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Showing posts from 2015

Boomerang for Gmail

What is Boomerang?  Boomerang for Gmail  adds some pretty cool features to your Gmail account. When you install Boomerang, you'll instantly notice that you have an additional send option when you go to compose a new email. In this post, I'll cover a couple options you have with using Boomerang for Gmail. The first covers receiving confirmation emails. The second covers how to schedule emails or create recurring emails.  Confirmation Emails Have you ever wanted to know whether or not someone has opened your email? With Boomerang, you can select the span of time someone has to open your email. You can then get a confirmation email letting you know when the message had been opened. You can even have it send you a response regardless of how someone responds to your email. This is a great way to remind yourself of a conversation that you initiated and will require followup. To do this, check mark the box below your typical send box, set your time and parameters, and send

Parent Access and Google Classroom

Keep Parents Informed How do you keep parents informed about assignments in Google Classroom? This is a question I frequently receive and it is a legitimate issue. Having the students sign into their Google Classroom account and showing it to their parents is about the only advice I have given. However, if I were a parent that had never explored Google Classroom before, it would appear to be an unorganized mess of assignments and announcements. A Google Calendar may provide a solution that would be less intimidating for parents. Google Classroom Calendars in Google Sites Earlier in the 2015-2016 school year, Google Calendar started integrating with Google Classroom. This provides an opportunity to keep those communication lines open. The key is that you must make good use of your teacher website to be able to do so. In the video below, I demonstrate how you can import your Google Classroom calendar into a Google Site. (Please keep in mind that would need to create a separate c

Flip Your Classroom Chapters 8-9

As the author's wrap up the last two chapters, they clearly communicate that there are many different variations of flipping the classroom. Really, it all depends upon the needs of your learners. Chapter 8 is dedicated to the frequently asked questions they receive about flipping the classroom. As you read through the questions, were there any responses that stood out to you or possibly left you hanging? Do you have any further questions that were not listed? This will be great to formulate a list as we will be chatting with Jon Bergmann on January 7th via Google Hangouts!

Seesaw with First Grade

This week has been an exciting week for my MSDSC primary teachers and students. I was able to work with teachers during a collaboration on utilizing Seesaw as a tool for student/teacher communication. (The parent feature will come later.) I was also able to jump into a few classrooms to help teachers and students get more acquainted with this awesome tool. I just wish Seesaw had been around when I took on the role as a technology integration specialist five years ago. It would have made my job a whole lot easier! (I had kindergarten students sending emails from iPads to turn in content.) At Ryan Park Elementary, I was able to work with Mrs. Moor's first grade. They had some experience with Seesaw, but Mrs. Moor really wanted to know more about the capabilities of this tool. Being the first year she and her first graders have had devices (iPads), Seesaw can feel a little overwhelming with all the various opportunities it holds. One of the options I find very useful is the abi


What is PiZap? PiZap is a free resource in the Chrome Web Store , or you can just visit . It is a webtool that you can use to edit, combine, and annotate images. You can edit individual images or create entire collages with text and stickers. You can be as creative as you desire.  Why PiZap? Students often need images cropped or edited for videos or presentations. They may want to add their own design with the drawing tools, recolor images, or add a caption. Students can also use it to combine multiple images and add speech bubbles. All edited photos can be used as a single project idea or in conjunction with a larger presentation or video.  Teachers can also use PiZap if they desire a custom banner for their social media outlets. PiZap has presized banner templates so that you can create your Youtube cover art to match your Youtube channel. If you use your Youtube channel (or other social media outlet) to display student work, this would be a great way to

Chapter 7: How to Implement the Flipped-Mastery Model

"We describe our classes as hubs of learning. The focus of the classroom is no longer on the teacher, but rather on the learning."  - Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams Chapter seven is on the implementation of the flipped-mastery model. There are a lot of great tips and things to keep in mind that the authors bring up. They discuss the number of years till they felt that the flipped-mastery model actually seemed to feel comfortable. They discuss training the students to function in their classes. They also describe the types of assessment that are necessary and are an effective means to measure learning. What really stood out to me in this chapter was the quote I put to start this post. What do you think of the authors referring to their classes as "hubs of learning" in comparison to the traditional classroom?Do you feel that the way they describe the flipped-mastery model deserves such a title? Feel free to add any other thoughts you'd like to add about

Orange Slice and the Hour of Code

Looking for an Expert With the Hour of Code starting next week, I thought it would be fitting to find an expert in the field of computer science. When I signed up with  to be the site organizer for MSD of Steuben County, having an expert was actually a suggestion and they provided opportunities to get in contact with people as such. Reason being that it helps young minds understand that all their digital content doesn't just magically appear on their device. There is a person and a thought process through the creation of digital resources. There is a skill set required to build the video games they play. I have quite a few experts in my personal life that are software developers for local engineering firms like  Aptera  and  Logikos . Resources were certainly within reach, but I wanted to go a different route.  Immediately I thought the Hour of Code would be a great opportunity for MSDSC's very own, Matt Buchanan, to chat about his experience with programmin

Chapters 5-6: Flipped Mastery Model

The first four chapters really cover the basics and logistics of flipped the classroom and the benefits it holds. Chapters five and six introduce and make a case for the blending of the flipped classroom and the mastery model (flipped-mastery model). The authors discuss how the flipped-mastery model that students are the ones pushing their learning. They work through the content at their own level of learning and proceed when the student has mastered that skill set. In chapter six, the authors mention that the flipped-mastery model teaches students the value of learning instead of "playing school." What are you thoughts on that comment? Agree or disagree as you please.

Build with Chrome

Get Started with Your Google Apps Account Why Build with Chrome? Looking for a fun way to incorporate building with Legos in your lessons? Try Build with Chrome  as students can make creations with virtual Legos. What can be finer than kids making cool models or demonstrations of their learning with all the quietness of doing so on your class set of Chromebooks? It reminds me of my days starting out with 1:1 iPads when my teachers first discovered the geoboard app by Math Learning Center . Teachers were more excited about the fewer issues with the distraction of flipping rubberbands across the room rather than the functionality itself. Build with Chrome allows kids to build without all the distractions of kids rifling through Legos and is much more cost effective if you have a class set of Chrome enabled devices. Sharing Your Legos What's also exciting is the ability to share your creations. When students sign into their Google account, they can share their cr

Chapter Four: How to Implement the Flipped Classroom

Chapter four delves into the nuts and bolts of flipping the classroom. First, the authors cover some of the equipment needs of the flipped classroom as well as the whole process of making a video. Most of these issues are actually questions that the MSD of Steuben County staff have addressed. Since we had a training day on utilizing video to leverage learning in September, many teachers are already using Screencastify to create videos and distribute them through Google Classroom, Google Drive, or Seesaw. If this chapter spurns some further questions, I can address those here. Feel free to ask.  The rest of the chapter covers making videos interesting and also the suggestion that flipping the classroom will buy you time once it is set up. Select one or both of the following questions:  In what ways do you want to attempt to "make videos your students will love?" Do you envision that flipping will save you class time? How do you see yourself using this hypothetic

Youtube Photo Slideshows

Youtube has Photo Slideshows?   If you've ever uploaded a video into Youtube. You may have noticed a lineup of  tools available on the bottom-right corner of your screen. I've utilized the Youtube Video Editor numerous times. It happens to be my favorite for cutting video on a Chromebook. I've also used the Photo Slideshow on numerous occasions as it provides a super simple way to create a slideshow to post on your blog or website. ( See post from June, 2014 ) Editing Tools in Youtube This week Kristin Sine, principal of Hendry Park Elementary, wanted to create an Animoto slideshow for the school board meeting that she was hosting. After she was all finished, she realized that the free version placed an Animoto watermark over her slideshow. So I offered her the Photo Slideshow option in Youtube that I'd used in the past. As it turns out, there was an Advanced Editor that I didn't even know about! I just happened to notice it as she was was

Google Forms has a New Look

Google Forms has a New Look? If you haven't noticed in your Google Drive , you might be prompted to try the "new" Google Forms . I made a quick overview of how to navigate around the new forms (see video below). For the most part, the functions are the same, but they merely redesigned it and controls are in different places.  The Prompt in Google Forms Overall, the new look is very sleek and smooth in design. I like how they separate the question choices from the other input types (images, videos, page breaks). I also noticed that you can create a prefilled form link so that entries are automatically selected. All of these features are outlined in my tutorial.  The new summary reports are built right within the form so that the owner can quickly see response data. The old forms had this, but the new graph data is much more accessible and easy to read.  Responses are Easy to Find Overview Feel free to try out the new Google Forms, but

Google My Maps

Why Google My Maps? Within Google Drive, students and teachers can create and save customized map s. It is a great resource for mathematics and measuring distances, adding details to a report on a specific location, or studying locations on various time periods. (By no means are individuals limited to these three ideas.) My Maps Features In this post, I created a video to demonstrate how to add various features to your customized maps. We'll first start with the features available. Search  The first basic function is search a location. Google is notorious for search in all of their resources. Quickly search regions on the globe and it will more than likely pop up with a variety of options. Select the one you want; the map will zoom in on that region. Points You'll also have the option to save specific points directly on your map. You can customize these points by adding color and selecting a shape/symbol to coincide with your specific location. Once you crea

Book Study: Flip Your Classroom Chapters 1-3

The first three chapters give mostly an overview and the reasoning behind the concept of "flipping" the classroom. As Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann delve into their reasoning, they also point out some poor reasons for wanting to flip the classroom.  In the comments section below this post, think about reasons why you should and shouldn't consider flipping the classroom. After reading the first three chapters, do you feel that this model is something that will benefit your students? Is a full flip appropriate for your students, or are there just elements that you can take from this study?  If you had something else in the forefront of your mind instead of the question I'm asking, feel free to post that instead. Please give a disclaimer that you are headed in a different direction if you choose to do so. Also, please feel free to reply to your colleagues' comments. Ask questions or throw in your two cents. Later this week I will likely throw out a re

Seesaw Presidential Election

Allison Miller's Kindergarten was featured in my last post about utilizing Seesaw in the kindergarten classroom.  I posted it to demonstrate Seesaw in action so that teachers could develop ideas for the implementation of this tool. Seesaw is an amazing opportunity for all learners, but it especially caters nicely to the needs of primary students with being icon based and simplistic. The simplicity does not diminish from the power it holds as students can quickly document/record their learning and communicate it to either the teacher or the entire class. In the past, I had used Google Drive  in a similar manner to increase idea sharing and the excitement for learning. The opportunities Seesaw holds for primary students trumps my previous experiences with Google Drive.  Last week, Mrs. Miller  was ecstatic about what her kids were doing with Seesaw. To demonstrate their knowledge of the Indiana kindergarten standards K.2.2 , students created a mock election for a stuffe

The Hour of Code - 2015

What is the Hour of Code? The Hour of Code is an event each year (December 7 - 13) to promote the field of computer science. All things electronic require someone to program it. From basic coding resources like Scratch to learning actual computer languages in Code Academy, the hour of code is designed to give students exposure to programming robotics and computers. Why Participate in the Hour of Code? Ask a teacher what their ultimate goal is for their students. Most of them will say that it is to prepare their students for the future and to be successful lifelong learners. (At least something along those lines.) Computer science is a part of our world. Whether it is changing the radio station and seeing the frequency light up on the screen, or using your iPad to Facetime with family, you are utilizing the efforts of a software developer.  The demand is great as the technology realm is changing so rapidly. With the launch of the iPhone and Android devices, the need for

Seesaw in the Kindergarten Classroom

I have utmost respect for primary level teachers. If you've never had the experience of working with early learners, I highly recommend taking the time to observe or even assist in a Kindergarten classroom. It is eye opening for other grade levels to experience the rapidly changing learning experiences in order to meet the needs of young learners. It is much like watching a maestro leading and conducting an orchestra.  Primary Needs With the pace of the classroom, technology must be able to keep up. Technology needs for primary students require that tools are time efficient and an effective means by which students can express their learning. One of the more difficult questions to answer is how to fit a learning management system (LMS) into the equation. Quite frankly, the majority of LMS options do not meet the needs of primary students or  teachers effectively. LMS options may effectively provide opportunities to distribute content, but the main problem lies in the abili

Fluency Tutor for Google

Why Fluency Tutor? Fluency Tutor for Google  is free resource that provides a variety of great opportunities for students in building fluency. It creates a nice clean version of a website that makes it easier for students to read without the distractions typical websites hold Fluency Tutor will read the text aloud at an adjustable rate Integrates with Google Classroom Allows students to make a recording of the text that appears in the teacher's account  Provides a dictionary through the highlighting of words (picture or text dictionary) Student Side I was introduced to Fluency Tutor by Kristin Sheets at Ryan Park Elementary. It can be accessed through the Chrome App or Google Classroom . When a student access an article or website posted in Fluency Tutor, the student receives a distraction-free version, the ability to hear the text read aloud, a readily available dictionary, and the option to make a recording. In this video, Mrs. Sheets had a student dem

Nimbus Screenshot and Screencast

Why Use Nimbus Nimbus Screenshot and Screencast  is a free tool available in the Chrome Web Store . There are multiple uses for Nimbus that I'll go over in a bit, but students should use it for the mere fact that it is a simple tool to use in order to demonstrate knowledge as they can capture and label anything that is on their Chromebook screen. Why have students use it? It is a fun resource that can be used for both proof of knowledge as well as a creative outlet that can supply the students with the images needed for more extensive projects.  Overview With Nimbus, users can capture the entire screen, selected regions, or even scroll an entire page. After the user creates a capture, they have the option to either download the image (check-mark) or go to the editor (pencil). Within the editor, the user can re-size, crop, draw, highlight, annotate, blur, and shadow over the image. The tools are very user-friendly and allow for quick expression of learning. For tablet us

Flip Your Classroom Book Study

Interested in Flipped Learning? On September 25th, MSD of Steuben County hosted an all day training and collaboration on the topic of using video to leverage learning at all grade levels. I left a survey for staff to indicate the level of learning that took place, and also an opportunity consider participating in a book study on Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day . The response was incredible as we had over 50 percent of the staff vote that they were interested! My dilemma is that I can't provide enough books for everyone at MSDSC to participate. I only have 20 books at the moment and have the hopes to be able to have more opportunities to run this book study again in the future. So please only indicate that you want to participate if you are going to read the entire book and participate in the discussion. So if you are in the midst of a flipped model or are contemplating it, this book study is for you. For teachers that have students that

Push to Students with the Share to Classroom Chrome Extension

Share to Classroom Chrome Extension Why Push to Students? Google Classroom already provided an awesome opportunity for teachers to share content with students and students to share work. However, much of it still required quite a bit of clicking. With the Share to Classroom Chrome Extension  the teacher can have a website instantly pop up on the entire fleet of Chromebooks. It requires no clicking on the part of the students and very little time at all for the teacher. Here is the push feature in the Share to Classroom Chrome extension: Please keep in mind that the students must have the chrome extension  for the push feature to work. It also only works on a Chromebook, PC, or Mac running Google Chrome.  Classroom Application Students also have the ability to push items to the teacher's device. It doesn't pop up automatically on the teacher's screen, but goes into a queue within the teacher's Share to Classroom extension. The teacher can open the que

Bulk Renamer for Google Drive

If you have students that have a lot of image or video files that they need to rename, this tool is for you. I recently had a teacher contact me about the issue of working on the school yearbook. She has a ton of image files in a folder and needed to quickly rename these items so that she could better organize them into folders and better scan through her files. By using the Bulk Renamer for Google Drive , you can choose a part of a file's name and replace it with your own custom text. There is a basic and advanced feature. I just used the basic function to replace portions of file names. You can get much more detailed with your bulk renaming with the advanced features, but this video should at least get you started.

Skitch for iPad

Skitch  has been around for quite awhile. In fact, I blogged about using it on an iPod Touch several years ago when I had Kindergarten and first grade students using them instead of iPads. I was extremely focused on tools that functioned well on both devices. However, Skitch is one of those apps that changes so frequently, any videos or explanations you create pretty much become obsolete as soon as you make them. Just about like buying any new technology.  I absolutely love apps that can be applied to almost any learning experience. Skitch is one of those apps. Students use it to describe objects, go on scavenger hunts in the school or class, label items, build authentic slideshows for a presentation, and the list can go on and on. Either way, it is an excellent tool for students to get started expressing their learning through a creative outlet that takes very little time at all. What measures the true value of Skitch is that by combining it with other apps (app smashing),

Tiny Techies

Last week was exciting as I had the opportunity to participate and present in the Indiana Connected Educators conference. I did two presentations: Tiny Techies  and An App Smashing Good Time . These two presentations really sum up the last four and a half years of my career in education as it has been focused upon elementary students utilizing technology in a meaningful manner that empowers learning. Students should be creating content and building their knowledge and understanding through creative outlets. Technology is only a means to provide more opportunities for students to do just that. This most certainly includes primary students. What an exciting day presenting about "Tiny Techies" as I love to get primary students using tech to empower learning. #iceindiana A video posted by Lance Yoder (@edgaged) on Oct 15, 2015 at 7:45pm PDT Tech Fluency  When a kindergarten student first comes to school, there are a lot of basic skills (cutting with sciss

Annotate the Internet with Diigo

When I taught fourth grade, one of my favorite activities to do when teaching reading was to make use of sticky notes. (We are talking about the days when integrating technology was making use of the four to five desktop computers in the back of the classroom.) Whatever reading strategy we were using or story/text element we were discussing was marked in the students' books with sticky notes. If it was a copy of an article that was shared with the class, we would bust out the highlighters and write all over it to share our thinking. Now there's Diigo . Diigo has actually been around since 2006. So we are not talking about anything new. However, one thing that has greatly changed is the access to it. In the Chrome Web Store, there is a Diigo Web Collector  that allows you to quickly launch the service. Users can then highlight and post sticky-notes on any website. What is also really incredible is the ability to share a link to a users annotated page so that others can view