Sunday, December 1, 2013

TIES Technology Conference 2013

I am excited to be presenting at the upcoming TIES Technology Conference December 16 and 17.

Friday, November 1, 2013

TPT Event - Is School Enough?: Engaged Learning in the 21st Century Classroom and Beyond

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On November 21, I will be attending the Is School Enough?: Engaged Learning in the 21st Century Classroom and Beyond event at the Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) Studios.

As a follow-up to the PBS documentary of the same title, this event will feature panel and audience discussion around the topic of allowing students to solve real-world problems and the value of engaging in projects outside of school.

Friday, October 18, 2013

TIES 2013 Fast Forward: Transforming Pedagogy with Technology

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I will be presenting at the TIES Technology Conference in mid December.  This year's theme is Fast Forward: Transforming Pedagogy with Technology.

I will be doing two presentations:
Personalized Professional Development and the iPad
Bridging the Digital Divide with a Racial Equity Lens

Presentation resources will be posted on the blog closer to the conference date.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Kudos to Osseo for organizing and hosting EdCampMSP tomorrow!
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Looking forward to chance to get together with instructional technology leaders, gurus, and advocates from other districts and finding out into what's happening their other places and tapping into their experiences and expertise.

Monday, September 23, 2013

EdCamp MSP

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Do you live in central Minnesota and want to get together with other educational colleagues and educational technology advocates to build a collaborative, constructivist unconference schedule?

Sign up for EdCampMSP hosted by Osseo on October 11.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Seven Days Until ISTE 2013

 I found this handy free embeddable countdown timer for websites and blogs from (  The countdown timer is also available as a website-based timer (

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The countdown to any date timer has an easy-to-use simple interface. Simply choose the countdown design, enter the timer title, select the date and time, and time zone of the event and click the Create Countdown button.  Simple as that!
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The website-based countdown to any date timer produces an easy-to-read countdown that stays active as long as you keep the webpage open.

Image Source also offers a free online timer with a easy-to-use interface interface as well.  You can assign a name to the time, enter the amount of time, and select a sound to play when time runs out.

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The timer interface produced is easy to read and with the ability to create additional timer would enable a teacher to use this timer for station rotations without needing to reset and restart a timer.

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The third free online tool available at is a stopwatch timer.

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The stopwatch timer even saves splits, which can be labeled onscreen. This could be handy if 
you want to time several students doing the same task and compare elapsed time or speed.

Overall, there are many handy tools available at this website for teachers to use in multiple ways in the classroom,  on a mobile device at their favorite sporting event, and maybe even to remind them of an anniversary or birthday coming up!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Google Translate Makes Blog Content Language-Friendly

Have you ever wanted to be fluent in a foreign language?  Well now you can be!

Not by spending  hours listening to self-paced Rosetta Stone language lessons or by living in a foreign country with a host family.  Thanks to a Google widget you can install in your blog layout, you can instantly become fluent in multiple foreign languages with the click of a simple drop-down menu widget that makes it quick and simple to translate the text content of your blog post on Google Blogger to another language.

You can quickly revert to the original language of your blog, especially if you're not as fluent as you used to be in the translated language and don't quite remember the original content of your blog, by simply clicking the X at the top right corner of your blog.

Imagine having a collaborating classroom partner in another country with students who speak an entirely different language than your own students do.  Now your students can easily use Google Blogger to create a blog of classroom writing and connections that can become instantly multi-lingual with a click of the Google Translate button, making the experience much more personalized for the collaborating classroom students while enabling global connections.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tracking Derecho Winds With Wind Map

Last night's unusual derecho weather produced strong winds and rain. If you're like most people, you're probably wondering what a derecho is.  I certainly was when I heard my local weather forecaster Dave Dahl mention derecho-like weather predictions yesterday.

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derecho is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms. Derechos can carry hurranic or tornadic force and often deliver torrential rains and perhaps flash floods as well as strong winds. Winds convection-induced take on a bow echo(backward "C") form of squall line, forming in an area of wind divergence in upper levels of the troposphere, within a region of low-level warm air advection and rich low-level moisture. They travel quickly in the direction of movement of their associated storms, similar to an outflow boundary (gust front), except that the wind is sustained and increases in strength behind the front, generally exceeding hurricane-force. ~

What a great opportunity to take advantage of an interesting and fun Web 2.0 website called Wind Map.

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Wind Map is a personal art project created off hourly updates to surface wind data from the National Weather Service National Digital Forecast Database (

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The site also includes of gallery of "Snapshots of Winds Past" (  One the past wind snapshots is of Hurricane Sandy's ( near 40 mph winds.

Some of the great features of the wind maps include being able to hover over a region and get a pop-up of the wind speed at a particular latitude and longitude.  Clicking on a area of the map creates a zoomed in view, which can produce some great visuals for teaching meteorological concepts.

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A great classroom use of this website might be to take a screenshot of the site at relatively the same time every day use the thumbnails as part of a morning meeting activity or to create a table or spreadsheet of weather-related data comparisons of the wind, temperature, etc.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Almost 1000 Hits!

Tonight I logged into Blogger to write a blog post in an renewed effort to keep up with blogging, especially since listing my blog on the ISTE Blog Registration.   Amazingly, my blog has received 999 hits!  Wow! So somebody out there is reading...

I'm not quite sure that I understand the ClustrMap though since it lists only 32 visitors since April 7.  From the ClustrMap "notes" section, it seems that counts are only being added each time a unique computer IP address accesses the blog as opposed to Bloggers "Visits" widget which tallies every time the blog is accessed.  This would imply that 32 people have visited my blog a total of 999 times all together, resulting in maybe 30 visits per person or a handful of
the 32 people accessing the blog many more times and others only a few times.

However, when I looked at the list of locations of the "Recent" visitors and the Current Country Totals, I realized that this thinking is flawed because last week I noticed that there were visitors listed on the location list from France, Germany, Norway, and Finland, and those do not appear on either list now.   The ClustrMap widget is listed as updating every day, so I'm guessing then that the "Recent" location list is purged every 24 hours, but I'm not sure why the countries are not all represented on the Current Country Totals chart.

When I checked the Blogger Stats section, I noticed that the Pageviews chart does not equal up to 999.

I find these disparities in data between and within counters frustrating.  I love data - really love it, seriously.  But I want it to add up, to make sense, and without fully understanding the algorithm behind either counter, I am unsure how the data totals are derived and question whether or not they are accurate and why they do not list the same countries.

Hmm.  And I was so excited when I first began this post!  I think my takeaway is going to be that I have 999 hits (somehow) and I need to raise the bar for myself in terms of keeping up with posting and finishing all of the half-finished (or half-started if your glass is half-full) posts that are still sitting in the Blogger post queue as drafts.

I'm hoping someone reads this blog post in the morning, or overnight too I guess since a handful of European countries more than seven hours ahead of me on the international time line are listed as having readers who are checking my blog (Does that really make it overnight if it is really already tomorrow for them?), so that at least I can start my day off tomorrow morning with 1000 hits!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

ISTE13 Sessions

Spending today working on presentations for the two sessions that I am doing at ISTE this year.

Learning Station Session: 30 Plus Ways To Use Your iPad For Professional Development

Take a whirlwind tour of 30+ ways to use your iPad to build your professional learning network, engage in personalized professional development, and transform your learning. Explore apps and resources that you can use to improve and enhance your own teaching. Learn how the iPad just may be the most versatile transformative tool in the educational world that can bring personalized learning to your fingertips 24/7 and just in time for your professional learning needs.

Mini Workshop: Animated Video To Liven Up Your Curriculum And Enhance Student Learning

The purpose of the workshop is to share information with participants on a variety of free and low-cost software programs that can be used with K-8 students to create short animated videos that focus on the academic content that students are learning and to focus on demonstrating how to use just one to step through a project. The videos can be used to engage and motivate struggling students in reviewing and learning content covered in class, and as a way for older students to share informational text with younger students. Animation projects allow students to review content material while meeting new Common Core multimedia standards.
*Recommended by ISTE SIGDS 
*Requires registration.

If either of these topics interests you, please come to the sessions to learn more and share ideas and resources.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Only Five Weeks Until ISTE 2013!

That's right, just five weeks until ISTE 2013 begins!  I have paid my registration, booked my flight and hotel room, and now I just have to wait a little longer...

I began looking at the program online the other day and am excited that there will be so many great sessions and keynotes to attend.  Gamification in education has been a hot topic for the past couple years, so I'm really looking forward to Jane McGonigal's opening keynote.  The idea of capitalizing on students' love of games and the amount of time that they dedicate on a daily basis to playing them and somehow bringing some of that interest into the classroom is always enticing to me as I'm trying to think of ways to build students' interests in traditional classroom content.  Perhaps we should be taking a lesson from students and morphing that traditional content and 20th Century delivery system to match better with student interests to move in the direction of personalized learning which will allow the educational system to offer students an opportunity to engage in a more student-centered, collaborative system driven by student choice.

This year I am hoping to actually have a plan of which sessions I want to attend created in advance.  Wishful thinking?  We'll see as the school year winds down if I can squeeze in the time to check out the online program in more depth.

Friday, May 17, 2013

ISTE Blog Registration

It's official. I registered my blog on the ISTE blog registration!

Now I need to attempt to keep up with posting regularly, which hasn't been as easy as I originally thought it would be when I first started this blog.

Monday, May 13, 2013

ISTE13 San Antonio - Things To Do And Places To Visit - Tower Of The Americas

Do you have a fear of heights, snakes, or great food?

If you answered "no," then make sure that you squeeze in time during your ISTE visit to stop by the 750 foot tall Tower of the Americas and take a trip to the top to the Observation Deck to experience the 360 degree panoramic view of the city and learn about how the Texas state flag has changed over time.  You can get a preview of the amazing view here.

Make sure that you also allow time for the 4D Skies Over Texas Theater Ride that is included in your Tower visit ticket price. Spoiler alert - If you have a fear of snakes, go with a friend so you will know when it's safe to open your eyes again!

If you plan in advance, you can also make a reservation to dine at the Chart House and enjoy a great dinner and the rotating view at the same time.

If you do have a fear of heights, you can still stop by the gift shop on the first floor to pick up a souvenir.

More information about hours and ticket prices available here.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ISTE13 San Antonio - Things To Do And Places To Visit - The River Walk

You can't visit San Antonio without taking a stroll along the number one tourist attraction in the entire state of Texas, the Paseo del Rio better known as the River Walk!

The River Walk is lined with outdoor tables with colorful umbrellas, restaurants, hotels, and shops.  You can even take a boat tour of the River Walk.

More information about the River Walk and a directory of hotels, restaurants, and shops located on the River Walk is available here.

Click here for maps showing the River Walk path along San Antonio streets and hotel locations.

Monday, May 6, 2013

ISTE13 San Antonio - Things To Do And Places To Visit - The Alamo


Remember The Alamo!

If you plan to incorporate a little sightseeing into your trip to ISTE, then you probably want to make time to visit one of the top "Must See" locations in San Antonio - The Alamo!

Although the battle in 1836 was lost, the historical mission still stands today as a symbol of courage and sacrifice for liberty.

Squeezing in a tour of the Alamo and posing for a quick photo or two with the famous backdrop may be a bit tricky though since the landmark tours take place between 9:00 to 5:30 Monday through Thursday, 10:00 to 5:30 on Sunday, and 9:00 to 7:00 on Friday and Saturday. If you're looking for a Coonskin Cap or Texas Ranger Badge souvenir, you may want to plan your visit early in the week just in case supplies run out!

Admission is free.  More details available here.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

ISTE 2013 - My Workshop Recommended By ISTE SIGDS

Today, I pulled up the ISTE 2013 program search to review the description for one of my sessions and was surprised to notice the "SIG Pick" icon indicating that my Animated Video to Liven Up Your Curriculum and Student Learning mini workshop session has been endorsed by the ISTE Digital Storytelling Special Interest Group!

I'm really looking forward to this workshop.  It is such a fun way to meet Common Core multimedia standards while helping students to review, demonstrate, and better remember what they learned about their content material.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Finding Creative Commons Licensed Images On Google Images

How many times have you heard someone say that any images listed on Google are completely free to use because they are posted on the internet, right?  Not necessarily.

Here are some quick tips on how to find copyright friendly images on Google Images.

Searching For Creative 
Commons Licensed 
Images On Google Images

Pictures and images on are copyrighted by the owner even though they are published on the web.  One of the safest ways to use them in your work is to search for Creative Commons licensed images that give you the rights to repost and modify images as long as you give credit to the owner.

Here’s how to find images posted with Creative Commons licensing on Google:

1. Go to Google - and click Images in the Google toolbar.

2. Type in your search topic and click the gear icon to Advanced Search options

3. Use the drop down to change the usage rights that you are searching for. You may want to choose the most encompassing choice.

4. Click the Advanced Search button.

5. Notice that your search results now list the usage rights.

6. Click on the image that you want.

7. Click on the View Original Image button.

8. Hold the Control button and click on the picture (Mac) or right click (PC) on the picture and choose Save Image As (Chrome and Firefox) or Download Linked File As (Safari) to save the picture to your computer.

9. Copy the website address (URL) of your image and paste the address into your product to meet the minimum level of citing the source.