Tech Treats

July 2016

Hello friends!

Hope you had a good 4th of July.

Yes, I did get my bedroom painted, and I liked the result so much, I decided to do a whole room makeover. I have painted the furniture for that room and and next week I am getting new hardwood flooring. No, I am not installing the floor, but I love a good DIY summer project. I wish I had taken a "before" picture! After picture . . . coming soon. Mike and I are heading to the mountains next week. I hope you have time for some relaxation this summer!

Summer Thoughts

So, in June I celebrated a year of Tech Treats. Remember, I don't expect people to read it word for word. I am not that entertaining a writer! But I hope you will continue to glance through and pick out the things that peak your interest. I would love to have articles and recommendations from some of you, and I would like to highlight your tech success stories so please let me hear from you. Tech Treats are archived in the Schoology Teacher PD Course. Let me know other resources that should be located in that course.

And "Yes, I know that I sometimes repeat myself." In my opinion some things bear repeating. Two examples from this issue - Adobe spark and Piktochart.

And "Yes, I know that this issue is long. Blame ISTE."

Picture source -

ISTE - International Society of Technology in Education

I got to go to ISTE again this year. IT WAS AWESOME! Thanks to Ritchie PIckens for helping us get Title funding to finance our trip. I will be sharing some experiences and ideas over the next few months. Nerd alert: I got to meet ALICE KEELER. I would love for some of you to go next year. It is a premier conference and so inspiring. ISTE 2017 will be in San Antonio.

MAKERSPACES Edition and More!

In this issue, I would like to highlight MAKERSPACES. As I said, I just returned from ISTE and my focus was on Makerspaces. Makerspaces - you make something, high tech or low tech or a combo. Hands on, real world learning has long been a passion of mine. Cooking, sewing, interior design, technology . . . are best taught by doing. But what about "real" subjects like language, math, science, etc? MAKE your class CREATE! That is at the top of Blooms. One of the best things about Makerspace projects is they can be collaborative and cross curricular. For example, I would love to see some Math/Science, etc. teachers and English/Social Studies/Art, etc. teachers teaming up on an authentic project based on standards. How cool would that be!

LAMS and LAHS would like to have a Maker Expo where we displayed things that we have made this year. We are working on a theme around solving a real world problem. I would love to get some input from you. More to come on this idea!

Makerspace Playbook

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Think Construction! Get Inspired!

This is a more technical article on makerspaces and the constructivist philosophy, but it is one of the most convincing articles on the subject.

Guiding Principles of a Makerspace

  • It is OK to fail.
  • Breaking things is not a cardinal sin.
  • Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.
Innovating in the Classroom
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Free Infographics Workshop

Tuesday, July 12th, 10:30am-1pm

1 University Park Drive

Nashville, TN

Join SALT for a free workshop on infographics. Learn about visualizing data and find out why a picture is worth a thousand words. The workshop is free and lunch will be provided. To register, email Christin Shatzer at LU.

A new app you have to use this year . . . PIKTOCHART

Piktochart is a current favorite of mine. Who doesn't love a good infographic? They are great visuals for so many classroom and non-classroom purposes. As of June 16, 2016, it is now available as a free iPad app. You can present from an infographic, print them, etc. Some templates are free and different ones are available different months. This is a great project for students who have iPads or who have Macbooks. Technology WIN!

More Recommendations

Snagit Chrome Extension
  • Sanagit for Google Chrome - $
  • Annotate screenshots easily
  • Create screencast videos
  • Create an animated GIF (with videos under 20 seconds) Why GIF's? They get your attention!
  • Files autosave in Google Drive (be sure to check sharing permissions if you share)
  • Educational pricing

Adobe Spark
(formerly Adobe Voice) - free
  • Available for desktop and iPad
  • Create animated Video! (narrated stills too!) Use it to introduce a lesson.
  • Use for presentations, reports, etc.
  • Have students create. This a great collaborative project.
  • Example
  • Real World Advertising
  • Free!
  • Now, wasn't that WAY better than a PowerPoint????

Poster My Wall - free

Google Takeout When you need to package google drive items to take with you offline - free

Answer Garden Ask a question. See the answers appear in a "word garden" (think word cloud.) This would be a great presenter tool. Common answers appear larger. iPad or online - free

Shutterfly Photo Story Classroom - Have students publish their own book. 50% discount off regular Shutterfly site. Works on iPad app or online.

Google Keep - Organize your notes.

Voki Teach - Speaking avatars - Basic is free - Classroom/Teach $$ - Shorten URL's

PowToon - 1. How a video grabs your audience. 2. How to easily turn yourself into a cartoon and why it is so effective. Free and paid versions.

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Amazon Inspire

Request access during the beta period of Amazon Inspire. Amazon is now entering the world of education resources currently offered free for teachers.

Read more about it.

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Create your own Interactive Individualized White Board System

Buy multiple small white boards, enough for 1 per person in your class to create a large rectangle. Have students sketchnote or write their thoughts on the board, then post them as one large "bulletin board." You will need some good magnets and magnetic strips. AWESOME visual! Make your own for $3.31/rectangle and save. The cost of the one pictured above as seen at ISTE was over $20,000.

Share Google Files

Sometimes when you share a google file you want others to be able to collaborate (edit ending.) Other times, you want them to have to open a new copy or something else. Copy forces the person opening to make a new copy.

Change the URL ending as follows: (not real links) - source


What is a hyperdoc? You might be wondering this. A hyperdoc is simply a Google doc template with links that you make, and then share with your students to work on. Hyperdocs should be collaborative, where students have access to the same doc to share their ideas and build on each others' thinking. Hyperdocs are a giant leap from a just a worksheet with links. It can be an awesome example of authentic assessment!

See this link for more information. Want to try a HyperDocs bootcamp learning cohort? I have ordered a copy of HyperDoc Handbook and will place it in the office soon for you to check out.

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Motivation Killers

1. Bombing a Big Test

2. No Opportunities to Revise

3. Too Much Lecturing

4. Poor Understanding

5. Boring Content

6. Lack of Respect for Kids

Read the entire article from We are Teachers.

Grading Rubric OR Assessment Rubric?

Is there a difference in a grading rubric or assessment rubric and if yes, what is the difference? I think there is a difference, and I confess I have been guilty of setting up" too tight" a rubric. That is a rubric that does not allow enough student choice. Remember to allow students more flexibility and choice to get more buy in. Allow students to put their personal imprint on how they get to the solution. Remember it is not about the grade, it is about the learning. Rubrics are great. Set them up with the end it mind and let the students explore and be in charge of their own learning. Makerspaces are great for this type learning, but it can be applied to any project or problem based study.

More info here.


When schedules are complete and Lisa Coleman attaches teacher names to the courses in RenWeb, you should be able to see your classes in Schoology. That should happen before the first of August. In the August edition of Tech Treats, I will include information about Schoology and the trial of Respondus Lockdown Browser.