Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bringing Out My Inner Artist

Anyone that has ever been my student would tell you the only thing I am able to draw is a square. Everything I draw is a square: moon landing - square, Civil War - square, mountains even turn out to be a square! Students would laugh as I would begin to describe some event in history and walk to the board with marker in hand. I am always ready to assist their understanding of the topic with a visual, only to reproduce the event as a square.

This school year, however, I have found my inner artist. I have been using Doceri for years to control my computer wirelessly, add content to my lessons on the fly, and make custom presentations and "My Recordings" to flip classroom content. Over a year ago, my friend and colleague, Jason Bretzmann, gave me a 53 Pencil stylus as a gift. Jason knew I appreciate a quality writing utensil, and was looking for a better stylus for my iPad. This is where the 53 Pencil helped me to further develop my artistic skills. There was only one problem.....the 53 Pencil did not work with my iPad2. The 53 Pencil sat in its box until this school year, when my school bought me an iPad Air 2.

If you have been using Doceri or have viewed the tutorial videos, you see the powerful abilities Doceri has in the hands of skillful artists. While I am not a skillful artist, I always want to push myself and find ways to grow and improve as a professional. With my iPad Air 2, my 53 Pencil and Doceri, I have been able to stop drawing squares....most of the time.

I moderate a Twitter chat every Tuesday night, 8PM CST, called #personalizedPD. In the chat we focus on the book that I co-authored, "Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development."

I was looking for a visual to help promote the ideas I discuss in my chapter: the ABCCs of PersonalizedPD: Attendance, Balance, Choice, Communication.  I had a few ideas in mind, when I decided I wanted to use a soup can. I used my iPad and found an image online. I then took the image and pasted it into the background of a Doceri project. Next, I used my 53 Pencil and began to remove the images and text I didn't want in order to create my custom look. 
I used the image from my book above and placed it in the center of the can, adding a black circle to help focus the eye on the book. After I added more text to the can, I cropped out the rest of the iPad screen and saved the picture to my camera roll. From there, I uploaded the final picture of a promotional image for my book via my Twitter account. 

Final picture upload to Twitter

I continued to experiment with using Doceri to make custom artwork to promote my work. I teach graduate classes and one of our offerings is called Patio PD (Professional Development). During Patio PD, teachers meet at an educator's house and discuss various topics and ideas they would like to implement in their classrooms. Our biggest Patio PD event is coming up on July 14th, International #PatioPD day. To help promote this day I used a famous WWI propaganda poster and made some adjustments.

The boy in the foreground is playing with army/military toys meaning that even he, a young boy likes war and wants to be a part of it. The daughter is on her father's lap with her history book asking about WWI and what he did during this historic event. The father's face shows concern because he did not fight in the war and doesn't know what to say. The point being that each of us should do something during WWI so we can hold our heads high in the future. I took this poster and made artistic adjustments to fit my needs.

I used the ability of Doceri to add layers of pictures and then easily draw over them to replace the toy soldiers on the ground with a patio. I took our International #PatioPD sign and added it close to his head so that is appears his is thinking about it. I used the same general question that was asked but I changed the premise to be about our International #PatioPD day.

As I worked on both projects, I learned the valuable lesson of zooming in on an image when coloring it within Doceri. At first, I was trying to color in images from the standard viewing distance and struggled to accurately remove the sections I desired. After zooming in I was able to correct fine details much more easily. 

Recently, my students have been interested in Tykes and trying to create their own custom Tyke. Once again, Doceri and the customization art options made this simple. I found some Tykes online and built a character that looks close to my teacher image. I was able to use Doceri's features and color over and add other aspects to the Tyke to make it look more like me. I found the images I needed: a basketball court, a ball, a business suit person, and a head that was similar to mine, and I was set.

I placed the images into a Doceri project and then used the 53 Pencil to color over the images I wanted to remove and cut. Then I layered the other images on top. I zoomed in on the head while working in Doceri to change the hair and eye color to better match my own. 

I added my own signature and then I took a screen shot of the work on my iPad, cropped the image and finalized my work.

While I am not an artist, and my work is far from perfect, I have found a way to use Doceri's artistic capabilities to strengthen an area of weakness. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Educators Embracing Doceri

I have been  using Doceri for the past four years to transform my classroom by freeing me from being tethered to my computer or SMARTboard, providing creative freedom to create content on the fly, and creating flipclass videos to make the best use of class time with my students. Over the past three years my students have been able to contribute to lessons through the use of our iPad, but this year I wanted to find a way to get my students more involved in the creative options that Doceri provides. That idea led to my previous post. Since that time, I have been focused on not only providing my students more opportunities to be creative using Doceri, but also more proactively promoting Doceri in my school to other teachers and my administrators. 
I have a great administrative team that promotes the use of technology in the classroom and has taken a strong interest in my uses of Doceri. Our administrators have provided opportunities during professional development days for teachers to learn more about Doceri and how they and their students could incorporate Doceri into their classroom. 

About two months ago I led a group of teacher through the opportunities with Doceri. Below are the comments from Becca Hirtz regarding the advantages of Doceri: 

"During graduate school, I focused my action research project on cooperative learning. After researching the elements of creating an environment that encourages students and teacher to work together toward learning, I realized I struggled with being able to be a facilitator that roams all areas of the classroom. After seven years of struggling with this problem, Doceri has come to the rescue. Although my Smartboard/Projector is not utilized for interactive activities they may have intended, I have better interactions with my students and the lessons we cover through custom Doceri presentations that are available for all to see.  
The main problem I had with my SMARTboard was that I have always felt constricted to my computer space located at the front of the room. After learning how to use Doceri, I have found myself roaming to help students, teaching from the back of the room so that I can see the SMARTboard from the students' perspective, and next year, I will finally be able to arrange my room in a way that frees me from my SMARTboard. Thanks Doceri!" 
--Becca Hirtz, English Teacher, Muskego HS 

The greatest impact of Doecri in the field of education is in its flexibility to be used in any discipline. Kim Nordlie is a middle school teacher in our district and this is what she had to say about Doceri in her classroom. 

As a math teacher, my students are constantly using the Smart Board to model their mathematical thinking and the various strategies they use to solve problems. For a long time, my students and I were confined to the front of the room to model problems, working them out on the Smart Board. Doceri has provided me the opportunity to engage students by literally bringing the Smart Board to them. My students love being able to participate and share their math understanding from the comfort of their small group. Students are able to work together and learn from each other in a much more efficient and interactive way thanks to Doceri, not to mention they love seeing their work on the iPad appear on our Smart Board. 
--Kim Nordlie, Math Teacher, Bay Lane Middle School

A new associate principal in our building, Mr. Andrew Bavlnka, was impressed by the numerous ways Doceri could have an impact on a classroom: 

"I had never heard of Doceri before this fall.  My first introduction to it was when I observed Kenny Bosch use it to lead a simulation lesson on the Industrial Revolution.  Mr. Bosch was able to deliver a captivating multi-media experience for his students that was rich in content and challenged them to think critically about the material. Doceri allowed Mr. Bosch to link sound, images, and brief animations to make the lesson an EXPERIENCE.  The seamless transitions in the lesson added to the hurried effect he was trying to create in the lesson.  Simply put, the lesson was an awesome learning moment.  Another application of Doceri is the voice-over feature.  Mr. Bosch uses it to deliver flipped lessons in his history classes to allow students to access material at home. His flipped Doceri lessons allow him to ensure all his students have access to lessons (even twice if needed!) and helps him to use his valuable class time to check for understanding, create engaging activities, and differentiate his instruction as needed.  Powerful stuff. Outside of the classroom I have even seen Mr. Bosch use Doceri to improve his coaching..." 
--Associate Principal Andrew Bavlnka, Muskego HS 

Throughout this school year my students have been making Doceri videos as a way to express their learning. Now as more staff members are learning about the unlimited uses for Doceri to create unique lessons and free them from their computer desks, our SMARTboards are having less of an impact.  After witnessing firsthand the power of Doceri as a presentation tool they have asked me to teach them more about it so that they can utilize it for our staff meetings.