I have been invited to speak or present in several different capacities over the past few years, but I recently had the pleasure of talking “edtech” at a local conference. It was the Niagara Frontier Reading Council’s Winter Brunch, held in Amherst, New York on February 7, 2015. What a fabulous experience! The conference focused on technology in the classroom. Much of the content discussed technology as it relates to literacy and literacy instruction. My piece of the conference was to demonstrate how I interface, or “app-smash” two separate applications in my 1:1 iPad user classroom: Schoology and Notability.
I explained how Schoology has become my one-stop-shop Learning Management System (LMS). I post assignments, discussion questions, formative assessments, important reminders, course materials (handouts, graphic organizers, flipped lesson video links, etc.). My textbook is available online, and students can upload assignments right to the assignment post- which also functions as a submission box. Parents can create shadow accounts where there presence is not known to students, but they can see what is happening in the course, and contact me if they need to. The look and feel of Schoology is similar to Facebook – so any user of social media can adapt very quickly to its layout and features.
Notability is an app students can take notes in, annotate pdf files I post, record their voices into, or file as somewhat of a “virtual binder.” We have asked our students to create main folders for all their subjects, then sub-headings for units/chapters/topics. There are many modalities for taking notes or annotating – from writing with one’s finger or stylus, to typing with the keyboard. There is a highlighter feature, and my students (being high school girls) love asking me if they can use a myriad of colors, fonts and styles. Of course – I tell them to go crazy!
In my humble opinion, the more they make what they are doing attractive, fun, interesting and aesthetic – the more they seem engaged in it. What I like about Notability is that it “plays nicely” with many other apps. It can be set to back up to one’s Google Drive, so work cannot be lost. It also interfaces with many other apps I am not mentioning herein (one of them being Dropbox). But for the my classroom, I only need Notability and Schoology. A student can take a document in Notability and share it right to a specific assignment submission box in Schoology and upload it directly to the other app. There’s no need to use a third app, which keeps things simple and symbiotic! I love it!
If you have any questions about either of these apps – please contact me. I use them both on a daily basis in my 1:1 iPad classroom, and have come to really appreciate all the capabilities of both – especially on the secondary level.
I also have colleagues in the field that are doing wonderful things with Notability in the elementary level, that I can put you in touch with too.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
Have a great day!Stay inspired!