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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Professional Learning: Keeping A Balance




This post is week 1 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators from hotlunchtray.com - Find out more about the challenge by clicking here. 


I know that I'm in the right profession, because when I learn I get excited. I share what I learn to twitter, voxer, this blog, as well as other mediums. However, if I'm being honest with myself, I begin to admit that I don't keep a good balance of learning about all of the aspects of my profession.

I find myself quickly getting wrapped up in coding in the classroom, makerspaces, technology integration, and so on. As I reflect upon my professional learning I have to ask myself, "Do I really take a balanced approach to all of the professional learning topics that I need to stay on top of?" My self critical side says, "no, not really."

I'm going to take this prompt as a challenge to balance out my professional learning goals.

Content Curation: Google Keep or Padlet? 🤔
To do this, I plan on using either Padlet or Google Keep for content curation. I am going to set up a few different labels/pages: Educational Leadership, Pedagogy Practices, Curriculum Development, Technology Integration, 21st Century Skills. After I figure out which tool I'm going to use, I plan on setting a goal for at least one link per month shared to each category. As I check throughout the year, I can see how balanced I am with each category.


Monday, June 11, 2018

Extending Your Reach


Last week I was able to be a part of the 4th annual Innovation Institute in Springdale, Arkansas. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the planning committee for this event and present at it every year. This year, we invited the Arkansas Commissioner of Education, Johnny Key, to come and give a short speech before our keynote.

Key made the excellent point that "technology will never replace great teachers/teaching." A point that many of us have all made before, and agree with. Then he added, "However, it can extend your reach." An excellent point, and one that isn’t stated enough.

It is easy to get wrapped up in “cool EdTech” for the classroom. How often do we get wrapped up in “extending our reach” to our students through EdTech? To do this let’s make sure we are asking some of the following questions as we plan our lessons:

  • Does this app deliver content to my students in a way that can’t be done without it?
  • What 21st Century Skills (Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, or Communication) are my students engaged in while using the tech?
  • Is the feedback process to students and/or parents improved by using this app?
  • Does using this tech offer student voice and choice opportunities? (Such as sharing their learning with peers in and outside of the classroom)
  • Does the tech/app allow for anytime/anyplace learning?
We can use EdTech for efficiency and engagement, but our goals should be using EdTech to extend our reach as educators.


For the last 3 years or so, this blog has really focused on apps and tools to use in the classroom. While I feel that I've been able to help teachers through that aspect, I've decided that it's time to start to shift that focus.

This shift isn't because I'm not proud of what this little blog was able to do, but more so the fact that I want to help teachers by offering more than just tools. I want to help teachers think about how technology effects their pedagogy, as well as the learning in their classrooms. I'm looking forward to this step in having my reader's grow along with me.  


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Flipped Classroom: Response Tools

This post is the second in a series on flipping your classroom. The first post, Tools for Student & Teacher Production, can be found by clicking this link.

A large part of "flipping your classroom" involves giving students multiple opportunities to respond and interact with content that is being delivered to them. Students no longer have to wait until the next day to turn in a piece of homework, or have a conversation with students or teachers about their work.

There are many tools that this blog has shared over the last few years that explain that purpose. This post will highlight some of those tools, as well as introduce some others.

Video Interaction - EdPuzzle & PlayPosit


These two EdTech tools offer an interactive video instruction experience to students and teachers. PlayPosit (formally known as EduCannon) and EdPuzzle allow you to upload a video, or take one from YouTube, and add multiple question types. You can even prevent skipping ahead in the video, so the students must watch it in it's entirety.

Multiple Choice, Open Response, Voice Instruction, and Voice Response, are just a few of the options available in the tools. They both have subtle changes in what they offer, so it really is a matter of personal preference.

Video Response - Recap & FlipGrid


Let's Recap and FlipGrid allow teachers to ask their students questions and receive a video or audio response back from them.

I personally like to use Recap if it is just going to be a question that I want to keep in the classroom, no outside sharing. They have a newer feature called Journeys where you set up a lesson flow for students to follow and complete. Recap also allows you to use it's platform for free, without asking you for upgrades.

FlipGrid allows teachers and students to share globally. They can send out links to their grid globally, and have control of who can see responses. Conversations that start in one classroom can quickly get traction from all over the world. FlipGrid allows you to have one Grid for free with some options. To utilize the full experience of the tool, you do need a paid FlipGrid Classroom account.

Gamification Interactivity - Quizziz


Similar to Kahoot, Quizziz is a game styled quiz experience for students. It allows them to compete with each other for the best score. What Quizziz has to offer is that it has a homework option. The teacher can assign a Quizziz between a specific window for the students to complete. It still allows students to compete by showing a leaderboard according to correct answers and time taken to complete. Teachers also have the ability to shuffle questions and answer options.





Other Online Response Tools

Here are links to two other previous articles from this blog on Classroom Response Tools: