Thursday, May 29, 2014


Aside from EdModo, I think Screencasting is one of my greatest "10thingstechie" discoveries this year!  Screencastomatic was very user friendly and simple to use.  I had a video created and uploaded to YouTube within minutes, and now I can easily share the link with my students.  I could find myself using screencasting quite a bit in the future - ESPECIALLY when I am out and a substitute is in the classroom.  I wish I had explored this a few weeks ago, when this exact situation happened.  I left directions for the students to build their resume using Career Cruising, thinking it was pretty self explanatory.  Well, needless to say, not much got accomplished that day.  Now, had I had this instructional video , I think there would have been a lot more progress!  I could also see using these types of videos to explain things to students when they are absent, or obviously, when flipping the classroom.  I could see creating one of these for each of the major units (resume, cover letter, etc.) and then posting them to my EdModo account so that students could access them from home, make up work, etc.  This is definitely a great tool.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

SmartBoard Exchange

Resources for Career Planning are abundant online.  As you might imagine, every business magazine, newspaper, college career center, etc. has advice about interviews and resumes, job searching, and such.  However, finding something tailored to the HIGH SCHOOL classroom, can be a bit more challenging.  And so the saga continued when searching the SmartBoard Exchange.  There are a couple of articles disguised as "lessons" and some career activities targeted towards younger students, but not much that would enrich the secondary curriculum.

What I found to be more useful in the Smart Board Library was the Lesson Activity Toolkit.  I didn't realize the variety of templates available to make interactive "games" or activities.  While I think some of the novelty of the SmartBoard has worn off with our high school students, this is another tool I'll add to my toolkit when it comes to quick assessments and exit slips.  (On a side note - my students are currently planning a Learn & Serve project where they will be giving a health lesson to preschool students.  I will be showing them these tools that they may wish to incorporate in their own lessons.  I think they'll be a hit with the little ones.)  The review templates, such as keyword match, are quick and easy to use.  I literally made one in about 5 minutes to use at the end of class.  They are also different and more engaging than simply asking questions or paper and pencil exit slips.  These are the plusses, however, the downfall is that ONE student gets to demonstrate their knowledge, while the others watch.  I find socrative, polleverywhere, or my favorite - edmodo, to be more useful in assessing individual student knowledge. 

It was a good use of time to be exposed to some of the additional tools available on the SmartBoard.  I've fallen into a rut of simply using it as a fancy whiteboard and am happy to have additional tools to add to my teaching toolkit. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

QR Codes

I recently had a e-survey/reflection that my students needed to complete after our e-mentoring program came to an end.  I decided to make the lengthy url into a QR code and post it on the SmartBoard when the students came into class.  It did catch their attention a bit, and increased engagement for the time being, but I did not find it all that effective.  Most of the students do not use this technology and therefore did not have the QR reader app already on their device.  Thus, of course this took some time for them to download it.  If I was going to use QR codes on a more regular basis, then it might have been worth it.

I was thinking about other ways I could use QR codes next year.  I decided to add QR codes for some suggested websites for a makeup version of a guest speaker journal assignment.  This way, the students will have easy access to the website at home or on their device, without having to memorize the website.  We shall see next year if this helps students to access the information.

As this school year comes to a close and the next school year begins, perhaps I will think of more original and creative ways to use QR codes.  So far, this is a start!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Google Forms

I feel SO BEHIND in the world of Google drive, docs, and forms.  But I am SO PROUD of myself for creating this Google form!  YEAH!  I took the leap!!!

Using a Google form served a couple purposes:

1.  I wanted the students to complete a reflection on the e-mentoring process.  Typically, I just do this in a standard Word document.  However, I realized this method didn't give the students the opportunity to share with their classmates, it was just an independent reflection.  Short of having a classroom discussion, in which usually only a few key players participate, I wanted to have some way to share the information.

2.  With that being said, I wanted to be able to collect the advice the mentors gave the students and have it all in one place so ALL the students could benefit from the collection of suggestions and keep it as a resource.  Again, discussion notes wouldn't necessarily be as complete as possible or engaging.

With this form, students will be able to reflect on the e-mentoring process and I will be able to see all of their feedback in one convenient place.  My plan, is also to consolidate the "advice" comments into one document for the students to keep as a resource in their career portfolio.  I will share that finished product after the assignment is given (end of April/early May). 

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Reading more about screencasting and realizing in order for it to have it's fully "flipped" effect it should be interactive - with questions for the student to respond to or some other sort of task/assessment.  I'm wondering when and where I can use something like this in my Career Planning classroom?  My curriculum involves many hands on, authentic activities such as filling out job applications, writing a resume, practicing interviews,etc.

Hmmmmm.....thoughts? ideas?

Raise your hand high enough so I can see

This month's 10 Things Techie Assignment involved student response systems.  Over the past semester I have been trying to integrate these in various ways.  Here's a few of my trials and tribulations:  I use this occassionally as a "do now" to gather assessment data instantly from the students.  It seems the typical "do now" has lost it's attention grabbing effects, and something accompanied by "take out your phone" has much more attention getting power.

I also used it recently to poll my students to see if they were interested in taking a particular new proposed class.

+ I had it displayed on the SmartBoard and it was nice that the kids could see the results jump as new votes were tabulated.
- Not as easy for someone without a smartphone since it does involve texting a number.  You can create an account on a desktop, but of course, this lacks the "instant gratification" appeal.  As a freshman class advisor, one of the class officers recently used this to poll the freshman class regarding a dance.

+easy to use on a smartphone (I did not try this on a desktop,but I believe it is also easy to use that way)
+loved the way it compiled data into an excel spreadsheet Polls:  This is my favorite, just because I've been trying to use edmodo as my classroom "platform" more and more this year.  I posted a poll for the students to take regarding their opinion on an upcoming field trip.

+it was great because my students already had accounts
+easy to use
+they could see the results instantly, transparency in my decision

All in all, I think student response systems are a new and innovative way to take "votes".  I am trying to also integrate them more into the actual learning process to assess student learning.  As mentioned, I do occassionally use them as a "do now"  or a quick quiz to check for understanding.  However, when doing this it is easiest to use a tool that does not require students and/or the teacher to create yet another account.  Edmodo has my vote!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flipping the Classroom

I've found some of the best resources for Flipping the Classroom on YouTube, actually. I find it's easy to search, has videos on almost every topic, and is user friendly for both the teacher and students. 

I have used DrKit video channel to have students watch professionals talk about their careers, and then share in class and apply what we have learned to that specific career.

I've also used some demonstrational videos for skills labs.  Such as this one on brushing teeth: