Tech Tip Tuesday

March 24, 2015

In this Issue: M-Step Supports, Google Earth Tour Builder, Twitter, and Aurasma.

Local School Visits

March 23 - Lakers

March 24 - Ubly

March 25 - Harbor Beach

March 26 - North Huron

April 7 - Bad Axe

April 8 - Owen-Gage

April 14 - Ubly

April 15 - Lakers

April 29 - Owen-Gage

May 5 - Lakers

May 7 - Ubly

Check out the schedule to see when I am coming to your district. Here are a few reminders for you as I visit local schools:

  • If you want to meet at a convenient time during your day to discuss tech options, you may either sign up on the Google Doc that your administration will pass out or email me at
  • If you would like to meet and your district is not on my schedule or the scheduled day doesn't work for you, let me know, and we can make different arrangements.
  • Not only can I meet during your prep, but I am more than willing to teach/co-teach to your class using a new technology (I was a classroom teacher for five years). Maybe you are nervous about trying a new tech tool out? Well, I can help you with this process and show you how and why you may want to use more technology in your classroom.

M-Step Supports

The Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-Step) is right around the corner. To better prepare you, here are quite a few sites and videos that help with the M-Step, as well as some online tools which imitate the M-Step student tools:

Student Tools Websites

MEL Kids InfoBits - Students can choose various informational topics and have an automated voice read the text as it highlights it for the student.

Newsela - Current events website that is Lexile leveled and has similar set up to the M-Step. Students have the chance to read event articles, take a quiz over the questions, and practice scrolling through pages.

Front Row - Differentiated Math Instruction with online tools similar to the M-Step. Free iPad app.

Math Manipulatives - Clicking and dragging features.

Desmos - Gives students the ability to experience an online calculator.

GeoGebra - Creating, clicking, and dragging for advanced math.

Online Typing - Free online typing tool.

Nitro Type - Test out your typing skills with this addictive racing game.

Mousercise - Get students practicing their mouse precision.

M-Step Websites

Online Assessment Awareness - This is probably the best site to better prepare all individuals in the M-Step.

Online Tools Training - This site is a MUST. It gives previews, sample item sets, and calculator practice.

M-Step Videos

M-Step Top 12 Online Tools - View the 12 tools in a "How To" tutorial.

M-Step Q&A

M-Step Parent Guide

Tour Builder with Google Maps

Tour Builder is a "Google Earth experiment" which allows anyone with a google account to create their own story map. Check out the site or watch the YouTube promo video. This is by far one of the neatest mapping tools out there available for students to use. Not only does it allow students to pinpoint locations out on a map, but they also can insert 25 pictures/videos and add text to that location. With the Google Earth plugin installed on the computer (your tech personnel may be able to do this), the tours will be viewed in 3D mode.

These tours give students a good sense of direction and global awareness as the 3D imagery is fantastic. Whether students are learning about the continents, other countries, or are mapping their travel history, this is a tool that needs to be implemented in the classroom.

Getting up to Speed with Twitter!

I finally gave in to Twitter.... I figured that I needed to keep up with the tech times and use more social media to reach other educators. After signing up and "tweeting" a few times, I was overwhelmed with the amount of educational support available to teachers. Twitter is not just telling the whole world what you are doing, but it is a way to create a PLC (Professional Learning Community). Determine who you want to follow, whether that's ninth grade Biology teachers, first grade teachers, Instructional Technologists, or the Michigan Department of Education. Your PLC can be full of ideas and resources to help you better serve your students while also giving you communication to educators in your same position.

If you are a Twitter user, I would like to hear from you and what your favorite classroom technologies currently are. Throw the hashtag #hurontechtips to the end of your tweet, and this will allow followers to view shared experiences and communicate. You may also follow me @TLeipprandt


Have you ever heard of AR? No, not Accelerated Reader, but Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality can be found in apps or other computer programs and are becoming quite popular in education. AR takes real images and incorporates computer animated/real sounds, videos, and graphics to supplement the image. For example, if you scanned a student's painting, there could be video pop up where the student is talking about their painting.

This is very helpful because any 2D object can come to life with augmented reality. Take that boring bulletin board in the hallway plastered with book reports, president reports, paintings, book characters, etc., and give them a makeover. Now the items on the board can come to life by scanning them with a device. Students can link math problems, tutorials, videos, songs, or skits to their projects and make them interactive.

One of the best AR apps out there is called Aurasma. Download here at the Apple Store or the Google Play Store. Check out the video below to see an example of how Aurasma could work in the classroom.

Here are some other AR apps that are good for the classroom:

Anatomy 4D (Free) - Apple Store or Google Play Store

ColAR Mix 3D Coloring - Apple Store or Google Play Store

ZooBurst - Apple Store

Google Sky Map - Google Play Store

Layar - Apple Store or Google Play Store

Aurasma With Mrs. Lutz