Tuesday, December 12, 2017

TMST: DASHing Through the Snow

Every year, I look forward to the week we celebrate Hour of Code, but not for the reason you might think.  Sure, the exploration time and engagement during HOC is exciting, but what I really look forward to is what happens AFTER the Hour of Code.

I wanted to triple like this tweet by Jon Samuelson.  Since I couldn't, I am posting it here:

Preach it, @jonsamuelson!

The Hour of Code is meant to spark further engagement and interest in coding and robotics.  So as you head into winter break, consider: How does your classroom #continuecoding? What part does coding play in your learning experiences and curriculum? 

My teammate, Megan Kozar wrote an amazing blog this week about taking the Hour of Code further.  It outlines the why we must continue experiences past the hour, how CISD's Code2Learn initiative is designed to build the thinking skills behind coding and robotics into the curriculum and how we as Digital Learning Coaches can help.

Inspired by her and Jon's words, here is one way to #continuecoding this week....

My friend, Stephanie Shannon and I worked together to design a digital breakout that uses Dash robots and the Blockly app.  In the breakout, her 2nd graders must solve math problems to determine which "stops" Dash must be coded to before arriving at the Candy Castle.  Each group of kids places cards with images of the "stops" randomly.  It is their job to determine the path Dash must take using what they learn within the breakout.  

We created a Google Site to house the problems and used Google Forms for them to submit answers to gain access to the location "stops".  Stephanie also created a sheet that learners can use to plan and solve the problems as they go.  This way, learners can get back to their work if the activity gets interrupted.  The design of this experience was a great collaboration between the two of us.  

Want to learn more about this lesson?  Have a great idea to #continuecoding in your classroom?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

TMST: Google Drive Assignments in Schoology

Early this school year, Schoology advertised a new feature which goes at the top of my 2017 "game changers" list.  After months of using the force copy trick to share links in Schoology, we finally learned that Schoology was adding a tool that could do it for us.  We could assign a Google Doc to learners directly from Schoology, have it make an individual copy and let us interact using comments and all we love about docs within Schoology.

A few of us jumped on it and then pulled out some of our hair when it didn't work the way we needed it to.  (Cue Digital Learning Truths #1 and #2 from above.)  After working with Schoology support on our struggles and applying some patience, we recently tested it again...and it works!  (Cue Digital Learning Truth #3)

Now that we know it is working, let's learn how to use it in under 3 min!  

First, make sure your learners' Schoology apps have been updated and that they are running iOS 11. 

Next, create the assignment using "Assign from Google Drive".

Then, have learners use the Schoology App to access, edit and submit.

Last, comment, collaborate and grade from Schoology. 

I'd love to help support you as you try this function out!  Book me to help you set it up, co-teach or model a lesson using it!

What will you share with learners first? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Coppell DLCs launch PLNs

This year, our Digital Learning Team is facilitating the creation of mini PLNs (personal learning networks) throughout our district. What is a PLN?  Take a look at this quick video by Marc-Andre Lelande that explains it beautifully!

Coppell ISD readers, from January to April of this year, you'll be able to learn with your PLN through a variety of modalities. Your PLN might choose to do a book study, participate in a Twitter chat, meet in person or virtually. The sky is the limit - whatever will help you meet your digital learning goals. Interested?  Visit this form to join a professional learning network by Friday, December 15th.

You will receive an email from your PLN facilitator the week of Jan 3rd with next steps on beginning your PLN journey.

Have questions? Check in with me! I'd love to talk to you more about how joining a PLN can help you reach your digital learning goals this year!


My team and attendees had a great time at our Digital Learning Party and Live Tweetup last week! Thank you to all who attended and/or participated in the Twitter Chat.

Relive the DLC Launch Party below!

Were you unable to join us?  Check out the chat questions here.  How would you respond?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

TMST: Email Leftovers

While Thanksgiving break was beyond needed and appreciated, did anyone else come back to school with more than just turkey leftovers weighing you down?  I'm not talking about the extra pounds we added from all that pumpkin pie, I'm talking about my overfull email inbox.

Yep, it's that time of year when my inbox tends to get pretty scary.  That's why I am linking up with my friends, Monica and Kelly over at CHS to share some top tips for email management.

Check out their post, "No Good Ever Comes From Clicking Reply All" over at Teacher Tech Tools in 2.  

Want to learn what my favorite email feature is right now?  Check out the comments on their blog and while you are there, leave one of your favorite tips too!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pic Collage School Settings

Did you know?  The Pic Collage app has some settings that you can enable to eliminate web searches and social features?  

Simply find Pic Collage in your Settings App

Disable social features and web searches

And voila! Your learners will not see as much of the extra "noise" in the app!

Why is this important?  Well, we want our learners to get used to searching for images that are copyright free and age appropriate.  Our librarians are AWESOME resources in how to use some of our great library databases including Image Quest for this.  Also, but eliminating the social features, we ensure that learners can focus only on their content and creativity.

Have questions?  Just let me know!  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

TMST: Hour of Code 2017

I know we are all in "turkey mode", counting the days until we wear our comfy pants and watch football, but truthfully I am just as excited for the weeks after break.  

In district? Contact me with questions on how to attend!
Not only is my team offering a DLC PLN Launch Party event to kick start professional learning networks within our district (see image on the left), but the HOUR OF CODE is coming!!

You might remember my passion for the Hour of Code from last year when I posted about it here and here.

This year, my awesome team has built up some awesome resources to support our educators and learners as we once again celebrate the week of December 4-10th.

All educators Pre-K-12 are invited to sign up for Hour of Code and check out the resources below!

Sign up for the Hour of Code

K-12 Resources for educators curated by the Coppell DLCs

K-2 Choice board for learners

3-5th grade Choice Board for Learners

Are you in CISD?  All of these resources and more can be found in the Curriculum and Instruction Group in Schoology!

How can I help?  Let me know what you are planning or any help you might need in the comments!

Monday, November 13, 2017

AirDrop Sharing

The following information is from CISD Director of Instructional Technology, Nancy Garvey.

Recently, the Digital Learning Coaches reviewed the instructional relevance of enabling the Airdrop feature on shared iPads and determined that the feature continues to be valid in an educational setting. AirDrop allows Macbooks and iOS devices to share files wirelessly via bluetooth.
Listed below are some ways that you may consider using Airdrop in your classroom:
  • Airdropping a website from one iPad to another, which is great if they want to bookmark to read later
  • Quickly collect digital assignments (Notability notes, products created with other iOS apps)
  • Share learner in-progress work on a projector/presentation station
  • Educators can send documents, assignment details, presentations to learners
  • Return feedback in the form of notes to learners
  • Facilitate guided or small group instruction and share information between educators and learners
  • Send an image or creative meme to celebrate or recognize positive behavior.
One best practice to consider using with Airdrop is disabling the ability to receive items via Airdrop until you or your learners are ready. In order to customize Airdrop preferences, launch Settings > General > Airdrop. The screenshot below shows an image of the menu of preferences.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns!  

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Be Excellent to Each Other

There's some articles out there that talk about the October wall for educators.  Inevitably we come down off the highs of the new school year, the excitement of building new relationships and the general fast pace of the new school year.  

We get tired, we feel like the battles are more uphill, we wonder if we are truly seen or if what we are doing is even the "right" thing.

We don't get this way because we are bad educators.  We get this way because we are GREAT educators. When things get hard, its not because we are less.  Maybe its because the things we are doing are important.

Kid President says, "It's ok to be sad...it reminds you what you care about."  What if we subbed the words stressed, overwhelmed, tired, etc. in for sad?  What if we knew that "the wall" means we care deeply and we focused a little energy on building a network of support to help each other over the wall?

Last week, instead of celebrating the work we have done at our individual campuses, my team participated in an activity called Celebrate Someone.  Using Padlet and some Bitmoji images, each of us took some time to write comments celebrating different teammembers and their contributions to the hard work we do.   This activity could be remade using Padlet's "remake" feature and customized for a class, a team or a campus.  

Celebrate Someone Padlet Template: https://padlet.com/apryor/7nldfzezz8i5  

A simple reminder of how others see you is sometimes all someone needs to get over the hump and "stay in the struggle".  How will you help a teammate, a learner, or yourself over the wall?

This year, let's take some advice from Bill and Ted:

Image created at https://imgflip.com

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

TMST: Chrome Shortcuts

I'm working on a post for later this week that is a combo of reflection and ideas for us as we move into the holiday time of year.  It's not quite done yet, but I figured that while you are anxiously waiting, you might still want to learn something today.  Thank GOODNESS for awesome teammates!

Let's link up with my fellow DLC, Megan Kozar, to learn about some awesome time savers in Google Crome!

Do you share our love of Google Chrome?  Tell me what features you can't live without in the comments!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Attitude of Gratitude

If you have been following my Twitter feed lately, you've seen me use #gratitude a lot. It is because my team has challenged ourselves to spend 21 days of gratitude. I'm finding it is helping me see my world using a lens of positivity and growth.

Speaking of gratitude, we’ve now entered November, and what better time for our learners to celebrate our gratitude than the month of Thanksgiving?

"Attitude of Gratitude" Wall in Stephanie Shannon's 2nd grade space at RJL

My teammate, Sam Neal, has created a FlipGrid just for that purpose. We are inviting you all to share your own gratitude and to use this is a reflection space for your learners!

There are 21 Days of Gratitude sentence stems on the FlipGrid if anyone would like to use that as inspiration or to help the learners express what they’re grateful for. Feel free to use this resource or ignore it completely!

A neat feature you might also explore with your learners is the ability to respond to other learners’ videos. This would be a fun way to connect your classrooms, connect to other campuses across the district, or involve your classroom families!

To add to the FlipGrid, simply go to either:

Lastly, I am thankful for you. When starting this blog, I wrote mainly for me and the few that would read. As I look at my stats 1.5 years in, I noticed I have hit over 5,000 views. I'm grateful to serve in even the smallest of ways. Thanks for thinking I may have something cool to say!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TMST: Techno Treats

Happy Halloween, Readers!

My blog today is devoted to providing you some quick "techno" treats, aka things that are rocking my world this week!

1.  FlipGrid Connections and Discovery 

Did you ever wish you could find other classrooms' global projects and invite others to participate easily in yours?  Put down the Google Search because FlipGrid's new Connections area changes the game.  

Also exciting is the new Discovery section.  Not only can you search for topics to add to your own grids, but you can add and share topics with other educators too.  This feature is great when you want to share a topic out with other classrooms, but you don't want to include learner videos.  They act as "templates" only.

2.  Seesaw Activities

I am loving the addition of the ability to assign and create activities for learners in Seesaw.  Not only does it organize submissions within Seesaw, but it provides you with some new ideas to add to your class.  My friend, Megan has written an amazing blog over at her site, The Lightbulb Lab all about it so let's link over there to learn more!

Excited about what you learned and ready to try Activities?  Here's an extra treat for you - Seesaw icons that can be copied and shared!

3.  Voting and grading tools in Padlet

Padlet has always been a favorite tool for sharing, reflecting and crowd-sourcing ideas.  Learners easily can share a stickie to the board that includes video, pictures or text.  It is such an easy tool to launch and use even with littles, and I am SO excited to see that it now lets you turn on options for voting and grading posts!  Take a deeper look into this feature at the Padlet blog linked below!

Which of these treats might YOU try this month?  What can I do to help?  Let me know in the comments!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

TMST: Connections

Next week I am providing a professional learning session on making global connections.  
It has made me think a lot about how we connect and why.  It is so much more than talking to someone on a video conference or connecting to an expert.  Sure, there is great learning to be had from those experiences, but I find myself seeking more.  

As my team talked about our goals this past week, my friend Amanda and I talked about the difference between global connection vs. global collaboration.  Both break down the walls of our classroom, but which leads to deeper thinking, broader perspectives and higher engagement?  As with every learning experience, it has much to do with the way the experience is approached, the reflection that happens after and the questioning opportunities to which it leads.

Even so, what would our classrooms look like if we strived for more global collaboration?  Kids working with other kids and cultures to create, think and design.  Kids who have the ability to communicate with others who have wildly different perspectives. Kids who learn more about the world by sharing theirs.

Last year, I worked to put this blog "out there" to model my own attempts at connections. After all, if we don't connect as educators, how do we begin connecting classrooms?  This year, I will continue to seek and create projects shared here that will model collaboration.  

Which brings me back to my session on making global connections, now with collaboration in mind.  I'm in need of some educational global project hashtags to share with my participants - dear readers, can you add to my crowd source document below?

Want a sneak peek at my session materials?  I'm facilitating through a HyperDoc Template  this time! Special thanks to Amanda Rogers, who shared an amazing Google Drawing I am using in the session!

I'd love to hear about some of your successful connections and collaborations!  Let me know about them in the comments!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

TMST: Scanning in Notes

My love affair with iOS11 continues this week with a small nugget of awesome found within the native Notes app. Like most mind blowing things, this tip is small, but mighty.

Let's take a quick look at how the Notes App has been redesigned in iOS11 to allow you as an educator to scan and mark up documents.  

And, just in case you wondered, the Notes App can be great for our learners too!  

Intrigued?  Want to learn more?  

Check out what else Notes can do: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205773

What awesome small nuggets of learning have rocked your world lately?  Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Time to Update to iOS 11

iOS 11  is here and we have received word from the technology department that it is ok to update.   Updates often take a few minutes; therefore, staggering or allowing extra time for updating is a good practice. I have also found that updating goes faster when devices are plugged in.  

If you are concerned about losing content on your device, it is recommended that you/your learners create a backup in iCloud before running the update.

1:1~ Please encourage your learners to update:
  • ​prior to lunch/recess
  • prior to specials
  • prior to leaving for the end of the school day
  • in small groups/shifts
Shared (K-3) ~  At this time, older iPad 4’s and iPad minis will not update to iOS 11.
  • prior to leaving for the end of the school day or a weekend
  • In small groups/shifts
Educator iPads ~ Please update at your convenience:
  • From home/overnight
  • At the beginning/end of the day
iOS 11 has several features that are awesome for education, including screencasting directly from your iPad, built-in QR code reader in the camera app and more!  Learn more below!

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or want to learn more!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

TMST: Podcast Learning Anytime

In this day and time, there are no restrictions on how, when and the type of learning we choose.  Gone are the days where you have to attend PD in order to build skills, be inspired and make a change.  It truly is one of this self-appointed learning nerd's favorite things because we can choose to be in a state of learning anytime.  

I am always exploring new ways to learn and was inspired by my friend and fellow DLC Sam Neal to try out some educational podcasts.  Podcasts are great because you can listen and learn on your phone while driving in the car, taking a shower and/or waiting in line for something.  

If you are like me, searching for Podcasts can be a little overwhelming.  I was so thankful that Sam shared a curated list of some of her favorites.  Check out her list below!

wakeletPowered by Wakelet

wakelet Powered by Wakelet

So this week, I challenge you to listen to an episode one of these and share something you learn or are inspired by OR let me know a podcast you are listening to that is inspiring you!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

TMST: iOS 11 Screencasting

Shout it from the rooftops...iOS 11 is here!  

Never in my life did I think I would be this nerdy happy over a software update, but y'all, this one changes the game.  

With iOS 11, we can screencast DIRECTLY from the iPad.

I'm excited, not just because I can make quick app demo videos for this crazy blog, but because of what this can do for our learners.  With iOS 11 screencasting, they will be able to:
  • model their thinking, recording how they attack a problem
  • create reflection videos 
  • record ideas and "aha moments" as they review and interact with classroom materials
  • share their thoughts about a book snap or article
  • add "how to" screencasts to collaborative tools like a Schoology Media Album or Flipgrid

I was lucky to partner with one of our 5th grade classes this week to test it out.  Ms. Voltz's class (Red5) was testing out the update to iOS 11 and so she asked me to come lend a hand.  We taught the kids a little about the new features, and then asked them to record a screencast that explained how to multiply and/or divide decimals using the Number Pieces app.  

Just a few minutes later, our learners had created products like this:

Want to learn more about how screencasting on iPad works?  Check out this awesome resource from Tony Vincent from Learning in Hand or book me to come show you in action/design with you!

What will YOU use screencasting in iOS 11 for?  What other parts of the iOS update are game changers for you?  I'll be sharing more over the next few weeks, but I'd also love to hear your ideas in the comments!


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