Monday, January 26, 2015

Tech Treasures & More! January 11-25, 2015


Nurph is the #1 BEST product I have found to assist with moderating and archiving Twitter Chat sessions.  It beats other archiving websites hands down!

Here are just a few things Nurph allows: (a lifesaver for moderators)

  • set up the chat with questions in advance for participants to view
  • add more than one moderator to the chat
  • promote the chat with a link provided by Nurph
  • view how many participants RSVP'd via Nurph
  • participate in the chat live via Nurph
  • view number of participants who joined the chat using Nurph
  • view detailed statistics from your chat
  • allows access to a "replay" of your chat
Not convinced?  Take a look at this #TLChat archived provided by Nurph:

Want to know more about Nurph? Check out this great document:



Dyslexie is a new typeface (font) that can make life easier for people everywhere who live with dyslexia.  

QUOTE of the Week:

Moving from the school library to the position of Instructional Technology Facilitator this year I have been able to see the TRUTH in this quote.  Teachers and students both struggle to find a healthy balance when it comes to using technology in the classroom, especially in a 1:1 environment.  

At my school we have had frequent discussions about our 1:1 MacBooks as a tool to be used in the classroom but that paper and pencil, dry erase boards, manipulatives, etc are also tools to be used in the classroom. Knowing when to use one over the other is the question.  

I find that many teachers are reticent to use a new technology with students if they have not 'mastered" the technology.  This approach simply will not work in today's ever changing world.  Instead, consider allowing students to discover, investigate and discuss how they think a new technology could be used WITH the objective the are currently learning.  This creates a "we are in this together" mentality and gives students the sense that they have choice and voice in their classroom.  

TECH Tuesday: Google Slides

Elkmont High School faculty and staff will continue their journey into the world of LCS GAFE (Limestone County School's Google Apps For Education) on Tuesday, January 27, 2015.  With the rollout of Limestone's Digital Passport Initiative teachers in grades 3-12 will all have 1:1 MacBook Air laptops in their classrooms within the next four years.  With this in mind, PD sessions are offered each Tuesday to keep teachers "ahead of the curve" and ready for when devices come to their classrooms.

You are welcome to tune into our live TECH Tuesday session on January 27th around 3:15 pm CT.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Flurry of Technology Conference Review

Last week I had the opportunity to present at the Flurry of Technology Conference sponsored by West Georgia RESA.  Attendees included educators ranging from administrators to classroom teachers from grades K-12.  

We used a shared Google Folder to access all of the materials we would use during the conference.  It can be viewed HERE.

I can't wait to come back to West Georgia RESA in March for more learning fun! 

It was really exciting to get tweets later in the week from teachers who attended the conference who had already started using what they learned with their students!

Monday and Tuesday the day was spent learning with Elementary Educators.

Wednesday and Thursday the day was spent learning with Middle & High School Educators.

We also had a couple of visitors stop by the Flurry of Technology Conference.

Promethean & the #PowerUpEDU Bus

Discovery Education & Shayla Rexrode

Among the flurry of tech learned during the conference, attendees also learned about twitter and how to participate in a twitter chat.  Tweets from #WestGaRESA can be viewed HERE

We also discussed technologies to help with student voice and reflecting on learning.  On day 2 of the conference we used Padlet to reflect on what we learned during Day 1.  Chad posted my favorite response.

Elementary School Day 1 Reflections using Padlet:

Middle/High School Day 1 Reflections using Padlet:

We also took a look at FlipGrid for enabling student voice.  On the first video Tyler and friend demonstrate what 8th grade boys might do using FlipGrid! LOL!

LCS GAFE: Google Documents PD Session

How to access, create, name, share and collaborate using your Limestone County School District Google Apps for Education account.

The Google Hangout below is scheduled to air on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm CT.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tech Treasures & More: January 4-10, 2015

Over the course of a week I read A LOT and discover some pretty cool stuff.  Thus, I've decided in the new year to start a new weekly blog post to share my discoveries.


While driving over the holiday break I like to listen to audiobooks.  After 2000 miles of driving all the books I downloaded for the trip had been completed and I was looking for more to listen to.  I love the TED Radio Hour on NPR so I quickly downloaded the podcast, Extrasensory.  While all of the stories in this podcast were extraordinary, I especially fell in love with "How do you construct a voice" by Rupal Patel.  

"Many of those with severe speech disorders use a computerized device to communicate. Yet they choose between only a few voice options. That's why Stephen Hawking has an American accent, and why many people end up with the same voice, often to incongruous effect. Speech scientist Rupal Patel wanted to do something about this, and in this wonderful talk she shares her work to engineer unique voices for the voiceless."

I was so inspired after listening to Rupal Patel that I have now decided to donate my voice and encourage my students to donate their voices too.


Ok. I admit that this site is just plain fun!  Basically you have room to type in 25 words that will then be transformed into a video using clips from movies/TV shows.  I can see how it could be used for kids to write exit ticket summaries.  How else could you use this in your classroom?

Tamrom: My Photos Exhibit

"MyPhotoExhibits gives you the ability to create your very own virtual 3D photography exhibits in a personalized Soho-style exhibit space and share them with your friends, or the world!" 

This is a pretty cool site for displaying student work virtually for parents, grandparents, community members, etc who can't come see the great student work hanging up in the hallway of the school.  It's also just a cool way to showcase some of your favorite pictures for family and friends.

Here is a Tamron I made of Christmas with my family:

Articles I've Read

"Everyone knows money doesn't grow on trees. At least they will if H&R Block has any say in it. By learning strong budgeting skills and fiscal discipline early, kids can gain the knowledge and confidence to manage their own financial future. Our free H&R Block Budget Challenge encourages students to learn personal finance in a fun, engaging way while competing against other classrooms and students for $3 million in classroom grants and student scholarships."

20 Quotes From Children's Books That Every Adult Should Know

"It’s interesting how some of life’s greatest lessons can be found in children’s literature. And chances are that we did not realize this back when we were kids. Sometimes it’s only when we’re older that we learn to fully appreciate and understand the poignant words from our childhood entertainment."

 Resilience and Grit: Resource Roundup

" There's been a lot of talk lately about resilience (bouncing back from adversity) and grit (persevering through challenges), including the skills associated with these processes and their importance for student well-being and academic success. Edutopia has created this curated list of resources to help educators and parents follow the discussion and create home and school environments that provide supports and opportunities to help students thrive."

Please share your treasures from the week.  There is nothing quite as exciting as continuing to learn every day and sharing and learning with my PLN friends.

Friday, December 19, 2014

How We Are Keeping Parents Informed of DPI Learning Progress

This week the Instructional Technology Facilitators embedded in each DPI school in the Limestone County School District were asked by our IT Director and Digital Passport Initiative (DPI) visionary, Karen Tucker, to provide documentation regarding state curriculum evidence standards for technology.

Technology 5. Does the LEA implement the Tech Plan to ensure the effective use of technology to promote parental involvement and increase communication with parents?  

Technology 6. Does the Tech Plan include how the parent will be informed of the technology being applied in their child's education?   

I began collecting the information I have shared regarding what the 3rd and 4th grade teachers and students at Elkmont High School have accomplished thus far this year.  It was thrilling to take few moments to walk down memory lane and see all the progress we have made so far this year.  Below is the report I submitted.  

Please let me know how YOU keep your parents and community members informed of the amazing things happening in your classroom, school, and district.  I am always looking for new ideas on how to include parents in what we are learning with DPI.

Parents are kept up to date on all things DPI related through weekly blog posts, newsletters and the recently added Virtual Hallway.  Teachers make sure to include links to this information in their weekly parent newsletters that are sent home with students.  Parents can also follow our DPI learning via Twitter, FaceBook, or Google+ using the following hashtags:

Here are links to DPI Parent/Community information:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

This Week @Elkmont & Beyond: December 7-13, 2014

Hour Of Code: Look What We Made! 

This week students from Pre-K to 12th graders at Elkmont High School joined a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries: Hour of Code
Hour of Code is designed to highlight the importance of computer literacy in today’s students. Computer science and computer programming is an essential 21st century literacy and should be a part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.

Students of all ages participated in a variety of coding activities. Some of our coding creations can be viewed on our Virtual Hallway

If you would like to explore the world of coding be sure to visit our Hour of Code Symbaloo page for links to lots of exciting coding opportunities:

Read this article from Time for more about why learning to code is an important skill:

EdChat Interactive ShinDig! 

This week I participated in my second EdChat Interactive PD Session via ShinDig and invited my fellow Instructional Technology Facilitators to the fun.

What is a ShinDig? 
Shindig is a NYC start-up committed to unleashing the unrealized potential of video chat. Shindig's proprietary technology enables you to give an online reading, talk, or interview in front of an online group of 50 to 1000. In Shindig, you can share the stage with fans and take questions from audience members. Additionally Shindig adds a unique social dimension to events by allowing fans themselves to also interact with one another in private video chats.

What is EdChat Interactive? 
Edchat Interactive started with Steven Anderson, Tom Whitby, and Mitch Weisburgh. 
The three of us saw an opportunity to conduct PD more in tune with the way we learn, and to use technology to bring the skills and knowledge of education thought leaders to hundreds of thousand of educators. 
People don't learn just by watching. We need to interact, reflect, and participate. That's our model, in 45 minute segments that fit into the busy lives of educators.

This week the topic of the EdChat Interactive PD Session via ShinDig was Student Voice, Aspirations, and Santa Claus, moderated by Dr. Russell Quaglia and Dr. Michael J. Corso.

I concur with Dr. Quaglia's three factors that make up the Achievement Gap:
  • Relationship Gap
  • Participation Gap
  • Expectation Gap
Although the video below is directed to Ohio educators I feel the message applies to all educators.

Thought For The Week

Weekly #iCONNECT Tech Tips Newsletter for Elkmont High School