Looking for a way to engage students with video and video creation? The Apple iPad’s rich ecology of video editing apps empowers students to be directors of fantasy and science-fiction flicks by using special effects. Educators like TCEA member Lauren Houser (@lauren_houser) have also taken advantage of Do Ink’s Green Screen app (see example) to create amazing vidoes. But you can also combine green screen with movie FX apps to get startling results.

This blog entry originally published at TCEA TechNotes – Read other awesome writing there!

Lesson Connections

When writing a story, students often want to take their tale to the next level. One approach involves converting it into a movie script. Then they can record that script as a movie to be shared. Imagine your students creating a story, converting it to a script, then making a movie replete with special effects. The apps below will make illustrating a movie possible. Students can shoot their video, whether they rely on clay animation, action figures, or real people. Younger students can be introduced to digital graphics/animation aligned to TEKS Chapter 126.25, as well as TEKS Chapter 110.31 English Language Arts.

Effects Apps

Here are several apps that enable you and/or your students to add special effects to photos and videos. All apps include in-app purchases to expand the range of effects available to you. Save these enhanced clips and/or photos to your iPad’s Photo Gallery, then drop them into another app (e.g. iMovie, Tellagami).
  1. Action Movie: This incredibly easy to use app assists in adding Hollywood FX to iPhone and iPad movies that you record. And you can share your creation as a video or animated GIF. (View example of videoView animated GIF.)
  2. FxGuru: Add horror, sci-fi, or action effects to a video you record. Available for Android, too. (View example)
  3. Super Power FX: Enable your students to add super power effects to their clips. You are able to “shoot fireballs from your hands, lasers from your eyes, or control the elements, teleport, and more!” (View example)
  4. Extreme Movie FX: Snap a picture, select the effect you want to apply to it, then save the still image to your Photo Gallery. From there, you can import the picture into a movie app like iMovie or Videorama. There are various effects you can apply, including shark attacks, UFO attacks, and more. Some effects are free, but others require in-app purchases. (View example)
  5. Videorama: Unlike other apps, this one allows you to combine photos and videos, add effects, adjust the speed of the video, and more. It’s less about the effects and more about video editing. Combine clips you create in other apps in Videorama. Easily add text, music, and transition effects to your video.(View example)
  6. Prisma: Although less about action adventure and more about art, this app allows you to apply nine different styles to videos, as well as photos. The astounding result resembles a work of art. (View example)

Teach the Language of Sound and Images

“If students aren’t taught the language of sound and images,” points out George Lucas, “shouldn’t they be considered as illiterate as if they left college without being able to read or write?” With these apps and imagination, you can enable students to engage in scripting and digital graphics/animation at a younger age. The sooner they begin, the better they will be. After all, who doesn’t have a budding filmmaker in their family?

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Touch the Future with Free Coding Resources

By 2020, the Internet of Things will include approximately two billion objects. Each of those devices will need to be told what to do through programming. Who better to do the job than our own Texas students?
The educational focus for the future must be to introduce non-programming teachers to the freely available grade 6-8 curriculum that they can use to support learners who tackle coding for mobile devices. One course is Creative Coding through Games and Apps (CCGA), provided by Microsoft.
Coding, and computational thinking in general, is one of the most in-demand skills in today’s job market. But not so long ago, learning to code was mostly out of reach for late-middle school and secondary students. Coding wasn’t taught in the typical classroom, and educators – unless they had a computer science background – weren’t equipped to teach it. After all, coding can seem difficult to the beginner. But Microsoft has changed all of that.

Rich Curriculum, Free Coding Tool, Device Agnostic

This year, December 5-11, The Hour of Code will take place. To deepen student learning relevant to this event, Microsoft has developed a comprehensive curriculum for grade 6-8 students and their teachers. This rich curriculum relies on Touch Develop, a coding tool that works on all devices, such as Android and iOS phones and tablets, Chromebooks, and Windows, Macintosh, and GNU/Linux desktops/laptop computers. Microsoft Touch Develop is a powerful and engaging coding tool that lets students create fun games and real-world apps easily. Find out more online  here and here.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Chrome Add-Ons: Accent Marks and More

Did you know that the Texas TEKS (§128.14. Spanish Language Arts and Reading, Grade 3) require students to learn all about adding accent marks to words in Spanish? Here are some of the expectations for students:
Write with increased accuracy using accent marks, including:
(i) Words that have a prosodic or orthographic accent on the last syllable (palabras agudas) (e.g., feliz, canción); and
(ii) Words that have a prosodic or orthographic accent on the second-to-last syllable (palabras graves) (e.g., casa, árbol);
Yet once you figure out the rules for adding accent marks, how do you do it on a device like a Chromebook? In the old days, on a Windows computer, you could type a special alt-code combination to get the accent mark. On Macs, you can use the key combination Option-e then press the letter that needs the accent mark. On a Chromebook, you can use the Google Input Tools Chrome add-on to get the job done!
Once the add-on is installed in your Chrome browser, follow these instructions (read more at Typing Spanish Characters and Accent Marks):
Using the Spanish keyboard (Spanish Keyboard Icon)
The Spanish keyboard is almost the same as an English keyboard, except with a few additional shortcuts:
  • To type an accented character, type an apostrophe (‘) followed by the letter. For example, to get á, type (‘) and then (a).
  • To type ñ, tap the semicolon (;) key.
  • To type ¡, tap the equal sign (=) key.
  • To type ¿, hold down shift and tap the equal sign (=) key.
You can also click the corresponding key on the virtual keyboard that appears.
Watch this video that walks you through the process.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Lessons from Chromebook Educators

Note: This blog entry originally published at TCEA’s TechNotes blog.

“Figure out which toys your friends can play with,” I remember my Mom saying to me before a sleepover with classmates. “And put the ones you don’t want to see damaged, lost, or stolen away.” It’s advice that I took to heart and shared with my own children before they had friends over. Here’s some advice you may want to consider before deploying Chromebooks in schools…or, consider leaving your “best practices” in the comments.

Best Practice #1 – Establish procedures before issuing Chromebooks.

Setting ground rules can certainly help you avoid trouble and heartache down the line. The advice is definitely worth taking when it comes to inviting students and staff to use any kind of device, even durable Chromebooks, in your classroom, library, or school. TCEA member Erin Laughlin (@MrsErinLaughlin) recommends that you consider your responses to questions like the ones below:
  • How will students be issued Chromebooks?
  • How should students be advised to transport Chromebooks?
  • What happens when there is a substitute teacher in the room? Will students be permitted to take advantage of the Chromebook?
  • What should be done when a Chromebook suffers damage?
In response to the last question, one teacher in Fairfield ISD during their Eagle Leadership Academy,pointed out that damage had occurred to a school-owned Chromebook issued to a student. “What did you do?” I asked, wondering if the student was to be forced to reimburse the district or forced to replace the device. “We made sure it wasn’t malicious and then just worked to get it fixed or replaced. No action was taken since this was an accident.” Erin also suggests having rules like these in place:
  • No food or drinks should be in sight when Chromebooks are out.
  • Carry Chromebooks with two hands at all times.
  • Do not get a Chromebook if teacher is out of the room.
  • Nothing should be on the desk except the Chromebook unless told otherwise.
  • Students should only be on websites assigned or approved by teacher.
  • Have students and parents sign a statement saying they will abide by the rules.
  • Have reasonable consequences for students who aren’t following the rules (taking away the Chromebook should be your last resort).
As you might imagine, some common-sense suggestions include assigning a student to be in charge of the Chromebooks, ensuring monitoring of issuance and receipt of devices by class members. Also, consider including a Google Form to let students report how a Chromebook was damaged. Another point to consider is to be sure to label your class Chromebooks so they will be easy to locate in case they leave your classroom. Finally, Kim from Fairfield ISD suggests that the teacher and students get in the habit of plugging in Chromebooks correctly so they are charged for the next group.

Best Practice #2 – Teach Chromebook basics along with digital citizenship.

“You can’t issue students devices until they’ve had digital citizenship lessons required by eRate.” And, of course, digital citizenship lessons also ensure that you can discuss important issues about caring for other people’s equipment. In my experience, students often take great care of equipment issued to them when there is a culture of care cultivated in the school as a whole. Keys aren’t ripped off keyboards in classrooms where the teacher makes every effort to care for his/her technology and assigns students the jobs of cable management, removing dust from devices, and cleaning keyboards/screens. Yet every device brings its own challenges, and Chromebooks are no different. Providing an overview of Chromebook and Google Apps tips ensure that students feel confident in using new technologies, rather than frustrated.

Best Practice #3 – Promote collaboration.

“My two favorite tools for a 1-to-1 classroom,” I shared at the recent Tots and Technology Conferences that took place in Galveston and Frisco this past summer, “include Nearpod.com and Seesaw.com.” Each of these provides critical tools that you need as a teacher to share your screen and presentations with students, as well as collect their work. Nearpod serves as a presentation and eyeball management tool for you, pushing your screen out to all student Chromebooks. Seesaw serves as a digital portfolio that collects students’ digital and physical work in one virtual space that is easily shared but manageable.
ChromebookNote: Scan the QR code shown right using the Seesaw app on your device of choice to get Seesaw Plus for free for 30 days!
Let’s quickly explore some other top tips for promoting collaboration:
  • Quiz tools: Other ways to engage students include quizzing tools like Quizizz.com and Kahoot.com. Quizizz allows students to login with their Google account, and all completed assignments are reported and available in Google Classroom.
  • Easy video assessment: Use tools like EdPuzzle and/or FlipGrid to take already existing videos from YouTube, Khan Academy, etc. or put your own online, then add your voice and questions to create an interactive video lesson. You’ll be able to see how many times your students watch your interactive video lessons, how many times they attempt a question, and the responses given.
  • Share web links with Google Tones: Facilitate the sharing of complex uniform resource locators (URLs) using Google Tone.
  • Take screenshots or record video screencasts: Use tools like the Nimbus Screenshot/Screencast extension for Google Chrome to quickly capture your screen for a flipped lesson or explanation.
  • Use Google Classroom to create a virtual classroom presence for students, blending in Google Calendar and YouTube videos to facilitate online learning.
  • Use badges in your classroom: TCEA member Joe Camacho (@CamachoEdTech) recommends setting up and issuing badges to celebrate student learning and sharing. Students can learn Google Apps tools such as Sites, Classroom, Forms, Docs, Drawings, and Slides, as well as other tools in use like DocHub, Flubaroo, Edpuzzle, Kahoot, Quizizz, creating screencasts, and Padlet.
Another neat tip for promoting collaboration and sharing comes from Erin Laughlin again. She suggests creating a “shark tank” in your classroom, having older students create products that are evaluated by younger students serving as “the sharks.” Older students pitch their solution to a problem using Google Hangouts, bridging the distance between their classroom at one campus and another. Of course, this activity can also be done at even greater distances. If that is of interest, consider the Connecting for a Cause website, where students create a Google Sites web presence that represents their cause.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

5 Video Annotation Tools for Your Class @mrs_johansen @letsrecap @edpuzzle @flipgrid

Are you an educator fascinated with creating videos that feature great content, are available on popular media sites (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo), and feature YOU as the chief learning strategist and interpreter? What’s more, new tools make it easy to annotate videos. Annotating videos involves layering text, links, and comment bubbles into an existing video.

Note: This is a shortened, improved version of the blog entry appearing here at TCEA.org/blog

5 Video Annotation Tools

Minion Meme Generator

Here are a few tools you can use as a teacher to enhance interactivity with video content:

  1. YouTube has built-in annotation tools, including speech bubbles, spotlight (highlighting areas in a video), adding text notes, titles, and labels.
  2. EdPuzzle makes it straightforward to add notes and assessments to videos from YouTube, Khan Academy, Learn Zillion and others. This enables understanding checks. There’s also an iOS app you and/or your students can use.
  3. VideoAnt, a web-based video annotation tool, also allows for annotations or comments to web-hosted videos.
  4. This online annotation tool, Swivl’s Recap, is a student response and reflection app. Teachers can prompt students to respond to questions and students respond in video via their mobile device of choice. Watch this overview of Recap via TeacherCast.
  5. Flipgrid works a little differently from the tools above, empowering you to create video-based discussion groups. The teacher posts videos and students respond to those. The “video group” can be passworded via a pin code, and then made accessible online via a web site.

3 Student VideoNotes Tools
Looking for tools that allow your students to take notes about videos? Check out this blog entry by Richard Byrne. In it, he highlights these tools:

  • VideoNot.es and TurboNote are two tools that allow you to take notes off to the side of the video.
  • Vialogues, not unlike Flipgrid, allows you to create conversations that revolve around a video.
How would you use these in your own classroom?

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Supporting ELL/ESL Learners with Tech

“What level of cognitive complexity are students operating at,” asks Dr. Chris Moersch, “when using technology in the classroom?” Technology, asserts Dr. Moersch, needs to be used to think and reason. “It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at it (spending on technology) if you’re using it at a low level,” says Dr. Desiree Marks-Arias. “What is the potential for using technology at its highest level?” 

Note: This blog entry originally published online at TCEA TechNotes blog – http://www.tcea.org/blog

What an exciting conversation about the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) and technology in the classroom!
To what extent are we positioning ESL (English as a Second Language) students to become college and career ready? According to the Alliance for Effective Schools, “About 63 percent of the 46.8 million job openings created by 2018 will require workers with at least some college education….” Traditional approaches to pedagogy often leave the ESL population underserved in preparation of post-secondary pursuits. Beyond analyzing traditional achievement gaps between student groups, including those who receive program services such as ESL, Special Education (SPED), and Gifted and Talented (GT), it is pivotal that equal attention be given to curricular and instructional gaps as they relate to (1) the integration of 21st century skills into core subjects and (2) pedagogical approaches that emphasize collaborative learning, technology proficiency, and problem-solving.
Identifying appropriate methods and strategies to narrow and eliminate such gaps requires a fundamental shift in our existing paradigm—observing achievement and instructional gaps not as indicators of student deficiency, but rather as opportunities for supporting and developing student learning and success—addressing “support gaps.” In essence, by evaluating support gaps, we can determine the effort and resources necessary for teaching, learning, and academic mastery. Source: The Support Gap: Supporting and Developing Teaching and Learning for ESL
Travel back in time with me to Thursday, June 9, 2016, when I had the opportunity to explore a topic that goes to the heart of equity in bilingual/ESL classrooms. That topic is the gap between how we approach teaching and learning in English Language Learner (ELL) Classrooms. Certainly, if you are an ESL/ELL/Dual Language teacher, or you are an administrator responsible for supporting ELL students, you will want to listen to this conversation. Be aware that this podcast is quite long at almost an hour in length.

Listen to TCEA Podcast #3: ELL/ESL Support Gaps
with Dr. Chris Moersch (@lotiguy) and
Dr. Desiree Marks-Arias (email: desiree@loticonnection.com)

ELPS and Technology: Dr. Marks-Arias and Dr. Moersch

Three ESL Support Pillars

  1. Student Achievement
  2. HEAT Levels
  3. LOTI Levels
To find out more about the Support Pillars, review the Powerpoint and concept paper (links 1 and 2, respectively) in the Links section below.


  1. ESL Support Pillars PowerPoint
  2. The Support Gap: Supporting and Developing Teaching and Learning for ESL
  3. H.E.A.T. Framework Overview
  4. LOTI Framework “Sniff Test”

HEAT Framework and ELPS:

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

How’s Your District Protecting Confidential Student & Staff Data? #edtech #txlege #txed

“People are living in an unprecedented condition,” shares the 2014 Pew Research Report on The Future of Privacy, “of ubiquitous surveillance.” And, although we are now in 2016, did you know that 2014 was known as the Year of the Hack, according to CNet?

Note: This blog entry originally at TCEA TechNotes blog – www.tcea.org/blog

“The tone was set in January as we learned details about the Target credit card breach, along with a Snapchat hack that revealed millions of user phone numbers,” shared CNet. Safeguarding sensitive data has grown even more important. Since then, there have been many more hacks, including the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack, which stopped the release of “The Interview;” perhaps we should be grateful for that. Of greater concern, though, is the loss of student and staff personally-identifiable data (PII).
The loss of PII is signaled by facts like the following:
  • 97% of stolen computers are NEVER recovered.
  • Direct costs are incurred by school districts for having to notify individuals whose confidential data has been compromised, as well as notify credit agencies.
  • The cost of paying for credit protection for individuals is affected.
  • The school district may suffer damage to reputation.
  • Staff may be disciplined or terminated, depending on the severity of the data breach.
The failure to understand how to safeguard sensitive data means that districts who suffer a data breach have no recourse—they must pay to protect against identity theft. Yet, if every staff member practiced the following tips, data could be easily safeguarded.
  • Lock or log out of your computer when you leave it alone. Going to lunch? Going down the hall to the restroom? Make sure to secure your computer or device. Don’t leave it logged in, even if you’re just on your web browser checking out the lunch menu.
  • Never use work email for personal purchases and/or items. Aside from being “discoverable” during public records or legal proceeding (which you may not even know is happening), you should use a different email for finances. Move your financial management to another email system.
  • Use two-factor authentication for emails and other services. “Two-factor authentication is a simple feature that asks for more than just your password. It requires both “something you know” (like a password) and “something you have” (like your phone)” (source: LifeHacker). Two-factor works on sites like Google, LastPass, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote, Paypal, Steam,Microsoft, Yahoo (avoid them), Amazon, LinkedIn, and WordPress. This will help prevent unauthorized use of your account unless they have your username, password, AND your smartphone.
  • Don’t read spam messages; delete them un-opened. Most email providers (like Gmail) have a way of marking messages as spam. But sometimes, spam slips through those filters they’ve set up to catch unwanted email. That means it’s up to you. Some spam is obvious; others are more clever.
  • Access confidential data on your work device ONLY. If you work from home, make sure that you encrypt confidential data on your mobile device (e.g. laptop) for travel (yes, even for that short trip from work to the grocery store to home). If you decrypt confidential data, make sure to shred it off your computer (it’s easy to recover deleted files). Apple Macs come with “Secure Empty Trash,” and on Windows, you can use the free File Shredder program.
  • Do not put unencrypted confidential data on a USB flash drive or external hard drive or CD-ROM. This is the source of many a confidential data breach!
  • Secure your smartphone and remove confidential/sensitive data from your personal mobile phone after each use. Lots of folks use their smartphones to access work details. Make sure you protect that by a) Putting a passcode on your phone, or better yet, encrypting your phone’s storage with a password; b) Shredding data on your Android phone (get SSE app for free) or, if on iOS, useReaddle Documents (free) with a passcode and encryption, which adds another layer of protection. And finally, AVOID saving confidential data on your smartphone from your email (and any emailed confidential data should be encrypted. See Part 2 for more tips.).
Stay tuned for Part 2!

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure