Wednesday, January 28, 2015

iOS Productivity & Workflow

I have been slowly working through a number of different tools and processes to nail down a productivity workflow on my iPad that would actually make me more productive, organized and wouldn't add any additional steps.  I think I have finally found the solution and it is working perfectly.  To make the process even more worthwhile, the entire workflow process transfers and syncs seamlessly with my MacBook which is a basic requirement of any workflow process.

I need to recognize and than Greg Garner, @classroom_tech for sharing Todoist and finalizing my workflow process.



I use three tools to balance three different daily process:

Calendar & Schedule: Sunrise (iOS, Mac)

To Do Lists: Todoist (iOS, Mac)

Notes, Ideas & Conversations: Evernote (iOS, Mac)


Setup & Daily Workflow Process:

Calendar: Sunrise pulls a feed from your Google calendar.  I already use Google Calendar with EdTechTeacher & had to simply login to Calendar with my Google account to automatically pull in the Google Calendar feed and then pick which calendars I wanted to appear in Sunrise.

Log into Sunrise w/ a Google account & sync your calendars

Add events to your calendar in the Sunrise app & they will appear on the Google Calendar as well.


From Sunrise I can now view my entire schedule in multiple views and add events to my calendar that will automatically populate onto the Google Calendar if any of my colleagues are viewing the group calendars strictly through Google.

Event being added in the Sunrise app


To Do Lists: I have experimented with lots of to-do list tools (Clearly, paper lists, sticky notes, Google Tasks, Google Keep, etc...) and never found one that I really liked using.  Todoist does the trick.  Through the iOS app I can add tasks under customized categories.  The most helpful feature is the connection between Todoist & Sunrise.  When a to-do style task is added in Todoist with a date attached, it appears on your calendar in Sunrise.

Task added in Todoist

Task from Todoist with a date appears in Sunrise app & can be opened in Todoist

Notes, Ideas & Conversations: Evernote has been my go to for years when organizing ideas, web clippings, documenting conversations and drafting blog posts.  However, Evernote always operated independently in my workflow, like a walled garden of ideas...until Sunrise.  An Evernote account can be synced with Sunrise which populates Evernote notes onto your calendar when a reminder is added to an Evernote note.

Note added in Evernote with reminder date & time

Evernote note appears in Sunrise with open to open in Evernote


The best part of the entire workflow, as I mentioned earlier, is that every tool syncs with my MacBook.

What is your digital workflow?


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Year Long iPad Video

Capturing video is one of the most helpful features that can be integrated into classroom iPad use.  However, video capture, editing and creation is often seen as an end of unit project or event that requires extensive class time and planning.  Consider instead a semester or year long alternative to video capture and creation that asks students to create short video reviews of concepts covered in a class.  At the end of every unit, chapter or concept, the teacher can assign individual students, pairs or small groups to create short (30 second to 1 minute) explanations of key vocabulary, ideas or concepts to be captured in video form.  These short videos do not have to be created in class and would not require devoting any extra class time to the video creation process.

The video creation does not have to be exclusively be done by using the external video camera either. While it is viable to have students sit in front of an iPad and explain an idea, apps such as Explain Everything and Tellagami can be used as well.  As long as the video creation app support camera roll exporting it can be used.

At this point one of two approaches can be taken:
A - students upload the video to their own private Google Drive folder
B - students upload to a class video folder in Google Drive

At the end of the semester or the entire year, there could potentially be hundreds of short video clips that have been uploaded to one class video review folder in Google Drive that the entire class has access to.

The options at this point are nearly limitless:

  • Students create their top 10 video documentary
  • Students create a review video of ideas they still have trouble understanding
  • Students create a remix video that mixes video created by their classmates along with their own video reflections spliced in between
  • Students create a "connect the dots" video where they take 10 randomly selected video clips from the class folder and download them to iMovie.  They then have to "connect the dots" between the ideas by splicing in their own video reflections that connect the ideas together
The technical process for completing such year long video work is outlined in the images below:

1. Create a folder in Google Drive that is shared with students.   Students move the folder to My Drive & upload their short video content throughout the year.  Be sure to have them use a standard naming convention so the videos are easily identifiable at the end of the process.


2. When students are ready to create their year long video, tap on the inspector icon next to each video, then "open in" and select iMovie.  Once each video clip is downloaded to iMovie, students can begin to create their year long video.


Good luck creating! 

Google Classroom for IOS Arrives - Video Walkthrough

Whether you are teaching in an iPad, Chromebook or BYOD environment, Google Classroom is a viable option to handle both Google Apps and non-Google workflow.  Today, the Google Classroom IOS (and Android) app popped up in the respective app stores.

While accessing Google Classroom on an iPad through Safari has always worked, the iPad app provides a more user friendly interface.

Watch the short video overview below to get a sense of the new app.

Classroom iPad Tutorial from EdTechTeacher on Vimeo.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Google Slides X ThingLink = Chromebook Creation

It has been well documented across the interwebs by #edtech folks that ThingLink is an outstanding web tool (and iOS app) that can act as both a teacher tool and a student creation platform.  While the standard use of the tool calls for the user to upload one image to then layer multimedia tags to share more in depth information, links or videos, when combined with Google Slides, ThingLink becomes an even more powerful tool.

What is best about the Google Slides & ThingLink combination is that it works on Chromebooks!.

The process:

1. Create a poster or collage on slide 1 of a Google Slides presentation & download the slide as an image file to your Chromebook's local storage.



2. Upload the image to ThingLink & add multimedia Tags.



  3. Publish & share with a link or embed on a website or blog.




Saturday, December 20, 2014

The most important lesson learned from my teacher...

In a break from my typical blog post about technical process to creatively integrate technology into a classroom, I want to share a story about the most import lesson I ever learned from a teacher.

I had been in a school choir since third grade and that continued through high school as my interest in basketball and the potential to play the sport at the college level grew.  My time was increasingly and nearly singularly devoted to the sport.

During my junior year, the recruiting process had begun and the goal of not only playing in college, but being awarded a scholarship was quickly becoming a reality.  A local university begun to show interest as letters from the coaching staff began arriving in my coach's mailbox in the athletic director's office.

On one particular evening, with a concert choir's winter concert fast approaching, I was contacted an associate coach of the local university and was invited to campus to watch the game that evening and meet the players after the game.  Recalling accurately and describing the excitement that I was overcome with in that moment is nearly impossible to describe in words.

There was a dress rehearsal that evening for the winter concert.  I rushed to Ms. Cetto's office to tell her about the opportunity and ask her if I could skip the rehearsal to visit campus and attend the game.  Without so much as a blink, she quickly returned with a resounding no and let me know that I had made a commitment to the choir and by missing the rehearsal I would not be able to perform in the concert.

Seventeen year old Greg was furious, could not understand her line of thought and angrily stormed out of her office.  I attended the rehearsal that evening, not out of respect for Ms. Cetto's response, likely out of fear that I could potentially fail the class if I didn't perform in the concert.  I was also convinced my chanced with this particular university was all but gone.

Many years later, I frequently recall this story and value the lesson learned, the values that Ms. Cetto instilled in me and the long lasting impact of her response.  I am far from perfect and do not always stick to every single commitment that I make, but without Ms. Cetto's wisdom and intervention in this situation I would have never developed the deep mindset of commitment she helped instill in me.

Side Note: This post does not do justice to the level of commitment that Ms. Cetto displayed towards her multiple choirs and her tireless work ethic.