Explore Week in the T.E.C.H. Playground

Visit us this week in 326 Willard and Explore the T.E.C.H. Playground!  Sometimes it can be overwhelming walking into this space – worry no longer.  Pick up a map as you walk in and follow the path to treasure!  Along the way you will encounter several of the things we use everyday.  Bring a friend!  Bring two!  If you complete the map and find treasure, you can earn a special badge in the T.E.C.H. Playground Mission Game and earn 1 hour of professional development credit!

For more details read this:


TECH Tips from the T.E.C.H. Playground Part 2

There are so many apps and websites trying to get our attention – it can be overwhelming trying to research them all.  Here are some of the apps and websites that we use in the T.E.C.H. Playground, we hope you find them useful and if you have a question – visit us in Willard 326.  Read Part 1 – Before Class and Content Creation.

For Class:

Video:  YouTube and TED are excellent apps that can be used find the perfect video to share with your students.  Are your students struggling with a particular piece of content?  Check YouTube.  Is there something inspirational you would like use to introduce a lesson or provide some talking points to start class?  Check TED.

QR Codes:  Use QR Codes to easily share data, information, or websites.  You can use a QR Code to link to your contact details.  Or you can use a QR code that links to a specific website for your students to explore.  If you are collecting information from your students, create a Google Form and a QR Code for the link.  Then have your students scan it when they walk into the classroom.  Instant info!

Teacher Kit:  The university provides a course platform in D2L, but using D2L on a phone can be tedious at best.  Teacher Kit is a handy app that will help manage some aspects of your course on a mobile device.  We like being able to take student pictures and using them for attendance.  Tap the face once for absent and twice for present.

Padlet:  Is an app and a website that can promote classroom conversation.  Create a guiding question(s) for the day and have students post their thoughts to your wall.  They can use the web-based site or their internet connected device to share ideas and collaborate.

Poll Everywhere:   Use Poll Everywhere as a tool for formative assessment.  Create a list of questions ahead of time, or prepare some generic survey questions, then have your students answer through their phones by text message.  Build some quizzes on the website and include them in your next PowerPoint or Keynote presentation.  It is fun to watch the answers come be displayed in real time!  And you know exactly what students understand and/or struggle with.

Plickers:  Plickers works best when the instructor uses the website and a mobile device.  The app is amazing, but there is some setup involved.  Create a free account on the website, download the “cards”, and assign students to specific “cards”.   Then create your quiz or survey or whatever it is that you want to know.  Display your questions on the SMART Board and have students answer with the “cards”, you grade them by scanning the room with your mobile device open to the Plickers app.  Use your mobile device to advance to the next question.  Check out this video to see Plickers in action.

Socrative:  This is another formative assessment tool with two different apps: one for teachers and one for students.  Create a variety of questions, from short answer to multiple to choice, to true/false or put together an exit ticket.  Ask a question and get real time feedback on where your students are with the lesson.

Kahoot:   Kahoot is not an app, but works on any mobile device.  All you need to do is create a free account and build your survey/quiz.  To use Kahoot, play your quiz on SMARTboard, students will be prompted to go to a website, enter a quiz code, and type in a username.  Then the games begin!  Kahoot will ask questions and give students a timer.  Students who give correct answers in the least amount of time will get more points.  Its like the trivia games in pubs – but focused on education!

SMART Notebook: All of the classrooms in Willard are equipped with SMART Boards and all of the attached computers have SMART Notebook installed.  Create interactive lessons on your iPad, then upload them to Dropbox or Google Drive for easy access from any computer in Willard.

After Class

Save PDF files:  If you used the SMART Board to markup any of your PowerPoint or SMART Notebook slides, take just a moment to save those files as PDF files.  Then you can upload those files to Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or D2L for students to review at a later date.  Use the Adobe Reader App to view and mark up PDF’s, with an in-app purchase you have the ability to edit PDF’s as well.  PDF Reader is another free app that has many functions similar to Adobe.

Create videos: There may be an occasion when your students need a little more explanation for a particular topic.  There are three apps that can help with creating content Explain EverythingEducreations, and Show Me.  Explain Everything currently has a price of $5.99 and is well worth it.  Import just about any file you use: PDF, DOC, XLS, PPT, KEYNOTE, PAGES, NUMBERS, JPG, GIF, MP4, this list goes on.  Once your video (MP4 or MOV) is ready it can be uploaded to Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox.  Educreations is free and all of your creations are stored in your free Educreations account.  Lessons can be shared by email, Facebook, Twitter or hyperlink.  Show Me is similar to Educreations, create your video and upload it to the Show Me community.

Remind:  D2L is a nice platform for sharing information and communicating with students.  There are occasions when something needs to be shared immediately to your students – that is where Remind comes in.  Send one way communication to your students as a text message.

Zipgrade:  Create a free account at zipgrade.com and build an assessment.  Print the sheets off and have your students answer the questions, then grade the sheets by scanning them with your iPad. Use zipgrade as exit tickets, formative assessment, or quizzes.

Websites:  There are some great websites that can be used as resources for teaching, some of our favorites: EdutopiaTeachThoughtApple EducationISTEGoogle EducationEdSurgeEdudemic, and EdTechTeacher to name a few.  If you have a favorite that is not listed here – please add it in the comments.

If there is an app you like that we didn’t mention – please add it in the comments.  We love your feedback!


TECH Tips from the T.E.C.H. Playground Part 1

There are so many apps and websites trying to get our attention – it can be overwhelming trying to research them all.  Here are some of the apps and websites that we use in the T.E.C.H. Playground, we hope you find them useful and if you have a question – visit us in Willard 326.

For Organization:

OneNote: If you are a student or employee of Oklahoma State University, OneNote is free for you to use and allows you to organize your life.  Log into Cowboy Mail (everyone who has an OSU email account has access to this) and click the blue box with the dots in the upper left corner of the screen to choose OneNote.  Take notes, jot down todo lists, develop a semester outline, clip websites – do it all in OneNote and sync it across all of the devices you use.

Google Drive: Drive gives you a cloud based resource to hold documents, spreadsheets, or powerpoints.  If you utilize Google’s Docs, Sheets, and Slides – then you can create an unlimited number of items.  Drive also gives you the ability to share a document with a class or co-worker for easy collaboration or viewing. Bonus – everyone with a *.okstate.edu account has unlimited storage in Drive!

OneDrive:  Everything that Google Drive does – OneDrive can do as well.  Create, share and collaborate!  This is the Microsoft version, so everything should have a comfortable look and feel for those who use Microsoft Office products.  As with OneNote, OneDrive is accessible by logging into Cowboy Mail and clicking the blue box in the upper left hand corner.  OneDrive comes with 1TB of storage, each item you upload will count against your quota.

Dropbox:  Use Dropbox as a cloud based storage system for all of your files (as in any file type you can think of).  Easily sync those files between your portable devices and your laptop with ease!  When you create a shared folder, you can collaborate on the documents located within without having to email files.  You will be limited on your cloud storage based on your account plan.

For Content Creation:

Prezi:  Create your content on Prezi.com, then use the app to review your work.  You can also connect your iPad to an AppleTV or connect to the multi-media splitter (with a dongle) in the classroom.  Open the app and start your lesson.

PowerPoint:  Try the app for free for 30 days, or login with your Cowboy Mail account credentials and have unlimited access.  All of the features you love about PowerPoint are now ready for you to use on your iPad.  Save your PowerPoint to OneDrive for easy sharing and collaboration.

Keynote:  Keynote is the Apple version of Powerpoint, so if you are an Apple person enjoy!  To use Keynote, there may be a one time purchase price of $9.99.  It will depend on when you signed up for your Apple ID.

Slides:   This is the Google version of PowerPoint and comes with all of the easy collaboration features that Google Docs are known for.

Haiku Deck:  Haiku Deck is a visual content creation app for the iPad.  It is free to use and comes with a companion website, so you don’t have to use your iPad for presentations.  With Haiku Deck, the image is the emphasis, with room for short phrases to be added to complete the slide.

Google Docs:  Create a word document to share with your students, no matter where you are or where they are.  Documents can be made public or kept private and shared with specific users.  You can adjust the type of collaboration you want in your document from copy, to comment only, to edit – its your choice!  Save your Google Doc in Google Drive and it will not count against your overall storage quota.

Microsoft Word:  The word processor you are most familiar with, as an app for the iPad.  As with PowerPoint, login with your Cowboy Mail credentials for full access.  Save your work to OneDrive for easy sharing and collaboration.

Adobe Spark:  You don’t have to use all three of these apps at the same time.  Pick one and work with it.  They provide fun and different ways to create content with or for your students.  Spark Page allows you to create a scrolling presentation.  Spark Post gives you the opportunity to create eye catching pictures and graphics.  You can even include some animated text!  With Spark Video add the opportunity to narrate your visual representations.  All of these apps can be shown through your iPad or through the internet.  Create a free Adobe account and you are ready to go.

Infographics:  Infographics can be an excellent way to use graphics, charts, or design to communicate information.  Canva and Piktochart are apps for creating that have parent websites for posting.  Links to your infographics can be embedded in D2L or hyperlinks can be shared through email or social media.

Read Part 2: During and After Class.

If there is an app you like that we didn’t mention – please add it in the comments.  We love your feedback!


What Change Can You Make This Year?

I have always tried to do things a little bit differently.  I really don’t want my class to be like every other class.  I want something different and unique, something that would impact the students and leave a positive memory with them.

One of the first “changes” that I made was introducing music as part of the classroom
culture (no one in my school outside of the music folks did this).  I taught math (not music) but I knew that playing music during class could be beneficial.  So in my second year of teaching, I brought the boombox from home, found a Braveheart disc and it was game on.  I have had music playing in my room ever since (and expanded well beyond Braveheart – Spotify is amazing).

Another big change was transforming my teaching model from a traditional classroom to a flipped classroom.  This was difficult, but intentional.  I made this change because I had started to get into some really familiar routines and wanted to do something very different.  Another big change: at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, I gamified my calculus class.  It was a struggle, it was fun, it was exciting, and the days zoomed by soooo fast!

Why did I change to a flipped class?  I thought it had potential!  Why did I gamify?  I thought it would make a big and fun difference!  I didn’t do these things just to do them.  I took intentional risks and left the friendly confines of the familiar for uncharted waters.

I had the opportunity to attend my first ISTE conference in 2013 and was so impressed!  I loved the vibe!  I loved the ideas I was getting from others!  I LOVED this conference!!  This conference really got me thinking about what I am doing in the classroom.  What could I change?  What needed to stay the same?  How could I help students own their learning (even more than in a flipped environment) and be even more brilliant with my practice?  All of these questions…I decided I had to go back and the very next year, my friend and I had a table session!

These ideas from ISTE had me looking around my school, one of the best public high schools in our state (True Story!) and I thought, we could be even more amazing….I dug into educational technology and the ideas from the conferences.  From this point forward life was all about change.  I would talk to any of my colleagues who would listen.  I would stop them in the hall.  Talk to them over the bathroom stalls.  Walk them to class.  Send staff wide emails…

Fast forward to January 2015, I resigned my teaching position to become a full time PhD student at Oklahoma State University.  This was change of the highest magnitude!  It was also very intentional.  One of the biggest reasons that I did this was to put myself into a position to help teachers make changes without being afraid.  I want to help them see that change is not bad, it can be so rewarding!  But it can be so difficult to start.

As I close in on completing course work this December, change is coming for me again.  I took some intentional steps to change my practice and they have led me on a journey I did not anticipate.  What steps of change can you take?  What can you do to improve your practice?  What step can you take today, that will make a positive difference tomorrow?


Technology Hacks for Educators by our ow

Technology Hacks for Educators by our own Scott Haselwood Scott Haselwood M.Ed http://ow.ly/miVe30280K7

Gamification ideas from our own Scott Ha

Gamification ideas from our own Scott Haselwood Scott Haselwood M.Ed ://ow.ly/4RY93027SFM

Cowboy Moments 2015-2016 #gopokes! http:

Cowboy Moments 2015-2016 #gopokes! http://ow.ly/EpyO301ZfDJ

What a blast having #STEMcamp kids in th

What a blast having #STEMcamp kids in the T.E.C.H. Playground today! OSU College of Ed http://ow.ly/i/kyfIK

Congratulations to Ed Tech’s own Tara D

Congratulations to Ed Tech’s own Tara Dalinger, who received a Robberson Summer Research Fellowship! http://ow.ly/9JQv301uyZW

When does creativity become a chore?

When does creativity become a chore?

It’s an appropriate question to ask if you poke your head into the EDTC 3123 Applications of Educational Technology class this week and observe students who are pre-service teachers reacting to the premise of project-based learning. After describing this week’s activity of collaborating with a group to design a catapult with materials such as rubber bands and popsicle sticks, the peer teaching team asks whether anyone has questions before they move further in the lesson. One student raises her hand and asks, “Can I leave?”

After various forms of grumbling, the students coalesce into groups and begin the activity intended to give them hands on experience with the project-based learning method. Ambling about the room and observing the goings on, a first grader who had accompanied her mother to college that day huffs enviously at these grown ups getting to do something so fun as making catapults that would launch marshmallows across the room. Finally, she approaches the instructor and asks whether she may please make a catapult too? The instructor quickly agrees, happy to see at least one person enthusiastic about the project. After being shown the box of provided materials, the first grader eagerly digs in and collects various paraphernalia which she assembles through trial and error into the beginning of a catapult. When she runs into a hiccup – her spoon won’t snap forward – she scoots over to the nearest table of college students and deposits her catapult into grown up hands while asking for assistance. Within minutes, she has a working catapult.

Meanwhile, a nearby group of college students are still listlessly researching catapult designs on Google accompanied by occasionally mumblings of, “What are we supposed to do?”

I would imagine that at some point in their childhoods, each of those students in that class would have been just as eager as that little first grade girl to play and experiment and create. But when did that creative courage and initiative go away? When did it become work? A chore to be completed out of obligation to an assignment? And where did it go? Will there come a time sooner or later when even that little first grade catapult engineer will leave her instinct for curiosity and play behind as well?
I really hope not. Not the least because that little girl is my daughter.