Monday, April 27, 2015

Great Tips and Tricks for Staying Organized

Some of the best tips and tricks I know are for staying organized. Watch this Chat with Deb video to see some of my favorites

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

Ideas for National Library Week and Global Citizenship

Teaching students to connect globally and to recognize what is happening outside of their immediate community is so important in education today. To me, Global Citizenship means expanding and deepening our understanding of people and events from around the world.

To celebrate National Library Week and incorporate Global Citizenship, watch this Chat with Deb video:

Here is the presentation:

Thank you to the Intel Engage Community for sponsoring this Chat with Deb.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Alternatives to Google Tour Builder for the Chromebook

Recently, some educators that I work with, showed interested in having their students use Google Tour Builder to create a tour of locations from a historical time period. We could do this on desktops, but the teachers really want the students to be able to use their Chromebooks, which is not possible with Google Tour Builder since it uses the Google Earth download.

So I found two alternatives that will allow students to build a "tour" of locations on a map and also include text, images and even video.

Alternative 1:

With My Maps, students can add a marker, and then add an image to go with the marker. Students can also draw lines between different markers. One of the nice features of My Maps is that you can add layers. To display a "tour" the students can turn the layers on or off to show more or less at a time. For this tool, the students would use the extension, Screencastify to record a narrative to go with the "tour". 

Alternative 2:

Tackk is a webpage design tool that allows the user to add titles, text, images, audio, video and Google maps.  If you add more that one image, Tackk will play the images like a slideshow.  For this project, the students could record audio using a site such as Vocaroo to incorporate audio to narrate the parts of their "tour".

If you are looking for a way for students to show a tour using a map and incorporating images, audio, video or text, I highly recommend My Maps or Tackk.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Oh how I love a little competitive fun. Have you ever heard of an App Slam?  It's a friendly sharing of favorite apps followed by a vote to see which app gets the most votes.

Having an App Slam is a great way to have students guide and personalize their own learning and it also incorporates a lot of creative thinking and technology.

Here is how it works:

Students (or teachers) choose an app that they think is a winner.
They then create a demonstration (video, live demo, example or other)

The demo slam 

  • is short (1-3 minutes) in length,
  • highlights the features of the app,
  • demonstrates how to use the app, and
  • ends with the word SLAM.

Here is a Thinglink with some awesome examples of App Slams:


and here is a popular App Slam from two young ladies who are showing how amazing Google Translate is:

So as you can see, the idea is not just to share an app, but to do it creatively and convincingly.

In a classroom or school, teachers could use a tournament bracket creator such as this one to organize the app slam.  For voting on the apps, teachers could use Poll Everywhere or Plickers to collect the student's votes. 

What I love about App Slams is that students demonstrate how an application can be used to help solve a problem or take learning to another level.  

I highly recommend having a friendly App Slam with your students or even between educators to grow awareness of the amazing apps that are out there.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Personalized Learning - Three Different Models

Not everyone learns the same way. We all have our preferences of how we like to obtain and show understanding of content.  This is especially true of our students. 

Research shows that students who have choice over their learning can reduce dropout rates.  Click here for an example.

So why not use a different learning model and try and motivate students with a personalized learning experience? 

Here are three models to personalize the learning for your classroom.

#1 Project Based Learning - In this model, units and lessons are set up with real life projects. Students work their way through the project and usually comprise a final project to share.  PBL often is very motivating for the student and can involve team work.

Click here for more information about PBL.

#2 Peer Led Classrooms - In this model, the teacher is a facilitator and the students are instructors.  Students who have mastered the content first, help other students to learn the content. Students often learn better from their peers than from the instructor.  The teacher plays an important role of cheerleader and students need to be able to learn cooperatively.

Click here for more information about Peer Led Learning.

#3 Flipped Classrooms or Self Paced Classrooms - In this model the teacher records their lessons and students can work at their own pace to learn the material and demonstrate understanding. During class students are able to work in groups and also get one-on-one time with their teacher. 

Click here for more information about Flipped Classrooms.

Spring is the perfect time of year to spice up your instructional methods and give students some choice in their learning. I highly recommend giving one or more of the above three learning methods a try. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I Won!!

Recently I was a big winner at the WEMTA Conference in Wisconsin Dells.

My big winnings was a Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet. Honestly, I wasn't sure what I had won until I looked it up. 

Watch this Chat with Deb to see how this tablet can be used to create a flipped video:

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