Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TIES 2012 Conference

The theme throughout this conference is:

Day One:
We are moving into the future were education is all about mobility and agility. Just today alone there were over 100 breakout sessions filled with latest developments, best practices for providing our students to succeed in the future. 

Today's keynote speaker was Simon Sinek the importance of relationships in the learning process and the science behind it. Simon is described as a "visionary thinker with a rare intellect," he teaches leaders and organization how to inspire people to get passionate about their job. Simon speaks around the globe and writes regularly on his blog.

The Bloomington Public Schools created OS2 (Online Smart, Online Safe) to help today’s students take full advantage of emerging technologies in a safe, responsible and respectful manner. This session explored grade-level concepts, weekly tips, presentations for students, collected videos on cyberbullying and additional resources for students, families and staff.


This session was how to engage and transform teachers with "Flipped PD." This “flipped” model of technology professional development can transform teachers through personalized online instruction and face-to-face workshop time with technology integration specialists.

Flipped PD has been implemented into Stillwater Public School and Byron Public School.

Using iOS Apps to Foster Literacy

This presentation described and recommend uses of iOS apps to foster collaborative reading, writing, discussion and audio/video production as literacy practices useful in all subjects. It also looked at students’ uses of concept-mapping, annotation, screencasting and podcast/video production apps to illustrate support of literacy learning in science.

Need I say more; Mark Garrison was an action packed session filled with laughter and a great wealth of knowledge. 

Day Two


Tony Wagner had one word that ran through his presentation innovation. What does innovation mean? Tony has written a book called Creating Innovators which reveals how the adults in their lives nurtured their creativity and sparked their imaginations, while teaching them to learn from failures and to persevere.

Technology in the Early Childhood
This session focused on using technology with early childhood students can have a huge impact on programming and student achievement. Check out the site for app ideas in which Rush City is using in the classroom.

Keynote from a Distance

Sal Khan is the founder of the Khan Academy, a nonprofit with the mission of providing free, high quality education for "anyone anywhere" in the world, and the author of the The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined. Khan became an analyst at a Boston-based hedge fund, and as a side project, began tutoring his young cousin in math. When others expressed interest, he began posting videos of his hand-scribbled tutorials on YouTube.

iTouch, iLearn Using iPads in the Elementary Class

This session explored ideas on how to integrate the iPad into the elementary classroom. Check out the examples of how to use this amazing tool as a student learning device, how to differentiate instruction, and how to engage students.

iPads in Reading: A New Literacy Project

In the Bloomington Public Schools they began a project to update current literacy practices to include "new literacies" that are relevant for today's student. The New Literacies Project implements a framework that focuses on collective engagement between teachers around designing curriculum and instruction while examining student work.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What's Your Purpose?

First Things First – What’s Your Purpose?
Before you start registering domain names or searching the web for graphics, take some time to think about the purpose of your blog.  Is it going to be a blog where you share your daily adventures?  Is it going to be a showcase for your classroom projects? There is no “wrong” purpose, but each purpose can influence how you go about setting up your blog.  By knowing your starting point of your blog to accomplish in the beginning, you can then determine how and where you will begin.  It is okay to change direction once your blog gets going.

Options for Blogging:
Easy to set-up and use, Blogger, Google’s version of a blogging platform, is also a popular education blog site.  Users pick from a variety of templates or upload their own and can begin blogging in a relatively short amount of time.  Just as each teacher is unique, so too will each teaching blog be different.  Look at your favorite teaching blogs and see where and how they are hosted.  Peek at the bottom of the page to see who designed the template and then check out their site.  Find one blog that you admire and start planning out a wireframe of what your blog will look like.  Take it one step at a time.  Even if it means that the only thing you do today is think of a name for your blog.  It is a step in the right direction.
  • RWLD: Readings, Watchings, Listenings, Doings. When using a blog as your communication form this is multimedia  design and you want to grab your readers attention and engage them into what they are reading.  This might be from adding YouTube Videos, current News from Cresco Times, and etc.  Engage your students with what's happening in your class but have them always thirsting for more information. 
  • Using Photos:  It is so important to remember that even if parents sign a waiver saying they are okay with their child’s image being on the class blog, they may not quite understand what that means.  Not only does it mean that they can see pictures of little Billy, but so too can everyone from the Jones’ family, the Smith family, etc.  If you really feel the need to include children’s pictures, try to get shots that do not show their faces directly.  Safety has to be your number one priority.

Check out some example of Blogs to get some ides for your direction:

Kidblog is a wonderful resource for student blogging. According to Kidblog's website, "is designed for elementary and middle school teachers who want to provide each student with their own, unique blog. Kidblog's simple, yet powerful tools allow students to publish posts and participate in discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs."  Kidblog has several advantages over other blogging sites:

  • Teachers can create a class blog, and add student accounts without needing student email accounts.
  • Students have their own unique blogging space. They can create posts and comment on other students' posts.
  • Teachers have control over approving students' posts and comments before they are published to the blog.
  • The site is secure. Students must login to read posts and write comments.
  • There are no ads on this site.
  • There's an KidBlog App
Check out additional video resources for setting up your KidBlog account:

Adding Students to your Class:

Privacy Settings:

Student View: Write a blog entry

Teacher View: Approving Student Posts

Students View: Writing Comments

Teacher View: Approving Student Posts and Posting a Private Comment on a Student Blog

How to Bulk Upload Users to Your Blog

How to Embed Widgets into Your Blog Posts

Another great tool if you are using blogs in your classroom is: Assessment the Web 2.0 Way! Check out this wonderful resource filled with checklist, rubrics, response scoring sheets.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prezi U

Based on your comments Prezi's Team has been working to create a community site where teachers and students can talk, share and learn how to use Prezi in education, from the smallest grade school classroom to the biggest Harvard and Stanford auditoriums. They have introduced Prezi U, a dedicated community site for all things Prezi in education.
Visit Prezi U for access to diverse content on using Prezi in education for all levels-- from Kindergarten to University and beyond.
Prezi U is a hub for your prezis, ideas and experiences. A channel to submit your own content and receive feedback, engagement and new skills from other Prezi U members.

On Prezi U you can:
1. Submit your own educational prezis to the dynamically growing edu library, which covers diverse topics and subject areas categorized by schools and curriculum.
2. Engage with others in the forums, or search for answers to your questions about Prezi in education.
3. Submit articles about your experiences using Prezi in education.

Visit Prezi U today.  

Another announcement Prezi iPad App let's you create, edit, present, and share your prezi's anywhere with a simple, multi touch gestures. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Spread the Word: Edcamp HowardWinn

SPREAD THE WORD!! Edcamp Howardwinn

Changing visions of education and the power of professional learning networks.

Edcamp HowardWinn is a free “un-conference” committed to reaching educators in public, private, and higher ed environments to share innovative instructional strategies and transform education for all students.

Date: March 16, 2013

Time: 8:30 am - 3:00 p.m.

Location: Crestwood Elementary/JH, Cresco, IA 52136

Sign-up for this amazing event at: Edcamp HowardWinn


If you would like to support this event with your sponsorship please fill out this form

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So you wanna use Voicethread

Here is an opportunity to work together in a meaningful way and students can reflect on their work and the work of their peers is key to being a 21st Century Learner.

How is powerpoint different from Voicethread?

Voicethread is a multimedia slideshow that allows users anywhere to collaborate.

There are 3 basic steps:

1. Create a free account
2. Upload images, documents, and videos to the presentation
3. Share

Yep. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Once the Voicethread is created watch the magic happen. Comments can be left around each part of the slideshow either by voice, text or video. Everything can be embed on a webpage or in a blog for even easier sharing.

Just a couple of ideas:
  • Instead of having students create a Power Point, create a Voicethread that they get to narrate and share with the class. Other students can leave comments on the different parts of the presentation.
  • Book Reviews
Here resources for learning about and using Voicethread in the classroom:
Another great feature? They have an iOS app. So you can create Voicethreads with your iPad or iPod touch. Awesome!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wrap-up from ITEC12

Our day began on Tuesday, October 16, with so many conference sessions to choose from,
what a difficult decision. Sessions were varied, with options from teachers at all grade levels, technology integrationist  technology directors, and administrators. There were about 1500 educators who attend the 2012 conference this year. 


The sessions we attended:

Johnathan Wylie presented "iPad Workflow Solutions for Educators." His presentation 
revolved around the lates and most efficient ways to get student work from the iPad to the 
teacher using a variety of apps, hardware and cloud based solutions to enhance the digital 

Keynote Speaker: David Pogue

David Pogue, is a technology writer for the New York Times, and a producer for PBS Nova shows. He showed us examples of "disruptive tech" - like the retina app (fix your wardrobe mishaps before they happen), word lens an amazing language translation app. He also demonstrated an app called voxer which is similar to walkie-talkies. At the end of his presentation he played two songs, with original lyrics for us on the piano, "I Write the Code that Makes the World Go Round" and "Don't Cry for Me Cupertino." Great energy after this presenter.


Check out the Vendor Time: Wow talk about a variety here is just a highlight reel from what was seen at the in our short time to see the latest and greatest coming out.
Display Notes

Tierney Brothers was demonstrating a product called Display Notes.  Yes, this is a paid subscription but how it works with the iPads and laptops was amazing for their demonstration.

MackinVIA allows students to access resources at the same time, anytime, anywhere. Hmm this is great to be thinking about as we are on a journey with 1:1 initiative's so students could access ebooks.  

As we look to the future we were able to also look at some new models of airports on the market, like Ruckus, and Meraki.

There was so many boothes to get through with a short amount of time. Way to display and grab our attention vendors.

Mr. Nidey presented " Getting BIG RESLUTS from just a few iPads". He doesn't have an iPad for each student but look how creative he has been within his classroom. He showed us how to set-up student centered classrooms within only a few devices. Mr. Nidey was also nominated for teacher honored: check out the West Des Moines Teacher Honored for Technological Creativity.

Leslie Fisher presented "The Web 2.0 You Might Not Know About." Her interest in technology while studying music at the USC. She quickly realized the value of utilizing computers for music mixing and recording. Today, Leslie has her own company called Fisher Technologies Inc. which is now a worldwide company, specializing in presenting solutions for educators.

As you can see our day was jammed packed full of sessions and trying to get a glimpse of what is already out there on the market new for technology. Click here to view more ITEC sessions from either Monday, or those that we couldn't attend on Tuesday.  There was so much to do in a given day.  What a wonderful learning experience.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What can Google Sites Do for You?

Mary Fran's Google Sites Tutorial is an excellent resource for anyone using Google Sites.

She has done an excellent job of breaking down different aspects and functions of Google Sites into an easy to read and follow format.

The site (created on Google sites of course) includes getting started, the basics, editing, inserting gadgets, using layouts and templates, and much more. She has video tutorials, links, and examples of sites and also has a section specifically for educators.

If you use Google Sites or want to create your own web site using Google Sites, I highly recommend this. It is also a great resource for students to create student portfolios on Google Sites. 

What can Google Sites Do for You? Check out this presentation to see the different areas in which you can apply Google Sites in your classroom.

Let's Get Started:

Log in to your school email account and find Sites located at the top of the bar. 

Click on Create

  • Browse the Gallery for a Template
  • Name your Google Site

Click on Create

Your ready to start designing your website.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to Create a Google Form?

How to create a form using Google Docs?

Here we'll learn by example.
Here is an example on the use of Google Form
First click on Drive

1. Click on the Create button on the top left section of the page.
Click on form.

2. You will be redirected to a screen, whose portion looks like this.


In the Question Title, Write down the question which you would like to ask.
In the Help Text, Write down some text, which would be helpful in understanding the question.
The third Option, i.e. Question type gives you a variety of options to choose from, Ranging from text, multiple choice, Check boxes etc.

3. After you've entered a few questions, and you're happy about it. The form will look like this


4. Once this is over, chose a theme from the top left corner.
The answers to your form sent over to your students or colleagues, will be stored in a Google spreadsheet, which may look like this.

5. Again if you are not sure with the final result, you can always come back and edit your form. 

6. Once everything is finalized, You will receive a link to your form, from Google.
So you don't have to worry, where did your form go, after you've closed your browser.


From there you may select some recipients to your form. Just type in their email addresses and click on send.

If you are still unclear at some point, Here is a Video depicting the previous steps, with helpful subtitles.

If you would like to check out some pre-made google forms be sure to look at these sites:
80 + Google Forms idea in the classroom: This website is has created examples forms for each of the different topics, follow the links in each of the sections to view the forms.

74 interesting ways to Use Google Forms in the Classroom: Check out the interesting ways of resources to continue to grow and add resources to your classroom. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Global Cardboard Challenge

Many of the Howard-Winneshiek Staff were inspired with the story of Caine’s Arcade blasted into the mainstream. If you haven’t watched the original, stop reading this and go watch it!
To celebrate the one year anniversary of the flash mob they hosted for Caine, they are organizing a Global Cardboard Challenge.  Hundreds of people are hosting play parties where kids can get together and MAKE with cardboard.  It’s about creativity, fun and more than anything, play. 
Take a look at the followup video to Caine’s Arcade.
Just as Caine's story has been an inspiration to our staff and students they have been creating there Cardboard project.

Cardboard Pile
Take a look at their before projects: As the projects are underway here is the pile of Cardboard the students used to create there imagination projects.

 Teamwork as the Kindergarten and 7th Graders work together to create there cardboard challenge.

Take a Look at the Finished Projects:

Car Maze
Global Cardboard Challenge


Monday, October 1, 2012

Dropbox in the Classroom

When I mention Dropbox to friends and colleagues, I usually get one of two responses – a knowing smile and nod, or a puzzled and quizzical look. Whether you know what the program is, you have likely heard the name. But really, what is Dropbox?
Dropbox is many things — a tool that’s so powerful, you’ll continue to discover new ways to use it. You can use it to store and sync documents and files across computers, tablets, and smart phones. I can write a lesson plan on my computer at home, put it in my Dropbox folder, and whoosh – it’s synced with my school computer. During a free period at school, I can open that file, make a few changes, and the changes are automatically synced with my home computer. It’s seamless, fast and free. 

How Dropbox works
So, how can you use Dropbox as an educator? There are many ways that you can do this. One is to just manage your own material and make it more accessible. Additionally, many applications that you likely use (Evernote, iPad camera roll,iPhoto to name a few) have a Dropbox sync option. Check your favorite applications to see if they have a “save to Dropbox” feature. Since Dropbox works across platforms and devices, you can use a Mac at home, a Blackberry phone and an iPad, and you will have access to your documents on *all* of them. Thanks to Dropbox’s syncing magic, your documents will be up to date at all times on all devices.

Using Dropbox with students
In addition to making your life a lot easier, Dropbox can be a great teaching/learning tool – and this is why its introduced to staff and students. The first thing to do is to create a sharing folder for each class you teach so you can make information available to your students (PowerPoints, hand-outs, reading assignments, whatever).
You can call this folder anything. For mine Tech Time, consider adding the word “share” and create folders with names like “Tech Time Share Folder.” When you go to your Dropbox page on the web, this screenshot gives you some idea of what you will see.

Next Step: Put your mouse over the folder and right-click on the folder - a drop down menu will appear. Select "Invite to Folder."

Next, you will get the window shown below. Input the email address of your students/staff (this will also invite them to join Dropbox, giving you and them the free 250 MB). You can also input a message like: "Accept this invitation to have access to our material for class."

Once you have invited students this becomes a "Shared Folder." Whoever has access to this folder (everyone who has been invited an accepted the invitation) can add files, download content, and (whether you like it or not) delete content. However, only *you* (as the owner of the folder) can delete or edit out content permanently. Click on the folder in Dropbox and then on "Show Deleted Files."

How do I employ Dropbox in my classroom?
Dropbox can be used in a number of ways. Here are several:
  • To store additional copies of hand-outs. Students know to re-download and print on their own here if they missed a hand-out due to an absence or simply lost it.
  • To distribute PowerPoint presentations – if they are too large for email or edmodo.
  • As a way for students to turn in homework assignments. It’s an easy electronic homework drop  and will time stamp submissions.
Dropbox can also be a useful tool in managing student projects and presentations. With Dropbox, you can visually determine that students have completed a particular portion of a project or presentation assignment. Best of all, since all presentations are “turned in” to same virtual place, every student can access his or her presentation by one log-in.

Students catch on quickly
They can store homework assignments there for easy access, pictures, and videos.  Students can use Dropbox on their phones to review handouts (rather than a print-out, ultimately saving paper). And many of them can sync their files across multiple computers outside of school. 

This isn’t a program you will have to teach your students to use. Don’t be surprised if in a few weeks, they’re showing you some tricks you haven’t even considered. That’s something I would encourage. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Stomp Out Bullying

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. To signify its importance, STOMP out Bullying created BLUE SHIRT DAY. Specifically the first Monday of every October, kids, teens and adults are asked to participate in BLUE SHIRT DAY by wearing a blue shirt to create awareness to STOMP Out Bullying. GO BLUE and wear a Blue Shirt this Monday, October 1st. Together we can create awareness and STOMP Out Bullying.  Let’s make October 1st the day that bullying and cyberbullying prevention are heard all over the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District.

Being bullied is never easy, and can make a child feel very powerless, alone, isolated, and fearful. The following are ten things your child can do to stop a bully. These tactics works for adults as well as children. No matter what the bullying situation, it is possible to stop a bully by trying the following ten tactics.
1. Learn to look or act indifferent. A lot of bullying comes as a result of the reactions you give bullies when they push your buttons. If they find that they can elicit a response from you, they will continue to bully you. So, learn to keep your emotions off your face, so that they give up and move on.
2. Ignore the bully if you can. Bullies usually taunt first, and bully second. So, ignore them if you can. If they instant message you, don’t respond. If they yell your name at school, just keep walking. If they come up to you in a classroom, just look the other way. Ignore, ignore, ignore. Bullies feed off of attention.
3. Stand up to them. This does not mean bully back, it just means that you shouldn’t put up with it. Let them know that you will tell on them, that you aren’t going to just take it, and that you aren’t afraid to get them in trouble. Usually bullies pick on kids who are too weak or too frightened to ever get them in trouble.
4. Avoid the bully. Sometimes bullies will bully out of opportunity more than anything else. So, avoid places, situations, times, and people that may lead to you being bullied. For example, don’t wander clear out by the fence during recess because a bully will have ample time to bully you without a playground monitor catching them.
5. Tell someone. There is a difference between tattling and telling. If you just tell to get them in trouble you are a tattle, but if you tell because they pose a danger to you or your friends, tell on them.
6. Be brave. You can’t show a bully that you are afraid of them, or the bullying will get worse. If you fear standing up to them, fear telling on them, and fear interaction with them, and let them know it, you empower them. So, instead, work on that mask of indifference, and avoid them when possible.
7. Work the buddy system. Bullies tend to single out kids who are already singled out, who are alone. It is far easier for one kid to pick on one kid, than one kid to pick on two. So, have a buddy when you are in situations where you might run into the bully.
8. Build self-esteem. Bullies can sense when someone has low esteem, and they prey on that. It is like they figure out what you are most afraid of, and self conscious of, and that is what they target.
9. Confront them. It is important that if the bully you, you call them out on it. Ask them what their problem is, why they are picking on you, and make sure they know you are the victim. Sometimes recognizing that they are making someone a victim will give them a wakeup call, and get them to stop.
10. Report it every time. If it happens at school, tell the teacher, lunch lady, hall monitor, or whomever you need to to make sure it gets stopped. If it happens enough times, is reported often enough, etc. it will eventually stop.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Week One: iPads in the JH

Its been a great week at Howard-Winneshiek CSD with our 1:1 iPads in the Junior High. The students are actively making choices about how to generate, obtain, manipulate, or display information. Technology use allows many more students to be actively thinking about information, making choices, and executing skills than is typical in teacher-led lessons.

Students are learning on the go all the time with these devices in their hand. Just take a look around the community and where are the Junior High students hanging out? I have noticed groups hanging out at the local library, arriving before school or even staying after school later to all use the WI-FI access. But the BIG question to ask our selves is what will we do to help rural students in our district who live on a farm to receive WI-FI access?

The teachers are also learning how to support students in performing authentic tasks. They have been working collaboratively with one another as a team to learn new steps, processes, and Apps for the classroom. This has been a learning curve but they all have been eager to learn new technology and utilize it on a daily basis. When meeting with the staff they were overcoming how students should submit an assignment from their iPad. That evening I received a video that a teacher created from the Show Me App explaining to the students how to submit their homework. It's these types of challenges the staff is coming together to find solutions and how to solve the problem. As Superintendent Carver wrote the staff "there will be Opportunities and Challenges and I am confident we are ready for  what's next"!