Empowering students with technology means more than traditional learning, it also means providing creative opportunities. For many students, this means creating video content. Helping students create video content gives them not just a creative outlet but also prepares them to better engage in technology for the future. However, for teachers inexperienced with creating video content, Microsoft offers a lot of excellent free products.

Movie Moments

Movie Moments provides an excellent platform to create and edit short videos. With the ability to tinker with colors, add text, and add music, Movie Moments is perfect for creating short works. Movie Moments works only in 60 second chunks. However, the pieces of time to include can be spread throughout the original recording. This means that it enables teachers to reinforce some of the “editing” and “revising” objectives in a more kinesthetic way. For children who might be having a difficult time understanding the writing process, the video process can be a hands-on way to introduce the types of steps needed to make a good creative or information communication.

Movie Maker by Videopix

Movie Maker allows for longer videos as well as different types of video editing. For people comfortable with Snapchat or Instagram, Movie Maker works similarly. Movie Maker has filters and text overlay capabilities like the photography apps. However, it also allows music to be added and even allows for different music to be added at different times. Moreover, it offers further customization with the ability to apply different affects to different trimmed parts of the video. For teachers using this to show students how to make video presentations, it also allows for transition effect such as rotation and tile.

Easy Movie Maker

Easy Movie Maker works best for those with limited understanding of video editing or those working with younger kids. It allows basic editing as well as the addition of text and music. However, it lacks the bells and whistles of filters and transitions. In this sense, by having minimal editing opportunities, it acts as a great gateway tool for children or teachers just starting to engage in video content creation.

Pedagogical research indicates that the future of education lies in giving students 21st Century skills and creating a learner-centered classroom. With the core curriculum requirements and the continued integration of standards, interest-driven lessons are less likely to be available. However, video content creation can provide and opportunity to engage students and move a traditional curriculum into a learner-centered one.

With the advent of electronic content, Newsela presents a free and unique way to engage children that replaces those dreadful Weekly Readers from the 1980’s. Since most children will grow up to read news online instead of physical print, incorporating strategies that prepare them for the world of electronic content is more important than ever.

Newsela offers traditional news geared towards younger audiences. For children who might be a bit too sensitive to see the headlines and violence in traditional mainstream media outlets, Newsela provides real-life news with a focus on being informative but not frightening.

The categories and headlines are like those on CNN or MSNBC, but the language is adjusted to match children’s reading skill levels. This means that the article in the Indian Country Media Network states, “the announcement cited need for further examination of key issues, including treaty rights. It was suggestive of a reroute, and indicated that there will be an Environmental Impact Statement initiated to review the crossing. We look forward to this process getting underway.” Most children would struggle with that sentence thus excluding them from learning about the world around them.

For kids in the upper grades, an article on Newsela about the Dakota Access pipeline states, “A federal court could still rule in favor of Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, and order the Army Corps to grant a permit.” Although both say the same thing, the Newsela article gives children the right amount of information in a way that they can understand.

For the elementary school kids, Newsela also provides “Newsela Elementary.” For children in lower grades, these articles provide additional explanation. The Newsela article on the Dakota Access pipeline in the elementary edition explains “A federal court, or a court interpreting U.S. laws, could still rule in favor of Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline. It could still order the Army Corps to grant a permit and let the company keep building.” By including an explanation of a federal court, this article helps give additional information little children need to know for comprehension. Moreover, the writing splits a complex sentence into two simpler sentences to match the readership.

Even more importantly, Newsela offers several excellent tools for teachers and parents. Opening an article shows the following:

The “write” and “quiz” buttons offer the opportunity to engage children further with the articles. The write option provides a prompt to which children can respond. The quiz option offers multiple choice reading comprehension quizzes. These tools can help teachers more easily meet common core classroom objectives.

As a resource for providing news as well as testing comprehension, Newsela stands to be an asset to any teacher. With the current common core focus on informational texts, Newsela gives an opportunity to bring a more modern approach into the classroom. Finally, most important for training the future voters is the presentation of news they can understand to encourage a love of the civic duty of awareness.

personify1As flipping the classroom becomes more popular in academic settings, teachers seek out ways in which they can create meaningful video content for students which is where Personify Chroma can become a true asset in the classroom.

Personify is an app that allows users to capture a picture or video that acts as a background for a video. Personify offers an opportunity for teachers to create video content that also allows them to create a presentation and then overlay video of themselves teaching the material. After downloading the Personify application, the user automatically receives Personify Cameo which allows the removal of the original background and gives the user an opportunity to replace it with a background of their choice. Personify offers technology and software that corporate training organizations have recognized as offering meaningful technology for supporting distance learning. What this means for educators is that they can use that same teaching model to help their students succeed. Using a PowerPoint presentation as the background, a teacher can stand in front of the presentation and treat the video as though they are teaching in a face to face situation.

For teachers fully integrated into the Microsoft world, Personify acts as an easy to use video content creation application. Personify requires a depth-sensing camera such as the Microsoft Kinect for Windows or the Asus Xtion Pro Live. When hooked up through Personify, the user no longer needs to have a physical green screen in the background to overlay the video. Personify Chroma uses a chroma key embedded in the software so that only that which is in the camera range is shown.

When flipping a classroom, teachers need to find unique technology to help create an engaging students meaningfully while trying to share the information needed for the in-person portion to make it educational. With Personify Chroma, teachers can simulate the same types of traditional lessons for the virtual experience so that they are able to fully commit to the flipped classroom method.

Learn more about Personify here.


Everyday, teachers battle against the furrowed brow of confusion, but Microsoft Pulse can help overcome that. For those teachers who have tablets in the classroom, Pulse provides an opportunity to gauge student comprehension and engagement in real time.pulse-6Pulse incorporates the use of a “Like” or “Dislike” feature that allows students to tell the teacher how they feel about the way that the lesson is being presented. Traditionally, teachers scan the room and look at student faces. Often, it’s hard to determine whether the look is one of confusion or daydreaming. With Pulse, this doesn’t have to be a problem. Moreover, despite the fear that it means children will be more focused on their tablets than on the lecture, the interactive quality actually ensures greater participation and engagement since students will be thinking about whether the lesson is making sense.

pulse-2Another excellent feature is the ability to set up quizzes. Often in the classroom setting, it’s useful to take the temperature of the class’s cognition. However, stopping the class, handing out a quiz, and then collecting it has no meaning when the quiz won’t be graded until after the students have left. In addition, no one really wants to add more grading to their lives. With Pulse, quizzes can be set up in advance and graded immediately. The teacher can track whether the lesson is connecting and revisit the information that has not been effectively communicated.

pulse-1The steps to making Pulse work are simple. After creating a login, the teacher will be taken to a home page that offers two options: Live Pulse or Video Pulse. For teachers who want to engage students in real time, the Live Pulse is the option. If the class is distance learning or is being used in a flipped classroom situation, the Video Pulse is the way to go. Getting started is as easy as creating an Event Name, saving, and sharing the custom URL. Users can fill in demographic information such as age/gender/political party. Then the user creates a pulse title which is the question the teacher wants the students to answer. The pre-filled suggestion is “Do you agree with the instructor, but something along the lines of “do you understand the lecture” might be even more effective. Then the response style gets filled in. Next the teacher is prompted to create a poll questions. What’s nice about this is that a teacher can make several polls that span the course of the class period and focus on the main ideas they’re trying to teach. If the students answer “No” to the poll, the teacher can go back and reteach the idea.

pulse-3Traditional classroom approaches informally poll students by asking whether anyone has a question. Most students shake their heads “no” and then fail assignments that address precisely the subject they said they understood. With Pulse, students don’t have to worry about being embarrassed by not understanding. Instead of the communication deadlock, teachers will be able to get solid, ongoing student feedback that tests how well kids are understanding the material presented. Pulse allows teachers to get the pulse of the room and be able to create a more student focused classroom by better understanding what students need.

Try Microsoft Pulse Today: Click Here.



Hour of Code 2016 is rapidly approaching. This year, Computer Science Education Week will be celebrated from December 5-11. With this in mind, many teachers are planning in class activities that will help engage students and foster a love of skills needed for the future. Hour of Code has become such an international educational phenomenon that many free resources have spawned. For those who want to incorporate coding as part of their classroom lesson but feel overwhelmed by the topic, the Hour of Code website is the perfect resource.

Anyone who has experience with the 7 to 14-year-old set, both boys and girls, knows that Minecraft is basically life. Minecraft has been used by teachers and parents to engage children in engineering at a younger age. With pedagogical research focusing on the importance of Minecraft to STEM teaching , educators are increasingly aligning their classrooms to incorporate the game. Therefore, Hour of Code matches perfectly with the Minecraft movement making for an engaging and educational experience for everyone.

Enter Microsoft. Microsoft has partnered with Minecraft  to create two Hour of Code events focusing entirely on the sandbox phenomenon. The first one teaches kids to program animals and other creatures in a personalized Minecraft demo world. The second uses code to walk Alex or Steve on an adventure. In addition, for teachers who may not have access to the internet in their classrooms, Microsoft has a downloadable version for Windows users. Moreover, the downloads for offline use come in both English and Spanish which are a boost for ELL students. By doing this, Microsoft is helping to engage those students who are often left out of educational opportunities due to a language gap. While this does not account for all students with a language gap, specifically Asian students, it does try to address some of the issues that plague classroom teachers when trying to engage diverse classrooms.

For teachers not confident in their own computing skills who may want to shy away from teaching computer science, Microsoft recognizes the reluctance. With those teachers in mind, Microsoft has downloadable lesson plans  to help organize a Minecraft Hour of Code class. The teacher resources incorporate pre-planning activities. If a teacher has never done an Hour of Code event, Microsoft has that covered, too. With its “Best Practices” document and it’s “How-to-Guide,” the resources enable even a newbie to the event to be successful. Moreover, with its extension activities, a teacher can turn an Hour of Code into a few days of code.

With the rise of technology jobs and the constant push for STEM and STEAM, teachers can give students a boost by engaging them with the Hour of Code events. While many teachers may feel pressed for time in order to meet Common Core objectives for their classroom, remembering that code has a basis in math and algebra as well as application of math concepts  remains important. Bringing in the Hour of Code activities not only align perfectly with the Common Core math objectives at any age, but they may be a fundamental moment for future computer engineers.

Teaching requires not just having tools but also finding information and connecting with other educators. However, spending time in a classroom all day and having limited resources often means that educators aren’t able to travel to different conferences in order to engage in the most recent EdTech conversations. However, technology, such as Twitter Chats, can bring teachers from across the country together in meaningful ways that will help them become better advocates for their students.


What is a Twitter Chat?

Twitter chats are when a group of Twitter users all discuss the same topic using a designated hashtag at the end. For example, many conferences now have designated hashtags so that individuals not at the conference can engage in conversations with those who are in attendance. A perfect example would be the National Council of English Teachers has a #NCTE16 hashtag that allowed people to follow the attendees and see more about the kinds of exercises and panels.



How do I follow a Twitter Chat?

Many people like to use Twitter management tools that filter the hashtags for them. In other words, downloading an app or going to a specific website allows the teacher to insert the hashtag to be followed to begin reading the conversations and engaging with other like-minded individuals.


TweetChat: Sign in using a Twitter account, authorize the Twitter account, put a chat hastag into the required box, and read away! The feed looks pretty much like a regular Twitter feed, but it allows for a desktop interface to give an easy to follow view.


Twchat.com: For those not minding a web based platform, this feed aggregator provides some adds a few additional elements. Giving users an option of separating the feed into hosts/guests and others allows an easier visual follow for many trying to keep track of the main conversation. In addition, it provides a list of upcoming chats to the extent the user wants to find something new.


Tchat.io: For people looking for a quick, easy way to read chats without committing to saving anything, tchat.io is the perfect tool. Similar to TweetChat, tchat.io uses the login/hashtag/go forth model. However, it provides only the most basic options and lacks the personalization that TweetChat provides. For users not confident in their technological prowess, this is the perfect tool.


What Education Twitter Chats are the best?

#OneNoteQ: TweetMeets are organized by the Microsoft OneNote in Education team @OneNoteEDU in close collaboration with OneNote Central @OneNoteC. Every first Tuesday of the month, we discuss a new theme presented by a host from the educator community or from a Microsoft product team. These TweetMeets are very lively and popular. There are two events: one at 10AM PST and one at 4PM PST.  For more information check this blog post .


#MSFTEduChat: If you are an Educator interested in having incredible conversations around Microsoft tools, accessibility, and learning how to empower educators and students to do more well then this is the right twitter chat for you. Sometimes twitter chats are referred to as Tweetmeets. Follow the #MSFTEduChat and you will not be disappointed. #MSFTEduChat is organized every third Tuesday of the month, at 10AM PST and 4PM PST.


#TCRWP: Teachers College Reading & Writing Project is out of Columbia University and hosts a series of Twitter chats. Every Wednesday night, beginning at 7:30pm EST, the TCRWP community of staff and colleagues run hour long chats about writing issues for grades K-12. Click here to see more about #TCRWP


#TeacherFriends: Started by two elementary school teachers intending to share ideas with parents, #teacherfriends is hosted by Kim Vij and Amanda Boyarshinov. Every Tuesday night at 9pm EST,
#teacherfriends brings on special guests to talk with educators about new ideas and current hot topics.


#mathchat: #Mathchat, unlike the other two, is a hashtag used to support sharing among math teachers. Unlike the previous two, this one acts more as an informational aggregator on an ongoing basis so that even when the day has been too long to focus for a specific hour, math educators can still work together to learn from each other.


These are only a few suggested chats. However, a more comprehensive list of chats by day and time can be found here:


Teachers struggling with students who have learning disabilities constantly look for applications to help adaptation, and Microsoft Office Lens has a new update that matches this need perfectly. Accessibility to aid students is one of the greatest challenges for teachers in the classroom. Students who have learning disabilities that impact reading and writing can feel adrift in the classroom, and the best teachers want to help find them tools to succeed. With the new update to Microsoft Office Lens, adaptability becomes that much easier.

Many students with visual disabilities find that having books and class work read to them help overcome the disability. The problem is that not every text can be found in an adapted format. Those students who most need the accommodation often find that they are left without the support they need. For example, children with visual/perceptual motor deficits or dyslexia often have a hard time processing the language they see but understand the content perfectly fine when it’s provided in an auditory format. For these students, having something that allows them to better access their education can be the difference between moving up to the next grade or stagnating.

Microsoft Office Lens’s recent update provides a financially reasonable approach for these students. Not only does it give them the ability to scan books, it also allows them to listen to these books so that they can better process the information. Available across platforms, this means that regardless of a school’s technology environment, the Lens can be used to meet accommodations.

Students and teachers can now take pictures of documents which then turns them into scanned documents. Integrating with Office Lens, they can turn on the Immersive Reader function. This gives students and teachers the ability to enlarge both the fonts and spacing to make it easier to read. However, the truly innovative aspect is the ability to use the Read Aloud function. With the Read Aloud function, the documents can be turned into interactive e-books. As the application reads the document, it also highlights the words. Students who have a hard time processing visual language can now engage both visually and orally so that they can integrate the two in an adaptive manner.

In addition to the reading aspect, Microsoft Office Lens provides a unique opportunity to help students with their writing. For many students, understanding the concepts of syntax appear far more difficult than recognizing awkward syntax. However, simply re-reading a paper by themselves can lead to them not catching their own mistakes because they do it in their heads instead of out loud. Reading papers out loud can feel awkward and uncomfortable, especially as children get older. Microsoft Office Lens can help students engage in more efficient proofreading by reading their papers to them while they follow along visually allowing them to both hear the mistakes and see where to fix them in the document. For writing teachers, this will help students engage more independently in the editing and revising part of the writing process.

Here are some key must test out features in Office Lens.

  • Read aloud: Reads text out loud with simultaneous highlighting that improves decoding, fluency and comprehension while sustaining focus and attention.
  • Font size: the user to increase or decrease the size of fonts.
  • Wide text spacing: Optimizes font spacing in a narrow column view to improve reading fluency for users who suffer from “visual crowding” issues.
  • Back five words and forward one page: Allows the user to move backward and forward in the content.
  • Speaking rate: Allows the user to control the speed of the voice reading back the words.


Overall, Microsoft’s new updates to Office Lens are revolutionary in terms of adaptability for students. Teachers hoping to help students find new ways to engage in their lasses and overcome learning disabilities will find this to be one of the most important technology updates they have seen in a long time. Visit the Office Blogs or check out these YouTube Videos” Microsoft Learning Tools in Office Lens” and “Microsoft Office Lens offers built-in accessibility with Immersive Reader & Frame Guide” to learn more.


Reaching out to other education professionals is always a challenge, but with the Microsoft Skype-a-Thon, teachers can now actively attempt to meet those who share their specialties and interests. On November 29-30th, this annual event will “take away the walls of a classroom ” to make learning limitless.

The benefit to teachers and student for this event is that kids can gain the necessary world experience to be effective global citizens without having to leave their classrooms. By bringing the Skype-a-thon to the classroom, teachers can take their children on real-time virtual field trips to Badlands National Park or even the Lisbon Zoo. Kids can do singalong with children from around the world or have a lesson about living in the wilderness for a year by people who’ve done it. Teachers can bring other experts from across the world into their classrooms including teachers from Russia, Iraq, and the Netherlands.

As the world flattens, children need to be able to step outside of their comfort zones and local areas. While children in large cities often have diversity thrust upon them, it might be a good experience for them to also see how other children like them live in other countries or even other areas of the United States. For students who live in less diverse areas, the Skype-a-thon gives them a chance to expand their cultural understanding without having to get a passport or spend money.

After the Skype-a-thon, teachers are encouraged to find creative ways to share their experiences using the twitter hashtag #skypeathon to show how far they’ve traveled. Why not set a goal for your classroom? How far can your class travel through virtual miles?

Check out last years post on the Skype-a-Thon, click here.


As teachers increasingly look to incorporate technology meaningfully into their classrooms and in their professional lives, web-based applications like Appear.In provide low cost solutions. Video conferencing may not seem like something relevant to most teachers, yet an infusion of creativity and a little organization, these kinds of applications can be useful not just for student-teacher interactions, but also student-student and teacher-teacher interactions.

Many people are familiar with both Skype and other kinds of videoconferencing platforms. However, many of those require downloads or have connectivity problems. Appear.In provides the option for a web-based platform that allows for greater flexibility for users. However, many teachers may be wondering how these can be effective in their classrooms.


Parent-Teacher Conversations: Face to face communication with parents is one of the most important steps to building an effective classroom community. Since many families consist of two working parents and many children attending aftercare, teacher ability to see parents regularly has dwindled. Moreover, many teachers feel uncomfortable sharing their personal telephone numbers with parents, and rightfully so. As such, the ability to create chat rooms or videoconferencing locations without having to create personal logins can provide teachers and parents with the anonymity to create professional distance while still offering a personalized face-to-face experience.

Student-Student Interactions: Back in the 1980’s, every kid learned the joys of pen-pals. Across the world, children communicated using pens, paper, and stamps to learn from others. In the modern digital age, these kinds of interactions seem antiquated and quaint. Students today want technology involved in their interpersonal interactions. Appear.In offers teachers the opportunity to interact with other classrooms while maintaining student privacy. When teachers find international classroom partners , they can easily connect with them to help foster a sense of community through face to face interactions.

Teacher-Student Extra Help: Appear.In not only offers video-conferencing but can also be used for vidcasts and podcasts. This means that teachers can offer extra help tutorials. As mentioned above, many students attend aftercare or other activities after school and many teachers are constrained by local budgets. For teachers who feel that their students could benefit from additional lessons, vidcasts might be useful tools to bridge the educational gap and also allow parents to be more engaged in their children’s education since they will also know what to do to help them succeed.

Teacher-Teacher Collaboration: As discussed previously, teachers lacking financial resources often turn to the internet to find new ideas and establish peer communities through Twitter chats. Appear.In offers an opportunity for teachers to take those kinds of internet connections and move them into a more personal space without compromising privacy. Since no account creations is necessary, teachers can connect with like-minded others that they meet through various forums and create their own collaborative communities. This allows teachers to share ideas without having to spend money on travel.

One of the best parts of Appear.In lies in that it not only provides a video-conferencing forum, but it also allows for chat interactions. With this feature, similar to other types of video-conferencing forums, those involved in the rooms can access messages and respond at their convenience. One of the clever features that distinguishes Appear.In from other types of chat forums is that it allows users to color code different speakers so that the conversation can be followed quickly and without confusion.

Overall, Appear.In can be a useful tool to help time-pressed educators connect with their students, students’ parents, and various communities.


Engaging reluctant readers constantly confounds teachers, and many have turned to comics as the answer. Research proves that reading comics helps kids who do not enjoy traditional books. However, reading is only one half of the literacy puzzle. For children to be fully literate in our digital intensive world, they also need to know how to write. This means that for students uncomfortable with writing, mirroring the approach taken to engage them in reading can show the connections between reading and writing to make the process more manageable.

For teachers who have embraced using comics and graphic novels to engage their students in reading, finding a way to engage them in writing similarly may not be as intuitive. To help with this, below are five web-based applications that can be used in the classroom to help students work on their writing skills through comics. In July 2016, the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology published a paper called “Pedagogical Analysis of Comic Authoring Systems for Education Digital Storytelling.” The six digital authoring tools discussed are outlined below in terms of their applicability to the classroom. The six tools were evaluated for as follows:

Collaborative Learning – the extent of collaborative creation of digital story encouraged by the educational DST environments.

Creativity and Innovation – the ability to create digital stories from scratch.

Multiple Representations – the capability to incorporate text, pictures, video, voice, graphs, diagrams into the digital story.

Motivation – how far the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are provided by the educational DST environments.

Cultural Sensitivity – the level of learners’ cultural diversity adapted into the system.

Gender Equality – educational DST environments offer equal treatment to both genders.

Cognitive Effort – the amount of mental work attempted by learners while using the application’s features.

Feedback – negative and positive feedback for learners’ improvement and motivation.

Learner Control – the story flow and outcome could be influenced by users.

Flexibility – how far the application is able to adapt to learners individual preferences

and background.

Learner Activity – the dominance of learners’ active roles compared to instructor in affecting learning experience.

Value of Previous Knowledge – cumulative of previous material aid learners’ understanding.
Sharply-Focused Goal Orientation – definition of learning goals is present.

Experiential Value – reflection on direct experiences the alter results of learning.

Knowledge Organization – students’ conceptual development is promoted in the educational DST environment.

Metacognition – the extent of learners’ metacognitive skills enhanced by the system.
(Azman, et al, 462-463)


Comic Life: Providing a free downloadable program for any operating system and device, the American Library Association also recommends Comic Life 3. Since Comic Life is a downloadable program for desktops, laptops, and mobile devices instead of being strictly web-based, it received medium values for Collaborative Learning and low value for Feedback. It generally earned Medium values for Cultural Sensitivity, Multiple Representations, and Motivation. However, since it is more customizable and allows students to draw their own pictures it earned higher values for Flexibility, Learner Control, Learner Activity, and Metacognition. It earned low values for Previous Knows and Sharply-Focused Goal Orientation since it is an offline downloadable as opposed to web based application.


Pixton: Pixton allows login with a Microsoft Office 365 account and creates a full sense of community. Account creation is free; however, as with all things the premium account allows for greater instructor customization. Pixton earned high values across all categories. Collaborative Learning, Creativity and Innovation, Learner Control, Learner Activity, and Flexibility rated high because the program allowed for a lot of customization and insertion of user generated work. Again, this user customization allowed for Cultural Sensitivity and Gender Equality to have high values. Moreover, the multi-page construction of stories allowed high values for Metacognition.


MakeBeliefsComix: Intended for beginners, this program has low values for Collaborative Learning, Learner Control, Learner Activity, and Flexibility because it does not allow for multiple users. No external media can be uploaded which meant that Creativity, Motivation, Cognitive Effort, Feedback, Value of Knowledge, and Sharply-Focused Goal Orientations all received medium values. Despite earning low value for Multiple Representations since no content can be uploaded, the variety of characters earned a high value for Cultural Sensitivity and Gender Equality.


Cartoon Maker: Since Cartoon Maker is free, the program provides less versatility. Collaborative Learning, Learner Control, Learner Activity, Multiple Representations, and Flexibility all earned low values due to lack of customization. However, the variety of backgrounds, hair, and skin color choices allowed Motivation, Cognitive Effort, Feedback, Value of Knowledge, Sharply-Focused Goals, Cultural Sensitivity, and Gender Equality to earn medium values. In addition, since the program grants up to four panels of creation, Experiential Value, Conceptual Organization and Metacognition earned medium values.

Graphix Comic Builder: Graphix Comic Builder presents many of the same value challenges as the other applications. With mostly predefined characters who have a finite set of poses and facial expressions, Collaborative Learning, Learner Control, Learner Activity, Multiple Representations, and Flexibility all received low values. Motivation, Cognitive Effort, Feedback, Value of Knowledge, and Sharply-Focused Goal Orientation earned medium values. Moreover, the Gender Equality earned a medium value despite being low on the Cultural Sensitivity dimension. Metacognition earned a Medium value.

As you can see, there are many options here for you to choose from. Pick something that meets your teaching style and your students learning styles and imagine the possibilities.

Microsoft recently launched Microsoft Forms and I must say that I am loving it. With Microsoft Forms you can, create forms in minutes, send forms to anyone and see results in real time.

Microsoft Forms is a new part of Office 365 Education that allows teachers and students to quickly and easily create custom quizzes, surveys, questionnaires, registrations and more. When you create a form, you can invite others to respond to it using any web browser, even on mobile devices. As results are submitted, you can use built-in analytics to evaluate responses. Form data, such as quiz results, can be easily exported to Excel for additional analysis or grading.

Here are some simple instructions on how to get started in a few simple steps.

Step 1: Sign in to Microsoft Forms using your Office 365 credentials and create a new survey form or quiz form.


Step 2: Adjust settings for your form. This will allow you to protect your forms so you can make them public or keep them private to be shared only with a selected few.



Step 3: Send your form to others


Step 4: Check your form results


Microsoft Forms is simple, clean, and an easy way to create forms, surveys, or a quiz.

Try it today at https://Forms.Office.com

Here is a great collection of 12 videos that will walk you through some of the best features in Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

  • Module 01 Windows 10: Anniversary Update

  • Module 02 Windows 10: Compatibility

  • Module 03 Windows 10: Setting up for success

  • Module 04 Windows 10: Universal Apps

  • Module 05 Windows 10: Windows store for business

  • Module 06 Windows 10: The power of digital ink

  • Module 07 Windows 10: Microsoft Edge

  • Module 08 Windows 10: Collaboration

  • Module 09 Windows 10: Multi-doing

  • Module 10 Windows 10: Take a Test

  • Module 11 Windows 10: Set up School PCs

  • Module 12 Windows 10: Multi-desktop

Minecraft is truly something magical. As Educators we can easily become fans of certain software/hardware and sometimes it is the little things that we are looking for that help us evangelize or make stronger connections with our students. Those little things can be updates, functionality features or just marketing materials that make us admire the products even further.

Minecraft is one of those products that I truly admire. It’s simple concept of building yet powerful enough to truly transform the classroom environment.

For this post I thought I would share some of my favorite Minecraft wallpaper images that inspire me and remind me to keep building.


minecraft-3 mk5txps minecraft-scenic-background k4qvamw minecraft2

Image Source:http://wallpapercave.com/best-minecraft-backgrounds


PLC’s (Professional Learning Communities) have become a hot topic in EDU. Seems like everyone these days are creating there own form of PLC’s. The concept of creating one is a great idea, however managing the content and people to truly make that PLC group effective can be challenging if not using the proper productivity tools.

Recently the Microsoft in Education Team Blogged a great article around how to create a PLC in 3 easy steps using Office 365 in Education. Below are the simple three ways on how to start creating your PLC in Office 365.


1.  Create a PLC group in Office 365

Log into your Office 365 portal and click on the Outlook tile from the portal page or app launcher.

There are two quick ways to start a PLC group.

a. Drop down the New button and choose Groups, or click the “+” button beside Groups within the Outlook Web App (OWA).

Create a PLC group in Office 365

b. Select the Professional Learning Community option on the right to create a PLC group.

b. Select the Professional Learning Community option on the right to create a PLC group.

You will be prompted to choose a name for your PLC group, and you can add a group description. PLC groups are designated as private by default, meaning that only PLC group members have access to any information or data you might share.

Create a PLC group

Once you’ve established your PLC, you’ll find pre-populated content and templates. You may modify these elements as appropriate for your group.


2. Use a OneNote Notebook for plan and do

Every PLC group gets its own OneNote Notebook, prepopulated with content and templates from real PLC groups so you don’t have to start from scratch! This is the place to plan your program of study, bring in articles and web resources, keep notes as you meet, post contributions and new ideas to implement in your classroom, and ensure that all who are in the group are progressing well on their learning path. No more trying to keep up with printed resources and ring binders. Have a look at this great blog post by Cal Armstrong listing all the many ways OneNote has become embedded in his district. Pay special attention to number nine, PLC groups.

Use a OneNote Notebook for plan and do

3. Use a Planner for checking in on tasks and owners

Planner is also a great tool in PLC groups for keeping the PLC on track with benchmarks, tasks, and targets to meet along a timeline. With Planner, teams can create new plans; organize, assign and collaborate on tasks; set due dates; update statuses and share files, while visual dashboards and email notifications keep everyone informed on progress.

Use a Planner for checking in on tasks and owners

4. Use Connectors, Conversations as group messaging

Meeting regularly to connect as a PLC is one thing.  However, the conversations, connections, and work to bring new learning into enriched classroom practice involves educators sharing from one PLC meeting to the next.  Whether you are tracking a Twitter feed or monitoring the latest education blog or headlines with Bing—Office 365 Connectors surfaces all the information you care about in the Office 365 Groups shared inbox, so you can easily collaborate with others and interact with the updates as they happen, inside or outside your school.

For immediate conversations, in PLC groups you can also use the Skype “meet now” functionality. Imagine continuing an academic conversation during planning time with another in your PLC cohort without leaving your own classroom.

Use Connectors, Conversations as group messaging

SOURCE: Microsoft in Education Blog

Using Office 365 you are able to limit sharing the sharing of Sways to your school district/office 365 tenant. This means that you can basically set up a Sway so that only students or teachers at your school can view your Sways. Today, you are able to add one new level of privacy by setting passwords for your individual Sways. This will make sure that only people whom you have shared that password with are allowed to view your Sway.

To add a password, sign into Sway with your Office 365 account and follow these steps:
1. Click on the Share icon on the top navigation bar of your Sway.
2. On the menu that appears, click More options, then click Require a password to view or edit this Sway.


3. In the Create password dialog box, choose a password for your Sway. Make sure it has at least 8 characters, including a number, uppercase letter, and lowercase letter.


4. Toggle between the two options: Password required to view or edit or Password required to edit.

When you share your Sway, others will need to enter your selected password to view it.


Remove the password from your Sway

1. Click on the Share icon on your Sway’s top navigation bar.
2. On the menu that appears, click More options, then click Remove.


Viewers will now be able to view or edit your Sway without a password.

Source Credit: Office Blogs


So far I am loving Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Here are some nice additions and features that you can take advantage of with this update.

1) Windows Hello, Microsoft’s biometric authentication mechanism can now be accessed through the lock screen. You can now ask or get information from Cortana with out logging on to the device.

2) Microsoft added the Windows Ink Workspace. You can say goodbye to the interactive whiteboards with this little feature. In the past you could maximize inking with OneNote or through Edge. Now with the Windows Ink Workspace you can ink over anything. Some nice features include being able to ink on sticky notes, a sketch pad, or any screen sketch.

3) Edge browser now supports extensions. One of my favorite ones is Last Pass. It is a safe and secure spot to keep your Passwords and it integrates with Edge, IE, Chrome, IOS and more.

4) Active Hours: You can now set up active hours, which will make sure that no updates come through to your device during those active hours.

Specifically for EDU:
Take a Test App: This app can be found through the Windows Store for Business. The app will allow you to go and lock down your students device into a kiosk mode where you will be able to simulate a high stakes testing environment with any assignments or website.

take a test

Set Up A Schools PC App:
This app helps you set up new computers running Windows 10. You can use this app to set up your students’ PCs without help from your IT department:

  • A computer set up this way is tailored to provide students with the tools they need for learning while removing apps and features that they don’t need.
  • Places tiles for OneNote, Office 365 web apps, Sway, and Microsoft Classroom on the Start menu
  • Installs OneDrive for cloud-based documents and places it on the Start menu and taskbar
  • Sets Microsoft Edge as the default browser
  • Uninstalls apps not specific to education, such as Solitaire and Sports
  • Turns off Offers and tips
  • Prevents students from adding personal Microsoft accounts to the computer

set Up a pc

If This Then That is a well-known application that gives you creative control over the products that you love. ITTT is known for its digital recipes that create simple connections between products and apps.

Now that IFTTT is coming to skype you will be able to program new recipes to meet your needs. On the IFFTT site has simple and easy instructions to follow so you can easily get started.


You will need to connect your Skype account to the service.
Add the IFTTT Bot to your contacts and begin adding recipes.

Click here to see some great recipes that will allow you to start right away.



What is Cortana?

Cortana is a key feature built-in into Windows 10. Think of her as your personal assistant that allows you to work and increase your productivity. Cortana is integrated into key behaviors within your applications and because of this she can provide fast access to crucial information and reminders as you work.
Cortana can manage your calendar and track packages for you heavy amazon users. She can find files and documents that you have recently worked on just be silly and sing you a lullaby.

So how do you get started using Cortana?

Well that is the cool thing. She is already infused into the operating system so all that you need to do is type a question in the search box of the taskbar. Another option is to click on the microphone icon in the search box and you can use voice commands to ask Cortana a question. You can also just set up Cortana so that all you have to say is “Hey Cortana” and she will listen and respond to what you ask of her.

Setting up Cortana:

Select the search box on the taskbar to open Cortana home. Then select the Notebook icon, click on settings and turn on the let Cortana respond when you say Hey Cortana.

Personalizing Cortana:

You can help Cortana be more personalized by following a few simple steps. You can use Cortana’s Notebook to tell it about your interest. In this notebook you will be able to set up categories such as news, travel, weather as well as other personal interests.  To set this up you can find the notebook  by selecting the search box on the taskbar, then selecting the notebook icon.


Cortana Commands – “Hey Cortana”

“What does my day look like”
“Change my 2pm meeting tomorrow to 3pm”
“Remind me at 4pm to submit my assignment”
“Remind me to buy gas when I leave work”
“Translate to French – (where is the bathroom?)”

That’s right! Cortana can translate questions and comments to other languages. Cortana can even work out a math problem.

So how do I use Cortana? Cortana for me is an incredible travel tool.  Using Cortana I can track my flights or have Cortana provide me with traffic information that says “You should leave now if you want to make it to your next meeting.”

Sometimes you just need to be left alone so you can focus in on your work/assignments. You can open Cortana and set her to do not disturb so you have you much needed quiet hours. I just don’t know what I used to do before Cortana.

Save any email to OneNote by sending it to me@onenote.com.




1. Choose your email address:
Select email addresses you want to use for saving OneNote emails.
Set up email to OneNote

2. Choose your destination:
Choose the default notebook and section where your emails will be saved.

3. Email content:
Send an email to me@onenote.com to save it directly in OneNote. You can access the emails you saved in OneNote from any of your devices.


PlaneTrip Confirmations
Keep track of your upcoming travel plans in OneNote by forwarding your flight and hotel confirmation emails.


noteQuick note to yourself
Jot down a thought or task for later and save it to OneNote.


Save online purchase receipts to make filing and finding them easy.


emailImportant emails
Save an email you might want to revisit later from another device.

Can I send emails from a non-Microsoft email address?

Yes, you can add any email address you own to your Microsoft account and enable it for this feature.

Where are my emails saved?

You can change your default save location on the Settings page. You can also pick a different section to save an individual email by including the “@” symbol followed by the section name in the subject line of your email.

Source: <https://www.onenote.com/EmailToOneNote>

Saw this tweet today and loved it! Seriously, who does not love shortcuts? We are always looking for ways to increase our efficiency. Thanks for sharing Minnia Feng – You can find her blog here – http://minniafeng.com/


onenote update

It’s no secret that we are huge OneNote fans. Thought we would share some of the latest updates from OneNote with you.

What is Windows Hello and what can it do?

Windows Hello comes in a few forms. With a Real Sense camera, Windows Hello can unlock a computer, tablet, or smartphone by scanning a user’s iris. Windows Hello also works with a fingerprint scanner. Security is provided by storing all biometric information locally on the device, meaning that hackers cannot gain access to it through a network as with traditional passwords. Even if a device is stolen, the device and its contents are useless without the owners biometric authentication.

So how can I use Windows Hello as a Teacher?

Plane simple, the days of typing in your passwords and constantly changing them every 60-90 days are numbered. The days of taking your students to a computer lab and passing out index cards with usernames and passwords for them to use are over. Teachers and students can now, sit in front of a computer and have the device recognize who they are and log them in to the computer using their personal profile in just seconds

Just think of the time you will get back.

Here is a quick video on how to set up Windows Hello and a deeper explanation on the possibilities with Windows Hello.


OneNote 2016 now has the ability to embed videos right into a page. Adding videos makes organizing your notebooks even better, and is great if you’re creating interactive notebooks to share with others. You can embed videos from a variety of sources, with more options on the way.

To add a video in OneNote, do the following:

1. Copy the video link from your video source.
2. On the page where you’d like to add the video, click Insert > Online Video.


3. Paste the link into the Video address field, and click OK.

Note: This feature will be available first for Office 2016 Home, Personal and University customers, or when you download OneNote from www.onenote.com. Office 2016 business and education customers will receive the latest updates in June 2016.

Supported video sites

OneNote 2016 currently supports embedding video content from the following video sites:
• Dailymotion
• Office Mix
• Sway
• Vimeo
• Vine
• YouTube

Please check back the OneNote Blog periodically to see when additional sites may have been added.
Source: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Insert-online-videos-into-OneNote-2016-for-Windows-0a862f29-665c-43a5-9dd8-68009423cf7c

IMG_0596As I go to conferences or meet up with friends around the country I constantly get asked about my Surface Devices. I have all three (Surface 3, Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book).

Thought I would cover these responses in a quick blog on my thoughts for each. Think of these as a good, better, and best set of devices.

Surface 3:

This is the perfect student device when running Windows 10. As a teacher I would be fine using a Surface 3 from a mobility stance, but I rather have something a bit more powerful like a Surface Pro 4.

Surface Pro 4:

This is my homerun device. There is not one person at a local Starbucks that does not stop me asking me if I like it. The quick answer is YES. I love this thing. I love the pen, I love how light it is, and I love how it’s a full blown computer. I work off this thing more than any other device. I love the fact that Surface is used by NFL coaches and players on the sidelines, in locker rooms, and at home after their games. Now, to be clear, I am not a football player, but this device shows its versatility, no matter what you do for a living or what you study as a student – this device empowers you.

Surface Book:

The first words that come to mind when describing my Surface Book is “POWERFUL”. Think of it as your creative workhorse device. The resolution is mind blowing. The multi-touch PixelSense screen and Surface Pen works perfectly for productivity but also creation applications like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Any way that you look at it, the Surface brand is built with power in mind, and it’s a fully functioning laptop under the hood. It does not matter if you are using it to take simple notes on your Surface 3, dock you Surface Pro 4 in your office, or sketch a graphic novel in your studio using the Surface Book. Any way that you look at it, you will be empowered with those devices to do more.

Check out the Surface Facebook Page for great stories around Surface Devices.


This is an old tool but a good one, and one that is still very relevant for educators.


You can use Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) to automatically capture the steps you take on a computer, including a text description of where you clicked and a screen shot during each click. Once you capture these steps, you can save them to a file and share them with anyone that you wish to share the recoding with. PSR is most commonly used for trouble shooting.

How to get started:

On Windows 10 press the windows icon key on your keyboard and then type in PSR. You will see an option appear called Steps Recorder. Click on that application. Click on Start Record. On your computer, go through the steps to reproduce the problem or what you want to show others. You can pause the recording at any time, and resume it later. When you are done click on Stop Record. In the Save As dialog box, type a name for the file and then click Save.

As I read through the Office blogs I came across a great post on a new PowerPoint feature called Morph. I then instantly felt the urge to re-blog. Love this feature!

PowerPoint 2016 comes with a brand-new transition type, Morph, that can help you make smooth animations, transitions, and object movements across the slides in your presentation. You can apply the Morph transition to slides to create the appearance of movement in a wide range of objects, such as text, shapes, pictures, SmartArt, WordArt, and charts.

How to set up a Morph transition:

To use the morph transition effectively, you’ll need to have two slides with at least one object in common—the easiest way is to duplicate the slide and then move the object on the second slide to a different place, or copy and paste the object from one slide and add it to the next. Then, apply the morph transition to the second slide to see what morph can do to automatically animate and move your object.

Here’s how:
1. In the Thumbnail Pane, click the slide that you want to apply a transition to, which should be the second slide you added the object, picture, or words you’d like to apply the morph effect to.
2. On the Transitions tab, select Morph.


3. Select Transitions > Effect Options to choose just how you’d like the Morph transition to work.


You can move objects around on the slide, change colors, move words and characters around, and much more.

4. Click Preview to see the Morph transition in action.




Here’s an example of how the morph transition can seamlessly animate objects across slides.

This is the original slide:


This is the second slide with the same objects after the morph transition has been applied. The planets moved without needing individual motion paths or animations to be applied to them.


Blog Source: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Using-the-Morph-transition-in-PowerPoint-2016-8dd1c7b2-b935-44f5-a74c-741d8d9244ea



Figure is a simple Windows 10 and iOS app that allows you to make and share music in seconds. Figure is basically a beat making app that can be pretty addicting. You can create a drum, bass, and lead synth beats, change keys, remix your sounds and so much more. This app will have your students making music within seconds.

Click Here to get the Figure App Now for Windows 10.

Click Here to get the Figure App Now for IOS.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

people 1I get asked a lot how can I maximize the use of the Windows 10 People App, and how do I bring my contacts from other services? This blog hopes to just answer that. It would be nice to have a digital one stop shop for all of my contacts. A place that would automatically sync with me as I move from computer to computer through the years. Windows 10 stores contact names and numbers in app called People app. If you follow these simple steps you will be able to view and access all of your contacts through the Windows 10 People app.


Step 1:

Launch the People App. You can do this by click on the Windows icon key on your keyboard and type “People”. Select the People app.


Step 2:
Inside the People app, click on settings. (You can do this by click on the three dots in the top right corner.


Step 3:
Inside people settings, click on “Add an Account”

Step 4:
Select the Outlook.com  or the account that you wish to import your contacts from.
This will bring you to an Outlook login page. Here you need to enter your account email username and password and select “sign in”.


By completing these simple steps you should be able to select the People app and find all of the contact resources that you are looking for.

People Image(Image Source: http://windowsunited.de/2015/03/23/wohin-geht-die-reise-mit-der-modern-windows-10/)


Directions on how to delete your Microsoft Edge Browsing History in 3 simple steps.

Launch the Microsoft Edge Browser and click on the settings button (three dots) located at the top right of the screen. (You can hit the Windows Key on your keyboard and start typing “Edge” and Microsoft Edge browser should appear. Select it. When the browser is open you will see the three dots in the top right corner of the screen. See image below.

edge 1

Tap or click on Settings and you with then be able to see the settings menu.

edge 2

Tap or click on “Choose what to clear” under Clear browsing data.

edge 3



The OneNote Importer tool was just recently released by Microsoft. This is currently a Windows only tool that allows uses to import there Evernote Notes to OneNote. This tool is compatible with Windows 7, 8.1, and Windows 10.

What I love about this is that you do not need to have Evernote for Windows installed to use this tool.

Click here to learn more about the OneNote Importer.

The OneNote team is at it again. They are set on “Empowering Educators” by continuing to listen to the teacher and student voice while making OneNote the premier EDU tool. The impact of OneNote in the last year has been beyond impressive. Currently over 400,000 Educators use OneNote and over 3.5 Million Students since June of 2015.

So what is the news?

The OneNote Team released a customer preview of the Class Notebook add-in for OneNote. This release is currently out in 43 languages across 61 worldwide markets.

Onenote 1


So how does this affect me?

One of the top teacher requests made to the OneNote team has been to simplify the way that a teacher distributes pages to students. The OneNote team did just that. They simplified it to two clicks. What does this exactly mean? – this means no more sending students to the content library to copy the page themselves. Now a page can be distributed in just two clicks.

This is such a positive change, especially for Elementary and Middle School Educators using Class Notebook.

Onenote 2

But Wait! There is More!

OneNote Team also added features like Individual and Group Distributions. This now allows teachers to distribute a page to specific students rather than everyone in the class. This is perfect for differentiating instruction.  See image below for example of how a teacher can do this.

Onenote 3

Another key request from educators have been finding a way to simplify how to review student work. It is very powerful to go into each student’s private notebook but it can also be time consuming when it comes to grading student work. Now teachers can do rapid sequential reviewing of student work in one or more classes with the REVIEW STUDENT WORK pane that pops up (see image below). Click on a student brings up the student page without having to navigate back and forth in the Notebook pane. Absolutely love this feature!

Onenote 4

The last new features is the launch of the Office 365 Class Notebook app and Professional Development.  No one will argue with you on how valuable professional development can be if done right. Most of the time half the battle is making sure that you have access to Professional Development resources when you need them the most. The OneNote team did just that. They have added five buttons onto the tool bar that gives them easier access to Create Class Notebooks much easier, Add/Remove Students, Add/Remove Teachers, Get Notebook Links, and access instant Professional Development. This simplifies the process for creating Class Notebooks and give them access to videos and other OneNote resources.

Onenote 5I believe the lesson here is, ask and you shall receive. Thank You @OneNoteEDU and keep it coming!


Source: https://blogs.office.com/2016/03/08/introducing-the-class-notebook-add-in-for-onenote-designed-and-built-with-teachers/


Formative assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning process. It is a quick way to determine what your students understand and helps to guide instructional decisions. While there are several game-based formative assessment tools out there (Kahoot! & Quizizz), there are times when teachers need a more customizable tool that allows them to create multiple types of formative assessment. Enter Formative.

Formative is more than just multiple-choice assessment. Students can answer questions using text, submit and annotate an image, or show their work using Formative’s drawing canvas. Have a formative assessment you’ve already created? You can upload it to Formative and a few clicks later create an interactive assessment that allows you to give immediate feedback to your students using the Live Results option.

Formative 1

Formative is FREE for teachers and students, works across all content areas, grades, and devices, and is super easy to use.

Take your formative assessment to the next level with Formative!

Guest Blogger: Danielle K. Vogel

Danielle 1
ELA Teacher | Tech Innovator Runner. Learner. Tech Enthusiast.

mentimeter 2There is too much one way communication in lectures, classrooms and even business meetings. As a person who is constantly presenting, I am always looking for ways to engage an audience by asking for feedback and allowing them to participate and interact with key components of my presentation/message.

I truly believe that everyone wants to be heard. As I continue my endless search for tools that allow the audience to voice their thoughts and opinions in a way that is simple yet powerful I think I may have found a great web tool called Mentimeter. Mentimeter allows the audience to visualize the answers, think and then reflect. Your audience truly feels involved when you give them an opportunity to participate and voice their opinion with this tool.



Steps to create an interactive presentation using Mentimeter:

  • Create a question
  • Present
  • Audience grabs there device
  • Audience goes to specific URL
  • Enters Code
  • And types in the answer.

Students GamingBoard games are a fixture in my classroom. They help students collaborate, problem solve with creative solutions, and expand their imaginations. With the influx of technology in the classroom, board games seem archaic, especially when I mention using board games in the classroom, people imagine the half-destroyed chess set resting on the shelf or the dust laden game of Monopoly you pull out from under the couch, when you have absolutely nothing to do.

Board games have grown leaps and bounds – they are competitive and collaborative. They are sophisticated programing with cardboard hardware, software etched in ink and powered with your brain and imagination.

I don’t have to convince you that games are important in the classroom – they are fun, competitive and engaging. Students want to play games. You want to play games with students. So we are halfway there!

Board games are puzzles to solve. They aren’t always intimidating. You have to gather around, take turns, make tough decisions, live with those consequences, plan ahead, and reach a goal using your wits, creativity and abilities/resources/information given to you. You have to sit across the people you are playing with, and get to see immediate feedback of your choices, and – gasp – talk to each other – double gasp – with eye contact.

I want to provide a brief introduction in the new world of board games and how the games listed can be enjoyed by your family – inside and outside the classroom.

SettlersSettlers of Catan – 3 to 4 player, Age: 10+ , Playtime: 60 minutes
  • Players are placed in the land of Catan where sheep, wheat, coal, brick and other resources are available – but not equally to all. Players have to determine the best places to settle, build roads, and know what to trade when to reach the most victory points.
  • Teaching- Economics: Scarcity, Demand and Supply and Opportunity Cost



PandemicForbidden Island, Forbidden Desert and Pandemic – 1 to 4 players, Age: 10+ and 30 to 60 minutes (depending on game)
    • These games are made by an amazing board game designer named Matt Leacock. All of the games are collaborative where players working together to gather treasures or cure diseases. In these games, it is the player verses the game – who will win in the end?

Teaching – Collaboration, and Problem-Solving

OneNight WerewolfResistance, and One Night Werewolf – 2 – 10 players, Age: 13+, Playtime: 5 to 30 minutes
  • These are social deduction games where players use clues available to determine who is the spy/werewolf. Using wit and guile, players have to determine whether the person to their left or right is to be trusted.
  • Teaching – Deduction



You know your class better than anyone. The list of games provided may or may not help you. My intention is give you a signpost in the direction of board games and find games that will provide entertainment, engagement and enjoyment to your students.

Guest Blogger: Amaan Mohiuddin

MR. M6th & 7th Social Studies teacher.
Runner. Learner. Tech Enthusiast.
Twitter: @MrM411

Learned about this amazing Hacked Ed event and had to re-post this amazing info from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/events/hack-the-classroom/default.aspx.

On January 30, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. PST, Microsoft is leading the HACK THE CLASSROOM Movement. We are bringing together inspiring educators and thought leaders and sharing their secrets.

Educators who attend Hack the Classroom will leave inspired and able to incorporate some new ideas and tools into the classroom so that their students can achieve more.  Hear from Hadi Partovi (founder of Code.org)  and Dale Dougherty (founder of MAKE Magazine) who have hacked learning spaces across the globe to provide experiences for students that allow them to improve computational thinking, critical thinking skills, and creativity.

Hacked ED Movement

Rafranz Davis (Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning for Lufkin ISD)  will share how she uses Minecraft to hack what teachers think about student learning through critical thinking and collaborative creativity driven by the imaginations of students. Find out how Minecraft can empower your students to:

  • Think more deeply and holistically on a concept
  • Improve cognitive reflection from creating, collaborating, and teaching each other
  • Learn alongside the teacher

We will also take a deep look inside two classrooms in which teachers are using technology in innovative ways to hack their classrooms to gain more instructional time with their students and promote student centered learning environments.

Find out how Jeff Kash, middle school social studies teacher, hacks his classroom to:

  • Gain back instructional time at the beginning of class by using tools that allow his students to be self-starters
  • Organize content so his students can focus on the learning
  • Provide real-time feedback so that students can work to mastery
  • Easily revise units and lessons for the following year:

See how Leah Obach went from not knowing anything about coding, to hacking her grade 1 classroom so that her students can:

  • Practice multiple subject areas to improve literacy skills
  • Demonstrate leadership and inspire global and digital citizenship
  • Develop tenacity and grit as they persist working on a difficult task and requires multiple attempts to complete successfully

During the event you will be able to interact with the speakers and ask them questions so that you can implement what you learn in your classroom immediately.

Be part of something bigger…join the live global web-event and hack your way into a more innovative learning environment for your students.

Send_AnywhereSend Anywhere is a free file transfer service. It allows you to transfer photos, videos, contacts, and more. It accepts practically any file type, of any size, and as many times as you want. Send- Anywhere does a good job at skipping the middle man in the file transfer process. You can use Send-Anywhere to share files securely between IOS, Android, Macs, and PC’s.

What I really like here is that you can totally bypass the sign-up process and start using the service without needing to provide your email or any credentials.

thGT398V1UThis year I was asked again by my good friend Cindy Lane (@CLANE) to co-present at FETC in a session called “The Biggest User, Season 4”

The purpose of the session is to share tools and see which ones the audience are interested in, as well as which ones they think they would be willing to implement in there classrooms.

Thought I would share some of my new favorite EdTech Tools.


Collaboration: 81Dash

81dash background81Dash is an EDU Backchannel that empowers teachers to control the student collaboration environment. 81Dash is a backchannel where teachers and students can have an online space created by the teacher to Discuss any topics. Within the chat students can add images and Documents. Content is fully searchable in 81dash, and a user can create personal tasks, notes, or chat comments.

Teachers have full control to remove students, lock down there environments to make it more private, and pull transcripts for documentation of any sort.

81Dash was created by classroom educators and the tool is 100% Free and will remain Free. Here are some previous posts on 81Dash.


Communication: BING PULSE

Bing Pulse

Communication is not always written words and it is not always simply just speaking to each other. Some times you want to communicate to get a point across but what is also important, is the ability to understand the mood or impression that the other person is feeling as you relay your message. You want to be able to gage there”PULSE” to see if the message you are giving is landing well.

This is no different when speaking to students or educators. Student insight and engagement can be crucial in the classroom environment, and Bing Pulse helps you manage both of those.  Microsoft Pulse allows you to have Real-time voting and polling, messaging, social media integration, customizable content, instant insights and more.

So how can I use it in the classroom?

You can build dynamic lessons and give your students the ability to provide real-time responses that show whether they are understanding the lesson or not. Microsoft Pulse is also a great collaboration tool. It can assist in making the classroom environment more  interactive and fun by grouping students into teams. You can also track student performances by team.


Critical Thinking: SNIP

 Snip featuredSnip is a visual storytelling tool. If you use the Snipping tool in Windows today that is great, however using Snip will be a better experience because its lightweight and much more powerful.

With Snip, you can add your own voice, ink and annotations to an image and share it with your friends/co-workers in ways that you can’t share snips today.



Creativity: Video Scribe

video scribe 2VideoScribe allows you to make your own whiteboard video animations extremely easy. You can use VideoScribe on a PC, Mac, or iPad. It is not difficult at all to use and your students and teachers will love it. Download the program, use images that VideoScribe has from their library, or bring in your own personal images and it is a matter of some simple steps and you have one really cool VideoScribe.



Bonus Round: OFFICE LENS

Picture1Office Lens is the perfect pocket scanner for docs and whiteboard images. Office Lens also allows you to convert old printed papers into editable documents. One of my favorite uses is of Office Lens is to simply scan students work and organize them into OneNote.







Communication is not always written words and it is not always simply just speaking to each other. Some times you want to communicate to get a point across but what is also important, is the ability to understand the mood or impression that the other person is feeling as you relay your message. You want to be able to gage there”PULSE” to see if the message you are giving is landing well.

This is no different when speaking to students or educators. Student insight and engagement can be crucial in the classroom environment, and Bing Pulse helps you manage both of those.  Microsoft Pulse allows you to have Real-time voting and polling, messaging, social media integration, customizable content, instant insights and more.

snip_20160114004750So how can I use it in the classroom?

You can build dynamic lessons and give your students the ability to provide real-time responses that show whether they are understanding the lesson or not. Microsoft Pulse is also a great collaboration tool. It can assist in making the classroom environment more  interactive and fun by grouping students into teams. You can also track student performances by team.


video scribe 2

VideoScribe allows you to make your own whiteboard video animations extremely easy. You can use VideoScribe on a PC, Mac, or iPad. It is not difficult at all to use and your students and teachers will love it. Download the program, use images that VideoScribe has from their library, or bring in your own personal images and it is a matter of some simple steps and you have one really cool VideoScribe.

Student and Educator Use Ideas:

• Complex concepts explained in their lessons
• Fun introduced to dry topics
• Hands-on tool to teach storytelling, narration and design
• Enjoyable homework exercises
• Students present their learning to the class
• Reverse, or flipped classroom, teaching
• Videos posted for recap at home
• Revision scribes for exams
• Software to learn in IT
• Resources for distance learning

Go to VideoScribe to learn more.

I remember other teacher colleagues of mine putting relaxing music while their students worked on assignments. At first I thought this was a pretty cool idea until I tried it with my students and then came to the realization that it was not for me. I then tried of course putting something more upbeat, but did not have time to screen the music or find anything that was upbeat that would somehow be appropriate for my students. Apparently my selection of music those days were questionable to say the least.

I now find myself working on my PC constantly while I listen to music and it was not till the other day that it hit me that I don’t listen to any words. The music is nothing more than a rhythm and beat that you can zone into and use as a pace for thinking and working.

I visited a high school a couple of weeks ago during hour of code and met an awesome teacher that was using gaming music themes while his kids worked on the Hour of Code. I then thought to myself, this is Brilliant!

Apparently this is something that he does often. The music he uses with his students is upbeat, something that the students can relate to (Gaming), and it gives the students that necessary rhythm and pace to get things done which we all strive for as we sit down and work with our devices.

Here is the YouTube video/music that he played in his class. The video is called: 2.5 Hour Awe Inspiring and Epic Video Game Music Collection



Nailing down an opening where everyone you need is available for at the same time for a meeting can be difficult. This is where FindTime, an Outlook add-in can help. FindTime helps you coordinate schedules and find meeting times with people outside your company.

If you have an Office 365 subscription you can install the add-in and send FindTime invites, but you only need an email address to receive them.

FindTime4 FindTime3










The recipient receives an email invitation to the meeting, which takes them to FindTime voting page where they can choose the best options of several times to meet. They can assign a preference for times, or choose yes or no. Or, they can submit alternative times and dates.

Find Time really comes in handy when you are trying to reach people whose calendars aren’t accessible.

See the simple instructions on how to get started with FindTime below. You can download the outlook plugin here.



Reading through my twitter feed came across a really interesting tweet by Maria Petreska aka @teachermarija.

Maria is an EFL teacher, Microsoft Innovative Educator 2015, Ed-tech blogger, Microsoft HotTopics columnist, Global Forum Award Winner, OneNote Avenger, and MSFT Swayer & Mixer

You can find her blog here.

She recently tweeted out a short video on how to create Minecraft Characters using PowerPoint that just blew our mind away.


I am definitely a fan of what Maria and her students are doing with PowerPoint and Minecraft and wanted to share it out with other educators. #EDUWIN

Snip featuredSnip is a visual storytelling tool. If you use the Snipping tool in Windows today that is great, however using Snip will be a better experience because its lightweight and much more powerful.

With Snip, you can add your own voice, ink and annotations to an image and share it with your friends/co-workers in ways that you can’t share snips today.

Key features of Snip include:

•Snip something on your screen. Snip an image, a window, or any other object on your screen. Snip has smart edge detection so that snipping snaps to the nearest window edge. Click and drag to complete your snip and automatically copy it to the Clipboard.
•Annotate your snip. To enhance your snip with voice narration or digital ink, record your comments about your snip in the Snip Editor, or draw on your snip with digital ink. For instance, you might snip part of a Bing Maps image, circle a parking lot, and then record a phrase like, “Here’s the parking lot closest to our office.” These media-rich snips are automatically uploaded to the cloud when you hit Stop in the Snip UI.
•Annotate images you take with your tablet/laptop. Open Snip on you laptop or tablet, and use the Camera feature to take a picture of a whiteboard drawing, for example. Then annotate it with voice or digital ink.
•Share your snips easily. The most common scenario is: (1) snip something on your desktop; and (2) paste it from the Clipboard into an email or other document. For snips annotated with voice or ink, the scenario includes a third step: (3) share your snip by clicking Link in Snip to get its URL, or Embed to get the embed code.

FirstRun_GrabScenario – Take a snip and paste it in an email or document

Take a snip of a window or any other object on your screen, and paste it an email or document. The idea is to match your usual workflow in which you use screenshots to enhance your communications.

1.Press PrtScr.
On the Snip docked toolbar, click Capture.
2.Click and drag to select the area you want to snip and copy it to the Clipboard.
3.Go to the email or document where you want to paste the snip, and press Ctrl + V.

Scenario – Annotate and share a snip

After you take a snip, you can enhance it by recording voice narration and drawing on it with digital ink. Here’s an example.

1.Take a snip (by pressing PrtScr or clicking Snip on the Snip toolbar).
2.In the Snip Editor:
◦Click Record and begin speaking into your microphone.
◦Click a digital ink color and start drawing on your snip.
◦To change the width of the ink strokes, click Pen and then click a different width.
◦To erase an ink stroke, click Eraser and then click the stroke you want to erase.
◦To erase all your ink strokes, click Erase All.

3.When you finish narrating and inking, click Stop.
4.Click a sharing option:
◦Link uploads your snip to the cloud and copies its URL to the Clipboard.
◦Embed uploads your snip and copies its embed code to the Clipboard.
◦Email pastes the snip and its URL in a new email

Snip2Scenario – Create a new snip using Snip as a whiteboard

Use Snip to create a whiteboard drawing to tell your story, illustrate a concept, etc. Then save it in your snip library, save it in a location that you specify, and/or share it in an email. Add voice recording and share it via a URL or embed code.

1.On the Snip docked toolbar, click Whiteboard.
2.In the Snip Editor, select an ink color and start whiteboarding. If you want to record yourself while drawing, click Record.
3.When your drawing and/or narration are complete, click Stop.
4.Click Play to watch your recording to make sure it’s ready to send (or else re-record).
5.On the toolbar, click Save to save your whiteboard drawing in a location that you choose, and/or click any of the sharing options (Link, Embed, or Email) to share your drawing with others.

Scenario – Take a photo and annotate it

If you’re running Snip on a laptop or tablet, it’s easy to take a photo and annotate it with voice and/or digital ink. For instance, take a picture of a whiteboard drawing at the end of a design meeting, add a comment, and then share it with your teammates.

1.On the Snip docked toolbar, click Camera.
2.Click Take a photo.
3.In the Snip Editor, select an ink color to draw on your photo. If you want to record yourself while drawing, click Record.
4.When your drawing and/or narration are complete, click Stop.
5.Click Play to watch your recording to make sure it’s ready to send (or else re-record).
6.On the toolbar, click Save to save your annotated photo in a location that you choose, and/or click any of the sharing options (Link, Embed, or Email) to share your photo with others.

Click Here to get SNIP

accessibility guideMicrosoft releases a new Windows 10 Accessibility Guide for Educators full of incredible resources.

With a strong focus on learning and literacy, vision, hearing, mobility and speech the message is loud and clear. Microsoft’s mission is to empower all people and all organizations to achieve more and the classroom is no different.

Click Here to access the Windows 10 accessibility guide for educators.

Office_Mix_RecordOffice Mix is a  free add-in for PowerPoint. Everything you need to easily create and share interactive online videos. Office Mix allows you to maximize features like voice, video and digital ink. It allows you to create polls and infuse interactive apps into your presentations, and my favorite feature is the ability to give you the instructor insights and analytics on student usage of your Office Mix. Mix can played back on any device which allows tons of versatility in an educational setting.

Recently key enhancements were made available in the latest release of the Office Mix.

      • Mix larger presentation files The maximum size of PowerPoint presentation (PPTX) files that you can upload to mix has doubled from 500 MB to 1 GB. This means you will be able to record about two or more hours of video per mix.
      • Enjoy great video playback from anywhere in the world Mix uses Azure Media Services to encode, distribute, and stream the video in your mixes. Mixes now start more quickly and play more smoothly with high quality on everything from mobile devices to large screens. Azure Media Services ensure excellent video quality from anywhere in the world.
      • Your mixes now play in Slide Show mode (F5) With this release, what you see when previewing your mixes from within Office Mix is consistent with what you see when previewing your mix from within Slide Show mode (F5).
      • Faster export to video By improving PowerPoint’s support for digital ink, exporting recordings that contain digital ink to video is now twice as fast.
      • New equation editor Office Mix now includes a rich equation editor for writing quiz and poll questions.
      • Improved accessibility Mixes are accessible to all users. People who use assistive technologies can now press CTRL+; to enter Outline mode. We have also added numerous shortcut keys to make navigating the Office Mix player and mix content efficient for everyone. The add-in also has improved support for High Contrast. For details, see Accessibility features in Office Mix. To learn how to make your own mixes accessible, see Authoring an accessible mix.
      • Office Mix will now run on Windows Server If you love Office Mix but have been frustrated that it doesn’t run on Windows Server, give it a try. This means that developers that use Windows Server will be able to create mixes on all of their PCs.
      • Richer formatting of quiz and poll questions You can now include images, tables, horizontal rule lines, font formatting, bulleted and numbered lists, and a whole range of special characters in quiz and poll questions in your mix, thanks to the new floating toolbar that appears when you author a question. For details, see Introducing WYSIWYG editing in quizzes and polls.
      • Customize the playback of linked or embedded mixes Office Mix now gives you more control over how your linked or embedded mix plays when you use our extensibility options. For instance, set the starting point, speed, or volume, or loop your mix so it replays automatically. Learn how in this Knowledge Base article.
      • Share mixes and sways on docs.com Share your mixes publicly on docs.com, a site where users can discover, upload, and share an unlimited number of PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Office Mix, Sway, and PDF documents, and links to web sites for free and with rich formatting intact. Organize them into collections, share them on social networks, and view statistics like the number of views and likes for each mix. Visit https://docs.com to learn more.
      • Make Office Mix is now an integral part of edX Office Mix is now “in the box” for edX distributions. That means it will be even easier for edX users to embed mixes in courses.
      • Use Office Mix with your organization’s LMS Office Mix has been certified for LTI 1.1 by IMS Global. This means teachers can use mixes as assignments that students can access on a variety of devices, and grades are automatically sent back to the LMS. Visit https://mix.office.com/lti to integrate Office Mix with your LMS, and watch easy-to-follow tutorials if you need help for Blackboard, Brightspace, Canvas, EdXHaiku, Moodle, or Schoology.
      • Learn how to be a better presenter from an Inspiring Speaker Office Mix helps you make your presentations interactive but how do you learn to improve your presentation skills? By watching The Art of Stage Presence, the newest addition to Office Mix’s Inspiring Speakers series. In less than 20 minutes, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer James Whittaker will teach you how to get better at presenting your ideas, which he teaches at TED Conferences and other venues around the world.
      • More Microsoft teams create tutorials with Office Mix Microsoft Office has begun using Office Mix to teach users how to join, schedule, and lead meetings. To learn about their experience creating tutorials with Office Mix, read their Office Blogs post, What we learned using Office Mix, or watch their Skype for Business – Leading Meetings mix.
      • More LMS providers use Office Mix LTI adoption has enabled McGraw-Hill Education to use Office Mix to provide custom teaching experiences. It has also enabled Cengage Learning to offer an Introductory Computing MindTap course integrating Office Mix for fall 2015 classes. For more information, see Office Mix delivers LTI support and integration with major LMS providers on the Office Blogs.
      • Check out Office Mix’s new partnership with Sensavis and their 3D Classroom Sensavis has launched the 3D Classroom, a solution that helps educators flip their classrooms by offering interactive instructional content made with Office Mix. To learn more about the 3D Classroom, visit the Partners showcase on the Office Mix website.


To Download the latest version of Office Mix click here.

MIE_ExpertsA_FB_Post_1200x630Dec 3rd – 4th Microsoft will be hosting a global movement to celebrate learning without borders.

To participate in the Skypeathon, teachers can Play Mystery Skype, Talk with a Guest Speaker, or take a Virtual Field Trip.

Getting Started with Mystery Skype:

Mystery Skype is the global guessing game that gets kids learning about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences of how children live all over the world. To play you need to follow three simple steps.

  • Find a classroom to play with.
  • Prepare your class.
  • See Mystery Skype in action.

Click here to learn more about Mystery Skype.

Getting Started with Guest Speakers:

Find hundreds of volunteer guest speakers from around the world on a wide variety of subjects. Here is how you can start.

  • Find a guest Speaker. You can search here: by subject and age group to arrange a time with volunteer guest speaker that is best suited for you and your class.

See how these Guest Speakers inspire literacy as kids go straight to the source and talk to authors in their classroom.

  • Become a Guest Speaker: Becoming a Guest Speaker allows you to share your unique perspective with classrooms around the world. Click here to learn more on how to become a guest speaker.


Getting Started with Virtual Field Trips:

Take your students on an adventure without leaving the classroom. All you need to do is:

  • Find a Virtual Field Trip. Click here to search by subject and age group as well as arrange a time to take your class on an adventure.
  • See a Virtual Field Trip In Action

See how this Virtual Field Trip helped transport local students to a world deep beneath the sea.

  • Host a Virtual Field Trip:
    What is the best part about school? The Field Trips!
    Now classes can go for Virtual Field Trips all around the world, travelling thousands of miles without leaving the classroom. If you have something to share we’d love you to join this forward-facing community and inspire classrooms across the world.

Click Here to learn how you can help take classrooms on a virtual adventure.


What’s the Microsoft MIXathon Challenge?

The Microsoft MIXathon Challenge is a professional talent recognition opportunity for innovative educators. It’s an exciting challenge that helps you share the innovative work that you do to support new learning models that better prepare students for life and work in the 21st Century.

All you need to do is start working with your students to create a cool interactive lesson using Office Mix – the exciting new PowerPoint add-in. The Challenge will be coordinated via the MIXathon.org website across 32 countries in Central & Eastern Europe. Submissions must be made before December 31st 2015.



Building life skills that support the development of creative, responsible and caring students

Do you use technology to help your students build 21st century skills? Then take the Microsoft MIXathon Challenge by working with your students to create a up to a 15-minute interactive “best ever lesson” on a topic of your choice, using Microsoft PowerPoint and the new, free Office Mix add-in!

Match your current learning activity to one of the following broad subject areas to find the perfect MIX topic:

  • Science and Technology
  • Language and History
  • Arts and Storytelling

How to Participate



Learn More Here:



With the release of office 2016 a new feature designed to help you quickly find what you need was launched. This feature is called Smart Lookup.

Smart Lookup lets you fact-check and learn more about terms contained in emails and other documents without leaving your Office app. Select the text in question and Smart Lookup uses the surrounding content to deliver contextually relevant results, including Bing’s great image results, web searches and more. Smart Lookup is available in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook.


Smart Lookup is also available through a new feature called Tell Me which helps you find the right command quickly. Just type a word or two related to the task and Tell Me takes you directly to the feature or content you need. For example, if you type “new images,” “add pic”, or even just “pic,” Tell Me will display the Insert Picture command, or you can Get Help (powered by Bing) or use Smart Lookup. Tell Me is also available there and in Access, Visio and Project.

Tell MEOffice, which is the unquestionably the standard in the business world as well as in education continues to get stronger and more intuitive for its users.

MinecraftEarlier this week, Microsoft announced a Minecraft tutorial featured in this year’s Hour of Code.  Players will navigate, mine, craft, and explore in a 2D Minecraft world using a block-based visual programming editor.  In the tutorial, players are offered a set of 14 challenges, including free play time to explore coding concepts they’ve learned.  You can play it for free right now on any device.


So what is Minecraft?

Minecraft is a game about breaking and placing blocks.  Players can create, explore, and share in an open world where the only limit is their imagination.  There are more than 100 million Minecraft players across PC, console, and mobile devices. Educators use Minecraft to engage students in all types of subjects, from math and computer science to history and language arts.  Minecraft players also demonstrate collaboration, problem solving, communication, digital citizenship, and much more when completing challenges in Minecraft.


What is the Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code is an annual, one-hour introduction to computer science designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.  The campaign falls during Computer Science Education Week from December 7th through December 13th.


Where can I learn more?

Download Minecraft, try the Hour of Code tutorial, and visit education.minecraft.net for more information.


CaptureSurface is hot right now. No doubt about that. Lots of questions that seem to be coming in these days revolve around connectivity of a personal Microsoft Surface tablet to a TV, Monitor or projector.

It is extremely easy to make your photos, videos and presentations bigger by connecting your surface to an external device such as your TV, monitor, or projector.

How I use my Surface:

When streaming Netflix or Hulu, I always want it on the bigger screen. So I use my Actiontec or Microsoft wireless display adaptor and push my image to my TV. I use this also when presenting to large groups.

Here is the official Microsoft Blog that will walk you through the steps on how to connect your
TV, monitor, or projector.


Hour of codeAs if Hour of Code was not cool enough as it is, Code.org and its affiliates have raised the bar. This year they are introducing a new resource called STAR WARS: Building a Galaxy with Code.

My first thoughts were, good luck limiting this to just one hour a day. Students now will be learning Java Script basics by using drag-Drop blocks and JavaScript with the goal to help key star wars characters accomplish there missions.

Fun and addictive. Well done Code.org!

Make sure you go and check out Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code today.


snip_20151229074548Vidcode is not a tool for just teens but a coding tool for anyone that is truly interested in learning how to code.

Vidcode focuses on project-based learning through creative art projects.  That means anyone can make super cool things like a motion reactive videos using computer vision or animated video filters using advanced JavaScript.

Vidcode also allows you to maximize the use of YouTube for learning yet also make the activity personal through project-based learning. Click Here to learn more.


My presentation notes and resources from GAETC 2015 conference.


11:00AM – 11:55AM

PRESENTATION LINK: http://1drv.ms/1k9gh4g

Are you maximizing Office 365 in your Edu Environment? Do you know how to use Office 365 in your classroom. Come join ByteSpeed and Microsoft, and learn how Office 365 can and will truly transform your classroom teaching. We will cover topics like, Sharing/Collaborating of content, SWAY, OneNote (Class and Staff Notebook) and much more. Amazing resources will be shared where your teachers will walk out feeling like a Microsoft Ninjas.

Teaching & Learning: Classroom Teachers
Leadership: School and District Leaders
Media: Media Specialists
Technical: Infrastructure, Networking, Hardware; Troubleshooting


MICROSOFT IN EDCUATION NEW SITE: https://education.microsoft.com/gettrained




LEARN MORE ABOUT OFFICE 365: https://products.office.com/en-US/
ROAD MAP FOR OFFICE 365: http://success.office.com/en-us/roadmap







DOWNLOAD ONENOTE: http://www.onenote.com/


DIGIT GIRLZ: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/programs/digigirlz/default.aspx


  • Online Courses
  • Build a website
  • Create a podcast


HOUR OF CODE: http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/en-us/youthspark/youthsparkhub/hourofcode/

  • Microsoft Ignite
  • Skype in the Classroom
  • KODU Game Labs


TEALS PROGRAM: Brining Computer science to your school – http://tealsk12.org/
DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAM: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/digitalliteracy/overview.aspx

  • Learning essential skills with the Digital Literacy Curriculum.
  • The Microsoft Digital Literacy Basic Curriculum provides absolute beginners with the first course they need to begin to use a computer. This course is ideal for learners who are a bit shy about working with a computer and are using a computer for the very first time.

CODING CLUB STARTER KIT: https://iccms.blob.core.windows.net/content/MicrosoftImagineCodingClubKit-e26b78a803c1.pdf

  2. How to Collaborate
  3. OneNote (Class Notebook and Staff Notebook)
  4. SWAY
  5. Office Mix
  6. Microsoft in Education Resources


Twitter: @Fernandezc4


My presentation notes and resources from GAETC 2015 conference.

Windows 10

9:45AM – 10:40AM


Join ByteSpeed and Microsoft and learn more about Windows 10 and how it can transform your educational environment. Learn about, the Edge Browser, Windows Hello, Cortana, and how Windows 10 takes inking to a whole new level. We will demonstrate how its lighter, faster, and will make you be a more efficient pc user no matter whether you are an IT Pro, Teacher, or Student. You will leave with great resources that can help you deploy, infuse, and transform your current EDU environment.

Teaching & Learning: Classroom Teachers
Leadership: School and District Leaders
Media: Media Specialists
Technical: Infrastructure, Networking, Hardware; Troubleshooting


  1. Why Windows 10?
  2. Cortana
  3. Windows Hello
  4. Snap and Task View
  5. Edge and IE11 Browser
  6. Continuum
  7. Gaming and XBOX
  8. Security
  9. Universal Apps
  10. Store for Business
  11. How to UpGrade


Twitter: @Fernandezc4

Redefining Learning

YouthSpark-600x248Did you know?

Microsoft stores have launched free YouthSpark Field Trips. During these field trips students get hands-on as they learn to code and design games.


Check out this description of an upcoming YouthSpark event at my local Microsoft Store:

Want to power up your phone in a whole new way? Join us for this free, two-hour camp where you’ll get your programming power on, and learn to fix a phone app in no time flat. Beginners to programming discover the basics needed to code a game that runs as an app on a mobile phone or tablet. It’s all part of computer science. Then they can try out how it all works by fixing a Jetpack Jumper game on a Windows Phone, a Surface Pro 3, or maybe even a device of their own. The main character in the game is a crazy robot who is trying to make it through a maze of wacky obstacles.

Students can learn even more by trying out some of the additional activities discussed, as well as by checking out Microsoft’s Learn to Code site or Microsoft Imagine Facebook page. Click Here to learn more about Microsoft YouthSpark.

Contact your local Microsoft store, and ask for the Community Development Specialist to book your YouthSpark Field Trip today.

Free teacher academiesMicrosoft has really turned up the heat in making sure the message is loud and clear. Education is important and Microsoft is laser focused on it. Microsoft has introduced a new one-hour introductory teacher academy series with the overall goal of showcasing and demonstrating to educators the exciting possibilities that Microsoft tools and apps bring to the classroom. Educators will receive a Microsoft Innovative Educator Certificate of Learning upon the completion of each workshop.

Featured Academies include:

  • Build a Collaborative Classroom and Increase Productivity Using OneNote
  • Blended learning with Office 365
  • Windows: Wow, It Can Do That in My Classroom?!?
  • 10 Free Microsoft Tools to Energize Your Classroom!
  • Flip Your Classroom with Office Mix
  • Making Global Connections with Skype in the Classroom

These teacher academies are 100% Free. Find your full-line store and register today.

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/locations/educators-events

Doing more with Office 2016

For a closer look at new features in these apps, see What’s New and Improved in Office 2016.

Read all the details on Office 2016 from the Office Blogs.


Word 2016 Quick Start Guide (Windows)
Excel 2016 Quick Start Guide (Windows)
PowerPoint 2016 Quick Start Guide (Windows)

OneNote 2016 Quick Start Guide (Windows)




I often get asked about where can educators go and learn more about Microsoft related EDU topics. My simple answer is where else but social media channels. For this post I thought I would put some of the best Microsoft Social Media resources together in one post.

Microsoft Twitter Accounts:

Here is the site with all of the Microsoft Twitter Accounts – http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/4599.official-microsoft-twitter-accounts.aspx

Great people to follow on twitter:


Microsoft blogs – all have RSS feed subscription links:


twitterTwitter – twitter.com/Microsoft_EDU




facebookFacebook – facebook.com/microsoftineducation




youtubeYouTube – youtube.com/user/Microsoftedu



Pinterest – pinterest.com/microsoftedu



graphite-homeGraphite is a free on-line platform that helps you discover new EdTech resources (apps, games and websites) to integrate technology into your curriculum.

Furthermore, Graphite has a community of teachers that share  best practices and inspiring ideas on how to create tech-rich effective lesson.  Whether you are a Curriculum Specialist, Teacher, or Tech Specialist Graphite is an excellent tool to start the school year with.

You can use Graphite to browse for apps, games or websites by subject (language, math, science, social studies, arts or health), grade, price, skills (tech skills, critical thinking, communication, creativity or career prep) and purpose (curriculum, targeted practice, design & creativity, productivity, presentation, reference, assessment or classroom management). All in one place!

Graphite allows you to  filter your search by teachers’ rating, graphite rating, title or last updated. An option that gives you the chance to know and compare different experiences using an app, getting inspiration from other colleagues and helping you decide what is best for your learning environment.

graphite-searchIn addition, Graphite offers great features for teachers such as Lesson flows (a section where you can find tech-rich lesson plans from other professors that combine digital tools with common teaching practices), Teachers Center (a professional hub that provides you with best practices, how to articles, webinars and training videos to improve your teaching practice) and an EdTech Blog (a place to keep up-to-date of new apps and get inspiring ideas). Graphite can easily be seen as a  formative/digital tool space that empowers you with knowledge on how to transform your teaching with some of the latest and greatest EDU sites/tools.

It is easy to create your own Graphite account and start your learning and sharing today.

Graphite is truly the best way to find EdTech resources, get inspiring ideas and share your expertise with all the teaching community. A platform to expose you to new teaching solutions that fit this digital era we live in.

OneNote-July-mobile-updates-for-iOS-and-Android-2According the Office Blogs, Microsoft has merged two separate OneNote Apps and made the user experience event better for iOS. This was definitely key as the continue to move toward Universal Apps that work on both iOS and iPhone.

New iPad Features:

Today Widget—Create new notes, start a list, and access your most recent notes with one tap from the Notification Center. This is a great way to quickly capture something before you forget without having to navigate to the app.

Recent Notes—Find your most recently edited notes with the “Recent Notes” view to display the list of recent notes across all the notebooks open on your iPad

Page Previews—If you turn your iPad into landscape mode you will see page previews. This makes it quick to remember what content is on a page.

Document/Whiteboard camera—Thanks to your feedback about the document/whiteboard camera not working properly, we were able to fix the bug; it turns out the lens cap was left on when using the Document/Whiteboard camera.

Why this is important?

Microsoft continues to show a strong push toward not only universal apps, but just the ability to make sure that users have an incredible experience with their productivity tools no matter what platform they use. OneNote is arguably the best productivity tools for education and it is clear that Microsoft is committed to educators.

Imagine helping each of your students with a private home teaching lecture. That would be a great opportunity to keep them focused and guide them through the lesson with an in-depth understanding of the topic. To do so, you just need Swivl, an on-line cloud based video app (for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android) that allows you to create and share with your students rich video presentations for free.

How Swivl works?

swivlTo start creating your video, you need to upload to Swivl capture app (available for smartphone and tablet) your slide presentation (PPT or Keynote) or any visual support.
Now, your project has been created. Review it as much as you like until titles and slide descriptions are helpful to make the lesson easier for your students.

Then, is time to synchronize your slides with the speech using the ‘Capture video + slides’ option. That will display the front camera on your mobile device to start recording yourself the presentation. When you are done, upload the video to Swivl cloud and edit it until you love the final result. Finally, share it with your students and make them participate using the comment options.

How you can use Swivl for education?

Swivl is a great tool for recording flipped lessons, which would help absent students or low-paced ones to review the lectures at home with their families to keep up-to-date with the subject. Furthermore, it is an amazing tool to improve student results and marks by reviewing the whole lesson at home as it was at school, as much as they want.

In addition, Swivl, is also a good tool for personalized teacher feedback or even self evaluation; helping students to develop their communicational skills.

Why is swivel good for Students?

Swivl gives your students the chance to enjoy personal guidance through their studies with rich media material and real time feedback. Definitely, Swivl is the perfect tool to sharp student’s skills.

Sway-blank-boardSway is a Microsoft on-line application that will turn upside-down the way you think of presentations. It allows you to create a multimedia story line full of text, pictures, videos, charts, files, tweets or embeds from your One Drive, Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox and Social Media accounts (Twitter, Vimeo, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest). Furthermore, Sway crawls the web to suggest you another media resources that are related to your topic, allowing you to access content all over the web. You can access Sway from Office 365 or from Sway.com.

How Sway works?

You can create your Sway presentation by using its drag and drop system; adding text, media or chart cards; or inserting files from your social media and cloud accounts.

To develop the story line you just need to move and organize the content (from top to bottom) in the order you would like it to be displayed on your final presentation. In addition, anytime you add media to the presentation, you can group it and choose how it will be shown (grid, slide-show, comparison or stack).

Regarding the design layout, you can use any of the design options that Sway has or customize it changing colors and fonts to suit your school branding. In addition, you can decide the direction of the navigation (vertical or horizontal), plus Sway adapts the presentation to the dimensions of the device it is being displayed (desk computer, tablet or smartphone) to ensure a great presentation experience.

Moreover, if you want to try out something surprising, click the ‘Remix’ option, and your presentation will be the result of a mixture of different design layouts.

Once you have the final Sway design share it on social media, embed it on your school web page or blog, or email it.

The best of Sway:

If you prefer to use Word files, you can also create all the content on Word and upload the doc file to Sway. The application will automatically adapt your doc file to different Sway title and text cards. That sounds like magic!

How can you use Sway for educational purposes?

Sway is a great tool to create content for on-line courses or webinars where the teacher can add as many information sources related to the topic or subject as he/she wants. It is the perfect platform to grab the attention of the readers and get them to know more about what they are learning. Also, Sway can be used for digitizing school newspapers; sending personalized student reports to their families; or sharing the internal newsletter for the school staff.  At its bare minimum, Sway is the perfect tool for story boarding an idea.

Start creating compelling, attractive and design professional looking presentations to get the attention of your students with Sway!

PlickersGames, trivia, and fun classroom activities can easily help your students embrace new knowledge in a new simple and cost effective way. Imagine having the ability to capture live data and give it purpose for things like lesson planning while encouraging your students to engage and learn throughout the day.

Plickers is a mobile app for teachers that lets you collect real-time response of your class without the need for student devices. Plickers works with printable cards that you can download from their website and scan with your smartphone to track your class progress.

How Plickers work

Every card has a squared picture on it, and on each side of the square there is a multiple choice answer (A,B,C,D). You just need to print as many cards as you have students and then start assessing them verbally during your lesson.

Preparing the quiz questions is very simple. Log in to Plickers from your computer or your mobile device and click on ‘Library’ to start creating your battery of questions. There you can choose whether you want a multiple choice or a true or false question. If you are managing several subjects at a time, you can also organize the questions per subject on ‘Classes’ and prepare different trivia for each of them.

To keep track of your students’ progress, you will need to upload to Plickers your student class data. When you scan the Plickers cards using your mobile device, Plickers will show you each student result in red (wrong answers) or green (right answers). In addition, Plickers allow you to print individual progress reports for each of your students, which will empower you with the necessary student data to focus mastery of the content.

Plickers can be a marvelous app that helps your students remember the highlights of the lesson or even use as an exit ticket which will hopefully stimulate them to study and be more engaged in the class lesson.

81dash background
AcademyLion Unveils New Version of 81Dash, Adds Improvements to Functionality

81Dash aimed at simplifying the backchannel experience for the classroom.

Orlando, FL (PRWEB) June 26, 2015

AcademyLion, Inc. announces a major update of its classroom backchannel, 81Dash, featuring a complete redesign and some new features aimed at streamlining its use in classrooms from the moment teachers and students log in.

One less login, easy to remember. The first addition is the option of remembering one less password. Users may now use their Google or Microsoft logins to sign into their 81Dash accounts. This feature is designed to help manage the growing number of usernames and passwords.

A simpler, more intuitive layout. All the features of 81Dash are now reorganized into a drawer-style dashboard that not only keeps the distractions to a minimum, but also makes it more mobile-friendly. Also, all users are able to focus even more by expanding the chat window and going full screen. The simplicity is also enhanced with a visual color-coded arrangement and easily recognizable icons. Teachers and students will be able to find and use the features they need quickly, so no time is wasted and the conversation keeps moving.

More information, more control. Room creators have been able to upload and manage users in their rooms from the “Dash Room” panel. Now, creators can also see which users are online and currently in the room. This makes it easier for teachers to manage class discussions and ensure that everyone is involved in the conversation. Additionally, chat transcripts will now include any images shared, even if they have been deleted from the chat, meaning teachers will have a better record of all activity in the room.

The global resource of social media. The power of 81Dash is in making the backchannel accessible in the classroom. Expanding on this idea, users with Twitter accounts are now able to tweet responses from within the Dash Chat. This allows teachers and students the option to expand the conversation, seek outside input, promote widespread collaboration, and foster digital citizenship skills.

AcademyLion will work on more improvements and features for 81Dash as it moves through the stages of the beta test on to complete release in the coming months. “We want to be sure we are building a tool that is as useful as possible for everyone, so we are concentrating on making sure every feature works as it should,” said Stephanie Fernandez, CEO of AcademyLion, “As the needs of teachers and students change, AcademyLion plans to continue evolving 81Dash so that it continues to meet the digital demands of the 21st-century classroom.”

onenote ninja


This is one of my favorite presentations in 2015. OneNote has been such a huge hit in education that I wanted to share some of my absolute favorite tips and tricks within OneNote.

How To Become A OneNote Ninja Presentation OneNote Notebook – 1drv.ms/1T3dOp2



Managing team projects could be a nightmare when more than 5 people are involved. It can be challenging to get everyone to agree on a topic or give simultaneous feedback.

Insert Padlet – imagine a collaborative board where you can contribute with your ideas, examples and drafts from any device, anywhere, anytime?

What is Padlet?

padlet_CFPadlet is a very easy to use on-line collaborative brainstorming board for teachers and students. You just need to create a board, and double click on it to start typing your ideas or drag and drop files such as PDF, pictures, videos or URL that inspired you to develop your project.

Whether you are using it by yourself or as a team, all the changes are immediately updated and everyone on the board can see what other team members contributed to the project.

Remember that if you have any questions, you can always check Padlet’s ´Get help’ section on the right bar menu. A list of tips and tricks will be displayed to guide you through the board.

How can you use Padlet at School?

You can use Padlet for everything you can imagine. Padlet is a very efficient tool for creating inter-multidisciplinary projects, mental maps, internal communication processes, organizing events, scheduling teachers exams, brainstorming ideas to improve your school or subject plan, involving your students in a group project or keeping parents aware of the school news. In addition, It is a good app to use as a two way communication channel with students and their families, as well as with all the teachers and school staff.

Share your school project with the world:

padlet-sharing-optionsOnce your project is done, you can save it as a PDF, picture or CVS; share it by e-mail or social media; embed it into your school blog or web page; create a QR code to share it as a text message or print it. Padlet, is an amazing tool to improve your processes and involve the whole school in a collaborative team project doing both, enhancing teamwork skills and a technology friendly educational experience.

Lets face it, going from Windows 7  to Windows 8 (8.1) is a big jump. The user interface is significantly different but the experience does not have to be a negative one. Windows 8.1 does take some time to get used to but let me just start off by saying that when you learn it and become familiar with it, boy is it fun and effective for work and play.

Click on the image below to download a PDF quick start guide that walks you through Windows 8.1 navigation.



This year I had the pleasure of working closely with James Gubbins @JMGUBBINS and Michelle Russell @MICHELLERUSSELL on the #EDUWIN podcast. This is something that I took great pleasure in doing and wanted to share our guide to podcasting to give you an idea of what we used and what tools we liked that can easily be used in the classroom.


Creating Podcasts:

  • Youtube

  • Garageband

  • Audacity

  • Audiopoo

  • iPadio

How do I listen to a podcast?

There are several exciting ways to consume audio and video information.  Everyone has their favorite.  Here are just a few.

Educational Podcasts:

  • TechEducator Podcast: Yes, this one is a no brainer for this list. What happens when you mix for tech-heads with a puppeteer and throw in a live audience??? The TECHEDUCATOR Podcast is your LIVE weekly webinar series that covers everything from Pedagogy to Equipment and beyond.  Check out the TechEducator Podcast LIVE every Sunday night at 7pm eastern.  www.TechEducatorPodcast.com

  • Techlandia: A Great show run by one of the co-hosts of the TechEducator Show. Techlandia is a fun show that takes you through the world of educational technology. Every show gives 3 apps, 3 people to add to your personal learning network, and 3 cool topics from the week in education. They produce live shows every Saturday night around 11pm eastern.  www.iPadSammy.com

  • Instructional TechTalk: If you are looking to learn EVERYTHING about technology from someone who knows EVERYTHING about technology, look no further than Instructional Tech Talk and it’s host Jeff Herb.  Jeff just spend a month deconstructing Apple’s Configurator application, a tool that is used world wide by school districts implementing iPads.  It’s a GREAT series that you should check out.  Do you have an interest in Evernote?  Jeff has that for you as well. Check out @InstTechTalk on Twitter today and catch his podcast on iTunes.  www.InstructionalTechTalk.com

  • EduVue: On Monday nights, the EduVue girls from Atlanta come out and play.  EduVue is a great show that can be found at https://plus.google.com/101359780931017796250/posts or by using the #EduVue Hashtag

  • TeacherCast: No edupodcasting list would be complete.  The TeacherCast Podcast, now in it’s 3rd year has produced more than 100 round table style audio and video podcasts and to date almost 400 shows in total.  If you are looking to learn from the best educators, and hear from the best edtech developers, tune in each week to the TeacherCast Podcast hosted by Jeff Bradbury.

Educational Ideas for Podcasting

  • Retell portions of stories complete with background music and sound effects to demonstrate their understanding of tone, setting and theme as well as practice their reading fluency.

  • We could go on and on with ideas but would love to hear from you in the comments section on your educational ideas for podcasting.


Gadgets/Toys for Podcasting?

  • Blue Snowball Ice USB Microphone with HD Audio

  • JABRA UC VOICE 550 SERIES (Head Set)

  • P820-M Calisto Speakerphone

  • Device: Microsoft Surface Pro (Windows 8.1)

Microsoft has a ton of Professional Development Resources for teachers and schools. From face-to-face trainings offered by the Microsoft Store or  a Microsoft Partner to incredible recorded webcast and Online Courses. Click Here to Learn more about Microsoft Professional Development.




Where can I learn more about Windows 8.1 Apps?

This is a question that I often get asked. Well here you go.

This Microsoft resource focuses on Education apps as well as Windows Phone Apps. One of the features that I love here is how they tag the apps based on subject areas like Math, Science, Music, etc…

windows 8.1 apps






This week I wanted to talk about a tool that I use every day and have come to really love and appreciate from a workflow perspective.When you spend as much time as I do on a PC the choice of an ergonomic keyboard and mouse can make the world of difference.

Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Bluetooth MouseMy mouse of choice was the Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Bluetooth Mouse.

Cost is something that I strongly take into consideration. I did not want to spend $100 or more on a mouse, but I also did not want to lose performance.



What I liked about it:

  • The new design of the mouse and it was equally useful. When I use the mouse, I tend to be working from my desk with my Surface Pro 3 Docked, so having a Bluetooth mouse does not affect me negatively from a battery perspective.
  • Windows button on the left of the mouse: If running Windows 8.1, when pressing the Windows button it will toggle you back and forth between the desktop and the Start Screen which is a nice feature to have and can increase your productivity in Windows 8.1.


If you happen to be in the market for a Bluetooth mouse, this is one to seriously consider.



One of the things that I was most impressed by at ISTE 2014 was the Microsoft booth having this apps documentation flyer. Windows has come a long way with educational apps and they continue to get better daily. Here you can find a great list of educational apps that Microsoft released in June of 2014.


















Here are some rock star Quick Start Guides on Office 365.

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What is Mysetery Skype: Skype is a tool that allows innovation from both teachers and student. A Mystery Skype lesson involves students in a simple guessing game. Two classrooms arrange to connect with each other using Skype video calling , and then ask questions to discover each other’s locations. Its popularity with teachers and their students owes a lot to the simple format. It can be adapted for different age groups, languages and to fit in with what a class is currently studying.

It’s also a great way to get started with Skype in the classroom, and a vast number of teachers have virtually traveled the world with their classes thanks to Mystery Skype.

Why teachers love Mystery Skype

Mrs. Bowman, a fifth grade teacher from Florida, explains that this lesson is a fantastic way to make geography come to life for her students. It’s also a great way for her students to improve their communication and problem solving skills.

Teacher Paul Solarz from Illinois values Mystery Skype lessons for helping him integrate his students into a global community of learners. Students are also encouraged to lead the lesson and to learn how to efficiently collaborate with their peers.

Teacher and librarian Gillian Madeley from Ontario, Canada describes a fascinating Mystery Skype lesson with a school from Washington during which her students experienced the concept of time-zone differences first hand and how important this was for them in terms of becoming global citizens.

Set up your first Mystery Skype

Can’t wait to get started? The easiest way to find a Mystery Skype partner is by signing up to Skype in the classroom and browsing our Mystery Skype collection or using the search function on the site and searching for ‘Mystery Skype.’

You can also use the #MysterySkype hashtag on Twitter to engage with other teachers looking for Skype partners.

When it comes to running your Mystery Skype lesson, be creative with the format.
You may choose to ask only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, or only questions related to history. Use it to teach your students about climate change, or to practice your language skills with a class from another country – the possibilities are endless.

Mrs. Morgan from Texas has written up a great list of Skype etiquette tips that will guarantee that your Mystery Skype lesson is a success.

To make sure the lesson runs smoothly, it is helpful to ensure your students understand the format and to establish some basic ground rules beforehand.

Students can be assigned different roles to keep the whole class involved. These can include greeters, inquirers, sharers, clue keepers, researchers, navigators, photographers, bloggers, timekeepers and scribes. This is a great lesson to get your students practicing various skills that they have been learning in the classroom.

Tell us about your first Mystery Skype experience

We would love to hear all about your Mystery Skype adventures and help your pupils become a part of the global learning community. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you need help finding a Mystery Skype partner! Share your stories with us on Twitter or use the #MysterySkype hashtag. You can also send us a message on Facebook with a photo or a video.


Here are some phenomenal Microsoft Office 2013 Quick Start Guides.
Source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/support/office-2013-quick-start-guides-HA103673669.aspx

office quick start guide image



81Dash Video Created by High School Technology Media Specialist – Suzanne Sullins

Nomad ClipSo I happen to be that guy that just can’t carry one or even two devices. So along with my 5+ devices in my backpack, I have about 4-5 different charging cables. I am constantly looking for new ways of staying organized and I came across the NomadClip.

The Nomad Clip is a charger that can easily fit into your pocket, and clip on to your backpack for the on-the-go person like myself. You’ll get two ports available on it, one USB 2.0 and the other a lightning cable or micro USB. Cost is currently $39 but may be worth every penny.

MultiCloud-Security Like everyone else, I have multiple cloud accounts. The problem is that I have so many documents in so many cloud providers that lately is has been very difficult remembering where certain things are. I decided to dedicate some free time this month to truly get organized and clean up my Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive, and Box accounts.

The only issue was that I could not find an easy way to shift content from Cloud To Cloud without having to go through the tedious process of downloading and then uploading it back into another cloud storage.

I recently came across a new tool that simplifies this process.
MultCloud allows you to manage, migrate, transfer, copy, and move files between any cloud storage services. It supports Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Amazon S3, OneDrive and FTP, etc.



FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2014

81 Dash – A Nice Backchannel Tool for the Classroom

81 Dash is a nice backchannel platform that I learned about today during the “Smackdown” at Hack Ed 2014. 81 Dash provides a place for teachers to create chat rooms to use with students to host conversations and share files. Once you are registered you can begin creating rooms. In your chat room you can exchange messages and files. As the owner of a room you can delete messages written by your students.

Students join your 81 Dash room by going to the URL that is assigned to your room. When they arrive at your room for the first time they will be asked to register. There are two registration options. Registering as a “guest user” does not require students to enter email addresses.

Applications for Education
81 Dash resolves the complaint that teachers have about many backchannel tools. That complaint is not having a way to delete messages or delete a room if students write inappropriate things in the backchannel.

Backchannels in general provide a good way to hear from all of the students in a classroom. A backchannel allows shy students to ask questions and share comments. For your more outspoken students who want to comment on everything, a backchannel provides a good outlet for them too.


Blog Source: From Richard Byrne


Our apologies for taking a 2 month break from blogging in Fishing for Edtech.com but we have been working on one cool web 2.0 Application.

81Dash Banner81 Dash – A revolutionary communication platform for educators.

There are a ton of other great backchannels out there that we love and are big fans of. However, our team wanted to build something that was meant specifically for educators. Every step of its creation was taken from the teacher perspective. We assembled teams of teachers, spoke to them, demo, coded, and went back to the drawing board several times until out came 81Dash.

So what is 81Dash?

81 Dash is an educational backchannel. Basically it’s an environment for educators or students to collaborate with each other online. We added cool features like the ability to share documents, images, and much more.

What does 81 stand for?

In 81 the 8 is a vertical infinite symbol meaning without limit and 1 stands for the individual. So we saw 81 as the infinite power of one (an individual) and Dash stands for Dashboard which is the tool.

Site Breakdown:

The site is broken up into five sections.
Dash Chat, Dash Room, Dash Notes, Dash Tasks and Dash Mentions

Dash Chat:

Dash Chat This is a chat environment that allows you to communicate with students or other teachers. The Dash Chat has the ability for one to share documents and images with others in the room. Each Dash Chat has an individual URL. Anyone with that URL can join a room unless the room creator has locked the room.

Dash Rooms:

Dash RoomYou can create your own room or join rooms. In order to join a room all you need is the URL of that room. My favorite feature is that it gives the teacher/room creator the ability to lock the room so even if you have the URL, no one new can join that conversation until the room gets unlocked. The Dash Rooms have incredible action buttons that give you info such as:

  • Room Info – Lets you know who created the room. This comes in handy in contacting that person to make sure that they do not delete a room until you have saved the pdf transcript.
  • Delete Room – this feature is only for room creators. How many times have we created a room for one year, and then wanted to delete that room but you can’t in other systems. Well this gives the room creator/teacher full control of the life of that room. If you are a guest in a room then you also have the ability to leave a room at any time. All you need is the URL to get back in.
  • Lock Room – only room creators can lock rooms. We have heard of stories where students have hijacked other back channels. Well, now you can lock them all in or out.
  • Users – Love this feature. How many times have we had a back channel that has 50 -200 people In there but only 5 of them talk. Well now you can view everyone’s username that is in your backchannel, and if you are the room creator, you can kick them out. This will help with unwanted guests, but don’t forget to lock that room after you kick them out.
  • Upload Users: A backchannel is a powerful tool and they should not be only for secondary students. I set up a student upload excel sheet that teachers can use to create student accounts and import them into the system. The little ones will still need to visit the URL for that room, but at least the account creation process was easier, and now the teacher has full control of the Usernames and Passwords for their students.

Dash Notes:

Dash NotesSo the thought process here is to give teachers and students a place inside 81dash to take quick personal notes and export them to PDF. By no means is this Evernote or OneNote, but it’s a simple way to jot down a quick url or key topic that you want to remember later.
Dash Task: This feature was created 100% for that teacher. It’s a way to get a task list or important message in a spot where each and every member/student can see it, and check it off as complete.

Dash Mentions:

Dash MentionsWell this idea came from large classrooms. Sometimes students or teachers get going on a back channel and the communication is going so fast you cannot keep up. We find people to be having side conversations but then we have to dig and search to see if they wrote back to us. Well with Dash Mentions, any time in the Dash Chat you mention a person like @Username then that message gets populated in both places, the Dash Chat and the Dash Mentions.

So as you can see we have been busy. This is one cool passion project. I think it’s necessary to give credit where credit is due here for 81 Dash.
Thanks to the amazing team of 6 that has given me amazing feedback and is the backbone of my PLN. I am grateful for your advice, leadership but most importantly your friendship is priceless.

  • Sergio Yanes
  • Kelly Little
  • James Gubbins
  • Jerry Swiatek
  • Gary Davis
  • Stephanie Fernandez
  • James Hartman


– Thanks to Adam Bellows and Steve Dembo for leading the path and being just what you guys are are: EDUAwesome.
– Thanks to my favorite Community that gave me some incredible functionality ideas and is supportive beyond belief – DEN Stars (Discovery Education Network)
– Thanks to Ed Mansouri for his incredible mentorship.
Honestly, there are so many others to thank, I am just lucky to be surrounded by a PLN that truly cares about children and education.

Presentation Resources: https://www.haikudeck.com/e/NdXLvvdPuk#

Academylion.com – Professional Development for Schools and School Districts.
81dash.com – Email Academylion@outlook.com to be added to the early beta testing user list.

Digital Citizenship Resources:

Common Sense Media: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/
Fishing For EdTech – Digital Citizenship Presentation: https://fishingforedtech.com/digital-citizenship-presentation-ice-2014/
Digital Citizenship Basics – http://pdcms.academylion.com/?course=digital-citizenship

Web 2.0 Tools – Demonstrated in Presentation:


 Content Marketing:

The Periodic Table of Content Marketing: 

Student Response Systems:


Standard Creation Tools:


Cloud Based Storage:


Podcasting:Web or App


Hot Educational Apps:


Blog Resources Tools:


Blog Resources – great reflection blogs:


Administrators Perspective Blog:


Eduwin Podcast Show:


Twitter Chats and where to find the schedules:


Presentation Tool:


Organization Resources:


FREE professional development event – EDCAMP Leon

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Kahoot_colours-35Kahoot is a game based classroom response system. It allows you to create thought provoking questions and deliver them in a game like scenario to your audience.

Students are competitive and that is no secret. Kahoot gives the students points for their correct answers, and encourages them to participate in class. Images can be added to questions which gives educators tons of freedom with classroom question selections. The educator is fully in charge of the learning and can control each question as well as control when the students will see them.

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My favorite feature in Kahoot is the fact that it’s a web-based solution, meaning that it can be accessed from any device – Mobile Phone, iPad, Surface, or Laptop.
If you are looking for a new way to spice up your instruction and increase engagement then Kahoot may just be your classroom solution.



imagesProjeqt is one of the newest innovating ways to present. Projeqt creates a visual story by linking images, videos and text together. You can use uploaded content or content that you find on the web. Mashable – refers to PROJEQT as a creative story telling platform.

Projeqt is none linear – and allows you to weave together stories from multiple media resources. Projeqt is currently a private beta startup for the creative community with two primary use cases: a simple portfolio tool for artists to showcase their work and a presentation tool for brands and business users.

This is one tool that educators may want to keep an eye on. The possibilities are endless with the potential that Projeqt has.


Projeqt – Dynamic Presentations for a Realtime World from Pilot on Vimeo.

EDUWIN-button-300This week on #EduWin Weekly:

This week the #EduWin crew of Michelle Russell and James Gubbins catch up with Lisa Westman (@lisa_westman) to hear about the culmination of her Shark Tank Unit (see episode #35).  We also recap our whirlwind ICE Conferenceexperience!   A week that many of us in the midwest look forward too all year long.




This weeks show also features #eduwins from  @JPiekarz and@jayatwood


James’ favorite #eduwin via@jayatwood“Best compliment abt #sasipd “tech PD”…That didn’t feel like tech at all. It was teaching & learning #sasedu #eduwin @pgreensoup”

Michelle’s favorite #eduwin via@JPiekarz“Doing peer evals? Ask Ss to cite strengths, compile list for each S, add border to make certificate. Ss were beaming! #feedback #eduwin”

Show Host: James Gubbins

Show Contributors:  Michelle Russell

View our Show Notes


ITunes Store EduWin

tile-hero-shot-blackHow many times have we misplaced or lost our keys, wallet, iPads, and backpacks? Tile helps solve this issue. One of the best features of IOS devices is the find my iphone or find my Mac feature, I can’t being to describe how many times I have said, if only I had that for my keys and other valuables.

Tiles are about the size of a half dollar, Bluetooth-enabled low energy devices that track your belongings. You can stick the whiteTile to almost any object or device and track it thanks to the TILE iOS app.

How does it stick: Tile has a double-sided adhesive that allows the Tile to stick to other surfaces. The product is being attached to keys,purses/wallets, books, technolgy and just about anything that you want to track or not loose.

Each account can currently track up to 10 Tiles.

What is the range?

The advertised range is about 50 t0 150 feet.

What is the cost?

It currently sells for 19.95

My Favorite Feature:

If your item is out of range, using your smartphone, you can send a signal to it as a lost item and other tile users can get the notification if the tile is within range.

Educational Use:

As we start seeing BYOD more prevelant in schools, I can easily see me adding a tile to my childs bookbag, or the actual device itself, as an extra precaution to finding the device if they get lost.

Here are my presentation materials for Text Me The Answer ICE2014:


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Presentation images can be found on our facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Academy-Lion/517650801614688

Creative Commons License
Digita Citizesnhip Images is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://fishingforedtech.com/digital-citizenship-presentation-ice-2014.

You can also learn more about digital citizenship through PDCMS.ACADEMYLION.com and take the digital citizenship course.

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One thing that I am very pasionate about is presenting material differently. In a world where the new paper and pencil are mobile devices, maybe we should spice things up in presentations. I am not referring to texting everyone the content of your presentation but maybe throw one or two slides in there with a texting feel just to mix things up.

IFAKETEXT is a nice Web 2.0 tool that allows you create fake text messages that look realistic, but still allow you to have full control of customizing the messages.

Ifake text

How do I use this in my classroom:

It’s all about the content:

Change the text content from conversational to content related.


Just like in previous posts, we had suggested the concept of creating fictional/historical social media accounts, well now you have the ability to create fictional/historical text messages.

Bell Ringers:

Start your class with a text. One that allows them to think deeply or maybe recall information. Start your class off with something captivating that will instantly grab the students attention.

ifaketext-example-yvxndsRecap Learning:

One of my favorite student activities is asking students to recap a story. When you limit them to 5 texts, then it really gets hard because they have to make tough decisions on what they felt was truly important. Now add fake text to this process and you have some creative, funny, and impressive texts. As a teacher, this is where I start looking to see how the student read the story, and analyze what they thought was important. Their responses always seems to intrigue me based on the variance within the assignments.

Have Fun:

I am all about keeping things professional, but there is nothing wrong with having some “SAFE” fun with these templates. Throw in some jokes in there every once in a while, and help keep the mood and feel of your class positive but loose.

EDUWIN-button-300This week on #EduWin Weekly:

Join the #EduWin Weekly crew as they are visited by Lisa Westman, who you can follow on Twitter @lisa_westman. Lisa is an outside the box thinker and educator who recently gave students at McCracken Middle School an experience of a lifetime. During a project inspired by the hit show Shark Tank students were able to learn about entrepreneurship and develop and pitch their own products to local business leaders. But Lisa and her colleagues didn’t stop there. They reached out and were able to get a very special guest to visit with students via Skype to provide encouragement and advice, Want to know who it was? You’ll have to listen to find out!

This weeks show also features #eduwins from @mhall209@michaelbroach@heck_awesome and a Facebook post from @lmontgomery67


James’ favorite #eduwin via:

@heck_awesome: “Discovering how easy it is to make PDFs type-able using Google Drawing http://ow.ly/tCRD1  #SPED #ATChat #EDUWin”

Michelle’s favorite #eduwin via:

@mhall209: “Student Quote of the day “Mr. Hall take my picture with my project before I leave. Yea, I’m proud of it.” #gis #LandSat #Eduwin #ESRI”

Carlos’ favorite #eduwin via:

@michaelbroach: “Students did outstanding on today’s test in A mod #eduwin #excited pic.twitter.com/SXzAuvIBbh”

Show Host: James Gubbins

Show Contributors: 

Carlos FernandezMichelle Russell

View our Show Notes

ITunes Store EduWin

 Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 2.56.46 PMTheir are tons and tons of amazing apps out there that are great for adding captions or editing photos. But what if your school or class has not gone 1:1 and you do not have iPads or other cool devices.

Phrase.It – is a Web 2.0 tool that allows you to create your own comic strip online. It is free and extremely easy to use. Whether it is for a comic or just an image that you want to caption just right, Phrase.It is the tool for you.

It takes maybe 10 seconds to get a final product. Try it out.



Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 3.38.40 PMEducators are always looking for images, the right image to portray a message. Every once in a while they stumble upon something even better, which is a service that allows you to edit images. For those of you that rule followers and want to create warning signs as posters then look no further.

warningsignWarningSignGenerator is quick, easy, and has about 4 steps to create your own warning sign.

Educational Value – This is obviously great to have around the classroom near possible hazardous areas (like science classrooms), but let me take it one step further. Make this into a classroom activity where the students create the signs and the most creative or effective sign gets to be posted in the classrooms.

Presented at ICE Conferernce 2014 by the #eduwin weekly podcast team:

James Gubbins, Carlos Fernandez, and Michelle Russell

imgresFor those of you that are looking to change the mood in the classroom with a happy, calm, or even energetic music, then check out steromood.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.37.27 AM
Stereomood is part Internet radio, part discovery engine and part mood ring. For you brave souls that are willing to experiment and try something new in your classrooms – try steromood. I  definitely  challenge you to to analyze the production levels from the students and see if its impacting their effectiveness at all.

EDUWIN-button-300This week on #EduWin Weekly:

This week the #EduWin Weekly crew is blown away by Mark Smith the Dean of STEM at the L&N STEM Academy in Knoxville, TN  This episode focuses on a number of STEM driven that Mark  has spearheaded.  Including an award winning “App Challenge” that allows students to dive into code!  You’ll be amazed by the project on which the students chose to focus!  Mark’s stories about the  initiatives with which he is involved often left the EduWin Crew speechless and that’s a feat hard to achieve!  One community based project will literally take student achievement into outer space!  How you ask?  I guess you’ll just have to listen!

This weeks show also features #eduwins from @jeswinstanley,@Paul_Murray6@stumpteacher and of course @smithstem

James’ favorite #eduwin via:

@stumpteacher: “Student out sick messaged me to connect and see what she could be doing at home to stay in touch with what we are doing today. #eduwin”

Michelle’s favorite #eduwin via:

@jeswinstanley: “Watching an expert educator teach our youngest students across the district with @GoogleHangouts #eduwinpic.twitter.com/WX206fx1OO“ and @Paul_Murray6: “Using Google Hangouts to connect 3 classrooms to 1 teacher’s lesson. Amazing! #eduwin Thanks, Mrs. Braat! pic.twitter.com/zxHZMwwR60″

Carlos’ favorite #eduwin via:

 @smithstem: “My #eduwin of the week: 9th grade Ss get Best in State in Verizon/TSA App Challenge for 2nd year in a row #STEM #pbl“
Show Host: James Gubbins

Show Contributors: Carlos FernandezMichelle Russell

View our Show Notes

Show Host: James Gubbins

Show Contributors: Carlos Fernandez, Michelle Russell

View our Show Notes

ITunes Store EduWin