Saturday, April 27, 2019

Growing your PLN

I'm back. It has been a bit since I have posted but I have been busy getting my administrative license.  One of the pieces that I continue to talk about and learn is that "learning" happens for me all the time and I am constantly building and personalizing my own PD (professional development).  

I think we sometimes get stuck in the mindset of being sent to a meeting or all-day-long workshop before we get information or new tools to try.  That is not the "new age" way to learn today.  It can be personalized, relevant, and useful anytime you want anywhere you are.  You can always be connected as little or as much as you want.  

Within your own building to a learning community online we can find those great resources to pull from more now than ever.  It does not have to be about just technology, it is simply a mindset with a better idea of creating a culture of digital leadership.  

With this school year coming to a close, I challenge you to spend some time this Summer looking at how you can gather information through various online resources so that you have ways to learn throughout the year and save time. 

Some examples that can help you get started:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

New Year - Transformative Teaching

Transformative Teaching

What is transformative teaching?  Is it simply putting devices in students hands? Is it simply talking about visiting places that you are studying? Is it saying we are on our device several times a day? What is so transformative about having the device in their hands? Creating a culture for innovation and change involves so much more than surface level thinking and planning.  It is constructivist pedagogy.
Related image
I want to begin this year on a transformative platform and build experiences for students. I want to see students actively engaged. Students need hands-on experiences where they analyze, create, interpret, use background knowledge, etc.., This is the type of learning that we are missing in our classrooms that create a learning culture where students are asking the tough questions of how, who, what, where, when, and why and then actually figuring it out. We need to allow them to solve real-world problems and become thinkers and doers.  Technology comes into play as that tool for transformative teaching.  It allows us to dive deeper in helping us solve our problems but there needs to be a balance.  I'm excited to begin this year and see how transformative teaching can lead to more student success.

Monday, February 6, 2017

PLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network)

Have you ever wanted to learn more from other educators but don't know where to start?  Where are others finding new tools or new ways of teaching?  Do you want to be on the cutting edge with your students? Where do you begin?? 

The analogy of "How to Grow a PLN" by Sylivia Duckworth and Jacques Cool is a great way to begin this journey. I absolutely love the work of Sylvia Duckworth!  

Sidenote** She is also a great follow on Twitter @sylviaduckworth and Google + +Sylvia Duckworth.  See below for her Sketchnote of 'How to grow a PLN'!

Why do you need a PLN?  Again, let's look at Sylvia Duckworth's Sketchnote below for some reasons why you need a PLN.

I encourage you to pick somewhere to begin.  Maybe you will open a Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook account or start a blog. Maybe you will follow a ton of educators on TweetDeck, which is a great tool to efficiently use Twitter..  Maybe you will start a YouTube channel.  Maybe you will invite an international connection into your classroom via Skype. If you are interested in following several blogs here are some tools for that as well such as:

I promise you will be amazed at the learning that will take place once you begin your own PLN.  Take your first step today!!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sketchboard - The endless online whiteboard

In today's world, are you only working from one location?  Or are you working from home, office, co-workers office, coffee shop, etc..,?  Exactly...right?! I know, I read your mind because we always seem to be working from various locations and multi-tasking with students and colleagues.  However, it seems like there is a tool missing to get our point across to others at times.

In the past, local meetings were easy to explain and you received quick feedback with face-to-face interaction.  However, in today's world our remote meetings can sometimes be hard to explain or visualize.  We want to continue to be productive, but we are still somewhat limited with chat applications, screen sharing, and even shared documents.  Our students are also facing these very same issues.  If you are feeling this very same way, then I want to encourage you to give Sketchboard a try!

If you are looking for collaboration with visual representation for teams, then you need to check out Sketchboard.  It is an endless online whiteboard that has an endless list of possibilities that can work for students and teachers alike.  Are you also a Slack fan? You can also visual message on Slack with Sketchboard.

Check out the YouTube video for a quick overview and some key features.

Can you imagine what your students could create or the productive workflow for remote meetings?

The sketchboard interface has many options to choose from to create your workflow:

Sketchboard Pricing: Click here for more info.

Here are a few examples of the pricing options below: (You can also request educational pricing)
  • Free - Up to 5 Users - 3 private boards - Unlimited public boards
  • Personal: $7/month 1 user
  • Organization: $9/month per user
  • Team: $36/month - 7 users
I hope that you will find this tool helpful in your next collaborative meeting.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Training for Google Apps - By Google

Have you ever been stuck in Gmail, Google Calendar or Google Classroom and no one was around to help you at the time? Great news!!  Now you have your own personal Google trainer at your fingertips anytime, anywhere.

Google now has added a Google Chrome extension called Training for Google Apps.

This extension is an interactive training and walkthrough within your Google Apps.  This will help train you with apps such as Google Classroom, Gmail, Google+, Calendar, Sheets, Slides, Docs, etc..  This in-app experience allows you to learn while you are in the program. You can also learn more at Google Help Center. Once you install the extension it will show up like this:

You can then click this trainer button at anytime when trainings are available and be instantly trained on a specific task right within the application.  Please see a couple examples below.

Here is another example in Gmail:
If I open Google Drive and click on the Training button:

If I open Google Classroom and click on the training button:
This is a great way to get up and running with any Google Apps!  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I am Google Certified

Even though it is 12:43am, I can't sleep because I am so excited and I have to share the news!!

I am an official Google Certified Educator!  Sometimes we deserve a pat on the back from ourselves and that is exactly what happened this afternoon for me.  I kept putting this exam off because I was nervous that I might not know enough to take this exam, even though I felt confident in many areas. I did review the training section in the training center and felt confident.  I signed up and once I logged into the test and noticed the start button, the good ole' test anxiety set in.  However, once I pushed the start button on this exam, I took a deep breath and just treated it like any other day at the office and was confident in myself. Confidence is key! I begin to feel comfortable and relaxed which helped me pass this exam. 

I'm very excited to continue this journey that will lead to my main goal of becoming a Google Innovator.  Being an educator is a personal journey of constantly learning.  Being a Tech Integration Specialist for the past 2 years, I have enjoyed helping others learn new skills and integrate them into classrooms.  I continue to learn better ways to accomplish so many different tasks everyday.  This will only continue to help me grow as an educator to better prepare our teachers/students in the classrooms. 

If you are wondering about the Level 1 exam, my suggestion is to study for your Google Certification.  You need to review the training sessions until you feel comfortable with all areas.  Join us in continuing our education as educators! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Searching Google Smarter

Have you ever wondered if you were searching Google the correct way or even the smartest way? There are many symbols and words (search operators) you can use to make your searching easier and to narrow down results. This can not only help you but can also really improve your students researching skills.  It is very important that students know how to search the vast array of information on the web in the most efficient way.  

I wanted to share with you some ways that can make your Google searching much easier.

I found all of this info on the 
Google Help Page.

First off, I wanted to discuss the Omnibox (also known as the address bar) which will allow you to search from typing into the box at the top of the browser.  

Start with a simple search and choose your words carefully (Ex: where's the closest McDonald's).  Don't worry about the spelling or capitalization of words (Ex: Texas is the same as texas)  If you are wanting quick information, you can type these 5 keywords in and get instant results.  Info taken from Google Help Page
  • Weather: Search weather to see the weather in your location or add a city name, like weather seattle, to find weather for a certain place
  • Dictionary: Put define in front of any word to see its definition.
  • Calculations: Enter a math equation like 3*9123, or solve complex graphing equations
  • Unit conversions: Enter any conversion, like 3 dollars in euros
  • Sports: Search for the name of your team to see a schedule, game scores and more.
  • Quick facts: Search for the name of a celebrity, location, movie, or song to find related information. 

Below you will find different symbols with examples that you can try the next time you search on Google. Image below found on Google Help Page.

SymbolHow to use it
Search for Google+ pages or blood types
Examples: +Chrome or  AB+
@Find social tags
Example: @agoogler
$Find prices
Example: nikon $400
Find popular hashtags for trending topics
Example: #throwbackthursday
-When you use a dash before a word or site, it excludes sites with that info from your results. This is useful for words with multiple meanings, like Jaguar the car brand and jaguar the animal.
Examples: jaguar speed -car or pandas
"When you put a word or phrase in quotes, the results will only include pages with the same words in the same order as the ones inside the quotes. Only use this if you're looking for an exact word or phrase, otherwise you'll exclude many helpful results by mistake.
Example: "imagine all the people"
*Add an asterisk as a placeholder for any unknown or wildcard terms. .
Example: "a * saved is a * earned"
..Separate numbers by two periods without spaces to see results that contain numbers in a range.
Example: camera $50..$100

You can also use certain words (search operators) that can be added to searches to help narrow results.  When searching in Google you can always go to the Advanced Search page to help narrow down results as well.  Please see below for 'Search Operators'- **Image below found on Google Help Page.

OperatorHow to use it
site:Get results from certain sites or domains.
Examples: olympics and olympics
related:Find sites that are similar to a web address you already know.
ORFind pages that might use one of several words.
Example: marathon OR race
info:Get information about a web address, including the cached version of the page, similar pages, and pages that link to the site.
cache:See what a page looks like the last time Google visited the site.
Note: When you search using operators or punctuation marks, don't add any spaces between the operator and your search terms. A search for will work, but site: won't.

I hope that you will try these to help you narrow down your next search on Google.