Friday, June 30, 2017

Review: Class Management in the Digital Age

This past year our entire middle school went 1:1 with Chromebooks. To be honest, I was nervous. I have always been what I consider tech-savvy and aware of trends in the educational technology world. What I was not confident in, however, was how I would manage 28 student devices in an 8th-grade Spanish classroom. To gather as much advice as I could on the 1:1 environment prior to implementation, I consulted Classroom Management in the Digital Age written by Heather Dowd and Patrick Green.
I was worried that I needed to have the Chromebooks out every class, not because the district said we had to, but because of the expectations I had for myself. If I have Chromebooks in my classroom, I am going to use them daily, because that is what a tech-savvy teacher does, right? Wrong. You must first start with purpose. Do you need immediate data on student comprehension? Great use of the Chromebooks. Are you putting a worksheet into electronic form to save copies and to “use” technology? Stick with the copies. As a Spanish teacher, I found certain staples I would utilize in my classroom to use technology meaningfully (Quizlet, Quia, Flipgrid, YouTube). If students were given an opportunity to receive authentic exposure to language and culture, it was a no-brainer to open the Chromebooks. The ability I now have to break down the classroom walls and give students access to an endless list of experts in the field is invaluable. If you are transitioning to a 1:1 environment and are concerned about how much you have to use the device, don’t worry. One week you may use the device two days, another week you may use them every day. The quantity of time that students use the device is irrelevant. The quality of enhanced experiences the technology provides students is what matters. Think first about purpose.
Next came the question of managing 28 devices in one room. Classroom Management in the Digital Age offered some eye-opening thoughts on how to successfully manage all of the Chromebooks entering my classroom. First, if your lesson is engaging, you are incorporating student interests’ and giving students choice and opportunity to explore, management will be minimal. If students are engaged in the lesson, they will not find a need to go elsewhere for entertainment. This challenged me as an educator even more than the past to create lessons that were exciting, relevant, and required higher order thinking skills. Sometimes, however, the lessons that seem best in our minds, can fail and we need to call in the management reinforcements. Dowd and Green offered some quick sayings in order to gain student attention and minimize screen distractions. Here are some of my favorites for quick transitions while using devices:
  • “45 your screens.” (Students dip screens to a 45-degree angle)
  • “Descreen.”
  • “Tip the top.”
  • “Dock it.” (Students put their devices in the upper right-hand corner of their desk.)
Like most teachers I know, I try to be organized and always have routines in my class. How would I signal to kids that we were using Chromebooks for the day? Would I teach them a routine at the beginning of the year when discussing rules? What would be the consequences for inappropriate use? These were all questions I asked myself; in the end, the procedure of when to take out devices developed naturally. At the beginning of the year, I simply asked students to be responsible and respectful in their use of their devices. I have found a lot of “management” is avoided by having positive relationships with your students. If you show respect for them and your interest in making class engaging is evident, they will not want to show disrespect by playing games or surfing the Internet. They will want to engage as much as they can with you during your class period because you are making it an experience, not just another part of their schedule. Sometimes, I may not know the answer about a vocabulary word when does. It’s okay for my students to log on and look without asking my permission. Sometimes students want to know more of the “why” than I have time to explain. They might need a visual representation instead of the verbal explanation I am offering. Maybe they want to add the Spanish song I am playing to their Spotify playlist. I do not want my students to feel as though they need to ask permission every time they take out their computer. There is so much more beyond what Spanish language and culture is offered in room 414 and I want them to feel my support in exploring their curiosities. They need to know I trust them. Other educators I know have found success in implementing various procedures in device management such as a Slidedeck (Daily slide indicating agenda and whether students will need devices) or Whiteboard signs (Green side means Chromebooks used, Red side means no devices needed for the day) if classes need a bit more direction. Dowd and Green call these procedures “activators” as they allow teachers to get class started without giving explicit instructions.
The past year going 1:1 at our middle school was more enjoyable that I had imagined. Once the school year began, I no longer worried about how much I was using the Chromebooks and focused on utilizing them as a tool to increase engagement and allow student choice in pacing and activities. Trust me, your students will not question how much you use the devices and parents will not be disappointed if their child does not receive homework electronically on a daily basis. You know what is best for your students; continue to trust that intuition. Keep teaching to ignite student passion for learning and be excited that each child has a portal to explore beyond the curriculum. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Dowd and Green said it best, “Having the right attitude is the single most important trait for navigating, processing and learning in a connected classroom.” Now, get ready to create and experience a learning environment that you wish you had when you were a kid.
Do you have any tips for someone that is entering a 1:1 classroom?
 Lauren Richardson
8th Grade Spanish Teacher
Mason, Ohio
Cross-posted from Richardson Travels blog

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dive into Inquiry: A Shift in Mindset

Sometimes the biggest shifts come from a small, almost indistinguishable moment. My Dive into Inquiry journey started a bit like that. A small chance. A fleeting moment from a tired conversation in the back of a taxi en route to the airport following two amazing, but brain draining, days at Teach, Tech, Play.

An inspirational colleague of mine, Judy Clark, and I were discussing what our next steps might be. How we could go back to our school and have impact for our students. As we were coming into a two week holiday break, she recommended a few books that I might like to read. One was by an author I’d never heard of… Trevor Mackenzie.

Now, in the interest of being honest, I have to admit that I didn’t jump at the chance at first. I’d like to say that I had an instant ‘ah-ha’ moment and raced off to find this author. But, I didn’t. I went home. I slept. I spent time with my family. I enjoyed the holidays. I even… read other books! 😱

Fortunately, #TTPlay reinvigorated my interest in Twitter, so I connected. I looked up Trevor, clicked through to the EdTechTeam, found my way to EdTechTeamPress and started reading up on Dive into Inquiry. Now, and again to be honest, I already had six unread #edureads at my bedside, some that have been there for almost 18 months. Eeeek! But, I love books! So I figured, why not?!

And so... I waited. And waited. And waited for my copy to arrive. Sometimes it’s frustrating living on the other side of the world. As I waited though, I kept looking into Trevor and started to get an idea of his amazing journey as an educator. The incredible impact he’s had on his students, and is having on teachers across the world. I was getting more and more excited until a package finally arrived… and they’d sent the wrong book! Ha! Fortunately though, I received another great resource in Classroom Management in the Digital Age. But, my wait for Dive into Inquiry continued.

Long story short, the book arrived, but by now, the term had started. I bet you know that feeling. The “I’m so busy sorting out right now, I can’t possibly invest in the future, or myself” feeling. I get that, often, but I try. I did my best to read a page or two at a time. I made a few notes. I tried a couple of things in class, but I couldn’t get as deep as I wanted. You know what, though? Despite wanting to do more, I felt encouraged by the changes I was seeing in my practice, and in the learning of my students. I saw first hand the power of inquiry in engaging and empowering students. And it spurred me on!

It was in this experience that I got the first real sense of the outstanding practicality of Dive into Inquiry - it’s a great pick up and put down read. Read what you can, when you can, and apply what you can. The short, sharp chapters help, chapter one is just three pages long. However, the content and concepts in these short, sharp chapters pack real punch. At about 130 pages in total,
it was also easy to go back and read through in one go once I hit the mid-year break and had some time up my sleeve. This is also a bonus when sharing with colleagues… I just tell them to give it half an hour and let the book speak for itself. I’ve read a lot of books that, like Dive into Inquiry, are based on sound theory. Many much thicker than this one. Many, though, get stuck in that theoretical zone - there’s no visible application to the classroom. This book is very much the opposite, in fact, there are so many practical ideas and suggestions I’d say I made more notes in and from this book than I ever have before! Through this, I’m confident I can incorporate Inquiry Based Learning as a facet of my classroom learning experiences, and my wider school’s for that matter, as this is a truly practical, shareable resource that teachers can pick up and have almost instant positive impact from.

This leads me to my second highlight of Dive into Inquiry, the enlarged, Twitter ready, quotable sections. Throughout the book I was doing a lot of underlining, and more often than not, I’d underline a passage only to find it highlighted in large text further down or just over the page. This gave me a great sensation that I was on the same page as Trevor. That this expert in his field felt this was a part of his book that he especially wanted to highlight. Thinking logically then, by my wanting to highlight it too, I felt that I must be on the right track! I found this very affirming, not to mention handy for sharing via social media.

Finally, and perhaps most useful for me, are the practical examples of Inquiry Based Learning in action littered throughout the book. While many authors have resources available via their website, through subscription or professional development, as does Trevor, I love the incorporation of key images within the book itself. Images such as the Types of Student Inquiry and The Inquiry Process, a literal road map for applying Trevor’s process! He even includes sample timetables and student reflections. Add these to the QR Codes that lead directly to resources and authentic student work, and you have a sensational collection of best practice that help make the leap from theory to application that much clearer!

I’ve always looked at inquiry as a style that I, the teacher, could use to enhance learning. Trevor’s Types of Student Inquiry, and his focus on building toward ‘Free Inquiry’ with the students, have inspired me to empower my classes to have more say in their learning. While this is a direction I have been headed in through Project Based Learning, much of this is still teacher generated at my Primary level. Trevor’s urgings and examples have pushed me past the wonderings of my previous studies into passion projects, genius hour and 20% time. By providing a framework that I am confident I can apply in my classroom, I feel empowered to take on this shift in mindset.

Overall, Dive into Inquiry is a fantastic resource for those looking to “amplify learning and empower student voice”. I’m so glad I (but really Judy) found it! I have big plans for upskilling and resourcing our teachers in order to strengthen our inquiry approach in Prep (Kindergarten) to Year 4, and to add important scaffolding elements to our Project Based Learning program in Years 5 and 6. Get a copy and encourage others to do the same. I’m so glad I ‘took a chance’ on Dive into Inquiry! I hope you’ll join Trevor (and me!) in “changing the landscape of learning” in your context!

Ralf de la Mare
Years 3 - 5 Coordinator
King’s Christian College
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Google Certified Educator

Passionate about student centred educational reform, turning good teachers into great teachers and empowerment through voice and choice! @mrdelamare

       Get your own copy of Dive into Inquiry HERE

Top Things You Need to Know About the New ISTE Standards

Empowered. That is the word that describes how I felt when Jennie Magiera’s ISTE 2017 keynote had finished today. And maybe a little sad, all-right a lot sad that I was not at ISTE. I wouldn’t even have had the opportunity to experience her powerful message of stories, told and untold, if it were not for technology.

While #notatiste, I was thankful for the opportunity of watching #ISTE17 through a live feed by EdTechTeam. The irony was not lost on me that I was watching the keynote with the help of technology about the power of technology to share stories. It was then that I made the connection to myself as a learner and educator reflected in the inspirational story delivered by Jennie Magiera. I was hearing her story because a) she was brave enough to share it and b) the potential of technology was underscored in her ability to reach, inspire and positively impact thousands of viewers. With the newly updated release of ISTE Standards for Educators, it was only fitting that they reflect an evolving message of empowering students and teachers to utilize technology as a change agent.

On June 25th, the International Society for Technology in Education released an updated version of the ISTE Standards for Educators. Here are a few things you need to know:

*Moving from content-driven to focusing on technology that amplifies the learner experience and next generation learning environments

*ISTE received feedback from over 2,200 educators and administrators around the globe

*A dedication to the promise technology has for empowering learners and teachers

*A roadmap to help support educators to transform pedagogy with technology

*Utilize technology to maximize learning for all students by providing choice and intentional educator design

The seven Educator Standards are:

1. Learner - Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning.

2. Leader - Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and improve teaching and learning.

3. Citizen - Educators inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.

4. Collaborator - Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems.

5. Designer - Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability.

6. Facilitator - Educators facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students.

7. Analyst - Educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals.

View the full Educator Standards and their indicators here

View the full Student Standards (updated in 2016) and their indicators here

Find more information here about the Administrator Standards which will be released in June 2018

I am excited to dive into a framework that can help support myself and the teachers and students I work alongside on a daily basis. As technology evolves at an exponential pace, I can’t help but revisit Jennie Magiera’s message of how technology can be used as a powerful communication tool. How do these revised standards impact our work and the potential untold stories of our students?

Gail Moore
Instructional Technology Facilitator
Vancouver Public Schools
Vancouver, Washington
Google Certified Educator & Trainer
Twitter: @gailkmoore

Monday, June 26, 2017

Top Ten Screencastify Tips

1. Extension for Chrome

This chrome extension lets you create screencasts
directly from your browser on your laptop or
desktop. Capture audio and video easily.

Learn More >

2. Install on your laptop or desktop

> Go to
> Click on the blue button ‘Free’
> Accept the terms

Install >

3. What you Need

There are a few things your laptop/desktop
will need in order to create a screencast:

> a built in camera or a web cam
> a built in or external microphone

4. Record Your Screen

> Click on the film icon located at the top
right in the extensions section of your
browser to start your recording.
> Select screen preference
> Click on ‘Share’

Learn How >

5. Capture Yourself

You can activate your camera to
capture yourself on the screen.

>Click on the film icon
> Select ’Webcam’ from ...

Learn More >

6. Annotate over your Screencast

Click on the film icon to start your recording

> Select the ‘Tab’ option
> Under video > Select three dots
> Check ‘Show Tab Drawing Tools’

Learn More >

7. Locating your Screencasts

Your screencasts are saved to your Google Drive if
you selected Drive when installing the extension.

You can also upload directly to
your account.

Go to

> Locate the Screencastify folder
in your main Drive

Go to

> My Channel > Video Manager

8. Teacher Ideas

Here are a few ideas for using
Screencastify in your classroom:

> Grade an assignment
> Record activity prompts
> Leave substitute a message
> Leave students a message
> Lesson Intro
> Send parents a video message
> Send parents instructions
> Tutorials
> Explain a concept
> Lecture/Lesson
> Activity Instructions

9. Free v. Premium

Record up to 10 minutes of footage
and 50 videos per month on the free

Want more? Check out the premium
features at

10. Student Uses

> Record reflections of work
> Digital Presentation
> Explain a concept or process
> Share your opinion on a topic
> Video Introductions
> Record a science experiment
> Practice your speech or debate
> Share your story

Screencastify Ideas

By educators from South Plains Summit 2017

  • Mini-lessons on difficult content
  • Use for quick explanations for professional development activities.
  • Station expectations
  • I can use this to explain hard to do items so that they can see the instructions and not have to ask me 10 million times
  • Station directions
  • Student creation and explanation of content
  • Proving Text: Have students Read a short passage, highlight text
  • Beginning of school year, teacher expectations so students and parents will know expectations
  • Part of my sub plan. Share what the students should be working on and what it looks like as well as possible troubleshooting
  • Recording student dialog for Spanish class
  • Students could solve an equation and provide a reflection explaining their work.
  • Going to use this to record lessons for students who are absent -- did use just straight video and post to Classroom but this will be great
  • To help absent students get caught up on the work they missed during class
  • Student explanations for projects
  • Use Screencastify in connection with Google Draw to have students explain their steps in a Math problem
  • Students will use this with presentations
  • Back to school PD as an exit ticket to retell learning

Friday, June 23, 2017

EdTechTeam South Dakota Summit in Sioux Falls

If you have not yet been to an EdTechTeam Summit in or near your area, quite simply you do not know what you are missing. I have now been to three Summits and I have enjoyed each of them in their own way and brought so many ideas, tips, tricks, tools, apps, and so many other things back with me for my own use as well as to share with other educators. I attended the Sioux Falls, South Dakota Summit on June 15-16 at Sioux Falls Christian Schools. My friend, Kristin Mulder who is the Technology Integration Director for the school, worked with the EdTechTeam to plan an amazing conference for about 205 attendees. We were honored with some excellent speakers from the EdTechTeam and other local presenters to provide us some tremendous summer tech training.

Our Spotlight Speaker was Dominique Dynes and the other great EdTechTeam speakers were Sandra Chow, Mark Hammons, and Jay Atwood. Mark, Sandra, and Dominique gave the keynotes, each with a wonderful message. While Mark had us rethinking the ‘noise’ of learning in our classroom and why we can’t be so quick to quiet our students, Sandra helped us think about our Solla Sollew and who our JoJo’s are in supporting us in our career and what we do as well as help us with ideas that we want to try in our classrooms. The closing keynote from Dominique Dynes encouraged us to think about our story and the risks we take. Don’t be afraid to take risks and not be afraid to fail. I’m sure many of us have heard the acronym, F.A.I.L. But in case you haven’t yet, it stands for First Attempt In Learning. Dominique asked us to share our stories and risks with the people at our table and tweet them out; it seemed like many people were courageous enough to share their stories and risks.

I attended some great sessions from the presenters. I picked up some great ideas from each presenter, but some of the great ones came from Mark Hammons with some excellent ideas for importing data into Google MyMaps and the additional things students can do. I knew I had to attend the Google CS First session that Sandra facilitated and I walked away with a strong foundation as I prepare my own coding class this coming school year.

At this year’s Sioux Falls Summit, I decided to submit two session proposals, Makerspace Madness and Google Expeditions. I had the honor and privilege to present those sessions to full rooms and some great attendees. I shared some ideas and resources about the makerspace concept and brought a bunch of tech resources to give the attendees plenty of time to play. And play they did! It was quite interesting to see people’s reactions and how they just dove into learning. In my Google Expeditions session, again I shared some ideas and resources as well as went through my own Google Cardboard site (New Google Sites). I brought with me about 32 VR headsets and we had some fun going through the Grand Canyon expedition. People had to share VR headsets so everyone could experience the great thing that is Google Expeditions. Hopefully, in the near future I can present at another Summit.

Attending tech conferences is so much fun! We get to meet other educators who want to learn more, we get to meet up with friends we may only see from time to time, and we get to learn new things and share things with others. What’s not to like about going to them? I often realize there’s a balance I have to find when I attend them. I want to look and listen during a keynote and a session. I also want to crack open my laptop and take some notes or even get my hands on the tool or site that’s being presented. I find that having my phone out with me and toggling back and forth between my camera (to take pics of the projected material) and Google Keep to help me easily and quickly take some good notes, which I can easily go through and import in Google Docs.

If you’ve made it this far, perhaps you can take to Twitter and post your ideas on how you find the right balance to follow along, take notes, and get your hands in the tool you’re learning. If you’re so inclined, let’s use the #geekynotes to share ideas. Be sure to include #edtechteam in there too so we can catch as many people as possible. Thank you for reading!

Chad Sussex
Hinton Community School
Technology Instructor | Technology Coach
GFE Certified Trainer
TheTechSuss website

Want to attend your very own Google Summit? Find one near you here!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

2017 Second Annual DAIS Google Student Summit

Recently, we had the opportunity to attend the Dallastown Area Intermediate School’s Second Annual DELTA Google Summit. Inspired by Kern Kelley’s Tech Sherpas, DELTA is an acronym for Dallastown Emerging Leaders of Technology Association. Each year there is a summit to welcome the newest members to the team. As current sixth grade members of the DELTA Team, we were able to welcome next year’s group since we are moving on to the Middle School.

An excited hush fell over the crowd as Mr. Hartman, one of our teacher advisors, welcomed everyone to the Summit and spoke into the microphone, “It’s a bittersweet day for all of the 200 new and old DELTAs sitting in the auditorium.” We then were greeted by Representative Kristin Phillips-Hill, who came up to the stage and spoke about how technology needs people to make it work. Dr. Dyer, the school’s Superintendent, came up to say that he was very excited to see that Kern Kelley had tweeted that Dallastown Area Intermediate School had won the Google Summit award this time last year. Today, a year later, the old DELTAs will pass down their legacy to the new DELTAs.

After the assembly, the new DELTAs went off to their first class of the Summit. They learned about animation and Google Sites. The student teachers were amazing, and they made the websites so fun and interesting. We could tell that the new DELTAs loved the teachers, and we could see that they were so engaged in learning about the Chromebooks. Walking into another classroom of new DELTAs learning all about Google Earth, I could hear many whispers about where they went or what they were looking at. They seemed so amazed by all of the little things in the app, and I know that they will learn a lot in the 2017-2018 school year. At the next station that I visited, the new DELTAs were learning about Powtoon. I, myself, do not know how to use Powtoon, and I can admit that I learned a few things from the slides. Coming into the library classroom, they were doing Screencastify. I really like the extension for Screencastify and I like to use it for all school-related video projects. In another room, DELTAs were learning to use Pixlr photo editor. I love using Pixlr for all photo editing needs. I think that this team of DELTAs is sure to be an awesome one.

I know that being a DELTA was an amazing opportunity. I loved to be a part of this group, and the leadership opportunity was an amazing way to express myself through technology. As we watched the new DELTAs, we could see that little sprouts were starting to blossom and next year they will bloom into the leaders that they are meant to be. The new DELTAs are coming to help our school, and we know that they will fill our shoes - and maybe, just maybe, they will make the shoes bigger.

Raena Lawton
6th Grade DELTA Team Member
Dallastown Area Intermediate School York, PA

Piper Weikel
6th Grade DELTA Team Member
Dallastown Area Intermediate School York, PA

Ken Midgett DELTA Teacher Advisor
Google for Education Certified Trainer
Dallastown Area Intermediate School York, PA

Want to apply for a Student Summit Grant of your own? Check out this LINK!