hAPPy Halloween! Prepare for a Multimedia Scare with Haunting Melissa!

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.37.47 AMI have been very interested lately in the new digital storytelling format. The first one on my radar was written for kids by Kate Pullinger, an award-winning Canadian author. It is called Inanimate Alice and is an altogether different kind of manner of experiencing story. Not a movie exactly, not an audio book as you have to read the text, but sort of like text you experience not only through processing the words on the page, but through moving visuals and sounds as well.

As I was browsing for some Halloween fun to highlight, I came across this free digital story called Haunting Melissa. It was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s “best of” app as well as “Best new app” in app store.

I won’t lie. I downloaded it right now and had to stop watching it as I was afraid of letting out a scream and scaring the poor Grade 8s working diligently in the library to death.

Unlike Inanimate Alice though, Haunting Melissa seems to be a a high-quality move production. It is told in episodes, but I am not quite sure where the interactive part comes in yet, as I well, chickened out.

But maybe you are braver…

Caution: the app says 12+ for age. However, I watched two seconds of it and am totally creeped out so maybe only recommend it to older students or for those kids who love horror and can hack it.

rAPPido Review: Kaizena — A feedback app for teachers

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.51.26 AMThis morning I spent some time with the app Kaizena. First – Shout out to Ms. Jackson for having sent me the link so long ago. Although it might take me some time, I do always check it out!

NOTE: Kaizena is a web-based application, not an app that you will get on the app store. I tried out the teacher version on my laptop and the student version on the iPad. All functions seemed to work except for a few things, but more on that later.

In order to not re-invent the wheel, I would highly recommend watching the following introductory video, showing you how to use Kaizena. When I signed up, I bumbled around, wondering where to go. Watching the video made it very clear how to proceed even trying it out.

Warning: the Kaizena peeps don’t hold to our 5 minute max, flipped classroom video rule. The whole thing runs at 24 minutes. However, it is well worth it as I think this application could be very useful!

In a Nutshell:

Kaizena lets you give feedback in a variety of formats on students work. When you highlight certain passages you want to comment on you can:

  • add audio comments
  • send a link to a flipped classroom video you have created or that you have found on youtube
  • embed one of Kaizena’s curated lessons (eg. say a student keeps on misusing an apostrophe. Simply tap the lessons icon, type in apostrophe and the lesson will pop up. Watch the video for more info).
  • Of course you can also add text comments as well!

This is done by starting a conversation with your student. Each student has their own conversation and all the feedback you have ever given them will remain in that conversation.

Again. Watch the video.

Kaizena works with google drive and google classroom, so you sign in with Google:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 8.53.40 AM

Our school was already listed! How cool is that?

Wait a minute…Is somebody already using Kaizena? If so, let me know!

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 8.54.05 AM

Then you set up your profile and your groups. And by groups, they mean classes.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 8.54.32 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 8.55.01 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 8.55.40 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 8.56.02 AM

If you are using Google classroom, you can import your classes. If not, you can simply send a link and invite your students to join.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 9.46.42 AM

Once they join, they should pick one of your classes. That way you have all your students in nice, manageable groups. Then they will send you a file. In order to test this out, I signed up to Kaizena with my personal gmail, so the screenshots are a little confusing because Lina Gordaneer is the teacher and Lina E. Gordaneer is the student. But aren’t we all both teacher and student? Aren’t we, I ask?

Ok. Moving on.

So this is how the teacher’s view looks like before students:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 9.30.24 AM

Then I tried to add some lessons, so I added the link to my press I use for the Mindful Use workshop. Which worked fine! It totally embedded my prezi!

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.21.01 AM

But then I tried to add an audio comment and got this:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 9.37.57 AM

And I couldn’t find what they meant by “on top”. And I couldn’t leave the screen. Very frustrating. But then I realized when I looked in the help sheet that there was supposed to be a pop-up by the URL. But Safari didn’t like pop-ups. As soon as I switched to Firefox it worked fine.

Here is how it looks from a student’s perspective on the iPad:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.16.43 AM

All they have to do is tap the add file:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.17.00 AM

They can easily add a file:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.17.22 AM

It automatically takes them to their Google drive. I found this a little hard as the folders didn’t seem to work. But you could use the search tab. It worked okay.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.19.32 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.30.21 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.30.52 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.29.48 AM

However, it didn’t allow me to open the file…Not sure why – file format? Temporary glitch? I  will try again…Nope. I tried documents from dropbox and a photo from photos and neither of them could upload, however I was using Safari on the iPad. Perhaps that is the problem? Let me try to log in with Chrome…

Ok. Crashed my iPad. This is not good…

Nope. Doesn’t work on Chrome. So only files in Google Drive can be accessed on the iPad…

However, opening something from Google drive was a cinch:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.31.16 AM

Now back to the teacher’s view:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.31.42 AM

I just have to tap on Lina to see the file she uploaded and start commenting!

I added a lesson, an audio comment and a text comment:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.34.27 AM

You can see that as the teacher comments, it automatically appears on the student’s page as well:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.36.36 AMAll in all, a very useful tool  if you are using google drive with your students.

If you decide to try it out, please let me know about it!