Friday, April 25, 2014

Screencast-O-Matic Walk-Through

Last year I created a 5 Minute Guide to Screencasting video for educators interested in using  Since then I have realized that many people prefer a text & screenshot tutorial as opposed to a video tutorial.  In many cases, I too prefer this type of walk-through, particularly if I am short on time and can scan through one of these more quickly than a video.

I have therefore created an updated walk-through with accompanying screenshots below.  (Google Doc Version Available Here)

1. Go to and click “Start Recording.”
*** I also suggest creating an account and logging in if this will be your screencasting program of choice (archives videos for you.)


2. When starting up, you may have to accept prompts to allow or install the Java plugin.


3. Recording Window Will Appear With Options

Screencastomatic 4.png

4.  Select Your Microphone

Mic Check.png

5. Select Recording Area
Recording Area.png

6. Select Webcam

7. Click Record (Countdown Will Appear)

8.  Choose Restart or Done When Complete
Restart or Done.png

9.  Preview Window Will Appear

10. Publish Your Video  (3 OPTIONS)

Screencast-O-Matic  (Must Be Logged In)
Video File
Video File.png

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gamification Series Part 8: Badges & Achievements

Another gamification element that we have incorporated into our course has been the awarding of badges and achievements to provide positive feedback and recognition throughout each scenario.  The types of badges changes throughout the year to keep students engaged while also recognizing a wider range of positive actions, accomplishments, and behaviors.

We did this in a rather "low -tech" way.  I simply created a Google presentation for each scenario with slides for each achievement along with a badge icon and the student's name.  (sample embedded below).

World History Scenario 1 Achievements

There are, however, more "official" ways to use badge systems.  For instance, some learning platforms have a badge system built in, such as Edmodo and 3D Gamelab.  You could also use, a new service I am hearing very positive reviews about from educators.  Here is a quick overview of ClassBadges if interested:

However you choose to do so, providing students with frequent positive feedback for their accomplishments and behaviors helps improve the classroom atmosphere and keep students more engaged in the learning process.


Complete Gamification Series

Monday, April 21, 2014

8 AR Apps for Education in Under 40 Seconds

I recently put together this quick video demonstrating 8 awesome Augmented Reality apps that can be leveraged in education.

Apps Included: colAR Mix, AR Flashcards, AR Flashcards Space, Spacecraft 3D, Anatomy 4D, Elements 4D, Enchantium Musical Strings, and Aurasma.

View on YouTube

If you are interested in learning more and are located in the New England region, check out the upcoming Augmented Reality Workshop on April 29th in Providence.  It will be entirely hands on with plenty of sandbox time for us educators!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Screencasting With the Snagit Chrome App (Updated 4.25.14)

*** Snagit's screencasting capability recently came out of Beta and is now an "official" feature of their Chrome App.   Below is an updated walk-through with the new (and more streamlined) interface. 

Google Doc Version of Snagit Walk-through

1. Install both the Snagit App & Snagit Extension.

Snagit Tutorial Pic 1.jpg

2. Open Snagit App
Snagit Tutorial Pic 2.jpg

3. Create New Screen Recording (Upper Left)

Snagit 10.png

4. Select Recording Area

Snagit 4.png

5. Click “Stop Sharing” when complete.

Snagit Tutorial Pic 9.jpg

6. Preview Video & Share

*** Video is automatically added to the TechSmith folder in your Google Drive.

Snagit 5.png

To Share Via YouTube, click Share (Lower Right) then enter video details.

Snagit 6.pngSnagit 7.png

Video tutorial also available here courtesy of Jonathan Wylie.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Augmented Reality Workshop - Providence, 4/29

I am excited to host the upcoming Augmented Reality Workshop at the Highlander Institute in Providence on April 29th from 4:00-5:30.  If you are in the region and interested in this rapidly developing technology that is bursting with potential for education, we'd love to have you join us for a fun night of hands-on learning!  We teachers need some sandbox time too after all...  

If interested in attending the event, click here for the registration page.  Event details are also included below.

Augmented Reality Workshop

Highlander Institute

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM (EDT)

Providence, RI

Event Details

Educators around the nation are realizing the awesome potential for augmented reality (AR) in education. In contrast to virtual reality, augmented reality is a rapidly developing technology that adds graphics, sounds, and real-time feedback to the natural world. How much does it cost? If you have access to any iOS or Android device, most AR apps are actually FREE!

How can AR be utilized in education? That is what you will discover in this interactive and high energy workshop. We will experiment with AR apps such as SkyView, Spacecraft 3D, AR Flashcards & Space, Chromville, ColAR Mix, Daqri, Anatomy 4D, Enchantium Musical Strings, Elements 4D, and Aurasma. This workshop will also provide educators with the opportunity to create their own personalized AR experiences using the powerful Aurasma app.

- Recognize how augmented reality can be leveraged to engage students and enhance learning.
- Develop personalized augmented reality experiences.

K-12 Educators
Although iPads will be available, participants are encouraged to bring their own iOS or Android devices with many of the above mentioned apps installed. (Advised but not necessary to engage in this awesome session!)

               AR1         AR2   

Friday, April 11, 2014

AR Projects With Aurasma

Since first discovering augmented reality and recognizing the tremendous potential that it has in education, I have been trying to develop ways to effectively integrate this incredible technology in our history courses.  Since then we have used Aurasma for two major and ongoing class projects...

AR Wall

Students used Aurasma to create primary source images that "come to life."  They first identified images for their world religions project, then created short videos explaining the source as well as its significance.  These images were then taped to a wall so that anyone with the app could view the aura videos as they hovered over each trigger image.   (See video below)

AR Text

Similarly, the AP European History students have been tagging primary source images in our textbook with videos explaining their meaning and historical significance.  Now, when students hover their device over images throughout the book, videos of their classmates will appear providing them with additional insight.  Certainly a new way to review for the AP test!

Below is a quick video that students created demonstrating how Aurasma was used for each project. (View on YouTube)

Gamification Series Part 7: Leveling

Leveling was another essential gaming element that we incorporated into our flipped-mastery environment.  In general, as students demonstrated mastery of a learning objective (mission), they would "LEVEL UP" to the next mission.

Each level has a total XP value and a minimum XP.  Students must reach the minimum XP in order to level up.   They do have the opportunity, however, to gain as much XP as possible during that mission, all the way up to the maximum XP.

In general, the minimum XP was determined based upon the score needed on the assessment rubrics that aligned with the "basic" level of understanding.
You can see in the screenshot from our LMS (below) that each assignment for Level 1 is linked including the XP available for each.  Students would then use the slider to toggle through the different Levels of the Scenario.

Students can also access all of the unit assignments, levels, and XP designations in each Scenario Guide.

(Above Screenshot from Flipped Social Studies LMS)


1.  The first levels in each scenario (unit) should be short.  If they experience early success and positive feedback by leveling up, their engagement will increase.  I made the mistake of loading up the first level in my first scenario with over a week worth of assignments.   In later units, when students leveled up in the first day or two, there was visibly more energy and enthusiasm in the room!

2.  Have clear expectation regarding how to level up.  Also try to share your scoring criteria/rubrics ahead of time so they have a clear goal to achieve for each level. 

3.  Have some type of visual or audible recognition when students level up.  We actually have a LEVEL UP button on the smart board that plays a sound with a "level up" voice-over courtesy of Brian Germain.   A clip of the Level Up Button in action (chopped from the Student Perspectives Video) is embedded below (or linked here). 

Complete Gamification Series

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blended Learning Conference May 3rd in Providence

If you are in the RI region (or can make the trip out), the 3rd Annual Blended Learning Conference is taking place on May 3rd in Providence.  Spearheaded by the Highlander Institute, this event has an incredible lineup of sessions along with a keynote by Richard Culatta, Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the US Department of Education.  I am fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct two sessions at this event, one on Gamification and another on Flipped Learning with Kristin Pontarelli.

I am truly looking forward to learning with such a talented and passionate group of professionals right here in my home state.  If interested in the conference, check out the schedule, speakers, and registration info.

I hope to see many of you on May 3rd!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Gamification Series Part 6: Terminology

One of the simplest yet most effective shifts that we made this year was a change to classroom terminology. As I mentioned before, I am not a “gamer” in the modern sense, so I was a bit out of the loop with this to start. I first learned quite a bit while reading Sheldon’s Multiplayer Classroom, but I actually picked up the most by simply asking the students. Many of them are avid gamers and were very eager to help me out with this, although they were quick to point on that I was quite the "noob."

We have also made it a point to incorporate more ACTION WORDS. This applies particularly to our missions. In a way, teachers have been doing this with their bloom’s style objectives for a long time. However, instead of bombarding students with cryptic and teacher-ish terminology, we tried to weave the ACTION associated with the learning objectives into the narrative of each mission (more on this later.)

Here are some of the main gaming terms that we have substituted into our course with the “old” term in parenthesis if applicable:

Level (Unit)

Mission (Objective)

XP (Average)

Guild (Groups)

House (Class)



Level Up!

There is much more terminology to use, but I suggest starting with some of these until you and your students are comfortable progressing further down the gamification path. You may also discover other terms that fit aspects of your class such as Quest, Epoch, etc.


Complete Gamification Series