If you have teenagers...

If you have teenagers... talk to them. Listen to them. You can learn a lot from them.  I have two of them - aged 14 and 16. Both girls. Both have been watching what is going on in our country, reading and learning.  My older one just finished her US history class during summer, and we have been discussing what she has been learning.   Recently she came to me and said, "Mom... I kinda feel helpless. I want to do more, to help more, but I am not old enough to vote.  And I don't have a lot of money to donate to causes I want to support." I told her "Share with me what you learn and what you want to support. Teach me. I can vote and I have money we can donate."  Soon after our conversation, I read this  New York Times Article .  It gave me hope for the future.  I am ready to listen. 

Fun with Google Sheets

In the GSuite world of education, every app has it place: Forms to collect data, Drawings for graphic design, Sites for sharing information, and Slides for just about everything. Where does that leave Sheets? I know a lot of people use it for data collection and analysis - and that is awesome. But Sheets can be used with students too! Christine Pinto has blogged about using Sheets with her Kindergartners - you can find all of those here . Her ideas are great! Pixel Art is also really fun! Eric Curts has blogged about it here  and you can find all his Google Sheets resources here . He also has some really good ideas for using Sheets with students. I have also used Sheets for some activities for a digital breakout. You can see an example if you click on the link or picture below. I use conditionally formatting to change the cells' background color, generally for a color lock in the digital breakout.  Another option is Mystery Pictures. I was inspired by something shared

Weekly PD Newsletter

In my role as an Instructional Technology Specialist, I try to provide professional development and helpful hints in a variety of ways. One way I reach my staff is a weekly Tech Treats newsletter. This method can take a while.  At first, very few people read it, partly because it was buried in a principal's weekly memo. But it is catching on - especially as teachers learned they could bookmark it like a website and refer back to it as needed. It isn't at 100% - I don't think it ever will be - but it is enough that I will keep doing it. Want to make one for your staff?  Here are my tips: It's a Google Slide, because  It's easy to format  I add the newest slide at the beginning  It's easy for teachers to search to find previous pages It can be bookmarked  Put "need to know" stuff in there, especially action items with deadlines Include information for a variety of technology comfort levels Include new fun things - for Thanksgiving and C

Icon Usage in Website Design

Today is the last day of my EDLD 5303 class, so at some point over the next week, my e-Portfolio will be reviewed and graded. So for the next week or so, I really shouldn't make any updates. Except now I really want to make updates. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been part of a team building and collaborating on a internal website for my district, one that has tutorials and resources for teachers during our time of at-home learning. Even though I have experience with web design, I haven't really done it in a team setting. I learned a lot about design and one of the cool things I learned about is flat icons. According to Iconion , Flat icons are part of flat design, "which is a minimalistic design approach that put emphasis on usability. This kind of interface focuses on open space, bright colors and flat graphics or illustrations."  Flat icons are "clean and have crisp edges again with a flat two- dimensional graphic layout". I had heard the t

Remote Learning Recommendations, part 1

Now that many of us are in the thick of remote learning, or for those of us in my district, where we are preparing for remote learning, I have come across some great resources that I wanted to share. I am sure that throughout all this that there will be more, so that is why this is part 1. First, I have to say, I love Slidesmania . Her templates are amazing and I am constantly recommending her site to everyone. Right now, her Weekly Planner template is a must for teachers teaching remotely. Check it out! Second, I have seen a lot about educational technology companies reaching out to teachers, schools, and districts with free offers of normally paid versions.  On one hand, that is really cool, but it can be really overwhelming to teachers to decide what new tools to try in their classes.  Edweek  even wrote a very good piece on it. Based on what I have seen, planning with teachers and instructional coaches for remote learning, my recommendation is for teachers to generally use wh

e-Portfolio Updates

So I have been updating my e-Portfolio, my website, for my EDLD 5303 class. I am struggling a bit with it, since I started the website as something to showcase my creations, like my Tech Tools Showcase PD website and my BreakoutEDU creations. But this class is asking me to share more of my learning, and merging the two is proving a bit difficult for me. I figure I will find my happy medium, just not sure when just yet... However I am trying something new for this. I created an Anchor account and I am creating a podcast for one of my assignments.  I have been making a lot of screencasts lately as an ITS, since my district is moving to asynchronous online learning, and I just didn't want to make another one. Hopefully I will get  it loaded later today. Want to check it out?  Go to to see it!

Ownership - the One who takes the Risk

So in the midst of all the #socialdistancing, my graduate school classes continue.  Actually, it has been a welcome break to have something to focus on.  This week's discussion board topic - ownership of an e-Portfolio.  When I became a Google Trainer, someone I met said to create any training materials in my personal Google account, not my school (work) account.  When I asked why, she said that when created under district accounts and with district property, that the materials technically belong to the district and if I leave, the materials can not necessarily follow.  It definitely gave me pause.. but I fully admit I still create mostly in my school account, since it is part of my job to support district staff.  But it has me thinking... does this idea applies to the idea of student e-portfolios as well?  If students spend all this time creating something about their school learning, and using a school domain and possibly school time and sch