Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Google Yourself


A simple task for today: Google yourself.

What are the results?

Are you happy with the web links and images associated with you? Are you surprised by them?

A part of good digital citizenship is taking ownership and control of your digital footprint.

The 4Cs


Here is my Coaching Service Announcement (CSA) about the 4Cs.

Digital Learning PD – Meeting Teachers’ & Students’ Needs


Today at Abbot, we had the opportunity to address specific student learning objectives in three 90 minute sessions. And it wasn’t even a District PD Day!

Instead substitute teachers were hired to come in and cover each grade level’s classrooms on a schedule, allowing teams of teachers to attend digital learning workshops with me throughout the day. With so many initiatives and demands on everyone’s time, I have found it very challenging to meet with entire teams at Abbot this school year. While meeting with individuals is an important part of coaching, I think meeting with teams also is equally important. These team meetings give me a sense of curriculum priorities across a grade level as well as letting team members brainstorm, share and support each other with their growth in digital learning.

In the past, technology PD was approached by participants attending a session and being presented with a tool or service. For our Digital Learning PD sessions, each grade level was asked to submit a student learning objective that they would be addressing this spring that may need a fresh approach. This shift in designing the workshop around that specific student learning objective personalizes the PD for teachers. How many times have you gone to a workshop and found that the material presented didn’t really work with your curriculum or age level? Nothing is 100% guaranteed, but I’m pretty sure that teachers today walked away with at least one concrete idea of how technology could enhance, perhaps even transform their students’ learning in the very near future because the workshop was created with that student objective at the forefront.

Moreover, another break from tradition tech PD: these sessions today were not a showcasing of every possible example of how the technology could be used. I designed one specific example, took teachers through the process of how to recreate that example with step-by-step directions and then encouraged brainstorming and exploration. Often the brainstorming went beyond that student learning objective. And that’s the key. As a digital learning specialist, I can suggest tools and services, but without knowing what a teacher is trying to achieve with his/her students, it’s a shot in the dark. We then are beginning to border on technology just for technology’s sake.

A digital learning specialist can not do his/her job well without conversations and collaborations. I think today’s PD allowed for both, and I look forward to coaching teachers in their efforts of meeting students’ needs.

In the spirit of sharing, here are the samples that I created for today’s sessions.

Grade 3 – Student Learning Objective: To study an author – Cynthia Rylant

This example is a BrainPOP Style Video using Explain Everything and iMovie Apps

Grade 4 – Student Learning Objectives: to look at physical features in conjunction with geology (Science), to look at places and to look at climate i.e. weather (Social Studies), and to travel between places discussed in literature (ELA)

This group challenged me with a set of objectives, so we spent time looking at the various layers in Google Earth to start. All of those objectives could be addressed with making a tour; however, I focused on the Tour Builder online service as a user-friendly alternative to making tours as Google Earth tour creation in the software itself is very time consuming. For our 90 minute session, this tool would be a good fit, especially with “looking at places” covered in the social studies curriculum as the example shows.

Grade 5 – Student Learning Objective: To give supportive details from text

This is an example based on a Hypothermia article. The Explain Everything app was used.

How Will I Make 2015 The Best Year For My Students?


A pinch of this and a dash of that…

Perhaps, too many holiday cookies have put me on this train of thought, but wouldn’t it be great if there were a recipe that would ensure that 2015 were the best year for our students?

However, individuality (thank goodness!) makes things a bit more complicated. Everyone has to follow his/her own recipe for success because if it’s like my grandmother’s cooking, things are never exact, written down and usually change depending on what’s available in the kitchen.

Therefore, I see my role as a digital learning specialist as that crazed restaurant manager… running around while juggling plates (a.k.a. devices) and consulting with staff (teachers) about how to meet the needs (learning objectives) of clients (students) at that moment.

Today’s Specials? Encouraging collaboration and creativity.

And of course, you can’t forget the side of passion. Who wants bland, right?

If you think I am just talking about the students, you are wrong. The most effective way to inspire the students is to inspire their teachers.

Teachers are the ones who create optimal conditions for the blending and mixing of learning. My job  is to seek, design, and support techniques and methods that will produce “edible” creations.

Do all ideas bake to perfection?

Honestly, no.

Yet, from that lesson, we all learn the importance of risk taking and self-reflection.

Now, those are the two core ingredients (skills) that will last and make years to come continue to be the best for our students.

Show (And Tell) What You Know Apps… More Pic Collage Examples


Last year, in a post entitled Show (And Tell) What You Know Apps, I mentioned the Pic Collage app.

I wanted to share a couple of recent examples because this creation app can help students achieve so many different learning objectives

  • Self-Reflection on Teamwork

Grade 4 students used Pic Collage to reflect on their Genius Hour group work dynamics. See the examples on their blog here.

  • Observation

Grade 3 students used Pic Collage to make observations of the Abbot Nature Trail. Students had to show evidence of Autumn in photos (that they took themselves) and words. (This project may be replicated for all of the seasons so that a multimedia comparison can be made.)

2014-09-26 14.30.58

I also used this app with Grade 3 recently as a part of a Digital Citizenship lesson on private and personal information. Students practiced making online profiles, making sure not to share private information. See mine below:

2014-12-14 20.26.32

This online profile activity easily could be modified for an English Language Arts objective with characters in a story or a biography study.

  • Formative Assessment for Science

Grade 5 students were sent on a scavenger hunt to see how many simple machines they could find (snap photos and label) in the school within a time limit.


With all three of these activities it was not about the technology, but rather the learning because there is not a lot of time devoted to directions about how to use the app. Pic Collage is easy to use. Take photos and add text quickly.  Arranging and rearranging is simple. The collage shares via email or right to the camera roll where it can be used in another app, moved to an online space or inserted in another document or presentation.

I know that time is a factor these days… so much to do in our school day. I think you will be amazed what learning objective can be undertaken (and even accomplished) in a 45 minute block with this app.

Gotch ‘ya thinking? I’d love to chat.

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