Posts tagged ‘Technology’

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



#NCTIES16 Round Up

“Leadership provides the vehicle for others to generate ideas!” By @PrincipalKafele 

One of my favorite conferences every year is #NCTIES. Below I have done a round up of resources from the sessions I  attended in no particular order that you can now look at and utilize in your classroom.

Best of the Web 2016 by Richard Byrne

Mobile Apps in Common Core Aligned ELA & Social Studies Lessons by Richard Byrne

Teaching “Wired” Learners by  Kevin Honeycutt

  • Use a video as an opportunity to narrate a story
  • Student Created Products
  • Quotes from Honeycutt that are meaningful:
    • Stop finding reasons to fail
    • Help students understand the transformational power of tech
    • The only cavalry that will save you is you!
    • People protect and support what they are proud of – tell the stories of success
      • People won’t attack stories about student success
    • Your biggest weakness is your biggest strength, ready to be told well.
    • Emotion cements learning

Sketchnoting in Classroom by Kathy Schrock
Global Collaboration (To Fit Your Needs) by Pernille Ripp

S.T.E.A.M Powered PBL for K/1 by Jill Zsuppan and Heather Surgen

Other random things I picked up:

  • Create a “You Matter Wall” have your kiddos write thoughtful messages to other students, teachers, family members, etc

  • Your plan and reality are not always the same!

  • Use the square root of your staff to find the number of staff to find momentum to see change in the classroom, coaching is a must

  • “We don’t need consensus  – we need momentum”

  • “What is the evidence that I am the instructional leader of my school?”

  • Stop and review your game film.  Is what you are doing making a difference for our students?



Creating with New* Web Tools

“One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.” By John W. Gardner

Below are new* FREE web tools I have come across that I think are wonderful additions to any classrooms because it allows students to be creators.  As always please check the terms of use for each site before utilizing in your classroom.  (*Newer to me)

Sound Trap is a tool that empowers students to create music and podcasts collaboratively or individually. Teachers can create group assignments and conference with students via video.

The Foos is a kids coding app that starts off with challenging puzzles and moves them to coding their own video games. The site has curriculum and resources for teachers to utilize as well.

The Learnia is an online whiteboard (think showme/educcreations) but for any browser. Create your own videos for a blended learning classroom environment or allow students too show what they know by creating their own.

Motivator is a tool where students can create their own motivation posters. Get creative with what students can do with this site to use their higher order thinking skills (H.O.T.S). For example – have them create a motivational poster as a character from a book.

Parapara Animation is an animation creation tool developed and hosted by Mozilla. It is simple to use and it does not require registration in order to use it.

If there is a new web tool that is free and that you love to use in your classroom that allows students to be creator, please share in the comments.


Digital Learning Day 2016

“Digital media enables us to build more stages for our kids to express themselves.” – Marco Torres

National Digital Learning Day 2016 (#DLDay) is February 17th, 2016. Digital Learning Day began in 2012 as a way to ensure all students have access to high-quality learning opportunities. It is not about technology; it is about learning. Digital Learning Day promotes the effective use of today’s tools/online resources/digital content to improve the learning experiences for our students. Instruction includes opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere to ensure all students reach their full potential.

Digital Learning Day site has lots of resources and ideas that you can do with your students. Here are three more:

  1. Create a class Instagram page and have students share pictures of them using technology in the classroom. Then continue to share via Instagram the rest of the year! It’s referred to as picture blogging.
  2. As a class or in small groups rewrite (lyrics) and recreate a song that represents all the great things you have done in the classroom with technology and learning. Here is one a local school did for the Carolina Panthers to wish them luck in the SuperBowl.
  3. Have students create poems reflecting on digital tools they have used in the classroom. For examples, check out these students reflections on their school year.

I would love to know what you are going to do for Digital Learning day 2016! Please share in the comments.



Characteristics of Digital Curriculum

“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” By David Warlick

The Learning Counsel recently printed a special report on The 71 Characteristics of Digital Curriculum. After reading it, I felt that it was important to break it further down to the top characteristics teachers should know and be aware of. Below are the top 10 characteristics in my opinion:

  • Annotating: The ability to digitally mark up content using highlights, comments etc
  • Accessibility: On and offline access to strong digital content
  • Gambling: It is not what you are thinking – example poker  – but it is when games use coins that students can spend. (Ex. Dreambox, Zeal) You should be mindful of this because in some states it is banned.
  • Virtual Reality: artificial 3D environments that is affected by as action of a person.
  • Gating: is the ability of a teacher or adaptive learning engines incorporated into the curriculum platform to determine the progress of a student through learning.
  • Portability: The ability to access and interact with content across multiple hardware devices of different operating systems etc.
  • Coding: Computer language code or an order of logical operations are created as part of earning. (There are many coding languages such as HTML, Java, Python, C++ etc)
  • Game-Based Learning:mThe practice of and demonstrating of learning through the use of a game or game-like environment. (Leaders boards, rankings, leveling up)
  • Intelligent Learning Engines: is a capability in what is known as adaptive software. The software tracks what the student gets right or wrong and  tracks a path for them based on their needs.
  • Collaborative-Ware: software tools that allow real time collaboration (Example Google Drive, OneNote)

You can read the full special report The 71 Characteristics of Digital Curriculum by Learning Counsel.


“Learning Counsel | Special Report.” 2015. 17 Jan. 2016 <>


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