Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fidget Cube - Cool Gadget Find!

I opened the TCEA Update this morning to find a list of gift items for Techie Nerds like me, and I found a little gadget I wish I had invented!  While the video is humorous, the idea is great.  I am not advertising for Fidget Cube.  I am just reminding you that many of our students need to wiggle and fidget!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

3 Ways to Integrate Tech to Honor Our Veterans

Veteran's Day marks a time when we come together as a country to honor those individuals who have served to protect our nation, have sacrificed for the common good, and have placed their lives on the line for America and its cause.

We have many opportunities to honor our veterans as we teach our students across content areas.

Poetic Photography With WordFoto

WordFoto is an iOS app ($1.99) that allows the user to add up to 10 words to overlay onto a photo.  Have students create Poetic Photos to honor veterans in their own families or communities, or choose photos labelled for reuse with modification (resources).


Acrostic Poems With Pic Collage

Students can create all kinds of poetry pages, posters, and photo collages with Pic Collage, a free photo app for iOS, Windows 10, and Android (in-app purchases).  Have students create poems honoring veterans and share them with those who have served for our country.  Here is a sample of an acrostic template that took less than a minute to create.  Students can then focus on the words they want to write to honor veterans.

Magazine Covers With BigHugeLabs

BigHugeLabs has so many great tools!  Students can create magazine covers using the Magazine Template by adding a background image and filling in text for the cover.  Get creative!  Students could use the lines of text on the cover to share Veteran's Day poetry.  Better yet, combine a class-designed cover with Book Creator and students' poetry, letters, and photo collages to honor veterans.  You could then upload your class's book to iTunes and share with veterans your students know!

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Little AR Fun ~ Just in Time for Halloween

Why not have a little Augmented Reality fun with pumpkins?  You won't even have to clean up the mess after your students are done carving! QuiverVision has several great free coloring sheets that come to life with the app.  The Jack-o-Lantern page allows students to draw a face using a black marker.  When they point the app to their creation, their carved pumpkin will magically appear!

Think of the possibilities in the elementary classroom...kindergarteners can draw faces, animate the pumpkins, and record themselves telling their pumpkins’ stories within the app.  Students could write Halloween poetry to accompany their Jack-o-Lanterns.  Maybe a class round-robin story...
Share more ideas in the comments below!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Creator - A Writing Tool Worth the Cost

Students can create multi-media books with ease using Book Creator - available for iPad ($4.99), Android ($2.49), and Windows 8.1 and 10 (currently free as they roll out the PC version)!  Your class authors can create independently, or they can collaborate and compile articles/chapters together to create a class book.  These can be exported to ebook readers and shared with family members.  With a little work from the teacher, class books can be uploaded to iTunes to share with the world.  Our students NEED global audiences for their writing!

Book Creator's YouTube Channel video shows just how easy it is to create with the app.

*Book Creator offers a free version that allows the user to create one book, so give it a try!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Weekly TNT ~ Create a Virtual Classroom for Student Portfolios

We must give our students a way to publish for authentic audiences, we need to be able to quickly access technology products without searching through endless tech tools, and we need a record of learning.  This week's tutorial combines

Padlet has many uses, but one great way to use the virtual bulletin board is to create a virtual classroom where student avatars house student products.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Finding Photos and Teaching Copyright

The web has made it so easy to infringe on copyright that sometimes we, as educators, overlook the rules.  We are good at teaching our students not to plagiarize, but how much time do we spend teaching them how to search for images licensed for Creative Commons or in the Public Domain?

Try this... collect something your students have created that displays their photos or artwork (posters, ads, poetry, etc.).  Return the next day with money in hand (I know you teach, but scrounge up several $1 bills).  Begin counting it in front of your students.  Someone will surely ask questions!  Tell them you sold their work to XYZ.  When they ask how much money they are getting (you know they will ask), tell them, "Oh no, I used your work to make some money for myself.  I'm going out to dinner."  If you have a sweet bunch of students, you may have to do a little prodding to get a reaction, but, most likely, someone will point out the fact that you are being unfair!  This is where you bring in copyright laws and talk about how to respect and correctly use others' property.

5 Places to Find Photos

  • Google Image Search - Teach students to change the Usage Rights to show only images labeled for reuse/reuse with modification.
  • Photos for Class - Creative Commons licensed, age-appropriate images with attributions
  • Pics4Learning -  "...curated image library that is safe and free for education. Teachers and students can use the copyright-friendly photos and illustrations for classroom projects, web sites, videos, portfolios, or any other projects in an educational setting."
  • Morguefile - Free stock photos for commercial use; check license for modification rights
  • Pixabay - "All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required."
Thank you to Richard Byrne for sharing four of these on his Practical Ed Tech tutorial.  If you have not visited his site, you are missing out on a fantastic resource!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Count Down to NaNoWriMo!!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, November is National Novel Writing Month!  Why not have your students write a novel during the month of November?  Why, yes, you can!  

The Young Writer's Program is setting up house for a new site!  Here is an excerpt from the YWP:

NaNoWriMo 2016 is coming! We're busy working away on a brand-new Young Writers Program website, which means that this site will be closing down as we approach November.

How to prepare for the new YWP beta site

  • Make sure to save anything that you want to keep! Workbooks, lesson plans, 2016 pep talks, and other key resources will all be available. But your forum posts, profile information, and novel information won't be (and it may take us a while to archive your favorite past pep talk). So, save save save!
  • If you're an educator, hold off on creating a Virtual Classroom for this year.You'll be able to create one on the new website.
  • Sign up to receive an alert when the beta version of the new YWP site goes live.
We're excited to share this beta version of the new Young Writers Program site with you!
Looking forward to launching NaNoWriMo 2016,
Tim Kim
Director of Communications
You can access the current Young Writer's Program now and get the Teacher Guide.  
Why not combine tools!  BoomWriter allows you to set up your class for collaborative writing.  Choose one of BoomWriter's story starters, or, better yet, write your own.  Students write a chapter at a time.  Students then vote on their favorite chapters (BoomWriter handles the voting, and students cannot see who wrote the chapters).  The winning chapter is added to the book, and students must then write the next chapter based on the previous one that was chosen.  The site tracks words for you, as well, which plays perfectly with NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo even has free Teacher Kits with awesome goodies for your students!  They are only available while they last, so I would head over there now!  Maybe you ought to take the challenge, too...here's the NanoWriMo site for big people!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Blog Feature - Student Studio

Are there tools you would like to use with your students, but you really would like a quick-start tutorial video to show them?  Use the form to the right to submit a video tutorial request, and I will add it to the new TTechCafe Student Studio.  The studio videos are designed to give students a quick how-to, or you can use them to familiarize yourself with the tool before explaining it to your students.  The first video has been posted - Submitting Assignments in Google Classroom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Weekly TNT ~ Symbaloo

Time is critical in the classroom.  Symbaloo offers teachers a way to curate sites, share Google Docs, link presentations, and publish student products in one place.  This tutorial shares the basics of setting up a Symbaloo page.  Be sure to check out the guides Symbaloo offers, as well!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Weekly TNT ~ Getting Started with Google Classroom

Just the basics, please!  Google Classroom Tutorial 1 will help you get your feet wet.  The video walks through setting up a class, enrolling students, and adding an assignment.  Check for future videos on managing students and adding special types of assignments.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Weekly TNT ~ Google Forms Add-on "Check It Out" Tutorial

I may have a Google Forms Add-on that just might save your sanity!  If you loan things to students, such as books, you need this neat little add-on called Check It Out.  You can create a self-running check-out system in less than five minutes, and you might just be able to keep up with who borrowed your entire set of Harry Potter!

Check out Check It Out....sorry just had to say it.

Remix with ClassTools.net #IMMOOC

We can be innovative without recreating the wheel...literally!  Sometimes we just need to remix what's already there.  Take for instance, the Random Name Wheel on ClassTools.net that allows you to enter student names for random selection - a nifty tool as is.  What if we were to take that tool and make something else?  What if we were to start looking at all the tools we have in a new light?  What if we teach our kids to do the same?????  I am a firm believer that we must give our kids permission to innovate...and we must lead by example!

In Deeper Learning, a book by Jensen and Nickelsen, they have an activity called Encode It! Spinner.  Students use a paper spinner to process a piece of new information by encoding the content in a variety of ways.  Great!  Now, how about a digital wheel you could share on the interactive board or at table groups via devices?  Roll out the Random Name Wheel and do a little remixing!

The Random Spinning Wheel does come with advertisements, but they are unobtrusive, and they can be somewhat hidden when you embed the wheel into your own site!

Would you like to build a wheel?  Click Here to Make Your Own or Here to Use This Encode It!  Wheel.
Have an idea?  Tell Us!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tuesday TNT - Differentiating Products Sample

This week's tip is more like a challenge!  I challenge you to give your students choice in showing you they understand what they are learning.  You can watch the TouchCast below to see samples of a station instruction video, the instruction/rubric student page, and a sample student product.  Just click the samples, and the cast will stop while you view the sample!

This happens to be a fifth grade science activity, but the idea of using technology tools to let students be innovative in their learning works across all content areas.

Just an extra word about using videos for instructions...

There is only one of you.  However, if you have devices available to access video instructions, you can be six places (or more) at once!  Your kids also have the power to replay you without asking.  Just something to consider.

Links to:

Instructions Video


Sample Product Video

Monday, September 12, 2016

An Innovator's Mindset - Living in Beta #IMMOOC

I always told my students we were living in Beta.  I wanted them to try new things in our learning, to innovate, create...to release their genius.  Now I encourage educators to do the same!  I am excited to join in the Innovator's Mindset MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to learn from great innovators in education.

We have amazing tools at the fingertips of our students.  How do we harness that power?  How do we get our students so engaged with learning that they forget they don't like school?  We have the tools, but we have to shift the thinking.  Technology is not a magic bean, but the incredible new things we can have students do to create, collaborate, and problem-solve is amazing.

Original Bean Sprout from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/
What does it take, you ask?  Bravery.
Bravery to turn lose of the old, to release some control, to embrace what can be...

Are you ready?  Will you join me in the #IMMOOC discussion?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tuesday TNT ~ Going Google with My Maps

Join us in our learning adventure!  Let's build our Cafe Community by sharing ideas to integrate tools in ways students can collaborate, create, and critically think.  We have already looked at how Google Maps can be embedded into blogs, but I wanted to give you a tutorial on setting up a collaborative map.

You will also find a Google Form where you can share ideas for using Google Maps HERE, and a Google Form where you can share your student-created maps HERE.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Google Maps We Have Created!

We can learn from each other!  Use the Google Form to share the maps your students have created.  This is open to all Cafe members even if you have not attended our face-to-face meetings.  I will post results here in the Cafe once we start getting responses.

Google Maps Questionaire #1

Let's get our students creating content!  After watching the Google My Maps tutorial for our collaborative, please fill out the Google Form to share ideas.  This is open to all of the Cafe audience.  You do not have to have attended a face-to-face meeting to share in our learning!  I will share the results here in the Cafe once we start getting responses.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Start Back to School with Tellagami

Tellagami is an iOS app that has been around a long time, but it is still a very useful and engaging tool.  If you are not familiar with the app, the user creates a character called a Gami and records a message.  The app will then animate the character who will speak using the recorded message.  Hover over the image below and click the targets to find out more!  This was a graphic we made in our classroom to share with other teachers and classes.

How could you use Tellagami during the first week of school?

Have students work together to record an explanation of a class procedure.  Students can take a picture for the background of the Gami.  For example, have students take a photo of where they will be turning in assignments to use as a Gami background.  Students can then record an explanation on how and when to turn in papers.  This will give you the perfect opportunity to talk about using technology as a tool in the classroom!

Other uses:
  • Summarizing
  • Book Talks
  • Explaining concepts
  • Advertisements
  • Instructions
  • Room tours

Gamis make great stand-ins for teachers as an Instructions Tour Guide for stations, too!

Friday, August 5, 2016

It's Friday!! 
I hope you have enjoyed a fantastic week and are looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  I wanted to share a quick Friday Find with you that I tried while attending J2Training with Janet and Joan.  Wizer.me is free for teachers, and it allows you to blend text, questions, photos, and videos for an online lesson for your students.
Here is Wizer's answer to assigning work to students...

To assign a worksheet to students do the following:
When creating the worksheet, at the navigation on top click on 'Assign to students'.
On the window that opens you can create an assignment for each class.
 Each gets its own link & pin code so you can later review their answers separately for each class.
There are 3 ways for you to share it with the students (from left to right):
1. Use the Google Classroom link and follow Google's instructions.
2. Copy the link and simply share it with your students.
3. Instruct your students to go to this link: https://app.wizer.me/learn/ and enter the pin code.

One huge drawback I see is the website's wording....worksheets....negative vibes....
     Take a look, though!  
I think you will find the things you are able to build don't fit the worksheet category!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wednesday Workshop - 3D Models

Have you thought about using 3D Models from the web?  You might be surprised at the items your students can investigate through technology!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tuesday TNT - Crafty Text Google Extension

Welcome to Tuesday Tips and Tutorials!  Would you like to display text where students can see it?

Try the Google Extension - Crafty Text!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Using the Goo.gl URL Shortener

The Goo.gl URL Shortener is a Chrome extension that makes those crazy, long URLs easier to handle.  Here is a quick tutorial on using this awesome tool!

God bless and Happy Googling!

Google Forms + Docappender = Data Collection Happiness

Alright, my Lovelies...
     I promised a tutorial on how to collect data, such as accommodations, using the Google Form add-on called Docappender.  Drop me a comment below if this is helpful, or if I can help you with anything that is unclear!

  You can see below where I changed the format on another tracker form, so you could see how it added the information in a table format.

*  If you have used this post before, I have updated the video to include T-TESS ideas!

God bless and Happy Googling!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What Can I Have My Students Do on Their Blogs??? # 4

Have students create infographics using PiktoChart.  The site has an excellent choice of free features!  Students can sign up using Google accounts, email accounts, or you can have one class account for your class use.  
Infographics are great for
  • timelines
  • summaries
  • compare/contrast
  • Key Points
  • How-Tos
  • Plot Summaries
  • Get the idea?

Reflective Infographic - Sherry Hall | Piktochart Infographic Editor

What Can I Have my Students Do on Their Blogs??? #3

Embed Google Maps into Blogs!  Have students create a map with pins.  They can add text, photos, links, etc.

Google Maps are great for

  • Mapping out a novel
  • Telling a personal story
  • Writing poetry/narratives/research about a person, event, location
  • Mapping out your own fiction!

What Can I Have My Students Do on Their Blogs???? #2

Did you know you can add Google Slides to your blog?  This is a great tool for classroom websites!  Teachers can place a Google Slideshow on the sidebar with current information.  Update your slideshow in Google Slides, and Google automatically updates it on your site!

Students can create presentations about any topic and add the presentation to their blogs.

Here is a quick tutorial on how this is done.

God bless and Happy Googling!

What Can I Have My Students Do with Their Blogs??? #1

Create amazing Adobe Spark Pages and use the embed code to create a blog post.  Adobe Spark, originally Adobe Slate, allows you to create a scrolling, media-rich page on the topic of your choice!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Blogging in Education - Embed ThingLInks

In preparing to share blogging in the classroom with teachers, I came across a nugget!  ThingLink member, Kelly Walsh shared a great ThingLink!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tech Tool of the Week!


Padlet is a web-based bulletin board that allows others to post any content (e.g. images, videos, documents, text) anywhere on the page, together with anyone, from any device.  So how can you use this tool as a teacher?  
  • Entrance/Exit Tickets - Have students post thoughts on a topic, answers to a question, evidence to support an argument, etc.
  • Virtual Classroom - Incorporate Thinglink into the Padlet by having students create an avatar with links embedded to curate work they have created. 
  • Response Platform - Have students write short responses to daily prompts.
  • Vocabulary Wall - Have students post authentic uses of vocabulary, photos, examples and nonexamples, etc. throughout a unit of study.
  • Curation Tool - Curate sites you wish your students to use, or, better yet, have your students create Padlet walls to curate information, websites, tools, etc.
Would you like to seem some amazing Padlet walls?

     Check out:
Do you have more ideas?  Please comment below and share with us!
Happy Padleting!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Welcome World!

Welcome to the brand new Teacher Tech Cafe!  I am your hostess, sounding board, idea curator, and head bottle washer!  Join us in a tech adventure to get our kids pumped about learning by engaging them with technology in the classroom.