In this webinar presentation, John O'Sullivan explores creative technology to help struggling learners better access the curriculum and engage in the learning process. You will learn about how to include students in art, and music with technology and engage students with various disabilities.
Download his presentation PowerPoint using the download button.
- [Ana-Maria] Thanks for joining us today for the CTD webinar, Creative Technology for Inclusion and Engagement. Most of us know about many of the most common technologies that are available to help students with disabilities but, in today's webinar, John O'Sullivan, librarian and AT specialist, is joining us to explore creative technologies to help struggling learners better access the curriculum and engage in art and music activities. I'm gonna go ahead and pass it off to John.
- Yeah, it's great to be here. Really looking forward to this. The title of this is Creative Technology for Inclusion and Engagement. Welcome everybody. I see we have 24 people here. That is absolutely wonderful. I hope more people join us. That's great, so welcome. That's my background. Like she said before, I'm a technology integration specialist. I became a librarian, I do assistive technology. I have a background in special ed. I've also written a number of books on educational technology.
The whole point of this presentation is to try to get people technology that they haven't thought of using before and hopefully fulfill some needs that you didn't think that you had to try to get beyond a lot of the common technology that people think of immediately to use. So, we're trying to look beyond that and be a little bit more creative and try to find technology that you haven't heard of before. Trying to think outside of the box a little bit. So, that's what this webinar is all about.
So, poll question. Have you ever tried to make modifications to include special needs students in art class? I see we're having a varied response. It's about in the 70s for yes but we have some people who haven't. Computer beeps. Okay, give people a little bit more time to vote, give people another 15 or 20 seconds. Okay, I don't see the numbers moving, so we have about 17 people voting, so I'll assume we're close to being done. But I see that most people have, which is really good because, actually, I didn't know the answer to that. I didn't know what most people would say. I have made modifications in order to include a student in our class. I've done it before.
I've also made changes where I helped someone with a disability do art, which would be in a regular classroom, which wasn't necessarily specifically for art class, but in the younger ages when they do projects and things like that, a lot of times there's artwork involved. Just to help include them. So, that is wonderful that a lot of people are doing that. So that's something that we're gonna be talking about. So those are the poll results.
Okay, so, I just wanna point out that the six videos we have here and I also have six extra videos. If you save the PowerPoint presentation, that we're using, if you download it, there's six other videos that you could look. If there's something that you're interested in I made a couple extra videos. And, obviously, this webinar's being recorded, so you could go to the YouTube channel for The Center on Technology and Disability and to watch the entire presentation if you'd like. I just wanted to remind people of that. So, why do we wanna include people in our class? This is a number of reasons. Obviously because it's an issue for some people.
And, if you've ever spoken to someone who hasn't been included for whatever reason it was, whether a disability or there was some other issue, people remember that. It sticks with them years later. You would think that, at some point, people would say, "Okay, that happened a long time ago," but people remember being excluded. So, whenever we can, we wanna include people and have people with disabilities having a similar experience to everybody else in class whenever possible. We can't do everything we want, but when we can include someone in a class, we make them feel valued. Obviously they get that great learning opportunity that everybody else does. And that's very important.
I think that contributes very much to a positive atmosphere in a school system. So whenever we can include people, I always try to push for that. And when I can include someone in a subject, in something that's difficult and challenging, when we can get them to include them with everybody else, to me that's a big one. That's something I really enjoy as a teacher when someone can be included and we can overcome that challenge. So, the first program we're talking about. A lot of people might have heard of this before. A lot of people do use this one, but we're leading into art class. It's called Snap Type Pro. What this program is used is people with coordination issues usually fine-motor coordination with writing.
And, what they do is, they take a picture of a worksheet and then they type on it. Type on it with your fingers just like you can see in the graphic there, and also with an iPad they have something called dictation where you can click on a little microphone icon if you have an iPad 3 or later And you could talk to it and it'll type what you're saying. So you have two options. So, a lot of people use this app called Snap Type Pro for people who have handwriting difficulties. But what people haven't thought of doing is, using this for art. Okay, so, I'm going to go to the next slide. This is a video of me using Snap Type Pro. It's kinda hard to talk about and describe using the program without people seeing it, so I think the visual's very important, so in this video you're gonna see me using it. And, then we're gonna show you how how it's like.
And then I'll show you how we're gonna use this with an art program. And I'm gonna hit play. I'm gonna show you right now how to use Snap Type Pro. This is an iPad app that helps people that has difficulty with handwriting. It looks like a camera and says the word Pro in the corner. We're gonna click on it. I'm gonna click on New Document. Camera. I'm gonna take a picture of this worksheet with an elephant on it. I'm gonna pull the button, the orange button. I'm gonna hit the little crop symbol under the elephant. I'm gonna crop it. The check mark box in the corner. I have to name it. Click add. I'm gonna open it. I'm gonna click on it. I can type hello on it and hit enter. What I can also do is I can click on the microphone in the bottom corner and I could talk and I'll type on it. This is called dictation to the iPad, so I'm gonna click on that microphone. I am making a video. See it works really well.
But, what most people don't know about this is, you can actually save it and import it into another app. So, the symbol on the top right corner. It looks like a box with an arrow on it. That is internationally known for transferring files. I'm gonna click on it. I'm gonna click on image. Click on Save image. All right, now I'm gonna go to pictures. Here are my photos. And there's my elephant, okay? I'm gonna go into Artstudio, which is right up here. I'm gonna go to File, Import from Photos. I'm gonna click on my elephant. And now, I can go to the art tools and I could paint on the elephant. And then I can click on the finger and I can smear the elephant.
What this is designed to do is, so that if you had someone who, say, had a physical disability, or tactile issues, they could use this instead of using traditional paints or clay or whatever you're doing. It also opens up more options to, just even to write on it. Like I could make this black and I could. Could write on it. I could write on it with different brushes. I could write on it with a pencil. I could sign my name on it. So, it give me options of things to do. If you have a tactile issue, or if you have a physical disability or limitations. And this, which I've figure this out when we were working with a preschooler, but you could use it for different ages, obviously. You could type on a worksheet, but you can also do artwork, and it's a good way to include someone with various types of disabilities, even if it's a matter of being able to follow multi-step directions where you could get this on the iPad and set it up for them and they don't have to do ten different steps.
Or if they have physical limitations of using a paint bush, they only need a finger for this. I just wanna show you one more thing. In Settings, under General, under Keyboard, you can see Keyboard's right there, Dictation, Enable Dictation. That's how you get the microphone on your keyboard. You click Enable Dictation. So, if you have an iPad 2 or lower, it won't work. If you have an iPad 3 or higher, dictation does work on all iPads. Okay, so Artstudio is one of my favorite apps when it comes to art because it's simple and it has a lot where it does things that are, You can do very simple things with it, with just drawing and painting, and it has higher-level features that are similar to Photoshop, like it has things like filters.
So, you could use it with someone who's younger, or you could use it with someone who's older. You could use it with a wide range of students. And that's why I really like this particular app. And, when you use two apps together the big buzz term is called App Smashing. So you're using one app to App Smash with another one. It just means you're using one file and you're using it in two different apps is what App Smashing means. Now, so I really like this program. This one's for the iPad. Now, coming up, I list ones that are on other platforms. So don't worry if you don't use iPads. I'm gonna show a quick video about how to use Artstudio so you can get a better idea because there's only so much I can talk about it, where you can't, I can talk about it but there's only so much I can show you by just talking about it. So we have that video coming up of Artstudio.
And, you can see exactly how it works, detail for detail. Hit play. This is my favorite art app. It's called Artstudio. And with this app, you can create all sorts of awesome artwork. And you get the feeling of hands-on actually physically touching the art and manipulating it. And, at the same time, you get the benefits of Photoshop. All these different tools up here, like you see like Adjust. They have up there Adjust, Select, Layers, that's a Photoshop concept, Image, Resize, Filters. Filters will actually change the image. It could make it change the colors, the shape. Like the top one's Blur. Sharpen means makes it more clear. Distort noise makes it look like, it gives almost like a spray pattern on it. Whole bunch of different things on this that you could do really cool effects if you're doing hired art.
But at the same time, you don't have to be an artist to do this. You don't have to know Photoshop and all that. The tools on the left-hand side of the tool bar, like the paintbrush, I can simply just pick a color and pick the paintbrush and just paint with it. And, I could, there's another brush beneath that. I'll put that in a different color. And I could paint with it. And then I can click on the finger and then I can smear it. And I could really get into the nitty gritty of actually creating the art. The paint bucket beneath it, if I did that, it would just dump all one color on it. The gradient's kinda cool. If I do that, it makes like a whole gradient of color. And then they have a text tool, which I could type things on it. There is spray paint. I'll pick a different color so you can see it. I could spray paint on it in the color.
And, obviously, having some art talent would help, but you can also import images. One of the cool things with Artstudio is you can import. So I could take a picture, and then I could change that picture with the filters or I could paint on it. So I could import that. Or, you could actually export the photos and save it as like a JPEG as a picture. But what I find with this app is that when you give it to students, within five minutes they figure it out. They can go and pick different colors. And they can certainly click on the different tools that we have and integrate them in any way they want. And then take their finger and smudge it. If you wanted to erase part of it, you could. Even if you're not an artist, this is a lot of you, so this program could work with students who are a little bit younger. It's possible.
And, obviously, if somebody really, really likes the higher end of it, they could certainly go into things, learn Photoshop concepts like layers or filters or could go in and adjust the colors in any number of ways. But it's really great because you get the hands-on feeling of doing the art. And someone who doesn't have the coordination, this is really, really great because with just one finger, you could do art where you don't necessarily have to hold the brush. You don't have to hold the art tools and be precise with them, This is John O'Sullivan. Okay, now the other aspect I wanna mention is, when you do art on a tablet, you get that hands-on feeling of art without actually touching paint or clay or something like that. But it's that hands-on feeling where, if you're working on a PC with the mouse it's not the same, but you can really feel like you're creating when using a tablet.
That's why I tend to like creating art on a tablet. Even for regular ed students, it's really great, 'cause we've done it with both. We've done it with special ed. We've done it with regular ed. And that hands-on feeling of creating the art doesn't go away, which is huge. And of course you don't run out of paint, and then you don't run into the tactile issues because you're touching glass. You're not touching anything that's kind of wet or damp or might feel uncomfortable, which is really good. And you'd need less coordination to do it, which is also helpful if someone has fine- or gross-motor problems.
So, one of the things I wanted to point out with this is that something called AirPrint. AirPrint is the iPad, when they print stuff, or Apple, when you print stuff. AirPrint, these are network printers that work with an iPad because one of the things that we did was, when we were using programs like Artstudio and Snap Type Pro, we wanted for, like a preschooler or somebody who's in kindergarten, for them to be able to print out their artwork and hang it up on the refrigerator just like everybody else. I know everybody's going to file sharing and, I'm all for file sharing, I think file sharing is wonderful, that it's great, but if you wanna be able to print it, that's what you have to look up is AirPrinting if you wanted to print up the artwork. And I always try to remind people like if you're using an iPad, if you can get an Apple TV and project it, it adds a whole new dimension to your classroom. I just wanted to mention that. I wish I had more time to go into projecting with an iPad.
But, you can show students how to do things, the whole class, on the board how to use it. If you have an Apple TV it's really something that makes the classroom more dynamic. So, I listed some art apps because I know not everybody has an iPad. I wrote an app guide years ago and I've tried to move beyond this so I'm not all about the iPad anymore. So, these are iPad apps for kids which are good for the younger grades. If you download the PowerPoint you can get this list. I also included a video I did on Lux Draw, which is similar to Artstudio except it's for kids. It doesn't have as many of the higher-level things that Artstudio has on. It's if you want a simpler program, Lux Draw might be one option.
But I listed a bunch of others that you could use for the iPad, for kids and this would cover for younger ages and, if you were looking for stuff for an Android device, I listed some examples as well, and I listed more examples for the iPad for adults for art. There is actually a lot out there. If you wanna do art, they have everything. They have painting. If you wanna do charcoal, drawing. There's so many different apps with different spins. It's a matter of taking the time and using them. Most of them aren't that complicated and what I find is that when you give them to students they learn them so quickly because you just touching you with your hand and manipulating.
A lot of it, it's more intuitive than it is for other types of apps. If you are on a Chromebook, which a lot of people moved to Chromebooks, Google Draw I recommend. You don't get the same hands-on feeling 'cause you can't smear things, but I also included in the PowerPoint a video about how to use Google Drawings. If you're interested in using that, that's an option if you're using Chromebooks or if you're heavily a Google school. So, I'm gonna move along. I listed also two other free websites as well on top of Google Drawings. We went through a lot there. Like I said, if you're looking for any of those programs listed then I recommend downloading the PowerPoint and maybe trying one of those if you're on a different platform than iPads, even though I'm very much for people with disabilities and very strongly in favor of iPads, I still think for people with disabilities that tends to be one of the dominant platforms to use with them, but I know a lot of the schools are going towards the Chromebooks, so I wanted to make sure people had options.
What I wanna talk about now is, why do we wanna include people in music class? It's a lot of the same things as well. And I know, when I was younger, people who did well in school, it's like, they got to play a musical instrument. If you were struggling in school, you did more reading instruction. And I know a lotta people remember that even if you weren't in special ed. A lotta people remember that somebody else is getting to play a musical instrument as a reward, and you weren't having the opportunity to play that. So it's very important. People tend to feel valued if you're including them into every single class and taking as much effort as possible to include them. Music is also an area where I like to see people with disabilities included as often as possible. So we have a poll question.
Have you ever tried to make changes to include special needs students in a music class? I'll give everybody a minute to try to answer that. So we have about 60% no, and about, Looks like it's getting a little closer, okay. Okay, we're getting a lot people. We got about 17 answering. We'll give it a little bit more time. See if we can get a couple more people who can respond if they want to. We've about 19 responses, okay. So it seems about split. Most people, slight majority, haven't done this. For some reason, I know art class seems to come up because the younger ages they tend to do a lot with art. So, we tend to get that.
There's actually a lotta technology out there for music. There's more technology for music than there is for art, which is surprising. But I think the instances of including people in art tends to come up more often because the younger grades, preschool, kindergarten and elementary school, they tend to do enough projects with art that that question comes up in the regular classroom a lotta times. But there's a lot out there for music. So, if we wanna include people in music, obviously that's an opportunity that we want to allow every student possible that we can. So, let's move along to the next one. The program. This is a website I found recently. It's called Chrome Music Lab. It's very simple ways you can play on a website these very, almost, musical instruments on a website. It's very simple. It works great for kids. It's actually a lotta fun.
It's something you, you know, we're stressed out, you could go and do for a little while and you'd feel better about yourself because it's so simple and so intuitive to do this. But there's a lot out there for music for the younger grades and there's a lot out there for music for the older grades. So you can find like an instrument that's very simple and if you wanted somebody who wanted to mix a bunch of different music, and to make something that was very, very well thought-out and planned, you could do it when it comes to creating music with computers. We've come a long way in the past five, 10 years. I'm gonna go on the next slide. This is video of me using the website and explaining it.
And there's actually a lot more on the website than I get to show you. I wish I could show you it all, but obviously have time limits. It's really, really simple and it's really cool and you could teach younger children very basic things about rhythm or music or sound with this. We can now load up the video in a minute and I'll play it. And, it's loading up and we'll hit Play. This is a website I really like. It's called Chrome Music Lab because it can be used to teach basic music concepts to younger children. So here's the first one. Song Maker. Basically what you do is you click on these and you hit play. And obviously you could do this with the rhythm. And you could do this with the scheme. And you could create a basic song in this and understand how the different sounds can be mixed. Anyone with any sort of background could experiment with this and create something with music. This one is rhythm.
So, basically you put in sounds and they play the drums for you. It's cute, it's simple, and you could teach basic rhythm with this and different components of a song and you wouldn't really have to have a dynamic music background in order to use this with the classroom. Now this one teaches chords. Those are the major chords and you can switch to minor chords So even if you weren't a musician, you could show different chords in music. Very simple. Something that you could use for a few minutes.
This is John O'Sullivan. Chrome Music Lab. I hope you liked it. Yeah, that's a great website. Now, if you're on any device you could use this. Since it's a website, obviously you could use it on a Chromebook, you could use it on an iPad, you could use it on a PC. And it's so simple, and there's a lot out there for music. I know that there's a ton of synthesizer apps for the iPad, but it's crossed over. There's stuff on the Android. There's also a lot of stuff for Chrome, which surprised me because, when you see stuff out there and you don't see people in large groups using it, you wonder is this stuff gonna stay around? Is it gonna be around? And there's a lot out there for music that's on different platforms that you can use if you wanna teach music to students with disabilities or to use the whole class or to use it as a different type of activity as a reward.
There's just so much out there. This is GarageBand. This is for the iPad. It's also, they have a Mac version. This one is great because you can play a number of different instruments and then if you wanted to, you could then mixed all the sounds from those instruments together, so you can do something with this. It's free, it comes with the iPad. You can do something extremely simple with it, or you can get very complicated very quickly. It's literally designed to play a bunch of different instruments. It has all these different instruments. And if you want to mix them together, you can. It's anything from someone who's just playing around and is a complete novice, who wants to do something very simple music to somebody who really is trying to compose something and that they wanna show to other people or put online or use it as background music on something.
So, the spectrum of users for this is there from beginner to way more advanced and it's for the iPad and it's for, It's been around for a long time and it's both on the iPad, I know it's on the Mac. But it's a really, really great program because the versatility too where, I know a lot of the other programs that I've looked at are really great but they're designed for a specific audience. So I would tell you if you have an iPad, it's free. You can just download this. I would recommend trying GarageBand. This is an app that I really like. This is one for the iPad. It's a drum app. What it actually does is, you put it on the table and you tap on the table and it turns like into like a sound of a drum.
They have different drums. Like they have one's a metallic drum. One's like a bongo drum. You can play the drum by putting the iPad on your table and tapping. And I actually used it in the library in my Makerspace, and if students are stressed out and having a tough day, this is a great way to get them involved. And we've even tried it with some of the music teachers and people really like it. It actually does work that way. I'm not making this up. We actually have a video where I can show you. It's only about two minutes long. I can show you I actually use this and you can actually hear the sound as well. So I'm gonna play that for you now. The app I'm gonna show you today is called Impaktor. It is a drum app. It actually turns your table into a drum. I know it sounds crazy, but it actually does work. It's a fun app, but it creates engagement really quickly. It's simple to use and it's lot of fun and it's definitely way to engage someone with a musical activity.
So, I'm gonna click on Impaktor. And this is what it looks like. I have the volume turned down because it's very sensitive. So, you can see the different types of drums on the bottom. It's currently on metal drum. They have different knobs and stuff on it that you can adjust. So the sound is down. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna turn the sound back up again. All right, I had to turn the volume all the way down because otherwise it really impacts what we're doing. So I have it off. You get the idea. It's a fairly simple app, but it can quickly engage someone into an activity and even if you weren't teaching music, this is a great way to break people out of their shell, to have some fun in the classroom. It's one of my favorite apps because it's so cool. It's something that I do use where I work and I enjoy very much.
This is John O'Sullivan and I'm talking about Impaktor and thank you very much. It's a paid app for the iPad and it's one of my favorite and I use it in the library often as I can because what happens is, students, a lotta times, if they're having a bad day, or can be stressed for midterms, you use that and people are happy and it changes people's body language pretty quickly when they're using that. And they can't believe it actually works, which, the technology for it isn't actually that complicated but, it's such a cool concept to think that you could turn your table into an instrument and you could actually record it and it can actually be useful, which is really amazing. So that's one I really like and I have in my Makerspace. And it's something that, when I have classes, I like to show them because it's guaranteed to get them engaged and if it does anything, it'll at least change their mood pretty quickly.
It's definitely very good for stress, but, obviously, you could teach musical concepts with that as well and you could actually make music with it and record it and use it in the song somewhere if that was your goal. So, you don't have to have a full drum set or drumsticks. You can just have your iPad and an app, which is really wonderful. So, we're gonna move on and look at some other ones now. These are synthesizers. Synthesizers make music.
Like, in other words, basically you can make the sound of different instruments and mix them together. And synthesizers can be different. They vary. Some of them have you make the individual songs, and they, each individual sound. Other ones give you the sounds and then mix them together. There's a ton of them out there that are very good. The number of, for some reason it seems like the people who like computers and like music because you use music, you have to be very creative, but then you have to be very kind of exact. So there are a lot of people who are musicians who also like computers. So the amount of apps out there, or synthesizers, there's a lot of them and there's definitely an audience for it. These are ones for Android devices. So, in case you don't have iPads or you don't wanna spend as much money.
Maybe you want an Android tablet. These are some options to use. These are for Chrome, which this surprised me. It's crossing over to Chrome and these get very good ratings so you can actually make music if you are a Google school and you're using Chromebooks, or if you have a PC, you could use it as well because these extensions should install on your Chrome browser on a PC, so this should open up a lotta options for people. If you wanted to use music with students, either to relieve stress or to teach music, or to include them or whatever your goal is, here's a great option and this is something that most people should be able to use, obviously, if you have either Chromebooks or a PC, these are three good options. This is a list of apps for iPads. So this is a ton of 'em.
There's so many out there that, if you're looking for something specific, they probably have something about it. And there's a, the list is so long, I could have included another page of them, I just didn't bother. But there's so many that have like 4 1/2 or 5 stars that are just unbelievably good apps. So, the options, if you have iPads, are definitely there as well. So, question. This is a question. This is really for me. And this is a question that I ask, I think about all the time. But, do you currently use technology with the goal of creating engagement? For me, that's something that's a big thing of what I like to do. I think that's very important and I know, early on in my career, when I was a young special ed teacher, and they were talking about motivating students and I'd say, "Well, how do you motivate students?" I mean, it's really hard to convince somebody to do something that, either they don't wanna do or they're in a bad mood and they don't feel like working.
And, I think, 20 years ago, my answer was, I didn't know how to motivate students. Now, today, with the technologies out there motivating students I think is something that is more possible than ever before. It is really, really something that there's technology out there that engage students just like we showed with the art apps and the music apps, and the music website, there's so many ways to engage students and to get them to be an active part of the learning process.
Even if you don't have an academic goal, there are things obviously out there you can have them do to change their frame of mind, to change their mood, because anxiety is an issue that is much more prevalent, I think, today, than it was 20 years ago. And I'm not a hundred percent sure. Maybe we know more about it today and we recognize it more today, that's part of it. I think some of the anxiety is higher because there may be some changes in our society either with the family or with high-stakes testing. But, I believe that engaging people and looking for technology to engage people is an absolute goal that I have. And I hope that's a goal that if you don't have right now, that I hope that that's something you think about, especially from listening to this webinar, that maybe you'll pick up one or two things that you can really bring back to engage your students. This is a big one for me.
One of the things we do in Learning Commons is we make green screen videos. Video editing used to be something for the high-end computer user like me, and it's not anymore. Now it's something that everybody can really do. It's gotten so much simpler with a lot of these apps that are out there. It's gotten where the average person can do this. And, green screens, where they call it a chroma key, green screens is something that was really a high-level video-editing activity. It wasn't something for the average person. And now it's so simple that literally in like two minutes I can show people how to do this. It's so simple, less. Two minutes is long. I could say in under a minute I could teach high school students.
With elementary school students, I could probably, might take me two or three minutes. But it's something that, with a large population this is something that is completely in reach. And this is an app called Green Screen. It's by Do Ink. And this is the app that people predominantly use to make green screen videos. And when you put a different background behind people, they love it. This works with adults really well. It works with high school students. I guarantee it'll work with younger children. It will definitely, Once you put a picture behind people and have them act out a scene, people just do it. It works.
I'm not always sure why it works, but I've never had anybody who didn't like it or didn't wanna play along with it. We put lots of pictures behind people and we have them either talk about something or sometimes act things out, or, for the foreign language class, a lotta times they talk in that foreign language, whether it's Spanish or French. Now green screens, the other thing is, people talk about how to make a green screen. This is a projector that I have where I work and I turned it into a green screen. All I simply did was I went to YouTube and I typed in the word green screen, and I just put that color in the background. And you would span the YouTube video like you would to watch the YouTube video, and it plays a blank screen in front of you. So, you could make a green screen. A lotta people can make one simply with like a green sheet or you can buy them. They're not too expensive. You buy them, but, if it was a one-day lesson, you could turn your projector into a green screen. Simply go to YouTube and you type in green screen video.
It is something that is really awesome and exciting to do if you can bring this into your classroom. This is a video of me using Do Ink. I turn my TV in my home into a green screen. And I'm gonna show you how and then you can see step by step of how to do this. So, we're gonna play this video in just a minute. And, you're gonna get to see exactly how to turn, either your TV or your projector into a green screen in exactly two minutes. The app we're gonna use now is called Green Screen by Do Ink. It is a green screen app. It's also a video app. It helps you make very simple videos. It is this strange octopus-looking creature over here. I'm gonna click on it. Then I'm gonna hit the plus symbol, which is right up here to create a new project. Then I'm gonna hit the little plus symbol on the bottom and I'm going to add in a picture. I'm gonna click on Image.
And then I'm gonna set my background where it looks like the background of an iPad. I'm gonna click on that. And I'm gonna click on Use. And then I'm gonna click on the little plus down here. And I'm gonna click on Camera. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna turn my TV into a green screen. You can do the same thing with your projector. It's really easy to do. You just have to search blank green screen on YouTube and then play that video. It's as simple as that. It works very effective in a classroom and also in your home if you like to play around with green screens. To turn your TV or, in your classroom, your projector, into a green screen, all you do is go to YouTube and type in the words blank green screen video and a number of videos will come up that are blank green screens. The first one that comes up is fine.
It's a blank green screen that lasts ten hours. That should be good. So, every classroom with a projector, you can turn the background into a green screen no problem. If you have a TV at home, you can do that as well. It's very simple. So, my TV's behind me. It doesn't look like it. It looks like I'm trapped in an iPad. But all I did was I turned the TV into the green screen. Now, if I move back a little bit, you'll see the TV appear behind me. But if I move forward, you can see it looks like you can see the iPad as my background. And you could do this in the classroom with a projector as well. It's a little bit easier 'cause you probably don't have to sit on the floor to do it. This is John O'Sullivan. So if you ever wanna flip your classroom like people talk about flipping your classroom and you make a video and you have them watch it at home. Well, you know, a lot of people, you don't realize that you have the ability to play YouTube on your TV. A lotta times the cable services give that to you and you can search and do it, but if they don't, on the back of your TV, usually there's type of connections.
It's similar connections that you'd see in your computer. One's called VGA and the other's called HDMI. The same connections on your computer are on your TV. And you can actually hook your computer up to your TV. If you don't know how to do it, obviously, it takes a little time. I don't have time to go into the details, but you can do it and, even if you don't know to do that, like I said, a lot of the cable services, I know through RCN I've done it. I've done it with Comcast in the past. A lotta times you can search YouTube on it and you can make that video at home if you wanna flip your classroom, or you can go into your classroom and you can put it on your projector and you can put a picture, of whatever the topic of the day is, and have your students act it out. And, it will be a lot of fun.
And you really, really change the atmosphere of your classroom. Like if you have people that come in and they're having a bad day and they're stressed out and something wrong is happening. You can put that green screen on your projector. You can put a really cool picture behind it and you could do just about anything and, immediately, you're gonna have students who are engaged, who are having fun and it's exciting and this is an app, but it's only for the iPad unfortunately. The ones for Android that I find that do green screen, take pictures. This is the one that does video and the fact that it's so simple is why this app is the best app out there because, literally, I can show someone how to make a green screen video in two minutes or less. It's that wonderful. So, if you do have an iPad, I'd recommend getting this app and turning your projector into a green screen and you'll have a lot of fun with this. Okay, so, if you don't have an iPad, 'cause I gotta, I don't wanna be iPad-centric here, Screencastify, you can't make a green screen with it, but you can put a web cam video over your presentations like, that's a picture of me over a past presentation that I did, and I talk over it.
So, in other words, you can take a PowerPoint and you can put a video over it and then you could talk over the video. And it immediately makes it a dynamic presentation. And it's simple. That is the most important thing when you're using a new technology. I know everybody wants to use something where if in a few minutes you can get your class going on it. So, if you don't have iPads and you're a Chrome school, or, sorry, a Google school and you have Chromebooks, this is one that you might wanna consider using 'cause you find today that the Chromebooks and the PCs have webcams already in them. You can simply give a presentation or have your students give a presentation and they could talk over it and they can practice a number of skills and do so in a very dynamic way without spending a lotta time figuring out the technical aspects of it.
And, so let me go on to the next one. If you download the PowerPoint, a lot of these you can see. I have videos connected to them that you can watch how to do these. This is called Adobe Spark. This one is online. This is kind of a tweener program. It's really a presentation that turns into a video. They call it a video. It's kinda like if you took slides, Google slides or PowerPoint and then turned it into a video where you see some very simple movement. This is a great program and they are now doing something different. This is a link to it. Adobe Spark in September, they're gonna start working with schools. They could use a school login.
And they're giving the more advanced features of the product to schools for free. The link on there explains about it. So, if you're looking for something to do that's a little bit more dynamic with students, this is, like I said, it's a presentation, but it's a presentation that turns into a video. This is something that you might wanna consider using. Obviously, to create engagement, and to really get your students to do something, games are a big thing. And I know people talk about gamification. Well we can't turn everything into a video game. I don't think we're at that point.
But, there's a lot of positive aspect from games that we can use with our lessons. I say, as long as we can link it to the curriculum and the primary goal is to teach the curriculum and the game part isn't a distraction taking away from it, I'm all for it. There's a lot of very simple games that we're used to playing and we've played before and we can actually integrate this into our curriculum which is kind of awesome. That's definitely a great way to engage people. So, one of the examples I use is Jeopardy. This is their two different sites. Jeopardy Labs has a free version and a paid version. Jeopardy Rocks is free and you can make a Jeopardy game.
Jeopardy works for all different ages. The younger ages will use it. The older ages will use it. It's a great way to do review. If you have a group that wants to review for a test it's a good way to give the students feedback on how much information that they know on a particular subject area. But it's also one of those activities, when you have to get work done and your teaching towards standards, and you really need to engage students because it's a Friday and it's hot out, or there's a distraction because we were out for a snow day, this is a great way to refocus people where you can turn it into a game where you can make learning a little more engaging, a little bit more fun.
And, the brilliant part about it, it's simple to use, so that you don't have to be techy or geeky to do this. It's a little like filling out a template. And you fill in the questions. And you'll find, within a half hour, you could fill out one of these and use it with one of your classes. And I did make a video on it. We're not showing it, but if you go to the PowerPoint, you can click on that link if you wanna learn how to use one of these programs. So, that's something you might wanna consider doing if you download the PowerPoint. Mad Libs. This is an iPad app for Mad Libs. I will warn you about Mad Libs. If you're a middle school teacher, you might be nervous about using Mad Libs. I work in a high school. I know the high school teachers I work with would tell you don't use Mad Libs with them. But, I've seen this used with elementary school students and this is a great way to teach people the parts of speech, what verbs are, what nouns are, what adjectives are, what adverbs are. You can teach them all that and then they could have fun doing it. I mean, I've seen teachers use this, either the paper form or, in this case, the app form.
And, you can teach these things, and I've seen a whole class where people were laughing. But people are learning those different parts of grammar and, teaching grammar, 'cause I've taught grammar before, it's not something that sometimes can seem not always the most exciting thing to do when you have to kind of drill and practice to do it. If you can make this a fun activity where people are engaged and laughing, and enjoying it and thinking of things that will make the story interesting when you read it, but won't get you in trouble, or won't get them in trouble is maybe a better way to say it, this is a great activity, Mad Libs, and this is a great app.
This one is for the iPad and I have a link to it. I believe there's also an Android, I believer there's an Android version for this one as well. Yeah, it says Android. So if you don't have an iPad, you could use this on an Android either phone or tablet. I'm gonna go to the next one. This is Algebra Touch. This is one of my personal favorite apps of all time. It's a math app and it's so hard to get something to teach math that is really engaging and that can make that difficult, stressful math problem something that can be actually even kind of fun because it shows you all the steps and it makes it seem easy because if you don't know how to do the problem, you could actually click on it and try moving things and you'll find out you'll actually be solving the problem even if you didn't know anything to begin with. It literally shows you step by step, how to do math problems.
And the brilliance of this, it will show you simple math, like adding and subtracting. It will show you more complicated math like algebra, and you could even put in your own problems. But the way it shows you step by steps, it doesn't give you the answer. It forces you to learn it. But it makes you feel more comfortable because if you didn't know what to do, you could literally start touching the screen of the iPad and you would see progress. This is an iPad app. So I'm gonna click on the next one. We have a video for this one. And when you see this video, you'll see how quick and fast this goes. How user-friendly it is. It's one of my favorite apps of all time.
We're gonna play it for you right now. This is Algebra Touch. This is one of my all-time favorite apps, because it teaches math and it teaches math by showing you every step. And it does it on different levels like, It's called Algebra Touch, but it will work with simple adding. So, if I just simply, if I touch the plus symbols, it adds them. So, very simple. And you can type in your own problems with this as well. So let's get a little bit more complicated, combining like terms. So, you could hit the plus symbol, or I can, say, I can drag 17 over to 2c, right, 17c to 2c and I get the plus symbol and it gives me the answer. And it gets more complicated from there. This is multiplication, this is factors. Let's try distribution. That's a little more complicated. Okay, so, I can drag the 18 over. I can drag the 8 over. See you keep hitting different things until something happens, but it shows you what it's doing.
So it shows you how it's actually distributing it. It just doesn't do it on its own and that's what's really awesome about this program is it shows you each individual step. So, the really great part is you can create your own problems and that's what makes this so amazing. So this is Quick Problem. And so, if I wanna type in two plus 34 minus five, well, guess I hit one too many numbers there, but you get the idea. And then I can simply start clicking on the symbols and it combines like terms, and it'll give you the answer. But it shows you each individual step, so it's not about giving the answers, but showing process, and that can take a lot of the fear out of math. That's why I really love this app and I highly recommend it. It's called Algebra Touch but it does things way beyond algebra. It does things like the distributive property or basic adding and subtracting or multiplication.
So it's a really great app. This is John O'Sullivan. Yeah, that is a great app if you're using it with the students, especially if you have them in like a learning center or a reader's room-type classroom where they can sit and do math and practice doing it. The thing about it it's everybody struggles with math, even adults struggle with math. I mean, I'm someone who was always good at math and sometimes I look at the stuff the high school students have to do and I'm like, "Wow, I've never seen that before." But the brilliant thing about this is you don't feel like that when you're using it because, even if you had no idea what to do, you could literally start touching it and it would eventually do the problem for you, and pretty quickly at that.
And something about touching it and it showing you each step, makes you stop and think about what's actually happening in the problem, which I would tell you, from a math teacher's point of view, that is certainly a big deal to just stop and see how the problems are, and not just have it to give you the answer. That is always huge that it, you can see how to do the problem. So, that is Algebra Touch. I would tell people, if you joined us late, I would tell you, if you have a chance, to download the PowerPoint that has all the different links to the different things that we're doing. I would say to download the PowerPoint because if we have bonus videos and we also have lots of other information here that you can use as well because I try to find things that are on different platforms so that I'm not just being accused of being iPad-centric.
And we'll move right along. This is another one here which is really kinda cool. What I'm finding is that I can find stuff to get, find books on tape to get stuff read to me. There's a lot out there that I'm finding now that will read stuff on your screen. There's a lot of extensions for Chrome that will do that. The next wave that I really see is that, you can actually turn text into an MP3. It's the coolest thing. This used to be something you had to pay a lotta money for. In other words, you used to have to buy a high-level program. You had to buy Convert Well, or something like that, or some other high-level program. And as part of that it would turn text into an MP3. Now you can go online, literally cut and paste some text, hit a button and it'll turn it into an MP3 for you. So, we've gone beyond having text to speech.
There's a lot of that out there because we're finding that on the operating systems there are extensions for the Chrome browser that will read stuff to you that's on the screen. But most people haven't thought of turning it into an MP3. Now something like if you, for instance, had notes or something that people had to study. You could simply cut and paste it and then download it as an MP3. This particular website works very well. There's a bunch of them out there. And I find some of them work, some of them don't. This one works very well, but there are others out there that you could find. If you simply were to Google text to MP3 there's a number of websites that come up. It's free and if you have something important that you're working on and you want a student to learn it in a multi-sensory way, you could have them cut and paste it, or you could do it yourself too, cut and paste it, download it as an MP3 and then they could, obviously listen to it over and over again. But, students these days are coming into school with those smartphones.
They could even they could put it on their smartphone and they can listen to those notes over and over and over again when they're studying for a test. And if you have worksheets or something in the classroom that you need read to students, simply take that Microsoft work document, copy and paste into the website, and download it and all of a sudden, you have a document where it can be read to somebody, which is really, really great. And I think this is something that people haven't thought of to use yet, but it is an amazing tool that I certainly would recommend people try if they haven't already.
This is another one and I always look for stuff for executive function and, when it comes to executive function, I always feel like, other words I use and stuff that helps like what you know putting things into a calendar or making a to do list, or, in this case, setting reminders. It's almost like, in order to help someone with an executive function they have to do all these, a number of tasks, and something like Reminders is so important that we all need it. I mean I have a schedule on my cellphone. My cellphone reminds me to do things. But when you're in a classroom with a number of students and you're very busy, it's hard for us to keep track of time so this is something you could do is you could set reminders for students, especially if you have students who are on the autism spectrum who need anticipation before they do something, who need to be told at a certain time, that something that's scheduled is changing. You can set reminders. And a lotta times as teachers we get stuck setting these reminders.
Obviously, if you can, have the student do it. Sometimes the people who don't have a good executive function need someone around them who has a better one like adults in their lives. So, a lotta times we get stuck setting these, but it is so important because I know, even when I'm teaching adults, I'll say we have five minutes left, we have 10 minutes left, and I constantly find myself pacing, but it's so important to have those breaks and those reminders in there. Especially for people who have difficulty in the area of executive function. And this is a simple way. This is an app that gets a lotta reminders that you can use that will remind you of different things. Obviously someone has to go and set the reminders, either you or the student. But this app gets a lotta ratings.
A lotta people don't think of using something like this. But, again, when you're teaching a group of students and you're in constant motion you're constantly busy, it's gonna be hard to remember in a half hour what you have to say or an hour from now what you have to say or you have to remind people five minutes ahead of time to do something. And pacing of our classes is a big thing that we do and we don't always get the breaks, so I always recommend this is a good way of doing it. Setting alarm reminders. This is one for the iPad that I really like. This is another one for me. This is a joystick on a mouse. This might be maybe a pet peeve of mine. But, prices for stuff for people with physical disabilities have gone way down for a lot of the items out there. Not everything, but a lot of it. This is a joystick. Y
ou can get a joystick either for a mouse or an iPad. You can get them for like $300, $400 tops. Usually it's closer to $300 to buy one of these. If you have someone you work with, a student that has a physical disability, I recommend going out and buying a lot of this stuff because, it's not that the money should be the determining factor, but you can get stuff for a couple hundred dollars and, like I said, if it doesn't work out, pretty much all these places have standard return policies of 30 days 'cause I've called them up before because I get teachers who are nervous, well, what if it doesn't work. I said, "It's okay. "We can return it. "It's a store. "They will take it back. "It won't be the first time something's being returned." But it seems a lot less threatening when we have to go into meetings and instead of saying we have to spend thousands of dollars, to spend a couple hundred. But we're not enabling the students and we're not going out and spending the money to include people by using these devices.
I always point out that the technology, the prices have come way down and a joystick or some form of adaptive mouse, you can get them. You can get them for the iPad, You can get them for PCs. So you can get them for regular, mainframe computers, your laptop or a tablet. They're out there and they don't cost nearly as much as you think. And, if you use it and it's a disaster, you can always return it. This is something I try to constantly remind people of it because I hear sometimes so and so's having a problem with this and I find out it's been going on for a long time, I'm like, "This stuff is available "and it's certainly within reach of all." It's just I want people to know that. This is a really cool one. We talk about global education with a global classroom. And a global classroom, a lot of times what that means is we're videoconferencing with people in other parts of the world, or even our hometown or just the town that we're working in. That we're using videoconference. And this is a microphone inside of a ball.
So, the idea is it's a wireless microphone inside of a ball and you could pass it to students and you can have a speaker anywhere in the world come into your classroom via videoconferencing and you can say I have a global classroom and, obviously, with certain students you wanna be careful about letting them throw the ball, but the ball is soft so, as long as they're not doing anything too outrageous it shouldn't hurt anybody. It's like a regular ball, but it has a microphone in it. And they can simply pass the microphone around the class. It's a wireless microphone. It works really well and then you can say you have a global classroom and then you can try to find people from either other parts of the country or even in the town that you work in, you could talk to important people and you can have people visit the class.
And it opens avenues like never before to help people with social skills, to connect people with community, to talk about a subject and bring in an expert into your classroom. And they don't have to drive to the school. Even if they live a few miles away, they don't have to drive there. And it's quick and it's easy. It opens up avenues we haven't thought of before. And this is a company I've actually followed when they were, before they even were in development, when they were like, they were just basically an upstart. So this is called Qball. This is one certainly that I recommend. Magnification apps. One of the things that we used to do is we used to go out and spend large sums of money on magnifiers for people who are visually impaired.
Now, today, with an iPad, they have like, it comes free on an iPad where it magnifies it. These are two apps I like. The reason I like them, they're free apps, and I like them because they freeze the screen. So, in other words, if you're reading something, you can hit a button and it locks it and then if you move the tablet, or the phone, it doesn't shake, it keeps the picture solid and it doesn't move it. And they're free. So you can use the ones that come free in operating systems. You can use the one that tend to come on your iPad or your iPhone. Or, on to Android devices, if you're using that. But, this is ones for the iPad that I like because it locks so knows, tell people, if you're using a magnifier using a tablet as a magnifier that you wanna use one that locks and these are two of my personal favorites. We've have another last thing I wanna talk about.
We talked about personalized learning is a big thing in the field. By using technology personalized learning means it gives that individual feedback on how they're doing. It personalizes it. But there's also depersonalized learning. And, I'll tell you from experience, people get less stressed out when your phone tells you you're doing something wrong. Or when Microsoft Word has little squiggly red underline and you misspelled a word, because people feel as though, when they're getting negative feedback on a computer it's private. And the whole world isn't seeing it so, you have personalized learning in the sense that they're getting individual feedback. And you have depersonalized learning is, it's not as much stress when you're getting feedback from a computer. One, because it gives you the feedback immediately so, it wasn't sitting there very long where you thought it was right.
So you correct the problem right away. But it's also, like if you ever had someone who you really thought very highly of correct you, you know, your parents or a teacher, for some reason, when those authority figures correct us, it's more painful. But when we get that feedback and it's private, it's less painful, so I try to point this out when people are using computers you get personalized feedback, but you also get depersonalized feedback because it's less stressful. And that's a big deal to a lotta students because there's a lot of stresses on students today. So we're up to the last part. I somehow fit all that in to exactly an hour. I don't know how I did that. We went over a lot. I hope I found some really cool things for everybody to look at.
And, I would imagine if you, if you've been listening for a while, that you've found at least two or three really cool things that you could probably start in your classrooms now, and to make it more engaging or to help students who have disabilities. If anybody has any questions, now would be a good time. I would, I'll try to answer them best as I can. And, the PowerPoint has a lot of information. I've six more videos on how to do things.
And, there's a ton of links and information, so that, if I didn't cover it, there's a slew of information that you could use in that subject to find the answer for yourself. But if you have a question, I would be happy to answer them right now if anybody has any questions. Okay, let's see what we have. Okay, someone's saying, "Okay, it was text to MP3, "not speech to MP3," okay. Okay, people are liking the ideas. That's good. "This is great." "Thank you." I'll take thank yous. Thanks yous are always good. I like hearing that. Thank you very much. I'm glad people enjoyed it. I put a lotta time into this so if I can help somebody out with technology, I'm always happy to do that. "Can't wait to go over the PowerPoint." Yeah, the PowerPoint, there's a ton of information in the PowerPoint. We showed six videos, but there's six more videos in the PowerPoint.
And, as you've seen from my videos, they're very straight to the point of this is what you need to do it and you can tell I've been a special ed teacher for a long time. I'm very good at giving directions and cutting out distractions. So, if you liked any of these ideas, just definitely download the PowerPoint and then look at the information that's relevant to you because a lot of it's crossing over to platforms. When I wrote my first book, it was all about iPad apps and, since then, I now write about stuff that's on other platforms like, you know, you'll find on a Chromebook or a PC, or on a Macintosh computer. Someone asked if Algebra Touch works with voiceover. Okay.
Voiceover, I've never tried it with voiceover. Voiceover works with most apps. I guess you could try it. I haven't tried it to be certain. I would expect that it probably does 'cause most of them do. Do we have any other questions? Okay. Well, I wanna say thank you. It's been wonderful. I absolutely love doing this and I'm thrilled that I've had the opportunity to do this a second time. And, certainly, I'd love to come back again. I hope you have a slew of information to go over and that you're able to use all this information to engage your students and to include your students whenever possible in things like art and music. It's been a pleasure. I would like to thank you very much on behalf of the Center for Technology and Disability. Thank you very much for attending.
- [Ana-Maria] Thanks, John. That was great.
- Great to be here. I enjoyed every minute of it.