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Over the last few weeks my students have taught me more than a few lessons about innovative uses of apps and iPads. We are collaborating with our high school to participate in Rock Our World 16 with a focus on poetry and poetry slams. We started by using facetime and having students share their favorite poems and bio poems. It worked wonderfully but we wanted to compose poems together. We attempted google docs but found that it was not running as smoothly as we needed it to.

Enter – Whiteboard Lite

Now this isn’t a new app for us but it is what the students did with it that left me more than a little amazed. So with Whiteboard Lite, you can share your screen with any other iPad on the same network. Meaning that students at our elementary school could write on their partner’s iPad at the high school and vice versa. So while talking on facetime, students wrote together a poem.

I did not realize that facetime could run while another app was running. But while walking around the room watching and listening to my students, I learned that when given the tools, students will find ways to make them do what they need and want them to do.

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As part of our participation in Rock Our World 16, we are composing poems with our high school buddies. This is the second time that we have used facetime. I have found facetime to be very powerful for my students because they talk more than when they are together in person (less intimidation).

This week my students and their high school partners composed a poem together using facetime. It was so exciting to listen to each student talking about poems, what they wanted to say, and the interactions between my young ones and the high school students. Facetime is an app that comes installed on the iPad. My students love to use the camera to share about their classroom – especially our class bunnies.

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Dear Discovery Education Network,
I’m writing this letter to explain both the importance that DENSI has played in my journey of using technology in the classroom and my frustration. This year the application process for me started in January. I spent three months of looking at the weekly update hoping my name would appear on the selected list of participants. Each week I was disappointed but hopeful.

Why is DENSI important to me? DENSI is the only professional development opportunity that has allowed me to connect and grow each year. I look forward to it each summer because I come back inspired and energized to try new things. As a classroom teacher, I don’t have access to this type of learning environment. This year I became even more active because I realized that the power of the DEN is the sharing and collaborating.

A few days ago I found out that I am on the waiting list which has been rather devastating for me. DENSI is what I look forward to each summer to reconnect with colleagues around the country and be inspired. Though I recognize that the power of the DEN is in growing and connecting educators throughout the country, I feel like as an active member for more than 9 years, that this should count for something.

I write this letter because I am a quiet member who deeply values the DEN. Please realize how important DENSI is to all of us.
Karie Huttner

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So this week is our state technology conference, a place that gives educators an excellent opportunity to learn from each other. Amy and I are off to the conference on Friday to present. I just wanted to share our presentation.

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Saturday March 24th, educators from around the state learned ways to integrate Discovery and iPads into their instruction. Here are just some of the resources that were shared – Resource list. Thank you to Discovery for sponsoring this wonderful event full of learning, sharing, and collaborating. Stay tuned for an upcoming event in April!

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So a few weeks ago I posted about the importance of teaching students about digital copyright. The following is a video that I have created that illustrates some of the ways to help students find images.

Also there are many great resources available to learn more about copyright and how it impacts both teaching and learning.

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In February, I was fortunate to receive a WEMTA Outreach grant to continue the work with my students on Beyond Cuentos, a website that is helping us to integrate literacy, languages, and content area material.

My third grade students have started by tackling the multiplication tables. Our first venture wasn’t the best but it gave all of us a chance to see how we needed to show a picture for multiplication. We used ExplainEverything and drew and recorded.

Important side note: Our ExplainEverything app kept freezing so we needed to remember to save after every slide.

After watching our first set of videos, we decided that we could do better. This time we used Doodle buddy to create the picture and then took a screenshot. Using the screenshot in ExplainEverything, students created a product that was more polished and more timely.

Now we are in the stage of revision to decide if the video meets our standards. The funny thing is that my students standards keep increasing as they realize what can be done.

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Today I realized that we as educators need to be starting much earlier talking to and requiring students to respect digital content creation. It has become too easy to copy and paste without teaching students that plagiarism exists with digital content too. Images, music, words – all of this content needs to be cited. But it goes beyond citing, it comes down to searching for digital content that the author has given permission to be used by others.

Here is a slideshare by Glenn Wiebe that explains copyright vs fair use.

One place to start when using images with students is Discovery Education because the images if cited can be used in student projects. In an upcoming post, I will share how I do searches with my students using Google.

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Early January, the third grade team started to raise silkworms from a grant through If you have read my earlier blog post, you will remember that last year I successfully cooked the eggs using an incubator instead of hatching them.

So this year, things were going wonderfully. And then…. 15 silkworms died. We thought that it might have had to do with having placed them in smaller containers. After 45 minutes of discussion, our third graders decided that several factors could have been part of the demise of so many silkworms: over-population, condensation from cover being tight resulting in improper hydration, contamination from scat, or habitat design using a screen.

So we changed habitat arrangements by addressing these factors only to watch as slowly each silkworm started to die. The scientist we contacted said that it is a bacteria that has been passed from using paintbrushes to move the silkworms. The tool that we were using to protect the delicate silkworms was the cause of the mortality of our silkworms and project.

This has caused me to question what happens to farmers in India and China who raise silkworms. How often does this happen? How do you survive if your family income disappears because of nature? This lesson has changed from the life cycle of silkworms to a much deeper investigation.

Anyone know someone in India or China who raises silkworms? The lesson has just begun.

Here is footage of our last few silkworms.

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Step 1: Procrastinate until my idea popped into my head right before I fell asleep.

Step 2: Print a storyboard and sketch out my ideas.

Step 3: Collect my images. Record in front of the green screen. Record a bunch of takes until it is just right.

Step 4: Use iMovie to green screen, split screen, and integrate the videos and images with voiceovers.

Step 5: Share, get feedback, edit, and publish.

Length of project – 3 weeks of procrastination, 2 weeks of planning, writing, editing, and publishing.

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