Tech Mine

Discover New and Exciting Educational Technology

Reason #12 Nearpod is the Neatest

You’re human, we’re human. We get sick, unexpected appointments arise, off-campus training occurs, and to be honest – we just need a break. Whatever the reason, the time when you need to miss school will happen and you’ll need substitute lesson plans. You can create a quick and easy sub plan in Nearpod! Here's how:

Reason #11 Nearpod is the Neatest

Students can take notes on the slides you are presenting and send these notes (with your presentation slides) to Google Drive, OneDrive, or email. Notes are autosaved.

How Students Save Notes

Reason #10 Nearpod is the Neatest

You can explore MANY ready-made lessons in the Nearpod lesson library. These are VERY well done. You can add to your library and edit as you need to accommodate your students. Don't reinvent the wheel!

Reason #9 Nearpod is the Neatest

PhET simulations can be added to your Nearpod presentation so students can explore concepts and make discoveries. Don't just lecture! Engage students in their learning and nearpod is a great way to do that! has Bingo!

While perusing flippity I noticed they have added a Bingo game! Woohoo! has some simple tips on how to use Bingo in the classroom, as well.

Reason #8 Nearpod is the Neatest

After students use a "Draw It" question type to show work solving a math problem, teachers can highlight a student's work by clicking "Share." This sends it to every student's device. It's neat. Trust me.

Reason #7 Nearpod is the Neatest

There is a Matching Pairs Activity that enables you to add more interactivity in your lessons. Matching words with pictures helps your visual learners! You can even add a timer for some gamification.

Reason #6 Nearpod is the Neatest

You can assign a student-paced Nearpod lesson for students to do for homework. Even better, you can embed it into Canvas.

Use the Collaborations Feature

Collaborations in Canvas allow students to collaborate on a Google Doc without having to share email addresses. The Collaborations link then houses each of the collaborations making it easy for students to find them. Instructors can assign groups and then grade collaborations as well.

How to Create a Google Docs Collaboration Assignment

Create a Rubric for an Assignment

Adding a rubric to an assignment lets the student's know your expectations and let's them know how you intend to grade the assignment. You can add rubrics to assignments, graded discussions, and quizzes.

How to Allow Students to Attach Files to Discussions

Rearrange Assignments in the Gradebook

You can arrange columns in your gradebook by due date and by points. If you'd like to reorder differently, then you can simply hover over the assignment name until you see a hand. Then, drag and drop.

How to Sort and Rearrange Columns in the Gradebook

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Reason #5 Nearpod is the Neatest

You can change student names to "anonymous" and show quiz results or poll results on the projector.

Reason #4 Nearpod is the Neatest

You can insert a web page into your presentation for students to view. Once inserted, students are directed to exactly the page you want without having to search, mistype, etc.

Add the Badgr App to Your Canvas Course

If you are interested in gamifying your course, add the Badgr App. Once it is installed and set up, badges are awarded based on module completion. Design modules to cover a TEK or a unit of study or you can create modules that assess a particular skill.

How to add the Badgr App to Canvas

Use Total Points in the Gradebook

Another gamifying aspect is awarding experience points (XP) for completing tasks. As students acquire these points, they can level up through ranks and earn prizes. Canvas allows you to change your gradebook from a percentage view to a total points view. This makes it easy for you and the students to keep track of their XP.

How to Change Gradebook to Points

Use Assignments with No Submission

If you are gamifying your course and awarding experience points (XP), you may want to award XP for something besides grades. For example, awarding 100 XP for attending tutorials or 50 XP for finishing a warm-up question. You can create an assignment with no submission to keep track of additional XP.

How to Create an Assignment with No Submission

Reason #3 Nearpod is the Neatest

You can add a poll to solicit student's opinions. You can do this ahead of time or "on the fly."

Reason #2 Nearpod is the Neatest

The Draw-It Question Type: "Draw It" question types are amazing for math teachers. Insert a coordinate plane and kids can graph to their heart's content. Teachers can see all work in the report.

Reason #1 Nearpod is the Neatest

Upload a PowerPoint, Add a Quiz: You can add a quiz in a presentation for quick, formative assessment. Jazz up that static PowerPoint presentation by adding some interactivity.
Check out

Still under construction, but coming along nicely. I update the blog and resources when I can. Fun, gamified courses will be available in December.

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Google Fun: Minesweeper Extension

If you remember Windows 3.1, then you may remember this game. Now Google Chrome has an extension. Try it!

Google Tip: Define Words

When in Docs or Slides, highlight a word, right-click and choose Define 'word you chose'. The definitions pop up on the right-hand side.

Google Tip: Add a Shortcut to Your Desktop

If you have a favorite website and would like to add a shortcut to your Desktop instead of a bookmark, open Chrome, go to the site, and click the "hotdog" in the top-right corner. Choose More Tools>Create shortcut... Then, click Create on the pop-up menu.

Google Quick Tips, Vol 17

Extension to Mention: Remote for Slides

Great Google Chrome extension that allows you to control slides from your phone without any additional hardware. Try it! Thanks Jay Jackson for showing me!

Google Fun! Tic Tac Toe

Type Tic Tac Toe in your Google Search bar (the omnibox) and have fun!

Collect Email Addresses

If you create forms frequently and would like it to "Collect email addresses" by default for all of your forms, then go to Forms and click the three dots at the top-right. Then click "Preferences" and check the box.

Add-On to Brag-On

Here's an Add-On to Brag-On: Flat for Docs. You can create and edit music easily with the Add-On. You can also play back what you are createing! Once you're finished, it inserts it into Docs as a picture.

3 Ways to Gamify Your Classroom

Edpuzzle Online Professional Development

Edpuzzle has become one of my favorite tools. You MUST check out the online PD offered by Edpuzzle. You can get the basics with Level 1 and Level 2, then ramp it up and become an Edpuzzle Coach. There are also lessons to learn how to flip your classroom, plan a lesson, and a diversity and inclusion lesson. GREAT STUFF!! Check it out!

Google Fun! Scavenger Hunt

Get a little exercise today. Click here (phone is best). Could be a fun icebreaker for a Professional Development meeting.

Google Keep Labels

Google Keep is the best note-taking and list-making app out there (in my opinion). You can pin notes so they are easily accessible or you can add labels for quick reference such as: Lists, Recipes, Websites, etc. And, there are checkboxes. Who doesn't like checkboxes?

UnDoing an Email in Gmail

Ever sent an email to the wrong person and wished so much you could get it back? Gmail has a new feature. When you click Send, you'll get a notice to Undo or View Message. You can also decide how long you have to un-send a message.

ATTENTION MATH TEACHERS! Check out the EquatIO Chrome Extension

Clicking through MathType or Microsoft Word's equation editor can be tedious. EquatIO will change your math teaching lives forever. Educators can get a FREE account. What does it do, you ask? You can use the voice record option to SPEAK to EquatIO and it will write the equation for you! If you download the app, you can WRITE it with your finger and then you can insert it into a Google Doc. You can insert graphs and more. Here is just a small taste of what it can do: DEMO VIDEO

Tech APPetizer: GooseChase

Looking for a fun way to review? GooseChase is a digital way to do an old school scavenger hunt! Science teachers at Rains HS in Katy ISD are using it and kids love it! See more at

EXTENSION TO MENTION: Google Scholar Button

What a time saver! One click and you have research articles to peruse. Sure could have used this in grad school.

ELA ALERT! Evry-Day Edit

Learned about Everyday Edit from Tess Gamberutti at Rains High School. GREAT way to build language skills, test scores, and cultural literacy with students in grades 4 and above. Check it out at .

Three Productivity Apps To Try

@MeaganMLopez introduced me to these three productivity apps. I have a love of lists and games which makes Habitica the perfect app for me. You level up after completing tasks and earn in-game rewards. It just makes completing daily and weekly tasks just a little more fun.

I had my daughter add the Forrest app to her phone and I am rewarding her for trees planted. You plant a seed for a minimum of 10 minutes. If you leave the Forrest app, your tree will die. She told me the other night she planted a 30 minute tree, went and did her work (laundry, shower, etc) and came back noticing she still had 10 minutes left. Instead of "killing" her tree, she practiced piano. WIN FOR FORREST APP.

StayFocusd is a Google Chrome extension that restricts time on frivolous, time-wasting websites. How many times have you gotten sucked in to the Facebook Vortex? You set an allotted time and, when your time is used up, the sites you blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day. You can configure this to suit your needs.

Here's a link to a cool Infographic about these tools.

OneThing About OneNote INFOGRAPHIC

Quick look at the five things about OneNote in an interactive PDF.

4 Extensions to Mention


2. Google Docs Quick Create

3. URL Shortener

4. Cite This for Me

Check out the infographic for more information.

DOC Detail: Embedding GIFs into Your Google Docs

To embed GIFs, you can search for and use GIFs from or you can make your own.

To Make Your Own GIFs:

You’ll need:

When recording your screen using Screencastify, make sure your microphone is turned off and you are not using the webcam. You’ll be recording your desktop. Record what you need and then go to Online Video Converter.

Screencastify automatically saves to your Google Drive, so you can open directly from your Drive. Open your file and then in Step 2, choose “More.” You’ll find gif at the bottom of the list. Click “Convert.” Once the video has been converted, you can save to Google Drive or Dropbox or you can download the file.

To Embed in the Google Doc:

Go to Insert>Image and find your file. Done!

To see a GIF about making a GIF click here.

(Got this great info from Mesha Daniel (@meshadaniel, Ysleta ISD, Innovative Learning Specialist) from her TCEA presentation, "The Awesomeness of Google Docs.")

Tech APPetizer: Apple Classroom

"Classroom turns your iPad into a powerful teaching assistant, helping a teacher guide students through a lesson, see their progress, and keep them on track. With Classroom, you can easily launch the same app on every student device at the same time or launch a different app for each group of students. Classroom helps teachers focus on teaching so students can focus on learning."

"Start, focus, or pause student work

- Launch any app, website, or book on student devices with a tap
- Lock devices into a single app to help students focus
- Lock screens to pause work or refocus your class
- Mute audio on student devices

See what your students see with Screen View
- See an overview of all student screens at once
- Focus on a single student screen"

See more info on iTunes.

OneThing about OneNote, Part 5: Outlook and OneNote

OneNote and Outlook work together to make your life easier! Whatever you flag in OneNote will appear as a Task in your Outlook. When you click on the Outlook Tasks icon in OneNote, you are also able to give it a due date. Brilliant!

Here is a step-by-step pdf.

Extension to Mention

“Whenever you find yourself with too many tabs, click the OneTab icon to convert all of your tabs into a list. When you need to access the tabs again, you can either restore them individually or all at once. When your tabs are in the OneTab list, you will save 95% of memory because you will have reduced the number of tabs open in Google Chrome.” Read more at

OneThing About OneNote, Part 4 (Templates)

Tired of taking notes on a stark-white, boring, blank OneNote page? (First world problem.) There’s a solution! Templates! See more....


Google Slides is a perfect tool to use when students need practice writing formal, two-column geometric proofs or solving algebraic equations. In my example, I used a geometric proof to create an interactive puzzle. Read more here or watch the video.

Extension to Mention: Noisli

Noisli isn't an educational app, per se, but it is a great app to use to increase productivity.

From the Noisli blog: "A paper published by the Journal of Consumer Research shows that the right amount of noise, between 50-70 dB is the right level of distraction which keeps the brain active and enhances creative thinking." ( 2018).

Grab the Chrome extension from the Web Store and explore. You can listen to rain, thunder, wind, coffee shop (my favorite), waves, and more. Not only that, you can add combinations of any of these as well. It's a great extension! It was recommended by my friend, Celaina Huckeba (@CHuckeba), extraordinary Social Studies Instructional Coach at Mayde Creek High School in Katy ISD.

Tech APPetizer

Educreations has been one of my favorite go-to apps for several years. If you are utilizing iPads in your classroom, this is a great tool for students to model what they know. Not only can teachers use the app to create engaging video lessons, but having students create their own tutorials - explaining how they did the problem - is extremely beneficial to learning.

“We know generating explanations leads to better educational outcomes generally. When children explain events, they learn more than when just getting feedback about the accuracy of their predictions,” said Cristine H. Legare, an assistant psychology professor and the director of the Cognition, Culture, and Development Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. ( 2018)

Head over to iTunes and check it out!

OneThing about OneNote, Part 3 (Docking)

Are you an Evernote fan? I’m not anti-Evernote, but I am PRO-OneNote! This one OneNote feature will win you over…docking. The docking feature will anchor your OneNote on the screen so you can take notes while watching a video, viewing a .pdf, etc. If your students are utilizing a LMS (like Canvas), they can take notes while watching your riveting class lecture in your flipped classroom! More...

Triple E Framework

Picking out technology to use in the classroom needs to have some direction and meaning. Using tech for tech doesn't make lessons more engaging.

From the Triple E Website:

The Triple E framework takes this fallacy of technology as the magic bullet learning into account, and allows teachers to become critical consumers of making mindful choices around technology tools in their teaching. It is a simple framework, based on research around teaching and learning practices with technology tools. The framework is intended to help educators create lessons that allow students to use technology to meet and add value to learning goals as active, social, creative learners, in authentic ways. The framework also helps K-12 administrators evaluate the connection between potential learning outcomes and the technology they are seeing in their teacher's classrooms.

This framework is worth investigating. See more at the Triple E Framework website.

Extension to Mention: Read&Write

The read&write Chrome extension is a valuable tool to use for students with dyslexia, other learning difficulties, or anyone whose first language isn't English. Tools include predictive text, dictionary, picture dictionary, speech maker, voice to text recognition, and much more. This can be a great confidence booster for anyone who needs a little extra help with their reading and writing. But, it's also great for ALL kids.

Teachers get a FREE premium account with sign up.

Here's how to use it:

Part 1: Video and .pdf
Part 2: Video and .pdf

OneThing about OneNote, Part 2 (Tagging)

Now that you’re a pro at creating To-Do Lists, tagging the lists (and anything in your notebooks, for that matter) can help you create MORE lists. I’m a list fan, can you tell?

We’ve already used the “To Do Tag,” but OneNote has many more options. More...

Secret Outlook Feature

We get so many emails on a daily basis, it’s easy to overlook something important. Outlook has a feature in which you can change the font, color, and size of the emails that fill your Inbox.

This is not found in the Rules tab where you might look first. This is found in the View/View Settings tab.

Here are the instructions.

SMART Notebook Feature: Shout it Out

"SHOUT IT OUT IS SO COOL," she shouted. It really is cool. If you are a Padlet fan, this is a quick way to add "sticky-note" functionality to your SmartBoard. Many times we don't have time to call on everyone, but this kind of activity gives all students an opportunity to contribute. Take a look at a short video featuring Shout It Out.

OneThing about OneNote, Part 1 (To-Do Lists)

I’m on a purposeful path to paperlessness. (I’m just going to pretend that is a real word to complete the alliteration.) OneNote is a useful productivity tool and, if you are interested in pursuing this path, you can start with simply using it for a list of To-Do’s. Because OneNote syncs with all of your devices, you no longer have keep track of that pencil-and-paper list.

Here is the tutorial. Enjoy!