Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kahoot!- A great way to create student engagement!

Whoever said learning can't be fun has obviously never seen Kahoot!  This amazing web-based interactive tool captivates learners through a game like experience. Kahoot! allows any web-enabled device to be used as a classroom response system.

How does it work? It's easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. The teacher create quizzes, discussions, or surveys. 
2. The teacher projects the quiz through the projector while the students join using the class code provided.
3. The teacher guides the students through the questions.  

Kahoot offers an engaging way to keep the students motivated throughout lessons and discussion by adding a little friendly game like competition. While answering the questions, the students are able to compete against each other to gain a spot on the leaderboard. They must answer the question correctly to earn points, but the faster they answer it, the more points they will receive. After each question, the main screen will show the leaderboard while their personal devices will show them how many points they are behind the person in front of them.

Kahoot is also a great way to guide instruction in all learning environments.  Between questions, the teacher can pause to discuss the answers in further detail or give an introduction to the upcoming question.  All the while, the students will stay actively engaged, because they do not want to miss answering the next question as quickly as possible.  

Visit  or check out this Kahoot! tutorial to learn more:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Technology Use and Driving

As kids are headed back to school this year, the roads will be busier with new and inexperienced drivers. Utah State Law provides guidelines for teenage drivers. Click here for Utah's Teen Drivers Guide.   These drivers are also likely to fall into the category of kids who have access to technology. In addition to basic diving rules, it is important to set expectations for responsible use of technology in car for kids and teenagers, whether they the driver or the passenger.  A few tips and reminders listed here, are a good place to start.

  • Wear safety belt, follow driving and traffic laws and obey signs.
  • No cell phone use while driving: this includes talking and texting.
  • Limit cell phone use while riding as the passenger in a teenage driver's vehicle. This will limit the distraction to the new driver.
  • Lower the volume on the radio and music. Be aware of emergency vehicles and limit distractions.
  • Limit nighttime driving.  Utah Law states that teen drivers under 17, may not drive between Midnight and 5 a.m. (See exceptions)
  • Parents: Be a good example while you are driving and your teenager will be more likely to follow your rules and expectations.
An example of a Parent/Teen Driving Agreement can be found here and is provided by the National Safety Council.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to School "Blues?"

For a lot of us, Back to School means the highest of highs and for some of us, the lowest of lows. Fortunately, in my job as an ed tech, it is exciting to see the teachers and students get the opportunity to learn new things and technologies. This year is going to be particularly exciting with the teachers using Google Docs/Drive more for storing and collaborating information from their PLCs as well as BLT meetings. I feel that they are going to see just how easy and efficient using google docs is. Here are some tips and tricks I have learned along the way for my personal organization.

If you forget how to do any of these things, there are several places to look at quick video tutorials. Here are some I would recommend.

Creating a Folder in Google Drive
Sharing a Folder in Google Drive
Organizing Your Drive

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Canvas Publish Feature

As we welcome back students to a new year of learning, we are moving forward with our use of Canvas at the secondary school level in Canyons District. Many of you took the time to join us for our first ever Canvas Cookout and got to practice with some of the fantastic features Canvas has to offer.

One of the newest and most useful features this year is "Draft State" which offers a publishing button . This addition in courses allows teachers to have more control over the creation and release of classroom content to students.

What does it look like? 
Inside the new Canvas courses, you will notice little gray "clouds" next to all items that can be activated with the publishing feature. As long as the cloud is gray, the content contained there can not been seen and is not accessible to students. To change this and publish the content, simply click on the cloud so that is turns green. Any items with a green cloud are actively published and can be used by students!
Green Clouds = Published 

What if I want to un-publish something? 
To un-publish, or make something inactive so students can't access it, simply click the green cloud so that it turns back to gray. *Please note: for assignments and quizzes, once a student has submitted something, it can't be un-published. 

Why is this helpful? 
The publish option is great because it allows you to develop and edit course content without students "watching." As a teacher, this gives you the ability to plan ahead and make adjustments to your course and allow students access only when you are ready.

If you have questions about Draft State and publishing in Canvas, please contact your Ed Tech for help.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Start the Year Right with Edmodo (Elementary)

The first day of school is almost here and you probably have a million questions for your students.  At the same time, they probably have a million things to share, and another million questions for you!

There's no way you can cover it all on the first day of school, but you can set up a save environment where kids can discuss and share online - Edmodo!

Edmodo is a free online "learning" networking site that allows teachers to create groups for their students to share in discussions, upload files, links, take polls, and even submit work or complete quizzes.  Since Edmodo is a website, you'll find it works well on MacBooks, Windows Machines, and Chromebooks.  There is also a free Edmodo app in the iTunes App Store.

Get the Edmodo app here!

Students can set up their Edmodo accounts very quickly online once the teacher has made a group and shared the "group code".  In minutes your class will be:

  • answering discussion questions
  • completing polls with live results
  • uploading files, documents, and multimedia resources
  • accessing links and assignments
  • completing quizzes that are aligned to the common core

For help getting started and learning all the great features of Edmodo, check in with your EdTech or review one of the grade level specific Edmodo Getting Started Guides.

And for more creative ways to use Edmodo in your class, check out Richard Byrnes Blogpost - "15 Things You Can Do With Edmodo and How To Get Started"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Canvas Cookout, A HUGE Success!!

Monday, August 11th, 300+ Canyons School District teachers participated in a full day of training, learning all about the Canvas Learning Management system. Canvas is an online tool helping teachers build a blended learning environment for learning. Sessions at the Canvas Cookout were aligned to the Canyons Canvas Black Diamond Challenge and teachers choose the level they felt best described their current knowledge and use of Canvas. The day was filled with great sessions, collaborative conversations, games and giveaways from Instructure (the company that created Canvas), and great food from Iceberg!! Below are just a few of the comments we received about the day.
  • “Thank You!  Today was well worth it!” - Rita Egbert
  • “Great day of training!  Thanks Ed Techs” - Andrew VanWagene
  • “Quizzes!  Learned how to make a quiz!” - Kaitlyn Faraone
  • “Graph Builder, Love how you can show formulas & you can insert the graph on the page.  The formulas change the shape of the graph! WAY COOL.  J” - Hanna Kaier
  • “How to embed Twitter, Quizlet YouTube, Khan Academy, etc. WOW! - Marianne Bates
  • “[LTI’s] cool resources to use within Canvas.” - Joseph Karlsven
  • “Like Graph Builder – will use in Physics.” - David Morrill
  • “Quizlet!  Great study guides for tests!” - Jennifer Muir
  • “I love Quizlet!  I have already added it to one of my modules.” - Heather Reavy
  • “This was a great seminar/training!  Thanks!” - Camille Haskan
  • “I created awesome pages to link to my homepage. I’m really excited about it actually!” - Jordan Lynn
  • “Yea! How to import graphics into a quiz.’ - Jennifer Saut
  • “I am so excited for embedding Google Docs and YouTube Videos!” - Jennifer Hendren
  • “Lots of awesome [LTI] APPS! - Joseph Olson
  • “The graph Builder is also cool too!” - Lindsey Glauser
Did you miss the training event?  Don't worry! All of the training materials are online in the Canvas Fast Course for you to work through the materials on your own. Completing all of the modules will earn you 2 USOE credit hours. 1 credit hours is earned for completing the basic modules and another credit hour is earned through completing the advanced modules. It is a great opportunity for you to learn about using Canvas for instruction and your own pace even!! If you feel like you need more training than provided online or just learn better in face-to-face training, reach out to school Educational Technology Specialist.  They will be happy to provide additional training!  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Bring Learning to Life with Aurasma

Aurasma is a FREE augmented reality application for mobile devices with many interesting and creative uses in the classroom. Aurasma is a way to bring the world around us to life. It is a way to interact digitally with the world around us. In order to begin, though, we need to understand some basic terminology:
  • Aurasma - a FREE app to make and view auras on Apple devices, Android Devices. You can even make auras using the Aurasma Studio Web App.
  • Target - any image or item on which you can to add media. A target can be an image in a book, a printed document like a poster, or any picture of the real world. ANYTHING can be made into a target to trigger the interaction.
  • Overlay - media that is viewed over the target in Aurasma.
  • Aura - the creative combination of targets and overlays. 
  • Channels - the way your auras are made available for viewing. 

Auras are often compared to QR Codes. Whereas QR codes are an unidentifiable images needing to be created and then added to websites or printed for use; auras use images from the world around us to trigger the digital experience. Learn more about the app by watching below.

The easiest way to create an Aura is by using the Arasma app. You can also create more complicated auras using the online Aurasma Studio Web App. More information can be found in the Comprehensive Guide or by watching additional tutorial videos found on Aurasma YouTube Channel. Ideas for creative ways Aurasma is being used can also be found by following the Aurasma company on TwitterFacebook, or Pintrest.

Ideas for using Aurasma in the classroom: