Monday, November 17, 2014

Showbie - The Little App That Could

One of my favorite parts of my job is helping teachers use technology to solve problems.  Our school went 1:1 with iPads a few years ago, and it has been great getting to use them.  However, the iPads stay in the classroom with the teacher and never go home with the students.  Lately, some of our students are getting iPads funded by the local county school systems, and teachers came to me asking how they can put homework on the iPad.  In my opinion, this is a great problem to have:)

After a little research, I found a gem called Showbie:

Showbie is an app that allows the teacher to create classes within the app, and upload assignments into the app.  Uploading an assignment could be as simple as taking a picture of the worksheet you want your student to do.  You could also link to a plethora of different apps (Book Creator, Educreations, Geogebra, HaikuDeck, PicCollage).

Once you create your classes, students can join the classes using the unique code generated by Showbie.  When it is time to add assignments, simply create a folder by tapping New Assignment.

Then name the assignment, select a due date, and click Save.  There is a great feature that allows you to lock assignments, so you are able to load several at a time, but locking them prevents students from accessing them.  This is a great feature, especially when you are putting together a large project and don't want students to access it until it is ready.  

Now you are ready to add assignments.  As you can see, you can pick something from your library, add a comment (specific directions), add a voice note, or link from another app.  My favorite part is that you can take a picture right in the app using the camera. 

Here is a very rough picture, but you can edit.  The app allows you to crop, rotate, brighten, and increase the sharpness. 
With all of those changes, you end up with an assignment that looks like this:

Students are able to use the zoom feature to blow up the assignment really big like this:

Which is great for our students, who usually need extra room to show their work:)

Here is an example of a finished assignment.  The student was able to use different colors of ink to solve different problems (I could see this being great when doing the order of operations, combining like terms, the distributive property - can't you just feel the math teacher in me oozing out?!?  I think it would also be good for younger grades to use one color to identify the main idea and a different color for the supporting details.  Or it could be a map and students could identify different countries that are ruled by different kingdoms.  Or it could be the periodic table and the different types of elements could be colored different colors.  See - I love all subjects, not just math:))

I also like how the comment feature is available on the students side too.  These comments are kept confidential between student and teacher.  So students who may be too shy to ask for help in class can do it here without worrying about what their classmates might think.  I also love the voice comment for non-readers or non-writers.  Students could hear the directions on a voice note, and complete the activity independently (i.e. color the things that start with 'c' orange).

Overall, I think this is a terrific app and I highly recommend it to anyone who is going 1:1 with iPads.  It is very user-friendly, and can be used with anyone from the youngest elementary students to the oldest high school kids.  Plus, it makes grading easier, since you only have to have your iPad and not a stack of papers to drag home with you:)

Have you ever used Showbie?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Scoop

It's Sunday!  I'm so glad because I'm exhausted!  And...its going to be a long week.  Staff meeting on Monday, Parent-Teacher Conferences Wednesday and Thursday until 8:00.  But it will be totally worth it when I wake up the Monday of Thanksgiving week and I don't have to work:)

But its also time for the Sunday Scoop, thanks to the lovely ladies at The Teaching Trio!  Here we go!

I've established an App of the Month at my school, and this month I'm wanting to explain more about Google Docs.  I need to get it set up so I can meet with my teachers before November gets away from us.

My son is only 5, but his room goes from clean to disaster in about 10 seconds.  We need to get in there today and get it straightened up.  I've had to keep the door closed for about 3 days now because I just.can'!

My wonderful hubby washed all of the laundry yesterday while I was at a conference.  While I'm so happy to not need to wash and dry the laundry, he did leave it on the couch to be folded.  So that has to get done.

I'd really like to get this new product I've been thinking about out of my head and onto paper.  Hopefully that can get done.  Along with getting my camera fixed.  Its been broken for about 6 months now...

I love that it is getting cooler and time for snuggling by the fire pit and watching movies and drinking cocoa.  Now that the kids are a little bigger, this seems even more special to me:)

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Can you believe its November already?  Seeing as October is my favorite month, I'm a little sad to see November come so quickly (goodbye birthday, goodbye Big D's birthday, goodbye Halloween:(). But, its here, so let's embrace it!

My daughter is 10 months old, and she is finding her voice.  She is constantly yelling and laughing.  It is so funny to hear her 'talk'. Especially because she is driving her big brother crazy:)  But I love it, and I know that I will miss it when she starts to actually talk.

The weather is cooler (temps tonight are nearing 34 degrees!).  The days are also cooler, and I'm loving wearing my boots, scarves, and cozy sweaters.

I'm presenting at the Powering Up With Technology Conference on Saturday in PG county.  I'm excited to be talking to fellow teachers about using Tellagami, Thinglink, Google Forms, and Padlet to infuse some fun into lesson planning.  But, I need to get my presentation finished, so I can get everything uploaded to the website.  Hopefully I can finish it tomorrow.

Dinner - who wants to cook?  Nobody.  Who wants to eat?  Everyone!

My kids are growing so fast, and so are my nieces and nephews!  My adorable niece turns 3 today and I can hardly believe it!  I miss my family back home in Kentucky so much - I wish life would just slow down so we can appreciate it for a minute!

I just picked up Gone Girl today and I can't wait to start reading it.  Hopefully I can get it read by the time the movie comes out to Redbox (or at least when I can rent it from OnDemand).  I'd love to see the movie in the theater (I hear its AWESOME), but I can never find a babysitter to watch the kids.