Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Week In Review - Thank You Guest Bloggers

Good evening from Keflavik, Iceland where I am waiting for a flight home after a week in Iceland's western fjords. This week while I was traveling I ran posts from guest writers along with a handful of posts of my own. Next week I will be back to my regular posting schedule.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Google Chrome Extensions to Help Your School Save Ink & Paper
2. Guided Reading in Google Apps for Education
3. Four Ways for Students to Create Multimedia Magazines
4. Stay Focused - A Chrome Extension to Help You Stop Wasting Time
5. Good Chrome Extensions for Students with Disabilities
6. Good Ideas for Using Augmented Reality in Elementary School Math and Reading
7. Quill - Writing Worksheets Made Interactive

Seven seats are left at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. Click here for discounted registration.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Class Charts provides a great way to record and analyze student behavior information.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston and Chicago.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
Subscribe via RSSSubscribe via Email.
Like Free Technology for Teachers on  Facebook.
Find me on Twitter, on Google+, or on Pinterest.

Friday, May 23, 2014

7 Ideas for Implementing Technology For A Purpose

This week I am giving some guest bloggers a chance to share their ideas with you. This is a second part of a guest post from Alicia Roberts. Part one of Alicia's post appeared on Wednesday. 

  • Recruit staff and students to beta test “free technology” - Send a quick email  ex: Hi, I thought this link to FlipQuiz would be great for end of the year review :)  You never know who will respond!

  • Set the tone - Celebrate others... “Wow! - I loved the interactive video w/questions you created using  educannon. Do you mind if I share the link with the campus?”

  • Outline, Explain and Share the Progress of your tech journey - Make sure you have a road map to share with your principal of what you are trying to accomplish.

  • Check the Impact of what you are asking students and staff to accomplish - does the work the students do carry more weight than just a grade? Find out by creating an  end of the semester survey.

  • Do what you love...and love what you do!

Alicia Roberts is the Instructional Technology Specialist at Paradise Valley Christian Prep in Phoenix, AZ and EDU Development Specialist at Grand Canyon University. For more tools and trends check out
Teach 2

The Importance of Teaching Digital Citizenship

This week I am giving some guest bloggers the opportunity to share their ideas with you. This is a guest post from Salima Hudani. 

With technology playing a central role in education, teaching Digital Citizenship I believe, is a foundational and non-negotiable message that should be taught explicitly to all students. Digital Citizenship not only teaches students the etiquette involved in being a smart and effective participant in a digital world, but it empowers and equips students with essential life tools to help them navigate challenging digital based situations. I am a strong believer that until this becomes a natural and intrinsic process ingrained for our students, Digital Citizenship should be taught.

Visiting and connecting with different classrooms over the last four years, I’ve seen that students do not understand the basic foundational principles of Digital Citizenship and are often in awe when I share with them why it’s important to safe. I believe students need to know that they are not alone when they post something online into a chatroom or onto a forum, even when it’s done in the privacy of their own home, it is visible to others. They need to know that a friend online, isn’t necessarily a friend to be trusted. Students also need to know that personal information can become public information extremely fast. Creating a positive Digital Footprint online is something that I encourage, but how do we teach students how to decide what’s valuable material to place online? How do we teach our students to become effective critical thinkers who question and critique not only their own actions but also understand how their actions may affect the Digital Footprints of others?

As a school authority, we began teaching Digital Citizenship explicitly. We commenced by introducing the concept of the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship to all students from K-12. Displayed in classrooms, is a poster that identifies and defines each of these elements and includes a statement for each element as well as a statement that brings the element into child friendly language. We adapted this poster based on Alberta Education’s Digital Citizenship Policy Guide, as well as Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship. What I love about this poster is that it is divided up into 3 parts that highlights the importance of Digital Citizenship to students.

1. Respect and Protect Yourself, Digital Wellness
2. Respect and Protect Others, Digital Interactions
3. Respect and Protect Intellectual Property, Digital Preparedness

The contents of this poster is taught to students and readily connected to authentic experiences. For example, when logging into a website, a teacher would mention “Digital Security”, one of the Nine Elements, and why it is important to keep information safe. Teachable, authentic moments are key. As a system we also developed a working Framework of Digital Citizenship Targets that we felt would be important for all students to understand. These targets are what teachers use to help guide them in teaching Digital Citizenship.

In addition to teachers teaching Digital Citizenship, I personally have taught one Digital Citizenship lesson to EVERY classroom from K-8. In the hopes of delivering at least one foundational message that builds common language across our system. The lessons have been adapted for each level but have the same underlying theme. I rely heavily on lessons from Commonsense Media as this site has lessons and activities which easily match up to our system’s Digital Citizenship Targets.

As transformative a force as technology can be, I agree that fixating on danger isn’t the way forward, but we must take measures and owe it to ourselves to better prepare students to greet the many positives and challenges the connected life brings, by preparing Digital Citizens.

Salima Hudani, is the Director of Educational Technology, at Foundations for the Future Charter Academy in Calgary, Alberta Canada. She is well known for her passion, insight, and enthusiasm for working collaboratively with educators to develop the best possible educational technology integrated learning environment that promotes innovation, creativity and digital know-how to help reinvent teaching and learning. She advocates the importance for students to learn how to use technology wisely and safely, with awareness and compassion so that they can become informed and productive citizens in a global digital society. She holds a BA, B.ED, and M.ED from the University of Calgary. 
Personal Blog- 
Twitter- @salimahudani 
Resource Site for Teachers Developed by Salima-

Google Rocks Hawaii! -- A Weekly Hangout-on-Air for Collaborative Professional Development

This week I am giving some guest bloggers a chance to share their ideas with you. This is a guest post from Linda Lindsay. 

All you need is an enthusiastic group of educators who want to learn together and Google Hangouts on Air. Boom! You’re set for informal, spontaneous and fun professional development, with a local and global reach.

Google Rocks! Hawaii airs on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 PM Hawaiian Standard Time, when most of the rest of the United States is sleeping.

Every week, we educators choose a current topic, not necessarily Google-related. Topics vary widely: Hawaii STEM , Infographics, The Flipped Classroom, Hōkūle'a’s World Wide Voyage, Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in ISTE, and TEDxYouth, to name a few. Here’s the complete YouTube playlist. We’ve had several Google Apps for Education “Show and Tell” episodes. Our shows always start with short, informal presentations, followed by Q&A and discussion.

Our view count is typically small, ranging from 20-100, but our Google Cultural Institute and Paperless Classroom hangouts have been popular, garnering 400+ viewers so far. These numbers aren’t impressive by YouTube standards, but our philosophy is that every viewer is important. If we have made a difference for at least one educator each week, we consider our mission accomplished.

Our conversations are informal and informational. Our discussions are light-hearted and celebratory. Our pets bark, meow, and crow in the background, and family members stop in to say hi. We look forward to each week, and we love to learn.

Google Rocks! Hawaii began off air. My 2012 Google Certified Teacher (GCT) action plan was “to develop a Google HELP session or a Google Hangout series that meets the needs of Hawaii school librarians.” So I worked with Michelle Carlson Colte, a fellow Hawaii school librarian and a GCT as well, to bring a Google Rocks and So Do You! workshop for librarians in April, 2013. We offered a followup HELP hangout in June.

That one hangout turned into more. Michelle invited educational technology specialist Michael Fricano II on, and a few weeks later Michael suggested that we try a Hangout on Air. So our show went LIVE on August 20, 2013 and we’ve been hanging out weekly ever since. School librarians Anne Torige and Jody Brown round out the regular panel, and other Hawaii educators join in as guests.

We’ve been fortunate to have three continental educators on so far: Matthew Winner in Maryland to talk about World Read Aloud Day, Alexandra Riecke-Gonzales in Ohio to talk about Google Glass, and Brent Catlett in Nebraska of Connected Classrooms Workshop to talk about Virtual Field Trips. We also connected internationally, with three Maui students now on exchange in the Czech Republic, Italy, and Spain. Our target audience is Hawaii educators, but everyone is welcome to come and learn with us.

The hangouts are automatically uploaded to YouTube. We share our show notes in the video’s YouTube description and via Google Drive. Almost all of the videos have a clickable index, to accommodate busy viewers.

Two other weekly Hawaii educational hangouts started around the same time as Google Rocks! Hawaii: EdTech Mixed Plate, with “EdTech ideas, tips, tricks, and #EduRockstars to add to your plate”, and GEG Hawaii ACE21 - Q&A and Training, a Google Education Group.

Anyone can run a Hangout-on-Air for their colleagues and the world. The only requirements are a thirst for learning, a burning desire to share, and a little technical training. I recommend reviewing the always-current Source, Google support: Get started with Hangouts On Air.

Good luck hanging out on air and learning, and have fun with it!

Linda Lindsay is a teacher-librarian at Seabury Hall, an independent middle and high school in Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, and host of Google Rocks! Hawaii. She is a Google Certified Teacher. She blogs at mauilibrarian2 in Olinda and posts regularly on Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook. She is always looking for interesting guests to come on Google Rocks! Hawaii.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ideas for Using Augmented Reality in Elementary School Lessons

This week I am giving some guest bloggers the opportunity to share their ideas with you. This is a guest post from Louise Morgan and Jan Hodge. 

In a very short time, my second grade classroom has changed drastically, due to the introduction of 10 iPads. My students were already proficient at blogging, skyping, and even tweeting using the few computers we had in the classroom, but adding the iPads changed everything. Classroom routines had and procedures that had been well-established had to be revisited and tweaked in order to accommodate our new tools. Simple housekeeping like handling the headphones, closing out apps, and keeping the screens clean were just as important for my 2nd graders to learn, as well as, how to navigate creation apps, the camera roll, and curating their work. Specific instructions and examples can be found on my blog:

The goal for my classroom has always been independence and creativity. I want my students to be able to create freely without being bogged down with the technicalities of technology. Teaching students how to blog and use our class Twitter happens early in year along with digital citizenship so that our days are seamless. That way, we are able to create, collaborate and experience learning at the highest levels.

This year, the students loved working with the Chromeville App. Students visited the website, read about the history of the villages, and selected their favorite character to experience in 3D. After using the coloring sheets and Augmented Reality to bring the characters to life, my students are now creating stories about them with the writing process. We were also able to Skype with the Chromville Creators all the way from Spain! Students learned that artists and programmers collaborate to create 3D animation, stories and the app. Because of the students’ interest and excitement we were treated to a demonstration of another project @Imascono #AR Apparel! T-Shirts with Triggers! My students loved the power ranger and the gorilla!

Another wonderful, free app that my students enjoyed was Tellagami. During our study on African American Inventors, my students researched an inventor, wrote a blog post & created a “gami” of their inventor. The students loved being able to configure their avatar’s appearance and backgrounds to fit their vision of chosen inventor. They also loved recording their voices and hearing them in the finished product. Using Tellagami brought history to life for my students in an engaging and meaningful way. My students were proud of their learning and love being digital storytellers!

We have also used ColarApp very successfully. Our District Library Media Specialist, Jan Hodge, collaborated with us as we used the ColarApp for #dotday. Students loved creating and bringing their dots to life!

What I’ve learned from having iPads in the classroom is, with good management & using them in Daily 5 and centers, I am actually able to meet regularly with my students. I am able to get off the stage and work alongside them mentoring and encouraging their journeys. Implementation of technology in the classroom should not be feared. These devices turn my classroom into a 21st century learning environment!

Louise Morgan @mrsmorgansclass is a 2nd Grade Teacher in Crowley ISD, #2ndchat Moderator, #globalclassroom lead teacher, #TCEA Presenter #ISTE 2014 Presenter

Jan Hodge @janhodgelibrary is a District Elementary Library Media Specialist in Crowley ISD, #TLA Presenter, #TCEA Tots & Techology Presenter 2014,