iPads in a Catholic Elementary School

For the past two days I have been training teachers at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Catholic School on how they can use their new iPads in the classroom.  It was a ton of fun helping these teachers see the power of an iPad and how easily it can be integrated into their classes.

The training was broken into two half-day sessions.  On the first day we covered what I affectionately called “iPad Basics.”  No matter how many times I do this type of training, I’m still amazed at how much you can do with an iPad “out of the box” without installing a single app.    Students can take pictures and movies, take notes, and surf the web to name a few.  During my first day I also showed them some specific apps and especially a few Catholic apps:iPad Training - Jim Beeghley

We really hit home some simple, easy to implement ideas for integrating these devices into the curriculum.

On day 2 we covered digital storytelling with iMovie.  Oh what fun this was!  I started off covering what digital storytelling is, talked about storyboarding, showed them some examples and showed some other items.  Then I turned them lose to take photos and videos.  When they were done, I showed them how to put them together in iMovie and then we shared the results.  All I can say is, WOW!  These teachers did an amazing job.  From creating a “first day of school” video to a sightseeing tour of the adjoining church.

We wrapped up with a great discussion / rapid-fire ideas for integrating the iPad into the classroom.  The ideas ranged from the simple to the complex and I’m looking forward to hearing about each and every one of them.

Social Media ROI

I recently attended a luncheon that discussed the topic of Social Media ROI or Return on Investment.  It was an interesting presentation but ultimately I came out with more questions than answers.

What that said, here are a few things that I did learn from the presentation:

91% of Online adults use social media regularly

Digital Brand Identity

This is the heart and soul of your business, especially as it relates social media.  You may have a company logo, letterhead, signage, business cards, etc, but what does your digital brand look like?

Outbound Marketing

  • Pushing information out to potential customers
  • Cold calls
  • Billboards / Ads
  • People tune these types of conversations out
  • Telemarketers

Inbound Marketing

  •  Pulling customers to your business
  • 61% cheaper in a cost per lead vs outbound

Social Media is used to:

  • Connect
    • Current and potential customers
    • Others in similar niche
    • Professional community
  • Communicate
    • Your corporate mission with confidence, clarity and integrity
    • Sharing of ideas, information and resources
  • Engage
    • With customers, clients, community, etc
    • Become known as an expert

What is my people strategy?

  • Don’t spam
  • Listen, engage and make new friends
  • Show interest
  • Add value

Social Media Goals:

  • – Control your image
  • – Build Community
  • – Position yourself and your company as an expert

Build a community:

  • Add insane value
  • Establish the right voice
  • Create real relationships
    • It’s not about the number of Twitter followers or Likes on a Facebook page
  • Position yourself as a leader in your industry

Set yourself up so that people search you out!

Steps to get started:

  • Secure
    • If you have not claimed your digital identity, DO IT NOW!!
  • Research
    • Look at how similar businesses are handling social media
    • Develop a strategy for implementing your digital identity
  • Develop
    • Establish your company into the social media arena and start engaging

So, do you have a social media / digital identity?  If not, what are you waiting for?

Rebooting my blog

Well, I’m back…

I know that it has been a while but I have decided to reboot my blog.  What do I mean by that?  Well, I have been struggling with what type of content to place on this blog and website.  I have also spent too much time worrying about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), post length and everything in between.  I have come to the decision that it is more about just putting out content rather than how it looks and is formatted.

I owe it to you, my readers, to provide more content in the form of resources and blog posts.  So, I am now dedicating myself to blogging more often on this, my business, website.  What is going to change is the style and format of the posts.  So, look for more posts on topics like:

Quick links to resources posts

  • App reviews
  • What I learned at conferences
  • Informational articles or books I’m reading
  • and so on…

 

So, stay tuned and thank you for staying subscribed.

ISTE 2011

Over the next few days, I will be in Philadelphia attending the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference.  This is the premier educational technology conference in the country and attracts over 10,000 educators from around the world.  On Tuesday, I will be presenting a session entitled, Tradigital History.  This presentation will demonstrate how to take traditional topics like using primary sources in the classroom and bringing them into the 21st Century.

Stay tuned for updates and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

 

My 5 Favorite Web 2.0 Tools

I have previously posted about my Top 5 iPhone apps, so I thought I would take a moment and share my Top 5 Web 2.0 Tools.  This is probably more like the tools that I use everyday and how I use them.

 

Wikispaces – This site allows you to quickly and easily way to setup a webpage to collaborate share links and resources. I use it for everything from resource sharing, graduate courses and for presentation outlines.  Teachers be sure to use the EDUCATORS link to create ad free wikis
Glogster – a great tool for creating and sharing multimedia-rich posters that can easily be embedded into your wiki or shared online.  Teachers be sure to use the GLOGSTER EDU website for you and your classroom.
Animoto – is a nice little tool for creating a photo slideshow.  By incorporating music into your slideshow, Animoto uses it to create a really cool effect with your photos this is almost choreographed to your music.   Teachers be sure to use the Education Version for you and your classroom.
Prezi – Tied of boring PowerPoints?  Give Prezi a try to jazz up your presentations by incorporating more movement and multimedia.  Teachers be sure to use the Education Version for you and your classroom.
Slideshare – Share your PowerPoint presentations online or upload them so they can be embedded into your wiki or website.  You can also search for other PowerPoints to use (depending on the copyright).

 

BONUS TOOL!!

Toondoo — Because everyone needs to have a little fun once in a while, what better way than to make your own comics.

 

What are your favorite Web 2.0 Tools?

A Memorial Day Story

On May 30, 2011, my family and I attended the 144th Annual Memorial Day Parade in Gettysburg (after the boys marched as Cub Scouts in the Carlisle parade).  While it was EXTREMELY hot that day, I had a terrific time with the family touring the battlefield and watching the parade.

You can check out some of the videos that we took on my Teaching the Civil War with Technology blog.

The Memorial Day Parade in Gettysburg is extra special because for the past several years, one of the local businessmen has sponsored a bus to bring wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Hospital to Gettysburg to tour the battlefield and watch the parade.  This year was no exception and the bus arrived with numerous wounded soldiers and their families.  As they stepped off the bus, everyone in attendance were standing and applauding these brave men and women of our Armed Forces.

While we were waiting for the parade to begin, a woman arrived with her two young daughters to watch the parade.  The one little girl held a sign that said “We Love You Daddy”.  When I asked the mother if her husband was going to be in the parade, she said no and told us that her husband was in Kandahar.  Here is where this gets really cool.  Near where we were standing is a traffic light with a web camera mounted on top.  This traffic camera streams video of the intersection where we were standing over the web via the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s website.  So, the father of the two girls who was thousands of miles away, could watch the Memorial Day Parade AND see his family.  He even sent the mom a message while we were standing there saying that he saw the girls and their sign.

PennDot Traffic Cam Gettysburg

It was a terrific story to be combined with a terrific day.

Thank you to all the men and women (and their families) of the Armed Forces who protect our country.

Improving Productivity with Google Forms

Have you ever wanted to quickly create a web form to survey or collect information from your students, faculty, staff or stakeholders?  If you answered yes, then you will definitely want to check out Google Forms.

I use Google Forms for my graduate courses to collect contact information for my students which I can then access from anywhere.

What is Google Forms?

Google Forms is a one of the many tools that are part of Google Docs.  Google Forms is a FREE application that allows you to quickly and easily create a web-based form.  Once the form is created, you can embed it into your website or email a link in order to begin collecting information.  If you don’t want to create a form from scratch, Google has provided a bunch of ready-made forms for you to use.  What is even betters is that once you begin to collect information, you can analyze this data.

Creating a Google Form

The following is a step by step process for creating your first Google Form:

1.  Login to Google Docs and then click on the Create New menu and select Form
Google Forms

 

2.  You should now see a blank form complete with your first question.  Click where it says “Untitled Form” to enter a title for your new form and you can add a description.


3.  Edit the question title, question type and other information and click “Done”.  The following is shows an example how you can ask for someone’s favorite flavor of ice cream:

 

Google Forms

From here you can add more questions but for this example, I’m just going to use this one question.

 

4.  Copy the link to the form and share it.  Look at the bottom of your form and you will see a link.  Copy that link or click on the email form in the upper right corner.
Google Forms

 

Your new web form should look like this:

 

5.  Check out how people are answering your form by clicking on the “See Responses” button.  You can select Summary or in Spreadsheet form.

 

Google Forms

 

By viewing in spreadsheet form you can sort responses and clean up the data if necessary.  You can also export the spreadsheet in the event you need to import into another program like Excel.

So there you have it.  There are also some advanced features of Google Forms but I think I’ll save those for another post.

My Top 5 Free iPhone Apps

As I use my new iPhone more and more, I have actually noticed that I am using a few applications all day everyday.  So, I thought I would take a minute and tell you about my top 5 iPhone Apps and how I use them.

Evernote Icon Evernote – is an online system that allows me to capture and organize notes related to different projects or to do items.  For example, if I am working on a quote for a client, I can place documents and notes together in Evernote so they are all connected together in a single location.
Analtics Agent Lite Analytics Lite – This simple little app allows me to track and monitor the Google Analytics for the various websites that I am managing.  This app is also great to use when meeting with a client to show them how website changes are impacting traffic.
Hootsuite Icon Hootsuite — Allows me to update Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all with the same message simultaneously.
Wordpress App Icon WordPress App — This app allows me to write blog posts, create or edit pages and manage comments all from my iPhone.
Dropbox Icon Dropbox — This service allows me to have 2.5gb of storage “in the cloud” that allows me to easily share files with clients or allows me to have access to them when I’m away from my desktop.

 

BONUS APP!!

Words with Friends Words with Friends — Everyone needs to relax once in a while so I play Words with Friends which is like Scrabble online.

 

What are your favorite free apps?

Creative Commons Searching

If you are doing a presentation, movie, website or project you are at some point going to be looking for images or graphics to put into your work.  Now, you could do a Google Image search, find the image(s) you want, save them to your computer and then post them to your website or presentation.  But is this legal?  Maybe, maybe not.  It depends on the license of the image and how you are using it.  I’m by no means an expert in copyright or fair use.  But what I would like to show you is where you can find images and other media to use in your presentations that are copyright free.

What is the Creative Commons?

According to their website, Creative Commons “is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.””

Now, just because it is in the creative commons it does not give you free reign to use it, but it does give you more freedom.  There are several licenses under the creative commons.

Types of Creative Common Licenses

Basically, the Creative Commons license enables a copyright holder to grant some of their rights to the public while retaining other rights.  Here are the types of licenses:

NonCommercial – A non-commercial license lets others copy, distribute, perform creative works and derivative works, but only for noncommercial purposes.  For example, you could use a work for educational purposes.

ShareAlike – A ShareAlike license allows others to distribute derivative works under a license identical to the original copyright holder.  For example, you use an image that has a ShareAlike license, add something or modify it in some way, and then you must license it with a ShareALike license.

NoDerivative Works – A NoDerivative Works license allows someone to copy, distribute, display and perform the exact copywritten works and however no derivative works can be created from that original item.

Attribution – An Attribution license means items can be copied, distributed, displayed, or performed or derivative works can be made, provided appropriate credit is given to the original copyright holder.  This is probably the most common license.  Here you can use the work, you just have to give them credit in some manner.

Searching for items in the Creative Commons.

So, how and were do you find resources that are in the Creative Commons?  While it is true that you could do an Advanced Google Search, I think searching the Creative Commons site is much easier (and it searches Google for you).

From here you should see something like this:

Creative Commons Search

Once you search, you can then select the sources that you want to search from such as Google, Flickr, Blip.TV or one of the other services.  The Creative Commons search also allows you to search for videos and music (Jamendo) and search the Wikimedia Commons.  All of this from a single search page.

Once you find your media (image, video or audio) you can then determine the license and use it in your project or presentation.

Let me know how you find items for use in your projects.

 

Non-linear Powerpoint Presentations

Linear versus Non-linear PowerPoint

If you think of most PowerPoint presentations that you have seen, I would venture a guess that most (if not all) have been linear.  In other words, the presenter went from Slide 1 to Slide 2 to Slide 3, and on and on until you probably fell asleep somewhere in the middle. Linear PowerPoints “follow a straight line” or simply go through the slides in a numerical fashion.  Nonlinear PowerPoints on the other hand, are very different. It allows you to navigate through the presentation in any manner by jumping from slide to slide as needed. Nonlinear PowerPoints are more like wikis that can have different results based on what you click or how you want to explore the presentations. Simply put, non-linear PowerPoint presentations are more interactive!

An example:

Say you are doing a presentation and you have 10 slides in your PowerPoint (PPT).  In your presentations you talk about three things, Topic A on Slide 3, Topic B on slide 5 and Topic C on slide 7.  Now, on slide 2 of your PPT, you have an overview listing the three topics you are going to cover.

In a linear PPT, after talking about the overview, you would have to click next to go to slide 3 and present Topic A and then click through slide 4 BEFORE getting to Topic B.  From there you would then have to click through slides 5 and 6 BEFORE getting to Topic C.  This is great if you wanted to present the topics in order but what if you wanted to skip right to Topic C because someone asked you a question?  Or perhaps you created eight topics because you were unsure which ones you would need to cover.  You need a quick method for navigating through the slides.

Presenting Non-linear PowerPoint

Here is an example PPT on the skeleton system that I am presenting to a class or group.  This introduction slide (SLIDE 1) shows a graphic of the skeleton, some links and then a button at the bottom that says TAKE QUIZ.

 

Skeleton PowerPoint slide

When you are in presentation mode and you click on the Take Quiz button, you are then taken to SLIDE 4:

Powerpoint slide

On this slide we are asked the question, “The part of the skeleton that protects the brain is the.”  Now, we know that the correct answer this the Skull.  What I want is to do is if the person clicks on the CORRECT answer, I want PPT to display SLIDE 6 but if they pick the WRONG answer, then display SLIDE 5.

Skeleton Powerpoint Quiz Slide

Skeleton PowerPoint Quiz slide

You can also see from the “WRONG” slide that there is a button to RETURN TO QUIZ.

Creating A Non-Linear PowerPoint

  • Now that I’ve shown you an example, here is how you create your non-linear PPT.
  • Create all of your slides first, including the CORRECT and WRONG slides
  • Go to your quiz slide and create the question and two “answer buttons”
  • Right click on one of the buttons and select Hyperlink
  • When the hyperlink dialog box appears, select “Place in this document”
  • Select the Slide that you want to show when the button is clicked.

That’s it!  It’s that simple.  Just a note that you may want to show the PPT in kiosk mode to disable how users move through the slides but that is up to you.

Let me know what you think and how this works out for you.