Bring on the Bitmoji!

Even if you haven’t started using them, I know you’ve seen them.  And if you HAVE started using them, you’re a little addicted, right?  Or is it just me?

Bitmojis are taking over the world…or at least it seems that way…and I’m glad because they make me really happy!  So what’s a Bitmoji?  It’s an avatar you design to (sort of) look like you.  And then you use it.  For everything!

I got started with Bitmoji on my iPhone, so I’ll start you the same way, although you can absolutely create and use Bitmoji from your computer in the Chrome browser.  There’s an extension for that, of course!   (I have it, I use it, and I totally recommend it!)

On your phone, just get the free Bitmoji app and sign up with an email. The prompts will walk you through how to create your Bitmoji, but it starts like this:

It’s personal preference, but I really like the Bitstrips style.  The next several prompts will take you through designing the physical appearance of your avatar.  It will ask you to choose your hair style, color, face shape, eyebrow style, eyebrow color, eyes, eyelashes, pupils, nose, mouth, cheeks, facial lines (yes, sadly yes), makeup, glasses, headwear, and finally body shape (mine is uhhh…slimmed down).  Ladies, it’s even going to let you choose your chest size!img_6103.png

Then, it’s fun fashion time!  Dress up your mini-you!

You get to dress up your avatar, but there are tons and tons of choices, and just know that you can change your avatar’s outfit as often as you’d like.

Hit the ✅ to finalize things, and you’re ready to use your Bitmoji and fun and creative ways!

I use mine all the time when texting my husband and son.  It’s become a bit of a fun game for us – we try to have entire conversations back-and-forth using only Bitmoji!

Wanna try?  OK, it might be a little hard to find your Bitmoji the first time you’re trying to text one, so let me show you how to access them.  First, click on the little globe icon at the lower left of your texting keyboard:

On the next screen, click on the little ABC icon at the lower left of your texting keyboard:

That brings up your “Search Bitmoji” screen, where you can type in keywords to look for the perfect action, expression, or emotion!img_6104.png

Posting your fun & crazy avatars works exactly the same way on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Notice my avatar has that same pink top on in most of the choices.  It will stay that way until I change her outfit!

Many educators are now using these in Booksnaps (click on the word for more info), an awesome idea created by Tara Martin for using Bitmoji in purposeful educational ways!

One last word of caution for elementary educators…there are a few Bitmoji that are not quite appropriate.  There aren’t many, but you know your kiddies will find them!

Since you stayed with me, learning and reading all the way until the end, I’ll leave you with this one very sincere final Bitmoji:



Please share your thoughts, feedback and ideas with me here at my Integration Innovation blog, on Twitter @kerszi, or on my Facebook page called Integration Innovation.  


Google’s Reverse Image Search

I learned about this in the strangest way.  Last summer, I was traveling through New England with my family.  It was nighttime, and we were driving over a bridge that was lit up and interesting – and I thought was pretty.  I snapped an iPhone photo from the passenger seat, and quickly posted it to Facebook with the caption, “Who knows where I am?”

My buddy Kevin came back almost instantly with the name and location of the bridge, and I was shocked!   I assumed he was familiar with the area.  He admitted that he just used Google Reverse Image Search.

TBH, I had no idea what he was talking about, so I made it a point to – well – Google it!  It’s another super-cool, super-easy way to WOW your friends and perhaps look like a genius from time to time.  I’ll bet you can come up with great ways to use it with students.  Tonight, I used it to satisfy my curiosity.  A few weeks ago, I had gone for a walk and noticed these beautiful little purple flowers.  I had taken a picture, and tonight I used Google Reverse Image Search to figure out what they were!

I started at the URL shown below, which is the site for Google Images.  Notice the little black camera in the search bar, and when I hovered over it, it says “Search By Image”.

Google Reverse 1

Next, I chose “Upload an image”.  (I had saved the photo to my laptop, so it was easy to upload.)Google Reverse 2

After I uploaded the file and clicked the little “search” magnifying glass, this is what I got:

google reverse 4 flower

“Oh, joy”, I thought – Google just let me know that this thing was – a flower?  Hmmmmphh….I almost thought I had wasted my time, until I scrolled down JUST a few inches and found this:


Aaaah….thanks Google!  Now we’re talking.  Google found “visually similar images” for me, and that 4th one on the top is pretty much an exact match, so I clicked on it.

google reverse 6 periwinkle

How cool is that?  I narrowed it down until I surmised that my little flower was – a periwinkle!

There are lots of times my students and I wonder, “What IS that?” (and…umm…sometimes it might be better if we don’t know…you know how THAT is, right?)  Google Reverse Image Search gives us a fun and cool way to do a little investigating, a little research, a little debating, and a little deducing to find answers to some of our most burning questions!

In doing a little research for this post, I found these other helpful & related resources that you might enjoy:

  • – same as Google Reverse Image Search, seems to be a more direct link & possibly even easier.  You can use this right from your cell phone, too!
  • Reverse image search using your phone or tablet
    1. Use the Chrome app to do a search.
    2. Touch the image you want to search with to open a larger version of the image.
    3. Press and hold the image. In the box that appears, touch Search Google for this image.



I’m sure you can find even more ways to use this and great things to explore with it.  Please share.  I really love to learn from folks who stop by to read my posts, so let me know what you’re thinking!  I’d especially love to hear ways that you’ve used this in school.  Feel free to reply here on my blog, on Twitter @kerszi, or on my Facebook page – Integration Innovation!



Schedule Meetings with Consideration for your Team…with Doodle!

There’s a really cool, simple, and free little web tool called Doodle that you’re just going to love.  It’s like a scheduling agent – but it’s a very thoughtful one!  Doodle lets you poll the people you want to meet with and gives them the gift of choosing the dates & times that work best for them.  I have used this so many times with my various teams, committees, and staff – and I know that they appreciate having a voice in when a meet-up will occur.  I’ve noticed some administrators have begun to try Doodle, too, and I applaud that effort, because educators (and other administrators) REALLY love it when they feel that their time is respected.

It couldn’t be simpler.  You, as the organizer, just list all the potential days and times that you’re willing to meet.  Doodle puts them on a grid and gives you a link that you send to anyone you’d like to invite.   People respond by entering their own names and putting checkmarks next to all of the times that they are available.  You’ll get an email each time someone responds, so you’ll know when all the ‘votes are in’….and boom – majority wins!


Doodle even lets you integrate your calendar, so the final meeting date is inserted for you.  I told you it was easy!


Just for fun, I created a quick little video tutorial (less than 6 minutes is always my rule for ALL tutorials)…Click HERE to see it!  Doodle away, my friends!


Do you have feedback or ideas?  Please share with me here in the comments section of my blog, on Twitter at @kerszi, or I have a Facebook page called Integration Innovation, and I welcome your thoughts there, too!  Thanks for reading!

Make Secret Messages with Snotes, and I’ll GPS you through it with Iorad!

This blog is working double-duty.  I thought about actually posting it twice, just with different titles, because you’re getting 2 tech tools for the price of 1 in this post!  You see, I know about Snotes and have used them often, so I just wanted to write a post in which I share this cool, fun, secret message maker with you.  That was the easy part.  Here’s what a Snote looks like, by the way:


Have you seen them?  If you tilt your screen (phone, tablet…whatever you’re reading this on) so that it’s eye-level and parallel to the floor, you’ll be able to see words take shape.  Those words actually go in 4 directions, so if you continue to rotate that circle, a secret message will appear.  Snotes are just fun!  I’ve made these for everything from BreakoutEDU clues to sappy little love notes for my husband (yes, really!)  Oh, you don’t actually have to pick up and rotate your whole computer screen – the site lets you view them interactively.  As a matter-of-fact, that Snote above does some cool animation stuff, so click HERE to see that particular one in action – it’s pretty awesome!

Normally, I’d use the rest of my blog to show how to use Snotes – y’know, walk you through the steps.

That’s where iorad comes in.  That one is fairly new, and it’s been on my “to learn” list for about two months.  This seemed like a pretty great time to try it out.  Iorad is an EXTREMELY cool step-by-step automatic tutorial maker, and it’s free!  I installed the Chrome extension, and now whenever I want to demo a website, I can click on the icon and it starts recording my every click, scroll, and keystroke.

iorad extension

It then creates a set of GPS-like directions for every single thing that I do.  Iorad doesn’t record my voice or anything like video, it just tracks my inputs.  When I’m done, I just click that extension icon again to stop the “recording” and it gives me a fully editable set of directions!

I do take advantage of that ability to edit.  I find that iorad is very diligent in its tracking, and I don’t need every single scroll or input to actually be relevant to the directions I want to give.  I can type in my own words and customize the specifics.  When I’m done, I am provided with a link that I can send directly to my friends, staff, or blog readers!

Check out this view that the end user sees when they open my link:

iorad screenshot

I love that the end user can choose the “Try” version on the left, which is a more supported tutorial that has the user actually perform all of the steps by entering words, clicking where I clicked, and scrolling or hitting commands EXACTLY as I did when I made the tutorial.  The option on the right is more like the “driving directions” we all used to print out when we used MapQuest – it’s a list-type overview.

If you look really closely in the gray bar at the lower left of that image, you’ll see that it says “Kerszi made this in less than 8 minutes” – and that was with the command editing!

I’d really love it if you try the iorad tutorial I made for Snotes, so you can see exactly how it works on the user end, so here’s the link:  How To Create A Snote

I’m a Technology Integration Specialist.  My entire job involves teaching others to use educational technology tools, so iorad has just become another best friend!  I’m still going to use my good old screencasting tools, of course, but just as we try to differentiate our instructional strategies to reach all student learners, I’m thinking that iorad may be a preferred learning modality for many of the adults and teachers I teach, as well!  Good stuff!

I always LOVE to hear what you think of the tips, tools, & tidbits that I share here, and I also really love when you share ideas for how you would USE the tools.  Please share if you get a chance.  You can reach me on Twitter @kerszi, here at my WordPress blog , or I have a Facebook page called Integration Innovation.

Book Creator Now Available on Computers in the Chrome Browser


Big, big news at the #ISTE17 conference…the famous and beloved Book Creator app has now been made available for computers!  Whoooeeee!  Chromebook users and anyone with the Chrome browser can now have their students enjoy the same brilliant publishing opportunities as we’ve always enjoyed in the app.

So this is my shortest blog post EVER, because I wrote the blog post about the newly-computer-based Book Creator …. using Book Creator!

Here’s the handy-dandy link:

Use Book Creator On Computers

(and Bitmojis…I’m really addicted to Bitmojis lately. Did you get the Bitmoji Chrome extension yet so that you can use them right on your computer?)

AR You Sure You Want a Tattoo?

Okay, this fun little tech tip has absolutely  nothing to do with education at all.  But it’s summertime, and it’s a time when we educators can just play with some of the fun stuff!  This is one of those apps.

Try the free iOS app called InkHunter, and you can try out a bunch of AR (augmented reality) tattoos just to see how they look on you!  Technically, you do still have to get slightly “inked” by drawing what they call a “square smile” on your skin.

“No pain, no pain,” I always say!   This is my kind of tattoo!  All you have to do after that is point the app’s camera at the “square smile” and let the augmented reality do its magic!  

(It is just SO STRANGE that my business card happened to be laying on my forearm while I was playing with InkHunter app!)

 I chose the butterfly tattoo from a large gallery of tattoos they have available.  Once I snapped the photo, I had the option to enlarge or shrink the tattoo image on my iPhone screen.  You can also upload your own tattoo designs, or even design your own text-based tattoo right within the app – like this:

I’m pretty much perpetually in awe of all the AR stuff, and I’m also a huge wimp who is never ever going to get an actual tattoo.  This is just the tech-geek kind of thing that makes me feel like a tough chick for a few minutes.  

I went overboard with the skull, didn’t I?  Okay, I’ll stop now.  But if you end up playing with the InkHunter app, please share your pictures with me!  You can post them to me on Twitter @kerszi , or I have a Facebook page called Innovation Integration where all my blog posts go, and you can post your tats there, too!

Explosion & Eruption 💥

This school year has been extraordinary. Exceptional. Powerfully transformative. I was part of an explosion.  An eruption.  A disruption – and it’s been an absolute thrill to watch it happen!

This was the year technology integration happened in my district.  It REALLY happened!  It was like somebody finally lit a fuse and one thing led to another until we all realized that KABOOM!  Something extraordinary had happened.

First, the kudos for triggering this eruption really go to the administrators who embraced the belief that effective technology integration requires that teachers receive ongoing, sustained support.  The days of “training” are gone and hopefully extinct – replaced by more authentic, differentiated, and varied models of continuous education, coaching, guidance, and support.  This was the year that we let the old ways go dormant.  

Unstoppable Flow

New ground is being built up each day now, largely due to the fact that four Technology Integration Specialists have been hired to change the landscape of tech PD.  It’s my profound honor to be one of them – the privilege of being able to ignite this movement of change is my greatest joy and professional accomplishment!  If your district has not yet realized nor embraced the need for Technology Integration Specialists (aka Tech Coaches), please share this post with them.  Have them call me.  My primary goal in writing this blog post is to hail the impact of the addition of these positions and the intense change it has made in just one year!

Like a lava flow that can’t be stopped, this year has awakened a whole new path of methodologies for successful tech integration.  Teachers now have multiple options about how they can learn. Tons of online resources are being curated.  Digital badges have been created for personalized, anytime, independent learning.  Large group, small group, and individual face-to-face workshops happen continuously, now with subsequent follow-up and support for implementation.  Screencast tutorials, webinars, and video chats are offered as remote-support options.  Through our own modeling, we are teaching teachers and administrators how to easily facilitate flipped learning and blended learning models through the use of simple technology tools.  Teachers “book us” through online calendars – knowing that a highly personalized, individual level of support is only a click away!  Digital newsletters go out with consistency and contain content based on faculty requests and needs.  Push-in demo lessons are profoundly impactful, because while teaching the students, it’s really an authentic modeling lesson for the teacher. We actually had an Edcamp – the entire concept was honestly brand new to my district – but we assembled a team and hosted Edcamp Happy Camper in May…and it was extraordinary!  Teachers finally have CHOICE regarding their tech PD, and voice for sharing exactly what they need.

Molten Change In The Classroom 

We’ve seen seismic change in even the most timid teachers as they become brave and are trying new ways to infuse technology meaningfully.  We use a ‘gradual release of responsibility’ model of support to ease teachers into curricular integration.  Mini-workshops and before– and after–school quick tech tip blasts allow teachers to leave with simple ideas that they can try immediately.  Hallway and faculty room conversations often center around clever & creative ways to adapt tech tools to best meet the needs of varying classes.  Teachers are sharing meaningful integration practices – in school and on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram!  

The best evidence of the magnitude of this activity is happening with our students, who are no longer just using tech for word processing, to play games, or to look up facts, but their teachers are now teaching them to create and collaborate and inspire each other!  This year, the radical change is pervasively visible: peeking in classroom windows in any school will show engaged students accessing and creating and playing and learning and exploring and connecting – all because of this eruption!

My Richter Scale to Gauge Success

I leave you with this – the greatest evidence of this powerful, transformative, epic change in our district’s technology integration.  My fellow Tech Integration Specialist and I just collaborated on this Padlet that showcases just SOME of the eruption with tech in the classrooms in JUST THIS ONE YEAR!  It is illuminating, heartwarming, and inspiring.  Enjoy!