Friday, February 28, 2014

Film Festival Entries Due!

The due date for all entries to the 5th Annual Canyons District Film Festival is only 2 weeks away! All poster and film entries are due by 5:00 pm on Thursday, March 13, 2014. Entries may be submitted to your school's Education Technology Specialist or sent to Katie Blunt at the Canyons Support Services Center, 9361 South 300 East, Sandy, UT 84070.

The Canyons District Film Festival has been gaining momentum and popularity over the last 5 years. The festival began due to the efforts of Kelly Dumont, Canyons District Elementary Education Technology team lead. Kelly worked for many years on the Jordan School District film festival, and when Canyons District was formed he knew that a film festival was one event he wanted to see continue because of its ability to encourage creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking skills in students. Since then, Ed Techs Wade Harmon, Camille Cole, and Katie Blunt have all headed up the film festival project. It has now become one of the most anticipated events of the year for many CSD educators, students, and community memebers.

Students and staff may currently submit films in six different categories:
  1. Feature Film (5 minutes or less)
  2. Documentary (5 minutes or less)
  3. Animation (3 minutes or less)
  4. PSA (1 minute or less)
  5. Newscast (5 minutes or less)
  6. Advertisement (1 minute or less)
Students interested in graphic design may also submit entries to the film festival poster contest.

Once entries have been received, they will go through two level of judging -- judging level one by the Ed Tech Department and level two by a panel of celebrity judges comprised of District officials and local film industry professionals. The top three submissions in each category will be named as festival award nominees and will receive special invitations to attend the film festival awards night. The awards night will be held at 6:00 pm on April 10, 2014 at Union Middle School. At the awards ceremony, the final winners will be announced. Each winner will receive fabulous prizes donated by local businesses!

Everyone in the Canyons School District community is invited to attend the film festival awards night on April 10, whether they have submitted a film or not. The festival is always a fun event filled with food, excitement, and great student films. We hope to see you there!

Have questions about the festival? Contact Katie Blunt at

Thursday, February 27, 2014

TWO Many emails? Not a problem with CSD Docs!

Wouldn't you think a teacher would know the correct form of the word "too" to use in a blog title?  In this case, "two" IS the right tense, especially since having two separate email address to check can make a person pretty tense!

If you're a teacher in the Canyons District you have probably been using your account to manage emails and calendar events in either Microsoft Outlook or the online version, OWA.  Now that the new CSD Docs accounts have been created for all Canyons District teachers and students, you officially have TWO email addresses.

Let's make life EASIER with this new service, and set up your CSD Docs email to simply forward to your account so you can manage all of your emails in one place.  And since permissions have been changed with the CSD Docs accounts to allow emails to be received, you can also respond to other teacher or student emails from the CSD Docs service.

To get started, log in to your CSD Docs account at

1. Once you are logged in, go to your CSD Docs email account by opening a new tab for
2.  Choose the setting icon from the right side of your Gmail Screen  

3.  From the dropdown menu select "Settings"

4.  From your new settings screen you will select the "Forwarding" tab

5. In this section you will select the "Forward a copy of incoming mail to..." option and enter your email address.  In addition to having your email forwarded, you may also decide whether you want the forwarded email to be marked read in your account, or even have it deleted.  This is a personal choice that you can make based on your email needs.

6.  Once you're set here, click the "Save Changes" button.  Try sending your account an email just to be sure, but now all of your email here will be forwarded to your email account.

Now that you're back to having only ONE work account to check, you won't spend TWO much time keeping up with email!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

LucidChart and LucidPress

LucidChart and LucidPress are two products made by a Draper-based company.  LucidChart (iPad and web) creates collaborative flow charts and diagrams, and LucidPress (web only) creates interactive and collaborative documents such as newsletters, presentations, etc. Both programs have easy drag and drop features to add text, shapes, images, and even video.  

Click the image above.
LucidPress was used to create the Ed Tech Times Newsletters for January and February 2014 and was used to showcase a Video of the Week feature on Fotobabble.

Watch the videos below to learn how these great products work!  Teachers and students can sign up for these free programs using their CSDDocs account!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Sandy to San Juan

Imagine writing to someone you might never meet. That could be difficult and scary, especially if you are a 3rd grader. That is exactly what Mrs. Fuhriman's class has been doing this year. They have been writing to students in Tamra Fuhriman's class at Robinson school in San Juan, Puerto Rico. However on Friday, Mrs. Fuhriman's class did get to meet their pen pals from Puerto Rico.

Through the power of video conferencing, the two classes connected, met each other, held a mini Academic Olympiad, and asked each other questions about what the other groups life was like in the other place.

Math and Language Arts questions dominated the mini-competition, although, I don't know that anyone kept score. I also don't think either class missed a question, which was downright impressive in and of itself.

It was awesome to see the kids on either end cheer for each other as their pen pal was introduced or when someone from the other class got the correct answer.

In the foreground of the footage, you see a cameraman from KSL who was there and filmed during the entire event. Then reporter Nkoyo Iyamba came and did a report on the event.

I am continually amazed at what the use of technology can do in the classroom. This event served to further connect students from two different parts of the world. They will remember this for a long time.

Friday, February 21, 2014

1 Device 1 Student- How it Has Worked So Far...

This debate student is taking video
of his extemporaneous speech
using an iPad Mini to practice and
critique himself.
This year I have been working with Mount Jordan Middle School to implement a 1:1 device initiative that is the first of its kind and scale in our district.  When the year began the teachers were all presented (many for the first time) a new iPad and some basic navigatory instructions.  They were told that they would be receiving a class set of devices (Chromebooks or iPad Minis).  The teachers were excited, but there was some apprehension due to lack of experience of having technology this integrated daily into every class.  A few months and a few professional development experiences later, they received their respective carts of devices.  Today, they are being used by the teachers in new and impressive ways that has shown me how brave and ambitious these teachers truly are to bring this tech to their students and integrate it into the core instruction.

In any school there are people who are more technology savvy than others.  This group of teachers is a fairly normal sample of technology understanding that could be typically seen in most schools.  What has made them so successful in implementing the technology in such a relatively short amount of time?

This  7th grade student is using TapTap Blocks App to
find the surface area of 3-D figures on an iPad Mini.
First, there has been support for development and learning about great tools like Nearpod and other apps that support the curriculum.  There is a full-time dedicated field tech who has quickly tackled malfunctioning equipment and network issues.  This is an incredibly valuable part of helping everyone to use these tools as fully as they can.  Having Ed Tech Specialists in the building regularly has also helped make this 1:1 initiative a growing success.  Rachel Murphy and I are the Ed Techs working with the teachers to develop management practices and classroom application.  We are both teachers, so it is great to be able to use what we know about teaching and curricular content to help teachers to find purposeful uses for the devices with students that align with state and district instructional priorities.  It has been quite rewarding helping the teachers prepare for this amazing access to engaging technology tools.  They are seeing that the students are fairly accustomed to trying new things with technology.  Many teachers have been pleasantly surprised how easy it has been to direct students to utilize these tools and help one another when troubleshooting is needed.

This 6th grade student is using Nearpod to participate
in a class discussion about Early trade Routes
using a Chromebook.
Another component that has helped this program to be somewhat successful in our middle school is the use of a Learning Management System (LMS) to help students to experience a blended learning approach.  Our district is using Canvas.  Teachers are using it with their students to turn in assignments, take quizzes, and find study materials related to what they are learning in class.  I think that this important to help teachers to have a structure to build curriculum and make instruction available online and assignments more paperless.  It also gives a clear way to use the devices as a textbook and creation tool.  Our district has also added access to a Google Docs domain (CSDdocs) that allows students to collaborate, create, share, and receive feedback from peers and teachers.  It integrates well with our LMS, Canvas.

Finally, there has been a level of accountability for teachers and students to use the devices in the classroom that has helped everyone to push themselves to use them daily in classroom activity.  These teachers have put forth an amazing effort to take risks and to get comfortable with the technology along side the students.  We have had multiple all-day "Technology Days" where teachers get to showcase their efforts with technology use in their regular lessons for members of the community during the school day.  The teachers have risen to the occasion and prepared instruction that uses these devices effectively.  I have been so impressed by how resourceful they have been in finding great tools and applications for their students.  To view the Twitter Feed from our latest Technology Showcase check #mtjordanrocks.

When reflecting upon the possibilities available to the teachers and students at Mount Jordan Middle School, I see that technology can help teachers teach more effectively and students learn more effectively.  The technology on its own is not the answer.  I think of a well crafted musical instrument.  If played by a skilled musician, it can make wonderful music that inspires all who hear.  Conversely, if played by someone who doesn't have these skills- the music is not so inspirational.  If we teach teachers to play the Chromebook or the iPad- they will be able to use it to improve teaching and learning and hopefully inspire.  Without that understanding, it's just a device that distracts- or does nothing at all.          

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


NudgeMail is a service that allows you to forward emails to yourself set with a reminder for you to deal with later.  You can also send yourself a reminder to do something in the future.  There is no sign up fee, you do not need to create an account, and software is not required.  NudgeMail works on any device and all you need is an email address. Get started by writing or sending yourself a NudgeMail to and you can send the reminder to come back to you by minute, hour, day, month, or year.  Then NudgeMail will send that email back to you at the time you requested to have it sent back.  It is so easy.  If you want to get rid of some clutter in your inbox and want to deal with some emails later, NudgeMail is something you will want to try out.

NudgeMail Blog

Preparing for SAGE in Elementary School

The end of year state assessment is quickly heading our way and with a new testing system, it is very important to help not only prepare our students academically, but with the technology components that come along with the test.  SAGE, Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence, is the new computer adaptive assessment system that aligns to the Core Standards.  Canyons School District, along with schools statewide, will begin implementing this system in the Spring of 2014.

Preparing students in Elementary Schools can look quite different then in Middle and High Schools. As a technology specialist at the elementary level, I feel it is a vital part of my job to support my teachers in teaching and implementation of this new testing system.  Just as teachers scaffold academic instruction, it is important to scaffold our instruction and teaching of technology concepts.

The SAGE Portal offers a Training Test that includes the variety of question types that the students will be exposed to on the test. Click here to link to Training Test. It also exposes students to the variety of tools available.  I would begin my instruction by demonstrating the login process, tools and question types to the whole class and projecting the computer.  I would show the features and discuss the process of answering the questions. Next, have the students login to the Practice Test and explore one test at a time.  Allow each student to explore on their own and be available to answer questions that may come up.  Continue this exploration until all tests that the students will be taken have been explored and would repeat as often as needed prior them taking the test.

Below is a list of features I would be sure to cover with the students.  The better prepared they are a head of time, the less stressful they will be on test day! For more information, visit the Canyons School District Education Technology page: Prolearning.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CSDdocs in 6th Grade Social Studies

The 6th graders at Butler Middle School are using CSDdocs to work collaboratively on ancient civilization projects in Social Studies.  Students were assigned a group and a group leader is designated.  Students work with their peers through Google Docs to create Documents and Presentations on their topic.  Students are assigned a specific portion of the research and project to complete.  They work on their portion of the project in Google Docs.  When they are ready for peer feedback they share the document with the other students in their group using their CSDdocs accounts.  Students review each others work and give constructive feedback.  The group leader is then responsible for taking all portions of the project and putting it together in one document.  Students present their project to the class and then submit their final project via Canvas.  Mrs. Clyde is also using the ePortfolio feature in Canvas to have her students save some of their best work for showcase during the upcoming parent/teacher conferences.  What a great way to use CSDdocs and Canvas!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Quick Key App is a Time Saver

I am always looking for great assessment tools that provide the teacher with useful and meaningful data while giving them results instantly.

Quick Key provides a teacher with only ONE iDevice to do the above mentioned with ease.  Quick Key is similar to Scantrons, remember those (image below)? The problem however, most schools had only one machine to scan them and the Scantron themselves were expensive to buy.

Quick Key allows you to print your own scannable document, create classes (export from Skyward), and create tests.  Once students take the test, the teacher simply uses their iDevice and Quick Key App to scan and score the students test.

The drawback at this point, Quick Key does not allow you to assign a student number that corresponds with the students CSD ID. Quick Key assigns each student a four digit code. The website does point out assigning student IDs is coming in the near future.

Quick Key Website and Apple App

For teachers with access to an iPad or computer labs and who are looking for easy ways to assess student learning please check out these assessment  tools: Socrative,  Infuse Learning, and/or Canvas.

D. Worm

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Skitch for the iPad

When I was thinking of what app or feature that I would like to share, I decided to look at what I use on a regular basis, and what a teacher or student could use on a regular basis as well.

The app I use most frequently when designing training materials is Skitch. Skitch is a free application both for use on a computer and also iOS/android device.  Skitch allows you to edit images and draw circles, highlight, draw arrows, smear names, enlarge/shrink around the images then drag them into a working document. If you open an account through Evernote, you can get your images anywhere you log into your Evernote account. That feature is AWESOME because you can get them from any device.

When I downloaded the app to my iPad, I liked it even better!! It is so easy to use. It is simple to drag your edited image to your project. Simply grab the bottom and drag it to the document you wish.

Here is a sample of my gallery when I open the Skitch app. As you can see, there are a lot of images that I have edited for training purposes. I can open one of those images or create a screen snap from start and edit that. I can also edit an image that is saved on my device.

For students, I can see this being a very useful tool when creating presentations or documents that need to have images included, and particularly if the students need to focus or highlight on a specific part of an image.

Give it a try! Download the app by going to

Many teachers use the exit ticket teaching strategy.  These exit tickets allow students to share what they are thinking and what they have learned at the end of a lesson.  Many teachers have their students write their thoughts, questions, or answers to questions on a piece of paper which is then handed to the teacher to read through.  These exit tickets help teachers assess if students have met the lesson objectives and understand the content.  They also help the teacher plan for the next lesson or unit of instruction. is a new way to collect exit ticket feedback. is an online student response system that allows teachers to create multiple choice, free response, and true or false questions that students can answer using any web enabled device.  Teachers can create free accounts that allow them to create up to 8 classes with 60 students per class. Teachers can manually add students to their classes, or give students a class code and allow students to add themselves to a class. 

The best part about is the real time data that is provided to the teachers and students.  Teachers can quickly see who understands the content, and who needs a little more help. Students will see right away whether or not they answered the questions correctly. keeps track of student data in the scorebook, and this allows teachers to see student progress over time.  

Below is a video that will give you a quick tour of

Monday, February 10, 2014

Safe Social Networking

As educators we are frequently reminding students of the dangers that exist online, yet sometimes we adults forget to practice what we preach. So, with each day bringing us closer to spring, perhaps it is time we take a moment to do a little "spring cleaning" of our own social networking and online presence. This month I challenge you to take a closer look at the sites you frequent, the privacy settings you employ and the image you've created for yourself online. 

What can you do to protect yourself? 
  1. Be proactive! Change or update your privacy/ security settings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. 
  2. Change passwords and sign-out of accounts after each use. 
  3. Limit the images you post. 
  4. Proofread your posts. Once you post it, you can't take the words back. 
  5. Think long term. How will I be perceived by those in my family/ neighborhood/ community? 
  6. Google yourself. It is always a good idea to check and see what is associated with your name online.

Finally, use your experience to re-teach your students. Take the opportunity to address way in which students can continue to build positive images of themselves in our digital world! For more information, videos and teaching resources visit the NetSmartz website.

Friday, February 7, 2014

3 Great Apps for English Language Learners

Technology is a great way of providing English Language Learners with additional language models and vocabulary activities across the grade levels. Here are 3 great apps that are useful in improving student's vocabulary and listening skills.  These apps can be used by the student on the iPad.

Action Words
This app provides students with four pictures. The app says a word and the student selects the picture that matches. This app provides a variety of different high quality pictures. 

  Listening Master Lite
  In this app students spin the wheel and choose a topic.    After the topic is chosen, the student listens to a brief  listening passage on the topic. The student is then asked  questions about the passage. This would be a great app to prepare students for the listening portion of SAGE. 

Comparative Adjectives
This app provides students with 2 or 3 pictures. The app then asks the student to touch the ______ object, using a many different adjectives. 


Monday, February 3, 2014

TED Talks & Curriculum Connections for the Classroom

Looking for a way to spice up core curriculum content? Use TED talks in the Classroom! Using keyword tags teachers can narrow the search to find rich materials to use in their classroom! While TED talks are 18 minutes in length, the entire video often does not need to shown to students. Pick the best part of the video and only show the most relevant parts! Enjoy browsing for curriculum content and watching "riviting talks by remarkable people." You never know, TED talks might just spark an idea for a lesson plan - whether you show students the video or not!

Science on TED: AnimalsAstronomyBiologyChemistryEnvironmentGeologyPhysicsScience


Mathematics on TED: AlgorithmFinanceInvestmentMarketingMath,OrigamiStatisticsTime


Social Studies on TED: AnthropologyCultureExplorationGovernmentHistoryMapWarWorld Cultures


Language Arts on TED: BookCommunicationJournalismLanguageLiteraturePoetryStorytelling, & Writing


Fine Arts on TED: ArtArtsCreativityDancePerformancePhotographyPianoTheater