Posts tagged ‘Technology’

Become an Apple Teacher

“The most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.” by Steve Jobs

Recently the Apple Education Team launched Apple Teacher, a program to help teachers integrate technology skills into the classroom. Apple Teachers are recognized for their understanding of how to use Apple products for teaching and learning. They have proven knowledge of using iPad, Mac, and built-in apps to enhance productivity and inspire creativity in their classrooms and beyond. Apple honors their achievement and commitment to creating the very best learning experiences for students. Anyone can become an Apple Teacher and it is FREE.

To sign up to be an Apple Teacher, click here. You will then be taken to the ‘Apple Teacher Learning Center’. The Apple Education team has personalized the learning experience for you because you can choose which Apple Teacher path you want, either iPad or Mac, to become an Apple Teacher. (You can also do both paths if you want to as well.)

All you need to do is complete eight online quizzes, in any order that you want, to earn badges. You do not need to review the study materials or resources provided if you feel you have mastered the content of a certain quiz, you can just take the quiz. For example, I use iMovie on my Mac a lot; I felt pretty confident that I didn’t need to utilize the resources provide and I just took the quiz. You can complete the quizzes at your own pace and once you earn all eight badges, you’ll receive an official Apple Teacher logo that you can share with the world. 


apple teacher.jpg

Apple Education Team will also be updating the Apple Teacher Learning Center, so be sure to come back and check out new learning materials! What do you have to lose, give it a try and Good Luck!


Creating with My SimpleShow

“Every day brings new choices.” By Martha Beck

I was working on a professional development this week and I decided I wanted to try out a new web tool. I have seen My Simple Show about a year ago being used when it was in beta and so I decided to test it out. I think it is an awesome tool students and educators can use.

Once you make an account, click on create new video. Then you complete four steps:

  1. Draft: This section prompts you to decide on your audience, the purpose of the video and story line which takes seconds to do. Make sure you enjoy the cute mascot and what he says in-between each step.🙂
  2. Write: Write out your script. If you already know what you want to say, this doesn’t take long. (Learn from my mistake, it is really important to make sure your script is finalized before going to the next step. If you decide to go backwards or want to edit, a lot of items don’t save.)
  3. Visualize: Here you get to pick your images to match the words of your script. The cool thing is it automatically does it for you however I changed a lot of mine up too so I wasn’t always seeing the same images. You can also upload your own images too. If you edit the text at this stage, you do get a message that says “Editing your text will reset your canvas for this scene. It’s best to fine tune your text before deciding on illustrations.” I edited a lot of text because I didn’t like how it broke it up. (That could just be me though)
  4. Finalize: Here is where you can choose which voice you would like to read your script or you can record your own. You can also add subtext and video speed.

Each step has a video guide that makes it very simple to use, however when I did skip the help guide I got stuck a few times so I learned, watch the guide!

You can use this multiple ways as an educator. For me, I used it as a way to introduce a topic to educators through a virtual professional development. As a teacher you can have the students create how to videos, show what they know through explaining or have them compare and contrast two topics.

Other blog posts about My SimpleShow that you might find helpful:

Wow – “My Simple Show” Is An Extraordinary Tool For Creating Free Video “Explainers”

My SimpleShow Offers a Good Way to Create Explanatory Videos



Transforming Literacy Practices with Digital Tools

“Technology can and should be used as a tool to open the classroom to the world, to ensure that teachers present standards in a way that fosters active engagement and participation in meaningful ways.” – from Pencils to Podcasts 

Guest blog post by Katie Stover

Who knew what started as a partnership between my education students at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina and Lindsay Yearta’s fifth graders in Rock Hill, South Carolina would become a catalyst for a larger endeavor. In 2013, both groups of students read Linda Sue Park’s novel, A Long Walk to Water  and used Kid Blog as a platform for ongoing conversation about the book. This digital book club enhanced the fifth graders’ motivation and engagement in reading while providing the preservice teachers with a hands-on experience working with elementary-aged learners. The online reader response provided the preservice teachers with authentic assessment and instructional opportunities without having to physically be present in the classroom. They used students’ written responses as a springboard for online conversation about the shared text. The preservice teachers modeled proficient reader strategies like connecting, predicting, and inferring. They then probed and engaged the fifth graders through questioning to elicit deeper comprehension and discussion of the text.

When sharing about this mutually beneficial blogging partnership at the International Literacy Conference in 2014, we were asked by Solution Tree Publishers to consider writing a book about ways to integrate technology into teaching and learning. Fast forward two years later and we are thrilled to announce our new book titled, From Pencils to Podcasts: Digital Tools to Transform K-6 Literacy Practices will be released at the end of August. In this book, we share more about the online book club as well as over a dozen other suggestions for embedding technology into the curriculum to prepare students to meet the demands of the 21st century. We offer practical suggestions for integrating digital tools into familiar literacy practices to facilitate comprehension, evaluation, publication, and assessment. Each chapter provides a vignette, easy-to-use digital tools, step by step instructions for getting started as well as authentic classroom examples and suggestions for adapting across content areas.

We would love to hear from you as you try out and adapt any ideas from the book in your own schools!  Our Twitter handles are: Katie Stover @kstover24 and Lindsay Yearta @lyearta 

From Pencils to Podcasts

Join #21stedchat on October 2nd, 2017 @ 8:00 EST PM with @edu_thompson and @dprindle with guest host @kstover24 as we discuss the book From Pencils to Podcasts: Digital Tools to Transform K-6 Literacy Practices 

To read more about the blogging partnership and other publications by Katie Stover, visit

Also check out another great book coauthored by Katie Stover, Smuggling Writing: Strategies That Get Students to Write Every Day, in Every Content Area, Grades 3-12



A Different Approach to Using OpenEd’s Google Add On

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. ” By Albert Einstein

OpenEd has recently released a new FREE Google Doc Add On called Lesson Plan Tool For Docs.  It is an add on tool built into Google documents that pops up on the right hand side (similar to how the research feature works on Google documents) that allows you to add resources to your lesson plans. You can search for K-12 resources from which makes it simple to integrate into your document. OpenED has videos, games, assessments and more all aligned to common core standards. 

You can find resources that are aligned to standards, two different ways. One way is by using the search box. Input a standard that you need resources for such as 5.NF.1 and the aligned resources will appear below. The second way is to select a standard drop down and navigate to the standard you are looking for. Teachers can obviously use this tool to build lesson plans, units of study or curriculum maps but I would use it differently!

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 8.49.34 AM

I would use this tool to build playlist or pathways for students by standard; very similar to how I have used Blendspace in the past. To create a Pathway (example below), where students have choice of what tasks they want to complete based on a particular standard; using the ‘Lesson Plan Add on Tool’ teachers can simply drag and drop resources to create some of the tasks for the pathways by standards. You can also use the assessments that are in OpenEd as checkpoints. This saves teachers time and allows them to stay within one platform (Google) plus it is easy to assign to Google Classroom as well.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 9.18.15 AM

Below are some articles and more information on Lesson Plan Tools for Google Docs:

Lesson Plan Tool Docs by OpenEd

A New Lesson Plan Tool for Google Docs by Richard Byrne

OpenEd Facebook and Twitter pages

How to video on Adding on Lesson Plan Tools for Google Docs

Using Memes in the Classroom

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

Memes are images, videos, etc that has a message attached to it. Memes have been made popular on social media sites but they can also be popular in the classroom or in Professional Developments. Below are 5 ways you can use memes and how to make one.

  1. Create rules/procedures for your classroom, school or PD session using memes
  2. Have students create for a message they need to convey for any topic (Ex political or current event)
  3. Use them to teach digital citizenship. For example teaching students to recognize memes versus truths
  4. Have students create one for a character in a book they are reading
  5. Have students create motivational posters or create messages for PD sessions









I like using Make a Meme site because it’s free and simple. First decide what you are creating a meme for (what is your goal). Then follow these three easy steps”

  1. Create an account to login (FREE)
  2. Explore meme pictures or create your own based on your goal.
    • To make mine above I used an app called bitemoji  to make my avatar (that looks like me) and then uploaded it to the site.
  3. Add the text content and click create your meme
    • Note you can make the meme private or public. I made mine private so only I can use it and it can not be found in the gallery.

Some memes can be inappropriate for students, so a level of supervision is recommended. We must remember to always remind our students of our digital citizenships expectations and that students under 13 need permission to use web tools based on the COPPA Law . Other sites you can create meme’s with are Google drawings, Know Your Meme and Meme Creator.

As always I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on using memes in the classroom.

Apple 9.3 Update = Education

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” Steve Jobs

Apple announced a few months ago it was debuting beta features to make device management easier for district and school IT departments (such as Apple Admins). With the release of iOS 9.3 on March 21, these features are now publicly available and many are specific to education.

  1. Classroom App offers more functionalities that are helpful for teachers. They included a teacher’s guide as well.
  2. Updates Improve Device Management such as allowing classrooms to assign multiple users to devices so students can share iPads!
  3. New Apple Education Preview Site

Apple says: “With the iOS 9.3 beta, you’ll find a preview of new features that will make it even easier for schools to put devices where they’ll have the greatest impact — in the hands of students.”

There are other cool features with iOS 9.3 such as 3D Touch, notes lock and night shift.

*Note: This update was also to help older Apple products such as iPad 2s work better with the operating system. There have been some glitches but an update has been released to fix this problem.


The Foos: Kids Coding App

“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” By  Roger Lewin

The Foos is a coding app originally created for ‘The Hour of Code’ by the education company codeSpark. The Foos curriculum is based on research from MIT and Exploring Computer Science and they have mapped it to Common Core standards . Students will learn concepts such as problem solving, critical thinking, algorithms and more. Students start with challenging puzzles and then level up to coding their own games.

Fast Facts:

  • Free
  • Available as an iOS and Android  App and also on all browsers
  • Ages 3-8
  • No in App purchases



%d bloggers like this: