Three years ago when we did our last book adoption, one of the features we were looking for was a way to do peer reviews on student essays in an online environment. We chose a McGraw-Hill text because they had a tool that does this well. The tool is called Connect Composition and it comes packaged with our traditional textbook. Also built into our version of Connect is an online handbook, The McGraw-Hill Handbook. But within Connect we have the ability to set up peer review writing assignments. We can schedule the number of drafts we want to have for the writing assignment, choose pre-made review questions or write our own, and choose the size and makeup of the groups. It’s a pretty slick way to do peer reviews, and it’s really easy for students.
Below I created a video for students showing them how to participate in our most recent peer review writing assignment. Feel free to use this video with your own students if you are using Connect in your classes.
I got back from ISTE, overwhelmed with all the new and amazing tools and apps I learned about! Luckily the great folks at Doceri let me play with their beta 2.0 version (which should hit iTunes stores soon) and that made for an easy decision for me to start right there.
I get to use the iPad classroom (25 student iPads, 1 teacher iPad, and an Apple TV!!) to teach Intermediate Algebra in the Fall, so my focus at ISTE was to find iPad apps that allow students to create, not just to consume. I hit the jackpot with the new version of Doceri!! Not only can I create lessons, but the students will be able to create animations and videos as well, right from their iPads.
The new version of Doceri (2.0) should hit the iTunes app store soon, and it is a HUGE update!
The new features I am so excited about are 1) it allows you to work directly from the iPad (without needing to connect to a computer), and 2) it now records your pen strokes allowing you to easily create animations and videos directly from the iPad! INCREDIBLE! You can even edit your animations and upload your videos to YouTube!
OK, before I get too far ahead of myself (I am just so excited!), here is the new opening screen on the iPad:
(By the way, I did get permission from Doceri to blog about the new version before it hits the iTunes store!)
**UPDATE! Doceri 2.0 will be in iTunes stores July 24, 2012!!!
As you can see, Doceri 2.0 can now be used from the iPad alone, and even use Airplay if you are presenting (or just use the iPad at home to create a lesson!!!).
Starting a new project gives you a blank screen, which you can change to any color, use one of their backgrounds, or create your own. They have included many helpful math backgrounds, along with maps, as well as colors and textures.
After you choose your background, you can start writing on the screen. What you see at the top of the image below is the new RECORDING menu!!! It records your writing strokes. You can go back and edit them, speed them up, or slow them down. You can even add stops and new slides to your project. The record button on the top left allows you to record voice as well (while writing, or narrate even after you are done writing).
After recording a video, you have several options for exporting (on the right) to Facebook, YouTube, email, and to your images folder on the iPad.
You can also open your recordings on your iPad with any app loaded that will play a .mov file, including Dropbox and Evernote, so you can access your recordings from any device! (I also have TechSmith’s Fuse app installed on my iPad, so it found that app and listed it as well.)
The folks at Doceri created quite a few sample projects to help give ideas on how this new product can be used. Here is a screenshot of one of their videos (of course I chose math, but there are many other types as well):
*Once Doceri 2.0 hits the iTunes stores, you can pay for the ability to remove the Doceri watermark, and even add your own watermark.
Like the original Doceri Remote app, Doceri 2.0 can connect to your computer to share screens, but now there is a MUCH easier way to connect:
If you have an iPad2, just point the camera at the QR code and you are automatically connected! I tried it and it worked amazingly well. Once you are connected to your computer, you can use your animations and videos to present a lesson to the class, or create one while you are presenting!
**I am using the term “animation” for those projects that do not contain sound. All writing into the application is recorded and can be shown as animated or as still shots. These can only be played from within Doceri. Once you add sound, then a .mov file is created, so I am using the term “video” for the animations with sound added.
Here is the “official” list of updates for Doceri 2.0 (from Doceri):
What’s new in Doceri 2.0
You can now prepare Doceri Projects on the iPad without being connected to a Doceri Desktop AND you can present without a Doceri Desktop via Airplay. Audio recording has been added to create high quality screencast videos based on Doceri projects. In addition, more sophisticated drawing and authoring tools have been added, as well visual file management, improved placement of project timeline controls for easier presentation, and improved screen update time for remote desktop control.
Screencasting with Doceri
Create a live screencast as you present, or create, edit and perfect your project in advance and add an audio voice over later
Choose to save audio or delete and re-record without impacting your Doceri project
Videos may be shared via YouTube, Facebook or email and/or saved to the Camera Roll and any app that responds to video
New Drawing and Authoring Tools
New line tools (with snapping), geometric shapes (rectangle, ellipse) arrow tool and a new pen tool with realistic ink flow
Easy access to six user-defined favorites from the available drawing tools
Place photos from Camera Roll, Photo Stream or another application at any point in your project
The new lasso tool allows you to cut, copy, move and paste drawing objects
Choose between patterns, colors or create custom backgrounds on any slide in your project
Direct Controls for Keynote and Powerpoint
Launch a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation and use Doceri’s one-touch controls to advance your slides
Annotate over Keynote or Powerpoint (or anything shown on your desktop), creating a multipage Doceri project while keeping your original presentation file intact
Completely Revamped File Management
Doceri files can now be stored on the iPad Duplicate, merge projects, and transfer to and from your desktop
Combine, resize and share screencasts to Facebook, YouTube, Camera Roll or email with a simple drag and drop
Full implementation of cross application file sharing allowing “open in” function to copy files in and out of Doceri
For a project in my qualitative data analysis class, I interviewed two colleagues that I respect beyond words (and, coincidentally, who both blog). I asked how writing changes as technology advances. Both gave different responses in some areas, but both agreed that writing in the high school classroom has become more concise and collaborative.
I was reminded of these interviews today when the New York Times tweeted about using social media to teach concise writing. The article contains great links to activities to use while teaching writing including the six word story, the twaiku (a twitter haiku), and literary response activities using Twitter or Facebook. As I read the article, my mind raced with ideas about how I might incorporate some of these social-media-based activities in my classes. And then I remembered the internet filter.
See, last year, after two years of suggestions by most tech savvy colleague, I embarked on a journey of technology immersion in my classroom. Devon had explained to me numerous times how to use blogs with my students, how to use Google docs for students to collaborate on writing, and about a million other ideas, but I never fancied myself tech savvy enough to implement such lessons. When I wrote a paper about technology as culturally relevant pedagogy, I argued that secondary teachers are hesitant to try different technologies with students because they are used to possessing the most knowledge in the room where content is concerned. With technology, teachers know they won't know the most--the students will. It's a control issue, and so last year I let go, knowing that I would likely know the least about the technology I would be using.
The good news is, I survived. The bad news is that my school, as with many other public schools, has internet filters that block content. Unable to score the student authored blogs during my prep, I spent countless hours at home reading what amounted to their entire research process, from proposal through final draft, from my couch. My school's filter blocked all blogs. So, today, when I saw the tweet about using social media (another area that is a category for filter blocks) to teach students how to collaborate and write concisely, I was at the same time excited at the idea and sad that I could not likely access the technologies in my classroom.
I'm not going to question how and why, but today I was able to access Twitter for the New York Times link, Facebook to reread part of the paper I referenced, and, *gasp* Blogger. I will count the time from my prep hour used to blog as payback for last year's hours of grading from home. I'm also going back to the article to click on a few of the links for the lessons, now that I see they may be possible in my classroom.
She also writes a blog about smartpen uses: http://livewithlivescribe.edublogs.org/* *This site was developed as part of a joint Ministry of education and Ontario Teacher Federation funded project with a focus on teacher learning and professional development. In this project, teachers collaborate and discuss the uses of the Livescribe pen in the classroom.
Her family was lucky enough to make the trip to San Francisco with her, and her 8 year old son created this wonderful storyboard about his adventures in San Francisco using a Livescribe smartpen. (Thank you Zoe for letting me share your son’s wonderful pencast!)
I think this is a fantastic idea for teachers to use with students who feel like they are not good writers, or don’t know how to get started! If you have your students make pencasts, please share them with me at email@example.com
Many of today’s high school students are moving toward reading their books on “e-readers” or mobile devices (like their phones and itouches). There are many advantages (and still some disadvantages). While people are stratified on the notion of mobile devices in high school classrooms, for those of us who permit them to read on them run into a new problem: citing.
A highschool colleague presented a question to me recently: How do you cite a page number from an ebook? I had an idea of how to go about doing this but I figured I would ask my friend and colleague who has written one of my favorite research and citation guides, The Wadsworth Guide to Research.
The new MLA (2009) and APA (2010) both require the “type” of source to be listed in the bibliography/reference section. In the case of the ebook, you cannot put “Print” nor can you put “Web”. The web is a platform not a type of source. An ebook is not printed. (Does that make sense?)
So after spending sometime doing research and speaking to the “experts”, we realize the research cannot list a page number for an ebook, but he or she should make a concerted effort to specify where the quote appears. This should be done through chapter number in the parenthetical citation and not needed in the citation section. As more and more people asked the question above, Rosemary G. Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association agreed, “The lack of page numbers is disconcerting”. MLA recommends that ebooks are identified the same as digital files like Microsoft documents, which can include chapters and paragraph count, while Chicago (2010) style recommends the user includes section titles if they’re available.
Below are examples of both APA and MLA answering this question.
In text citations are IDENTICAL for both for ebooks. For example:
Coupland’s assertion about the contemporary early twenty-something emerges through the description of Karen’s friends where they “have become who they’ve become by default. Their dreams are forgotten, or were never formulated to begin with” (Coupland ch. 23 para 7).
Coupland, Douglas. Girlfriend in a Coma. New York: ReganBooks, 1998. Digital.
Coupland, D. (1998). Girlfriend in a Coma. [Digital]. New York: ReganBooks.
As MLA, APA, and Chicago has started addressing e-books, Amazon has now added “location numbers” to their Kindle books. I have personally measured all e-books I’ve read these last two years by percentage complete. It doesn’t matter how large or small I set the font but the percentage is accurate albeit it’s not as accurate as chapter numbers. Books have static chapters while page numbers, as Charlie Sorrel pointed out in Wired.com, have always changed depending on the edition of the book cited. In many ways, a digital citation is more accurate that a print citation. There is an initiative to build a standard Open Bookmark that creates a consistent measure of e-books. http://www.openbookmarks.org
A page number is a location reference, so why not use a more universal reference rather than something based on edition or version? The Associations need to push the publishing industry to set universal location markers in digital books that are cross format and cross platform.
To demonstrate the confusion teachers and students alike feel when it comes this discussion, here are two more examples of citing e-books. While I don’t necessarily agree with online citation aggregators, the student flock to them. Both of these examples come from Noodletools, which is one of the more popular tools for my students. As you can see, the formatting differs from the formatting above.