Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Time Management of Devices

Do you ever wonder just how much of a slave you are to your smartphone? How much time do you actually spend on it? I'm fairly guilty of checking my phone out of habit as much as need.
So recently I downloaded the app "Moment," you leave it open on your phone and it tracks how much time you spend actively using your phone. For me it was an eye-opening experience to see how much time I seek my phone out of habit and not need.
After testing and also ACKNOWLEDGING that I might be tied to my phone more than I want to be, I decided to take advantage of the built-in helps on my iPhone at Settings>Do Not Disturb. There is a variety of ways you can use this to your advantage while working, studying, sleeping, or investing in others. 

How does this relate to others? We can all be slaves to multi-tasking. As educators we have a responsibility to show students the pitfalls of multi-tasking and becoming too connected. One of my favorite ways to show students that they probably aren't as good at multi-tasking as they think is to show this video: 
And then I have the students test themselves We talk a lot about digital citizenship with our students but I believe we sometimes lack in modeling and explaining the need to put the device down. We need to show them the value of plugging into the day not just taking photos of it for social media purposes. If you haven't seen someone in weeks, isn't having two arms open to get that first hug more important that videoing the look on their face? 

This year I plan to spend more time helping my teachers and students see the value of technology used efficiently and timely. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Why Was Doogie Howser An Anomaly?

Remember Doogie Howser, M.D. of the late 1980's early 1990's television world? According to the world of wikipedia (,_M.D.), he graduated from Princeton at age 10 and finished med school four years later. We watched each week as this phenomenal surgeon was dealing with teenage acne, typical teen best friend goofballs, and first girlfriends while prescribing drugs and working heroically in the medical world as the country's youngest licensed doctor. As a kid of the 80's I was drawn to this larger than life character that didn't seem plausible...or did it?

One thing I look back at now as "telling" of the TV show was that Doogie kept an ongoing journal on his computer. Most episodes typically ended with him entering an entry on his computer. In an age where computer technology was just finding it's niche in the world, it makes this EdTech person's heart happy when I think on this. It also leads me to this blog post.

Should Doogie Howser's really be an anomaly in today's world? Granted there are social, emotional, economical, and educational ramifications of the EXTREME example of Doogie but the question remains, are we holding our students back in our typical ways of teaching? I watch these days as my friends that homeschool their children often send their kids on to college at age 16 ready for their next adventure. I see students I teach that could probably "test out" of some classes they are required to take just because that's what the rules say. I see required "seat time" as a help to education systems but a hindrance to some actual children.

In today's world with the availability of learning and teaching within our grasp 24/7 due to online learning possibilities that are both structured or unstructured, do we have a responsibility as educators to change the way we educate? Do we break down the walls of age-based grade levels? Do we allow students (and their families) to be more in charge of their path of learning? Do we adapt and adopt personalized learning plans for every child we educate not just the ones with special needs?

It's a can of worms. We, as educators fear it because we loose control. Can it even be managed? If this idea was adopted, there wouldn't be any "cookie cutter curriculums." Does that make education more or less expensive? Does that make schools as we know them obsolete? And then what do we do with the kid that finishes "Physics" in the first quarter that is sitting next to the kid that doesn't finish it by the end of the school year. Thinking about the what if's is overwhelming but are we really best meeting our students' needs teaching the way we have always taught when the greater possibilities for growth are so easily and cost-effectively accessible in today's world through technology?

I do think Scott McLeod's recent 3 minute video for the ISTE board is spot on... We must start thinking outside our comfort zones of what education looks like and beyond to visioning what it could look like.

Food for thought.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Are Brain Breaks All They Are Cracked Up To Be?

As I discuss in the video in this post, after attending multiple days of learning at ISTE 2015 I realized it was impossible for me to go from one session to the next for three consecutive days and get the most out of my ISTE experience. My brain was exhausted by the plethora of new information in a short amount of time. As one person on Twitter said, "it's like learning by firehose" and I would totally agree with that analogy.

This post is in direct response to my experience. How often are we, as educators, guilty of not letting our students have brain breaks? Sometimes our students need different things from a break: energized, calmed, or just focused. The video below will give you some real world solutions to help add brain breaks in your classroom no matter what age group you teach!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Introduction to Canva- a fast graphic arts option for educators!

Canva makes me look good! I love good visual graphics and believe they help draw readers in. I use canvas to support my weekly #ChattTechChat Twitter chat. I also sometimes use canvas to create graphics to go along with blog posts to support visually what I am discussing.

All the free options of Canva have allowed me to do anything I have wanted to do for quick graphic arts options. Its easy to use, allows you to be creative and adjust "canned options" to become your own. It could be used in a classroom setting for teachers to create graphics associated with units or lessons, it could allow teachers to create a "classroom logo" for correspondence as well. Students could use  Canva in app-smashing opportunities within slide presentations, Canva could be used for branding your school on social media. The possibilities for educational use are endless!

I do suggest going to the website using a laptop/desktop computer- I found trying to navigate the browser on a tablet device cumbersome. Overall, I believe Canva is a quick alternative to add a little umph to your communication!

(Click below to watch my introduction video to Canva)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bringing Tidbits Home From #ISTE2015

As I look through all the things I learned about at ISTE 2015, here is my top list of "MUST USE ASAP" options. Some of these are "where have you been all my life" type things, others are "Wow, that answers issues I've had for a while," still others are "now that is filling a need I see on a regular basis!"
HERE IT IS! A filtered safe place for teachers and students to go search for photos for presentations and the citing information appears at the bottom of the photo at download! No more
excuses-seems safe, effective, and the database seems sufficient. We spend time teaching our students how to cite work proficiently, this helps!  

Math Shake iOs App

Math Shake - Problem Solving Through Word Problems- aimed at 9-11 year olds, but great for any student that struggles with learning how to discern the needed versus extraneous facts in a problem in order to solve. There are six levels to meet 6-14 year olds needs!

1 Second Every Day iOs phone app

This app appeals to me as a teacher that wants to record the awesomeness of my school year and to share with my parents. You take one photo/video a day of your choice and at the end of the year you have a chronicle of your school year to share with others. What parent wouldn't enjoy seeing their child's "second grade journey"? I am definitely going to use this to chronicle my tech coaching opportunities throughout the school year. It will allow me a unique way to show the positive technology integration being done at my school for the stakeholders to see.


Touchcast is a video studio and editor. A Touchcast video is web browsable and alive. It has green screen and teleprompter capabilities. I plan on using it this year to create some instructional "how to" and "look at this!" videos regarding educational technology.

RWT TimeLine App

RWT TimeLine app is a timeline app that "allows you to create a graphical representation of events or processes sequentially along a time line." What I like about this app is that it has a "drag and drop" function if something is added out of order and you can add images as well. I've been in search for a great timeline app for a while- I think this one may be the answer. Free in iTunes store. allows teachers to flip classrooms or share video instruction interactively! At any point, a video can be stopped and assessed for understanding. "Use video to differentiate and engage, promote self-paced learning with pause & rewind."
Common core means building reading comprehension with non-fiction reads. Newsela meets that way for your classroom and allows the easiest way to differentiate I have ever seen. Pick the students reading level for a daily news article and go! Current events just got intentional.