Monday, January 26, 2015

3rd Graders Using LucidPress for Online Publications

LucidPress is an awesome, free, new tool from the developers of LucidCharts.  With this tool, students can create engaging online publications with rich multimedia elements including text, pictures, video, and links to outside sources.  Students can even search Google for royalty free images without ever leaving LucidPress.

LucidPress provides users some beautiful free templates to manipulate, or the ability to create from scratch.  For Park Hill users, you can quickly create an account using your Park Hill Google Apps. for Education Account  (Click Here for specific directions and screen shots on how to get set up).

LucidPress includes easy to use drag and drop features as well as the ability to easily collaborate with others, connect your Google Drive account, and share your work with a link or an embed code.

This year, we have worked with the third graders at Tiffany Ridge to create online magazines with LucidPress to share their knowledge about various Native American tribes.  Students then shared the links to their magazines via Google Classroom so peers and teachers could do a gallery walk and provide feedback.  

Check out an awesome example from a third grader!

If you or your team is interested in using LucidPress, feel free to contact the ITF Team with any questions or to set-up an appointment!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Utilizing Parent Volunteers...Digitally!

Parent volunteers.  Let's face it, some teachers are luckier than others when it comes to parent volunteers.  Some have a plethora of parents and struggle to find ways to utilize them, while some teachers struggle to get a single parent volunteer for the classroom at all.  This can vary from school to school--and even from year to year in the same school.  

One commonality I heard in my classroom in my nine years of teaching was that while I couldn't always get someone in my classroom to help out or spend time with the kids due to work schedules, I ALWAYS had a handful of parents that wanted to help, or wished they could be involved in their child's education in SOME way.  

Enter Stage Right:  Digital Parent Volunteers!  After visiting a  third grade classroom and seeing this in action--the idea sounds so simple...yet so extraordinary! This teacher had a group of parents that wanted to volunteer, but couldn't make it to school during the daytime hours, so she started using them as Digital Volunteers for her students' blogs!  The parents could help out by responding to blog posts and providing quality feedback to students...which in turn gave her students an authentic audience!  Win-Win!  She and her colleague have a page on their website dedicated to instructing parent volunteers how to sign-up and guidelines to follow for quality comments.

Check it out at here!

What are some ways you use or are thinking about using parents digitally?  Comment below!