Monday, October 13, 2014

Tracy's Tuesday Tech Tip: What's Simple is True

Okay, I'll admit it - growing up, I was a Jewel fan. All right, you got me, I still am. My holiday season always starts out busting out the "Joy" Album and blasting out Joy to the World or Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Just one of those traditions that started when the album came out, so it stays with me.

Now, I know what you're thinking - you have to be Thankful before you can be Merry, and goodness, it's not even October 31st and Halloween yet! Well no worries, this post isn't about celebrations, but another Jewel line - "What's Simple is True." While this song is just simply about caring about someone, the central mantra of having simplicity in life and for others' love is truly an endearing message anyone can take to heart.

Me, I've been called a country girl, and seem to like the little things in life - a smoothie out of a mason jar, hanging out on my friend's farm, and enjoying the night skies and sunsets - my #bigskyeffect. Technology, in it's complex nature and intricacies is often looked upon as confusing, or a lot, or in general very technical. Yet this same premise of "simple is true" can work with technology with two simple tools - core tools at that - which can change the way you view your learners and the way they view their learning. 

A Simple, But True Fact about our Google Drive App:

Use the open in feature. Put a PDF in, a Google Doc, or really anything. Instruct your learners to press the "i" symbol and to "Open In" to open the document in Notability or Explain Everything or any other applicable app that works with that type of file. WABAM - your learners will be able to open their doc in an app and edit it as such - add voice recordings, explanations to the basic doc you setup - expand on their learning and think critically - the power is in how you set it up, the magic is in their creations and understanding.

A Simple, But True Use about the Camera App:

So often we think of cameras for selfies. I mean, when we find out someone had about 500+ selfies (yes, just selfies) on their camera roll, yes, it's a bit...perplexing. Yet, it isn't complex for our learners. So the question remains how do we bridge that gap from JUST "fun" to "educational."

Charge your students with being the photographers on their latest field trip - or even better, have them dream up a field trip with what they've learned in their classes lately. Use pics from copyright-free sources such as Pics4Learning, and chronicle their understanding in an iMovie or make an interactive poster on Notability! Using the camera can be as simple as taking a reading sample as they "Read Like a Boss." Perhaps in their reading, they can make a Book Trailer or iMovie Synopsis!

It doesn't have to be hard - make it easy for yourself, and for your learners with both the Open In feature as well as the Camera app for new and engaging projects, presentations and more!

What things do you do in your classroom that are simple, but true? How have you used your Camera App for learning or Open In feature in Drive? Share with us!

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