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Posts Tagged ‘Inspire’

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

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



Collaboration – The Big C – Do Not Wait!


Collaboration is one of the 4C’s that propels our district’s 21st century vision of learning along with Creativity, Critical Thinking and Communication. Collaboration is the big C that embraces the others and makes them stronger. Learners love to connect and share their knowledge in the classroom with each other and their desire to experience and share beyond walls is obvious. As they think, communicate and create collaboratively, the learning becomes larger. I am reminded of one collaborative project with first grade students, Hands Around the World, and how we worked to squeeze this project into the end of the year. It was a huge learning process for all learners including myself. Why should we wait to the end of the year when we have many resources and digital learning tools such as Edmodo and Wikispaces? Connect with a project or begin your own and collaboratively share your learners’ knowledge with others. Do not wait!

Five for Friday – Global Collaborative Connections

A great place to start is The Global Classroom Project, where teachers and students share on the global stage. Their wikispace shares ways to follow via twitter and facebook. Be sure to check out the Craze Crazes, under What’s Happening?

Projects by Jen, from Jen Wagner (creator of Wordle of the Day) provides projects for K-6 grades throughout the school year. OREO 2012 is a simple project for young learners and provides a wealth of resources to celebrate the 100th birthday of the OREO. Registration is now open with project lasting Sept. 17 – Oct. 12. Follow Jen Wagner on twitter @jenwagner.

Journey North offers collaborative sharing throughout the year. Currently Hummingbird Migration is being observed and reported weekly. Journey North now has an app to report sightings.

The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, CIESE, offers many ongoing and collaborative projects inspired by real time data.

Flat Stanley is a project that has truly embraced all ages. Be sure to check out current news and check the free IOS mobile app.


To the Top – Elevate Your Learning

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Recent summer travels have allowed me to view many magnificent mountain ranges in Colorado. One particular vista, Carbon Peak (12,079), was on my daily horizon and looked amazing from lower elevation but there was the strong desire to be at the top for a better view. For many summer months the desire to climb the peak and conquer the elevation was on the agenda but time constraints continually interfered. Fortunately this summer presented the time to climb. With tools to navigate as well as visual cairns (man-made pile of stones) along the way, the trek was mastered. What an incredible view from the top of near and far mountain peaks and the beautiful storybook valley below with its winding streams and meadows. The climb was invigorating and the sense of accomplishment rewarding. As we begin the new school year we need to take time to climb and elevate our learning. There are so many resources (cairns) along the way to propel our journey. We cannot wait for the perfect time because that time is now. Will you elevate your learning?

A Few for Friday – Bloggers to Follow that Elevate Learning

BYOT Network – Dr. Tim Clark recently shared First Five Days of School with BYOT. Clark’s blog provides a wealth of resources to support and elevate learning with mobile devices.

Mind/Shift – Tina BerBarseghian provides incredible resources to move you up the hill of learning. Check out 10 Ways to Boost your Game for Back-to-School.

Dangerously Irrelevant – Scott Meech shares his perspective on the intersection of education and technology. Be sure to check out his wiki Moving Forward, a vast collection of resources to elevate your learning.

Image Source – Courtesy of irewired
Image created using Frame Magic Lite
Tracking App – Endomondo (Multiple Devices)
Another Tracking App – EveryTrail (IOS)




15 Years – Slow Down and Reflect

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The end of the school year is near and it is time to slow down and reflect not only on the progress of learners we guide but also on our own growth. As I reflect, I not only think about this year but the 15 years I have been an Instructional Technology Specialist, ten years in the trenches at my favorite elementary school and 5 as lead mentor to guide others in the district. As a life long learner, I attribute most of my growth from self-learning. Fifteen years ago there were not as many places to turn for learning in my field but as the years progressed, opportunities flowed quicker and the current of information surged. With out my desire to self-learn and soak up the current, I would not be who I am today. Online Universities recently shared 15 Secrets of the Most Successful Self-Learners and how our passion for learning moves us beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom. Many of these secrets, including “tone out negativity” have steered me along and kept me passionately learning. Which of these secrets guides you? Slow down the next few months on the information highway and take the time to self-learn. You have steered so many through the year, and now is the time to try some of these secrets to continue your life long learning.

A Few for Friday – Places to Learn

Technology Guides from Piano Independent School District contains a wealth of information for educators. Be sure to check the links that are tagged New!

Technology Tutorials from Internet4Classrooms is a great resource for all educators with tutorials and suggestions for classroom integration and learning.

Want to learn more about web design with Adobe products? Check out Katherine Shields’ Adobe Board on Pinterest. Try a few of these tutorials that interest you and spark your creativity.

Friday Flash will return in August after time to reflect and enjoy learning in new ways.

Photo Courtesy of my son, Brett Adkins – Crested Butte, Colorado


Appsolutely Blooming Year

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It has been an incredibly beautiful spring in the south with floral blossoms abundant with many varieties extremely prolific and showing splendid color. This abundance could be attributed to the milder winter we have experienced. On the education front, this year has been anything but mild. We have experienced the growth of BYOT in schools and explosion of new applications for learning on mobiles devices. It has been an appsolutely blooming year of the app. Fortunately an abundance of app resources have been shared by educators that are tied to Blooms Taxonomy. It is up to us to harvest and pick the applications that will best fit the learning objectives of our students. It is appsolutely a great time to choose new ways to incorporate these tools seamlessly into the curriculum. What colorful apps will you share with learners to help them grow and bloom?

A Few For Friday – Blooms Taxonomy Apps

Bloomin’ Apps curated by well known educator, Kathy Schrock, provides Google apps, iPad apps as well as Android apps correlated to Blooms Taxonomy.

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, at Langwitches’s Blog, shares two beautiful posters from Learning Today along with her list of apps adapted from Kathy Schrock’s and Kelly Tenkley’s web sites. Her detailed list of apps had to meet certain criteria to be included and several overlap the different level in the taxonomy.

Kelly Tenkley curated Blooms Taxonomy of Apps and creatively shared using the publication site Issuu. Tenkley also shares a wealth of information in her Livebinder, Digital Blooms Taxonomy.

Photo courtesy of irewired and Quirco

Is Your Parking Lot Full?

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Our libraries – media centers, are the best rooms in the house but for some schools these learning spaces are missing the key instructional leader, the media specialist. As districts move toward building learning communities to support professional development to ensure student learning and growth, the role of the media specialist will ever more be an important key to build the media center as the heart of a school. As team leaders of the learning communities, media specialist provide professional development opportunities and collaborate with teachers to create authentic learning opportunities for students in a place that provides more than “just books.” Todays’ media centers are hubs for learning, equipped with new technologies and learning spaces that should be supported by the best of the best in educational leadership. Who will manage and support these learning technologies as students bring their own mobile devices into this very important room? Will your library parking lot be full or will it just be a place to check out books?

Five For Friday – Media Centers – The Heart of Schools

BYOD and the Library – Doug Johnson shares how indispensable librarians and library programs are in these technological times. Johnson shares thoughts on how librarians -media specialists are vital to support BYOD in the library and not DOA.

Time to Reboot the Universal Symbol for Library? - Buffy Hamilton, a high school librarian known as The Unquiet Librarian, is internationally known and shares her tremendous wealth of knowledge as a modern school librarian.  Check out her recent presentation, Taking Embedded Librarianships to the Next Level: Action Steps and Practices. Follow the Unquiet Librarian @buffyjhamilton.

Librarian Serves up”Appy Hour”The Digital Shift highlighted, media specialist Kathy Kaldenberg’s Appy Hour and how she reached out to her community of learners. Kaldenberg’s purpose was to increase that exposure with apps for note taking, formatting citations and streaming news. Kaldenberg share her favorites and hopes to ensure that all learners have access.

Twenty Ways Libraries are using Pinterest Right Now – Edudemic provides a great list how Pinterest offers creative and cutting-edge ways to engage all communities of learners. Librarians-media specialists are helping spread the word about these great innovative social media forums and guiding learners on social etiquette.

Research in the Elementary Classroom – It’s Not About Finding Information Anymore – Mary Beth Hertz knows that it is not about the regurgitation of facts but deeper understandings for even the youngest of learner. She states, “It is about teaching them how to develop their path to research to find meaning in the information and use it in ways that require critical thinking and creative applications.”  We need media specialists to support teachers in building these research skills and support the community of all learners.

Photo Courtesy – irewired


Colored Pencils to Digital Expressions


Technology had me back in 1990 with my one Apple IIe and Bank Street Writer. My special education/exceptional students typed text for their stories and we printed with a dot matrix printer. We then paired the text with their own drawings or photos developed at the local store and pasted to make construction paper books. Next we moved to making big books, poster size, with Big Book Maker Favorite Fairy Tales and Tall Tales from Pelican (Toucan Software). We taped the pages together, colored and bound with a spiral binder. We thought we were really cool creating our books twenty years ago. I can only imagine what my exceptional students could now share with the world. What a great time to be an educator and engage learners with so many great ways to express themselves. Watch this video shared by Jeremy McDonald, Mr. Macnology #unexpected and be inspired.

A Few for Friday – Expression Tools

David Kapuler shared Top Ten Apps for Digital Storytelling at Tech&Learning, but his recent pinning at Pinterest shares more visually at Digital Storytelling Apps and Sites. Follow Kapuler on Twitter @dkapuler.

Ed Tech Ideas, Keith Ferrell, shares 8 Great Sites for Reluctant Writers. Ferrell also share, Keyboarding Sites for Kids, to encourage keyboard awareness . Follow Ferrell on Twitter @K_Ferrell.

Appitic is an awesome collection of IOS apps curated by Apple Distinguished Educators. Check out their list for Writing and Storytelling for recently added apps. Lots of resources are shared to use with exceptional children.

Photo Courtesy of Jonna Pohjalainen – Giant Colored Pencil Sculptures

Gift of Curiosity – QR Codes

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How we communicate with our staff and students is ever changing with mobile devices and social media. In 2006, the far left tree was created so students could easily select an ornament (button) and visit a site for fun and little bit learning. This past week Jackie Aurisch, one of our district’s Instructional Technology Specialists, created the tree on the right to share her monthly Techie News with her staff using QR Codes. Aurisch sparked curiosity with her staff with the pdf file via an email and explained, “I decided to introduce you to something cool that is wonderful idea for those of you who are interested in BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) but not sure what kinds of things you can do or think it’s too much work.” She guided her staff with directions in her email and shared a QR code reader with a photo to show how to capture the codes. WOW, what an excellent way to inspire curiosity and introduce  a new way to engaged learning.  Thank you Jackie Aurisch for sharing your gift of curiosity - December Techie Times! What gift will you give your staff this holiday season to spark curiosity and impact learning?

Five For Friday – QR Codes in Education

QR Treasure Hunt Generator from can be a great starting point. Give it a try and see what kind of scavenger hunt you can create. Check out the QR Challenge – The Twelve Days of Christmas. This site creates the teacher page as well as one to print codes or use online with your students as shown with The  Twelve Days of Christmas. You can find answers to the quiz by scanning the 12 Days QR code below. QR Challenge – The Events of the Civil War is another example.

40 Interesting Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom is another site from Tom Barrett that is generated from educators everywhere! Barrett also shares QR Codes Improve Web Access and taking the code to the reader.

Ten QR Codes in Ten Weeks are 10 excellent posts from Allanah King, a New Zealand primary school teacher, teaching at a small rural school. These resources and ideas were shared this week at the K12 Online Conference and feature QR Creation sites, Pick-a Path Stories, Geocaching and other ways to link QR codes. You can view Sandpit QR Code Presentation as well as other great presentations at the K12 Online Conference 2011.

The Best of QRCode! curated by Miss Noor shares so many great ideas.

QR Codes in Education is a LiveBinder from Steven Anderson that shares a wealth of information under the tabs.

Happy QR Coding!

2006 Tree

Techie Times

12 Days

Holiday Reading






Above Image Courtesy of:
Jackie Aurisch – December Tech Times
Kathy Adkins – 2006 Tree


Follow Your Heart – Don’t Settle

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Tributes to Steve Jobs, iconic visionary of our time, have shared his life and contributions via tweets, blogs, videos and much more. Daniel Pink shared in his recent post, 2 Ways to Honor Steve Jobs – Become an organ donor and watch Steve Job’s Stanford Commencement Speech. These are two simple ways to honor a true Einstein of our time. Yet, there is a third way to honor Steve Jobs. It comes from a quote delivered in his Stanford commencement speech, “You’ve got to find what you love.” Many of us have found what we love, which is leading learning in today’s classrooms.  Now we need to guide our young learners into finding what they love and instill that passion in their young hearts. Can we provide learners with choice and time to discover their interests? Honor Steve Jobs a third way and incorporate choice and time for learners to explore their passions and embrace what they love.  Can you do these three things to honor a truly inspirational man of our time? Don’t settle. Thank you Steve Jobs.

Full Text of Steve Job’s Commencement Speech at Stanford University, June 15, 2005

“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” Steve Jobs

Four For Friday – Tributes from the Education Sector

Ten Ways to Remember Steve Jobs, by Elana Leoni, lists ten excellent ways we can continue his legacy of passion and innovation. Can you sustain and honor by trying one of these ideas?

Three Things I Learned from Steve Jobs, shares the impact Jobs had on Brad Flickenger, an elementary instructional technology teacher in Tinmath, Colorado. Brad’s three things are great ideas to follow everyday.

Steve Jobs – A Great Idea posted by David Warlick, reminds educators to innovate and hear ourselves answering less to learners with “that is the correct answer” to replying “that is a great idea.”

Steve Jobs – A Master Thinker is a collection of blogs, tweets and videos curated by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D., as a tribute to Steve Jobs. Be sure to read the selection Steve Jobs-What Students Can Learn From Him.

Oh, the Places You Will Go – Dr. Seuss
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.