Thursday, June 29, 2017

What I Learned at #ISTE17 Day 3

Today was the end of the ISTE 2017 conference.  I was in a session this morning that included the following quote:

However, simply hearing about new things does not mean I have acquired new skills. The Conscious Competence model specifies four stages towards skill acquisition.

(Women Embracing Brilliance, 2010)

In regards to much of my learning at ISTE, I find myself in the Conscious Incompetence stage.  I've now heard these great ideas or found resources, but I have a great deal of learning left to do.  I have skills to acquire so they can be put to use to improve instruction for our students!  So, today's top 5 list of things I have learned is really more about the top 5 things I have heard about that I need to explore and master.

1. Photospheres

According to Mary Howard, a photosphere is "a 360-degree panorama feature. It's designed to be a pseudo-immersive experience allowing the viewer to feel as though they are in or at the location" (Howard, 2017).  We used Google Streetview to capture a 360-degree video. The Streetview app has a 360 camera built into the app! From there, we looked at other resources where we could find photospheres or 360 images we could alter. She suggested or Flickr. (Please make sure you practice good digital citizenship and uses images that are fair use.)  After locating an image, she edited them in Pixlr and hosted at Holobuilder.  I'll be exploring these resources further. If you would like to explore on your own as well, here is a link to the presentation! Create, Capture and Cardboard your Curriculum: 360 Photospheres

At first look, this seems to work much like Padlet as a place for collaboratively sharing ideas. However, Dotstorming allows you to vote on your favorite ideas shared. Here are some posts on Dotstorming that I have found to review later: Dotstorming by ICC TLC and Search results for Free Technology for Teachers with multiple blog posts. Richard Byrne also has a detailed YouTube video on dotstorming. Note, this video was created in 2015 and features have been added since this time.

(above video linked from

Videoant is a tool to allow users to add annotations, or comments, to web-hosted videos. There are multiple video annotation tools available. Part of my learning process will be comparing these products to see which one works best within our district.

3. Poll Everywhere in Google Slides

I have used this feature some in the past, but not near enough, and I know I haven't modeled it well.  The Poll Everywhere Chrome Extension allows you to embed polls directly into your Slide presentation. When you create a new Poll Everywhere, you have options for multiple choice, word cloud, Q&A, rank order, clickable image, survey, or open-ended questions. You can learn more about Poll Everywhere in Google Slides at

(above video linked at

4.  Quizlet Live

When Quizlet added their Live feature, teachers gained a digital way to use the Numbered Heads Together Cooperative Learning Strategy. Quizlet Live assigns teams (zebras, alligators, oxen, etc. ). Every participant's device sees answer options, but the answer options all are different between all team members. Participants have to talk together because you may not have the correct answer on your screen. Here is a video tutorial I found that explains more about Quizlet Live.

(the above video is linked from

5. YouTube

I went to a quick session with Google on Using Video As an Instructional Tool.  Lately, I've been spending more time exploring YouTube and realizing there are so many functions in YouTube that I have not been utilizing.  I hope to explore them further this summer. I did pull a couple of things from this session that I will share in bullet form:
  • Every minute, over 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.
  • YouTube has over 1.3 billion users (½ of the internet).
  • YouTube reaches more 18-49 yr olds than any cable network.
  • It's all thanks to Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
  • Tyler Tarver led this session and has a very engaging personality. His site includes math and Google videos. 
  • Tarver believes everyone should download YouTube, YouTube Music, and YouTube Capture (records video and forces you to turn camera to the side)
  • Creation vs. Curation: if you are afraid to create your own videos, then start curating others!
  • Find channels you like and subscribe to them. Find videos you like and add to Playlists.
  • Notifications are legit. Look for bell icon. Set up notifications for people you like and you will be notified anytime they add a new video.
  • Create videos for bell ringers!  You can have it start playing while you are taking attendance, talk to kids, etc. QuickTime on Mac or Screencastify on Chrome devices are easy tools to learn to create your own videos.
  • Unlisted allows anyone with a link to view your video. Note, someone can take your link and post it elsewhere, and people can see it then…

Each of my posts from ISTE has had a bonus piece of information, but this bonus is a big one!  You don't have to attend ISTE (or other conferences) to have great learning!  We want our students to be self-regulated learners, and we should model it as well.  My learning from ISTE won't stop because I am home.  I'll still be learning from it probably this time next year!  Here are some sources to get you started on your own learning path!

  1.  Search #ISTE17 on Twitter and be prepared to open link upon link of learning goodness!  Hint: I use Tweetdeck to organize my Twitter and currently have a column of all ISTE17 goodness.
  2. Search the website for conference sessions. Many times, you can access resources from sessions without having to log in as an attendee. ISTE is one of those conferences. Go to and start exploring sessions. You can narrow down your search to sessions with digital resources, or you can find the names of presenters that you are interested in and follow them on Twitter to build your PLN and keep the learning going!
  3. Find a name that you know that attended ISTE and see what information they are curating for you!  I happened to see Richard Byrne from filming in the bloggers' lounge, so I went to his page to see what he had to offer. His YouTube Channel has some live videos and interviews he did this week that I look forward to checking out. Friday morning, he will be live on his channel to recap ISTE17.  Byrne also wrote some posts this week while at ISTE that are on his site linked above.  Byrne is just one blogger who was active this week. Search to see if your favorite blogger was there as well. If you find a great post, we would love to have you share in the comments!
So, the rest of my summer will include some great learning. I'm going to take the time to refresh my mind and body, but in my opinion, a refresh doesn't mean to do nothing. If I were to refresh my house over the summer, I wouldn't let it build up dust. I would work to clean it and make it better. I hope to do the same with my brain this summer!

Note:  Anytime you are exploring new resources, make sure you check out the age requirements to ensure they are appropriate for your students and that the terms of service allow for users under 13, etc.  Also, use Common Sense Education to see if they have reviews of the product you are going to use (you can also find additional sites worth exploring on their page at As I continue to learn about the above products, I will be practicing these above tips!


Howard, M. (2017). Create, capture and cardboard your curriculum: 360 photospheres. Retrieved from

Women Embracing Brilliance. (2010). The four stages of learning. Retrieved from

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What I Learned at #ISTE17 Day 2

My brain is starting to stay in a state of fog! There is so much learning here at ISTE. I've heard there are around 15,000 people in attendance. The sessions are full of information, but the conversations are also rich with learning. I mentioned yesterday that relationships were important to my learning and they are making a repeat appearance in today's top 5.

Here are the top 5 things I learned:

Relationships Part 2

1.  Today's relationships that grew my practice came in the form of the "Playground" that focused on Ed Tech Coaching. I have enjoyed the playground feature of the conference. Each day has a different theme with tables for small group learning and conversations. Most of today's playground sessions focused on Instructional coaching. Here is a link to the schedule with many presentations linked. There were some books that were suggested to read that I am going to explore further:
  • The Global Education Guidebook: Humanizing K-12 Classrooms Worldwide Through Equitable Partnerships
  • The Global Educator
  • Cognitive Coaching: Developing Self-Directed Leaders and Learners
  • Made to Stick
  • Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling For Less
  • Learning First, Technology Second: The Educators Guide to Designing Authentic Lessons
2.  Yesterday, I mentioned Flipgrid (and I still need 10 people to respond to a post with a quick video reflection on something they have learned this summer at ). Tonight, while enjoying the evening at the rooftop pool, Erin shared with me an innovative way to use Flipgrid. The teacher created a Flipgrid and sent the link to parents and asked for them to respond with a video on their experience with the upcoming content.  During the classroom learning, the teacher played video clips of the parents' responses. What a fun way to bring relevance to the learning and connect the parent to the classroom!

3. While in the pool, Kerissa shared a hidden gem within Chrome!  On the iPad or other mobile devices with the Chrome app installed, pull down to reveal the Spotlight search and search for "QR".

Select "Scan QR Code" and you can scan directly within your browser!  No need for Chrome extensions or QR reading apps!

Thank you, Kerissa, for sharing your learning and your willingness to pose for my picture! I'm sure there was so much more learning gleaned from relationships, but I am going to move on to learning from my sessions!

4.  I went to a great session on giving feedback within Google Apps led by Eric Curts (one of my favorite bloggers!). Eric suggested giving video feedback by creating a Screencastify as you review the document and then putting a link to the video in a comment on the document. Your students hear your voice and see exactly what you are referencing on their paper!  Susan wrote a post on Screencastify earlier this year that you can read here. You can access Eric's full presentation on his website!  If you don't read closely, you might miss this gem for ELA teachers with pre-canned comments with links to learning resources for the student!

5. Google Forms

I was invited to attend a roundtable meeting with our Texas Google Edu representative. In this meeting, we gave feedback on GSuite Apps and heard about updates that were forecasted to come soon. In the midst of all the ISTE learning, I missed the announcement of the updates to Google Forms and the ability to batch grade questions in quizzes.  Here is a tweet from Google with an animated GIF to show the steps.  Ricard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers also wrote a post to share a little more about this new feature!

Bonus: Take a moment to explore a new resource announced by Google yesterday!

There are so many other things that I learned today that will have to be a later post. I'll leave you today with a couple of quotes from Alice Keeler to ponder!

Signing off at 12:45 AM to get ready for another day of learning tomorrow!

Monday, June 26, 2017

ISTE Day 1 Takeaways

When you go to a conference, the amount of learning can often be overwhelming. I also have a tendency to push myself to gain new knowledge at every opportunity that I fail to allow time to process that learning and to master it. Thanks to a colleague, I decided that I wanted to learn 5 things each day and anything beyond that was a bonus. I also wanted to make sure that I learned at least one thing from a Playground or Poster session or a vendor in the Expo.

Here are 5 things I learned today:

1. Padlet's shelf feature

I like Padlet as a tool for collaboration and sharing of ideas in the classroom. However, it can become quite disorganized as students add thoughts. In the past, I have created background images in Google Slides to provide columns for students to sort their notes on the canvas. Now, with the addition of the shelf feature, there is no need. You can create the topics/questions for each column and participants respond in the correct column. You can read more about it at this blog post by Padlet.  When Padlet released the Shelf stream, they added some other new features as well. You can read more about them here.

2. Twitter Searches

I regularly go to Twitter to search for a certain hashtag. What I didn't know is that I could drill that search down even further. I'm currently at ISTE.  I can search Twitter for #ISTE17 but that feed is long and full of great information. If I want to see what is being said at ISTE about the Apple app Clips, I can search #ISTE17 Clips.  Pick something you want to know more about and go search the #ISTE17 hashtag. You may find some great resources!

3.  Speaking of Clips, it is my new favorite app! There is so much this app can do and I am just beginning to scratch the surface. The Verge says Apple’s Clips App Is iMovie for the Next Generation.  Here are my notes on the app from a session I attended today:

Clips app

  • allows you to create multiple clips on the go
  • Live Titles allow you to speak text and it will add it as text on the video
  • You can pause for humor/drama
  • You can tap on text to get a text editor to make changes.
  • Can add music from your iTunes or from Soundtracks that apple has built in that are completely legal to use. Apple paid musicians to write the songs. Songs change length based on length of the video! 25 sec video they make a 25-second version of the song!
  • Videos will be square to fit the screen without turning to landscape mode.
  • You can tap library to pull from what you already have on the device. Hold to add the photo.
  • Trash to delete. Or pick up clip and flick away
  • Pinch in to zoom and then as recording, drag out to give animation like Ken Burns effect.
  • Zoom way in on satellite picture to make it seem like a drone film
  • Ease in and out feature makes it smooth.
  • Trim to make it where the entire time it is in motion.
  • Tap anywhere on the video you brought in to preview.
  • Scrubber bar is along bottom
  • You can position video before or while recording. So you are moving the camera in post production.
  • Keep things moving in clips videos. Don't make your scenes too long.
  • Can use panorama clips. You can pan from one side to another and it becomes animated video.

4. Plotagon Education

I enjoy creating animated videos and I really enjoy a good Bitmoji! Plotagon Education brings these two worlds together! (Note, there is also a Plotagon app but you will want the education version. If you sign up soon, teachers can get a 1-year subscription for free!)  Here is my first Plotagon that I created! (To all those who feel they have lived this scene with me before, I'm sorry. Special shout out to @ErinGerdes for the voice over!)

I've read a few additional blogs tonight on uses for Plotagon. Here are some of my favorite so far:

I'm thinking it could be a great teacher-created "hook" for your next HyperDoc!

5. Relationships are important. Whether talking to a vendor, friends, or strangers, I seemed to learn something from them all. I seriously walked up to the Plotagon booth and said: "Tell me why I would want to learn about your product and how to use it". I had a great time visiting with Joe from Plotagon.

I had lunch with two of my teammates and we were able to discuss our learning through the lens of GCISD. Then tonight, the three of us joined the ISTE Ed Tech coaches for a meetup dinner. Listening to others in the role speak of what they are doing in their schools gave me food for thought and reminded me that GCISD is the BEST and I am grateful to work and learn alongside so many wonderful educators!

Bonus: Flipgrid isn't new conference learning for me, but I do love the app for a way to capture student/teacher voice.  Today I learned that Flipgrid now offers Flipgrid Certified Educators. In order to apply, one component is to provide evidence that I have had 10 respondents to a Flipgrid post. Would you be willing to go to and leave a quick video reflection on something you have learned this summer (if posting from a mobile device, you will need the app to respond)?  By doing this, you will help me grow my practice!

Well, it is 12:30 AM and learning starts all over bright and early in the morning!  Signing off from #ISTE17

Monday, May 8, 2017

Force a Copy in GSuite

Google Classroom has made it easy for students to have their own copy of a teacher's Google Doc. However, you can also force anyone to make a copy of a Google doc by navigating to the URL and changing "edit" at the end of the URL to "copy" and then sharing that link.
In order for the person receiving your link to make a copy without needing your permission, make sure that your share settings are set that anyone in GCISD with the link can view your original document if you are only sharing within the district, or anyone with the link can view if you are sharing outside of the GCISD domain. 

Another use of forcing a copy is with surveys or quizzes. Many teachers are using Forms to collect survey data for student voice, quizzes, and more. If a teacher then shares his/her survey with another teacher, all of the results will populate in the same Google Sheet. Here comes force a copy to the rescue! In Forms, click the three buttons to the right of the "Send" button and select "Add Collaborators"
Change the share settings to anyone with the link can edit and select "Done"

Do not copy the share URL on this page!  

After selecting "Done", navigate to the URL bar at the top of the page and change "edit" to "copy" and then copy this new URL to share. The recipient of the URL will be forced to make their own copy of the form and they will be the owner of the data that is gathered using the form.

That just made sharing our Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Forms easier!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Google Keep

Recently, Google announced the integration of Google Keep with Docs. Google Keep has become a favorite for notetaking or quick "sticky" notes of things to remember.  Google Keep is available

Google Keep has many functions. You can read about them at Some of my favorite features are the ability to leave myself audio notes while on the go and to color code my notes. I'm all about color coding, so my notes match the same color organization that I use for labels in my Gmail and folders in my Google Drive.

A feature that I am committed to learn more about and utilize to make it a habit is the Reminders feature. With Reminders, you can set a location-based reminder. Is there something you need to do as soon as you get to campus? Set a reminder and when you arrive at the campus, you will receive a reminder. Do you have a to-do list that you need to accomplish? Set a time-based reminder to make sure you never miss a thing.

Sign up here to receive an email with an incredible Google Keep Cheat Sheet!

With the integration of Google Docs, it only takes two clicks to move things from your notes to a Doc. 

There are many ways for teachers and students to use Google Keep. Here are a few blog posts that can give you ideas!

How do you use Google Keep? What are some new ways you can use it in your classroom?  Comment below!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Videos in Google Slide

In February, Google announced an improved feature in Slides. Previously, you could only insert video into Slides if it were a YouTube link. With the new update, users can now link videos saved in their Google Drive, as well as by searching YouTube and inserting a YouTube URL. As educators, the ability to save the time involved in loading all of your personal videos to YouTube is a benefit. However, I think there is an even greater benefit for our students creating presentations with video content. Some student-created videos simply do not belong on YouTube due to FERPA, parent permission, or other reasons. The ability to add video from Google Drive allows the students to set the video view rights to protect their privacy.

Once you select Google Drive from the Insert video field, you will see all videos in your Drive, including videos you may have in your Google Photo account (for more information on the greatness of Google Photos, see Kerissa Bearce's Google Photos blog post).

Not only do you have the ability to add your videos, but you can also set the videos to play only the specific parts of the video you would like your audience to see.  Once your video is inserted, right click and select "Video Options".

From this menu, you can select a start and end time. You can also decide if you want the video to begin playing automatically when the slide opens or whether you would like the audio to be muted when it plays. These features are available for YouTube and Google Drive videos. 

The autoplay features make it easy to set a timer on any of your slides to help facilitate classroom discussions or allow students to see how long they have for the task on the slide.  The below video shows how to do this with a few simple clicks!

How will you use the new video feature?  We would love to have your share in the comments! Now go create inspiring video content for your students' viewing pleasure!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Jumble by Kahoot

Kahoot has been around for a while and is an engaging tool for formative assessments in the classroom. Kahoot recently added a new feature called Jumble. Rather than selecting the correct answer, participants must sequence answers in a correct order! This requires higher level thinking skills for students to sequence events, numbers, words, and more.

When playing a Kahoot Jumble, participants are given a question with four choices.  Here are some sample questions I created:

(Play Equation Builder to see more math examples. Many of these examples require a deep understanding of the concepts in order to solve!)

Once the question is displayed, participants must place answer tiles in the correct order by dragging the answer choice onto a grid.

Want to see what a Jumble is all about? Play a sample game here.

Are you ready to create your own Jumble? Learn more here.

You can search for Jumbles created by others by searching your topic and narrowing your results to Jumble.

This blog post 4 Ways Kahoot!’s Jumble Game will Benefit your Class details one teacher's experience with Jumble.

Have fun creating great questions to challenge your students' thinking!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Let's Recap Updates

In October, I wrote about Let's Recap that is a web-based application or as an iPad app for students. You can read the full blog post here.  Here are some of the ways Let's Recap is being used in the district:
  • Counting by 5s to 100
  • reading a passage for two minutes for teachers to assess fluency
  • Foreign language teachers having students respond to prompts to practice speaking fluency
  • Book reviews by genre
  • Exit ticket where students explain a process
  • and so many more ways!

Let's Recap is in its first year and in still in beta form. Since beginning in February 2016, there are now over 500,000 users! As expected of a beta program, Let's Recap is listening to suggestions and making changes!  They just released an update with exciting changes.

After students respond to a Recap prompt, a video reel is created. Previously, teachers were unable to edit the video created. Not anymore!  There is now an edit option on the daily reel.

Once edit is selected, you can select which students' videos should appear in your reel. You can also turn off the music and graphics that Let's Recap adds to the video reel. 

This new customization allows teachers flexibility in deciding the number of video responses included in the reel as well as selecting the responses that best represent a topic or use of the summary reel. 

The other new update is the addition of a specific due date. Prior to the update, teachers could select a closing date of 24 hours, two weeks, etc.  Now, a specific due date and time can be selected for each Recap assignment.   

Want to see how others are using Let's Recap? Check out these blog posts!

Project Based Learning: Essential questions and Many Uses of Recap by Rachelle Dene Poth (although this article is written through the lens of using it for responding to Essential Questions, the same concept would apply to using Let's Recap for student voice!  Imagine actually hearing their voice through video reflections rather than a survey.)