Sunday, January 26, 2014

Creating a Network of Shared Resources with the LOR in D2L

Next Steps on the D2L Journey

Teachers in Park Hill have a little over one semester of experience using D2L as a Learning Management System. Teachers have been busy creating 21st Century Learning Activities, and students have been accessing much of this content through D2L.

In education we collaborate and share best practices on a daily basis.  We are proud to announce that the Learning Object Repository or LOR is up and running so teachers can easily share their content with other teachers throughout the district.

The LOR is made up of 3 types of repositories: grade level bands along with district provided content and professional development content.  These repositories allow for organization and save search time when looking for content.  

Items that can be published to the LOR
  • Individual files, links, and quizzes from a teacher's D2L course
  • Files from a teacher's computer or network drive
  • Submodules (keeps organization structure intact and brings content with it)
  • Modules (keeps organization structure intact and brings content with it)
Items that cannot be published to the LOR at this time
  • Rubrics
  • Discussions
Below are screen casts and handouts to get you started with LOR.



If you need additional assistance, please contact an Instructional Technology Specialist.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I Heart Haiku Deck

While looking for a new means to deliver content for an upcoming presentation, I stumbled across Haiku Deck.  Haiku Deck is a free presentation platform that started as an app, but recently released as a web based version. While exploring Haiku Deck, I have found that the tool stays true to their philosophy of "Simple, Beautiful, Fun."

What I Love About Haiku Deck

  • It is FREE!
    • Who doesn't love free?  Of course you can purchase a premium version, but from what I have seen, the free version and it's features are just fine!
  • The Images are Amazing!
    • Haiku Deck provides 35 million free images and 6 themes by using images from photographers that licensed under Creative Commons.  If you use the app, you will have access to the free images, but also to Getty Images through Haiku Deck for purchase.  You also have the option to easily insert your own beautiful photos from your computer or social media sites with the web and App version
  • You Decide Who Can See Your Deck.
    • The privacy of your deck is completely up to you. When you publish a deck, you decide who can find it.  You have the option to make it public (anyone can find it on the web), restricted (the deck can only been seen by people you share it with or people you have given the link to), or private (for your eyes only)
  • The Haiku Deck Team Offers TONS of Support
    • I love it when I can find answers quickly!  Haiku Deck has an awesome blog that provides tons of ideas, examples, and tips. They also have an incredibly thorough Support and Tutorials page.
  • Haiku Deck Wants to Support Educators and Students
Although I have just started dabbling with Haiku Deck, I am already impressed. Take a look at this basic tutorial and get started! I know you will love Haiku Deck as much as I do!

-Lindsay @lstutzman13

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Four Search Tips to Make Google Work for You

When using Google as an academic search engine, teachers and students alike sometimes struggle to find the information that they need for a specific task.  Most users never utilize many of the basic search options, let alone utilize the advanced search options, in order to specify the scope of a search.  These search tips can help students and teachers narrow a Google search in order to save time and generate the most relevant results.

Tip #1:  Search by Reading Levels

Google advanced search options allow users to search for articles by reading levels in order to find information that best aligns with the text-complexity needs of the individual user.  While the Google reading levels are not as comprehensive as the Common Core State Standards text-complexity measurements, which include qualitative, quantitative, and reader and task measurements, Google advanced search does have three reading levels:  basic, intermediate, and advanced.  The Google reading levels do not align to specific Lexile bands but instead provide a basic description and structure for the database to sort text. The basic reading level is broadly described as "elementary" and applicable to readers with reading levels under the sixth grade.  The intermediate reading range typically applies to sixth grade through twelfth grade reading abilities, and the advanced reading level is described as "scholarly" or "post-secondary" leveled texts for efficient readers.  Texts from Google Scholar is advanced reading level.

To narrow your search results in Google by Reading Level, type in the key word in the search box and select Search.  Then go to the gear on the right of the search screen.

Left click on the gear and select Advanced search from the list.

Once in Advanced search, scroll down to Reading Level.  Users may sort by a specific level by selecting "show only basic results," "show only intermediate results," or "show only advanced results"; or the user may choose to show all results but display the reading level of each search result by choosing "annotate results with reading levels."

Once a user sets the Advanced search Reading Level setting, the results will be narrowed.  In the example below, the search on dolphins in captivity has been narrowed to the Basic level.

Tip #2:  Search by a Domain or a Specific Site

Another quick search trick that is helpful is specifying a specific domain or site within the search box.  For example, if you want to search within a specific domain (e.g., .org, .edu, .gov), you can specify that within the search box by adding after the search key word or phrase.  For example, if I wanted to conduct the above search on dolphins in captivity, but I only wanted to search within .org domains, I would type dolphins in captivity in the search box.  Then all of my search results will be limited to .org sites.

In addition, you can use the same technique to limit a search to a specific site.  If I know that I want to search for an article within the site, I would add after the search key word or phrase.  Using the same example, dolphins in captivity, I would type dolphins in captivity in the search box.  This would limit all of my search results to site.

Tip #3:  Search Using Boolean Operators (NOT and OR)

OK--so I am a database geek, and Boolean operations make me happy!  Google has made the use of basic Boolean operations super simple.  The NOT operation can be used to eliminate queries from a search directly from the search box.  Simply add -query after the search word or phrase.  For example, again, I want to search for dolphins; however, when I do a Google search for dolphins, the search results include information on the mammal dolphin as well as the Miami Dolphins football team.

In order to search only for information on the mammal dolphin, I could use the NOT Boolean operation by adding -football to the original search.  This would eliminate all results relating to the Miami Dolphins football team and provide only results relating to the mammal dolphin.  Remember, the NOT operation will narrow a search.

A second Boolean operation that can be used in a search is the OR operation.  Keep in mind that in order for OR to function as a Boolean operation rather than a coordinating conjunction within a search phrase, the OR must be capitalized.  For example, if I wanted to search for two phrases, I would put each phrase in quotation marks to keep each phrase functioning as a single unit and then add the OR Boolean operator between the two phrases.  This allows Google to search for either phrase in one search.  I could then search for "dolphins in captivity" OR "dolphins at SeaWorld" in one search.  Remember, the OR operation will broaden a search!

Tip #4:   Search Images Using Copyright Operators

This last tip has to do with images, not text.  Many users are relying more and more on Google to search for images to use in projects, presentations, personal blogs, etc.  However, students (teachers, too) assume that if the image result appears within a search that the image is usable under copyright.  Wrong!  As a result, we must use images responsibly and teach students to search for usable images under copyright laws.  Google advanced search allows for users to narrow image results by usage rights.  After typing in the key word or phrase in the search box, select images.  Then, go to the gears and select Advanced search.  Under Advanced search, go to usage rights and select "free to use or share."  This refines all of the results within the search to be images that are free for students and teachers to use!