on the iPad (or any smart device), the code will send you to the website.

June 21, 2013

3 Video Lesson Guides on Digital Literacy

If you've never heard of the Teaching Channel, then allow me to introduce you.  Here is a great resource for strategies and ideas to go about reaching instructional goals in an ever-changing field.  One in particular, given to us by blogger Marie White, is a piece called "Teaching Our Students Internet Research Skills"

The introduction breaks it down quite well:
"Whether you’re gearing up to tackle technology and Common Core or just want to teach your kids how to use the internet as a research tool, we think you’ll love these video lesson guides we’ve developed with Common Sense Media. Full lesson plans are included with each one."

VIDEO #1:  Find It

VIDEO #2:  Evaluate It

VIDEO #3:  Use it

June 20, 2013

Creating a Google Form Icon on the Home Screen of Your iPad

I got a request recently for a way to collect student feedback without having to download an app.  The way I concocted (though there are many other ways to do this) involves using a Google Form and saving the link to the home screen of the iPad.  That way, the students tap on it as they would an app, and will be taken to the form to fill out.

Google's form creation interface has changed in the last week.  When you create a form now, you are given a new way to add and edit questions, though creating the form is the same.

1.  Log in to your district Gmail and go to Google Drive.

2.  Click CREATE and choose FORM.


3.  Check the box labeled "AUTOMATICALLY COLLECT RESPONDENT'S MADISON METROPOLITAN SCHOOL DISTRICT USERNAME." This way, you'll see when the student sent the response.

4.  Next, fill in the text boxes and create your questions.  Add a new item if additional questions are needed.  When you're done, choose SEND FORM.  You will be given a link to copy, which you can send to your students or post as a QR code (click here to see the How To). 

Click VIEW and choose LIVE FORM.  This is what the students will see. 

Once the students fill out the form, you can see the responses in a separate spreadsheet in your Google Drive. 

You can use this form as many times as you wish. 

You can send the link to the students' email, or post a QR code which will take the students to the link.  Students can then create an object on the home screen of the iPad.

1.  On the iPad, have students open the link you sent them, or have them scan the QR code you posted.
2.  Tap on the SHARE icon and choose ADD TO HOMESCREEN.

 3.  Give it a name and choose ADD.  Now the link is on the home screen.


You can use this form as often as you want.  Each time a student fills it out, the timestamp and student's name will be saved in the spreadsheet.

June 11, 2013

Google Write

Often, we find ourselves wishing we could use the touch interface of the iPad for writing. With the Google Write function, this is now an option to search a handwritten word.  When Write is enabled in your Safari browser, you can toggle between using the keyboard and using your finger to write words into the search bar of Google.  Here's how you can do this. 

1.  Open Safari on your iPad.
2.  At the top right hand side is a gear icon.  This is your SETTINGS button.  Open it and choose SETTINGS.

3.  At the next screen, look for the HANDWRITE area, click ENABLE and then SAVE.

 4.  Use your finger to write on the screen.  You can write anything.  Press down firmly or it won't recognize what you are writing.

 5.  If Google understood your handwriting, the word will be placed in the search bar and then changed to text.

6.  To toggle back to the keyboard, look at the bottom of the screen.  There is an icon with a handwritten "g" on the right.  Press this icon to go to the keyboard.

7.  To go back to HANDWRITE, press the "g" icon again. 

June 10, 2013

Lesson Ideas: Poetry Podcasting

While searching for videos of teaching practices on the Teaching Channel, I found this interesting lesson idea on podcasting.  The lesson can be implemented with the iPad using Garage Band, or on another voice recording app you may be more comfortable using.  On this page are resources (lesson plans, transcripts) that can be downloaded to implement this lesson.


Grades 4-8, ELA, Technology
Common Core Standards: ELA.RL.6.4 ELA.RL.6.7 ELA.SL.6.5

Questions to Consider

  • How do the "guiding reflection questions" support students' thinking?
  • What skills are students practicing as they create their podcast?
  • How did the class blog contribute to collaboration among students?
  • What assessment would YOU use to prove the student mastered the learning objective?
If you have a lesson you want to share, add it below!  Others in the district may find it fun to do in their own classrooms.

June 07, 2013

Using Images and Video of Students

I was sent an email detailing the teacher's attention to using student images and video on the growing list of computer, web, and iPad applications that allow this sort of thing.
I am in the process of clearing the 75 kids or so, off the Sennett Photo Withheld list. We have a record number of students on it this year--and some may be in your classes. Please be careful in posting student pictures on websites like Edmodo, etc without verifying that your students CAN have work/photos submitted.  There are many that are also on other Information Withholding lists, I only clear kids names off the photo list.

This is very important.  This is very, very important.

Ensure that all students have permission to post images and video if doing so happens to be part of your instruction with iPads, websites, blogs or otherwise.   Some schools can get a list from their secretaries, some teachers look them up themselves.  If there are any questions, email jrwelborn@madison.k12.wi.us