Educational App Store ShowMe Review

Upon opening the app the user is taken through a set of guided instructions that help you understand the application and its interface. Although it is an option we recommend that you create an account to truly appreciate the capabilities of this app.

A simple press of the record button and you are creating your first ShowMe presentation. The tools here are adequate with the ability to use text, colour, add images and an eraser. This can be somewhat limited and sometimes the presentations created are only as good as the presenter or artist, more tools are available through the premium service.  The app could benefit from a clip art tool here. The presentation can be enhanced by using the voice over feature to explain your thoughts as you present and draw. Once the ShowMe presentation has been created you can save this as a draft, for further editing, or a finished presentation. We found the app slightly frustrating that once saved it then asks you to add to a topic for others to access and posts the presentation, you can only save this privately if you sign up for the premium service. However, what we need to stress is the potential of this app has to engage teaching and learning. As a teacher if you are planning a lesson keep in mind its versatility and potential for homework tasks and flipped-class applications. A maths problem solved by a teacher can be played back by the student time and time again in class and at home. This has great potential for parents to learn the topic as well.

The developers can be congratulated on the potential that ShowMe has to offer for both teaching and learning. The online ShowMe community has embraced this application and teachers from all over the globe are sharing presentations. This is a fantastic app that comes highly recommended by the Educational App Store.

EAS Certification

 

 

References

http://www.educationalappstore.com/app/showme-interactive-whiteboard

A QR Code Grammar Activity for the ESL Classroom

Book drills can make class time boring and monotonous, especially when practicing grammar concepts. Creating fresh and engaging activities for English Learners helps students find meaningful connection to the concepts learned in class (Jensen, 2000). Thankfully, as technological advances bring about a myriad of educational web and mobile applications, teachers can incorporate these to enrich common classroom activities and to adapt the usual assignments for better student interaction.

One of these tools, the QR Code, has given me another strategy to implement in my ESL classroom.  Students of various levels have given me positive feedback, which encouraged me to share this idea with other teachers. For more information on using QR codes, check out Karen Mensing’s Ted-Ed video here.

It should be noted that as with all manipulative materials, apps should also be carefully introduced to students as not doing this properly might increase the likelihood of frustration and confusion. Give students some time to get to know their QR Reader app. For best results, have students download a free QR Reader a day before the assignment.

Adverbs of Time Grammar Activity

  1. Take 6-8 events with different times or dates for each. Make a QR code for eachPairs collect clues together until they've gathered all the clues needed. event. Print and cut out the codes (glue on index cards for future use).
  2. Make duplicate codes and mix them up.
  3. Tape the QR codes around the room and pair up students.
  4. Tell students that they are to walk around with their partner to gather clues about an incident that happened.
  5. Once they have gathered all the clues, they will narrate what happened using adverb clauses in a paragraph.
  6. Encourage pairs to collaborate to write a creative paragraph by saying the class will vote on the top 3.

Variations:

  • Assign paragraph for homework and ask pairs to read their paragraphs in small groups.
  • Ask students to type up their paragraphs and submit them the next day. Teacher can make editing assignments based on the paragraphs submitted.
  • Instead of adverb clauses of time, use cause and effect clauses, adjective clauses, or noun clauses.
  • Make QR codes out of the students’ final paragraphs and ask them to edit a paragraph of their choice as a group.

Free Online QR Code Generators:

Some Free Phone App QR Code Readers:
Apple: Red Laser
Google Play Store: Red Laser
Blackberry World: QR Code Scanner Pro Free

References
Jensen, E. (2000). Brain-based learning. Corwin Press.

Mensing, K. (2013, June 20). The Magic of QR Codes [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRgWRXFXLQs

*A version of this article was published in the CATESOL Quarterly News here: http://www.catesolnews.org/2014/03/qr-code-grammar-activity-esl-classroom/

How-to use the new Explore

You may have noticed that ShowMe has changed lately. We’ve completely redesigned the app to making learning easier!

To get started with the new ShowMe Explore here’s a guide:

  1. Browse your recommendations! We’ve provided personalized recommendations for you
  2. Browse by categories! Now, when you tap on a category, all of the subcategories will be revealed. This is a great way to browse featured ShowMes by subject.
  3. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Tap the search box to type what you’re looking for. Your search results can be filtered by topic, people, or ShowMes!

ShowMe and Google Forms

Last week, I wrote on this blog about the advantages of using Google Forms with your ShowMe videos. Well, I must say that Google Forms is a powerful intuitive tool for the classroom. Even if you are not in a 1:1 school (with iPads or computers), Google Forms presents an opportunity to get real time information from students not delayed through exit slips or problem sets. The common question that I think that lingers is how are the students responding if you are not using iPads or computers; the answer is smartphones (and it doesn’t matter the operating system or carrier of the phone.) If you have a class website, links can be set up so that students can respond to questions or you can send students emails with the link of the form so that students can respond at the end of the class period or complete questions for homework while watching their ShowMe or simply completing their reading of various materials.

The reason that I mentioned these applications two weeks in a row, even though most people may already be using Google Forms, is that it is important that teachers receive data (which is an important part of the Common Core) and use it to meet the learning needs of their students. On a recent episode of 60 minutes, Kahn Academy was highlighted for the use of formative data to help teachers create a customized learning experience for each student, but what was at the heart of Kahn Academy was a program that allowed teachers to see precisely where the students were in their learning and the teacher could then direct the classroom based on the needs of students instead of creating a one size fits all curriculum approach. Why wait for Kahn, when the program already exists with Google Forms, especially since cash-strapped districts are not going to purchase expensive software, teachers need to plan what they want their students to know, understand and be able to do with the content of their ShowMe or their classroom and develop a form to help collect the data so that every student learns. Then with the data tailor lessons that meet the needs of every student in the classroom and the best part is the fact that it does not add any more planning time. By creating ShowMe lessons and assessing students knowledge with Google Forms, you are creating a truly enriching experience that benefits every student in the classroom.

New ShowMe Feature: Adding student accounts!

We’ve been working hard this summer to add some new features for the school year. We noticed that many teachers wanted the ability to manage student accounts and that students often do not have access to email. So, we built an easy way for you to create student accounts! Email is not required and teacher’s have total oversight over what kids are up to.

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Just follow these steps to get started!

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First, open up ShowMe and tap Activity. Look for the green button that lets you Find more people to follow

 

 

 

Second, in the bottom left corner side of the screen that appears, tap Create a student account

 

 

 

Next, enter your student information. Remember to indicate if they are under age 14! Tap Create Account when you’re ready

 

 

 

You’re done! You’ll receive and email with the login information and password which you can give to your student.

 

 

If you’d like to change the username or password, just login and navigate to the student’s name in the top left corner of the app. Tap it and select Settings to make changes.

Stories (An Epiphany)

The thing about stories is that they don’t have to fascinate the storyteller. I mean, the event doesn’t have to be fascinating or extraordinary to you to have meaning to your audience.  Sometimes it’s the mundane that provides a lesson worth telling. I tell stories to my students all the time, some entertaining some not so, and I’m often struck by what they connect with in the story.

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A story I have shared often with my students is the story of a bowling class I took in college. It’s not an interesting story, but I tell them how when I learned how to throw a hook and count boards, I immediately lost 30 pins on my average. I share that story with them to say, “Sometimes when you learn something new or develop a new skill your overall ability suffers in the short term, to make you better in the long term.” I tell them I’m a better bowler now than I would have been had I never learned these skills, but I was a frustrated bowler as I continued to practice. I use the story in math or coaching basketball because sometimes students need to know that learning often comes out of struggle. You backslide and grasp to old habits, but when the challenges get more difficult, you realize the old habits don’t help you, but the new skills and knowledge will. Once I tell the story to a room of fifth graders they start asking me about what my average bowling score was and is now, and I tell them my scores and say, “I’m far from a professional and I don’t play much anymore.” That’s irrelevant because usually when I tell that story it’s for the  benefit of the kids who think “Why do I need to show my work when I can solve it in my head?” or “Why should I shoot the ball from above my head when I make plenty of shots shooting it from my hip?” As teachers and coaches we can see the bigger picture, and our stories, especially ones that tell of our struggles, can help them learn a little more about that picture. Share.

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