Archive | April, 2014

30 Seconds of Google: Google Takeout

30 Apr

Google has created an online tool that allows you to export your data from several Google products in one simple download. Currently, Google Takeout supports backing up from Drive, Contacts, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, Google+, and more.  Just visit Google Takeout and select the service(s) you want to archive/download at


3 Tools to Differentiate Reading & Research #METC14

25 Apr

We sent Jennifer Frazer, one of our high school English teachers, who also serves on our tech committee, to the METC preconference workshop on integrating technology tools in English Language Arts to Meet Common Core Standards. She came back with lots of great ideas to share with her department colleagues, but we also asked her to do a short screencast of some of the webtools she learned about that would be of interest to all subject areas. So, Jen chose Newsela, Rewordify, and Instagrok. I particularly like how Rewordify makes a text easier to read not by shortening it (which most automated sites do rather in-eloquently), but by substituting easier words or phrases, while still allowing students access to the original word and its pronunciation.

R(e)Post of the Week: Class Charts Whole School is Free for Teachers

25 Apr

This week on Class Tech Tips, Monica Burns shares an announcement from Class Charts about the launch of a free whole-school version of their tracking tool. The name of the site is a bit of a misnomer because Class Charts does so much more than seating charts. It really lets you hone in on student behaviors, including academic behaviors. What I liked about this tool over others, such as Class Dojo, was the ability to share students and their records between teachers. With the launch of a school-wide version, I am sure this capability will be even more enhanced. Class Charts also has some cool data tools.

*disclaimer: I am not a fan of behavior systems that reward or punish students with points for behavior. I think the benefit of this tool and others like it is to help teachers track data.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology: Infographic

17 Apr

Interactive Art Show With QR Codes

17 Apr

QR CODES are just so amazing.

Next week our school will have our 2nd Annual Spring Art show. Our art show is not just an ordinary art show. It comes with a little twist. We made it interactive with QR codes!

We recorded the voices of all 400+ students on the website This website is so simple to use, and the best part is it allows you to create a QR code right on the website, and even share via email, facebook, or twitter.

I send an email to parents prior to the event to download a QR code app reader. Art show flyer

Parents used a QR code scanner on their device (ipad, smartphone) to scan the QR code. They then are able to hear their child talk about their art piece. Students share what their inspiration was for creating their projects, the materials they used, and the steps they took, in creating their masterpieces.

Our first year of the event, I recorded all of the students voices and it was quite time consuming. This year, I allowed the older students to record their own voices using vocaroo.

At our school, the each student selects two pieces from their portfolios to display at the art show that takes place at the end of the school year. This year, I collaborated with the art teacher and had students write reflections as they complete each piece, so they didn’t have to go back and remember how they created it months later.

The QR code squares are in blue

Interactive Art Show

So this is the process for creating QR codes…

Record audio

Save audio

Click on the QR code link to generate a QR code.

Copy and paste the code onto a word document, then add the name of the student at the bottom. ( you may want to resize them) The reason I put them in a word document is to label them when you are doing a large amount. When QR codes are printed they look exactly the same.

Print them.

I print a class at a time, and I am sure to list the order of the recordings somewhere, or add the names & class at the bottom of each QR code.

You can also teach students how to do this in the computer lab or on laptops.

Before the show– I sent home a flyer explaining the show to parents, and asking them to download a QR code reader like iNiGMA. I also had ipads available for checkout.

Also, remind them to bring earbuds.

Hope this helps! Much success!


R(e)Post of the Week: Hargadon’s Big Event Announcements

11 Apr

If you’ve never attended a virtual conference, you should check out Steve Hargadon’s announcement this week about some upcoming virtual conferences including Learning About Learning, Reinventing the Classroom, ISTE Unplugged, Gaming in Ed, and Library 2.014. All of the conferences are free to attend online.

There are also some opportunities to present at some of these conferences. I’ve presented before for Hargadon, and he truly makes it easy to do! The deadline for calls for proposals for The Learning Revolution Conference is April 15, with the conference happening April 21-25, 2014.

Using Google Apps in Your Google Drive #METC14

11 Apr

One of our technology teacher leaders, Alicia Brand, shares something she learned at METC this year: connecting apps to your Google Drive. After a brief review of how to access your Google Drive, Alicia explains how to connect/disconnect more apps, including MindMeister, Pixlr Editor, Drive Template Gallery, Realtime Board and Simplebooklet.