Our Experience at ISTE 2012

One year ago ShowMe was actually launched at ISTE. Needless to say the ShowMe team was excited to be in San Diego this past Sunday-Wednesday for ISTE 2012. This Conference, hosted by the International Society for Technology In Education (ISTE) is one of the largest Educational Technology events in the world each year. Thousands of people from many different countries gathered together to attend workshops, foster new relationships, and learn about new innovations regarding technology in education.

Things We Did:

On Monday and Tuesday ShowMe had an Ice Cream Truck outside of the convention center handing out free ice cream to all attendees.

ShowMe team in front of the ice cream truck. Like our shirts?

Happy attendees enjoying ice cream and their new Boxwave styli

The best part of the conference was being able to meet and reconnect with so many awesome people and share ShowMe with them. Special thanks to Donorschoose.org and Boxwave for donating giftcards and styli for us to share with the ShowMe community!

It was really beneficial to have the opportunity to meet current users and hear their ideas and feedback firsthand.  We were finally able to meet ShowMe Ambassador and power user JR Ginex-Orinion*, a Chemistry teacher from Orange County, CA. We also met two educators from Chile,  @jessievaz12 and @titialvayay, who’ve used ShowMe in their classroom, and @kcakderw and Educational Technology enthusiast who created app4ed.com. These are just a few of the awesome conversations we had at ISTE, thanks to everyone who sat down to chat with us! We had a blast!

*JR wrote a great post-ISTE blog post filled with some really good advice if you are interested in attending the conference next year. Take a look here.




Using ShowMe to Develop Student Created Math Tutorials

This guest post is written by Kelly Wroblewski, a High School Math Teacher in Austin, TX. She and her coworker and fellow teacher William Kiker assigned a fantastic class project to their students, resulting an an entire website of support materials for their Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus classes. Check out the website here. 

This past semester, William Kiker and I (Kelly Wroblewski) applied to be part of a pilot iPad program at our high school.  As members of a small project based  learning community within Austin High School in Austin, TX, we latched on to the ShowMe app pretty quickly.  Some of our students use the Khan Academy website as a resource to supplement in-class instruction, but some topics were either unavailable or were not tailored to our courses or textbooks.  Mr. Kiker and I determined we could use the ShowMe app to create videos similar to those found on the Khan Academy website, but specific to our courses at Austin High. Rather than having students hear their teachers yet again in video, we decided to design a project where the students create the instructional materials.  Since we were implementing this project towards the end of the school year, it provided the opportunity for students to review for the upcoming state exam or reflect upon a specific topic from the school year, depending on the needs for that course.

This project required that students create a short instructional video supplemented by a video guide document to lead the viewer through the content and a quiz to assess the viewer’s knowledge over the skills that were taught in the video.  The topics ranged widely from specific objectives from the state exam to specific Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus concepts.  Though the concepts were quite specific, it was interesting to observe the unique ways in which the students decided to present the topics in their videos.  Using ShowMe as a medium allowed for creativity and individuality while still guiding students to accomplish the overarching video creation task.  What we have compiled as a result of student submissions is our significantly more customized AHS Academy website where students can go for Austin High specific assistance with their math courses.

Overall, this project was a great learning experience for all involved, especially the teachers.  Mr. Kiker and I will be implementing version three of this project next school year in the hopes of expanding and improving upon the current content.  For more information on this topic, or to provide feedback regarding the website, please email me at kwroblew@austinisd.org or Mr. Kiker at william.kiker@austinisd.org.


Announcing ShowMe 3.0!

We are so excited to announce the release of the newest version of ShowMe! In this version it becomes easier than ever before to follow new people, discover great content, and watch ShowMes easily.

Big Changes:

  • The Look: Unlike older versions, We now have 3 columns at the top of the page. Activity, Explore and My ShowMes.
  • Create an Account: When you create a new account we now ask that you follow at least one topic. New users automatically follow a few of our favorite users so you can see awesome content in your activity feed from day one.
  • Facebook Integration: You can now add ShowMe to your Facebook timeline! Let your friends know when you create a new ShowMe or like a lesson.
  • Easier to upload and add topics: It is now easier than ever to share your ShowMes publicly and include topics!
The Look:

There are now three different sections in ShowMe. Activity, Explore and My ShowMes. You can always create a ShowMe by selecting the button in the top right corner of the app. You can edit your profile or log out of your account by selecting your name in the top left corner of the app.

Activity: The activity page lists the most recent activity taken by the people you follow on ShowMe. You’ll know if someone you follow creates a new ShowMe or likes another user’s lesson.

Explore: This is where Search is permanently located. You can also peruse Featured ShowMes and Featured Users, chosen for their exceptional content, by our staff. Or you can click on a topic image to browse what that topic has to offer.

My ShowMes: This page is where all of your ShowMes (on iPad and uploaded to web) are located. On the top of the page you can edit your profile description. Above your ShowMes you will several options. You can view ShowMes on your iPad, on the web and manage them by uploading or sharing with others. You can see the people you follow, the topics you follow and ShowMe’s you’ve liked in the past.

Create an Account:
Now when creating an account you are asked to follow a few topics. With this information we compile a list of stand-out users that create awesome content for you to follow! You can also create an account using information from facebook or twitter.

Optional Facebook Integration:
Now you can automatically share ShowMes you’ve recently watched or created on your Facebook timeline. The first time you login it will ask you if you’d like to integrate. If you are interested in integrating later, simply login to your account on the website (not the app), hover over you name and select “settings”. There you will see the option to activate ShowMe integration on your timeline!

Easier to Upload ShowMes and Add Topics:
We’ve made it easier to add topics with topic buttons listed for some more popular topic choices. After you create a ShowMe you are automatically sent to upload, making the process more streamlined. To share a ShowMe to twitter or facebook simply click the their corresponding gray icon. To upload the ShowMe privately, simply click the small lock on the left side of the box.

After you update the app, let us know how you like it by sharing ideas, feedback, or questions!


Friday Round Up 6/22/2012

Happy Weekend Everyone! We hope to see some of you at ISTE in San Diego from Sunday June 24th to Wednesday June 27th! Take a peek at our collection of ISTE Survival Guide ShowMes here. 
AFT and Britain’s TES Connect Unveil ‘Share My Lesson,’Which Will Become Largest Online Site for U.S. Teacher Resources
This is a press release from the American Federation of Teachers. They, along with Britain’s TES Connect,  just released the website Share My Lesson which is now the largest online community for US teachers to share their lesson plans, resources and ideas. AFT president Randi Weingarten explained that this initiative aims to help teachers that often face barriers to receiving free shared resources from other teachers across the country. The website will allow teachers to upload resources as well as rate and review resources of others. An important additional feature will be the high supply of resources created to support Common Core Standards, which are being implemented in 46 states this Fall. Randi Weingarten believes this will become the “single most important tool the AFT has launched in over a generation.”
7 Things Graduating Seniors Should Know About College
These tips are a compilation of excerpts from the book “The Secrets of College Success” by Lynn F Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman. They focus on the academic side of college, topics ranging from when to pick your major, to what to expect when writing a paper. Jacobs and Hyman make the great point that a college paper requires “analysis and research” at a much higher level than high school. (This was something that took me a few months to fully grasp in my freshman year!)

Before Standardized Tests, Teaching Children Not to Drown
Swim For Life is a project in New York City that was brought to life parks commissioner Adrian Benepe, who knew many drowning deaths each year could be prevented if everyone had access to swim lessons. Although weekend and summer courses are available in the city, Benepe felt it was important that swim lessons were provided to students during school hours. Over the past 18 months 14,385 second graders in New York City have participated in swim lessons during school hours at indoor pools across the city. The program has been a success, especially for those students that  started the program petrified of water. After ten weeks these students were able to confidently and happily swim.

Developing A Student iPad Leadership In Your School
Many kids have the ability to pick up an iPad and begin downloading apps and playing games within minutes. However key skills like troubleshooting issues, keeping safe online and learning effectively through technology may not come as naturally to students. It is our responsibility as educators to teach students proper digital citizenship. This article contains several awesome resources you can use to teach your students how to troubleshoot problems and use an iPad effectively and safely in school.


ShowMe of the Week: Find the Missing Angle

This ShowMe created by Harry Amos is awesome for several reasons.

1. He gives us a great overview of how to find the missing angle of a triangle!

2. He created some really nice looking images for the intro of his ShowMe using the Paper53 iPad app. (It’s a great app- I recommend it!)

3. He finishes the ShowMe video with a picture of Success Kid– can it get any better?

Be sure to check out his entire library of helpful math videos!


Friday Round Up 6/15/2012

RIP White MacBook: The Future of Apple Computers at School
This Monday Apple hosted its annual Developer Conference and presented all new updates to the Mac Line. The big news for schools was the unveiling of iOS 6 for the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, available this fall. The update included “guided access” which allows teachers and parents to restrict students to viewing one app at a time or limit touch input. This is a great feature for schools with iPads, and the number of schools with iPads is growing rapidly. In the second quarter of 2012 iPads outnumbered sales of macs to schools by a ratio of 2:1. Even with the increasing popularity of iPads in schools, many still wonder why there is no replacement computer for the white macbook pro that was very popular in schools. The white macbook was sold for $999 had a large amount of memory and a CD drive, but they were taken off the market it 2011. The only computer in the same price range currently is the 11 inch Macbook Air which in addition to being two inches smaller, also does not have as much memory or a CD drive. Perhaps iPads are becoming the go-to computer for schools.

Can Free, High-Quality Education Get You A Job?

It is fantastic to see the increasing number of free, high quality, online college courses being offered by top name schools. It’s a huge step in the right direction when it comes to democratizing education and bringing it to people affordably at a large scale. But can these courses help you obtain a job? Mindshift recently asked company recruiters from tech start-ups, finance firms and banking companies if they would consider non-traditional candidates who received their education from these schools. At this point in time it seemed like all three fields were hesitant to accept a candidate that did not have a traditional college education. I would be interested to see if this changes in five years, after courses are more established and taught on a broader array of topics.

Personalized Learning – Swedish Style
Outside of Stockholm lies one of Sweden’s top-performing schools – Kunskapsskolan Tyresö. This is one of a network of 33 Kunskapsskolan schools in Sweeden, all funded by a public voucher system with no tuition that accepts students on a first come first serve basis. Key tenets of the school culture include interdisciplinary work, collaboration between students, and technology. Every inch of space is used in the school and filled with tables, chairs, and gather places for students to collaborate. All students responsible for setting personal learning goals for themselves and create strategies to reach them. My favorite aspect of this school culture is the coaching sessions each student has once per week for 15 minutes with their teacher. This is a highly personalized and structured discussion where students share their weekly assignments, reiterate what they have learned, and share what their goals are at this point in time. There are certain issues with this program- for example the voucher system it uses is a very controversial topic in larger school programs like the one in US. But I thought this was a really interesting look at a different program that is seeing success.

College Attendance Costs up 15% Over Two Years, Report Finds
The US Department of Education recently released its listings of public and private universities tuition and fees. These listings show that the average cost of attendance at a university or college in the United States has increased over 15% in the past two years. These increases are partially due to the cuts in funding for many public schools across the country. In some states, public school tuition increases has increased over 40%. Over the past decade school tuition prices have increased by an average of 5.6% per year.


Friday Round Up 6/8/2012

7 Habits of Highly Effective Tech-leading Principals
THE Journal recently surveyed school principals across the country, asking them what attributes a principal should demonstrate when striving to effectively lead technology implementation in their schools. They compiled the seven most frequently mentioned attributes along with comments from three effective technology leaders that successfully implemented technology in their schools. This list includes some stand out ideas and discusses the value of creating an atmosphere that inspires innovation, the importance of fostering collaboration in your school, and being open to new ideas.
Way Beyond Bake Sales: The $1 Million PTA
In recent years the PTA at several public schools in more affluent areas of New York city have have raised close to one million dollars per school year for their school. Parents spend this money on technology in the classroom, resource teachers, healthy lunch options for students, and most importantly programs in the arts and after school activities that have been hit especially hard by budget cuts in recent years. Over the past five years New York City has cut school budgets by an average of 13.7% While it is astounding how much money some PTA’s were able to raise, the main takeaway I have from this article is how many schools that aren’t able to receive this type of funding. This means these schools continue to be understaffed, fall behind technologically, and can’t always provide activities and healthy lunches for their students. In a public school system, why should it be up to parents to provide quality learning conditions for students?

‘Why’ Questions Play Big Role in Early Learning
In the new book Trusting What You’re Told, Harvard Education professor Paul L. Harris questions the longstanding idea that children should be self learners. He focuses on the importance of toddlers asking “why” questions at a young age, and how children are not only asking questions for attention, they are actually attempting to grasp a clear picture in their mind about issues they do not understand. Harris also studies the impact of a mother’s education has on the inquisitiveness of a her child, and why children trust their parents.

Is Education a Girl Thing?
In this opt-ed article several questions are addressed. How does gender impact the profession of teaching? In an industry with a higher percentage of women than men, why is it that men make up the majority of policy and produce most of the media surrounding education? How would things change if more women were in control of education policy, philosophy and practice?


Friday Round-up 6/1/2012

Food Trucks Draw Hungry Kids For Free Summer Meals
In many areas of the country, students depend on free and reduced school lunches as a main food source in their lives. However, as a the school year comes to an end many of these students are unable to find transportation to attend the summer food programs, often still offered in their school cafeteria. Last year, Tim Cipriano, the executive director of school food services for New Haven, CT, decided that instead of having students come to a certain location for food, he would bring the food to them driving a colorful food truck to areas with a high population of students qualifying for free and reduced meals. Last summer he served 17,000 meals in 20 days. This year he hopes to provide 40,000 meals for the months of July and August.
Social Media: Help or Hindrance to Education Reform?
There are many issues that comprise the topic of Education Reform. One of these is the importance of Social Media as a learning tool for educators and students. However, some wonder if this focus on Social Media is actually distracting teachers and reformers from other, more pressing issues. Tom Whitby, a support of Social Media in education, explains why he believes that Social Media can actually be a powerful tool to improve Personal Learning Networks for educators. One point that stuck with me: Historically teaching has been an isolated profession, any problems or successes you experienced could only be shared with co-workers in your school or district. With Social Media educators from around the globe can come together both online and in person to discuss what they’ve learned, and that is a powerful thing.

Schools to track students’ whereabouts with computer chips

Starting next fall a school district in San Antonio, TX  will be issuing student ID cards containing a tracking chip device. This chip monitors students on school grounds and notifies the school if a student leaves during school hours. The district advertised the initiative to parents as a safety procedure, however the decision is getting mixed reviews, one large concern being students’ right to privacy. The school will spend $500,000 to issue cards to 6,000 middle and high school students.

Summers Are For Learning
Remember, summers are a great time to learn something new, for both students and teachers! If you think you may be interested in reading, joining a book club, kickstarting your creative process, leaning to code or serving others through community service this summer, this article has a list of some fantastic resources you can use to get started with self-learning this summer!


Summer Reading Conversation on June 7th

On June 7th the New York Times Learning Network is hosting a twitter conversation about Summer Reading. This is open to people of all ages to share what’s on their sumer reading list and recommendations for others! Simply share your thoughts about summer reading on twitter and finish off the tweet with the hashtag #summerreading . This will add your tweet to the all day conversation. The NY Times Learning network will be sharing their favorite tweets throughout the day.

To take this one step further for our ShowMe Community we’d like you to create summer reading ShowMes, upload them, and tweet them out to the conversation! After you upload a ShowMe to the website you will see the option to share on twitter. Select this option and then just remember to add #summerreading to the tweet and send it off! We will also be sharing our favorite ShowMes throughout the day.

If you know someone who would be interested in participating, let them know! I hope this can be a fun way to interact with Summer Reading in your classrooms or by yourself.

For more information about twitter chats, read this helpful guide by the NY Times.

For more information or questions send us a tweet @showmeapp or email us at info@showme.com.


Friday Round Up 5/25/12

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all that celebrate!

On June 7, Join the Conversation About Summer Reading
On June 7th the NY Times Learning Network is hosting a day long twitter conversation to kick off their Third Annual Summer Reading Contest which begins June 15th and runs till August 17th. On June 7th people will come together in a twitter chat with the hashtag #summerreading to share information. You can tweet your summer reading list, great suggestions for others, best places to read or ideas for starting your own book club! The learning network will be reposting their favorite tweets throughout the day. We will be participating in the day, so expect an update soon on how we plan to get involved!

Google’s 80/20 Principle Adopted at New Jersey School
Fifty-five teachers from New Milford High School in New Jersey were given a break from their typical lunch and hall monitor duties 2-3 times per week to make room for a 48 minute professional development period where they could focus on teaching related issues that interested them. (Based on the Google model which gives employees 20% of their time to pursue company related topics that interest them.) Teachers have focused on interdisciplinary projects, differentiated assessment and ways to integrate technology into their curriculums. The results have been fantastic. Student behavior has remained the same, yet teachers now have the opportunity to record videos to attempted a flipped classroom and integrated more technology into their daily student lessons. At the end of the year teachers are required to hand in professional development logs where they report the topics the studied and how it enhanced their learning. Next year they will even begin to create portfolios on what they’ve accomplished.

The Most Honest Commencement Speech You’ll Never Hear
Lisa Bloom starts this article by sharing the grim reality that many of our college graduates have diminished expectations for their future as they graduate debt-ridden with high unemployment rates. (43% of high school females would rather be a celebrity assistant than a CEO or college president) Many students year for jobs, independence and adulthood, yet they are forced to move back home with parents often working jobs outside of their chose field much below their chosen salary rate. At the end Bloom gives her own version of a commencement speech, apologizing for her generation, which she believes has failed recent graduates by not providing low cost education and jobs after graduation.

Eight Free Tools for Teachers to Make Awesome Infographics!
I love infographics! (You can check out our own infographic pinterest board here)  Recently it has become very easy to make high quality infographics of your own, so check out this great article if you’re interested in making one of your own!