Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Intro to using Google maps and saving places

I recently helped one of my grade 2 teachers use Google maps to show where all of the kids in her class were from. Following are the instructions for creating and saving a map in google maps, adding locations, and then sharing the map with parents or on your blog. You can click on an individual picture to enlarge it.

Uses in the classroom:
  • Mapping items of significance during social studies.
  • Making a history tour, i.e. the location of Egyptian sites like the pyramids, Luxor, Valley of the Kings etc.
  • Have children label each continent.
  • Track famous journeys such as the voyages of Columbus, Cook, Vasco Nunez etc.
  • Sharing locations of relatives, holidays, visiting authors and the like.
  • The ideas are only limited to your imagination

In the coming week I will add a post to describe how to add a photo or link into your saved location.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

iPad Lesson Plan - Using Mentimeter in the 2nd grade classroom

This week I am working with second grade students to create basic bar graphs / charts, using the free website Mentimeter - www.mentimeter.com

Mentimeter is a free website that allows you to create great looking graphs which are created in real time as people answer your question. The graph below was created by a second grader this morning in about 15 minutes.

What are the advantages of Mentimeter when working with younger students?
  • Quick and easy to use.
  • vot.rs - this is the address used to answer questions, super easy for children to input
  • Each question has a unique 6 digit number, again easy for young children to input
  • As a teacher you can create a free account and save your questions 

The lesson plan: Answering questions using Mentimeter & creating your own question to be answered by your friends

I have run this lesson in about an hour. If you had a little more time it would be easier, but certainly achievable in an hour. Completing this in 2 sessions would be best, one to introduce answering mentimeter questions, the other to create their own questions.

Starting out:

It is important to make sure the students are secure with using safari first:

  • Explain how to use the address bar, how to clear using the "x", and what the address will be to input: vot.rs
  • Talk about tabs, how to switch between, add a new tab, and remove tabs.
  • Explain that they will will use the tabs later in the lesson. This will be so the kids can answer survey questions and share their graph at the same time.

Introducing Mentimeter:
  • It's best if you set up an account with Mentimeter before the lesson and make 2 or 3 questions. Setting up an account is only needed if you want to save the questions.
  • Ask the kids to go and set up Safari, put in the vot.rs address, then return to the carpet.
  • Show them the number they have to input, ask them to input the number, answer the question and return to the floor
  • Examine the class data, you can talk about the number of respondents, how we could use the data etc.
  • Have students use the vote on another question button to answer the next question:

  • Have the children answer another 2 questions so they know the process of entering the number and submitting their answer
Students make their own survey:
  • Have students touch the "Powered by mentimeter.com" link to go to the website.

  • From here, show the kids how to enter a question, click on Create Question, and enter in 3-4 answers. Then press, "Start Presenting"

  • At this point I encourage the children to use 2 tabs, one to watch their graph and share their question number, and the other to have the vot.rs site open so they can answer other children's questions. Second grade students seem to be able to do this quite easily with limited support.
  • The children can then walk around and answer their surveys. The children really enjoy this part of the lesson.

Things to watch out for:
  • If the graph doesn't update, just refresh the page
  • Students can only vote once from a single device
  • With younger kids take some time to explain how to input addresses and how to use tabs in Safari
Sharing and saving the graph:
  • There are a number of share options such as embedding which can be accessed from the Share button on the graph page.
  • You can also teach the students how to take a screen shot on the iPad so that they can keep an image of the graph for use in another program on the iPad or to add to a blog etc as a static image.

Mentimeter example:

Below is an embedded version of a Mentimeter question I created for this post. If you'd like to add to the answers just click on this link: http://vot.rs/99b5e3

Possible uses:

  • Basic surveys
  • Asking children what they would like more instruction in. i.e. Would you like to know more about bold beginnings or editing in writers workshop?
  • Getting feedback from parent groups
  • Follow up / exit tickets to class

Although this is quite a long post, I think it's a great tool to use in the classroom and has lots of uses. I hope you find it useful too.

Shaun Kirkwood
Educational Technology Coach - Singapore American School