When Christy Mills' and my classes were participating in the Flat Classroom Project, we were required to create a "handshake" that would introduce our school in California to classrooms from around the world that were participating in the project. Armed with a digital camera, our students went around the school to take pictures of things and places on campus that they thought would be different from schools in other parts of the world. Then, they uploaded some of their pictures into Animoto, chose a theme, and let Animoto create the video we shared.
Alta Vista School, Los Gatos, CA
I used Animoto over the years with students as part of field trip reports and in curricular areas. Our Animotos always involved still shots (taken with cameras and tablets, but Chromebook digital shots work, too) and text, but you can also incorporate video clips and music. The Animoto website has wonderful examples on how young students used Animoto to demonstrate the alphabet, while older students used it to demonstrate their learning about the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s.
To get started, you should head to their page that describes the different accounts available to education. Then, apply for an account at https://animoto.com/education/classroom, making sure you've read the directions on how to apply for the free classroom account.
Roughly, the process is: You sign up for a free 30-day trial. They will send you a confirmation e-mail with a class code that acts like a coupon; you'll have one month to "redeem" it. Once you do, you'll be able to enroll 50 students in your class.
Animoto makes it easy by allowing students to use a sign-up link. Find those directions here. Their accounts will be active for six months, after which, you will need to re-apply/renew your license.
Once your students have an account, creating an Animoto video is easy. Here's a video on how:
ReadWriteThink offers lots of ideas on Bringing Lessons to Life with Animoto in your classroom, including an "End-of-Year Digital Scrapbook."
Let me know how you decide to use Animoto in your classroom. I'd love to share your examples with other teachers.
The end of the year may be just the time to dip your toes into something new and have your students reach outside the classroom and their community. Union School District classrooms have a wonderful opportunity to connect with classes from the Rio School District in Oxnard, CA. Like us, Rio is a K-8 school district.
Making a connection with another school can be as easy as a Google Hangout or Skype call about a book both classes are reading, or writing an e-pal letter. You might like to share learning around a curricular topic or project, maybe research the effects of the drought on Northern vs Southern California, or share local community information. The topics can be as diverse and as deep as you and the teacher at Rio decide.
If you've ever thought of connecting with another class, this is a great way and time to start. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll help facilitate making the connection with a class at Rio SD. Can't wait to help you get started!
Google for Education on Air
Google is presenting a free online conference on May 8th and 9th, bringing some of EdTech's best to you. The conference schedule can be explored here.
Friday's schedule kick's off at 7:00 am with a distinguished, international panel discussing "What are the skills of the future?" The panel includes the Finnish senior advisor to the Ministry of Education and Culture, along with one of California's favorite sons, Ken Shelton. Watch with other educators at the DO's Media Center. We'll provide breakfast coffee and treats, but you'll need to let us know you are coming. Sign up here. Even if you are only able to make it for the first 30 minutes, we're hoping that you'll be excited enough to join the conference from the comfort of your own home on Saturday. Sessions begin at 4:00 am and run all day with multiple choices in many of the time slots. Offered are Educator, Administrator, and IT tracks including one by another one of our favorites, Lisa Highfill. Use this link to register.
EduWin/Leading Edge Certification Digital Educators
Congratulations to USD's first cohort of LEC-DE certified teachers: Kirsten Anderson, Lynne Anderson, Carla Dunavan, Michelle Guzman, Mary Frances Lynch, Kelly Malatesta, Tamara Malave, Lisa Mata, Linda Ramsey Lakew, Jennie Reynolds, Nicole Van Wilgen, and Anne Van Zante.
LEC is a nationally recognized certification program. The Digital Educator program is designed to help educators develop pedagogy to encourage innovative tech-infused curriculum and learning activities for students.
With an emphasis on "The Four Cs," the eight modules cover topics like Digital Citizenship and Learning Environments. At the end, teachers have developed six lesson plans, that are tightly aligned with the CCSS or the NextGen Science standards, while including student use of a variety of digital tools.
Union SD, in conjunction with Saratoga and the San Mateo School Districts, will be offering this program again this summer. Look for Andrew's e-mail (dated April 20th) for more information, or visit this website. This is a great opportunity to build some tech-infused lessons you can use in your class next year, and have the district pick up the $450 enrollment fee.
If you or one of your colleagues is doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.