March 29, 2014

5 Tech Tools, Innumerable Possibilities -- from the Hawaii #GafeSummit




Five tech tools -- innumerable possibilities.

I think our teachers and students will absolutely love these tech tools!

I learned about them at the Hawaii #gafesummit, which was a delightfully surprising experience.

Have you had any experience with these tools?


1. PearDeck

I learned about this very promising now-in-private-beta tool from +Chris Bell's demo slam.

PearDeck is "an interactive presentation system for active classrooms". It's made especially for 1:1 Chromebook classrooms.

It's a start-up by 3 Iowa City teachers whose web-based gradebook ActiveGrade, LLC, was acquired by Haiku Learning. A talented trio indeed!

According to the web site, "Pear Deck makes it easy to plan and build interactive lessons directly from your Google Drive that promote active learning in the classroom. As students interact with the lesson, real-time data provides instructors the feedback they need to adapt teaching on-the-fly."

This video gives a nice overview of the product.
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Here's a review: ActiveGrade founders create new education startup Pear Deck, Silicon Prairie News, March 3, 2014.

I installed the Pear Deck Beta Preview app and since PearDeck is not yet available, I applied to join the Beta ASAP. :)



I hope to hear from PearDeck soon!

2. Photo Sphere

I learned about Photo Sphere for Google Maps 'Up, down, and all around. Immersive 360º views', from Googler +Evan Rapoport. Photo Sphere is an Android camera app. (Hopefully an iOS version will be available soon.) 

You can explore the gorgeous photospheres in Google Maps | Views and also join the Google Maps View G+ community. The official hashtag throughout the social networks is #photosphere. Check out this 360º photo of Kula, Maui, by Ed White. So peaceful.





Photo Sphere would be perfect for any place-based student project, as would Tour Builder and Google Map Engine.


3. Tour Builder

Tour Builder, also in Google Maps, is a browser-based tool to 'put your story on the map'. This would be an engaging way for our students to document and share their Maui field trips, as +Pete Hansen and his seventh graders have done with Waihe'e Ridge Hike. Great photos!

Tour Builder looks simple to use and is recommended by Google Lit Trips founder Jerome Burg.


4.  Google Maps Engine

I was blown away by +Molly Schroeder's "Pack Your Bags" Demo Slam. She had asked participants to fill out a Google Form describing their favorite vacation spot.

Molly compiled the data into a map, using Google Maps Engine. Impressive!
Molly describes the process of importing data into Google Maps Engine, in this tutorial.




Google Maps Engine is a fantastic tool for making all kinds of crowdsourcing comparisons, across the curriculum and across the globe. So powerful!


5. Eye-Fi


Eye-Fi for Android is an SD card for instantaneous wireless transfer of photos. The card creates its own WiFi signal!

I first heard about Eye-Fi via  +Veronica Partida's tweet during the Summit.



Then coincidentally, +Chad Nacapuy described Eye-Fi in detail in our weekly Google Rocks! Hawaii hangout. Bonus: +Michelle Carlson Colte and +Sean Connors chimed in with how they would use Eye-Fi in their classrooms. Check it out:



Eye-Fi would be fantastic for our students' photo projects, again, across the curriculum. What a timesaver!


Yes, 5 tech tools, innumerable possibilities.

... Google is so bright, I gotta wear shades. :)



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March 24, 2014

7 Delightfully Surprising Things That Happened at the Second Google for Education Hawaii Summit (updated 5/21/14)

Google selfie with +Molly Schroeder and +Wendy Gorton (IC)

Yes, +EdTechTeam's Second Google for Education Hawaii Summit was FUN!


Seven delightfully surprising things happened:


1. I learned about how education can and should be 'uncomfortably exciting'.

This is a new phrase I learned from Googler (and former Hawaii resident) +Evan Rapoport, via +Larry Page. I think I'm going to use it. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could get our students uncomfortably excited about learning?


Evan Rapoport

2. The majority of the attendees were public school teachers.

I was thrilled to find out that the majority of the 500+ people who attended the summit were public school teachers. Shout-out to all of these educators wanting to make a difference in their schools! Attendance almost doubled from last year's summit. 

+Brendan Brennan commented that he would like to see 1000+ next year. Now wouldn't that be something?


Hale Kula Elementary School represents
IC: +Wendy Gorton 

3. Internet was unthrottled. 

The wi-fi was smooooooooooth and blazing fast at 'Iolani School! A big mahalo to Jim Crum and his crew for an outstanding job. Here's a great article about Jim in the 'Iolani student newspaper: The IT man: Jim Crum hopes to boost information technology at 'Iolani. I hope next year's summit will be at 'Iolani again.


4. Some of my #pln friends were different.

It was so much fun to meet members of my #pln in person! +Brendan Brennan and +Lisa Nagamine are much taller than I imagined, and based on +Rachel Armstrong's wonderfully strong voice on hangouts, I expected her to be less petite than she is.


5. Jim Sill was FUNNY!  --- in a good way :D

Humor is so important for engaging students I think, and Jim, also known as Mr. Sill, made us laugh often. I love how Mr. Sill weaves his filmmaking skills into his presentations, too.

And his Sillfie Fun! page is pretty awesome. #sillfie / #selfie, get it?


6. Three Hawaii Google Certified Teachers gathered together in one room to learn from each other.

GCT +Liz Castillo from the Google Teacher Academy 2012 Mountain View cohort  and +Michelle Carlson Colte from the 2013 Sydney cohort attended my Curate and Organize Like a Ninja, in Chrome session. I was so thankful for their support.


7. I went away to meet up with someone from home. 

Well, this isn't surprising, is it? It was great to catch up with technology coordinator +Larry McCarty and I'ao Intermediate technology teacher +Pete Hansen (in the back). Lots of good discussion going on here. :)


IC +Peter Henrie 

What did I learn that our faculty and students can use? 


My Hawaii colleagues and I discussed what we learned at the Summit on our weekly Google Rocks! Hawaii Hangout-on-Air:





And, I wrote a blog post:

5 Tech Tools, Innumerable Possibilities -- from the Hawaii #GafeSummit



What does the future look like after the Hawaii #GafeSummit?





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March 01, 2014

Google Education Groups (GEGs) are sprouting on Google+


No, Google Education Groups are not the same thing as Google Groups. GEGs are Google+ Communities. And yes, they're new.

It's GREAT to see that the Hawaii GEG has so many members, and lots of activity!

Owner is +Brendan Brennan and moderators are: +Marybeth Baldwin+Liz Castillo,  +Michael Fricano II+Kimble McCann, and +Chad Nacapuy.

Check out these other GEGs on Google+.

  • GEG SoCal - Owner: +Alice Chen "an official community for the Southern California chapter -- an outreach program of Google, designed to connect educators who want to leverage the power of Google tools."

And here's the complete list, guaranteed to grow.


Have fun connecting!



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