Sunday, October 19, 2014

ThingLink for Video Adds Interactivity

I'm taking a MOOC through Coursera and UC Irvine called Advanced Instructional Strategies in the Virtual Classroom. This week, we had to turn in an assignment. One of the options for the assignment was to make an introductory video for an online course. I've used several video creation apps and programs before, so I thought it would be easy. But not so fast. The video needed at least one interactive element! That's not something I've done before.

Enter ThingLink for Video, which was one of the recommendations for adding interactivity made by the course instructor. If you are familiar with ThingLink, you know it's a tool for adding clickable icons to graphics. Recently, they've added an option for adding clickable icons to videos.

The only catch is, if you want to try ThingLink for Video, you have to purchase ThingLink premium. A one year subscription for educators is $35. I got a slight discount as a member of the MOOC, so I went for it. Even though I'd never signed up for or used the original ThingLink before. Time to find out what all the fuss is about!

So, here's how I created the video below. It's a mashup recipe, for sure!
  • I used the free AdobeVoice app for iPad to create the original video, then uploaded it to the Adobe Voice website.
  • I used Camtasia Studio on my PC to record the uploaded video while playing it from the AdobeVoice website. Camtasia is not a free program, but there are other screencast recording tools out there that could probably be used. They need to be able to save into a format that can be uploaded to YouTube, though.
  • I saved the Camtasia video in mp4 format and uploaded it to YouTube.
  • I used ThingLink for Video to incorporate interactive elements in the video.
And there you go! ThingLink for Video was very self-explanatory. There aren't too many options on the interactive icons when you insert them, which made it easy for a newbie like me. The thing I had a little difficulty with was adjusting where the links appear and disappear in the video.

There isn't a timeline you can drag the links on to tweak their starts, so you basically have to delete the link and start again if you didn't get the timing just right. Not too cumbersome, but it would be nice if it could just be adjusted on a timeline. Additionally, there are only three options for how long the link displays in the video: short (5 secs), medium (10 secs), and long (15 secs). Perhaps in future versions, the ability to more finely tune link lengths will be added.

All in all, it was easy to use and I think the video does its job. I've embedded the video below. Let me know what you think! Also, please share other tools you've used to make videos interactive. Thanks!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BYOD in Elementary Schools

Image Used With Permission 
Have you implemented BYOD in an elementary school setting? In the U.S., that's grades K-5, or students aged 5-11.

We're about to launch a pilot at one of the K-5 elementary schools in my school district, and I'd like to collect stories of elementary BYOD implementation, links to videos and anecdotes, training materials and ideas - essentially, anything that has to do with BYOD in the elementary classroom.

Our infrastructure is in place, so technical specs are not something I'm looking for. Oh, and of course I'm going to share back what we have and what we come up with. Here's a link to the BYOD info page from my school district. We started BYOD in grades 6-12 last year, so we have policies and such in place.

But elementary school is a different animal! So no matter what state or country you teach or work in, if you have resources to share for implementing BYOD with younger students and their teachers, please take some time to share in the comments below. Write all the details you want there, or post a link to something you already have posted online elsewhere. If possible, please leave your Twitter handle in your comment so others with questions might connect with you.

Let's collect some fabulous resources so we can all learn from one another and improve instruction for all of our students. Thanks in advance for your contributions!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Your Kid's Future Depends On Their Online Behavior Now

Photo by Paul Hocksenar
Used Under a Creative Commons License
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, pastor, educator, or any other adult who has a vested interest in or cares about a child, teen, or young adult, I hope your care extends to what the young people in your life are doing online.

Do you understand how much of their future could be depending on the things they are posting right now on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Vine, or pick-whatever-social-media-tool is popular today? Do they understand it?

Based on what I see kids in my own community posting on Twitter, I think there's a huge lack of understanding out there.

I've read stories and talked about them over and over and over, but I don't think my retelling of such tales has any impact. At least, not as much as the original tales themselves should have.

So, I started collecting the stories, including direct interviews of and original Tweets posted by those who may hold the future opportunities of kids just like the ones you care for in their hands. You'll see many examples relating to athletes, but there are non-athlete examples as well.

Maybe seeing these stories will convince you as a caring adult to not bury your head in the sand and ignore the online behavior of the kids your care about. Or maybe showing these original examples to the kids you care about will help you educate them and get their attention. I don't know. But having this resource can't hurt.

I am using an online tool called Storify to curate these stories, and I will continue adding to the list. So feel free to bookmark or favorite or pin this post and revisit it on occasion.

And please, do more than just save it to your list of resources. Use the information here to educate yourself and others that the online actions of immature young people can slam shut doors of future opportunity for them. Use the information to convince yourself that you aren't being nosy or intrusive or overbearing when you take an interest in what the kids in your life are doing online and offer them advice and guidance. If you're an educator, come up with ways to integrate this topic into your classroom, even if it's just an occasional informal discussion. If you're a parent, use it as a reason to set clear expectations for online behavior early on with your tweens.

Here's hoping for a bright future for all of the kids we love and care for...

 All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Still MOOCing Along...

Image Source
Used Under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND License
Week 4 of the Foundations of Virtual Instruction MOOC I started on June 30th is wrapping up today. By this time next week, I will hopefully have successfully completed my first MOOC.

Overall, it's been an interesting experience. Because I've completed an online masters degree, read extensively on virtual learning, taken an online course in facilitating virtual PD courses, and even helped design and facilitate a few online staff development courses in my school district, much of the content covered has been somewhat familiar to me. The upside of this has been my ability to focus more on the experience than the content in the course.

Quick Updates

In case you read my post on starting this MOOC, or if you decide to go back and read it, I'll update a few of my early observations:

  • The 2 to 4 hours per week of work was a pretty accurate estimate. I've spent that much time on the content most weeks. Closer to 2 hours than 4.
  • After a couple of weeks in the course and success on the quizzes, I decided to go ahead and pay for the Coursera Signature Track option, which will allow me to earn a verified certificate.  I'll put this on my CV/resume at some point and we will see if this makes any difference in future employment endeavors I might pursue.
  • In my last post, I estimated there were about 200 people in the course based on activity in the discussion forums. Boy, was I off on that estimate! At the end of our first week in the class, the instructor sent us an update letting us know that there were over 12,000 people enrolled in the course!

New Observations and Thoughts

I'm really glad this hasn't been a full-blown college course. I had to say goodbye to a very precious pet during the second week of the course and have also been fighting allergies or something for the past week, so my enthusiasm for learning hasn't been what it normally is.

Although I've spoken to others who've taken MOOCs that they felt were the equivalent to college courses, I think this course is a pared down version. There is a ton of material in the lectures each week, but the assignments have not been super challenging. Multiple choice quizzes that make sure we are understanding the content which are between 8 and 10 questions each week plus one assignment where we had to turn in a lesson plan and then assess three of our peers plans have not been too demanding. And in the end, if things did become too overwhelming, I could have quit. No GPA to worry about. No harm, no foul. The no GPA part is good, because the final exam coming this week might be a challenge, given that I haven't been as focused a student as usual (see previous paragraph).

I do need to make an A in the course though if I want to keep open the option of doing an 11 week practicum with UC Irvine after finishing three more Coursera courses. Fingers crossed!

Discussion Boards Weren't So Bad

Public Domain Image
In my previous post I mentioned that the discussion boards were going to be a challenge, and that I would have to be ok with participating in conversations while missing a whole lot of others at the same time. Well, the discussion boards did become the most interesting part of the course for me, but not in the way that I thought they would. I found myself hardly participating on the boards that were tied to the course content (these were encouraged but not required) and focusing a lot more on tangent topics/conversations started by my fellow students. I've been involved in threads on iPads in the Classroom, a thread that cropped up discussing the usefulness of the legal content presented this past week, and my favorite thread which has been actively discussing the quality of assignments we peer assessed this week.

I was especially interested/distressed to find out that even in MOOCs, people try to cheat! Reports of lesson plans copied entirely from other locations on the Internet (not even in a format that met the rubric) were posted on the discussion board. There is a way to report these in Coursera. I should not be shocked, but I was. I am always disheartened by cheating. Especially from people involved in education!

Reports of cheating aside, I've really enjoyed making connections and hearing the perspectives of people from K-12 to higher ed and from California to New Zealand to Malta. It has been a refreshing reminder of the very large world we live in, how connected it can be thanks to today's technology, and of the similar challenges that face education and educators everywhere.

As I write this, I'm in sixth place in discussion board participation. That's with just 52 posts on my part, which tells you how active the boards are (or aren't) even with 12,000 people enrolled in the course. 

One More Week...

Week 5, the final week of this course, starts tomorrow. After I survive the final exam and finish out the course, I'll be sure to share my final thoughts. Including whether or not I'll go on to the next course in the four course sequence. 

Any other MOOCers out there? I'd love for you to share your impressions/thoughts/experiences in the comments, including links back to your own reflective blog posts. :-)

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day USA!!

Public Domain
I have never been shy about my pride in being a citizen of The United States of America. Our country is certainly not perfect, but it is structured in such a way that we can all work together, even when our views differ, to come closer and closer to being a nation that truly does provide liberty and justice for all.

We would not be a nation today had it not been for a small group of men coming together in 1776 for the purpose of declaring independence. Most of us in the US can recite these famous words of The Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

But have you ever read the entire Declaration? I fear for most of us, that answer is "No." Or we read it so very long ago in school that we don't even remember. There is a sadness, I think, in being unfamiliar with the document that was responsible for launching the founding of our country.

So, I encourage you and your family and friends, and especially any children who are with you today, to take 15 minutes out of your festivities and watch the video below. Morgan Freeman's introduction to a dramatic reading of the Declaration is nearly as moving as the words of the document itself.

Make an effort. I think you'll be glad you did. Happy Independence Day!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

So I'm Taking a MOOC...

Image Used With Permission
Under a Creative Commons License

Late last week I was innocently checking my Twitter feed, and I saw an announcement for a MOOC called Foundations of Virtual Instruction.  I clicked to investigate, and I was immediately intrigued for several reasons.

  • The course is aimed at learning about K-12 online instruction, which I'm interested in knowing more about.
  • The course is offered through Coursera, a known online learning platform which I have heard and read good things about.
  • The course is offered by an existing higher education institution, the University of California at Irvine.
  • The course lasts five weeks and requires two to four hours of work per week. Perfect for summer learning, especially since I work through the summer.
  • The course is taught by an instructor who has experience in teaching online in K-12. (You can watch the video on the course info page to learn more about her.)
  • I can take the course for FREE, but for a small fee I can also earn a verified certificate that proves I have completed the coursework. (More about this below.)

So, I found out about this course late last week and made the decision to jump in and sign up a couple of days before the course started on June 30th.

My Experience So Far
Public Domain Image

I will sum up my experience so far with the sophisticated phrase: "It's been really cool!"

Here is what I have liked:
  • The course syllabus clearly communicates what is expected and how the course grade will be calculated.
  • The video lectures are professionally created and presented in short chunks and are interactive! During the videos, pauses are built in which ask you to type in a short answer or to answer a multiple choice question based on what you are learning. I don't know if data is kept on these questions, but they are excellent for giving the learner an opportunity to reflect on what they are learning.
  • I have the option to earn a verified certificate for a small fee. I signed up for the verified certificate trial so I could evaluate the quality of the course and my likelihood of completing it (I've started a couple of MOOCs in the past and not made it through...) before paying any money. 
  • They are serious about the verification thing! I had to take a headshot of myself with my webcam and input a typing sample that would identify me by my unique typing pattern prior to taking the first quiz! Apparently, I will have to do this each time I take or turn in any assignment in the course that is graded. This is more verification than I had to do for the online master's degree I completed four years ago!
  • This course is the first in a set of courses that build upon each other. If I complete all four courses and earn verified certificates for each of them plus complete a capstone project, I can earn a Specialization Certificate from UC Irvine and Coursera. Coursera and its partner organizations currently offer 10 different specializations. It's not the same as college credit, but it is cost effective and shows your current or prospective employer that you are serious about continuously educating yourself.
  • Based on the activity in the discussion forums, there are over 200 people in this course, and they are literally from all over the world! It's fascinating to see all of these people, in some cases to get a piece of their story, and along the way learn from their insights.

The one big challenge for me...

  • Did I mention over 200 people? It may be many, many more than that; there is no official listing of the members of the course that I have found. The discussion boards became overwhelming to me within the first two days. People posting literally all the time from time zones around the world. The discussion boards are not required as far as the grade for the course goes, but they are highly encouraged in order for participants to engage more with the material. I want to engage with others, because I'm that kind of learner. I'm going to have to make peace with the fact that I can't read everyone's contributions, and much like I do on Twitter, I will just catch and interact with a few. I have managed to have more interaction on the "unofficial" open discussion boards which are not based on course content. So hopefully that will continue to be a place for connection.

So far, so good! The positives are definitely outweighing the challenges four days in to the course. Based on my experience thus far, I think Summer 2014 might see me complete my first MOOC. I will keep you posted!

Have you had any experiences with MOOCs? If so, I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below. :-)

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Digital Citizenship Chat Preview for June 11, 2014

Image Source
Hello everyone! Tonight it's my turn to moderate Digcit Chat, and since the questions require some reflection back on the current school year and looking ahead to the next one, I thought I'd give a preview of the questions. So, if you have time, check them out and get your wheels turning, then join us at 7:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM CT / 5 PM MT / 4 PM PT for an hour of chatting!

Here are the questions for tonight:

  • Q1: What was your biggest win or success regarding #digcit and your Ss and/or fellow Ts this past school year?
  • Q2: What was your biggest challenge regarding #digcit and your Ss and/or fellow Ts this past school year?
  • Q3: What is something you will definitely do again or continue doing regarding #digcit next school year?
  • Q4: What is something new you’d like to try or something you’d like to do differently regarding  #digcit next school year?
  • Q5: How can you continue to promote #digcit among Ss and Ts during the summer?
  • Q6: What topics would you like to see discussed in #digcit chat next school year?

If you've never participated in a Twitter chat before, #digcit is a great chat to start with, as it usually has a manageable number of chatters. A Beginner's Guide to Twitter Chats will give you a nice overview of what to expect.

Basically, get on Twitter a couple of minutes before the chat starts, search for the #digcit hashtag, and then respond to the Tweets you see with that tag for the next hour! Another tool you might want to try is TweetChat, a website which makes it easy to focus just on the Tweets from the chat you are participating in.

Hope to see many faces old and new in tonight's chat!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Short Videos for Memorial Day

Photo by Graham Lampa
Used under a Creative Commons License
For the first time I can remember, my school district will be in session on Memorial Day this year. We have to make up for a day of school lost to ice earlier in the semester.

I'm not in the classroom now, but I've been thinking, if I were, how could I make the most of this opportunity? I know I would want to focus on the true purpose of the day, to honor and remember men and women who have died serving in the United States military.

Here are a few short videos I've collected which might serve as discussion starters or writing prompts in a classroom. One of them, I'm proud to say, is created by my school district, and will be shown to students who are in class tomorrow. Even if you aren't in class on Memorial Day itself, perhaps you can work in some time this week to have your students reflect on the real cost of the freedom they are blessed to enjoy every day.

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Leadership for the Digital Age with Alan November - Day 3

Tuesday, May 20th, was the third and final day of TASA's Leadership for the Digital Age with Alan November. This academy has truly been a privilege to be part of and a growth experience for me. November made me think deeply about what I already know and consider it from multiple angles. And the other districts which participated shared amazing ideas. I am full of things I want to do and try to further improve educational practice among the already wonderful educators I know.

The highlight of my day - Alan November sat at the table my boss and I were sitting at for lunch! So I was able to participate in a bonus conversation, face-to-face with a thoughtful, encouraging educational leader whose work I have followed for nearly 15 years.

There was much more Tweeting on this day of the academy than there had been on the first two days, so instead of taking notes on my own, I decided to curate the Tweets from the day. 

Just over 100 Tweets made it into my curation. I hope I caught them all! There are wonderful thoughts and resource links included throughout. You can view them in a slide-show format below, or view the original Storify in a vertical, multi-page format.

You may also be interested in my notes from the first two days of the academy.

  • For my notes on Day 1 of this academy from January 15, 2014, click here.
  • For my notes on Day 2 of this academy from April 8, 2014, click here.

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Connecting Teaching, Learning, & Leadership

Notes from an Webinar 4/28/14
Dr. Joe Mazza
Director of Connected Teaching, Learning & Leadership
North Penn School District

Dr. Mazza just took on his position in December. He is a project manager, promoting connected teaching, learning, & leadership.

He is trying to bring Admin, Educators, Parents, Students, Community, & School Board together in a transparent way. Eighteen schools and 13,000+ students.

Dr. Mazza showed us this video to give an idea of what connected educators can do with Twitter:

Twitter in D123 from OLHD123 on Vimeo.

What does it mean to "be connected?"

  • You have taken control of your own learning
  • You have made the decision to be a public learner, swimming through social media waters using tools like Twitter, Google+, Linked In, blogs, etc.
  • You understand & embrace the fact you are role-modeling for kids with every post, tweet, blog, and digital footprint you make.
  • You try to contribute as much as you take from your Personal Learning Network (PLN)
  • You are committed to paying it forward with your connectivity, being a resource for others, and building capacity with your own learning community.
Dr. Mazza was the Lead Learner at Knapp Elementary School. (He got rid of the word principal so kids would understand better that we never stop learning!) 

5 Keys to Connected Teaching, Learning, & Leadership
  • Transparency as a cultural norm
  • Leadership that encourages innovation, edu-risk-taking, and finds ways to say "yes."
  • Evolution of policies around connectivity for all.
  • Collaborative transparency across stakeholders
  • Curation, anytime-anywhere learning opportunities, infusion of PLN-like culture of sharing among organization
  • Offline AND Online - Offline culture will be AMPLIFIED online. Develop core beliefs everyone can agree on for communication.
  • GLASS WALLS > Brick & mortar. Share your story.
  • Tweeting minutes, notes, inservice learning events with follow-up posts.
  • "The smartest person in the room IS THE ROOM." At the end of the day, it's about all the different perspectives you gain for the best interest of the kids.


  • Embracing "Lead Learner" mentality.
  • Finding ways to "say yes" to stakeholders.
  • Role modeling edu-risks, global collaboration, hashtag participation.
  • Blurring lines between local and global PLN
    • Ex: Use PLN to connect with classes all over the world for mystery Skype, etc
  • Built to protect organization or encourage innovation on the part of all stakeholders?
  • Who has a consistent seat at the policy table?
  • Seeing through the lens of students, teachers, parents, leaders. How much time does edtech leadership spend gaining perspective?
  • Student voice as a key to meeting their evolving needs.

Collaborative Transparency
  • Some 2-way communications tools: TodaysMeet, Google Aps, Evernote, Google+, Facebook, PollEverywhere, Livestreaming, Blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram
  • Newest collaboration tool for Joe - Voxer
    • Voxer a tool that allows you to send audio messages, text messages, and pictures.
    • Joe demoed Voxer with educational leader friends of his. They spoke to him through his phone. It's like a walkie-talkie across the Internet!
    • He learned about Voxer from students, now uses it personally!
Anytime, Anywhere Learning for All
  • Recognizing organizational hashtags, chats for "credit"
  • Flipped faculty meetings, learning opportunities for students, staff, & community
  • School/District EdCamps & ParentCamps - go to to learn more!
  • Online Courses (e.g. Twitter 101 for Parents & Educators) 
  • Ideas: PD in the car, to start PLC/Leadership Meetings, PTA/PTO/HSA Mtgs
  • #PTchat Radio, #EdTechChat Radio, and more!
  • NP-EDcast - Joe captures the great things going on in his school district.
Project Manager for Connected Teaching, Learning & Leadership
  • Full job descriptions at
  • Dot connector
  • Capacity-builder
  • Hand-holder
  • Innovation coach
  • #nped - North Penn School District, Sharing Our Learning 24/7/365
K-12 Lead Learner Role
  • Tweet, RT, Favorite, #FF
  • Blog, podcast, vide
  • Community forums
  • Offer staff dev, webinars, eCourses, Un-conferences
  • Curation of teaching, learning, & ledership resources
  • Inform, Communicate, Solicit feedback, celebrate successes
  • Light "innovation fires"

Every Educator an Innovator - A blog post Joe has coming out soon at Edutopia
  • Maximize Today - Be More Effective & Efficient Tomorrow

Questions from the Audience:
  • How do you deal with pushback? - Pushback happens for a reason. See it as a part of the process and work through the reluctance.
  • Wondering about safety? Tools to ensure only student and parent access? - In Joe's district, they work for transparency. But they do not send out student names on social media. They do get parent permission to share student photos and work on media and are strict to respect what parents want.
  • Curation for professional learning - One of Joe's schools uses Storify to collect all of the Tweets sent out with their hashtag and then sends it to families once a week. For families without connectivity, they print it out and send it home. So no one is left out. Meet families where they are.
  • Curation for professional learning - also uses and sets it up to search for key terms related to school/district goals. This creates an overview for teachers to look at when they have time.

Final thought from Joe: Don't wait to have conversations in your schools and districts about these topics until the summer or September - start having them now!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Finding Content for Reteaching, Blending, and Flipping

Online content means you can learn anywhere, with anyone!
Photo by familymwr used under a creative commons license
Recently I had a wonderful conversation with my district's high school educational technologist, Kristin Thompson, about apps and online tools that could be used for formative assessment and reteaching of concepts. We talked about using a tool like Socrative or InfuseLearning to get a quick feel for where students are in their learning, and then apps like Explain Everything, Educreations, or ShowMe which teachers can use to create video tutorials based on learning needs.

In the hopes that at some point we might get to provide some professional development on this topic, I added that we should expose teachers to methods for finding those video tutorials without having to create them all themselves.

First, don't forget that some of the best experts on your content reside in your own classroom. Whenever possible, I believe students should be given opportunities to teach what they know to their peers. Any educator knows that deep learning of content really happens when you have to break it apart and teach it to others. Creation of video tutorials as summative assessments for students can easily serve two purposes:

  • Students can demonstrate that they really do understand the content.
  • The videos created can become part of a library that can be used for teaching, reteaching, and review - even in future school years if appropriate. With collaboration between teachers, a library could be built by students and teachers from multiple classrooms and schools.

Second, don't forget there are a lot of learning resources and tutorials already out there. Teachers do not always have to create all of the content they need themselves. We started brainstorming a list of places that teachers can find content for re-teaching, and I realized these resources would also be valuable for anyone practicing blended or flipped learning. Here's the list we came up with in a short time of brainstorming:
  • Discovery Education - If your school or district subscribes to Discovery Education for online video, you have a fabulous library of resources at your fingertips! You can now search for content that has been aligned to state standards.
  • Texas Education on iTunesU - Kid2Kid videos and other resources. Other states and numerous universities and school districts also have iTunesU channels you can explore.
  • – Standards search available right on the home page for math and science resources
  • Club Academia – student created tutorials
  • Khan Academy
  • SchoolTube - You can search SchoolTube for existing content, or create a channel of your own to upload original educational material. One of the high schools in the district where I work has a channel with some great math and foreign language videos.
  • YouTube – Bookmark reputable/high quality learning channels (like the Amoeba Sisters) when you find them rather than just doing general searches all the time.
  • ShowMe -  Existing tutorials created using the ShowMe app
  • Educreations - Existing  tutorials created using the Educreations app (which is FREE for iOS!)

These were ideas we came up with in a fairly brief brainstorming session. I know there are numerous high quality content repositories out there that could be added to this list. YOU are the expert on this! I invite you to share your high quality resources in the comments so we can all learn together.

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Notes from Leadership for the Digital Age with Alan November - Day 2

Notes from day 2 of  TASA's Leadership for the Digital Age with Alan November. For my notes on Day 1 of this academy, which took place January 15, 2014, click here.

Notes from the Discussion

We no longer have to go to school if we want to learn.

edX - MOOC site, courses are all free, people who teach the courses are from Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, University of Texas, etc. (Click here to see all of them.)

Coursera is another option for higher ed MOOCS.

November's son is taking courses through edX and will get an associate's degree from Harvard. Student needs 32 credits from another university, and 32 credits from Harvard. More info on Harvard online degree programs and certificates.

Students can graduate from high school with dual credit then get the rest of their college experience entirely online.

Swivl - Apparatus that lets you use an iPad to video record a lecture or presentation. Moves the camera to follow presenter around the room. (Use for teachers and students! Imagine sharing student presentations to the world!)

High school library prediction - Librarians will become resources to help students find online courses. Part of function of library will be to become an online learning center.

Close to 10% of students got into MIT by excelling in a MOOC. Did not go through traditional admissions process as we know it. For example, this young man from Mongolia.

Are we going to prevent, ignore, or encourage students getting college credit for nothing?

We should be advertising these opportunities to students!

Number one skill for being successful in learning: the ability to self-assess
Number one skill for being successful in teaching: ability to give quality feedback on student work.

When focusing on 1:1, iPads, etc: Focus on teaching teachers to give better feedback and students to self-assess instead of the technology. A participant in the room shared about an 8th grade Engilsh teacher using Google docs and going paperless - students walk in and go immediately to their Chromebooks because they want to see the feedback the teacher has given them. Now it is spreading because of the quality of teacher feedback.

Districts Sharing Ideas

Be positive with feedback! What you can say:
  • I like that because...
  • Have you thought about...
  • I have a resource for you...
Distict #1: Principal of an elementary school shared that as part of their 1:1 initiative, they want to create a bank of lessons created by students based on which Alan shared last time.
Speaking of, the 17 year old creator of wants to give away her shell to any school that wants to use it, and then will link all of the shells together to make a global network of student lessons. 
Good apps for creating tutorials: Explain Everything, Screen Chomp, Educreations
District #2:  Revisiting their BYOD initiative. They brought in a panel of students to ask about their experience with BYOD. They videoed the students responses so they can use it in further PD with their administrators and teachers. Some students did not know that they were allowed to bring devices even three years after the initiative began. In other places it's off and running. It was found they were using it more at the middle schools than at the high schools.
Lessons learned from above district: Don't jump in to quickly. Pick teachers who are already strong in their content. If you push teachers to do things before they are ready, it can be detrimental to them and their students. Also, realize teachers who have been successful in the current system, with high test scores, etc, may be more resistant.
District #3: Next Generation Digital Classroom - moving away from laptops and desktops. Have narrowed down to four vendors to try iPads, Android tablets, Windows 8 tablets, Chromebooks. Teachers are applying to be the one teacher per school who pilots the devices at their campus, plus 8 librarians across the district. Goals based on Project Red and SAMR. Pilot will be evaluated for what tech works and doesn't, learning environment/classroom space to incorporate best instructional practice, and PD needs, all of which will be approached from an action research standpoint. Teachers will write their own questions and goals that they want to meet each fall and spring. They will complete video showcases at the end of each year to use as a resource for curating best practices through the project and informing future steps across the district.
  • November suggests Stratosphere which talks about how to evaluate technology projects.
District #4: Instituting a technology apps elective for middle school students next year. (Have only had fine arts electives up to this point.) In individual classrooms, teachers are working with students who are ahead of the rest of the class to create a library of tutorials for other students. In library they are using stop motion technology to develop stories. Doing cross-curricular projects with students in other grades. Also starting a middle school coding class.

  • Another participant suggested which has a middle school coding curriculum
  • November suggested Scratch; you can start with other kids' created programs and tweak them instead of starting from scratch (ha ha no pun intended!)
  • November's podcast of an interview with Dr. Mitch Resnik, creator of Scratch.
District #5: Kindergarten teachers started class Twitter accounts! Here is Mrs. Cook's Twitter. They follow other Kinder classes and have connected with a class in Korea.

More Discussion Notes

November suggests no more technology workshops. Integrate the technology into core content PD. Also tell teachers principal will show up 30, 60, and 90 days after PD to look for specific strategies that were communicated in the workshop. Example: Working toward self assessment of math. Are teachers using Wolfram Alpha, Khan Academy, Think Through Math, etc when principal observes. Then assess if the staff development paid off based on student achievement data. Workshop needs measurable goals, follow-up, and results based on data.  The key is the principal holding teachers accountable.

Often, the technology coordinator/director is reporting to the WRONG person. Org charts need to change.

November advises superintendents to have a student advisory panel that they meet with them once a month. Ask them things like:

  • What's the best thing technology has done for your learning?
  • Is there anything you've learned with technology that you could have done without technology?
  • What are you doing outside of school on your own that helps you learn?
Are we showing kids how to do really good searching? Ask them to find an image representing American History. They will get this. But with a tweak, we can show them how to get this or this.

Key to getting workshops/PD to have effect in classroom: Have the workshop presenter/leader come and teach an actual class with actual students. All teachers watch the workshop leader run the class. Important for modeling classroom management. Make sure to debrief afterwards. (Can also use Swivl or something like it to record and archive master teachers.)

Here's an idea to empower kids: Let them lead workshops for their peers. For example, an after-school club for using Minecraft to create virtual environments. Check out this Egyptian Pyramid! (NOTE: Teacher does not need to know how to use Minecraft to let kids use it for producing a project.)

November says if he could teach teachers ONE thing, it would be how to be life-long learners with today's tools. Twitter is his favorite tool for professional learning. Every teacher should be following teachers who are sharing what they are doing. Then, if you are lucky, all of your teachers will have a blog. Use every bit of social media that you can. Pinterest. Instagram. Diigo.

November makes his doctoral students join Diigo and participate in a Diigo group he created for them. Now he can see what they are researching and reading and the students can see what each other is reading and they can converse about it. Can set it to email you when people add bookmarks. (Great way to build community among faculty.) Here is November's Diigo library. (And here is mine. I LOVE Diigo!)
Leaders should be creating community using tools like Diigo groups!
PD Tip - Start with something teachers love to teach instead of a tool the presenter thinks is cool. Example: Tweak one of their favorite lessons. Hint: Look for hashtags that will help them get more info for the assignment. You can teach people the mechanics of a tool, but you also need to help them make connections to their curriculum. Give it context. Start with the question: "What's your favorite assignment? Let's redo it."

Principals need to make heroes out of their teachers. Start a podcast where you interview them and get them to tell their stories!

Homework Before Day 3 in May

The First Five Days - What would you do in the first five days of school to teach kids how to learn to learn?

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Equality and Equity in Education

Original Source Unknown.
Please let me know if  you know the original source!

Update 8/5/16 - Discovered the original graphic source
 is Dr. Craig Froehle when this random post
popped up in my Facebook feed!
Earlier this month, I participated on a panel about BYOD Equity at SXSWedu. In the weeks leading up to the panel, the graphic to the right came across my radar. I thought it was an excellent visual of the difference between equality and equity. I used it when introducing our SXSWedu panel, and it seemed to resonate with others as well, as it was photographed and Tweeted during the presentation several times.

Last Thursday while I was in a breakout session during our Spring TEC-SIG meeting, session presenter Wendy Jones referenced this graphic as she discussed teacher professional development and access to technology. Wendy had seen it when attending the aforementioned panel at SXSWedu.

After Wendy mentioned the graphic in the TEC-SIG session, other attendees requested that I Tweet it out. I did so, and after being re-tweeted by a couple of folks, it has gone viral and still continues to be passed around via Twitter. Check out the number of re-tweets and favorites on the Tweet below!

Why has this graphic resonated with people? I think it's because it captures in a simple picture concepts that are difficult to communicate with words: Equality connotes treating everyone the exact same way regardless of need while equity references providing each individual with the resources they need to operate in as level a playing field as possible.

By providing all of the kids in the picture with the same box, in other words, treating them equally, we give the tallest student help he does not need, the middle student exactly what he needs, and the shortest student gets closer to the goal but still does not have his needs entirely met. If we look at each student as an individual through the lens of equity, we see in this case our tallest student does not need extra support, we are meeting our middle student's needs, and we need to give an extra boost to our shortest kid. Suddenly, everyone is successful.

Equality and equity are not the same thing; a focus on equity will probably achieve the ultimate purpose of equalizing the playing field in education. When we say we want all students and educators to be successful and have equal opportunities, equity is probably where we need to focus.

Are You Planning for Equality or Equity?

As I have contemplated the resonance of this graphic over the past few weeks, I've begun to think about how we approach decision making in education, especially when it comes to large-scale endeavors. And I've begun wondering about areas where we usually talk equality but instead might do better to talk about equity. Here is what I have come up with so far:

  • Replacing technology for teachers: Does everyone need the exact same (equal) setup? Or do different teachers/grade levels/subjects need different types of technology (equitable)  to meet their learning goals? (Thanks Wendy Jones for planting this one in my head!)
  • Replacing technology for students or offering it for the first time: If you are moving into or moving on with 1:1 deployments for students, are you providing the exact same device for all students K-12 (equal) or have you taken into account their unique needs based on their developmental stages and the learning they need to accomplish (equity)?
  • Professional development: Is every teacher going to be expected to complete the exact same sessions (equal) or are you providing multiple tracks or choice based on their individual development needs (equity)?
  • Planning new buildings: Are you building your next elementary/middle/high school campus on the exact same template that has been used for other campuses on your district (keeping it "fair" and "equal") or are you looking at the latest research on best practices for learning spaces and planning accordingly? Consider that you could at some point retrofit existing campuses to aim for equity.
  • Course offerings and graduation plans for students: Do we need to provide the same course plans for every student in order to prepare them for college (equality) or should we be providing multiple, flexible options to prepare them for what they are interested in after high school (equity)?

I know I am missing some important topics regarding equality and equity. What are your thoughts on these concepts in education? What other areas do we need to contemplate through the lens of equity? I hope you will share your thoughts in the comments so we can continue to learn together.

 All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

BYOD Equity Panel at #SXSWedu 2014

On March 5, 2014, I was privileged to moderate and participate on a panel on Bridging the Digital Divide with BYOD Equity at the SXSWedu conference in Austin, Texas.

The panelists were a true joy to plan and present with. I highly suggest you follow each of them on Twitter to learn more about best practices in educational technology. My fellow panelists were:

  • Jessica Herring, 7th Grade English teacher and practitioner of BYOD in the classroom at Benton Middle School outside of Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Dr. Tim Clark, Coordinator of Instructional Technology for Forsyth County Schools in Georgia. Forsyth County Schools was an early trailblazer in BYOD initiatives and is looked to nationwide as a resource for how to implement BYOD and implement it well.
  • Dr. Michael Mills, Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning at the University of Central Arkansas. Michael keeps his hand in K-12 education by partnering with schools and teachers on BYOD integration projects. He also conceived of this panel and brought us all together to participate on it, for which I am truly thankful.

What I loved about this panel is it stretched the conversation about BYOD Equity beyond just devices. Of course access to devices is important when we are asking families to send technology to school with their children, but there are so many more equity issues involved. Some of the topics our panel touched on were:

  • Internet access outside of school
  • Support for and understanding of BYOD from school and district administrators
  • Acceptance and sound implementation of BYOD by classroom teachers
  • Ongoing, robust professional development for teachers
  • Clear communication with families of students
  • Support from the greater community in which the school or district operates

Here is an audio recording of the panel:

I am thankful that my Central Texas edtech colleague Diana Benner attended our panel and posted notes she took during the discussion to her blog

As I looked through Tweets later on the day of the session, this one really stood out because it was such a high compliment and made me realize it wasn't just my biased perception that the panel had gone well:

I also used Storify to try collect Tweets which used our #BYODequity hashtag during the panel. Below is a slideshow of the Tweets I collected.

This conversation was just a beginning. I hope all of the documentation of the session which I am posting here can serve as a starting-place for more detailed conversations which lead to solutions for getting powerful learning technologies into the hands of students.

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tips for Education Conference Presenters

Photo from Flikr User MattHurst Used Under a Creative Commons License
My favorite part of attending conferences like SXSWedu, TCEA, Tech Forum, or iPadpalooza is getting to learn from education colleagues and share my own learning with them in formal and informal spaces. Having just attended two conferences within the space of a month and done a solo presentation at one of them, I have a few tips fresh on my mind that might help anyone who plans to present at a conference or professional development event. These tips are based on a mixture of my experiences as a presenter and as an audience member. I think these tips will benefit first-time and experienced presenters.

Presentation Tips

  1. Create digital resources and post them online so your audience can refer to them during your presentation and refer back to them after the event.  If you are creating a slide deck or other digital resource to use during your presentation, make it available to your audience at the start of your time with them. This will help them know how many notes they need to take and where they can go back to to reference your information after the event is over. Some of my favorite tools for this are Google Presentations, SlideShare, LiveBinders, and Prezi.
  2. Make it easy for your audience to access your digital resources. Go to a website like where you can make a shortened link and a QR code for your resources. The shortened link helps tremendously, especially with anything hosted online that has an ugly long URL. A QR code is easily scanned by the numerous folks using their smartphones or tablet devices. Be sure to use both a QR code and short link if possible to accommodate all of your participants. If you can use only one, the shortened link will suffice for everyone.
  3. Create a hashtag for your session so attendees can create buzz by Tweeting about it! This will help you in numerous ways. You can go back and search for the hashtag later to see what stood out to your audience based on what they shared. You can also invite participants to ask questions of you using the hashtag and get back to them later via Twitter if you run out of time during the session. You can also use Storify to curate the Tweets from your session after it is over; having a unique hashtag to search by will make your curation much easier.
  4. Make any QR codes you use REALLY BIG on the screen. Don't be afraid to make it as big as possible. You likely won't know the size of the room you are presenting in until just before your presentation. Nothing can slow down the momentum of a presentation like everyone having to walk up to the screen to scan a QR code because they are sitting too far away. Although I like for creating shortened URLs, the QR codes it makes are very small and they get blurry when I resize them to make them larger. I recently discovered QRCode Monkey, which lets you choose the size of the QR code you are creating. I choose "Bumber sticker" size (their misspelling, not mine!) and that usually allows me to fill the screen.
  5. Display the shortened URL for your digital resources and/or the Twitter hashtag on every screen in your presentation if possible. This will allow participants who come in late to easily access your resources and catch up. It also acts as a support for anyone who might get lost during the presentation by accidentally closing out of a tab in their web browser or because their device malfunctions. I have not used this technique myself in the past, but saw it in use at SXSWedu and thought it was a great idea! I will definitely incorporate it in the future.

What Are Your Ideas or Questions?

Those are the ideas that rise to the top for me right now. How about you? If you've presented at education conferences or attended presentations, what tips would you share or suggest? Or what questions have been stirred after reading the suggestions above? I hope you'll share ideas and questions in the comments section below, so we can continue to learn together!

 All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Lesson in Technology History

Photo used under a Creative Commons License 
The rotary phone came along several years before my arrival on the planet, but it is still the first type of phone I remember using as a child.

What's the first type of phone you learned to use? How about your children or students?

The first of the two videos below came to my attention via @jbergland, and the second via @KimKomando. They found me a few weeks apart, but the second video immediately made me recall the first one.

The evolution of the technology over 60 years is awe inspiring to me. I'm struck by the fact that folks in 1954 needed the first video to learn about a new technology, and just two or three generations later, kids in the second video could benefit from the first one to learn about an antiquated technology.

Wow. Just wow.

Relax for a few minutes and contemplate the progress that occurred in the 60 years between the making of these two videos.

How could you use these videos, or videos on another type of technology, to spur your students' interest in history and/or scientific achievement?

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Got Twitter? Make it Better! #TCEA14

At the 2014 TCEA Convention and Exposition, I presented a concurrent session called Got Twitter? Make it Better! I have presented several workshops over the past few years which introduce folks to using Twitter for professional learning, but have also wanted to share other tips and tools that have made my use of Twitter more productive. So I was excited to get to do just that this year!

Here is a quick summary of what I shared. I assume folks reading this already know the basics of using Twitter and how to follow, Tweet, and Retweet. If you aren't comfortable with the basics, you should start with my Twitter for Professional Learning resources before delving into the info presented here.

Below this list, you will find a link to the LiveBinder I used to collect the information and resources for this presentation. One caveat: Don't try all of these tools at one time! I've listed them in the order I think they will be of most benefit. Try them one at a time for a little while. Get a handle on one before you try another. And not all tools will work for  you. That's ok, too! Use what will benefit you, not frustrate you.

Ways to Make Twitter Better

  • Use #hashtags when you search for information on Twitter and use them on the Tweets you send out. #Hashtags help categorize Tweets to make it easier to find information that will really benefit you. For example, the #mlearning hashtag will bring up Tweets related to mobile learning, and #txed will bring up Tweets related to Texas education. In the LiveBinder below this list, I have included numerous articles listing popular education #hashtags.
  • Participate in a Twitter chat. Twitter chats take place live for approximately one hour every week or every other week and are centered around a specific topic such as digital citizenship or English teaching. During a chat, all participants use the chat hashtag on their Tweets. Specific questions are asked and participants give their answers or generate other questions. Chats can move quickly. You might just want to watch/lurk on your first chat. And use to keep up with the comments. A comprehensive list of current chats going on in education is included in the LiveBinder below.
  • Use Diigo to save all of those links you find on Twitter! You can save links to a Word doc or favorite them in the browser on your computer, but what happens when you are working from another device? You can't get to those resources. Diigo keeps all of your bookmarks online, or "in the cloud", allowing you to access them from any computer or mobile device. It also allows you to categorize your bookmarks using tags for easier searching later. And there are advanced features such as highlighting and note taking on websites. Be sure to access the Diigo resources in the LiveBinder below.
  • Hootsuite is a tool for accessing your Twitter account and seeing all of your Twitter action in multiple columns. It also allows you to set up searches on Twitter users or hashtags you want to make sure you keep up with. Give Hootsuite a try, and you might not directly visit ever again!
  • If you tend to Tweet a lot during certain hours of the day, Buffer may be the tool for you. Buffer will allow you to schedule Tweets at pre-determined times throughout the day. So, when you are working or teaching, your Twitter is still sharing information, and it is broadening your audience, which may in turn broaden the network of people you can learn from. I've connected with educators in the UK and Australia and other countries by using Buffer to send Tweets out when I am working or sleeping.
  • You probably already know about Pinterest, but did you know you could do double-duty with it? If you go into your Pinterest settings and link it with your Twitter account, you can Tweet when you pin. That broadens the number of folks who could benefit from what you are sharing.
  • is a personal favorite of mine. It is similar to Pinterest in that it allows me to save links connected to one topic, but it has the added feature of allowing tagging of posts and comments/conversation about the resources you share. can also be integrated with your Twitter account so when you save a resource to a board, you can also Tweet it out simultaneously. also learns your interests and suggests more resources for you based on those interests.
  • Are there folks you follow on Twitter who are awesome bloggers? When you see they've written a new post, you can't wait to read it? Well, chances are, if you are only following their blog via Twitter, you are missing some posts. That's where Feedly can help you out. Feedly makes it easy to subscribe to blogs and not miss a post. And, if you do get behind on reading, it's easy to just "mark all as read" and start from scratch. When you integrate Feedly with Twitter and/or Buffer, you also have an easy way to share the good stuff you read with your Twitter network. 

LiveBinder of Resources

Visit the LiveBinder below to view the resources I collected for the tools listed above and shared during my live presentation.

Alternate link to LiveBinder:

What tools do you like to use to improve or streamline your Twitter experience? Please share in the comments!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.