Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Potential Danger of NO Digital Footprint

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

For years we've taught students about the importance of maintaining and protecting their digital footprints. We know that what we post online and what others post about us can have a lasting impact on our futures. People pass judgement about us based on what dirt they can dig up in a simple online search. The information unearthed can determine whether or not we get that scholarship, job, or date we are pursuing. But can the absence of a digital footprint have a negative impact as well? Is it also important to ensure that you actually have an online presence that supports the future you wish to build for yourself?

Monday, August 15, 2016

New Google Apps for Education Feature!

Part of my job is to maintain online professional development courses for teachers in our district. We have a Google Drive course that I must comb through periodically to make sure the video tutorials are current and reflect the latest Google Drive features and interfaces. In doing so, I discovered a new (to me) feature that may have escaped notice for you as well!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Five Fresh, Fun, and FREE Presentation Tools

As you know, this summer (2016) ISTE will be releasing the newly revised standards for students. In the second draft of the standards, standard 1d calls for students to "experiment with emerging technologies, drawing on their knowledge of existing tools and operations, and demonstrate an agility in troubleshooting and solving technical problems." Although not yet finalized, it's a pretty safe bet that the final version of the standards will include some variant of this requirement. Although there are many ways to integrate technology, often presentation tools are used as a vehicle for formal or summative assessments and can be the easiest way for teachers to allow students to choose their own tool without direct instruction on how to use it.

If you're looking for some new presentation tools for students to implement in lieu of Google Slides, Prezi, PowerPoint, etc., check out this list of five fresh, fun, and FREE presentation tools!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

New Google Slides Features!

Google just released a couple amazing upgrades to Slides that I'm quite jazzed about!

The most noteable is a new integrated backchannel/audience participation tool they're calling "Q&A". Now, when you're presenting using Google Slides, you can display a short URL that audience members can access and submit questions while you're presenting. Audience members can see everyone's questions and vote up the questions they also want to hear answered!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Apple iPads Just Got School Friendly - Almost.

For those of you who follow my blog, you may have noticed that I have not necessarily been the biggest fan of iPads in education. I know, I know, this is in stark contrast to seemingly 99.9% of others in my field, but let me explain. While the iPad is very kid friendly and has loads of great apps for kids, it has not been school friendly due to Apple's insistence that the iPad is a personal device and as such is optimized for 1:1 use. So much so, that trying to use iPads with multiple students sharing the same device in a school setting has been extremely cumbersome due to iCloud issues, app installation complications, and saved student work snafus. And while 1:1 implementation may sounds like a great solution to these issues, due to its price point, 1:1 implementation of iPads in schools is not realistic in most situations. Even district-wide 1:1 implementation of Chromebooks, which are significantly cheaper, has not been financially feasible where I work.

So this is why I'm so excited about the potential implications of iOS 9.3 and the associated Classroom app that was recently released. According to Apple's website, the Classroom app will allow students to share iPads by logging in to the device. Students will have their picture on their assigned iPad and for younger students, will be able to log in with a 4 digit pin. I think I hear angels singing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Random Fun

Sometimes I learn about something new that doesn't really merit a full blog post. Read on for a list of a few of the random fun things I've come across lately!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Keyboarding & Online Testing

In our district, anxiety over CMAS and PARCC online testing has been steadily rising as the testing window approaches. Concerns over student tech skills hampering performance have continued to grow as teachers have increased the use of technology in their classrooms and realized that students' tech prowess may not be up to par.

Back in March, I blogged about our department's work around determining the tech skills students will need to be successful on the CMAS & PARCC. Since then, an increasing number of teachers and principals have taken an especially hard look at their students' keyboarding abilities and realized that typing speed (or lack there of) may sabotage their kids' ability to show what they know on the state tests.