Information for New ITS

100th Final Post – Don’t Let the Grass Grow Under Your Feet

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Three years ago Friday Flash was created to inspire the new Instructional Technology Specialist in my district. This is the 100th and final post of Friday Flash at irewired. It is time to move on and explore new creative ways to share with others. Sharing has been a passion. From my beginning newsletter posts in 1999 and 2000, I began sharing resources for the educators in my school. Learning to post on the web was a passion but in the early days I am not sure the amount of time to learn and share made an impact on my small audience so I kept evolving. In 2002, Munch and Learn was created and professional development was supported with snacking and recipe sharing. The following years e-link shared information and was pushed out as html in Outlook. It was great to learn and make things pretty but time was limited and in the years that followed simple emails delivered information. After retirement and becoming rewired, Friday Flash grew from those push emails and passion to keep learning led me to Word Press. Now it is time to move on from these posts and share my passion in other formats. Remember to evolve and keep learning everyday to make a difference for all learners. Don’t let the grass grow under your feet! You can continue to follow my journey @kathyadkins.

Four for Friday – Ways to Share Your Passion

Simple Booklet provides a free online flip booklet maker. There is an educational version now available. Free version does contain ads as seen in this simple booklet, Twitter Resources.

Snapguide is a another easy approach to make guides for learning. There is a free IOS Snapguide app to view and share guides. Lisa Johnson shares iSnap 2 Learn: Snapguides 4 the Classroom on Pinterest.

Edcanvas is an online canvas where teachers and students can share knowledge. Richard Byrne recently shared Use Edcanvas to Organize and Share Classroom Materials at Free Technology For Teachers.

Flipsnack lets you take your pdf files and create a flash page flip digital publication. The books work great on mobile screens of different sizes.

Image credit: g215 / 123RF Stock Photo

Map Your Passionate Learning for 2013

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It is not too early to think about 2013 and how you want to grow and learn to move forward. Listing your thoughts and ideas are great but a better approach would be a graphic organizer. A graphic organizer lets you structure the information and arrange important aspects into a pattern. This allows you to view important ideas in isolation and see how some are related and connected. A graphic organizer helps you stay focused on the task and the visual representation makes it easier to remember once displayed front and center. Whatever method you use, map a plan with learning goals for the new year. Allow young learners an opportunity to brainstorm and share what they want to learn in the coming year. These visual representations may share patterns that can lead to group collaboration and increased ownership of their learning. Will you make choice a integral part of your learning map in 2013?

Five for Friday – Graphic Organizers

Popplet is an awesome online web graphic organizer that will allow five free maps with their free plan. The IOS app is a little pricey at $4.99. For more ideas visit their blog or check out 8+ Ways to use Popplet.

Exploratree is a free web resource where you can access a library of ready-made interactive thinking guides, print them, edit them or make your own. You can share them and work on them in groups too.

MindMeister is a great online brainstorming tool. You must register but once you register you can sync your maps from your iPad to your desktop with their free app.

Realtime Board is an online collaborative board that can be public or private. Find out more about Realtime Board from Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers.

Idea Sketch(IOS app) is a graphic organizer, which converts your graphic organizer to a text outline or vice versa. Diagrams and outlines can easily be emailed or saved in photos.

Image above created from Kidspiration using Lettering Delights Pop School Alphabet  and saving as a .gif. Inspiration Lite (from the creators of Kidspiration) is a free IOS app.



Celebrate Twelve – 12.12.12

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Next Wednesday will be 12.12.12, a date that provides an opportunity to celebrate learning using a variety of engaging activities in the classroom. There are dozens of ideas to celebrate this unique day and integrate it into content. The simplest activity, sharing 12 favorite things, is part of a special student blogging day. You can join 12.12.12. A Special Blogging Day by submitting this form and share learners’ 12 favorites. Canadian educator Nothy Lane, shares Wednesday 12.12.12. Lesson Ideas, which will also get your wheels turning. Whatever you do to celebrate, make your learning engagement relevant and exciting for learners. Even if you do have a list of 12, dig deeper to continue the learning from this list. Have an amazing 12.12.12 Day and try 12 new ways to engage your learners?

Friday Flash – Holiday Activities with Mobile Devices

PNC Christmas Price Index shares the price of the 12 Days of Christmas and provides a lesson on economic trends and inflation. Total Number of Gifts and Total Cost of Gifts are Excel spreadsheets that can be used to crunch the numbers. Learners can use their device to crunch numbers with a calculator and use apps such as Calc Lite Spreadsheet.

Create a QR Code Scavenger Hunt such as this one – The Twelve Days of Christmas Giving at Create a QR Code for the Christmas Price Index so learners can quickly access the site on devices and search for answers. You can search samples quizzes at ClassTools for new ideas.

Create a Socrative quiz using holiday math word problems or practice grammar with holiday sentences. There are so many great ways to use Socrative including ticket in the door or exit ticket. Check out the growing list of quizzes that are shared and can be imported.

Twelve Holly Days and New Year’s Resolution are two MadLibs from Wacky Web Tales. These simple activities work well on mobile devices. Make a QR Code for learners to quickly access these sites.

30 + Free Apps for Celebrating and Learning About December Holidays was recently posted by Shelly Terrell for Tech & Learning. One favorite shared, Red Stamp, allows you to create and share many types of greetings with friends and family. What a great way learners can share gratitude this season.

Image above created with Visual Poetry.





Be Awesome – Be Inspiring

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Signs of inspiration are posted everywhere these days. From stenciled quotes on walls to decorated images and photographs, meaningful text is shared to provide encouragement and direction. On a recent walk through at one of our schools, you could not help to notice the artful displays created by the school’s art teacher to encourage young learners such as the “Be Awesome” at the water cooler. Many of us do not have the talent to paint on walls but there are many resources to draw from, no pun intended. Krissy Vensodale, shares free posters for the classroom on her blog Venspired and even provides how to directions on a previous post - Make Your Own Classroom Poster. What kind of inspiration can you share with your learners? Will you inspire them to be creative with their own artwork and meaningful text? What will you want them to be?

A Few For Friday – Creating with Meaningful Text

Quozio creates a beautiful image from meaningful words. No account, sign up or email address is needed to quickly create signs with different styles to promote the words.

Cool Text is a great logo generator. Text can be generated and downloaded to save. You can also copy and paste or drag the text into your word processor.

Visual Poetry is an IOS app from Image Chef that allows you to create collages using text, images and symbols to convey the message. The only draw back is the $.99 cost.

A Dozen Words for 2012, a previous post, shares more ways to use meaningful text. Be Creative!

Art work above provided by Julie Hubbard, Chestatee Elementary’s Art Educator. Frame created in Adobe Photoshop Express, a free IOS app.


Thankful 4 Conferences

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Now is a great time to tell educators in your personal learning network how thankful you are for all they do to engage learners and make learning meaningful. Teachers as well as students are contributing to learning everyday and get very few kudos for all they do. Many of these educators and students are sharing incredible resources and knowledge at four November educational technology conferences. K12 Online, Georgia Educational Technology Conference, Global Education Conference and the upcoming Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators online presence provides resources for educators for anytime, anywhere learning. How will we show our thanks? Visit, learn and share with your PLN.

Four for Friday – Online Conferences Resources

K12 10 Day Conference shares so many resources from innovative educators and students. Click directly on 2012 Schedule for overview and check out the links under the Schedule to view awesome presentations. From the Visioning New Curriculum to Students Voices presentation, Authentic Voices, the wealth of information can be discovered via the iPod videos, mp3 audios and supporting documents.

GaETC 2012 resources share presentations by name. You may want to first visit the concurrent session pages listed for Wednesday to Friday and then select presenters name on the resource page. GaETC offered a very helpful app for attendees.

The Global Education Conference culminates today but recordings of sessions can be viewed here. It is incredible to learn from global innovators.

LACUE, Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators, will take place November 25-27. Currently there is a resource page and you will be able to follow on twitter using #lacue.

Image above created with Frame Magic - Frame Magic Lite

Ask…”What Can You Do For Your Wiki?”

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Choice and usage of multiple digital learning tools is growing in our district by all learners, educators and students. In a recent workshop on four of these tools, participants had the opportunity to select two sessions and grasp the potential of the tools for instructional design. Edmodo, Edublogs, Voicethread and Wikispaces were the tools for collaborative learning and choice was key in personal learning for the day. At the wiki session, many asked the question, what is the difference between wikis and blogs and when should each be used? Blogs vs. Wikis, a fictional debate between JFK and Nixon shared on you tube, is a great video to open discussion and provide answers. During this electoral time, what will you vote for, wikis or blogs? It is your personal choice to which tool addresses the instructional design needed for learning and sharing. Today’s vote is to be a warrior with wikispaces. As JFK stated in the video, “Ask not what your wiki can do for you, but what can you do for your wiki?” 

Four for Friday – Wikispaces Resources

Wikispaces Videos and Tours, is a collection of over 30 how to videos on you tube on various topics

Wikispaces Blog has incredible information on what you can do for your wiki. Check out Class Case Study: Room 14 Goes Mobile in Auckland and how students own and call their pages ebooks. Also note Wikispaces for iPad, which shares how to better view wikis on iPads since currently there is not an app.

Educational Wikis is another place of learning how to use wikis in education. Be sure to view the examples page.

Getting Tricky With Wikis provides advance directions using code to create text effects, layouts, to inserting a print-friendly feature and creating rollovers. Lenva Shearing, the curated for this wiki also created Cool Tools for Schools and Cool Apps for School.



Keyboarding isn’t Dead, Yet


Is Keyboarding Dead?, a recent post from Ask a Tech Teacher – Jacquie Murray, shares interesting points felt by many now that we have entered the age of touch screens. Murray states, “Students are encouraged to use audio, visual, taped vignettes, recorded snippets–everything that ISN’T the traditional MS Word document with a bullet list of comprehensive points to convey the message.” To develop that message they still have to draw, write or type notes to brainstorm ideas and create a storyboard to produce their products. Keyboard awareness remains important but not as a standalone activity as learners progress in age. Younger students, exceptional students as well as ELL students can benefit from short rounds of practice with online sites and applications. As awareness and proficiency progresses, integration with curriculum lessons should be the norm. Transparently embedded into lessons and usage of mobile devices will provide the practice needed. Keyboarding will remain relevant and making your brain and fingers think as you compose and create is not going away. There is just so much more we can do with our brains and fingers. Give them something worth typing about and they will learn.

A Few for Friday – Sites to Move Fingersghost gif

Typing Lessons provides simple, progressive lessons with a few outside game sites and Learn to Keyboard is a wiki with lots of links for drill.

Keyboarding Activities from Lees Summit R7 School District, shares a few integrated activities for younger children. What could you add to this list?

Ed Tech Ideas shares a plethora of game oriented sites to keep fingers moving.

Extra: There is a transparent link called ghost gif on this page that links to five treats. Can you find it? A few treats for a Happy Halloween!

Photo Courtesy-






Keeping Brains Strong

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Keeping brains strong, young or old, is easy with the vast amount of games, puzzles and brain teasers on mobile devices and the web. Edudemic recently posted The 100 Best IOS Apps for Mobile Learning and Online Universities took the list and transformed it into an appealing visualization - The 88 Best IOS Apps for Mobile Learning. This visual layout makes sense since Vision is Brain Rule #10 – from Dr. John Medina’s bestseller, Brain Rules. Vision trumps all other senses is just one of the 12 rules outlined along with Memory and Sensory Integration. These rules go hand in hand so to speak with some excellent brain exercises available on mobile devices and shared at the top of Edudemic’s list. Be sure to scroll down to grab the links and descriptions. Don’t feel guilty exercising your brain a bit by trying a few of these apps on your mobile device or trying a few on the web. Just remember to take breaks to explore and exercise in the great outdoors. A healthy mind and a healthy body can do great things.

Five for Friday – A Few Brain Boosters

Luminosity is one of the apps listed above for free as well as online.  Improve your brain by enhancing your memory and attention through personalized exercises. Sign up is free and build your cognitive skills.

Brain HQ from Posit Science provides some free exercises on attention speed and memory.

Test Your Brain- Pay Attention with Jabb Awoc Keez is a short video that will surprise you.

Games for the Brain shares many familiar games with no sign up.

U Connect is an IOS game many of us played on paper in our younger years. It is well worth the $.99.

Be sure to check out Dr. Medina’s complete site at Brain Rules with Brain Rules for Baby and informative blog.



Art Journaling

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Pinterest continues to be a source of great ideas for inspiration. On a recent timed browsing trip, Melissa Taylor’s board, Art Journaling for Adults and Children was discovered. Taylor’s board and pins lead to more discoveries and a budding interest in art journaling. Dina Wakley states on the get it scrapped blog, “Simply put, an art journal is a journal in which you combine art and words to express yourself.” She also shares, “There are no mistakes in journaling so leave your inner critic at the door.” With more exploration, ideas for classroom journaling and creativity resonated from the usage of old texts and printed paper to how our BYOT classrooms could utilize many of these ideas for written expression on mobile devices from doodling, to collages and photo snapshots. From Kristen McKay’s Journaling Ideas, to using the one little word, from Monica Wright, these ideas will inspire your design and thinking of ways to share art journaling in your classrooms. Connecting the arts with content areas and bringing together these teachers could only make the learning experience more engaging for students. How will you use art journaling in the classroom? See more ideas at the Incredible Art Teacher and inspire others.

Five for Friday – Places to Share Photos, Doodle and Journal

Common Sense Media shares reviews on Journal Apps, Online Dairies and Digital Scrapbooks for different age groups. Some of these are costly and others are $.99.

PicMonkey is a free online feature rich photo editing site that contains a collage section. Create individual images and then load into the collage maker. You can check out some of its features at Constant Contact.

Big Huge Labs has a variety of output for digital content from a mosaic maker, motivational poster to magazine cover. Take a learner’s creation from a doodling app or take a photo of a paper creation with a device to import and share.

Image Chef App for IOS can do amazing things with photos and text as shown by the image above. It is free and has additional layouts you can download.

Skitch is free and its integration with Evernote makes it a great tool for art journaling.

Related Post – Let them Doodle – Tools in Hand

Image above made with Image Chef App



The Quest for Photos

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As more educators and young learners are blogging and creating wikispaces to share their creativity and knowledge, the quest for photos to compliment their writings is an important part of the learning process. Many school networks have strict filters in place and the inability to right click and save an image adds additional limits in using imagery. These restrictions are in place to protect the downloaders as well as the photographers. Finding appropriate images to compliment projects that are free and from sites that are suitable for the young are slim. As we guide students it is important to introduce safe searching using Creative Commons as well as practicing appropriate storage and publication of photos on the web. Creative Commons acknowledges and gives appropriate credit, which builds digital citizenship awareness and maximizes sharing and innovation. Let’s continue our search for great image sources and please share back what you discover on your quest.

A Few For Friday – Photo Resources

Free Photo Resources for Kids – This list is for younger learners and is short but will grow as our quest for new resources grows.

Photo Resources – Here is a list for older students and educators of great sites that contain royalty free images but also share free photos. You will be required to sign up for free to these sites to download images. Be careful to stay on the free sections and attribute according to each site’s terms of use.

Image Sources – This site contains some of the same resources but also shares some favorite Flickr search engines with Compfight being a favorite.

Image Courtesy of Stock Free Images