Monday, September 29, 2014

A Few Great Finds From My Colleagues

Here are some resources that have been shared with me by some of my colleagues. I'm so thankful when others share with me. 

#1 Abbie shared - - her students used this site to create word clouds. A really nice feature of Worditout is that a student doesn't need an account to make and save a word cloud. There are many settings to choose from. I made this word cloud by entering the URL of this blog. 

#2 Catherine shared - -  use this site to create a poster, collage, calendar or card.  Catherine gave her students choice of which tool they wanted to use to create posters for an assignment and she really liked the options this site offered. This site can also be used without creating an account. 

I created this poster in just a few minutes

#3 Pat wants to use MindMapMaker with his students.  This site is great for making a mind map and is also a nice way for students to take notes.  I created a mindmap with images to show as an example.  MindMapMaker can be linked to your Google Drive for easy sharing.  

I highly recommend giving any of these three sites a try.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pear Deck - Chat with Deb

Pear Deck, which was released earlier this month, is a great way to interact with your students during a lesson and also a way to assess student learning.

Watch this Chat with Deb video to see how Pear Deck works.

Here is a video explaining how to view student responses after a session.

I highly recommend giving Pear Deck a try!

Thank you to Intel's Teachers Engage for sponsoring this Chat with Deb.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Advice for a Successful 1:1 Classroom

In our district, our three high schools are going 1:1 with Chromebooks this year. Our Chromebooks will be arriving within the first three weeks of school.

Here is some advice for making sure that lessons using the Chromebooks will be implemented successfully.

First, test out the site, app, or tool that students will be using. Make sure to log onto the same device that students will be using with a student account. If you try out a site as a teacher on a desktop computer, there is a chance that what worked for you will not work for the students on their device with their log in.

Here are some suggested sites that integrate well into lessons:
Animoto - create amazing videos
Thinglink - add links and videos to photos
The Learnia - Students can create videos on a white board
Canva - a Chrome app for creating posters, flyers or brochures.
Quizlet - make online flashcards and learn through games
Trello - a visual task manager for projects
Twisted Wave - an audio editor

Second, take time to teach students the tool or site before they start an assignment. Many sites will have tutorials already made. Or you can make your own tutorial using a video screen capture tool such as Screencastomatic (needs Java) or Screencastify (a Chrome extension).

Third, break down the assignment into parts and use timers to keep students from wasting time or getting too carried away with online distractions. One click timer is an easy Chrome Extension. Or there is this online stopwatch.

Lastly, make sure the tool or application you are using is the right one for the job. The technology should enhance the learning and knowledge, not deter from it. Before you choose an application, decide what the learning goal is and then choose an application that allows students to accomplish that goal.

Check out Kathy Schrock's list of Bloomin' Apps sorted by Bloom's Taxonomy

My final piece of advice is to learn how to manage an entire class with laptops. 
Here are some tips:

  • Teach a handful of students the tools needed and have them help others in the class so that you are not the only person students can go to for help.
  • Sometimes it's easier to start a new tool or application with students in groups and each group has only one computer in use. This way you only have 7 - 10 computers being used at a time for easier management.
  • Go slowly when teaching a new tool and point out exactly where to click or how to navigate.
  • Stay mobile and constantly move around the room when students are working on their computers. 
  • Establish clear expectations and consistent rules for what you expect when students are on their computers. 
  • Be flexible and prepare to give some extra time to your lesson when trying an app or tool for the first time.
  • Have a plan B or be prepared switch to an alternative site or tool if necessary. Sometimes a site is unavailable or worst case scenario, the Internet may go down. 

May you all have a successful school year integrating technology into your lessons and making a difference in the education of today's learners.

Monday, September 1, 2014

International Dot Day - App Smashing

App Smashing on International Dot Day - September 15th

Watch this Chat with Deb video to see the first activity using Lucidchart Diagrams, the Quick Research extension, the Lucidchart Add-on and Google Docs


Blogging example:

Give students a chance to begin showcasing their work and projects with a simple blogging platform.

  • Students will make an account on and name and create a blog. 
  • Students will make an account on Evernote
  • Connect the Evernote account in under the sources tab.

  • Students will install the Evernote Web Clipper Extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  • Whenever students create content on the web or have a picture of something they have done saved in Evernote, they can click on the Evernote Web Clipper Extension and the site or picture will be posted onto their blog.
  • Students can use Doppleme to create an avatar to represent themselves in a private and secure way. There is no account necessary and the avatar can be saved directly to Evernote using the Evernote Web Clipper!!!

I love the idea of starting a blog on International Dot Day to help students to begin to "make a mark" and create a digital portfolio of their work in the blogging platform.

Profile Example:
Students will showcase who they are and who they want to someday become through this activity.

  • Students will get the My World app from the Chrome Web Store.
  • Students will use the My World app to choose images that represent who they are and who they someday want to become.
  • When students are finished, the My World app will analyze their profile based on the images they have chosen.
  • Next, students will download the My World results (downloads as a jpeg image)
  • Students will either insert the My World image into a Google Site or a Google Presentation or site of their choice. 
  • Students will go to the Vocaroo site, and will record an audio message telling about the visual representation of themselves.
  • Students can share the link or get a QR code for the Vocaroo recording to display with the My World image on their site.
Google Site Example:
Google Presentation Example:

Having students share a visual and audio representation of themselves builds self awareness and pride among their peers. This is a great way to have students "make their mark" on International Dot Day.