This week for our assignment, I reviewed three tools to use for classroom instruction. The tools that I reviewed were: Google Expeditions, Explain Everything Whiteboard and Adobe Spark Page. Both Google Expeditions and Adobe Spark Page I will be using for my instruction in my own classroom. The Explain Everything Whiteboard was alright but not as great of an experience as I would have hoped. More than likely I won’t use this tool again.
The next unit I am teaching in my U.S. History class is American Imperialism. I made a Google Expedition of the different territories that the U.S. annexes or acquires during this time period. This is my first ever attempt to make a Google Expedition and it is extremely time-consuming to do. The software was pretty straight forward and easy to navigate. I did have some issues with not being able to put my Google guy on Wake Island and adding my own picture wasn’t as good of quality. The APP also displayed issues and I often could not see the scene picture or where the images I was adding were going. I would have to leave the APP and reenter it for it to fix itself. Most of the issues are technical issues with the APP when they figure them out it can be really cool!
It isn’t actually possible to create a Google Expedition in the APP. It redirects you to Poly which is the software used to create the Google Expeditions. Within the Google Expedition APP, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of expedition options in either AR or VR. I found cool Google Expeditions for not only a number of different U.S. units such as WWII: Pearl Harbor or the Women’s Rights Movement, but also for Health with conception and fertilization, prenatal physical development as well as postnatal physical development. The selection is amazing and the app is really easy to use.
The only major issue that I have had is that with the AR expeditions you are supposed to be able to print off papers to place around the classroom for students to use as they walk around on the expedition. In every AR expedition that I opened and tried to print these papers off, it crashed the app. Even when I selected Help with AR it would crash the APP. So I was a little frustrated that the feature wasn’t working at all. When they figure it out, it will be really cool. I was able to use AR features to view the development of technology, but not to the extent that I would need for a Google Expedition.
I would love to integrate this APP in both my U.S. and Health classes! I would more than likely use pre-made google expeditions rather than create my own because it would save me a lot of time. I do like knowing how to do it in the cases that I would have to create my own. I think in U.S. History and Health there are quite a few applicable instructional uses. It combines movement, engagement, and information in a non-traditional matter. I think students will be highly motivated to participate in the use of Google Expeditions in class. I think they would also be highly motivated to have projects focused on allowing them to not only create their own but to have the ability to share that created google expedition with other teachers and students! The APP needs work, but overall, I am really excited about the expeditions I can now take my U.S. and Health students on.
Explain Everything Whiteboard
I didn’t want to pay for the advanced version of the Explain Everything Whiteboard APP. The free functions of the app are limited, my two-minute explanatory video was too long to export without upgrading my account. I apologize for the quality of the video because instead of upgrading my account I decided that I would just record the video I made using my phone and then upload that video instead. My biggest issue with the APP is that as a teacher I cannot pay to have an upgraded subscription for all of these tools. If the free version is this limited, then I would probably not adopt the use of the tool in my classroom. If it isn’t going to be functional free, I won’t even attempt to integrate it into my classroom.
For my tool creation, I created a video to explain directions for an assignment we usually complete in U.S. History. The assignment I uploaded was Problems with Cities. Students are required to read the paragraphs, annotate and write on the side a summary of the main points in the paragraph. This is an assignment that quite a few students that were traveling completed incorrectly when the returned. To help with this in the future I would use explain everything whiteboard to add an explanatory video to my website for students traveling. This would give them access to the same support as they would receive being in class.
The overall experience of using the app was positive. Until I couldn’t export it, I didn’t have any issues accessing the document I wanted to upload and upload it into the tool. It was easy to use the functions of the app to record myself as well as use it to annotate the paragraph. I did have issues trying to delete a redo my recording. I ended up starting over. If I had gotten farther into the creation of the assignment I would have been more upset about starting over. I really liked using the tool. I thought that it would be easy to apply for a number of different reasons. Students could be highlighting their documents while we are reading in class collaboratively. I did not get to experiment with that function of the device, but I could have invited users to join me while I was working in the app.
This tool could be used to collaborate with peers to create a presentation. I don’t think that I would use it for that reason, I already have tools that I use and this doesn’t provide enough of a difference for me to replace it with another tool. I think the most I would personally use it in class would be to annotate documents either individually or with a peer. If this was the only reason I would be using the tool, I would prefer to use the tool hypothesis rather than explain everything whiteboard. Hypothesis allows for the same high lighting and collaboration but seems to be easier to use. The only thing I wouldn’t be able to do within the app was to record my process, but I know how to make a screencast using another tool so this isn’t too critical of a function.
Adobe Spark Page
Since starting the ONID program I have become a huge fan of Adobe Spark page, post, and video! I have started actively using all of them in my classroom. They are free, easy to use and produce excellent examples of student work. I decided to make this my last tool for review because they have been so useful in my classroom this school year and last school year I wanted everyone to know about them. Students can make posts, posters, interactive posters, videos, infographics, or interactive pages.
One of my favorite aspects of Adobe Spark Page is that it is super easy to use. You can add text, images, videos, and recordings into the page. It creates a more engaging presentation as it provides students with options to make their presentation more engaging. I also think that they are more engaged in the process of development because it is not a standard powerpoint. I would use this tool for students to use to create presentations. Or if I was going to present myself. I just don’t really waste my instructional time presenting to students myself. Most of my class time is spent allowing students to discover what happened in U.S. History not for me to just tell them. For students creating products of their learning, I want to get to the point where I am using and teaching students how to use a variety of different tools to create products online. I want to expand their toolset before they graduate so they have a basic understanding of what is available to them for creation purposes beyond powerpoint.
The project that I shared was one that I created for my digital storytelling class. I wanted to share this because it was a really fun assignment to create as I was predicting the future of education and it shows examples of all of the different functions of Adobe Page. I easily included text, images, and videos into this digital story. As I was creating the assignment I didn’t have very many issues. I selected this tool because I knew overall it was super easy to use to create work with. I love that I could implement this tool into my class and still have the focus on the content rather than the use of the tool. I can provide students with support/help when they need it using the tool, but overall the use of the tool does not require extreme additional explanation to integrate the use in class.