Powerful Literacy Web Tool That Brings Close Reading Even Closer – it’s Edji.it

edjilogo

I haven’t ever come across a web-based tool that’s anything quite like Edji.it.  This is new territory in the world of EdTech, and I like it.  As you can tell from the title, Edji.it is a brilliant tool for close literary analysis, and the content you analyze can really be anything.  You can create your own readings, copy/paste from other sources, and even include images and PDFs.  In addition to being able create an in-depth close read and easily share it with your class, thoughtful and purposeful annotations can be made in the form of highlights, text comments, and even emoji reactions.

ej comment

As the admin, you import or create the text.  That’s done very simply by clicking the “New Reading” button and inserting text (which you can format.)  You can also insert images and even PDF’s – all of which can be annotated.

ej dashboard

When you’re satisfied with the text, you save it as a draft and finally hit “share”.  It creates a join code (also called lightning code) for your students.  They, in turn, access your text by going to the edji.it main dashboard and typing in the simple code where it says “Join”.

ej top toolbar

A simple join code for the group is all your students need!

ej joined

This is where it gets really clever.  As each of your readers are doing their own text analysis, their comments are private only to them.  You, as the admin, have a handy toolbar on the left that lets you see how many users are accessing the piece, and you can open your “feed view” sidebar that shows you all comments/annotations from all users.  The neatest feature in that toolbar is something called “Heat Vision” – when you click on this, it allows all users to see all annotations.  It’s the ultimate instantaneous, simultaneous sharing button.  Imagine the in-depth class discussions that can ensue based on this diverse collective annotation!

ej admin bar  ej who can see

I taught Literacy for years, and I adored it!  I loved being able to teach all of the nuances and sub-skills that went into the understanding and synthesizing of various texts.  As any Literacy teacher knows, the obstacles and points of confusion are different for every single student on every different piece of text.  Students may struggle with vocabulary, colloquialisms, understanding irony, theme, tone, or even just decoding.  With a tool like edji.it, a teacher has a remarkable looking glass into the insights, reflections, and understandings of every single student.

Would you like to try it from the “student view”?  Feel free to use my join code (jbvn) and play around with the text and emoji commenting.  You’ll see how easy this is for your students!

ej jbvn

 

Any teacher of Literacy and especially content area literacy will want to explore this clever tool with small groups (I really love this for Special Ed and ELLs) and even as a whole class.  It can be assigned for homework, and tracking/data is automatically saved as long as students enter their real names (or student ID numbers).  Edji.it is a winner for sure!

Addition: After I posted this, I found this handy slideshow called Getting Started With Edji

You can also follow them on Twitter at @edjinotes.

As always, I love to hear feedback and learn from you as you use the tools I share.  Please leave comments here on my blog, on my Facebook page Innovation Integration, or find me as @kerszi on Twitter!

Five Fun Fairly Free Things For Teachers To Do In the Summer

My fellow teachers, you have a few months “off”.  Yes, I know that you still work.  We do…we just do…because we’re teachers and we’re addicted to our craft.  But this is also an important time for you.  It can’t be all work – or even thinking about work.  You’ve got to find time for you so that you can be your best for the students when school starts again.  Take time to rejuvenate, refresh, and have fun!

I’ve asked other teachers for ideas that are relatively cheap and enjoyable to almost anyone, anytime.  They shared their all-time favorite ideas, and here are five of the best:

1) Nap.  For the love of all that is good and healthy, take some dang naps!  Lots of them.  Every day, if you can!   I know that the title of this post mentioned the word “fun”, and believe me, naps are fun.  YOU will be more fun if you take naps.

2) Read:  Read fun stuff, read sleazy stuff, read fiction and science fiction and gossip magazines and classic novels if you want.  “Binge read” an author that you love or go through every “beach read” that’s recommended this year.  Don’t bulk up your summer with gobs of professional reading.  There is a time, there is a place – it’s NOT the summer.

3) Scavenger Hunts:  Don’t wonder why that’s included.  Trust me.  They are fun to make and fun to play.  Get your girlfriends or the neighborhood couples together and do a few of these this summer.  Put ridiculous items on there, or have a photo scavenger hunt.  Pinterest is your friend, by the way, because there are gazillions of cool ideas to make fun scavenger hunts.

ej photo scav hunt

4) Make:  This is purposely generic.  The idea is to tap into your creative spirit and make something that you’ve never made before.  Do NOT make classroom things.  Make things for your home, Christmas gifts, art, food items, or lovely knick-knacks for your yard.  Get out some power tools, paints, hot glue guns, scrapbook supplies, knitting needles, a soldering iron, a pottery wheel – and don’t hide behind the excuse that you’re not creative.  Everyone can make SOMETHING!  Be determined that before summer ends, you will have created at least one neat, new thing that brings joy to you or somebody else.

If you need ideas, walk around a craft store or check out this cool little website:  Instructables.

5) Photo Fun:  Whatever you are doing, capture it in photos.  Even if you don’t have a big vacation planned, you can purposely go on photo walks to relax and find joy in things around you.  Take a nature walk and only take pictures of things that are NOT green.  Try to photograph the alphabet in everyday objects!  Have alliterative photo days: capture sunrises, smiles, snowcones, swimming pools, spaghetti, slugs, sycamore trees and anything else that starts with the same letter!  Get zoomy- take really, really close up pictures of everyday items (or in nature) and marvel at the details!

When you have good photo collections and are feeling inspired, play with a few apps like Aviary, Prisma, or PicCollage that allow you to edit photos or turn them into works of art.  Print them out or just share them on social media!  You’ll feel a good sense of pride, and probably a sense of zen with your new artistic photographic talents.  Plus, when school starts back in the fall, you’ll have a whole collection that proves just how much fun you had in the summer!

 

Thanks for stopping by!  I’m @kerszi on Twitter, and I also have a Facebook page called Integration Innovation.

ClassroomScreen – EVERY Teacher’s Whiteboard Friend

I just know you’re going to love this – whether you teach Kindergarten or college, Spelling or Trigonometry…this site is really something that all educators can use daily!  It’s called ClassroomScreen, and it is precisely that.  It is a background screen that you can project and just sort of leave up all day.  It has a handy tool bank across the bottom of the screen full of things we all need, love, and use in our classrooms all the time.  ClassroomScreen just puts it all in one place – with one brilliantly simple interface – so that all the tools are accessible to you all day long!

After you open the ClassroomScreen website, begin customizing your screen.  You choose the background image from a very nice selection of photos:

cs1

Just look at all of those tools across the bottom!  They’re very self-explanatory, so I’m just going to give you a quick little photo tour of what they’ll look like on your screen:

randomname

Random name generator…click choose and it selects one name from your personalized class list!

calculator1

Calculator

drawing1.jpg

Simple drawing tool – you can choose small screen (like I did) or full-screen.

text1.jpg

Text box – you can copy/paste from another source, and use formatting tools including emojis

worksymbols.jpg

Work Symbols lets you display your expectation for the sound levels in your classroom

trafficlight.jpg

Traffic Light is another classroom management tool that you can display

timer

Timer

clock

Clock – displayed both ways, with date (click on date to reveal monthly calendar)  –  As you can see, I do random blog posting in the middle of the night!

There’s not much else to say except that I think a tool like this is remarkably handy.  There is a brief little YouTube video about ClassroomScreen that shows you how this works, but I’m pretty sure you already have it figured out.  Have fun!

 

I’ll be really curious to know if any of you end up using this during the school year, so drop me a comment to let me know what you think of it.  If you’re reading this on my blog, just enter comments here, or you can find this posted on my Facebook page (Integration Innovation) and I’m also on Twitter as @kerszi   – Thanks!

Audio Experiment with Clash

I’m not sure if or why you might have a use for something like this, but I had a little fun playing with it tonight, and it’s just pretty entertaining.

It’s a website called Clash. You type in a short paragraph or phrase and it takes each word and links it to an audio clip of the famous song or speech. Then it strings all the words together into sort of a spoken/singsong-y audio file like THIS.

The Clash website describes itself like this:

That’s pretty much all there is to it, except that Clash does give you more options for each word than the one it originally suggests. I liked finding audio files that made each word last a little longer so that the message was as clear as possible. It also shows you the source for every single word’s audio (I ended up with Pharrell, Katy Perry, Donald Trump, Eminem, Kenny Chesney, Kanye West, and more – all in one Clash!)

Clash might be a fun way to engage students. You might use it as an attention-getter at the beginning of a lesson. Maybe you’ll let students practice summary sentences using Clash.  It might be a fun way for students to try using content-area vocabulary words in sentences.  How else might you use this site?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Want to hear my final thoughts on Clash? Click HERE.

As always, I love to heard feedback and learn from you!  Please share your thoughts & ideas with me here in the comments section of my blog, on my Facebook page Integration Innovation, or on Twitter at @kerszi 

Bring on the Bitmoji!

Even if you haven’t started using them, I know you’ve seen them.  And if you HAVE started using them, you’re a little addicted, right?  Or is it just me?

Bitmojis are taking over the world…or at least it seems that way…and I’m glad because they make me really happy!  So what’s a Bitmoji?  It’s an avatar you design to (sort of) look like you.  And then you use it.  For everything!

I got started with Bitmoji on my iPhone, so I’ll start you the same way, although you can absolutely create and use Bitmoji from your computer in the Chrome browser.  There’s an extension for that, of course!   (I have it, I use it, and I totally recommend it!)

On your phone, just get the free Bitmoji app and sign up with an email. The prompts will walk you through how to create your Bitmoji, but it starts like this:


It’s personal preference, but I really like the Bitstrips style.  The next several prompts will take you through designing the physical appearance of your avatar.  It will ask you to choose your hair style, color, face shape, eyebrow style, eyebrow color, eyes, eyelashes, pupils, nose, mouth, cheeks, facial lines (yes, sadly yes), makeup, glasses, headwear, and finally body shape (mine is uhhh…slimmed down).  Ladies, it’s even going to let you choose your chest size!img_6103.png

Then, it’s fun fashion time!  Dress up your mini-you!


You get to dress up your avatar, but there are tons and tons of choices, and just know that you can change your avatar’s outfit as often as you’d like.

Hit the ✅ to finalize things, and you’re ready to use your Bitmoji and fun and creative ways!

I use mine all the time when texting my husband and son.  It’s become a bit of a fun game for us – we try to have entire conversations back-and-forth using only Bitmoji!

Wanna try?  OK, it might be a little hard to find your Bitmoji the first time you’re trying to text one, so let me show you how to access them.  First, click on the little globe icon at the lower left of your texting keyboard:


On the next screen, click on the little ABC icon at the lower left of your texting keyboard:

That brings up your “Search Bitmoji” screen, where you can type in keywords to look for the perfect action, expression, or emotion!img_6104.png

Posting your fun & crazy avatars works exactly the same way on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Notice my avatar has that same pink top on in most of the choices.  It will stay that way until I change her outfit!

Many educators are now using these in Booksnaps (click on the word for more info), an awesome idea created by Tara Martin for using Bitmoji in purposeful educational ways!

One last word of caution for elementary educators…there are a few Bitmoji that are not quite appropriate.  There aren’t many, but you know your kiddies will find them!

Since you stayed with me, learning and reading all the way until the end, I’ll leave you with this one very sincere final Bitmoji:

 

 

Please share your thoughts, feedback and ideas with me here at my Integration Innovation blog, on Twitter @kerszi, or on my Facebook page called Integration Innovation.  

Google’s Reverse Image Search

I learned about this in the strangest way.  Last summer, I was traveling through New England with my family.  It was nighttime, and we were driving over a bridge that was lit up and interesting – and I thought was pretty.  I snapped an iPhone photo from the passenger seat, and quickly posted it to Facebook with the caption, “Who knows where I am?”

My buddy Kevin came back almost instantly with the name and location of the bridge, and I was shocked!   I assumed he was familiar with the area.  He admitted that he just used Google Reverse Image Search.

TBH, I had no idea what he was talking about, so I made it a point to – well – Google it!  It’s another super-cool, super-easy way to WOW your friends and perhaps look like a genius from time to time.  I’ll bet you can come up with great ways to use it with students.  Tonight, I used it to satisfy my curiosity.  A few weeks ago, I had gone for a walk and noticed these beautiful little purple flowers.  I had taken a picture, and tonight I used Google Reverse Image Search to figure out what they were!

I started at the URL shown below, which is the site for Google Images.  Notice the little black camera in the search bar, and when I hovered over it, it says “Search By Image”.

Google Reverse 1

Next, I chose “Upload an image”.  (I had saved the photo to my laptop, so it was easy to upload.)Google Reverse 2

After I uploaded the file and clicked the little “search” magnifying glass, this is what I got:

google reverse 4 flower

“Oh, joy”, I thought – Google just let me know that this thing was – a flower?  Hmmmmphh….I almost thought I had wasted my time, until I scrolled down JUST a few inches and found this:

google-reverse-5-similar.png

Aaaah….thanks Google!  Now we’re talking.  Google found “visually similar images” for me, and that 4th one on the top is pretty much an exact match, so I clicked on it.

google reverse 6 periwinkle

How cool is that?  I narrowed it down until I surmised that my little flower was – a periwinkle!

There are lots of times my students and I wonder, “What IS that?” (and…umm…sometimes it might be better if we don’t know…you know how THAT is, right?)  Google Reverse Image Search gives us a fun and cool way to do a little investigating, a little research, a little debating, and a little deducing to find answers to some of our most burning questions!

In doing a little research for this post, I found these other helpful & related resources that you might enjoy:

  • CTRLQ.org – same as Google Reverse Image Search, seems to be a more direct link & possibly even easier.  You can use this right from your cell phone, too!
  • Reverse image search using your phone or tablet
    1. Use the Chrome app to do a search.
    2. Touch the image you want to search with to open a larger version of the image.
    3. Press and hold the image. In the box that appears, touch Search Google for this image.

     

     

I’m sure you can find even more ways to use this and great things to explore with it.  Please share.  I really love to learn from folks who stop by to read my posts, so let me know what you’re thinking!  I’d especially love to hear ways that you’ve used this in school.  Feel free to reply here on my blog, on Twitter @kerszi, or on my Facebook page – Integration Innovation!

 

 

Schedule Meetings with Consideration for your Team…with Doodle!

There’s a really cool, simple, and free little web tool called Doodle that you’re just going to love.  It’s like a scheduling agent – but it’s a very thoughtful one!  Doodle lets you poll the people you want to meet with and gives them the gift of choosing the dates & times that work best for them.  I have used this so many times with my various teams, committees, and staff – and I know that they appreciate having a voice in when a meet-up will occur.  I’ve noticed some administrators have begun to try Doodle, too, and I applaud that effort, because educators (and other administrators) REALLY love it when they feel that their time is respected.

It couldn’t be simpler.  You, as the organizer, just list all the potential days and times that you’re willing to meet.  Doodle puts them on a grid and gives you a link that you send to anyone you’d like to invite.   People respond by entering their own names and putting checkmarks next to all of the times that they are available.  You’ll get an email each time someone responds, so you’ll know when all the ‘votes are in’….and boom – majority wins!

doodle3

Doodle even lets you integrate your calendar, so the final meeting date is inserted for you.  I told you it was easy!

doodle2

Just for fun, I created a quick little video tutorial (less than 6 minutes is always my rule for ALL tutorials)…Click HERE to see it!  Doodle away, my friends!

 

Do you have feedback or ideas?  Please share with me here in the comments section of my blog, on Twitter at @kerszi, or I have a Facebook page called Integration Innovation, and I welcome your thoughts there, too!  Thanks for reading!

Make Secret Messages with Snotes, and I’ll GPS you through it with Iorad!

This blog is working double-duty.  I thought about actually posting it twice, just with different titles, because you’re getting 2 tech tools for the price of 1 in this post!  You see, I know about Snotes and have used them often, so I just wanted to write a post in which I share this cool, fun, secret message maker with you.  That was the easy part.  Here’s what a Snote looks like, by the way:

snote

Have you seen them?  If you tilt your screen (phone, tablet…whatever you’re reading this on) so that it’s eye-level and parallel to the floor, you’ll be able to see words take shape.  Those words actually go in 4 directions, so if you continue to rotate that circle, a secret message will appear.  Snotes are just fun!  I’ve made these for everything from BreakoutEDU clues to sappy little love notes for my husband (yes, really!)  Oh, you don’t actually have to pick up and rotate your whole computer screen – the site lets you view them interactively.  As a matter-of-fact, that Snote above does some cool animation stuff, so click HERE to see that particular one in action – it’s pretty awesome!

Normally, I’d use the rest of my blog to show how to use Snotes – y’know, walk you through the steps.

That’s where iorad comes in.  That one is fairly new, and it’s been on my “to learn” list for about two months.  This seemed like a pretty great time to try it out.  Iorad is an EXTREMELY cool step-by-step automatic tutorial maker, and it’s free!  I installed the Chrome extension, and now whenever I want to demo a website, I can click on the icon and it starts recording my every click, scroll, and keystroke.

iorad extension

It then creates a set of GPS-like directions for every single thing that I do.  Iorad doesn’t record my voice or anything like video, it just tracks my inputs.  When I’m done, I just click that extension icon again to stop the “recording” and it gives me a fully editable set of directions!

I do take advantage of that ability to edit.  I find that iorad is very diligent in its tracking, and I don’t need every single scroll or input to actually be relevant to the directions I want to give.  I can type in my own words and customize the specifics.  When I’m done, I am provided with a link that I can send directly to my friends, staff, or blog readers!

Check out this view that the end user sees when they open my link:

iorad screenshot

I love that the end user can choose the “Try” version on the left, which is a more supported tutorial that has the user actually perform all of the steps by entering words, clicking where I clicked, and scrolling or hitting commands EXACTLY as I did when I made the tutorial.  The option on the right is more like the “driving directions” we all used to print out when we used MapQuest – it’s a list-type overview.

If you look really closely in the gray bar at the lower left of that image, you’ll see that it says “Kerszi made this in less than 8 minutes” – and that was with the command editing!

I’d really love it if you try the iorad tutorial I made for Snotes, so you can see exactly how it works on the user end, so here’s the link:  How To Create A Snote

I’m a Technology Integration Specialist.  My entire job involves teaching others to use educational technology tools, so iorad has just become another best friend!  I’m still going to use my good old screencasting tools, of course, but just as we try to differentiate our instructional strategies to reach all student learners, I’m thinking that iorad may be a preferred learning modality for many of the adults and teachers I teach, as well!  Good stuff!

I always LOVE to hear what you think of the tips, tools, & tidbits that I share here, and I also really love when you share ideas for how you would USE the tools.  Please share if you get a chance.  You can reach me on Twitter @kerszi, here at my WordPress blog , or I have a Facebook page called Integration Innovation.

Book Creator Now Available on Computers in the Chrome Browser

bookcreatorappcover

Big, big news at the #ISTE17 conference…the famous and beloved Book Creator app has now been made available for computers!  Whoooeeee!  Chromebook users and anyone with the Chrome browser can now have their students enjoy the same brilliant publishing opportunities as we’ve always enjoyed in the app.

So this is my shortest blog post EVER, because I wrote the blog post about the newly-computer-based Book Creator …. using Book Creator!

Here’s the handy-dandy link:

Use Book Creator On Computers

(and Bitmojis…I’m really addicted to Bitmojis lately. Did you get the Bitmoji Chrome extension yet so that you can use them right on your computer?)

AR You Sure You Want a Tattoo?

Okay, this fun little tech tip has absolutely  nothing to do with education at all.  But it’s summertime, and it’s a time when we educators can just play with some of the fun stuff!  This is one of those apps.

Try the free iOS app called InkHunter, and you can try out a bunch of AR (augmented reality) tattoos just to see how they look on you!  Technically, you do still have to get slightly “inked” by drawing what they call a “square smile” on your skin.


“No pain, no pain,” I always say!   This is my kind of tattoo!  All you have to do after that is point the app’s camera at the “square smile” and let the augmented reality do its magic!  



(It is just SO STRANGE that my business card happened to be laying on my forearm while I was playing with InkHunter app!)

 I chose the butterfly tattoo from a large gallery of tattoos they have available.  Once I snapped the photo, I had the option to enlarge or shrink the tattoo image on my iPhone screen.  You can also upload your own tattoo designs, or even design your own text-based tattoo right within the app – like this:


I’m pretty much perpetually in awe of all the AR stuff, and I’m also a huge wimp who is never ever going to get an actual tattoo.  This is just the tech-geek kind of thing that makes me feel like a tough chick for a few minutes.  


I went overboard with the skull, didn’t I?  Okay, I’ll stop now.  But if you end up playing with the InkHunter app, please share your pictures with me!  You can post them to me on Twitter @kerszi , or I have a Facebook page called Innovation Integration where all my blog posts go, and you can post your tats there, too!