Wednesday, August 13, 2014

QR Codes in the Classroom

Last year we introduced QR Codes to our flip learning teachers during a monthly PLC. It was one of their favorite PLC meetings and quickly became one of the best loved tools in their toolbox! During our summer PD, we also introduced the new group of iPad flip learning teachers to QR Codes.

Here are some ways the teachers have found to use QR Codes in their Classrooms:

Scan a code to get the correct answer to a problem. Teachers create a text QR Code that contains the answers to the math problems being worked on in the classroom. Students can self-check their answers and move on when correct or go back and figures out where they went wrong.

Scan a Code for a math word problem. Teachers again created text based QR Codes with math word problems for the student to access and work on in class.

Scan a Code to answer the question: "Teacher I'm finished, what should I do now?" One of the proverbial problems - how to keep students busy when they finished their work early or more quickly than others. This teacher has sets of QR Codes posted around the room. Students know that when they finish early they can go scan a code with the activity for them to complete.

Scan a Code to be taken to a learning website. A quick and easy way to share web addresses with students - and you don't have to worry about anyone typing in the URL incorrectly!

Scan a Code to be taken to an online video. Students can quickly scan the QR Code to access online videos to help them better understand concepts. It could also be a link to the teacher's flip learning video lesson!

Scan a Code to hear an audio recorded book trailer. Instead of traditional book reports, students create audio recordings after reading a book. In this project students use the app to recording their book reflections. gives them a URL that can be used to create the QR  Codes. Codes can be posted in the room, as in this example, posted online, or placed in the book for others to scan and listen before checking out the book.

Scan a Code to go to an online article to read. Students can access up to date, current materials for reading - saves paper!

Scan a Code to download an online worksheet.Why print out worksheets? Have students use a QR Code to download the worksheet into an annotation app on their iPads!

Now you try. Here are some of the codes we have used during our PD and PLC's.

Looking forward to more QR Codes adventures for the 2014-15 school year!

Monday, August 11, 2014

An Exciting First Week

The 2014-15 school year is off to a great start. Students have shown up and are eager to learn - especially learning with their iPads. Some of them even hugged their iPads when they got them out for the first time! Heres' a peek into when happened the first week in a couple of iPad flip learning classrooms:

2nd Grade:
The teachers introduced the iPads and quickly began having them complete some "apptivities" using various apps, such as Quick Voice Recorder to complete audio recordings. When not being used the procedure in this classroom is to place the iPads on top of their desk name tags.

5th Grade:
Most of the students in this 5th grade classroom used iPads in 4th grade so they were very familiar with using them. However, we added some new apps for them over the summer, such as Shadow Puppet Edu, Stick Around, and ABCya Word Cloud. This teacher is great at exploring new apps and figuring out how they can impact learning in her classroom. So for the first day with the iPads, she chose to introduce word clouds to the students using ABCys Word Cloud. They students created word clouds using the names of the students in their classroom and tested out the different ways to change and customize their word clouds.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ready for the 2014-15 School Year

Students are arriving in their new school uniforms carrying backpacks filled with school supplies. Teachers have artfully decorated their classrooms and are ready to welcome students for the first day. And our iAchieve teachers are ready to move forward with technology integration in their classrooms.

This summer we provided technology PD to our 26 1:1 iPad Flip Learning teachers, along other
groups using iPad Media Kits (a teacher iPad, Apple TV, and HDMI projector) and 1:1 iPod touches. The Flip Learning teachers spent four days together learning about flip learning, creating flip lesson videos, planning flip lessons, setting up student iPads, and practicing using a variety of apps. Our group was made up of 13 new flip learning teachers and 13 continuing flip learning teachers. The continuing teachers took the lead on much of the PD. iPad Media Kit teachers learn about using the iPad and Apple TV as an instructional tool in the classroom as an alternative to an interactive whiteboard. iPod touch teachers focused on some different ways to manage using iPods during literacy centers, shared different ways the iPod are effective for their students, and identified specific needs to help them better utilize the iPod touches.

One Day 1 of Flip Learning PD, teachers delved deeper into the meaning of flip learning. They explored definitions from different perspectives and researched the 4 Pillars of Flip Learning. Working in small groups, each group researched 1 Pillar, created a teaching poster, and presented that Pillar to the other groups. The 4 Pillars are: Flexible Environment, Learning Culture, Intentional Content, and Professional Educators. Visit Flip Learning Network to learn more.

On Day 1 we had the new teachers rate how they were feeling about flip learning, using iPads, creating videos, lesson planning, and holding parent meetings. They rate themselves each day as we progress through the professional learning. 
Day 1
Day 4

On "Technology Day" everyone get to set up the student iPads and really get to know their carts. this year we have some really cool cases with an embossed logo!

The continuing teachers led new flip learning teachers through the process of creating flip lesson videos. We conducted video creation stations where the teachers were introduced to a variety of ways to create their videos including screen casting, using apps such as Explain Everything, and using the iPad camera. The continuing teachers also had opportunities to check out ways they had not used before to refine their skills.

iPad Media Kit teachers are very excited about using these tools in their classrooms!

I am excited to see how our teachers impact student learning through the integration of mobile devices!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

ISTE 2014 Reflections

Well, it's been a month since returning from ISTE 2014 in Atlanta and it's taken about that long for me to come down from the learning high and have some time to reflect and take it all in. Team Creighton (there were 5 of us this year!) had a great time of learning, listening, discovering, communicating, and even just having some fun.

No matter how many times you attend the conference, it never gets old. There are always so many new things to learn about and new people to meet and make contact with. Here is an overview of our time in Atlanta:
  • We did several presentations - 4 in all - and attended a lot of great presentations and poster sessions. Lots of great things to share and implement during the coming year.
  • Learned about lots of new online tools and updates to existing ones. 
  • We met up with old friends, like Dr. Alice Christie, and made new ones - like meeting the developers of our very favorite app - Explain Everything. The developers even came to see our poster presentation where we had examples of student work created in Explain Everything.
  • We ate lots of good food, went up to the 72nd floor of the Westin Hotel overlooking the city, and attended some vendor sponsored social events.
  • We were sad to leave but ready for next year! ISTE 2015 here we come.

Friday, June 27, 2014

ISTE Conference Here We Come!

I'm leaving on a jet plane. All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go. But I do know when I'll be back again! (Silly reference to a John Denver song - look it up)

We are getting ready to leave for the 2014 ISTE Conference in Atlanta, Georgia (or "Hot"lanta as we have been referring to it - weather mostly, not the night life!). Used to the heat here in Phoenix but the humidity will be a bit different for us.

In addition to all of the learning, collaborating, and communicating, everyone in our group is also presenting: flip classrooms, challenge based learning, creating book trailers with QR Codes. It's always great to share with others and help them be able to replicate projects in their own schools.

Can't wait to get there and meet up with old friends, make new ones, and get great ideas to share with teachers! More to come...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

PARCC Field Testing

Several Creighton School District classrooms participated in PARCC Field Testing this spring. Some did the Performance Based Assessment (PBA) and then later several classes completed the End of Year (EOY) Test. Some classrooms took the tests via paper and pencil; others completed the online assessment. And one of our iPad flip classrooms was able to take the test online using their iPads. (Note: we would have liked to have more classrooms use the iPads but we did not get to choose which classrooms took the tests or which ones did paper/pencil or online).

One of our fourth grade classrooms used the iPads for testing. Prior to the test, the teacher had the students completed the online sample tests in the classroom. The kids were really excited to try out a new way of testing using their iPads - especially since they got to use the external keyboards!

You can see how intensely they are all working!

There were lots of thing to work on and figure out - like having to tap each square to complete the array!

These kiddos were ready to go when it came time to take the test. And it was a test for all of us to make sure everything was in working order for them. It was a good way for us to see how this would work in a real testing situation.

On the day of the field test we took the students into the library so they would have more room to spread out and work. This also made it easier for us to monitor the progress of the test and help with any issues that popped up.

The students did a great job. Too bad we won't get test results back - I'm sure they aced it!