Muddling through the blogosphere

August 1, 2014
by blogwalker
1 Comment

Getting Googley at Gunn High School – 2014 EdTechTeam Summit

The drive to Palo Alto’s Gunn High School to attend the July 19-20 GAFE Summit was definitely worth it! With so many great sessions to choose from, narrowing down my choices was a challenge. I enjoyed and learned from each one. Below are a few of my takeaways:

Toward Better Technology Integration – Scott McLeod – I’ve been following Scott McLeod, both through his blog and on Twitter, since first watching his Did You Know videos. A visit to his 2014 EdTech Summit Palo Alto page will provide you with a ton of cool resources as well as a window into his amazing session Toward Better Technology Integration (scroll down a ways). Because I was also presenting during session 1, I missed Part 1 of Scott’s presentation, but am very glad I made it to Part 2 – in which Scott walked us through trudacot (technology-rich unit design and classroom observation template).

Two weeks later, I am still thinking about the potential of trudacot to leverage the power of technology to power up a lesson or unit of study. The template moves beyond technology integration frameworks, such as TPACK and SAMR, by helping teachers figure how to redesign lessons so it’s not about the tool or tools; it’s about the learning. It’s also about providing the context to allow learning to become authentic. Students move beyond studying about “homelessness,” for instance, to figuring out solutions to homelessness (like PBL).

The starting point in redesigning lessons is to begin with someone else’s lessons. In grade-level teams, for example, once everyone is comfortable to with the trudacot model via practicing lesson upgrades (in both the lesson design and meaningful integration of technology tools) using “model lessons” such as the ones listed on Scott’s Summit page, they can move on to analyzing and improving their own lessons.  In watching the sample lesson videos and then reading through the accompanying lessons, it was easy/energizing to go through the trudacot sections and discuss how the lesson met or did not meet the criteria, and then move on to ideas for bumping up the lesson – and learning.

What a great coaching  model and mega takeaway!

Performing the Google SlideMark Hammons – Loved Mark’s design tips, including switching out bullet points for an image + powerful quote = telling a story. Very excited to start playing with Pear Deck and weaving it into my G Slides.

Doctopus and autoCratDiane Main – Great session, with lots of WOW factors in seeing what the new Doctopus add-on can do for you. Wish I had updated to the new Drive prior to Diane’s session, as the Doctopus add-on doesn’t really work in the old Drive.

Better Student Feedback with Kaizena Karl Lindgren-Streicher  – Love Karl’s presentation style: humor + insights from the trenches. His session link includes screenshots and tips to get started with this powerful Google add-on for providing students with audio feedback. In Karl’s words, “Kaizena allows you to give more, better, faster feedback on student work than any other tool.” Prior to Karl’s session, I’d thought of Kaizena more as a one-way flow of feedback – from teacher to student. I left the session thinking about the possibilities of two-way feedback/conversations. Awesome tool. Awesome presenter.

Critical Thinking and the Web: Searching in a Google-Infused WorldHolly Clark – I ended my Summit experience with Holly’s session on searching skills. Having Google Search Anthropologist Dan Russell join the session as a participant transformed the session from a presentation to a highly interactive discussion. WOW! Great way to wrap up an amazing two days of connecting, comparing/sharing, and learning!

A huge thank you to the EdTechTeam for all time, energy, and vision you put into planning this event! It was a privilege to attend, both as a presenter and a participant. I’m already checking the upcoming GAFE Summits and looking forward to attending several in the new school year.

January 13, 2013
by blogwalker

Google Teacher Academy Gem #3 – Google Cultural Institute

The Google Cultural Institute is a dynamic set of stunningly beautiful collections. The purpose of the Cultural Institute is to help preserve and promote culture online. Google has created this site

to provide a visually rich and interactive online experience for telling cultural stories in new ways. Discover exhibits by expert curators, find artifacts, view photographs, read original manuscripts, watch videos, and more.”

My introduction was through the Art Project. I’m sorry I didn’t make note of the Google curator who led us through the Google Hangout tour of beautiful works of art from museums around the world. I think I was too swept away by the possibilities of virtual museum tours for students.

The Art Project is just one component of the Cultural Institute. How about having at your fingertips the opportunity to  view a selection of books Nelson Mandela received both in prison and during his political career, including the inscriptions supporters wrote on the inside pages of the books. Or how about a visit to Anne Frank, her life, her diary, her legacy? Or the Fall of the Berlin Wall, revelation not revolution?

Thank you, Google, for your commitment to “building tools that make it simple to tell the stories of our diverse cultural heritage and make them accessible worldwide.”

January 2, 2013
by blogwalker

Google Teacher Academy – Gem #1

I knew when I headed to Mountain View for my two days at the December Google Teacher Academy (GTA) that I would be in a continual state of amazement and that the two days would move at the speed of light. Four weeks later, with the distraction of the holidays over, I’m revisiting my notes and ready to start sharing my favorite GTA take-aways, one gem at a time.

Gem #1: Webpage Screenshot – Jennie Magiera, my fabulous team leader (of the fabulous Team Heinlein) jumped right into the opening round of “Demo Slams” with an introduction to the Chrome extension Webpage Screenshot. Richard Byrne (Free Technology for Teachers) has created a great video that explains the cool features of this free tool, including the option to capture an entire page, not just what’s showing on your screen.

I love the ability to edit the text in the screen capture (even though your edits do not impact the original web page).  What a great option for challenging students to question information or to kick-start a lively faculty meeting! Capturing a front page item from our local Sacramento Bee, for instance, and giving myself credit for the upcoming New Year’s fireworks celebration took less than a minute to capture, edit, and save.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a Google Search gem.


June 13, 2011
by blogwalker

3 Favorite Sites of the Day

I’m still working on my first cup of coffee, and already have 3 good resources to share:

#1 – How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education – One of the many gems Discovery Education’s Dean Mantz has sent my way via Discovery Education’s Diigo group, this infographic makes visible the impact of the Internet on education.

How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education

#2 – You Can’t Just Google It – A great YouTube discussion starter with students about the need to question information. Love the daily gems that arrive each morning in the National Writing Project (#wnp) Daily. Thank you, JoAnn Jacobs, for re-tweeting Paula Naugle’s Tweet with the video’s URL.

#3 – Khan Academy and the Effectiveness of Science videos – Since the Khan Academy is included in the above infographic, I re-watched a YouTube video posted by Leila Dibble to the Merit 2011 ning (I’ll be blogging more about the Merit program, which I’ll be participating in during July). This intriguing video explores “students’ common misconceptions in a video alongside the scientific concepts has been shown to increase learning by increasing the amount of mental effort students expend while watching it.” Seems like a perfect inquiry-based project in the making for high school science teachers to involve students in documenting their prior knowledge/understandings of a concept.

Heading to kitchen for 2nd cup of coffee…

October 15, 2008
by blogwalker

Google’s Cool Tools and Possible Projects with Rushton Hurley

I’m heading into ILC Session 2 with Rushton Hurley, one of my favorite presenters from NECC 2008. He starts in a few minutes, but already has Simon’s Cat playing for our waiting entertainment.

Rushton’s starting with statement that kids learn more when they’re having a good time – and I’ll add – teachers too – which is pretty much guaranteed with Rushton’s style.

Address for Rushton’s preos resources:

Why Google stuff?

  • powerful
  • collaborative
  • well-prices
  • time-efficient

Google Doc, Spreadsheets, and Presentations – Allow us to create Office application stuff online. Google Docs online eliminates “living hell” of sending versions back and forth. Shared spreadsheet of collaborative blogging projects. Google Presentations – allows kids to get to presentation at anytime as long as you identify kids as viewers and collaborators.

Google Notebook – Another collaborative piece. Download a plugin for browser (piclens or CoolIris- calls up photo wall – great way to get kids’ attention. Great for vocabulary. You have option to right-click and note cooliris in Google Notebook. You can put things in sets (like photosynthesis). Just identify someone as a collaborator. But you do have to download plugin. How to use with kids – teaching them to cite their sources.

Google Sites – compared to wiki

Google Earth – Requires plugin

Google Maps – Rather than filtering – is it a good thing that you can see someone’s house? Message to kids: don’t put your address out there. Checkout Google Map on California MIssions.

Sketch Up – 3D modeling program – essentially FREE audocad program. Great tools for designing area, for instance. 3D warehouse – bring in trees for example. Shadow tool, for instance, as you scroll through year, great for initiating discussions.  “We need to use tools in such a way as to really get kids asking questions.” Could be great science tool to because you can do inside too.

Google Book Search – full view – find Danger and Other Stories (Arthur Connan Doyle) – let kids read it on the computer

iGoogle – add widgets (online stopwatch, Nat’l Geo pic of day) It’s a front page

Advanced Search – storyboard template. By file type very useful.

Educators Group – use online resources to find other teachers – classroom posters, organizations, and more!

PowerPoint – Being a Project Amigo Video. ( No video – all pictures. Big question: is kid listening or not?

Why we do this:

  • another way to show learning
  • confidence
  • improve quality of student work
  • good for ELL, LD kids
  • personal impact
  • expanding the audience

I’m only two sessions into the conference, but I’m sure Rushton’s session will remain at the top of my favorites list.

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