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Monday, August 19, 2013

Wifi Photo Transfer

Have you ever had pictures on multiple devices (iPods/iPads/iPhones) and wanted to get them all to the same location?

Imagine going on a nature walk at the beginning of the school year. Your students take wonderful pictures on their iPods/iPads and you want to create a presentation with all of their pictures.

Or, after having students work on projects on their iPads you want to share them with the rest of the class. If you don't have a program such as Reflector or Apple TV you can use this app to share student work through your computer and project for the class to see.

How are you going to get them off of all of the devices? If your school is using Apple Configurator it won't be convenient to go plug in all of the devices to the computer that configures them to get the pictures off.

A media specialist in our district shared this app with us.

  1. Open the app on the device that is housing the pictures.
  2. Type the URL address the app is giving you into a web browser (Our favorite is Google Chrome) on your computer. 
  3. You now have access to all of the photos and videos that are saved on the device and can download them to your computer.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Workshop Prizes!

If you attended one of our 9 workshops at Resource Training and Solutions this is a post for you! Thank you so much for joining us! We hoped that you were able to take away resources and information to help you integrate technology into your teaching. We had an amazing time and really enjoyed working with over 170 people from over 40 different school districts throughout Minnesota!

We are in the process of finalizing all of the prizes that we gave away during our workshops. If you received a code for an app please redeem it soon as they will expire after 28 days and many were issued on August 1st.  If you were to email us to receive a voucher please do so within the next few days as I will be sending the winners to the app developers to issue the vouchers next week.  Our email is normoff13@gmail.com.  Don't forget to include your name, session attended and what app you won.  Below is a short video that demonstrates how to redeem a code in the iTunes app store in case you need a reminder!

We wanted to say THANK YOU so much to the developers that we contacted who sent us free app codes for our workshop participants!  We already loved their apps and we were so glad that many of you had the opportunity to win a code and try them out for yourself! Don't forget to give them your feedback and a shout out as we wouldn't have been able to have such great prizes without them.  The following is an alphabetical list of the apps that we showcased and gave away during our workshops. They are all hyper-linked to iTunes as we highly recommend that you check them out!

Many of you won a great looking t-shirt from Sophia. Check out their FREE online learning community with many great courses--a few were even created by our very own Angie Katlhoff!  http://www.sophia.org/

TechSmith also provided us with FANTASTIC prizes---some sweet Chalkstar to Rockstar t-shirts and 1 Camtasia Studio Recording Software per session! WOW!!! We love Camtasia-it is a perfect tool for all teachers looking to make engaging interactive videos and a must have for flipping your classroom! http://www.techsmith.com/

Again, thanks to all of the participants from our Resource Training and Solutions workshops and the amazing developers who provided us with great giveaways! Remember that we are able to attend your back-to-school professional development days with customized technology and teaching courses that will provide you with technology CEUs! Have your staff development coordinator contact us today!

Friday, August 16, 2013

App Review: Confer

If you are looking for one app that will take your daily conferencing to the next level than Confer Full Version is the app for you! I was initially introduced to Confer through a workshop I attended on the conferring component of Daily 5/CAFE last year.  Our district has been slowly integrating iOS devices into our classrooms, as well as nudging teachers in the direction of Daily 5/CAFE for their literacy blocks.  They made mention of Confer app in the workshop, but didn't really go into any further detail than that.  When I started looking into it more I was pleased to find Confer Lite-a free version that lets you get the gist of what Confer is all about.  However, you really need the full version to fully understand all of the great things Confer has to offer. As of right now it is listed as $14.99. While this is on the high end of cost for me, if you are conferring with your students daily I believe it is worth it. Just think of how much you will be saving in paper (or post-its, or index cards, or whatever conferring system you currently use!) and the priceless benefit of organization and ease of access!

If you recently attended our workshops on iPad Apps for Teachers and Formative Assessment Utilizing iPads you heard all the reasons why I love this app! Here are a few reasons that I choose Confer as a top teacher app:

  1. Customization. My biggest selling feature on an app is the ability for me to customize it however I need. With Confer you can create as many classes as needed-allowing for better organization and easier usability, as well as imputing as many students as you need to. This can be done on the device directly or by importing a class list or roster into Confer from Dropbox or email. Whether you use conferring for your reading or writing instruction, or both, you will be able to tailor this app to meet your conferring needs.  I've even thought of creating a class for my guided math conferencing notes!
  2. Sharing of data.  When an app has easy to use exportation options I notice.  With Confer you can share your data through email, Dropbox, a spreadsheet or the newest feature-syncing through a cloud.  Having this type of data is helpful, but it becomes a more powerful tool when you can share it when needed with a case manager, EL teacher, or intervention team.  Not to mention how beneficial it is for co-teaching and transferring students.  Confer allows you to send data to another teacher who can then open the information up in Confer and it will directly import all of that data.  You can also create teaching points on your computer to bring into the app or share with others. 
  3. Ease of use.  Confer allows me to quickly and easily create and save notes on my students during my daily conferencing time.  You can write a general note or add a note to any/all of four fields: tags, strength, teaching point (I use this space for my CAFE touch points) and next step.  When you are adding in notes it will save the text so that you can quickly add the same note to any student without retyping the entire note.  For when you are working with a small group of students Confer has a feature that allows you to add the same note to multiple student profiles at once.   
  4. I've said the best for last......Sorting. The absolute biggest reason why I use Confer is the sorting feature.  I'll be honest and say that when I first started using Confer I didn't see the appeal on some of the features. However, once I got a few weeks worth of notes added in and I started to differentiate my reading instruction more frequently and more specifically this app became a life saver for me! Within the app you can sort the students in a variety of ways. Sorting by date will provide you with a list of students starting with who you haven't seen in the longest amount of time. Once you add a new note for them it puts that student at the bottom of the list.  I look at this every day. It helps keep me accountable to those students who I feel like I just conferred with-but it has actually been a few weeks!  You can also sort by level or groups, helpful for planning my guided reading instruction.  But my favorite feature is the ability to sort to find students with the same needs.  I do this one of two ways-sorting by looking for a certain text within each of the note taking fields (tags, strength, teaching point or next step).  This will group the students based on if they have similar notes in one of those fields.  Although the way I most often sort is through the search feature.  I type in what I am wanting to group  my students on (ie fluency) and where I want to look for that text (typically I'm looking in teaching point and next step). I can choose how far back to look for that note, hit search and it will provide me with a list of students who have that text in my specified field.  I use this when planning my strategy groups each week and for when I have an adult available for help that I wasn't planning on.  I can quickly create a group of students working on similar reading/writing strategies, have them grab their book boxes or writing folders and have a small group differentiated to their exact need instantly.  

Confer has helped take my formative assessment in writing and reading to the next level.  I can quickly and easily collect data, have that data at my fingertips at all times, and then sort through that data to create impactful differentiation of my instruction.  My teaching is more effective and personalized, leading to increased student achievement and engagement.  

The developer, David Lowe, has shared with us that there will be some tweeks to Confer happening in September-addressing some of the needs that educators wanted to see in the app. There will be an Android version and even more ways to customize Confer to your usage needs.  One of our workshop participants asked if there was a way to edit the date in case you met with a student but didn't have your iOS device with you. This is a feature that will be rolling out in the new update! We love it when developers take feedback and utilize it! We are looking forward to the new updates and starting this upcoming school year with a great teacher tool in Confer!

TPT Sale This Weekend!

Get ready for back to school by stopping over at our Teachers Pay Teachers Store and loading up on some great iPad/iPod Activity Extension Packets from us! What a great way to extend student learning and increase accountability while utilizing some of the great apps out there for education! All of our products will be 20% off August 18-19, plus you can save another 10% by entering the code BTS13 at checkout! Woo Hoo!! Don't forget to follow our TPT store as we have many more app extension packets that will be rolling out soon!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Class Codes

Today we had our last day at Resource Training and Solutions and we are grateful for everyone who attended! Some people took our classes for credits and were wondering about the course codes that you need to include on the title page. Below is a link to a Google Doc with the name of our classes and the class code you need in order to submit your assignment.
Class Codes

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Are You Ready to QR?

Utilizing QR codes in the classroom is an easy and engaging way to combine teaching and technology! We blogged about it here a few weeks ago where we demonstrated how to use QR codes to make learning independent in lower elementary grades.  We are super excited about our course tomorrow at Resource Training and Solutions where we get to share many more reasons why we love QR codes in the classroom! 

As back to school time is upon us, QR codes can be very beneficial in welcoming back students and families.  A few ways that we think you could utilize QR codes at the beginning of the year:

  1. Create a QR code that parents scan that will directly import your contact information into their phones (Angie has one on her business cards and as her lock screen on her phone!) Take it a step further and create a 'Meet the Teacher' or 'Intro to 2nd Grade' video, QR code it and then post it in your classroom. A fun way for families to pass the time as they wait to speak with you on the always busy open house night!
  2. Place a QR code at each important stop on a school tour (places like the office, nurses office, library checkout, computer lab, cafeteria...) Have students in older grades or from the year before describe what happens where.  What a great way to introduce the school to new students!  Another way to utilize QR codes is for the benefit of your EL families.  We are in the process of having our cultural navigators create short informational videos about each stop on our school tours in different languages. We then create a QR code to the video, so when someone scans the QR code they are taken directly to that informational video. Thus allowing our EL families to hear important information in their native language, increasing understanding and establishing a welcoming environment for everyone!
  3. Add QR codes onto all that paperwork! Creating short how-to-fill-out-this-form or what-to-do-with-these-papers videos and linking them to the mass amounts of paperwork being handed out to families can decrease parent anxiety about getting everything to where it needs to be. Not to mention that you could  translate any information into different languages so all parents can understand what is happening or have it available if someone isn't able to read.  Having audio can be extremely helpful to all families!
These are just 3 of the ways we utilize QR codes and technology in our schools at the beginning of the year! Join us tomorrow for Using QR Codes in Your Classroom to learn more! Not only will participants learn some of the many ways of what to do with QR codes, they will get to learn how to create QR codes--plus prizes! Always prizes!! And remember that we are always willing to join you at your school or staff development to help you integrate QR codes! Just check out our Events Page for more info!

We are also excited to have joined in The Secrets of the iPad link up! Click on the picture below to see what other great educators are talking about with all things iPad!! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

App Review: 4 Dice Fraction Games

First of all, if you are reading this on Friday August 9, 2013 hurry to iTunes and download 4 Dice: Fraction Games today while it is FREE!! Don't worry-I can wait.......  Great! Now if you weren't able to get it for free, don't worry as the $1.99 you are paying is well worth it. If you recently attending our iPad Apps for Kids course this app is created by the same developers of the 5 Dice Order of Operations app that we recommended in our primary math session.  Designed for upper elementary and middle school students and up, this app provides a fun way to practice fractions in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division.  Each game mode has two levels, essentially an easier and a harder level.  
Basically, you are given four dice that you shake by either shaking the device or pressing the roll icon. You are then given a target fraction that you have to 'get to' by using the four dice to create a number sentence in whatever game play mode you are in (addition/subtraction/multiplication/division).  There is also a challenge mode that incorporates all four modes of game play.  When you think you have the correct answer you then shoot the arrow at the target fraction and it will tell you if you are correct or not.  It would be nice if it would offer a tutorial if you get so many wrong in a row, that said thought it will show you the correct way to answer it if you select shoot again instead of redo shoot.  Some of the reasons we like 4 Dice Fraction Games are:

1.  Can become a multi-player game. Through the use of Bluetooth two players can play competitively or cooperatively, which is a fun bonus for students. Also a great way to get parents involved! It is compatible with iPads, iPods and iPhones which opens up accessibility for students and families to purchase and practice at home.

2.  Review and work space. It has a nice printed review for students to pull up in the information icon that gives a helpful reminder on the rules of working with fractions. This was especially important for this Kindergarten teacher!! It also has a easy to use whiteboard feature to work through the problems during game play.

Screen Shot of 4 Dice: Fraction Games

3.  Teacher features. It seems to have an unlimited number of player profiles (I can't find the exact amount it lets you input, however I put 25 names and it seems it will let me keep adding). Helpful if you teach multiple math classes and want each student to have their own profile.  Unfortunately it doesn't sync with other devices so you have to manually input all player names onto each device.  Another great teacher feature is that you can email a student progress report to yourself that gives you an overview of each profile's performance.  The developer has created a helpful webpage that allows you to download a printable version to play with your class, as well as many other insights into the math apps that they have created and their common core standards connections.  All nice teacher features that we appreciate!

Overall I feel that 4 Dice: Fraction Games is engaging without being distracting and allows for maximum direct practice with fractions!  During our workshops we heard from many third through sixth grade teachers that they would like more apps that focus on their content areas, especially in math. Here is a great app that is definitely worth checking out!  Make sure to follow our blog so that you can hear about any apps that we love that go free right away!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day Four: iPad Apps for Kids Galore!

Sporting our Sophia T-Shirts! 
We had a fantastic time on Day 4 of our iPad courses at Resource Training and Solutions. This afternoon was devoted to iPad Apps with Kids which was filled with many great apps for literacy, math and creation in both primary and elementary classrooms. Normoff has tomorrow off and I think we will both be missing our terrific workshop participants!

Today many of the educators in attendance made note of how they'd like to learn more about creating higher level thinking activities for their students utilizing iPads and technology. A great way to do this is with the use of QR Codes! We have a class next week that isn't quite full yet and we will be discussing many ways to use QR Codes in education for all grade levels. Contact Resource Training and Solutions to sign up!

Here are a few blurbs from some of our wonderful workshop participants today:

Appreciated the laid back style and numerous apps that look to be of great quality.

Exciting presentation, very informative, hands on very useful, answers to many questions. Can go back and start to use.

They provided us with numerous apps that are of high quality and appeal for students.

This class was great because they took fun apps and told us how we can stretch them to make them work for us effectively in the classroom.

Here we are again! Don't forget to share with us your
pic of you rocking your Sophia T-Shirts!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Workshops Day 3: Fun For You and Me!!

Techie teachers give you a ride through technology that is enjoyable, fast moving and applicable. I love useful information, this is! ~thetechieteachers iPad Workshop Participant

We Love Our New TShirts!

Thank you to all who attending our 3rd day of workshops today at Resource Training and Solutions! We had a wonderful time looking at iPad Apps for Teachers and iPad Apps to use with  Daily 5  daily lesson plans! We really appreciate all who are repeat participants and we hope that you have been able to take away useful information from each session.  To those of you who joined us for the first time we hope that you enjoyed the workshops and we would love it if you joined us again! As always, contact us if you participated in any of the workshops and  you have any questions, concerns or comments.

Don't forget that we'd love to come do a techie teacher training for your school or school district!  Let your staff development coordinator know that you'd like to have us join you and they can contact us at normoff13@gmail.com to schedule a training! We can elaborate on any one of our sessions or customize it to your grade level, focus area, or really almost anything else teaching and technology related!

And another great big thank you to all of the developers whose apps we are showcasing in our sessions that provided us with a few free codes for teachers to redeem! They are a huge hit and generating a lot of interest in the apps--apps that thetechieteachers already love!

But by far one of the coolest parts of today was the unveiling of our new t-shirts! They are QR Code ready and techie teacher approved!!!  Woot Woot!

We still have room in both our QR Code sessions and iPads & Formative Assessment! Join us for some awesome prizes and great information!

Here is what a few participants had to say about today's sessions:

Great for any teacher looking to use an iPad for the first time or the hundreth!

This was a lot of information. I would love for you to offer an all day workshop specifically geared k-1 that let's us learn and dive deeper. You are both wonderful!

I am motivated to apply my learnings from today. All the apps will be very useful in my Daily 5 lessons. The organizing ideas are great.

Fabulous information that is not only useful but easy to use.

The information in the session was very helpful. The apps were presented in a very fun way. I loved the free prizes!

Wow! Great class! So many apps that I can start using right now that will increase my efficiency and effectiveness as a teacher using technology! Thanks!

Fetch! Lunch Rush!!

We are gearing up for the start of day 3 at Resource Training and Solutions.

Some of our participants have been interested in the sheet we made for our students when using the Fetch! Lunch Rush app.

Here it is!

If you want to read more about it you can visit our app review.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Workshops Day 2:Maximum Capacity and Maximum Fun!

Whew! What a day filled to the brim-we had our greatest number of participants yet and we discussed a lot of great apps! We are super thankful for everyone who joined us today for iPad Apps for Teachers and iPad Apps for Kids. It was a whirlwind, with many people joining us for both sessions which we really appreciate!

We learned about some great new apps and a little more about how different school districts are managing and utilizing iOS devices. We hope that all participants were able to take away new apps to use and ways to utilize technology for academics and as teacher tools! Thanks again to the developers who provided app codes and/or vouchers for today's sessions!

Don't forget to email us with any questions or feedback! And we have some Normoff teacher tshirts to show off tomorrow so make sure to follow our blog to check them out!

Here is what a few people said about today:

"What a great use of my afternoon, apps that will keep on giving!"

"I have been looking for good iPad app for school sessions and these two are the first who came to the concept with teachers in mind."

"Excellent source of information for classroom teachers wishing to use ipads in their classroom! There are so many apps out there,the instructors did the leg work for us to find great ones!"

"FABULOUS instructors with great suggestions and real classroom situations that tie to app usage."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Workshops Day 1 a Success!

Thank you to all of our participants in iPad Basics and iPad Apps for Daily Lesson Plans (Daily 5)! We had an amazing time today and hope you did too! We really enjoyed getting to share our thoughts about technology and teaching with over 40 educators representing over 10 school districts! Some of you even drove 2+ hours-we feel honored that you would come all that way! The best thing about these workshops is that we get to learn something new every session--everything from new apps to investigate to new ways to organize and manage your technology resources!

I think one of the most fun parts of the day for our participants were the prizes they won! A HUGE thank you to all of the generous developers of the great apps we are showcasing in our classes that donated app codes for teachers to explorer! We gave away more than $100 worth of apps today, not to mention $200 in computer software and some pretty cool t-shirts! If you received a free app voucher don't forget to email us and we will get that to you as soon as possible!

We always appreciate your feedback-here is what a few of today's attendees said:

This class gave many ideas for using iPads and usable apps. I have motivation to go from here and try several of them!

As a more advanced iPad user I was delighted to come to a course and learn new and useful things at a quick but easy to follow pace. There was no wasted time. These ladies know their stuff and openly share created items!

I've been to quite a few iPad classes and this one was BY FAR the best in organization and flow. Nicely done!

I thought this workshop was fantastic. I liked the movement between sessions and having both of you present. The amount of information was great.....now I need to find time to play and use it. Being a beginner, I appreciated the encouragement and support.

Sara and Angie were great presenters and well-knowledged on their subject matter. I left with great apps!

GREAT CLASS! Five stars!

If you still would like to join us for one of our 7 remaining courses check our Resource Training and Solutions for sign up information! Don't forget to follow us here and on Facebook and Twitter for all things techieteachers related!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Giveaways Galore!

We are gearing up for the 9 different sessions we will be leading about education and technology this week and next at Resource Training and Solutions in St.Cloud MN! About half of our courses are completely full, but there is still time to sign up for the open ones!

Not only will participants get the latest and greatest info about all things technology and teaching related, but they will be eligible for our giveaways which all together are currently valued at hundreds of dollars (and we are still adding more awesome prizes every day!) We have everything from tshirts to free app codes to some AMAZING computer software!

So if you are thinking of joining us, or know someone in Central MN who would like to spend a few hours with some pretty cool gals (that's us by the way!) check out our events page or Resource's website for more info! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Scholastic iRead!

I had a training this week as I am lucky enough to have been selected to help pilot Scholastic's iRead program! We are the first district in the state to launch the program, and one of a few in the nation! How exciting!!! Scholastic iRead is a breakthrough digital program designed to ensure mastery of all foundational reading skills of the Common Core that launched just last year in a few school districts on the East coast.

It is Scholastic's K-2 program, somewhat similar to their Read 180 and System 44 programs.  It is a digital reading program for everybody to use, with personalized learning paths that students can either fast-track through or repeat if needed, covering 5 main principles of early reading. It provides a ton of data for teachers, which the program combines with online resources and activities in one place-woohoo!  I'm SUPER jazzed up about it and can't wait to see what impact it has for my students this year.

I'm most intrigued by the auditory/visual piece.  Independent learning with correct audio and visuals to boot--yes please! The gaming theory behind it is amazing-everything from the activities themselves to the graphics easily draw you in and I think will be a huge motivator for my students! I am also really intrigued by the family component-it has lots of ways that students and their families can be actively learning at home.

Truthfully I'm a little nervous about the time commitment of learning a whole new program, as I think as teachers we always have a lot on our plates.  And I know that they will be watching my data closely--which I think is a little unnerving for any teacher!  But I have faith in my teaching foundation and I feel like this program will be an added benefit to all of my students-even if it means more work for me.  They do provide a lot of teacher support, with the trainer coming to visit my in my classroom at least 8 times this upcoming year.  That makes me feel comforted that if I am unsure of anything I can get support and feedback quickly.

My favorite part of the training is when the instructor mentioned how they are striving to take the best of technology and the best of teaching and blend them together.  Exactly what we believe here at thetechieteachers and what I strive to do every day in my classroom! Make sure to follow us to hear the latest about the program and how it is working in my classroom! If you use a Scholastic program in your school we'd love to hear any feedback or tips about it all!