MuseForJews

muse: n. a source of inspiration

Technology Tuesday: Tagul Word clouds

 What is a word cloud? A word cloud is an image that is formed from typed words, in which the size of each word indicates its frequency or importance. Here is an example of one:

Tagul is a free site that can help you create your own word clouds. You simply import your words, either one at a time, or by pasting a body of text.  And, you don’t have to limit yourself to English: Tagul will also work with Hebrew type, as long as you import a Hebrew font by going to “fonts” and then uploading your Hebrew font to it.

(Note: I had greater success with Tagul when I used Hebrew that had no vowels or cantellation marks.) 

You can also customize your word cloud by choosing from a menu of possible shapes, colors, fonts and layouts.  After you’re happy with the graphic, you can print it, download it, and share it with others.

To  use Tagul, create a new account, or use your Google or social media account. There is no charge to sign up and it is free for personal use.

In Your Classroom

  • Tagul can be used as visual tool to  to analyze ranked choices. For instance, you can do a values clarification exercise with your class, and then type in the results by rank (be sure to use higher numbers for more-frequently chosen values). The resulting word cloud will illustrate your class’s choices.  Try this with questions such as “what do you want to learn?” or statements like “the most important mitzvah is…”
  • Paste in any block of text for visual analysis of the frequency of words.
  • Do an “all about me” activity with your students. Ask each student to choose ten adjectives and rank them accordingly. The resulting word cloud will be a personalized set of visual illustrations that describe your students personalities.

This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

October 26, 2016 Posted by | Technology Tuesdays | , , | Leave a comment

Technology Tuesday: Booktrack

The Technology: Booktrack

The Booktrack website gives users the ability to add soundtracks and sound effects to written text, creating a unique reading, listening and immersive experience.

Creating a new booktrack is simple. Just click on, “Create new booktrack” and choose:

  • If you have your own story you’d like to add music to, or
  • If you want to use one from the Booktrack library.

Then, enter your text. It can even be a Hebrew text! (When I tried, I was successful copying a Hebrew text from an existing file and pasting it into Booktrack).

Once your text is in, choose music clips and sound effects from the Booktrack library and connect them to different pieces of the text, so that when readers come to that portion of your story, they will hear that music. 

Once your booktrack is complete, select a title, category and rating and publish it. You can choose to have your story available publicly in the Booktrack library or you can choose to keep it private. 

To read a booktrack, simply click on the book and read it in the browser window. (If you are having several students read booktracks in your classroom, I highly recommend you ask that they use headphones!)

To start making your own booktracks, visit the website and create a free account. Teachers can create a class, and add students manually or by class code to it. Students can create an account and then join the class to view or submit books to the class’s bookshelf.

In Your Classroom

  • Assign your students to create a booktrack using a Bible or holiday story. Invite students to think about what kind of background music and sound effects will provide the appropriate atmosphere for the content of the story.
  • Older students can create booktracks for younger students.
  • Use a Hebrew prayer as your text, and add sound effects to it that help add meaning.

This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

October 11, 2016 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday | , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

We’re getting a couple GoPros. What’s a GoPro? It’s a very cool mountable action camera. They can be worn (have you ever seen a video that was shot by someone skiing?), remote-controlled, or set to work automatically. Here are a couple of articles written about GoPros in the classroom to get you thinking about how you might use these:

How a GoPro got my students excited to learn

First Impressions from Recording in the Classroom

Filming Observations with a GoPro

Here’s an awesome TED Talks playlist about math in unexpected places.

The Digital JLearning Network has compiled a nice list of YouTube Channels with videos for teaching Judaic Studies. Find it here.

September 8, 2016 Posted by | Links, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Jacob Richman has created a really nice three-year Jewish calendar which you can access here.

Here’s a Hebrew keyboard that you can download for your iPhone or iPad. Why another Hebrew keyboard? Simply long press any key to access nikudot! This is very cool!

Snapstouch is a cool website where you can convert photos to sketches, paintings, drawings or single shade images. Check it out!

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Links You'll Love, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Sketchnoting at ISTE

One of my goals for my time at the ISTE Conference was to practice sketchnoting on the iPad Pro using the Apple Pencil and the Paper app. I had a great time doing it! I found that I was significantly less distracted when sketchnoting than if I was typing into a word processor, and thoroughly engaged (even though I was internally debating over which color to shade the box and how large to make the title).

I also attended two great sketchnoting sessions. One was presented by Matt Miller and the other was a panel facilitated by Vicki Davis and featured Kathy Schrock, Sylvia Duckworth and Carrie Baughcum talking about how they got started sketchnoting, how they use it with their students, and about some favorite resources.

My first attempts at sketchnoting during the conference appear below, in reverse order. I feel like I can already see how I improved, and that was just in a couple of days. Check back for more attempts (sketchnoting at URJ Camp Newman, anyone?) and for my thoughts on how I’ll teach this to actual students this fall.

Sketchnoting in Education session:

ISTE - 6

Using Games, Play, Digital Media to Build Your Own Maker Culture session:

ISTE - 7

Matt Miller’s Sketchnotes: Tools and Tactics for Visual Notetaking Session:

ISTE - 3

Sketchnoting Exercise from Matt’s session:

ISTE - 4

Innovation and Tradition in Jewish Education Jewish Educators’ Network

ISTE - 5

Innovative Learning Spaces session:

ISTE - 1

June 30, 2016 Posted by | ISTE, Sketchnoting | , , , , | 2 Comments

Silhouette Adventures: Making Stencils

I’ve been doing more experimenting with our new Silhouette Cameo and discovering waysIMG_1297 that my colleagues will be able to use it. One of our upcoming Yom HaAtzmaut projects is decorating challah covers for lone soldiers in Israel and we wanted to create stencils for the students to use.

Enter the Silhouette!

I created a series of shapes and words for the students to put on the challah covers and we used the Silhouette to cut them out of laminated thin cardstock. This is a cost effective (even with the laminating) way to provide custom stencils. We were able to get four stencils out of each piece of paper.

April 13, 2016 Posted by | Silhouette CAMEO, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

We got a Silhouette cutting machine for our new innovation lab, and I could not be more excited! A Silhouette is used to (are you ready for this?) cut stuff out of paper, cardboard, cardstock, fabric or vinyl. You use the Silhouette Design software (which is a free download) to design your image, and then send it to the cutter. There are lots of ways that we’ll be able to use this – let me know if you want a demo or to play. And check out my Pinterest board for ideas!

If you’re looking for vintage photographs, check out Shorpy. You can search or just browse to see the amazing photos uploaded by users. It is crowdsourced content, so you may want to be careful having students use it.

Passover is on its way! For links to Passover websites, videos, games and more, check out Jacob Richman’s site.

April 8, 2016 Posted by | Jewish, Links You'll Love, Silhouette CAMEO, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Checking out the Silhouette!

This summer, we’re repurposing a computer lab into an innovation lab and I could not be more excited! The new lab will be a collaboration and creation space, with movable furniture, writeable walls, and awesome equipment. We’ll be IMG_1278sporting iPad Pros and Chromebooks in there, a poster printer, color printer, 3D printer, and a Silhouette Cameo machine.

What’s a Silhouette? It’s a crafty teacher’s dream – a machine that hooks up to your laptop or computer, and cuts where you tell it to cut. Essentially, it’s a die-cut machine on steroids. You can buy designs for it, or create your own. The machine will cut paper, cardstock, sticker paper, and fabric.

I spent a couple days playing with it (sigh…the tsuris of a tech ed director), and I really think this will be transformative for my colleagues. I’m seeing creative uses for bulletin boards, classroom aids, bookmarks, stickers as well as a myriad of possibilities for student work.

One of the projects I’d like to see is teaching stop-motion animation using an iPad app. As preparation, the students will create a background (set design) using the poster printer, print inanimate objects using the Silhouette and then create articulated characters using the 3D printer. Imagine we were retelling “Little Red Riding Hood” – students would print the forest background on the poster printer, trees and grandmother’s house on the Silhouette, and Red Riding Hood and the Wolf using the 3D printer. How cool would this be?

One of the features I think will be most exciting to my colleagues is print and cut. With this feature, you print your design to a regular printer using the software-supplied registration marks. Then, you put the printed piece through the Silhouette and the machine magically reads the registration marks and knows exactly where to cut. It’s magic, I tell you! Check out the image on the right – how amazing is the detail cutting around the music notes at the bottom and the waving hand at the top?

Stay tuned for more creative uses for the Silhouette cutting machine and our innovation lab adventures!

 

March 30, 2016 Posted by | Craft, Innovation lab, Silhouette CAMEO | , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

The Maccabeats and Naturally 7 teamed up to do a lovely cover of James Taylor’s Shed a Little Light. What a great video to share with students! And if you want to share the lyrics as well, I’ve created a Google doc with them.

 

Creative Commons. Creative Commons. Creative Commons. I can’t say it enough. What’s Creative Commons? That’s the licensing protocol that allows creators to share their creations and say it’s okay (or it’s not okay) for people to use/reuse/remix their stuff. With our digital citizenship curriculum materializing, we’re doing our students a disservice if we continue to allow them to simply do a web search for images and use whatever they find. One solution is to use a search engine that only returns results that are copyright-free. One such resource is Pixabay. You can do a search and then filter by photos, videos, or illustrations. Give it a shot!

Got plans this summer? Check out the National Endowment for the Humanities summer programs website for an impressive listing of summer programs. Stipends are available.

NoCamels is an innovative name for an innovative website about, well, innovations in Israel. It’s ad-supported and a little annoying, but there’s good info on there and it would be a great destination for a student seeking current events articles.

The Google Cultural Institute website is an extraordinary collection of works that are searchable and browsable. A search of “Chagall” returned information about the artist, links to four exhibits and 278 items. There are 950 collections in this impressive resource, including museums, Carnegie Hall, Yad Vashem, the Metropolitan Opera, Life’s photo collection and more.

January 15, 2016 Posted by | Links You'll Love, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Think innovation! Here’s a good list for teachers looking to up their innovative classroom game.

Don’t Google it…Grok it! Go to Instagrok, type in your search terms, and you’ll get an interactive and customizable map. This is very cool.

February is around the corner, and with it comes the Illinois Computing Educators Conference! Lots of great workshops, keynotes and general technology hilarity. It’s close, it’s cheap and it’s usually worth spending a day or two traveling to St. Charles. Check it out here.

Who remembers PacMan? Now you can create your own PacMan quiz for your students. Check it out here.

Looking for Chanukah resources? Jacob Richman has assembled an impressive list of web resources, including coloring pages, videos (over 500 at last count), songs and more.

 

December 11, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

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