7th Grade – S.W.I.M. (Student Work Information Management) Student Perspective

In our Digital Literacy classes 7th graders have been working on two problems.

  1. Getting all students to engage or participate in class discussions.
  2. Homework management.

Students are investigating what works, what doesn’t, and how to incorporate their iPads into a system that helps to solve both problems.

11.30.13, Guest post by 7th grader Nicole:

In Digital Literacy 7, we have been figuring out a solution for putting all our homework assignments in one place, even if the teachers do not have a google calendar. Many fellow students of mine have chosen to simply “copy and paste” the assignments into their calendar everyday. Is this the only solution, or is there something easier? This is what we are trying to figure out. By doing so, we are making it easier to answer the simple, but effective question: What’s tonight’s homework? I like this because it makes it easier to find out what is for homework. I don’t understand why we have to go through the process of copying and pasting the homework for one class every morning, only because we would have to get to the teachers website either way. This doesn’t make it any easier because some teachers change their homework.

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Tech Tuesday 3.19.13

Whether you are new to Twitter or you have been using it for a while, finding relevant people to follow can be a challenge. Here are some resources and suggestions to help you find people you can follow.

Tech Tuesday 3.12.13

Allendale Columbia School, Librarian, Judy Van Alstyne (@bibliopheme) presented a Tech Tuesday faculty workshop today on NoodleTools.

Faculty were encouraged to attend if they…

  • teach students in grades 5 – 12
  • ever require a works cited page
  • ever require a research project
  • ever require a project using photographs or other images (other than what the students take themselves)

We experimented with a slightly “flipped” workshop. Faculty were asked to follow two screencasts so that all would be ready to jump into NoodleTools at 3:30:

Flipped Classroom overview video:

“How to log in to NoodleTools for the first time – for Faculty” –  http://www.screenr.com/hdG7
You’ll need to know your ID and default password (sent in a separate e-mail)

“How to create a ‘drop box’ for students to share their work with you” –  http://www.screenr.com/0dG7

NoodleTools provides scaffolding for creating thorough and accurate works cited pages. The structure promotes good research habits and the many “Show Me” tutorials and various prompts encourage smart resource analysis and the ethical use of information. There is also the option to use virtual notecards, outlines, and sync it with Google Drive.

Many classes and their teachers had already been introduced to NoodleTools this year as the kick-off to various research assignments. This workshop focused on more than the navigation of NoodleTools, however, with emphasis on the instructional support provided by NoodleTools. Especially wonderful are the “Show Me” slideshows on types of resources which NoodleTools offers free for anyone to use.

Tutorials on types of resources (NoodleTools “Show Me”)


Attendees represented all three divisions (from grades 2 – 12!), several departments, and even administration. Everyone seemed to agree that NoodleTools is robust and accessible enough that you almost want to write a research paper again!

App Recommendation – Explain Everything

This school year, at Allendale Columbia School, we embarked on a 1:1 iPad initiative with our Middle School Students. One of the Apps I have consistently recommended to classroom teachers for curricular projects is called Explain Everything. Here’s why:

  • It is a very versatile presentation app.
    • Record the screen while viewing, add your voice and manipulate just about everything inside the app, even live websites.
    • Export out to just about everything
    • Export the project file so you can share and collaborate with a partner
    • Excellent video help from the Explain Everything YouTube Channel


I was also fortunate enough to bump into the primary designer of the app, Reshan Richards, at a conference and got first hand information about the app. He is the Director of Educational Technology at Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, NJ and founder of Constructivist Toolkit, LLC. He understands what it’s like to be a classroom teacher and the importance of having dependable technology that kids can use.

As our students began using the app, some issues arose. I was able to communicate directly with Reshan to resolve the problems we were having. Reshan suggested we set up a Skype call so he could chat directly with our 7th graders. Our students really enjoyed the call because they were part of the app development process. It was a win for all involved!

The intro video from their website gives a great summary of the many features.

A “Smart” addition to my PLN

I am constantly looking for new and better ways to filter information in my PLN (Personal Learning Network). The other day, while browsing my PLN, a blog post by Tom Whitby caught my eye. Tom mentioned a tool called SmartBrief and how it’s part of his daily routine. I had never heard of SmartBrief until I read his post. SmartBrief sends you customized daily emails containing links to articles from a wide range of industries based on your interests. SmartBrief was very easy to setup and use. The mobile app nicely organizes your briefs for easy reading online or offline. Check it out and let me know what you think. Thanks Tom!

Here are some images from the mobile app.