Thursday, September 29, 2016

Have You Heard About HyperDocs?


Lately, I am obsessed with HyperDocs. Have you heard about them?  HyperDocs are a transformative way to deliver an interactive lesson to your students that incorporates engaging and meaningful technologies. 

What is a HyperDoc?
Think of a HyperDoc like a digital lesson that offers students a personal experience which involves them in the learning throughout the entire process by incorporating various multi medias, creative activities and interesting websites.  
Image Source

HyperDocs come in many forms such as a Google Presentation, a Google Map and most commonly, a Google Doc with colorful tables built in.

Perhaps a better way to explain a HyperDoc is to show you an example of one.  Click here to see a HyperDoc on Electricity. 

 Notice how the lesson is designed to access prior knowledge, build the concepts, provide student reflection, assess learning and all of the necessary components of a properly prepared lesson.   

Also, the HyperDoc includes relevant interactions and activities for the students and allows for blended learning. 

Image Source
Perhaps you are looking for a HyperDoc lesson that is more geared towards the level that you teach? Here  and here are collections of HyperDocs for 1st - 12th grade.

Are you getting hooked on HyperDocs like I am?

If you want to learn more about HyperDocs, here are some resources for you:
I think one of the reasons I love HyperDocs so much is because I see the value of using digital resources in a purposeful way that makes the online experience for students transform from busy work to relevant tasks and a true involvement in the learning process. 

Rather than teaching a lesson and then having students use technology to show what they learned in the lesson, a HyperDoc allows for the students to use technology throughout the lesson and gives them participation and ownership of the learning. 

Join me to learn more
On October 29th, I'm leading a workshop in Fond du Lac, WI on HyperDocs.   If you would like to learn how to create HyperDocs and acquire skills for using many Google tools and various technologies, you can register here. I hope to see you there. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Making of a High School Makerspace

Our Makerspace - The Liftoff

We've been planning for a makerspace in our high school for over two years. During that time we introduced ideas and gave students a small taste of what was to come. Showcasing some tech on a table outside of our office to initiate interest and exposure.

This year we kicked off the official space and it is definitely a work in progress with challenges and successes.

Here is the space before we began.

We started with limited furniture, limited supplies and a blank canvas. 

To prepare the makerspace, I gathered some tech, went shopping for supplies, up-cycled some furniture and made a plan.

With the help of my co-worker, Jeremy, we assembled 6 stations throughout the makerspace.

#1 A Green Screen Photo Booth Station
with some green screen backgrounds

 #2 A Hack Your Chromebook Name Tag Station

#3 Virtual Reality Headset Station

#4 An Idea Wall (Whiteboard Wall)

#5 A Take Apart Electronics Cart

#6 A BreakoutEDU Station

When implementing this makerspace there are several goals we wanted to achieve:
  • invite teachers and students to look at learning in a non-traditional way
  • incorporate problem solving, critical thinking skills, and the design thinking model
  • give teachers and students exposure to new technologies and trends 
  • allow teachers and students time to explore, create, tinker, and experiment
  • promote teachers and students to use their voice and show involvement in how to use the makerspace
Challenges and Successes:
As we move forward, the challenges will include planning and implementing new stations with current technologies and uses for the makerspace. It takes time, money, planning and creative thinking to keep this space current and interesting. Thankfully we have great support from our leadership.

We also need to think creatively about how to get a high level of involvement from teachers and students.  So far we have had one class use the green screen and a few classes came down to write on the white board wall.  Many students are stopping by to hack their Chromebook name tags, write on the idea wall, work on the BreakoutEDU challenge, explore virtual reality or take apart some electronics when given some time in their schedule.  

It will take time and also many hands on board to get the word out, to provide support and demonstrations and to promote use of the space.  We would also like to get some community involvement.  It will take the efforts of many to make this makerspace a success. 

For now we celebrate the liftoff of this makerspace and continue to capture the moments that make all of our hard work worth it. 
Students show perseverance when trying to open the BreakoutEDU locks.

These two students are very proud of breaking open the BreakoutEDU box and being rewarded with tech swag.

It's wonderful to see students gathering around the hack your Chromie name tag table and sharing creative ideas.

Students didn't hesitate to add their voice to the idea wall. Our prompt was, "What makes East High School great?"

Knowing that BreakoutEDU made the idea wall makes all of the preparations and time it takes to set up the challenge worth it. 

We are so fortunate to have a makerspace in our high school. Our teachers and students can take advantage of having an additional space which fosters creativity, innovation and collaboration with hands on learning and rich technologies. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Buncee Can Be Used in Many Ways - Presentations, Blended Learning or a Student Showcase

Buncee is a Great Site I learned About This Past Summer

If you are an educator I recommend going to  This is a free site that allows you to create a slideshow type presentation, but also can be used to blend learning for a lesson or even as a student portfolio or showcase.

Your students will enjoy creating content with Buncee as well.

When you first open a Buncee you are able to choose a background  from their gallery, from the web or upload an image of your own. Next you can choose from many different types of media to add objects to your page.

Once your page is created you can add additional pages and view your Buncee in preview mode whenever you want.

I love all of the options for adding media to your pages. The animations, drawings, videos, and stickers make your slides visually appealing.

One of the richest types of media you can add is a 360 degree image from Buncee's gallery. These images allow the audience to click and scroll to view an image in 360 degrees. Check out this simple Buncee I made and embedded below.  If you look at the third slide you will see a 360 degree image. Just click where is says click to load panorama.

Here is an example of a Buncee slideshow that I found in the gallery-

Here is an example of a blended lesson using Buncee-

There are so many options for using Buncee in your classroom.   I highly recommend using Buncee as an instructional tool but also as a student creation tool. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Fun - Instant Creativity

Are you looking to make money? Yes? Then I have a deal for you!

Let me explain. Festisite is a site that lets you do all sorts of fun and unique things including making money with your picture on it. When you go to the site, click on Instant Creativity.  
From there you will have many choices of what to create.

Money, money, money

Uncle Sam

Queen of Hearts




Festisite has been so much fun to explore and create with.  I highly recommend using Festisite to promote digital content creation.  Share this site with your students and colleagues. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Teaching Generation Z

Generation Z were born between 1995 and 2015.  They range from 1 year old to 21 years old.  In other words, the students we teach in school today are Generation Z.  Generation Y, also known as Millennials, range from 21 to 41 years old and represent much of our workforce today.


I know what you're thinking. What will be the next Generation? What comes after Z? I did a little research and found out that the next generation might possibly be called Generation Alpha. I found this information by reading this article and here is a graphic from the site.

 Let's take a look at a few facts about Generation Z.

  • They have never known a world without Internet and cell phones and they have little or no tolerance for being without digital resources
  • They are tech savvy and in constant contact with people 24/7 using Facebook or Twitter
  • They want technology that is easy to use and will solve their problems, help coordinate their activities, or provide them with relevant people or information
  • Instead of reading an article, they want to watch a video (YouTube) that summarizes it
  • They may never send an email: [that is “so yesterday”]. Why email when you can text, instant message, tweet or FaceBook
Perhaps Karen McCullough tells it best in one of her Lessons from the Road videos. 

So,what does this mean for us as educators?  Well, we can adapt and transform our instructional models to meet the learning styles of this generation.  Here are some ideas.
  • Fast delivery of content with graphics. They are kinesthetic, experiential, hands-on learners who prefer to learn by doing rather than being told what to do or by reading text. Learning is not a spectator sport.
  • Integration of continuous grading, instant feedback, clear goals, rewards, challenges, and positive reinforcement.
  • Task switching (multitasking) has given them a short attention span. They may be hard to teach, easily bored and ready to move into the next thing. Due to this, learning needs to be delivered in smaller “bites.” 
  • Flexibility to learn in the way that works best for them. They need options to choose from, so learning can be personalized. This makes them more reflective and independent learners than other generations. 

Are you willing to be the change? To take on Gen Z and give them the type of educational environment they will thrive in?

Just for fun, here is a video that encompasses the best (or worst) of Generation Y also known as Millennials.

As a member of Gen X, I feel the importance to relate to, connect with and appreciate the other Generations of Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen Z. As an educator, I know the importance of changing instructional delivery and pedagogy to stay current and teach to the students in today's schools.