I apologize for not writing more posts this semester, but I have been swamped with work and play
I just received the new wi-fi Livescribe smartpen called SKY today and I promise to write a blog post soon about the features and how I plan on using it. Wi-fi opens the potential of the smartpen to be even smarter!! I can’t wait!
I have been using Doceri 2.0 along with the Mobi 360 w/ clickers in my math classes and plan on updating all of you on how well that is going (it is going REALLY well, by the way) and how I have used them with my students.
I got back from ISTE, overwhelmed with all the new and amazing tools and apps I learned about! Luckily the great folks at Doceri let me play with their beta 2.0 version (which should hit iTunes stores soon) and that made for an easy decision for me to start right there.
I get to use the iPad classroom (25 student iPads, 1 teacher iPad, and an Apple TV!!) to teach Intermediate Algebra in the Fall, so my focus at ISTE was to find iPad apps that allow students to create, not just to consume. I hit the jackpot with the new version of Doceri!! Not only can I create lessons, but the students will be able to create animations and videos as well, right from their iPads.
The new version of Doceri (2.0) should hit the iTunes app store soon, and it is a HUGE update!
The new features I am so excited about are 1) it allows you to work directly from the iPad (without needing to connect to a computer), and 2) it now records your pen strokes allowing you to easily create animations and videos directly from the iPad! INCREDIBLE! You can even edit your animations and upload your videos to YouTube!
OK, before I get too far ahead of myself (I am just so excited!), here is the new opening screen on the iPad:
(By the way, I did get permission from Doceri to blog about the new version before it hits the iTunes store!)
**UPDATE! Doceri 2.0 will be in iTunes stores July 24, 2012!!!
As you can see, Doceri 2.0 can now be used from the iPad alone, and even use Airplay if you are presenting (or just use the iPad at home to create a lesson!!!).
Starting a new project gives you a blank screen, which you can change to any color, use one of their backgrounds, or create your own. They have included many helpful math backgrounds, along with maps, as well as colors and textures.
After you choose your background, you can start writing on the screen. What you see at the top of the image below is the new RECORDING menu!!! It records your writing strokes. You can go back and edit them, speed them up, or slow them down. You can even add stops and new slides to your project. The record button on the top left allows you to record voice as well (while writing, or narrate even after you are done writing).
After recording a video, you have several options for exporting (on the right) to Facebook, YouTube, email, and to your images folder on the iPad.
You can also open your recordings on your iPad with any app loaded that will play a .mov file, including Dropbox and Evernote, so you can access your recordings from any device! (I also have TechSmith’s Fuse app installed on my iPad, so it found that app and listed it as well.)
The folks at Doceri created quite a few sample projects to help give ideas on how this new product can be used. Here is a screenshot of one of their videos (of course I chose math, but there are many other types as well):
*Once Doceri 2.0 hits the iTunes stores, you can pay for the ability to remove the Doceri watermark, and even add your own watermark.
Like the original Doceri Remote app, Doceri 2.0 can connect to your computer to share screens, but now there is a MUCH easier way to connect:
If you have an iPad2, just point the camera at the QR code and you are automatically connected! I tried it and it worked amazingly well. Once you are connected to your computer, you can use your animations and videos to present a lesson to the class, or create one while you are presenting!
**I am using the term “animation” for those projects that do not contain sound. All writing into the application is recorded and can be shown as animated or as still shots. These can only be played from within Doceri. Once you add sound, then a .mov file is created, so I am using the term “video” for the animations with sound added.
Here is the “official” list of updates for Doceri 2.0 (from Doceri):
What’s new in Doceri 2.0
You can now prepare Doceri Projects on the iPad without being connected to a Doceri Desktop AND you can present without a Doceri Desktop via Airplay. Audio recording has been added to create high quality screencast videos based on Doceri projects. In addition, more sophisticated drawing and authoring tools have been added, as well visual file management, improved placement of project timeline controls for easier presentation, and improved screen update time for remote desktop control.
Screencasting with Doceri
Create a live screencast as you present, or create, edit and perfect your project in advance and add an audio voice over later
Choose to save audio or delete and re-record without impacting your Doceri project
Videos may be shared via YouTube, Facebook or email and/or saved to the Camera Roll and any app that responds to video
New Drawing and Authoring Tools
New line tools (with snapping), geometric shapes (rectangle, ellipse) arrow tool and a new pen tool with realistic ink flow
Easy access to six user-defined favorites from the available drawing tools
Place photos from Camera Roll, Photo Stream or another application at any point in your project
The new lasso tool allows you to cut, copy, move and paste drawing objects
Choose between patterns, colors or create custom backgrounds on any slide in your project
Direct Controls for Keynote and Powerpoint
Launch a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation and use Doceri’s one-touch controls to advance your slides
Annotate over Keynote or Powerpoint (or anything shown on your desktop), creating a multipage Doceri project while keeping your original presentation file intact
Completely Revamped File Management
Doceri files can now be stored on the iPad Duplicate, merge projects, and transfer to and from your desktop
Combine, resize and share screencasts to Facebook, YouTube, Camera Roll or email with a simple drag and drop
Full implementation of cross application file sharing allowing “open in” function to copy files in and out of Doceri
USING EMBEDDED PDF PENCASTS FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION
I had a college professor contact me recently to show me his embedded pencast PDF (text embedded in the background). It was so fantastic, I asked him if I could write about what he is doing with his smartpen in his distance education classes for English.
Here is a link to open the pencast PDF he sent me. He used it to give a student feedback (he asked the student for permission for me to post this):
Now that you are as impressed as I am, here is a little bit about the gentleman who created the pencast.
Timm Hackett is in the English department at East Carolina University. Rather then me telling you about how he uses the Livescribe smartpen, he has given me permission to share his story with you (he obtained permission from his students to quote them as well).
The Livescribe pen has been a part of my English Distance Education courses at East Carolina University since October 2009. The pen has not only given me the ability to communicate with my students on a more personal level, but it has also allowed me to be more efficient in my teaching. What started out as a way to capture my own notes for writing turned into the most requested method of teaching from my DE students.
DE classes have always tried to emulate face-to-face classes; however, even the most advanced uses of technology fall short of their intended effect. Podcasts are wonderful for audible learners, but disregards students who may be visual learners. Videotaping classes requires a great amount of preparation, sufficient bandwidth and storage space on both the professor’s and student’s side, and cumbersome equipment. Even when faculty use such technologies, the outcome is less than adequate. This often leads to more work for the professor and continued frustration for the students. More often than not, a professor will fall back on what one graduate student described as a “document dump” into Blackboard or Moodle.
This is where the Livescribe can alleviate many of these issues.
Larissa Putnam, a student in the ECU Wells Fargo Partnership East Program (http://www.ecu.edu/cs-educ/partner_east/), stated, “What Distance Education students often feel is lacking in their overall experience is a sense of community and connection; however, putting a voice, and handwriting to a name really personalizes the lecture format in a way that a typed document cannot.”
Even when the pencast is not a lecture, but comments on the student’s own writing, it succeeds in providing feedback to the student. Frank Campione, a junior studying for his BSBA in Information Technology struggled with one aspect of composition. Even after seeing comments in the Word document, Campione still was unclear on the concept being taught. However, after combining his document and a PDF pencast, he wrote “[The Pencast] has an added bonus of giving distance education students more personal input from their professor, something that is lacking in some distance education classes.” One of Campione’s classmates, Paula Daughtry, a student studying Special Education, went a step further in her praise for what the Livescribe pen provided her: “”I really liked how you were able to write and speak concerning my paper. Yes, this is perfect for DE students like myself! I felt that I had a face-to-face meeting.”
Using the technique of the embedded PDF pencast has increased the value of the Livescribe Pen. Now, a professor can print pages of a digital text and embed audio comments directly into the pages, make annotations and audio comments directly onto a student’s paper, and share these PDFs with an entire class. This allows the DE students to listen to or watch a pencast, and even print the document when they are finished.
Perhaps the best comment received was from Vickie Willis, another student from the ECU Wells Fargo Partnership East Program. She wrote, “I liked the Livescribe pen and pencasts so much that I went out and bought one and hope to incorporate its use into my own classroom one day. I believe it will be a great tool to help students struggling, especially with math, by viewing a pencast explaining mathematical computations.”
I am so inspired by Timm’s latest email to me:
“After finding your site and the instructions on using embedded PDFs, I have been asked to present on the Livescribe four times this year. Two have been to my University as a whole, one has been to my own department, and in two weeks, I will present to the Atlantic Coast Business, Marketing, and Information Technology Education Conference in Raleigh. “
What an amazing difference the Livescribe smartpen has made for Timm, and now he is making a huge difference by sharing his experiences as well. If you would like to find out more about him, Timm’s website is: http://core.ecu.edu/engl/hackettt/.
Recently I learned how to embed text behind a Livescribe pencast and it has changed everything!
I created a short interactive worksheet to show what can be created with this process. The following is a screenshot of the text embedded pencast because I cannot embed a PDF file (yet) into a website. A link to the actual pencast PDF is below the screenshot.
If that does not work, I put a link on my website for you to click on OUTSIDE of WordPress (I have some issues with opening PDFs inside WordPress – if anyone can help me to embed
a PDF in WordPress or a website I would really appreciate it!)
As listed in the pencast, the steps to embed the text in the pencast PDF are as follows:
1. Print off the text file onto Livescribe dot paper (I used college-ruled dot paper in my printer)
2. Record a pencast on top of dot paper that has the text printed on it (the text shows you where to write!)
(sorry about the poor photo quality)
3. Connect your smartpen and upload your pencast as a PDF (use the “Computer” connector)
As you can see in this screen shot, the pencast looks pretty strange without the text behind it!
4. Save the original text document as a .jpg (image file) – to do this you must first save it as a PDF and then you can use Adobe Acrobat Pro or the free online utility Zamzar (www.zamzar.com) to save your PDF as a .jpg file
5. Open the pencast PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro or PDF Pro (http://epapyrus.com/en/) so that you can add a watermark to the PDF file
6. Add your .jpg text file as a watermark to your pencast PDF and re-save the PDF
7. The new pencast PDF can be viewed by anyone with Adobe Reader 10.0 or higher
Please add comments on this blog if you know of other free ways to save a text document as an image file and also if you know of other (especially FREE) programs that allow the user to edit a PDF.
Please send me the projects you make – I would love to see them!
A couple months ago I purchased a Livescribe smartpen (click for links within my blog) for my niece to use with her autistic son (I think that makes him my great-nephew?) I showed her how to use it during a family reunion in the Outer Banks over the summer. (Here is a link to the previous article)
Ethan’s mom sent me the following “first impression” of using the Livescribe smartpen with her son, and gave me permission to post it. Her autistic son Ethan is 9 years old:
Every child learns differently. Part of Ethan’s struggle has been that he does not learn by the same standardized methods that most children are able to use for learning. He is great with technology, likes repetitiveness and although he does enjoy social interaction he does not like to “perform” when someone is trying to teach him something. The smart pen allows us to combine and functionally utilize these traits.
Ethan does well with his iPad but unlike the pre-programmed educational apps, with the smart pen we can create our own learning material specific to his needs. For instance if he is struggling with the letter “A” he can sit down with his iPad on his own (in his own space) and replay (over and over) the note session that shows how to write “A” as well as hearing the sound. It also allows me to focus on topics of interest for him. He loves baseball so we can practice spelling and writing sentences all tailored around “Ethan playing baseball.”
The sound stickers are also really cool. We are able to record each page of a book on them so that Ethan is then able to “read” books to himself. He enjoys reading books but at his age most kids are able to read to themselves. This allows Ethan to read/listen to his books independently when I am not available. It also is great in that he is able to repeatedly hear the words in connection with seeing them over and over. ..because let’s face it, as a parent you can only read the same book over and over in one day before you lose your mind.
Ethan’s mom is using the Livescribe smarpen (click to go to the main Livescribe website) to write out the lessons she wants her son to learn, then uploading them to his iPad for him to interact with by hearing and watching the lesson. She is using the sound (dot) stickers to record herself reading each page of his favorite books. She then places a sticker on each page for him to “read” the book by himself. By tapping the sticker with his smartpen, he can hear the words on the page being read to him by his mother!
I will continue keeping updates in this blog on how his first IEP meeting goes this year at school, and how his learning progresses with the use of the Livescribe smartpen.
I have heard from several people that they would like to see some of the educational videos I have created. I realize there was a pull down menu at the top of my blog for it, but I never actually organized the content I have created in the past.
In the past 6 months I have had to wipe both my Mac and my Windows machine (long stories), so some of my videos are now “lost’, but luckily YouTube still has a small collection.
I finally got organized today and separated my videos into categories. If you look along the top of my blog, you will see a category called “Animations/Videos” :
Most of my videos fall in to four categories of ”How-To” videos, “Educational Teaching Videos”, “Flash Animated Tutorials”, and “Livescribe pencasts”. I will be adding some Animationish videos after this Fall when I have my students creating some.
I created the “How-To” videos to teach others how to use software or hardware. Here are the categories I have in that section:
I plan on adding more videos to this section in the near future, so some of the categories do not have any links yet.
The next main category I have been creating videos for is in “Educational Teaching Videos”. These are short videos I have created for my students to introduce a topic we are studying in the class.
As you can see when you look through the Educational Teaching videos, I was trying out several types of hardware/software to see what worked best. I used the eInstruction Workspace software for a “whiteboard” in some videos, and recorded and edited with Camtasia studio. In other videos I used a Lumens HD Ladibug document camera. I found the document camera to be better for me when I am actually needing to record working with actual objects like base ten blocks and fraction circles. I will hopefully be making more videos using these this semester. I will try to keep up with posting them here so I don’t lose them again!!
Most of the tutorials/lessons I have created for my students in the past year are Livescribe pencasts, but I find when I need the lesson to be more visual, a video is better. My livescribe pencasts are organized by topic on THIS PAGE. I have quite a few pencasts collected there. When I had to wipe my computers, I lost all the original pencasts, so for now I cannot change any of those pencasts into PDF’s to download.
Lastly, about six years ago I started created Flash animated tutorials to help my students in my Math For Elementary Teachers classes better visualize the math they will be teaching. I strongly believe visualization is key to understanding!
The Flash animated tutorials are housed on a separate area (outside of my blog). They are organized by arithmetic topic:
For example, clicking on the “1/3″ would take you to the fraction tutorials, and the “2″ will take you to the multidigit whole number operations. This type of tutorial takes me a lot longer to create, so I do not have many in some areas (like decimals). Instead, I am starting to create more interactive tutorials using Hyperstudio. To see a few of those interactive tutorials, CLICK HERE.
These are still a work in progress, but I promise to continue adding here so check back!
While reading through posts on Google+, Facebook and Twitter by my PLN, I came across this valuable new FREE app for the iPad! I use TechSmith products (Camtasia, Snagit and Jing) all the time on my laptops, but always wanted to have the same functionality for my iPad. Not only did TechSmith follow through, but they made it FREE!
They have given us 12 colors to choose from (but I would like to see a slider for SIZE of the pen at some point in the near future!), an eraser and a record button – yes ScreenChomp will record a video of you writing and speaking at the same time!
When you save your file you have the option of saving it to the “cloud” by hitting the ScreenChomp.com button or sharing it on Facebook.
After saving your screencast, you have three options for sharing: You can copy the link, email it or Tweet it! Here is a link to the actual video I just made. I need to find a way to embed the video without having to go through another application. Suggestions?
I think this will be a GREAT way to answer student questions from my iPad! I just have to create a quick screencast on my iPad and then send it to them. Can’t wait to try it out!
She also writes a blog about smartpen uses: http://livewithlivescribe.edublogs.org/* *This site was developed as part of a joint Ministry of education and Ontario Teacher Federation funded project with a focus on teacher learning and professional development. In this project, teachers collaborate and discuss the uses of the Livescribe pen in the classroom.
Her family was lucky enough to make the trip to San Francisco with her, and her 8 year old son created this wonderful storyboard about his adventures in San Francisco using a Livescribe smartpen. (Thank you Zoe for letting me share your son’s wonderful pencast!)
I think this is a fantastic idea for teachers to use with students who feel like they are not good writers, or don’t know how to get started! If you have your students make pencasts, please share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reaching Different Learning Styles Through Technology
As you can probably tell, I have 2 passions that drive my teaching….technology and helping students.
My latest journey has been traveling down a path to find ways to help reach the different learning styles of my students. In turn this will help make my math courses more accessible to students who require either text, speech or visual aids because of physical or learning disabilities.
I started with the Livescribe smartpen to turn student notes into animated text with sound. Then I tried to transcribe the text from the pencast using Dragon Naturally Speaking ,which works GREAT if I am speaking into my computer, but the student pencasts don’t pick up my speaking as well because I am walking around the room, so I am not near the pen most of the time.
Since Dragon cannot transcribe the text WHILE I am teaching from the Mobi software, then I needed to find a way to record my speaking during class and then download it into my computer so Dragon can create the transcript. I spent some time today looking for options that would not require me purchasing a hand-held recorder.
I have a Plantronics Discovery 975 bluetooth headset that pairs with both my computer and also with my Droid X cell phone. I use it with my computer and Dragon to ‘speak text’ into many programs on my computer, including Word and email (I still need to try it with MathType!).
I thought I found the perfect mobile solution…to be able to walk around the room and teach while wearing the bluetooth headset, but have the audio transcribe directly onto my phone! I purchased the Droid version of Dragon called flexT9 …great idea and it works perfectly…except flexT9 does NOT support bluetooth headsets yet. I can still use it for transcribing speech to text on my phone, but I have to be close to the phone mic. It is an amazing app for $4.99!
I started looking for a voice recording app for my Droid that would support bluetooth.
I found Voice2Do (FREE). It is the ONLY voice recorder I found that supports bluetooth. I recorded a short message from my bluetooth headset to my Droid X (which was across the room) and then emailed it to my computer (to email the .wav file you must purchase the professional version). Finally, I had Dragon transcribe the audio file and it worked GREAT!
I plan on playing with it for a couple more days and then trying it out in my classes. My goal is to have the Livescribe pencast student notes and the Workspace board notes for visual learners, but then take the audio for the lesson and create a written transcript, which can also be read out loud by most computers, for students whose learning styles require reading or hearing the information.
I will post a link when I get it all put together.
I was so excited to see a new window show up when I upgraded to Windows 7…it is called the Math Input Panel. With a name like that I had to be excited before even trying it out!
I immediately started playing with it and was surprised and VERY happy to see how easy it was to handwrite math and have it insert the typed version into my Word document! It does not always pick the correct letter or number, but you can easily edit an individual symbol.
I have tried writing some algebra, and it does a great job with that as well!
I am excited to see more tools for my students to be able to use to ‘write” math on their computers as well. Although Word comes with Equation Editor, my students do not know how to use it. Now, students can easily handwrite their math problems and have them typed up!
For students with disabilities – or anyone who wants to have the math read out loud to them, Word can then take the file that has the math equations embedded and be saved as a MathXL document. MathPlayer should then be able to read the math out loud….I will try that next and see how it works out!