Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A BRAND new tech toy! Oh boy!

Every year our uber generous PTO gifts each teacher with $100 to spend in their classroom.  I have the "usuals" that I have purchased previous, often repeating the year before - new books, class t-shirts, off-set field trip costs, etc.  This year, though, I wanted something different.  With my tech-hungry class, and my ever evolving tech-savvy skills, I wanted something new and uniquely engaging.

The "periscope" attachment for Osmo
After a week-long search, and lots of requests via twitter (thanks Tweeps!) I narrowed it down to four options, all of which were "good" but not exactly right.  Until I stumbled (literally) upon Osmo in a Twitter chat.

Oh.  Em.  Gee.  
That's all I can say.

The Tangram activity on Osmo
I don't exactly know how to explain Osmo.  It was invented by young parents out of Stanford and Google. Engineers at heart, the founders are personally committed to innovating new technologies that nurture positive play experiences for kids.  It's got a gadget that reminds me of a periscope that hooks on to the camera, reflecting it down on the surface in front of the iPad.  There, three different apps interact with the special tangrams, letter tiles, and newest of the trio, bouncing balls of sorts?  Still unclear on that, other than WAY cool with so many options for math and science!  According to the developers, Osmo is a unique gaming accessory for the iPad that comes with games that will change the way your child plays.

Osmo Google search page one as of 5/27.
Considering Sunday's chat was the first I heard of it, and none of the techie-teachers I connect with I need tech-support had heard of it either, I went to do some research before I made a decision. What I found was both surprising and exciting!  Osmo was JUST released to the public for pre-order THIS week!  It's still shiny and new!  How cool is that?!

So, decision made.  Osmo pre-ordered, with delivery slated for early fall, hopefully in time for school!  Oh, and if you order by June 22nd, Osmo is $49 each.  Beyond June 22nd, it bumps up to the retail price of $99 each.  I hope to use Osmo as a math tool during math workshop, as well as an option during word work time.  As far as the third game? The possibilities are limitless!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pondering Plickers

Plickers?  Plickers?  What is this Plickers you speak of?

Paper + Clickers = Plickers.

What does this mean for you, oh tech fearing friend?

It means that for the cost of about 12 pieces of paper, along with any tablet/smart phone, you can have a customizable student response system.

It's as easy as print, cut, go.

And it's such fun!

Plickers have been a fun bit of novelty, which I'll take at this point in the school year.  Essentially, each student is given their plicker (ideally, print them on cardstock, but don't laminate!) and as you read questions out, they hold their plicker up to the correct answer (each side is assigned a letter.)

You can stand at the front of the room, have your device open to the Plickers app, and with one slow scan of the room, you've just recorded every single student's response!  It's that easy!

And it's that fun, too!

Sunday, May 4, 2014


I love EdCamps!
If you've never been to an EdCamp, you are missing out.  Yeah, they all happen on Saturdays, but you know what?  There were over 300 educators registered for yesterday's event.  300 educators eager to give up a Saturday to go to PD.

Saturday + PD + 300 educators = come again?!

Oh, did I mention that EdCamps are FREE?  Yep.  That they are.

With all that, how can you not at least give it a try?

The session board for the day.  SO many choices!
The format is generally the same - morning registration and brainstorming the day, followed by a brief kick-off given by one of the volunteers (no keynotes!) before everyone scatters off into one of the session rooms for the first slot.

Sessions.  Created for the attendees, by the attendees.  This is why even though #edcampdetroit was my fourth EdCamp, they're never dull!  The sessions are created by those in attendance who want to share.  Some sessions may be created by those who want to learn about a specific topic.  There are panel discussions, round tables, traditional sessions, and everything in between.  There are no vendors trying to sell the latest craze, no solicitors, just educators sharing what we like, and learning from each other.

Here are my highlights from #edcampdetroit:
  • Kahoot is even more fun than I thought it would be!
  • I.  Love.  Plickers.  All you need is one handheld device (apple/droid) to make it work!
  • There is so much more to Augmented Reality than I realized!
  • I need to reconsider using Edmodo - thanks @TeamBond!
  • Cardboard Challenge.  SO amazing! (read more about it here)
  • I love EdCamps.  I love them more when my BFF goes with me! 
  • Twitter is an amazing resource for connecting with educators.  Face to Face meetings with said educators make it even more amazing!
    (Pictures: top - exploring genius hour with Jennifer Bond, bottom- Playing with AR with Drew Minock and Erin Klein)

More to follow about individual tools discovered, but for now, here's some pictures of the day!  Enjoy!

Had a blast taking a Kahoot Quiz!  Super engaging! (and free!)
Paper + Clicker = Plicker

Wrap up with the one and only NerdyTeacher

AR holds limitless possibilities for learning!