We Heart Piktochart!

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What is Piktochart?

Piktochart is a web-based infographic website that is easy-to-use while still maintaining a distinct level of professionalism. Users who may not have the same skills or experience as graphic designers can use this tool to create beautiful visual presentations. Based in Malaysia, Piktochart is a freemium site that allows users to pick basic templates and customize them to fit their needs. If more assistance and depth is required, one can also purchase a premium account, which offers a greater variety of templates as well as more extensive formatting options.

How to Use Piktochart in the Classroom: A Complete Guide

Piktochart Login

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Quick and User-friendly

 

Features

Piktochart is an effective technology tool that can be used in a school environment as well as in a professional environment. One can use Piktochart for course presentations, project visuals, or promotional infographics to create awareness about a topic. This tool is most useful for students who don’t have an extensive background in Photoshop and other graphic designing software.

Creating a Presentation – You can choose between creating an infographic, a presentation, a poster, or report. When clicking on your preferred tool of choice, you can choose between free preset templates provided by Piktochart or start from scratch and customize your own presentation. If you are a paid member, there are many more templates to choose from.

Adding Icons – By clicking on the icon sections of a presentation, you can insert preset cartoons and images that further accentuate and attract attention to your masterpiece.

Adding Visual Tools (graphs, maps, etc) – Tools such as graphs, maps and charts can be added to the infographic to provide a visual representation of information. These graphics can be formatted to fit your unique needs (axis, title, colour, etc.) and add variety to your project.

Exporting Files – Given the option to share and export files through social media networks, evernote, email, or download, a free user has a variety of different ways to distribute their work to the intended audience. Additional methods of exporting are available to paid members such as downloadable PDF format.

 

Why is Piktochart so useful?

Piktochart allows users to consolidate learning through the following methods:

  • Retrieval practice – One will have to recall information previously learned and apply it on their own to fit the needs of their infographic. Creating an infographic through Piktochart may benefit a student by allowing them to further understand the material due to having had phrased it in their own words.
  • Reflection – Depending on the level of ease at which one is able to recall certain components of the learning material, one can gauge the overall grasp of the topic based on seeing which sections are more difficult. Wherever the knowledge does not come as easily to the user, they will know they need more information on it.
  • Elaboration – One can use elements of what has been learned and expand on it by creating a phrase or making an analogy pertaining to that information. By answering questions on an infographic that readers would likely ask, the creator ensures not only creating questions but also answering them in-depth.
  • Mnemonics – Use of visual aids and charts to help retain information in long-term memory and build connections. PiktoChart can also help students learn a new topic by creating visual connections. By using and forming creative connections when looking at or making infographics, the student gains a deeper understanding of the concepts.

 

How can Piktochart be used?

  1. Piktochart can teach students about a new topic by creating an infographic pertaining to new course material, for example, students can learn lessons that can be kept and used for quizzes, tests, or exams.
  2. Piktochart allows students to demonstrate knowledge on a topic in an in-depth manner by elaborating on course material. The extent of this knowledge will allow the teacher to analyze the student’s understanding of the information, able to pinpoint the exact sections where students need improvement.
  3. Piktochart encourages creative application of knowledge for any user, by implementing graphs, charts, maps, and images to the topic at hand, ensuring there is a good understanding of the knowledge and proper consolidation of the information.
  4. Piktochart can be used as a long-term resource in the classroom for key ideas and topics. It is an eye-catching tool that can last a long time and be seen by all who walk by it.

Interested? Keep yourself updated with all the Piktochart information!

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The Advantages of Pixlr

What is Pixlr?

Pixlr is an internet based, on-demand photo editing tool that allows for the creation of images, along with the editing and sharing of existing photos. Although Pixlr was created with non-professional users in mind, the application also includes a variety of advanced tools which provide individuals more more options.  Even though it is browser-based, a mobile app exists for those wishing to access it from a handheld device. Pixlr was ultimately designed for quick and easy-to-use image editing for those with little experience involving photo manipulation, while staying convenient and accessible to those who choose not to buy professional software.

 

Pixlr Features & Uses:

Pixlr Editor

Pixlr Editor is the standard, Photoshop-like, browser-based image editor. It can be used to create an image, or import one from the user’s computer or  from the web.  These pictures can then be edited using the over 20 tools that Pixlr Editor has to offer. The greatest advantage of this program is that the overall photo editing process is extremely quick and clear when used for creating, or changing pictures through online content.

Pixlr Express

Pixlr Express is a very simplified image editor. It uses a very clean interface with little tools, meant for quick tweaks toward pictures rather than large-scale manipulation. It offers similar capabilities as most modern phone camera apps do, but its usefulness comes from it being easily accessible from a computer where mobile apps are not typically installed.

Pixlr Mobile

It is fairly difficult to find a good photo editing app for mobile devices, and Pixlr Mobile just so happens to be one of them.  It comes with a camera function, and it has all of the basic tools a photo editing app should have, such as quick tools, filters, borders, text, and brushes.

Pixlr Desktop

Pixlr Desktop is a downloadable version of Pixlr, which is a powerful photo editor. It’s not designed for image manipulation, but it has a lot of very useful features when looking to improve photos, the majority of which are very quick to apply (such as filters).

An explanation on Pixlr’s functions

Tutorials, tips and tricks for Pixlr

Pixlr: Learning the basics:

Why use Pixlr?

Comparatively, Pixlr is a much more accessible and convenient photo creation and editing tool the provides some, if not all, of the capabilities that a normally professional and paid photo program offers.  By allowing users to access this tool for free and without the hassle of downloading, Pixlr provides more opportunities at exploring one’s creativity involving photo editing or graphic design.

Learning

Pixlr promotes learning through curiosity and opportunity.  Due it the application’s accessibility I can virtually be used anywhere as long as there is an internet connection or it is installed as mobile app or desktop program.  By allowing users to test their interests through curiosity, an individual would be able to try photo editing or graphic design using this tool. This results in users being able to explore without the fear of prices or limitations.

Reflection
This learning strategy could be used as the individual utilizes the tool, which could ignite a hidden passion for photos or graphics using their creativity.  Reflection plays a part when the user relates a positive feeling to the use of the program, further increasing their interest within the arts resulting in an easier time learning the subject.

Educational Uses

1. The photo editing tool could be useful to teachers involved in the arts, specifically photography.  By having a tool that is advanced, yet simple it allows teachers to create images that can then later be used as example of photo manipulation in class which would give students an idea of what is possible through photo editing.

2. The accessibility of Pixlr allows students to be able to utilize the program for classes without the deterrence of fees or mandatory downloads.  A couple of examples would be: creating an image representing the decay of alpha particles for physics or editing an image for an assignment regarding the topic of what an ‘ideal person’ within a society would look like.

3. It promotes student creativity which can then reflect toward determining their interests, specifically in photo manipulation or graphic design.  This in turn would allow students to plan their courses in such a way that it aligns with their interests, or their passion resulting in a path toward post-secondary studies through high school courses.

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Frequently asked questions and support

Updates and some cool ways to use Pixlr!

People’s work using Pixlr!

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Nearpod Cheat Sheet

 

Nearpod is an interactive multimedia presentation platform where teachers can share presentations used in classrooms. In presentations, teachers can and keep track of students’ activities and assure students are on the same page as they have the control on which slide is being viewed. Moreover, teachers have the ability to monitor, measure, and receive a better perspective of the students’ understanding by the collected data stored on their accounts. Students, on the other hand, can use Nearpod to follow along with the lesson and submit answers during various activities in real time while also being able to view the answers and results of others when shared with the classroom. Moreover, teachers have the ability to monitor, measure, and receive a better perspective of the students’ understanding.

Nearpod can also be easily accessed on various pieces of hardware such as computers, smartphones, and tablets. Thus, Nearpod provides a technology-based learning environment where blended learning is available and enjoyable amongst both teachers and students.

 

INTRODUCTION TO NEARPOD

 

Features for Teacher Use:

  • Uploading / creating slideshows
  • Embedding videos and other media tools into presentations
  • Accessing, viewing, and annotating PDF files
  • Conducting a live twitter stream
  • Browsing pre-made presentations on the Nearpod database

 

Interactive Features Include:

  • Draw it – students can be given a question and/or scenario and can write/draw on a blank canvas before submitting their work
  • Quiz – multiple choice questions can be given with a minimum of two options for every question so teachers can monitor students’ knowledge and understanding of the presentation
  • Poll – a simple one question poll where teachers can collect data from students with multiple choices given
  • Fill-in-the-blanks – short sentences where teachers can choose which word to remove from the sentence and add into the work bank for students to match
  • Open ended questions – can all be used for a variety of subjects for teachers to collect longer, well thought out answers needing more detail or description from students

Once students submit their answer to specific activities (namely Draw it and the open-ended questions), teachers have the option of sharing some of the student’s responses. This promotes class discussion through the deconstruction and in turn, analysis of the response.

 

Why Nearpod is Useful:

Nearpod provides a balance between hands-on learning through the engagement of student activity) and minds-on learning through the lecture-style presentation. So, enough information is being delivered through the presentation and, students are given the opportunity to apply what they know. In other words, it provides an appropriate ratio between learning and application.

Studies have shown that the average attention span of a human went from 12 seconds to 8 from 2000 to 2013. This is due to the advancement of technology and its stimulation to the brain becoming more frequent in students and people as a whole. Brains require stimulus to keep concentrated. Having said that, lessons used today are modelled after the brains of older generations and are not reconstructed to better suit the newer generation. As a result, Nearpod focuses on the balance between traditional learning and stimulation needed for students to learn and focus in classes

 

Information and Resources (links):

Homepage of Nearpod

Includes different tabs in which users can navigate through the interface of the website.

 

How Nearpod Works

Information page describing the basics of using Nearpod. It also includes multiple slideshows that act as a info/help resource for the many tools Nearpod offers.

 

Nearpod On Youtube

 

 

Adding Nearpod Onto Your Devices:

Chrome Extension Download

Google Play Store Download

Apple Store Download

 

Top Ideas for Use in Education:

  1. As another online presentation platform, teachers can assess their lessons online which allow them to edit/upload from their home as well as automatically save all of their content. This prevents the risk of lost/corrupted/forgotten files that would be detrimental to the lesson.
  2. Pre-made presentations/lessons/introductory activities are also available on Nearpod. Teachers can use them to either introduce the topic of their lesson or review them for a test.
  3. Nearpod is also easily accessible not only on computers, but on mobile devices. This would allow teachers to prepare lessons and have students listen to them whenever and wherever as long as there is internet access. Furthermore, students who are away can easily follow along at home if they choose to which would eliminate the issue of falling behind.
  4. Nearpod is supported by schools as well as districts and therefore has a schoolwide option that includes helpful features. One of these is a tool that allows students to write notes right on the slide that is being displayed during the presentation. This can reduce the amount of paper used to print out slides/write notes and can provide more comprehensive notes as students are referring to specific parts of the slide when they write on them.
  5. The numerous forms of interactive activities Nearpod offers keep students focused and add in diversity from the typical lecture style lesson.
  6. Teachers can assess students’ understanding of the day’s lesson before, after, and during the actual lesson. This can be done through small quizzes, drawing activities, and more. Nearpod collects the data inputted by students and displays them for teachers in real time, allowing them to see who is paying attention or understands the concepts being taught.

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Google Classroom Cheat Sheet

Google Classroom is a platform that allows teachers to host online classrooms. Within these classrooms, teachers can provide feedback, handout assignments, post interactive applications, and create a google drive for the classroom. Google Classroom enables teachers to create their own functional website without the need of outside IT assistance. The simple, paperless assignment workflow allows teachers to create, review and mark assignments quickly, all in one place.  Students are added to the classroom by their teachers or by entering a course code. Students can post onto the classroom webpage, communicate with their peers through comments and hand assignments in electronically. Students can see all of their assignments on an assignments page, and all class materials are automatically filed into folders in Google Drive. Classroom allows teachers to send announcements and start class discussions instantly. Students can share resources with each other or provide answers to questions on the stream.

Google Classroom creates an environment where blended learning is made possible and easy.

Features:

Google Drive – By creating a classroom, a google drive is automatically created for the class. This allows teachers to be able to share Power Points, Excel sheets, and Word documents with students. This will allow students access to all important classroom information when studying.

Google Calendar- When a student is enrolled in multiple google classrooms, the google calendar collects all the due dates and test dates from their courses, and uses the information to create a unique calendar for every student.this is particularly useful because it gives the student something tangible to see their scheduled on. Ultimately, this will help the student manage their time more effectively.

Online Assignments & Quizzes- Through google classroom, assignments can be handed in electronically and quizzes can be taken online. This reduces the amount of paper used in classrooms and reduces the changes of assignments/quizzes being lost by teachers or students.

Grading – Google classroom has a downloadable mark book for teachers which allows teachers to stay more organized and allows for backups to be made in the case that something should happen to the teacher’s copy.

Mobile Application- There’s a phone application that allows students to keep in touch with their classroom assignments and activities. No functionality is lost going from computer to phone, which allows google classroom to remain useful in different platforms.

Communication – Announcements can be posted by teachers to the class stream which can be commented on by students allowing for two-way communication between the teacher and students. Students can also post to the class stream but won’t be as high of a priority as an announcement by a teacher and can be moderated easily. Multiple types of media from Google products such as YouTube videos and Google Drive files can be attached to announcements and posts to share content. Gmail also provides email options for teachers to send emails to one or more students in the Google Classroom interface.

Resources for Getting Started:

 

App Store Download: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/google-classroom/id924620788?mt=8

Google Chrome Extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-classroom/mfhehppjhmmnlfbbopchdfldgimhfhfk?hl=en

Links:

Resources from Google:

Google Classroom Help

Google Classroom FAQ

Google for Education Help Forum

Educator-Created Resources:

60 Ways Math Teachers Can Use Google Classroom

Remind App + Google Classroom

3 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom

Google Classroom: Pros & Cons

Possible Educational Uses:

  1. Teachers can prepare all of their classroom assignments and test dates in advance. This helps classroom work stay on track throughout the school year.
  2. Teachers can post activities and educational tools that can help consolidate material that was learned in class.
    • Lesson sets allows teachers to consider their students on an individual basis. Multiple apps and links can be shown that allow students to work on different skills. This forms well rounded students and puts learning at the fingertips of the students.
  3. Allows for teachers to try flipped classrooms. Lesson sets and YouTube videos in conjunction with each other allows for students to learn a lesson at home, and then complete work and answer questions in class. Google Classroom allows for teachers to customize and try out a flipped classroom. Quizzes can even be added in after completion of a lesson to check a students understanding of the material.
  4. Students can use the website to stay organized and up to date with assignments and test dates. Since Google Classroom diminishes the need for paper handouts, students are not risking losing important work because it is all online for them to access.
  5. While there is not a live chat system, students can ask questions and comment on posts on the webpage. This opens up opportunities for collaborative learning outside of allocated classroom time.
  6. Students can allow post onto the classroom’s drive, which encourages the sharing of study notes come evaluation time, once again allowing for collaborative learning to take place.

 

Tony Todorova & Devika Lekshmi

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