QR codes and videos at Parent Conferences

Expanding parent conference time with technology

family communication around education, social media and digital citizenshipWe’ve all been there: how do you fit 40 minutes worth of information into a 20-minute parent conference, still have time for questions AND stay on schedule?  Bulletin boards hanging in the hallway help. They serve two purposes, engaging parents while they wait and giving parents a view into the classroom. But that view is static and doesn’t always feel authentic.

Mrs. Natalie Byrne, a 1st grade teacher at Christ the King School, found herself considering these questions as conference days grew near. Her solution reminded me of the answer to a riddle: once you see it, it seems obvious, but only after you rub the grit out of your eyes.  She proposed engaging parents through their smartphones with an interactive bulletin board full of QR codes linked to videos.  

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8th grade arts and citizenship

A case study in Shelburne

8th grade artsArts and citizenship is for 8th graders at Shelburne Community School. This past session, they had a digital media focus, looking at photography and Photoshop and digital manipulation.

Most recently they just had a Community Celebration, where the artwork was posted around the school and families and the community came in to admire it and meet the artists. QR codes linked each piece to the artist’s reflection — reflections that took place weekly, capturing the ongoing progression of thoughts and creativity as the piece was produced.

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Augmented reality and student identity

Students explore the geography of self(ies)

augmented reality and student identityAn innovative way for students to explore who they are happens in Lori Lisai’s classroom at Lamoille Union Middle School where she works with them to craft an interactive biography through her Geography of Self project.

A bulletin board houses the student self portraits; 8th graders include their 7th grade portraits side-by-side: a visual representation of growth-over-time.

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5 off-beat ways to use QR codes in the classroom

By now, almost everyone’s familiar with QR codes, the distinctive-looking black-and-white graphics which, when scanned, take the scanner to a url. No? Not sounding familiar? Then how about:

5 off-beat ways to use QR codes in the classroom

If you have a phone, iPad or tablet with a QR-scanning app installed (we like Barcode Generator/Reader for Android, and Scan for iOS) open it up and center your cross-hairs on the image above.

QR codes can link to websites, event notices, coupons, blog-posts, podcasts — if it’s online, you can embed it. The QR code above links to a particularly compelling documentary video made by Montpelier’s U32 students, about school consolidation in Vermont, but that’s a story for another time.

But with QR codes becoming near-ubiquitous in our everyday environment, how can you make them new again?

Here are 5 off-beat ways to use QR codes in your classroom.

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New podcast ep: Making web apps at Williston Central

Vermont middle school educator created app at camp

Vermont middle school educator created app at campIn this episode of our  podcast, we’re going to be hearing from math educator Jared Bailey, who spent his summer vacation building a web app for his students, so they could have their homework assignments, practice drills, schedule and his contact info all in one place. As could their parents.

Bailey’s ethos was simple: he wanted it to be as simple as possible for students and their families to install the app on their mobile devices, and he didn’t want to deal with licensing issues or necessarily learn a ton of code. He just wanted his app to be convenient for students.

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How to make a QR code out of M&Ms

A while back, I was researching how to print a QR code on a cake, as you do, and stumbled across this mysterious video of a QR code made of M&Ms:

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“See America”: Cabot students share their PBL research

Project-based learning is alive and well in rural Vermont

real world project-based learningAs part of The Cabot School‘s Exhibition of Learning earlier this spring, middle school students had a chance to share out some PBL research. Themed around the cultural landscape of the United States, the “See America” exhibit boasted a number of amazing students who showed off outstanding examples of how project-based learning can be applied to history and social sciences. Check out some of the highlights from the exhibition, below.

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Get out! 4 ideas for using iPads outside (and away from Wifi)

Get out there!

It’s spring (unless you’re in the Antipodes) and IT HAS FINALLY STOPPED SNOWING. Yes, all those capital letters are really necessary to announce that fact. The sun is out and if you’re planning on doing some outside work with your students, here are four activity ideas for using iPads outside when there’s no access to Wifi.

1. The Basics: QR code scavenger hunt

Make and print some QR codes, tape them up outside, and have each code lead to an image with directions for an activity. Working on foreign language acquisition? Post the directions in the target language! Are fractions on the agenda? Have the QR codes lead to an equation whose solution equals a number found in the next location of the hunt! Vocab time? How about anagrams that unscramble to reveal the next location or a key part of the instructions! QR codes are simple, powerful and lend themselves to a ton of different activities. What would make it really powerful would be for the students themselves to create the questions…

This online QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator lets you create your hunt quickly and easily beforehand.

This online QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator lets you create your hunt quickly and easily beforehand.

 

2. App-smash with Dino Defend!

Students break into groups, pick a plastic dinosaur out of a bucket (blind pick) and then have to keep their dinosaur alive to the end of the trail. As they move through the landscape, they’ll need to complete and document 4 challenges related to their dinosaur. Challenges could have math, science and reading comprehension worked in, as well as compelling students to really think about the Gorge and evolutionary geology. So many apps could help answer the following challenges:
  1. Geography: What features of the landscape would prove beneficial/problematic for your dinosaur? Suggested apps: 30Hands, Notability 
  2. Famine/Overpopulation: What does your dinosaur eat? What could they eat in this area? Suggested apps: HaikuDeck, Notability
  3. Predator attack: What are some of your dinosaur’s predators? Are they or were they found in this area? Bonus points for teaming up with another group and enacting a pitched battle scene. Suggested apps: iMovie.
  4. Defamation! An upstart archeologist has written a tract all about how your dinosaur should go extinct already. Each dinosaur has been offered a 30-second video promo spot to respond to the allegations. How does your dinosaur explain its value to the environment? Suggested apps: Touchcast, iMovie

Please note: badgers, bears, frogs or any other type of animal can be substituted for the dinosaurs, as appropriate for your curriculum.

But it just won’t be the same without all those RAR noises.

"Predator Challenge! This diplodocus is about to be eaten by a giant Boston terrier. In 200 words, explain why this situation is implausible."

“Predator Challenge! This diplodocus is about to be eaten by a giant Boston terrier. In 200 words, explain why this situation is implausible.”

 

3. Collect & Reflect with Picture This

Colorado educator Anne Beninghof came up with the great idea of using the Corkulous app to let students assemble boards that feature audio, video, image and written reflections of their trek. Get creative, assign each group a different theme, area of the landscape or time period to work with. This could also work with LinoIt.

 

4. For the Math folks: AngleJam!

The FieldProjector app allows you to calculate the angles of objects captured with the iPad camera, as well as determining their scale in relation to other objects. Combine this with the QR codes to create a series of challenges around capturing different types of angles:

“It’s time for the annual AngleJam but sadly, no angles have shown up yet to the party! They’re too busy running wiiiiiiiiiiild. It’s up to you to go out and grab them. Head outside / to the jungle gym / to the trailhead, where you’ll find a QR code specifying how to bring in the first of your math guests.”

Bonus points for having students create the angles out of twigs, rock bridges, their arms, etc exactly like this Australian class did.

"The 90 has been spotted! Repeat: we have a visual on the 90! Invitation delivered!"

“The 90 has been spotted! Repeat: we have a visual on the 90! Invitation delivered!”

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading out into this beautiful sunshine to help a stegosaurus work on using less tail-spike in its rebuttal. Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

*This post grew from a discussion over on the iPadEd Google+ community. Joyful thanks to Lara Jensen, Karen Redmond, Peggy Matthews, Karie Carpenter, Anne Beninghof, Robert Payne, Lee MacArthur, Laura Mahoney, Jose Luis Gutierrez and Christopher Averill for the brainstorming.

“The students showed me how it was done”: Students and colleagues as educator resources

A guest post by one of our partner educators, Jacki McCarty.

McCarty is an educator at Harwood Union Middle School, in Moretown VT.

“The resource I wish to share is THE STUDENTS and MY COLLEAGUES. Through encouragement by my colleagues I have taken risks with technology and found that the students can run with technology and use each other as resources. I, the teacher, can use them as resources. Here is what happened.

Jodie Curran and Jon Potts had told me about QR codes last year, but I never fully understood what they were until I did a treasure hunt with QR codes at a class last summer. I thought they were interesting, but never found a natural fit for integration into my curriculum.

While we were brainstorming about the Poetry Recitation project and iTraining, Sarah Ibson and I came up with the idea of having students record themselves reading poems (with images to compliment the poems also embedded in the iMovie) and make QR codes to put on their Recitation Poem Posters.

The poem posters consist of a handwritten version of the poem, and typed analysis of the poem, as well as an image that represents the poem. These posters will line the hallways at the final poetry recitation performance — the HUMS Celebration of Learning on May 2.

Here is a link to a student performance (they gave permission to share it and I used it as an example in my classes) which was made in Sarah Ibson’s iTraining class prior to my class project. The iTraining students acted as mentors during the recording and uploading experience — which was essential since I myself did not yet know exactly how to perform these actions.

The students showed me how it was done.”