Monday, February 21, 2011

ActivInspire: Drag A Copy and More

Sometimes just knowing a few simple tricks in ActivInspire can save the day. In my last post I mentioned that I had put some action objects on my page by using the Drag and Drop feature. That sure saved me big time in front of those first graders when my tools mysteriously disappeared!
This is a link to a handout I created on how to: Drag a Copy, Drag & Drop, and Drag an Application. Here's why you might want to know how to use each of these features.

Drag a Copy: Anytime you want to use the same icon or image repeatedly you might like drag a copy. If you're asking students to drag the coins on the flipchart to demonstrate an amount, or if you ask students to put a sun or cloud on a weather map or calendar you'll want to use drag a copy. This saves you from guessing just how many pennies or suns you might need. Just put one and add the drag & drop action to it and you'll be able to drag a copy forever and ever.

Drag & Drop: Normally you and your students would use the toolbox to access tools. Some of the tools can be put right on the page so students don't have to search for the tools in the toolbox. The page reset button is a necessity for interactive pages. Drag & Drop lets you drop these commonly used buttons onto the page and possibly you'll be able to put your toolbox away.

Drag an Application: There are times you might want one of your computer applications to be at your fingertips within ActivInspire. For example, if you’re working with student photos you might want Photo Booth on your flipchart page so you can take pictures of your students and drag them right on to your page.

Download the handout here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Eeeeek . . . I Lost My Toolbox

I worked hard on a flipchart for the first graders on counting change. I went through each page of the flipchart with a fine tooth comb, making minor changes every time I looked at it. Today was the big day to actually try it out with students. I walked in feeling rather confident. The kids had their marker boards and a bag with change in it all ready to go! I opened ActivInspire and realized very quickly that my toolbox was missing! This has happened before so I calmly quit ActivInspre and opened it again. Still no toolbox! I looked under every menu and tried various icons. I quit ActivInspire again and it still didn't come up. So we went on anyway. Lucky for me I had used the drag and drop action to put the forward, reset, and eraser tools on each page. Well, we had to revamp somewhat!
Once the lesson was over and I had a couple of minutes to regroup I searched for the solution to the missing tool box. This seems to be a bug in ActivInspire's latest version. If this ever happens to you do this:
1. open the preferences (found under ActivInspire in the upper left hand corner)
2. choose the layout tab
3. change the location of the main toolbox. You can always change it back if you want.
That's it! Your toolbox should now be showing again! I just want you all to know the solution in the event it ever happens to you.
BTW, I didn't kick and scream at my computer. I didn't throw out my plans. I just had to revamp. The first graders were just fine with it! I'm going back in next week and we'll complete the lesson. It's going to work flawlessly!

First Graders Create Paper Slide Videos

Yesterday a class of first graders created their first paper slide videos! Students were divided into groups of three. Each student had a job. One person was the videographer, one was the narrator, and one was the paper slider. The first graders are learning about pennies, nickels, and dimes which made perfect content for the paper slide videos. Most of the slides were printed from the computer but they certainly don't have to be. Some paper slide videos start out with completely blank slides. Personally, I like a mix of computer text or graphics with original student work. Enjoy our first attempt with paper slide videos with first graders. We'll be posting more in the next week as several other grade levels are creating paper slide videos.