Got Some Initiative with That?


Photo Credit: Nicobobinus via Compfight cc

Today I had the opportunity to work with a whole staff. The first part of our work together was an overview of some of the EdTech Initiatives that our school division has been working on. Check out what was shared below. See what you have in common. Also, are there some pieces that you haven’t thought of? Are there things that we should be looking at as well? This is a brief overview, mind you, but it is always good to read other people’s comments.


Just Like Me – how many of you are similar? different? from each other. This is a great activity to start off a session/workshop with!


Initiatives in PSD


  • Social Media/Networking


Social Networking in Real Life – hilarious video!

Parkland teachers are using Social Media in a variety of ways – communication, collaboration, connecting with other classrooms/experts, resources, sharing, learning, demonstrating….

Citizenship and Social Responsibility standards are part of the reporting process in the school division. Continued work on digital citizenship and literacy will enhance the already existing standards. Staff and students are working with many resources.


  • Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy


Library Learning Commons staff use Destiny Library system for their books, textbooks and other resources. Accessing ebooks, audiobooks, links is also an important part of this process.


  • Library Learning Commons – new library companion software


    • Destiny
    • MackinVIA™ is a library program that makes it easy to access your school’s eBooks and educational databases and it connects with our current Destiny Library System. Teachers can easily create groups that host specific linked resources for a particular topic. You can use MackinVIA on any device that has Internet access. For online and offline access, there is a free MackinVIA app available for download.

Graphic Organizers in Google – Say What?

graphic organizers

As the educational world becomes more blended in the resources, materials, ideas and information that we use in the classroom, so too have Graphic Organizers.

As noted on the Inspiration website, Graphic organizers guide learners’ thinking as they fill in and build upon a visual map or diagram. Graphic organizers are some of the most effective visual learning strategies for students and are applied across the curriculum to enhance learning and understanding of subject matter content. In a variety of formats dependent upon the task, graphic organizers facilitate students’ learning by helping them identify areas of focus within a broad topic, such as a novel or article. Because they help the learner make connections and structure thinking, students often turn to graphic organizers for writing projects.

I find that some teacher’s who are used to having students use a paper version of graphic organizer that is really effective are somewhat hesitant to move towards using that same graphic organizer in an online manner. (And I don’t mean .pdf’ing the original paper version.)

As I work in a GAFE environment, checking out Google drawings is one viable solution. Each drawing can be shared with specific permissions in mind – view only, comment only, or editable. I have scoured and collected a variety of these graphic organizers, all found in a GDrive folder HERE (this is view only, make your own copies). I’ve ensured to give credit to whomever has created the GDrawing.

I hope this inspires you to use digital graphic organizers. Feel free to share some of yours!


Creating an Inventive Learning Environment

Invent to Learn ETCATA

I just returned from an amazing two days of interactions, learning, connecting and collaborating with a few 100 of my colleagues, ETCATA Executive, Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager. It was an amazing experience from the start with Sylvia and Gary (Invent to Learn authors) facilitating and introducing us to a variety of theory, history, practical strategies and hands-on learning.

Invent to Learn obligation

Invent to Learn – Making, Tinkering and Engineering in the Classroom is a three-year old book based on how to use (low to high) technology to make, repair or customize the things we need to use in our daily life. The benefit is that students love creating and talking and teachers will love how easily this fits into current curriculum. The ETCATA Specialist Council brought Sylvia and Gary up to Edmonton for April 4-5 and then on to Calgary for April 7-8. This opportunity provides any ETCATA members to connect with each other, learn from engaging speakers and continue their professional learning.

Invent to Learn

With so much being shared, I created a Storify for the 2 day event HERE. And if you have the physical copy of Invent to Learn, make sure you pair it up with their website!



5×5 Learning: ChromED Responses

Asking questions, polling, surveys, they are all viable and used within the classroom, but how can teachers easily and effectively create these? One specific tool is the Google Form, or GForm. Found within the GAFE environment. It is really a quick way to create and continue a conversation with your students, parents, and community.


Some basics:

GForms for PD, Administrators, Teachers, Students

5 Ways to Use GForms


If you are already using GForms but want to take it up a notch, check out Using GForms and Add-ons within GClassroom shared by Synergyse.

And with some recent updates to GForms, see some other ideas in 9 classroom uses.


Tags: ,

5×5 Learning: Go Fish! Awesome Visual Storytelling

Students and teachers love visuals, they love pictures, so why not combine story creation with some random photos? What fun!


Teachers can easily model this via Five Card Flickr or even print off visuals and have small groups of students choose 5 of them. Or use another source like 2Learn Image Gallery, Discovery Education images, images within LearnAlberta.


So how do you play?

With Five Card Flickr, students are “dealt” five random photos for each draw. Their task is them to select each one to build a set of images, that grouped together, tell a story in pictures. Once this is complete, add a title and brief explanation. If you are online in Five Card Flickr, save the story there!


If you are in the GAFE environment, why not send a group of students to a specific site to grab 5 photos and insert them into a Google Document? Or have them use the Research Tool which also adds the citation from the photos selected. From there you can keep the images in a certain order, title it and type up a brief explanation (I usually say to have one sentence per image). Students can either type, Voice Type or use RW4GC VoiceNote to provide the title and explanation.


Using Adobe Voice iOS app or YouTube Capture app, students can even make a video. See an example below:


Classroom Uses

  • introduce a new topic
  • finalize what has been learned
  • random photos to work on literacy skills
  • a different way to connect with Current Events
  • collaborative storytelling that can then be combined to create class storybooks
  • have each students choose one photo (make sure they are all different), create a sentence and then have them group together as five individuals to see how they could fit their current image and sentence into a story.

Tags: ,

5×5 Learning: No Patridge in this Pear Deck

One of my favorite tools is Pear Deck because it allows a teacher to use any PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or PDF and incorporate different student activities to check for understanding and engagement. Pear Deck is free for students and teachers (freemium) and it fully integrates with Google Apps for Education, especially connecting directly with Google Classroom.


You can sign in/create your Pear Deck account with your GAFE account. Start to create a new interactive lesson by selecting “New Deck” and then create a slideshow from scratch or import a PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or PDF. You can easily go through and edit the slides by adding free response (text), free response (number), and multiple choice questions within the slide.


Introduction to Pear Deck

Check out how you can use it with GClassroom

And Student Takeaways are a phenomenal way to have “notes” stay with them in their GDrive


Tags: ,

5×5 Learning: Give a Hoot w/Kahoot!

This is day two of this week’s 5×5 learning. Another online formative assessment tool that I really like to use in K-12 classrooms is the infectious online tool, Kahoot.

Below Megan shares how to create your own Kahoot questions, however you can also take a look at the thousands of Kahoot Quizzes already created and edit from those ones. It’s quite an exciting assessment tool, very competitive. Each student or a small group of students will need access to a WiFi-connected device in order to participate.

Teachers go to in order to get started. And students will go to (this will be shown on your quiz while students are signing in). I remind staff and students to use their first name when joining the quiz (no need for any silly names or I will delete them from playing).



If you really liked Kahoot, there are other tools that I have spoken about at Effective Classroom Instruction Using Tech: Providing Feedback and Teaching w/Powerful Online Tools


Tags: ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,472 other followers