Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What We're Excited About September 2016: Green Screen

I remember when I first was asked to come into a classroom to help with Green Screen.

I knew what it was, but had never used it before.

To be frank, I was intimidated and nervous.

Thankfully, before I was scheduled to go into that classroom, our team had been asked to lead a session on Green Screen at the 4th Grade Mattawan Tech Day. Basically, we helped 5 groups of 30 4th graders get going with Green Screen. It was a crash course for me, but by the end of the first session, I felt like an old pro.

What is Green Screen?

I love this picture of 3rd graders using Green Screen for the first time. I see Green Screen as a simple opportunity to spice up almost any existing project, report, or writing assignment. Your kiddos record a video while changing the background to any image or video that can be saved to the camera roll. It's as simple as that! The possibilities for your classroom are virtually endless!

We've seen Green Screen used with excellent results at all grade levels.

What Tech is Required?

Most classrooms we have been in use Green Screen with iPads and the DoInk App ($2.99 on the App Store).

Ann put together an amazing Green Screen Tutorial. Use it yourself or with your students as you're getting started!

What Can My Students Do with Green Screen?

Here are just a few exciting ideas that I've seen in classrooms or talked about with teachers in our area!

Book Talks: One of my favorite projects I've seen over the past year was a simple introduction to both Green Screen and Book Talks. A third grade teacher introduced her students to the elements of a Book Talk.

1) Title and Author
2) What happens in the book?
3) What is the problem?
4) What is your favorite part?
5) Teaser: "Read to find out if..."

The Green Screen portion is very simple. The students used an image of the book for the background and held a copy while reading their prepared Book Talk.

Virtual Field Trips: Have students place an image of a place they've visited or will visit in the background and give a summary of what makes that place special.

Project or Performance Evaluation: Use a student's art project or musical performance as the background and ask students to give a reflection on that performance or explain why they chose a particular technique, piece, etc.

Become the Character: Have students become a character in a story or a famous person in history. Use background images/videos that reflect when and where that person lived.

Video Story Problems: Students can create their own story problem for their classmates to solve. Use the backgrounds to illustrate elements of the problem, like the 4 sheep the farmer starts with or the train traveling at 35 miles per hour.

How Do I Get Started?

To get started, you'll need at least one device with the Green Screen by DoInk app loaded (or other app you've chosen) and a large green sheet or shower curtain. We at #teamJXN have 4 iPads with Green Screen and 3 large green sheets if you'd like us to bring them in your classroom! Just email us to arrange a time for us to bring them in.

You'll also need to think about what you'd like your students to DO. For younger students, you might want to consider something small and open-ended to begin, like answering the question"What was the BEST thing you did this summer/weekend?". Consider using only 1 background image the first time around.

As students start to get the hang of the app, they can begin to play around with using multiple background images and perform more complex tasks. 

How About YOU?

Do you have some ideas for using Green Screen in your classroom? Or have you already been using Green Screen with success? Please share your ideas and insights below.

If you're interested in getting started, please reach out to #teamJXN. We love seeing the power of Green Screen in the classroom!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

It's Time For Something Different

Last spring our team was introduced to BreakoutEDU, a product that allows teachers to "bring gaming into the classroom."

BreakoutEDU games "teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used in all content areas." Since last spring we have been introducing BreakoutEDU to teachers and classrooms around Jackson County. Teachers and students have been very excited about kits and the possibilities they hold for the classroom. 

To learn more about BreakoutEDU visit the website:
Join the Facebook Page:
Or contact one of us to set up a time to learn how you can bring BreakoutEDU into your classroom! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: Sharing Your Calendar

Sharing is caring!  If you want to or have to share your calendar with someone, follow the steps in the video.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: Label your email

Do you like things organized? Me too!  Here's how to create labels for your email.  

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: Google Classroom

Are you planning over the summer and interested in setting up Google Classroom?  Get started with these videos!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: I can't log in to Google!

Uh Oh!  Did you just return from vacation and you can no longer access your email?  You've tried logging in to Google and it's not working!  No worries, try these steps to reset your password on a network PC and then try again.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: Creating a Signature in Gmail

So, you finally got logged into your Google account.  Yay! Watch this video to set up your signature.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: 3 New Updates to Google Education!

Google released 3 amazing new updates today that we at #teamJXN are super pumped to share with you!  You can read more at the Google Blog here.

1) Google Expeditions in now available to all! With Google Expeditions, your students can take a virtual reality field trip. All you have to do it download the free app to get started (it's available on Android devices today, and is coming to iPhones and iPads very soon).

2) Chrome Cast allows teachers and students to easily share their screens from anywhere in the classroom! It's a Chrome app and it even integrates with Google Classroom!

And probably our favorite update...

3) Quizzes in Google Forms will allow teachers to grade multiple choice or checkbox questions! There is even an option to give feedback to students who miss questions in the form of text, pictures, or video!

Check out these cool new updates and be sure to let us know how YOU plan to use them in your classrooms! :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: Don't Lose Your iPhone Contacts!

We've noticed that some of our iPhone users are having trouble with their contacts disappearing. If you are an iPhone user, do yourself a favor and check your default contacts account to prevent or fix this problem. This video will show you how!

Google Tip of the Day: Organizing Your Google Drive

Now that you've gotten your files uploaded to Google Drive, it's time to start organizing! Watch the quick video tutorial to show you how:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: Auto-Convert Your Google Drive Uploads

Working on uploading docs to your Google Drive? It might be worth your time to turn on your auto-convert option in your Drive account.  Check out how below!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: Uploading Your Files to Google Drive

Maybe you've started to think about how to get files off of your network drive and into your Google Drive. This video will help you get started!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Google Tip of The Day: Download Drive for PC or Mac

Add files to your Drive from your Mac or PC and they automatically sync with your other devices. It is also a great backup in case you lose wifi. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Personal and Professional Google Accounts? No Problem!

You can be logged into multiple Google accounts at once. Check out this video that shows you how!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: Google Photos

Are photos and videos taking up precious storage on your phone or iPad?

One of my most favorite Google tools in my new Google Apps for Education Account is Google Photos. You can get to it on the web at  Perhaps more importantly, it's an app on your phone that can automatically take the pictures from your camera roll and back them up to your Google account. You can see the app below.

Once you log in to either the app or the web version of Google Photos, you will be given the option to have your photos backed up from your camera roll to Google Photos. Once you give this permission, photos don't have to be stored on your phone because they will automagically uploaded to your Google account.  Now the magic happens.

The "albums" icon is my favorite.  If you tap on this, you get a screen that looks something like this:

Google photos can now sort your photos with a single click by a variety of factors.  It even has facial recognition software, so that if you click on "People", your photos will be sorted by who is in them.  As an example, I clicked on the picture of my little guy, Hobbes, and it bring up every picture I've taken that has his face in it:

(Can you imagine using this to take the pictures of your students you've taken throughout the year and quickly creating an album of pictures of that student to share with parents?)

From here, you can easily create movies (even on the app), albums, and collages -- all of which can be shared with anyone you want in typical Google fashion.

I would highly, highly recommend getting logged in and starting to play around with this super cool tool.

Have fun!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: Searching Your Email

We've all done it: that important email you swore you'd keep and organize somehow got misplaced.

With your new Google Mail account, it's easy to search and find emails.

Here's a video that will show you how!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Google Tip of the Day: Viewing Others' Calendars

Viewing a colleague's or family member's calendar in Google Calendar is an incredibly useful feature.

Here's a video describing that process: