My Moment? June 1, 2018.

We all have moments where we realize that we just might be able to do something bigger than we ever thought possible.

I’ve had many of those. I want to zero in on a specific set, though.

The first came on May 8, 2018 when Danieta Morgan, then the Deputy Director of Instructional Systems for New Visions for Public Schools, now a K12 Google for Education Program Manager, sent me an email.  I didn’t know Danieta at the time, but I knew New Visions.  I had been using their Google for Education (now known as gSuite for Education) Add-Ons, Extensions and Scripts for years!

Apparently they knew me too, because Danieta was emailing to invite me to speak at their 5th annual New Visions Innovation Throw Down! I was so honored! Danieta told me that the event would be at Google’s New York City headquarters and that they would be willing to have me connect via Google Hangouts to present.

Take a moment to let that sink in. They would be at Google’s New York City Offices.  I would be in Ohio. I could use Google Hangouts to present remotely.

I sent Danieta the obvious response: “The only way that this opportunity could be more exciting as [sic] if it actually involves me going to the Google headquarters! :-)”

Her response? “If you were able to get to NYC, that’s exactly what it would be!! ;-)”

Well, you can guess what came next.  I had to convince my wife that this was a necessary trip.  I had to get permission from my school.

Less than a month later, I was on a plane to New York City.

Remember my first sentence? We all have moments where we realize that we just might be able to do something bigger than we ever thought possible.  June 1st, 2018.  I stepped onto a stage at Google’s NYC offices.

There was a series of talks, each in an Ignite format, which means that I had 5 minutes to cover 20 slides that auto-advanced every 15 seconds.  Yup, I flew to NYC to present for 5 minutes.  And it was worth every minute of it.

I had never done this talk and I haven’t done it since. It was special for this event because it focused on New Vision Cloud Lab’s tools.  But it wasn’t just special for this event.  It was special for me.  Here’s a video of it:

Tech Tools for Connecting with Parents & Families

Education is a team effort. Often, we only think about 2 parts of this team: the educators and the students. But keeping the 3rd part–parents, guardians and/or families–connected and involved can have huge benefits.

Image text reads: 28+ Tools to Build Connections! Tech Tools for Parent, Guardian, or Family Communication or Involvement. #KidsDeserveIt x #EduDuctTape
Picture of the Miller family taken by Lauren Clifford Photography.

I think that most educators would agree that the rankings for “best ways to keep in touch with parents, guardians, or families” are:

      1. face to face communication
      2. phone calls
      3. everything else

But, sometimes, we just don’t have time to do #1 and #2 for all of our students’ families.

Enter #3: technology.

As you probably already know from the Educational Duct Tape podcast, I believe that edtech is at its best when it’s being used as a tool to solve problems, meet goals or address learning standards. So, if we know that it’s important to connect with and involve our kiddos’ families and we know that it’s tough to connect with all of them, how can we leverage technology to support us in this endeavor?

I discussed this with a group of awesome educators recently.

On February 5th, 2020, I had the honor of moderating the #KidsDeserveIt Twitter Chat (all tweets available here).  This chat is based on the book Kids Deserve It by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome.  In the book, Nesloney & Welcome zero in on a set of steps that educators can take to improve the educational experience for our students. Two of those steps are contacting parents regularly and getting them involved in the classroom.  So I asked the #KidsDeserveIt chatters 2 questions relating to parent, guardian and/or family contact and involvement:

In the book, @mradamwelcome & @techninjatodd explain why we should be contacting parents to praise their kiddos. What tech tool(s) would you use for communicating with parents? #KidsDeserveItAdam & Todd also share about the importance of family interaction and involvement in the learning community. What tech tool(s) can help us to not just communicate with parents/families but to get those families *involved*? #KidsDeserveIt

 

Here are some of the tools that the #KidsDeserveIt Chatters shared about! Continue reading Tech Tools for Connecting with Parents & Families

#EduDuctTape Episode 37!

Promo Image for Episode 37, shows a headshot of Andreas Johansson

In the 15th episode of Season 2, I am joined by Andreas Johansson to talk about things that we can do to support less tech-savvy staff members, especially non-teaching staff. Tools discussed include Google Forms, Sheets & Sites; the FormMule, AutoCrat & FormRanger Add-Ons; the VLookUp, Concatenate & Substitute Google Formulas; Lean Thinking and more!

See the Show Notes Here

BONUS CONTENT: This audio was not included in the regular podcast episode, but is available here for listening:

Live RoundTable Discussions with Parlay

This is a sponsored post. All opinions, however, are my own.

Recently, I shared about Parlay’s Online Discussions. Parlay has created a platform for rich discussions that has all of the important features for the teacher and the students. However, there’s also value in live, face-to-face discussions.

But, these can be difficult to manage. How do we know which student speaks next? How do we know which students are waiting to speak? How does the teacher communicate feedback or assign grades? There are even more questions but for most, if not all, of them, Parlay has the answer. Their Live RoundTable Discussion tool provides an awesome way to manage your face-to-face classroom discussions, including Socratic Seminars.

Let’s check out what it looks like:

The Student View

In the #EduGIF below you’ll get an overview of the student experience starting from how they plan their responses all of the way through viewing feedback and summary data.

This GIF shows the different stages of a Parlay Live Discussion from the student view.
Pausable version of this #EduGIF available here.

The Teacher View

So, now that we know what the experience looks like for the student, let’s check out what it looks like for the teacher!

This animation shows the teacher's view of a Live Online Discussion
Pausable version of this #EduGIF is available here.

Check out Parlay here.

Want to see more of the Live RoundTable Discussions? Here are two videos: Grade 8 student and Grade 11 students using the Live RoundTable.

#EduDuctTape Episode 36, Part 2!

Promo Image for Part 2 of this Podcast Interview with Manny Curiel

In the 2nd part of the 12th episode of Season 2, I continue my conversation with Manny Curiel.  We discussed reasons for and benefits of recording lessons as well as diving into some new features in EdPuzzle!

See the Show Notes Here

16 Teacher Jokes from the Duct Tapers

Schools can be a stressful place for the staff & the students. So we all deserve a chance to 😃smile😃 and 😆laugh😆 every now and then. To help you out with that, here are some funny (or are they cheesy?) teacher jokes to brighten your day.

On 1/29/2020, a group of Duct Tapers (Educational Duct Tape podcast listeners) got together to have a Twitter chat.  Since the guest in the previous episode (Craig Klement) shared a teacher joke, I decided to have all of the chatters do the same!  Here are some of my favorites! (note: you can see all of the tweets from the chat here)

Continue reading 16 Teacher Jokes from the Duct Tapers

#EduDuctTape Episode 36!

Promo image for Manny Curiel episode. Includes a picture of Manny and the episode date.

In the 13th episode of Season 2, I talk with the wildly fun Manny Curiel about video in the classroom, green screen videos made with Chromebooks, WeVideo, podcasting with WeVideo and the upcoming enhancements to WeVideo for Schools.

See the Show Notes Here

"You can take one minute everyday to teach how we are being good digital citizens." - @MannyDiscoTech
– @MannyDiscoTech, when discussing why he loves @WeVideo’s “licensed- and royalty-free Essentials Library” on #EduDuctTape.

Awesome Classroom Uses of #EduGIFs Created with Screencastify

This is a sponsored post. All opinions, however, are my own.

I am absolutely geeking out about Screencastify giving users of its FREE plan the ability to export their screencasts as GIFs! For years, people have asked me how they can make GIFs like the ones that I make, but for free.  I’ve always had multiple tools to mention depending on the person’s goal and the tech that they’re using (Mac, PC or Chromebook).  But now I finally have 1 response that I can give to almost everyone!

You can export GIFs in the FREE Screencastify plan now!

I’m so excited to share with you about this.  In the post below, you’ll see an #EduGIF about how to do this followed by 19 different ways that you can use this in your school or classroom!!

The #EduGIF

This GIF shows the process of recording screencasts with Screencastify and exporting them as .gif files.

View a Pausable version of this #EduGIF here.

19 Uses of GIFs in the Classroom!

Continue reading Awesome Classroom Uses of #EduGIFs Created with Screencastify

Strategies for “Sticky” Vocab Learning!

Header Image for Post, contains post title and a picture of a dictionary

If you could be a fly on the wall of an average classroom, it’d be pretty likely that you’d hear something like “Don’t forget to study your vocab words tonight!” or “Remember to review your flashcards tonight!”

While there’s been a move away from the rote learning of yesteryear, most educators agree that having a firm grasp of content area vocabulary is still an important piece to the learning process.  I think that there are two important goals for learning vocabulary in content areas: (1) retention of the words (sticky learning) and (2) application of the words.

In Episode 34 of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast, I spoke with Dr. Jared Cooney Horvath, author of Stop Talking, Start Influencing, about both of these goals.

A week after that episode came out, I was joined by dozens of “Duct Tapers” in the #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat to discuss the podcast episode, including these two goals.

Below are some strategies that you can use in your classrooms to increase your students’ ability retain and apply their vocabulary learning.  Some come from the chat and others come from the episode. Continue reading Strategies for “Sticky” Vocab Learning!

Parlay Online RoundTable Discussions!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions, however, are my own.

In my Educational Duct Tape workshops and extended sessions, the participants share goals or issues that they are hoping edtech can solve for them.  We then use the #EduDuctTape edtech integration mindset to identify some possible tools that they can use.

Along with questions like “How can I formatively assess my students?” and “How can my students create podcasts about content?” one of the most common ones is “How can I have my students participate in online discussions about content?

Well, I think that I finally have an answer for that question that I feel really confident in.  Not long ago, a company called Parlay came onto the edtech scene.  I was intrigued from the very beginning.  The tool offers 2 different functions: (1) hosting online class discussions and (2) facilitating live, in-person roundtables and Socratic seminars.

Today, I’d like to focus on the first of those 2 functions: online class discussions.  In the #EduGIF below, you’ll see how Parlay guides the educator through this process:

  1. The teacher creates (or selects) a discussion prompt.
  2. The teacher sends the prompt to the students (via a link or Google Classroom).
  3. The students read the prompt and respond.
  4. The students read each others responses and reply.
  5. The teacher participates in the discussion.
  6. The teacher provides feedback on student responses.
  7. The teacher  (and students) view rich summary data.

I think that this tool has a lot of potenial in classrooms across most, if not all, content areas. If you try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes!

A Pausable version of this #EduGIF is available here.

This GIF walks viewers through the online discussion process as outlined in the numbered list above.

Check out Parlay here.