Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Summer PD


Looking for some free summer PD to help you make progress with student and professional practice goals?

Here are a few places that may help:

SimpleK12 Educational Webinars

(Don’t forget that Westford has accounts if something is not FREE, and you can make an individual professional development plan to earn PDPs from the District!)

Verizon Mobile Learning Academy Course Webinars

Education Week Webinars


Inspire: Virtual Community of Practice Course

(For Westford educators through the “University of Westford”)

EdTechTeacher Webinars

(Subscribe to find out when they will become available!)

Happy Summer!

Digital Lesson Creator


Recently, someone shared Blendspace with me.

If you want to create stations, differentiate instruction and/or preview, enhance or review topics with students, you’ll want to check out this quick demo of this service:

Using Google Classroom? Blendspace lessons may be a perfect match for organizing links and online content for access via a Classroom Assignment. It also will work on Chromebooks. (Win-win for us!)

I know it’s the end of the school year, but that often is the time when teachers will look for new ideas. Perhaps, you will have the leisure of putting together new lessons or approaches during the summer? Just something to think about and play around with (if you choose) during your time off!

Digital Storytelling with Toontastic


I had such a great time today with two third grade classes that I’m going to make this a “Two for Tuesday” with a second post!

I did some interactive “writing” with students where I modeled choosing a prompt and then how to tell my story using the app Toontastic. This easy to use app took us through the elements of a story, guiding us to choose backgrounds and characters. We even could add mood music! I brainstormed with students as I constructed my story and then made choices. I even asked students to get into character and help me with the animation and voices. What an engaging way to “write” a story as a class. They loved it, and are highly motivated to try out this app at a literacy center for writing their own stories or retelling stories that they have read.

The prompt that I chose today is holiday inspired… please enjoy the two different versions below! And of course, this app has so many backgrounds and characters, plus the option of creating your own, that the possibilities for topics are endless in your digital storytelling. Any subject will work, too. I envision seeing these embedded on blogs for sharing with an audience… How can you use it?

Please double click on the boxes for the videos to begin.

Cookie Conflict

Elves on Strike

Another Tool to Share Research (with a Global View)


Research is complete. Now what? How can students share their new found knowledge?

There are many possibilities…

And that is just a short list. (Please search out my blog for more details about each of these…many are apps for the iPad.)

This winter/spring, I came across another output method that I think has a lot of potential… and is very different from the above list: Tour Builder.

Tour Builder uses the power of Google Earth to tell a story. Originally, Tour Builder was created for veterans to log where they have been with photos and maps (so it’s fitting that I am sharing this tool around Memorial Day). The tool has been opened now for anyone to use.

I have been a proponent of Google Earth for a long time. However, I have found it to be rather challenging for elementary students to create something in the software. They have done well using a file created by a teacher in Google Earth that takes students to exact locations and views with embedded videos and pictures. To create such tours in Google Earth, is labor intensive. Most teachers who I have taught how to do this process have not made it a regular practice. That’s why I was so excited when I saw Tour Builder. It streamlines the process and scaffolds the steps. Finally, a map tool, that elementary kids can get some quick instruction on and then run with it! It also is a tool that teachers can create something to share with students, and they don’t mind updating or creating something else.

What I also like is that it is not just for social studies. We recently found this tool to be the perfect way to pull together Renewable Energy research for science. Honestly, we could have used any of the above projects to share. Yet, Tour Builder gave us the opportunity to put it all in a literal global perspective with easy to use image insertion (that pays attention to usage rights). Here is our blog with student work. I’d love to know what you think, and what other possibilities there are for this tool… I’m thinking creative writing… thoughts?

I don’t like to end on negative notes, but I must put out a few cons for this service before you run out and fire up your Chromebook because it won’t work. Tour Builder does not work on Chromebooks or Google Chrome. Also, students must have a Google account in order to make a tour. Our district has accounts for all students, so it’s a non-issue. Just something that you may have to work around. OK- now go get on a computer or laptop, and check it out!



Knowing that teachers do not have a lot of time to read these days… I will get straight to it:

FlipQuiz looks like a very simple, free tool to give a try. (Think Jeopardy board.) It’s a perfect solution to engage students in a review quiz using our classroom mounted projectors.

The quiz even could even be about your students or classroom. Have each student submit a question about him/herself to you to create a community quiz. That may be a nice, fun way to wrap up the year during the last few days of school.

Just a thought. I’d love hear yours.

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