Sunday, October 23, 2016

8 Ways to Enhance Your Classroom With Chromebooks

Once Teachers Obtain Chromebooks . . .

how do they actually proceed to use them with students?

The Chromebook offers many possibilities to bring new and interesting opportunities for teaching and learning.  So the questions to ask ourselves is, once students have Chromebooks how are teachers using them in their classroom?

Here are 8 ways to use Chromebooks in your classroom that can have an impact.

1.  Writing with Instant Feedback Using Google Docs
Google Docs allows students to be able to work privately while allowing teachers to comment and make edits instantly. Instead of teachers having to constantly move throughout a room to check on each student's writing, the teacher can remain in one spot and review student's progress in real time and leave the students suggestions and comments.

2. Homework that is Enjoyable
Teachers can assign additional practice that is exciting such as using educational games. Sites such as Funbrain, Quizlet, IXL, or Quizziz offer games that are challenging yet help to increase student overall performance and understanding.

3.  Collaborate on Creating a Class Video 
Online tools such as Animoto and WeVideo can be used to create a group video. Perhaps students will create a libdub or a video about different cultures. The possibilities are endless.  

4.  Storytelling through Presentations
One of the best methods of learning is to learn by doing. When students create a presentation or use a digital story telling app, their role switches from that of receiver of information to deliverer of information. Using sites such as Google Presentations, Slides Carnival, Sway, or Powtoon will give students the ability to put together a professional presentation.

5.  Invite Visitors into Your Classroom Virtually
Use Google Hangouts or Skype to invite experts, career specialists or authors into your classroom with a video chat or presentation. Students can participate by asking critical questions and also by using a backchannel chat such as Today's Meet. Visitors can share their presentations virtually and students can also share with the visitor. Imagine the possibilities of connecting globally with people from different countries.

6. Collaborate with Other Teachers on Lesson Plans and Units
With the use of shared folders in Google Drive, teachers can easily share and comment on lesson plans and unit plans with their colleagues. Many sites such as Socrative, EdPuzzle and Nearpod, allow a teacher to share their creative assessments and lessons with their fellow teachers.  Finally, teachers can collaborate on YouTube playlists to collect quality videos for use in their classrooms.

7.  Blended Learning Lessons Allow for Teacher Facilitators
Using sites such as Buncee, GoClass and LessonPaths can be used by teachers and students to teach and learn through digital technologies. The teacher is freed from the front of the room to be more of a guide on the side, and students have more independence in their learning and can work at their own pace.

8.  Add Apps and Extensions for Personalization, Productivity and Engagement
Have students visit the Chrome Web Store to add interesting apps to use in their everyday work. Some recommended apps include 


Biodigital Human

Word search puzzle

The Elementals


20 things I learned

Lucid Chart



Extensions can add functionality to the Chrome browser and to websites. Here are a few to consider

Boomerang for Gmail

Session Buddy

Incredible Start Page

Chrome Tips Beta

AppJump App Launcher

Chrome Vox URL shortner


With so many free Google applications and various web resources, using Chromebooks in the classroom has never been easier and learning by means of technology is natural to our students. Are you using Chromebooks in your classroom?  I would love to learn how you are preparing students for a world surrounded by technology. Please share in the comments below.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Digital Citizenship Conversations

Chat with Deb

Digital Citizenship

Watch this Chat with Deb Video Blog about conversations we should have with our students as well as laws and policies that are helping to protect our students. 

Here is the presentation that goes with the video.

Do you have certain topics, activities or resources that you use to teach students about digital citizenship?
Please share with us.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Empowered Learners - Meeting the Standard

Creating Empowered Learners in Your Classroom

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ISTE Standard
One of the new ISTE standards for students is Empowered Learner.
This standard is all about students taking ownership over the learning process. It is also about students using various methods to show their learning as well as demonstrating the use of emerging technologies.

Recently, some of the teachers in our school district that are enrolled in the masters cohort, created blended learning experiences for their students. These blended learning lessons are right on target for creating empowered learners in the classroom. They also show a shift in the teachers' instructional approaches from givers of all content to facilitators of student learning.

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Blended Learning
Remember, blended learning is when students are delivered content and instruction through both the teacher as well as online.  Because the content is partially delivered through online resources, students must take ownership over their learning. They have to be reflective in the learning process and consider how well they are understanding the content. Students should set learning goals for themselves and also learn to troubleshoot technologies in order to acquire and show their learning.

Sharing with You
Today, I have great news for you. I asked some of the teachers in our cohort if I could share their blended lessons with all of you, and many said yes. These lessons have been created over a 4 week period and many of them have been implemented with students in the classroom. 

Please Remember
Before I share the lessons, please be considerate. If you should share or use any of the content being shared, give full credit to the creator and tag them or mention them when you share. 

Here Are the Blended Learning Examples:
My suggestion would be to take a look at one of two of these that relate to you in some way and consider how the teacher and student experiences are different than that of a traditional classroom experience. 

Biology Lesson on Mitosis - 10th Grade - Katie Bragg -Click Here

Immigration - 8th Grade Humanities - Amanda Kranzusch - Click here

Plot - 6th Grade ELA - Julia Theiss - Click here

8th Grade Humanities - Brittany Saudstad - Click here

6th Grade Science - Weather - Lisa Sackman - Click here

9th Grade Algebra - Inverse Equations - Kelsi Van Fossen - Click here

7th Grade Geography - Food and Culture - Jonathon Zabel - Click here and here.

I hope that sharing these blended learning lessons will inspire others to create blended learning lessons that will promote the ISTE student standard for Empowered Learners. Thank you to these teachers for being willing to share their hard work and creative lessons with all of us. These teachers ROCK!