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Make your own iPad Stylus for less than 10 cents!

We had an incredible first week at Anastasis Academy.  It was amazing to see all of our hard work come together in the form of a student body.  Walking through the classrooms this week it was obvious: this is a place of learning. One of our first-week of school activities was creating our own iPad stylus.  Since we are a one-to-one iPad environment, this seemed like a good beginning for everyone. We learned that to make a stylus, we first had to find some soft, conductive material.  A Google search informed us that we could use conductive foam (the kind that is used to pack electronics), conductive thread, conductive yarn (we thought this would be PERFECT for our pens but couldn’t get any delivered fast enough), or a Scotch Brite sponge.  I was a little skeptical of the Scotch Brite (it just seemed TOO easy) but it worked like a champ! The kids had fun exploring how the yellow, soft part of the sponge would draw on the iPad when they held it in their hands.  Some of the kiddos were a little baffled when they put the sponge into the plastic pen body and they found out that it no longer worked.  Students added a little wire and soon the pens were working again!  It was a great way for all of the kids to experiment with conductors and insulators. Below are the steps for making your very own $0.10 or less iPad stylus. *I bought a pack of Scotch Brite sponges, cheap, penny pens from a local office store, and a small roll of craft wire.  We made about 50 pens for $6.00! 1.  Separate the Scotch Brite sponge from the abrasive green backing.  Cut the yellow sponge remaining into small wedges. 2.  Take the ink out of some cheap plastic pen casing.  Drill a hole near the head of the pen with a small drill bit. 3.  Cut 6 inches of wire. 4. Tightly wrap the wire around the small end of the sponge wedge. 5. Thread the sponge through the head of the pen (our pen head separated from the pen body). 6. Bend the end of the wire farthest from the sponge into a 90* angle.  Thread this into the pen body and through the pre-drilled hole. 7.  Pull the wire through the drilled hole and wrap it several times around the pen body. 8.  Cut the exposed end of the sponge into desired pen-nub shape.  9.  To use the pen, make sure that your hand is touching the wire at some point. Draw or write with your stylus! The kids loved making their own stylus.  There was a lot of talk about perseverance (when we tried to thread the wire through the small drilled hole), conductivity and exclamations of “I did it!”. It was a wonderful exercise in frustration and success.  Every student was proud of their finished product that actually worked!  Students learned about conductivity, perseverance, insulation, and building with every-day materials. One of our students, Benton, made a short stop motion animation with his pen…you can see it below:   Now for our next trick- working with @ianchia to figure out how we can construct conductive manipulatives that work with the iPad.  Should be fun!

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Popcorn Maker: Mashup video with images, articles, text, maps, etc.

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, Geography, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 23-01-2013

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What it is: Popcorn Maker is a super cool site that I learned about from Michael Zimmer’s blog, The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness.  Popcorn Maker is an online video mashup tool that makes it easy to integrate several different forms of online media into a video.  A clip from YouTube can be enhanced with article clips, images, text, audio, maps, other live feeds and social media content. Add some “bling” to any video clip…interactive is better! Videos can be mashed without logging in.  Creating a user profile let’s you save and share the finished project.

How to integrate Popcorn Maker into the classroom: Popcorn Maker is a great way to enhance videos.  Teachers can use Popcorn Maker to mashup media for students to engage with.  This could be adding a map to an historical video so that students can better visualize where an event is taking place, adding a wikipedia article to expand on an idea that a video touches on, adding a live social media feed with student comments as a “backchannel” video, etc.  This type of use is great for expanding on Kahn academy type instructional videos (which can be a bit boring/dry), educational videos, etc.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a real-life example pop up during a Kahn academy instructional video?  Students can connect number sense and computation.  (What a novel concept!)  For young students, create a video with embedded directions (audio or text) and next steps for learning.  This would make for a great learning center for completing a science experiment, multi-step directions, or next steps of learning.

Students can use Popcorn Maker to enhance videos that they have created, to further expand on an idea, to help explain a researched topic to the rest of the class, or to share reflections on a video with others.  Because students can add text, it is easy for them to add their “blogged” reflections directly in a video to be shared with others.  So often our students start their research with a video search.  Ask them to create a mashup of all of their research using Popcorn Maker.  This will help them to dig beyond the video for other relevant content that adds to their understanding.

In the “flipped” classroom, Popcorn Maker takes the videos to the next level.  Popcorn Maker could be a great way to help apprentice students in the art of learning.  Students can see the way that connections are made among different media types and are led through how to think and expand on an interesting topic.  After students have viewed a few mashups, ask them to create their own.  This could be really helpful in discovering misunderstandings in learning, gaps in the way research is being completed, or difficulties in making connections.

Tips: The tutorial on the first page is really useful. I recommend it before beginning a project!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Popcorn Maker in your classroom.

Comments (2)

We used this briefly for a mobile journalism course and I found it to be great in regards to layout, easy accessibility and immediacy of outcome. This is a great journalistic tool

I think the Popcorn Maker is a very smart invention! I remember when I was younger and I would get so tired of just listening to my teacher talk, but now teachers can really make a lecture interesting! It can also increase your knowledge about something by explaining it in different ways! Assigning it to be used by students can also improve the knowledge of things because they have to research all different types of resources and combine them. I’m very glad that I read this article and I may even start using the Popcorn Maker when I become a teacher!

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