I Had a Flipiphany!

It wasn’t a real word.  Until now.  I just made it up, but it’s a real thing so I’m keeping it.  A Flipiphany is when you suddenly realize that Flipgrid would be the ULTIMATE tool for doing what you need to do.  And that just happened!

About 20 minutes ago, I posted another blog post called #EdTech on a Field TripClick over and read the whole thing, because I really was proud of the idea.  It is the story of how I created a fun, curriculum-based, tech-infused photo scavenger hunt for 1st graders at the zoo, and then I offered the teacher a diverse menu of choices as to how to implement the photo scavenger hunt with her class.  After I hit publish on that blog post, I went to bed…..and 15 minutes later I came right back downstairs because I had a serious Flipiphany!

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My original list of options for ways this teacher could USE the scavenger hunt list didn’t include Flipgrid – and it ABSOLUTELY should have!  It needs to!  I’ve already revised the original option sheet from my earlier post – check it out:

flipiphany zoo list

There are lots of ways this could be organized in Flipgrid, but for folks using the free version, I’d suggest setting it up as described in the last option above.  Since most of the scavenger hunt items on my hunt are photos, 15 seconds will be plenty of time.  Removing the selfie decorations will allow viewers to see an accurate thumbnail of the students who participated.  I’d also suggest leaving the “Response Title” on so that groups could use their group name or a brief caption of their grid post.  The topic in Flipgrid might look something like this:

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I have now decided that this is my new favorite thing in the world….Flipgrid Photo Scavenger Hunts!  Seriously.  I need to do these with other teachers for my PD sessions (this is a Tech Integration Specialist’s dream toy tool), with friends and neighbors, and on my family summer vacation!

Ohhhhh…..and if you happen to be going to Flipgrid Live this summer, you’d better believe that there will now be a big ol’ super-fun, kinda crazy, official #FlipHunt happening in Minnesota.  That’s a real word now, too.  The #FlipHunt is ON!

 

You know I just love to hear from you and connect with other awesome educators.  You can find me on Twitter as @kerszi, on my Facebook page “Integration Innovation”, or leave comments right here on the blog! 
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EdTech on a Field Trip?

As a Technology Integration Specialist, I get all kinds of interesting requests from teachers. They never cease to amaze me with their ideas and the things they want to learn. One of my very favorite unique challenges this year came from one of my first grade teacher friends.

She wanted to know if I could help her think of ways she might be able infuse technology into her field trip to the Philadelphia Zoo. No teacher had ever before asked me anything like this, and I fell in love with the idea! Adding to the challenge was the fact that it involved our littlest littles – 6-year-olds!

I began by checking to see if the zoo offered free WiFi access. We have iPads, but they don’t have 4G, so my planning would be influenced by WiFi availability. Philadelphia Zoo does indeed offer free WiFi, so I knew we had that option if we needed it.

I looked at the educational activities on the zoo’s website. They do have some there, including printables and lesson plans. I found a scavenger hunt, which I thought was a good idea, but I wanted to really personalize it for our first graders from our district.

If you follow me, you know that my mantra/ tagline/ philosophy is P.A.R.T.I., which stands for “Purposeful And Relevant Technology Integration.”

So I found our district’s first-grade Life Science benchmark, and I built a field trip photo scavenger hunt from it! I combined content knowledge with the silliness I knew our first graders would love.

Take a look at the simple but fun list I created, and you’ll see how it challenged students to apply knowledge in amusing ways:

The next thing I needed to do was to think of the teacher’s needs. How many groups would there be? How many chaperones? Was she sharing this with all the other first grade teachers? Did she want to upload photos to some sort of app while at the zoo (which would require WiFi) or just take photos? Did she want chaperones to be able to use their own devices/phones, or did she need our iPads? I met with her once to discuss options and get a feel for what she would consider, and then I went to work creating a printed list of options for ways she could deploy the scavenger hunt. It was SO fun to create this list!!! I gave it to her several days in advance, because at least two of the options would require additional set-up. (Goose Chase and QR Wild, which are both awesome!)

I had an absolute blast creating these resources, and I didn’t even get to go on the field trip! If you’re wondering how that teacher decided to use the scavenger hunt, she went with the second option. That night, she created a beautiful PowerPoint slideshow of all the pictures so that she could share with students the next day in class! (See just a few of her slides below!)

I ended up sharing this idea with five first grade teachers from another one of the schools I serve. They each decided to do their own thing – some did option 3, one did option 4 (the Bingo board), and some did option 8 (using Seesaw). Oh, and I heard that those “live interview” questions were a big hit – I’ll go back and add more of those next time!

In the end, no matter which way they chose to use it, this tech-infused field trip photo scavenger hunt was a big hit with every single teacher, parent, and student!

Bravo & big thanks to the teachers who continue to challenge and inspire me!

Thanks as always for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts & feedback! You can find me on Twitter as @kerszi, on my Facebook Page “Integration Innovation”, or leave comments right here on my blog!

Take the Leap.. to the OneNote for Windows 10 App

Anyone who knows me knows that this sign on my desk is pretty indicative of the way I go about things:

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I’m a risk-taking, jump-right-in, what-could-possibly-go-wrong, all-in kind of girl.  So when I heard OneNote desktop version is being sunsetted, I just sort of moseyed on over to the Windows 10 app and moved in.  I’ve been living there almost full-time because if that’s going to be my new OneNote, I want to really start to form a friendship with it.  I know, I know….it doesn’t have ALL the cool stuff from OneNote 2016 desktop yet, but it will.  So for now, I still just pop in for visits with 2016 when I need a certain tool, but for the most part, I’ve migrated!

windows10appSo if you haven’t even looked at the app yet and are brand new to all of this, take a look at the image above.  #1 shows you where to click to open your apps.  #2 shows you where you can find OneNote (it’s alphabetically listed).  I will use it A LOT, so I right-clicked on the words in #2 and clicked “Pin To Start”, which put #3 out there where it’s nice & easy for me to find!

FOUR FAVES

Whenever I make new friends, I like to notice all the positives about them.  That’s exactly what I’ve been doing with the OneNote app while I’m waiting for all the bells and whistles from 2016 to be added over the next few months.

As Julie Andrews would sing, “These are a few of my favorite things….”

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  • The pens!  I just love how the pens are laid out on the Draw tab.  I’m no artist, but digital inking is just so fun!  Of course, I gravitated right to the rainbow pen,the outer space pen, and the fancy-schmancy golden pen!  The cool trick is to click that little plus at the top – it lets you choose and add your own favorite pencils, pens, and highlighters to to that row that’s displayed, so you always have your most beloved inking tools right at your fingertips!

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  •   The emoji keyboard.  This actually works in all the Microsoft spaces (Word, Outlook, etc.) in Windows 10, but I’ve been especially enjoying it in OneNote, where I’m more apt to use emojis.  My favorite trick is to use emojis in Section names, Page names, and even Notebook names!  As the photo above shows, just hold down the Windows button and the period and that cute emoji window pops up for you!  I love the clean graphic style of these Microsoft emoji’s, too!

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  • Link right out to the Microsoft Educator Community.  I spend a lot of time in the M.E.C., and I try to teach others to do the same.  It’s my community center where I go to learn, grow, find resources, and even make connections.  I love having the icon right there in the Class Notebook tab so that if I have a question or want to learn something new, it’s just a click away!

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  • Watching Growth.  The little image above is a screenshot of exactly what is on the Insert Tab as of today, right now, on April 30, 2018.  Over the next few months, the good folks at Microsoft have listened to the community and promised to add in (almost) all of the excellent tools we all love in 2016 desktop version.  This is fun for me.  I love that Audio and Forms are already there, and I will thoroughly enjoy watching more and more tools festoon the Insert Ribbon in the coming weeks.

So if you weren’t sure how to make the move or even wondered why it might be fun to go all-in with the Windows 10 OneNote app, I hope I’ve given you some inspiration!  Give it a shot…you have everything to gain.  Leap, and OneNote will appear!  😉

If you ever want to talk #OneNote, anything #MicrosoftEDU, or anything #EdTech at all, you can find me on Twitter at @kerszi, on Facebook at Integration Innovation, and right here on the blog!

Accessibility Oooh & Aaahs With Microsoft’s Learning Tools

It warms my heart and brings me joy to see that glowing joy on a Special Education teachers’ face exclaiming, “We can DO that?”, “I didn’t know that was even A THING”,  “I never even THOUGHT of it”, “NO WAY!!!”… and the unforgettable, “This is like a miracle!”

This new phenomena is spurred by some mandatory PD that all of our teachers in grades 3-5 needed to attend this month.  I was teaching them the wonders of Microsoft’s OneNote Class Notebook.  That in itself was an extraordinary mind-blowing tool for teachers who JUST entered the world of teaching in a 1:1 environment.  For now, I’m thrilled to report on an unexpected byproduct of those PD sessions.

The Special Education teachers (and many Basic Skills and even general education teachers) were blown away by the Learning Tools that are embedded in Microsoft’s OneNote and Class Notebook.  In the Learning Tools, there is a remarkable ribbon tool called “Immersive Reader”.  I am both a former Special Ed teacher and a crazy-avid EdTech junkie, so I thought it was maybe just me who was awestruck by the way these tools make text accessible to all students.  The text-to-speech alone can bring tears to my eyes when I see it being used independently by a struggling reader.  The other options – font size, spacing, and color readability options can also be set by the learner to meet his/her own learning needs.  I ADORE that students may choose to speed up the reading voice or slow it down if processing is difficult!  I marvel when a student who has difficulty decoding can turn on the syllabication option and just read syllable-by-syllable.  Most of all – and I exclaim this with joyous fervor in my PD sessions – this is not something that a teacher has to “push out” to students or that draws any attention to that student!  The students who need it can just “turn it on” themselves – determining for themselves when they need those accommodations – and they don’t look any different than anyone else in the class!  Students can go to the same OneNote page as everyone else, and then discreetly slip in a pair of earbuds, click on the Learning Tools tab, and make the learning accessible without ever leaving the page (or the group, or the classroom!)

I also showed our teachers that their students will also soon have the Dictation feature available (speech to text) as soon as our district upgrades us to Windows 10.  I think a few of the teachers may or may not have fallen out of their chairs.  I know that I heard audible gasps.  One teacher threw her hand over her mouth and mumbled, “Oh, all those years we wasted money and time on that OTHER speech to text program, and now all of our kids will have it RIGHT HERE, RIGHT in their own OneNote notebooks and not having to go out to another program.”  Another teacher exclaimed, “This is like a miracle!”  I LOVE that these teachers get as emotional about this as I do.  That’s exactly how I feel!

Speaking of miracle, this is where something pretty magical began to happen!  Special Ed teachers – and some other speciality teachers, and Child Study Team members – started asking for more sessions just for them that dealt specifically with Adaptive Technology!   They wanted more time with the Learning Tools and to explore samples and brainstorm ways that these could be used.  Nothing – NOTHING – warms the cockles of my heart like teachers who are craving personalized PD that will help them help their students…so I created this to start:

nnnnnThese teachers are especially fascinated with Microsoft’s Audio Recorder, which is a standard part of ALL OneNote notebooks and Class Notebooks…sitting right there in the middle of the Insert Ribbon!  I showed them about 10 ways just that one little microphone tool could be used by both teachers AND students to make learning accessible, productive, and fun!  They played and came up with much better ideas than I had.  We researched and Googled and Pinterest-ed even more practical ideas…and the time flew!

We started with 1/2 day PD, and I’m thrilled to say that it wasn’t enough.  I never even got to demo all the the items on my very short list above – and I had about a dozen others on backup reserve in case we had more time!  As the teachers learned and shared and brainstormed, it gave ME even more ideas about things I want to show them…to teach them…to learn with them!   Going forward, those teachers have inspired a much longer list – I’ve begun compiling a list of apps, websites (like Buncee…see photo caption above), and simple general computer user features that I’ll be offering and sharing at all my schools…and beyond.  I have a bunch of creative “PD Delivery Options” – newsletters, online resources, screencasts, virtual meetings with screensharing, Tech Playdates, Morning Munchies & Lunch Bunch mini-sessions, etc. – so that all of my in-district teachers have diverse options for accessibility, too!

We are all SO very lucky to be at such a great and powerful time in regard to educational technology.  Technology isn’t an answer or a cure-all, and it needs to be planned well and done right, but OH, the possibilities!  Our teachers are lucky – there is so much that is FREE to us these days, and there are so many helpful tools embedded right in the sites and apps we use every day.  Our students are lucky – to be learning how to learn with technology that assists them when they need it.  As for me, I’m quite sure that I am the luckiest of all – to have Special Education teachers with real heart and sincere ambition, who crave and ask for professional development for adaptive technologies to make life the best it can be for their exceptional learners!


As always, I really love to hear your thoughts.  I need YOUR help to grow my list with great ideas to share with teachers!  What simple adaptive technology tools to you use and love?  What are some of your favorite general computer use tricks (my teachers even loved just learning to zoom in on the screen and how to increase/decrease brightness…those little things matter)?  What do you wish you knew about Adaptive Technology?  How do you get/find PD that works for you?  And my favorite question of all is…what’s your coolest AT tip or trick?

Reach out to me at @kerszi on Twitter, drop a note right here in my blog comments, or follow my Facebook page “Integration Innovation” and share your thoughts & ideas there!  I’m also kerszi on Voxer if you’d rather strike up a more private or conversational chat.  Thanks so much!

#iiCHAT for Technology Integration Specialist Leaders

I recently gave a technology leadership presentation on “Coaching the Coaches” (see image below).

Most of those in attendance were already Technology Integration Specialists (or tech coaches…we go by SO many different names) who aspire to achieve the next level by becoming recognized as their district’s leader, coordinator, department head, supervisor….or whatever the local title for that type of recognition might be. I use the word “recognition”, because we collectively decided that in many places it’s not yet a formalized position. It’s just a leadership space that seems to materialize almost everywhere.

I was excited to share my own journey. In sharing tips, tales, technologies, to-do’s, and tribulations – I also welcomed a participatory dialogue from the attendees. In keeping the session less “lecture-style”, I really got learn a lot, too! Indeed, I learned just as much through discussion, feedback, and subsequent digital communication with an ever-growing group of people who want to establish themselves as their school or district’s digital leaders.

One of the greatest suggestions I received that day was that I should consider hosting a Twitter Chat. I’ve already “branded” myself with my Integration Innovation logo (Twitter Header, blog, FB page), and I post fun general EdTech things in all of those places. This Twitter chat would supplement that and provide a new venue for a new & very specific type of crowd. I do have a LOT of tips for tech coaches, but I also have some innovative leadership ideas, and so I jumped in and combined those into a Twitter chat called #iiCHAT.

#iiCHAT made its debut during EdChange Global on July 28, 2017 – and so the inaugural #iiCHAT did indeed attract an enthusiastic bunch of Tech Integration leaders from around the world! It was inspiring to meet, share, & learn from such an ambitious group of people.

I’m going to keep #iiCHAT going for almost entirely selfish reasons – I loved learning with truly kindred spirits! It’s fun to share ideas & hear stories from those who are (or who are trying to become) the “head coach”, as one clever friend puts it!

#iiCHAT resumes Wednesday, November 15

as a weekly chat!

UPDATE:  NEW TIME/DAY FOR iiCHAT:  It’s just 1/2 hour chat with 3.5 questions each week – so we’ll all meet up on Wednesday nights at  9:00 pm Eastern Time.    

 

PS – We also have our own #iiCHAT Voxer group – let @kerszi know if you want to be added.  The offline conversations are great & let us share so much more in a really comfortable, open, safe private group. 🤗

Here is a link to a Remind group if you’d like to receive a “day-of” text message so you don’t forget: https://www.remind.com/join/iich

😊 Oh, and I just have to share this very VERY kind blog post about that first #iiCHAT by @MsClassNSession : EdChange Global Shoutouts

Powerful Literacy Web Tool That Brings Close Reading Even Closer – it’s Edji.it

edjilogo

I haven’t ever come across a web-based tool that’s anything quite like Edji.it.  This is new territory in the world of EdTech, and I like it.  As you can tell from the title, Edji.it is a brilliant tool for close literary analysis, and the content you analyze can really be anything.  You can create your own readings, copy/paste from other sources, and even include images and PDFs.  In addition to being able create an in-depth close read and easily share it with your class, thoughtful and purposeful annotations can be made in the form of highlights, text comments, and even emoji reactions.

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As the admin, you import or create the text.  That’s done very simply by clicking the “New Reading” button and inserting text (which you can format.)  You can also insert images and even PDF’s – all of which can be annotated.

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When you’re satisfied with the text, you save it as a draft and finally hit “share”.  It creates a join code (also called lightning code) for your students.  They, in turn, access your text by going to the edji.it main dashboard and typing in the simple code where it says “Join”.

ej top toolbar

A simple join code for the group is all your students need!

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This is where it gets really clever.  As each of your readers are doing their own text analysis, their comments are private only to them.  You, as the admin, have a handy toolbar on the left that lets you see how many users are accessing the piece, and you can open your “feed view” sidebar that shows you all comments/annotations from all users.  The neatest feature in that toolbar is something called “Heat Vision” – when you click on this, it allows all users to see all annotations.  It’s the ultimate instantaneous, simultaneous sharing button.  Imagine the in-depth class discussions that can ensue based on this diverse collective annotation!

ej admin bar  ej who can see

I taught Literacy for years, and I adored it!  I loved being able to teach all of the nuances and sub-skills that went into the understanding and synthesizing of various texts.  As any Literacy teacher knows, the obstacles and points of confusion are different for every single student on every different piece of text.  Students may struggle with vocabulary, colloquialisms, understanding irony, theme, tone, or even just decoding.  With a tool like edji.it, a teacher has a remarkable looking glass into the insights, reflections, and understandings of every single student.

Would you like to try it from the “student view”?  Feel free to use my join code (jbvn) and play around with the text and emoji commenting.  You’ll see how easy this is for your students!

ej jbvn

 

Any teacher of Literacy and especially content area literacy will want to explore this clever tool with small groups (I really love this for Special Ed and ELLs) and even as a whole class.  It can be assigned for homework, and tracking/data is automatically saved as long as students enter their real names (or student ID numbers).  Edji.it is a winner for sure!

Addition: After I posted this, I found this handy slideshow called Getting Started With Edji

You can also follow them on Twitter at @edjinotes.

As always, I love to hear feedback and learn from you as you use the tools I share.  Please leave comments here on my blog, on my Facebook page Innovation Integration, or find me as @kerszi on Twitter!

Five Fun Fairly Free Things For Teachers To Do In the Summer

My fellow teachers, you have a few months “off”.  Yes, I know that you still work.  We do…we just do…because we’re teachers and we’re addicted to our craft.  But this is also an important time for you.  It can’t be all work – or even thinking about work.  You’ve got to find time for you so that you can be your best for the students when school starts again.  Take time to rejuvenate, refresh, and have fun!

I’ve asked other teachers for ideas that are relatively cheap and enjoyable to almost anyone, anytime.  They shared their all-time favorite ideas, and here are five of the best:

1) Nap.  For the love of all that is good and healthy, take some dang naps!  Lots of them.  Every day, if you can!   I know that the title of this post mentioned the word “fun”, and believe me, naps are fun.  YOU will be more fun if you take naps.

2) Read:  Read fun stuff, read sleazy stuff, read fiction and science fiction and gossip magazines and classic novels if you want.  “Binge read” an author that you love or go through every “beach read” that’s recommended this year.  Don’t bulk up your summer with gobs of professional reading.  There is a time, there is a place – it’s NOT the summer.

3) Scavenger Hunts:  Don’t wonder why that’s included.  Trust me.  They are fun to make and fun to play.  Get your girlfriends or the neighborhood couples together and do a few of these this summer.  Put ridiculous items on there, or have a photo scavenger hunt.  Pinterest is your friend, by the way, because there are gazillions of cool ideas to make fun scavenger hunts.

ej photo scav hunt

4) Make:  This is purposely generic.  The idea is to tap into your creative spirit and make something that you’ve never made before.  Do NOT make classroom things.  Make things for your home, Christmas gifts, art, food items, or lovely knick-knacks for your yard.  Get out some power tools, paints, hot glue guns, scrapbook supplies, knitting needles, a soldering iron, a pottery wheel – and don’t hide behind the excuse that you’re not creative.  Everyone can make SOMETHING!  Be determined that before summer ends, you will have created at least one neat, new thing that brings joy to you or somebody else.

If you need ideas, walk around a craft store or check out this cool little website:  Instructables.

5) Photo Fun:  Whatever you are doing, capture it in photos.  Even if you don’t have a big vacation planned, you can purposely go on photo walks to relax and find joy in things around you.  Take a nature walk and only take pictures of things that are NOT green.  Try to photograph the alphabet in everyday objects!  Have alliterative photo days: capture sunrises, smiles, snowcones, swimming pools, spaghetti, slugs, sycamore trees and anything else that starts with the same letter!  Get zoomy- take really, really close up pictures of everyday items (or in nature) and marvel at the details!

When you have good photo collections and are feeling inspired, play with a few apps like Aviary, Prisma, or PicCollage that allow you to edit photos or turn them into works of art.  Print them out or just share them on social media!  You’ll feel a good sense of pride, and probably a sense of zen with your new artistic photographic talents.  Plus, when school starts back in the fall, you’ll have a whole collection that proves just how much fun you had in the summer!

 

Thanks for stopping by!  I’m @kerszi on Twitter, and I also have a Facebook page called Integration Innovation.