Posts Tagged ‘Technology integration’

This week’s #ETCoaches blog challengeWhat tools are you using that you are loving? What problems do they overcome? How can others replicate your success?


There are many tools I use, that I promote for others to use, but here are a few at the top of my list that assist me in my work as an EdTech Coach.

Hootsuite: I rely on Twitter to build my PLN, provide resources, make connections, and for the best professional development. I use Hootsuite, (others might use Tweetdeck,) to visually access different streams on Twitter at once. It helps to join and follow Twitter chats as well. You can integrate other social media accounts too. It’s a lifesaver.

Diigo: I use Diigo to save and organize resources. In my role as an EdTech Coach, I have resources coming at me all day long via email, feeds, blogs, and Twitter. I need a way to save them so that I can easily access later. For example, I share a Tech News every other week (or so- being sensitive to other things going on in school). I collect items over time that will be of interest to our faculty and staff. I tag those TechNews and then, when it’s time to put the news together, I search for resources with that tag. Easy-peasy.

Canva: I use Canva to create visuals for the Tech News, blog posts, posters, flyers, and more. It makes me feel creative! See graphic above.

Smore: Those who are reading this might be wondering what tools I use for the TechNews I mentioned above. For years I did that using a Google Site, adding a new page with columns for each edition. I discovered Smore a few years ago and found that it was more visually appealing. Now I share the link to the Smore, and I embed it on the original Google Site in a new page, so that the archived editions are available too. Our school newsletter goes out to families once a week using Smore as well and it’s been well received. I’m curious to see how this might change when the new Google Sites are officially available.

PhotosForClass: I don’t use this other than to model, but I highly recommend that our students use this site. Search for an image, download it (even on a Chromebook) and insert it into projects, sites, or blog posts. It automatically includes the proper citation on the image itself. Great for teaching about WHY we need to cite our sources!

Google+ Communities: In addition to Twitter, I use various Google+ communities to ask questions, get ideas, and share. Some of the communities I visit most often include: Instructional Technology Integrators, Google Classroom, Chromebook EDU, and Bringing the World Into the Classroom.

Google Hangouts: I’m a member of a 5-person team in our school district. We’re all spread out with considerable distance between our schools. We meet once a week via Hangout to keep the team together, share what’s happening in our schools, work on district-level projects so that there’s consistency, and basically, collaborate. Hangouts make this possible without us having to factor in travel time to get together.

Common Sense Education:  Most EdTech Coaches know of this resource, but just in case… it’s an amazing site for Digital Citizenship resources as well as EdTech reviews. This is a must for your list.

There are many more, but these tools help me create, collaborate, share, connect, and stay productive.


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Our use of green screen technology with video is expanding every day. We currently have a green screen set up (screen and lighting) in each of our two buildings, with more on the way. Teachers are excited to incorporate this into their programs to enhance and support learning.

Last fall, 8 educators from our schools gave up their own time to attend a green screen workshop offered one evening by RETN. (Regional Educational Television Network). The amazing facilitators,  Doug Dunbebin and Jill Dawson (@Switchback42), made a lasting impression on our teachers and from them to our students.

New videos featuring green screen technology have been created as a direct result of this workshop. The videos range from sharing about a field trip at the first/second grade level, to creating PSAs about Child Labor at the middle school level. There are more projects in the works as well and other teachers are joining in.

Thank you to RETN and Jill. Doug’s legacy lives on.




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I have the amazing opportunity to facilitate a meeting 4-5 times a year with our PreK-2 faculty. I thought I’d share what we did yesterday. Some of this stemmed from an observation in both of our schools that sometimes teachers ask students to do tasks that they themselves can’t do or haven’t tried. Plus, we’ll be adding Chromebooks to the mix at our PreK-2 building next year and it was time to highlight a few things that our youngest students might do with Google Apps. It resembled one of those “9 Things Teachers Should Be Able to do with GAFE” posts that I’ve seen, but I designed this one myself.

Teachers were asked to join a Google Classroom for the meeting, mostly as a way to distribute the doc to them, but also to model using Classroom. We talked later about how it helps to organize things in Drive; something that the teachers might find useful in the future.

Once they joined the Classroom, they each got a copy of a doc with directions and a Tic Tac Toe board. Here’s a link to a copy of the doc. The board looked like this:

GAFE for PreK-2

As you can see on the doc, teachers were asked to make Tic Tac Toe by completing at least 3 of the tasks. They needed to change the background color of the cell to indicate which tasks were completed. Underlined elements above took them to other links, sheets, drawings, etc that were collaborative. (not linked on the copy provided here)

There was a lot of energy in the room (we were in a computer lab) and a quick visual assessment showed everyone on task. There were not doing other work or things of a personal nature which is often the case at faculty meetings. Yay!

Near the end of our time together, we not only shared, but also completed surveys for one another that had been created, and provided the process for how things were accomplished. With Google Apps, there’s often more than one way to do things.

Finally, the group helped me by playing guinea pig while we tried out a new tool I had read about earlier in the week from Richard Byrne via Practical Ed Tech. It’s called dotstorming. Not only did teachers share thoughts on how they might move forward with ideas generated during our time together, but they also ‘voted’ on the ones they felt they’d actually try themselves. It was a great exit card. Here’s a link to the final board that was completed, ranked by votes.

All in all, we packed in a lot, but it was a very positive gathering, generated practical ideas that could be put into motion right away, and provided respite from work on report cards.

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I have the wonderful opportunity to work with third and fourth graders on a rotating basis. I meet with a group of about 12 students once a week for 6 weeks, and then they rotate to another activity with another teacher (librarian, school counselor, etc.)  Over the course of they year I’ll work with all of the third and fourth graders in our school.

My  focus with them is on digital citizenship. We use many of the Common Sense Media lessons, either as stand-alone lessons or using the Nearpod version of them. Other activities are included as well, from making paper chains to illustrate the speed at which chain emails spread to designing comic strips to share a message.

Our culminating activity recently was for each student to create a small book (about 3 pages) using the BookCreator app. BookCreator has many great features that make this exciting. They have added a comic book layout with great fonts, stickers, and panel designs and students can incorporate audio, photos, drawings, video and more. They also allow you to export a completed book as a video.

I’ll share one example of the books that students created below. I took all of the books from one group and uploaded them to WeVideo to string them together in one video. The students are highly motivated by this project, though we all wish we had more time!

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Prompt #4 in the 30-Day Blogging Challenge asks me to reflect on what I love about teaching…

There are too many reasons why I love what I do, but I’ll give it a go. I was a classroom teacher for many years, but have been in my current role as Technology Integration Specialist for the past 5. I will always consider myself a teacher, even if sometimes I teach other teachers and sometimes I teach children.



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As I mentioned recently in this post, I am going to try to join the 30-Day Blogging Challenge for Teachers. I may not stick to the suggestions for topics outlined in the challenge since I’m not a classroom teacher. I’ll adapt when necessary.

Here goes – Day 1…

My Goals for This Year   

Build on my relationships with faculty and staff. Relationships are key to all of our success.

Create and spread the word about a global project that will engage classrooms in our schools and beyond. We participate in global projects, but how about starting one?! I’m ready and hope to make an impact ongoalpost the students in our schools. Are you?

Support, guide, and explore the benefits of having our first 1:1 pilot, which we’re calling 1:World. Two teams of four teachers, one grades 3-4 and the other grades 5-8 will have enough Chromebooks for each student to call their own. That’s a first in our schools; we’ve been hoping for this for a while.

Developing a growth mindset for technology integration. Some of us are positive, some are not. Let’s all look forward. I love the bulletin board in this post. How can I adapt that for our work with integrating technology?

Win the school NFL football pool at least once this season. Hey, you never know. It’s happened before; it can happen again.

What are YOUR goals for this year?


Image: creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by DBduo Photography: http://flickr.com/photos/drb62/2603563990

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It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I won’t share any excuses. I just haven’t blogged. I’m hoping to remedy that.

In February, we worked on a project with third-eighth graders. Our school has a theme week during which students choose from and attend a variety of workshop sessions around a common theme. This year’s theme was the Olympics. We decided to use the Aurasma app on iPads to create auras with students. Here are some details about the workshop:photo (4)

  • Students came for 1 session only
  • Sessions were 1 ¼ hour in length
  • There were 12 students in each session
  • We did four sessions a day over three Days
  • Total: approximately 150 auras created!

Students only had that one session, so we needed to make this whole thing happen in just that time. Also given our time constraints, we completed the whole project on iPads, rather than incorporate computers or laptops into the process. Students chose to create a video using Tellagami or an iMovie trailer. The videos were about anything having to do with the Olympics- an athlete, a country, a sport. (We didn’t have time for research, so they needed some prior knowledge about their topic.)

Once they finished creating the video and saving it to the Camera Roll on the iPad, we took them through the steps of creating an aura in Aurasma. We uploaded all of the auras to one channel and then took trigger images of icons and photos from or about the Olympics. We posted those trigger images around the school for anyone to scan and then view the videos.

It was a great success, except for the one session where the internet went down!

Here’s how using Augmented Reality and the Aurasma app has evolved since then in our school:

  • Weather: students used Explain Everything to describe some collected and documented weather data. Those students then created a comic about a weather disaster and then used the comic as their trigger image.
  • Issues in Africa: students used iMovie to create PSAs about various issues in Africa today. They then shared them with one another for reflection and feedback by creating auras with trigger images around the classroom. Students walked around the room with iPads to view one another’s videos.
  • Solar System: a class made a large-scale model of the solar system on the ceiling. They put labels near planets and moons. Those labels are transforming into trigger images leading to videos with more detail about that planet or moon.
  • Classy Cards: one class worked with the art teacher to create paintings. Those paintings are then transformed into greeting cards. The class sells packages of these cards as a fundraiser for a local charity. They’re using Aurasma and creating auras of each painting that lead to a marketing video explaining what they did, why, and for what charity.

Here is a site I put together with resources about Augmented Reality for a recent conference at which I shared this project. I especially like this post (also on the site) which explains the difference between the Aurasma app and using Aurasma studio. I found that extremely helpful.

One goal for introducing this technology during Theme Week was to share a new technology and have it spread beyond the project. There are many people using Aurasma and augmented reality now, and many who are pondering how to incorporate this technology into their work with students.

Finally, in the spirit of sharing, here’s a doc with step-by-step directions on setting this up yourself. (also on the site listed above)

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