Pro-D Day: Some tech resources

I am sure all of us have heard it one or more times that being a teacher is awesome because not only do we get the summers off, but there are those smattering of days throughout the year that seem to be ‘days off’ too. Little do they know…

My first foray into the world of Pro-D Days was spent at the Computer Using Educators of BC (CUEBC) conference in Burnaby. And it was very insightful if I do say so myself.

George Couros was the keynote speaker for the conference (and happened to run the last session that I went to for the day) and one of his messages was about “The Innovator’s Mindset”. As this image says, the innovator’s mindset is “the belief that abilities, intelligence, and talents are developed, leading to the creation of better ideas”. Essentially, this means that we should aim for and embrace change, in ourselves and in our education, so that we can lead ourselves to a better life (you can visit his website for more information about this. He’s written a book on it). And to not be afraid of technology either.

There are a number of things that I learned about today that I think would be wonderful to use in the classroom, both as a teacher and for our students use as well.

RSA Animate Style is a way to create classroom content in a creative way without having to be an artist at all (though you can draw your own images if you like). Students can make a presentation on any given topic, record themselves drawing or assembling the images, speed up the video time and cut out unnecessary parts to reduce the length of the presentation, and then record a voice over. A great example of this, is Zombies in Plain English.

If that seems like too much work (and it is a lot of work), another option you have is Explain Everything. Explain Everything is an app like RSA Animate styles, only the video will be in real time, a lot more user friendly, and can encompass nearly every subject, if not all of them.

Another option for digital presentations is Powtoon. This app means for you to use borrowed images to create your presentation before recording a voice over to share your facts.

I really like the idea of letting students present like this – though I do believe that there is value in standing in front of your peers and teaching them what you’ve learned, there are still some times when it would be great for them to collaborate and create this video projects for everyone to enjoy.

The other apps introduced to us that I won’t go into to detail for but think they are worth checking out are: Quiver and Chatterpix (I see a number of uses for Chatterpix, including a great way to do show and tell).

I highly recommend this conference to people if you get a chance to go next year!

7 comments on “Pro-D Day: Some tech resources”

  1. sophial Reply

    Thank you for sharing, Vicki!
    I checked out a couple of the resources that you described. Powtoon seems like a super fun way of making presentations for classes and I could see myself using this with my Grade 1 class (I love the moving hands!). I think I will have to play around with the features more though, because I am a little unfamiliar with video making. I also downloaded Chatterpix and I love this app already! It’s so much fun and so easy to use, which makes it ideal for primary grade students to use especially. I will be letting my SA know about this app next week, since I am interested in introducing this app to the students. Seems like a wonderful informational conference that you attended, I’ll have to attend the next one!

    • Vicki Reply

      That’s really exciting to hear! I’m glad that I was able to introduce you to some new things! I’m one of those people who get really excited about new apps, and I love to be able to share them with other people who have similar interests. Shall I keep you on the list?

  2. Yvonne Dawydiak Reply

    Score! Thanks Vicki – you introduced me to a new digital technology I haven’t explored yet. This is one of the huge benefits I have in interacting & communicating with so many talented TCs. I am now checking out RSA Animate Style! I have use Explain everything extensively with students as a formative assessment tool where they can share their learning in a multi-modal manner ‘on the fly’. It’s amazing what you can learn about a students understanding (and misunderstandings!). Im’ not sure if you have an ipad or tablet, if not, let me know and I can let you ‘play’ with this app a bit sometime.

    • Vicki Reply

      I would love a chance to play with these! My iPad is first generation (an upgrade will have to happen soon), so these apps will likely not work with them.

      • Yvonne Dawydiak Reply

        I’ll be bringing some ipads to the sandbox Tuesday and Wednesday this week and sharing these and other apps! Drop in if you have time.

    • grahamh Reply

      The RSA style was extremely interesting style of presentation. It seemed quite engaging for both the presenters and the audience. It is absolutely something that I want to implement as an alternative presentation style to PowerPoint or Prezi. The drawback however is that it seems extremely time consuming and could be difficult for students who struggle with drawing. CommonCraft would be a good alternative as it uses magazine cutouts or simple pre-drawn pictures in place of actually drawing the pictures live on camera. All great tools for our toolboxes!

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