Newspaper Generator

Newspaper GeneratorIn a nut shell – this Newspaper Generator site basically allows the student to enter the following data:

– Name of the News Paper
– Date:
– Headline:
– Enter your story:


As you can imagine there are millions of ways that a teacher can infuse such a great resource into their daily teachings.


Here are some basic examples of possible usage.

– Teach different purposes of writing
– Teach informational text
– How to write op/ed articles
– Use as a form of recapping a daily, weekly, or unit lesson
– Teach Black History – by focussing on a time period, era, or person
– Inspire Creativity with Children

Newspaper Generator 2As you can see the their are many possible ways to infuse such a great tool in the classroom.

My favorite aspects of this resource:

1) web-based (free)

2) simple to use – Any teacher can view this site and instantly come up with a way of using this in your class.





FETC Survival Guide

Dates: January 23rd – 26th, 2012

Orange County Convention Center

Orlando, Florida

What is  FETC?

Florida Educational Technology Conference.  FETC is a massive technology conference where people from all over the world come to learn about some of the latest and greatest trends, philosophies, and best practices dealing with Educational Technology.  Vendors from all over come and show case the latest technology resources that can be used in the classroom. As a participant you will be able to network with thousands of teachers, school administrators, technology coordinators and directors.

What do I need to bring to FETC?

First of all make sure that you are registered for the conference. You can register at http://fetc.org/events/florida-educational-technology-conference/information/registration-information.aspx. If at all possible, don’t come alone. Many schools and school districts come in teams. It is impossible to see everything at FETC. So schools and districts use the divide and conquer philosophy that will allow your team to go to different presentations and then come back and share your knowledge and resources with each other.

What to wear:

FETC is HUGE! Lots of walking, so you want to be comfortable.

I would say that the majority of attendees dress in a casual professional way and others wear jeans and stay comfortable. FETC is all about learning and networking.  Dress however you feel comfortable to accomplish those tasks.

Backpack – I strongly recommend that you bring a backpack. You will be getting lots of materials from vendors and you will need a place to store this stuff.

Where can I find the Conference Schedule? http://fetc.org/events/florida-educational-technology-conference/information/conference-at-a-glance.aspx

Where can I find the Agenda? http://fetc.org/events/florida-educational-technology-conference/information/concurrent-sessions.aspx

Where do I start? Do I go to Vendor sessions, Exhibit Hall, or  Workshops?

This is where I tell my friends when you go to FETC you need to have a purpose.  What are you trying to get accomplished?

Events that you do not want to miss:

1) Opening Keynote

2) Clossing Session

3) Tweet Up – for Networking

4) Concurrent Sessions

5) Exhibit Hall

Exhibit Hall – I have seen schools in desperate need of some technology and they spent the whole time at the vendor exhibit hall and won loads of free technology resources (May I add that they had a lot of luck). They later learned that although it was great to win stuff, they didn’t learn anything because they did not go to any workshops (concurrent or paid). Its important to go to the vendor exhibit hall and get some freebies – talk to the vendors and see what is the latest greatest technology resources out there and compare them to what you are currently using. You will leave FETC with a better perspective of where your school stands with technology. If you are in the position to upgrade technology with in your school FETC is the time to purchase it. Vendors have  FETC conference deals that are usually better than the deals they have going on yearlong. If you are thinking about purchasing something – DO NOT PURCHASE IT right away. Walk that exhibit floor; you will see that there are 20 other versions of the same style of product. Vendors will let you test their product out so you can have a better idea of which product best fits your needs.

Concurrent Sessions – In concurrent sessions, this is where you divide and conquer. They are usually 30 – 45 minute sessions. Space is limited so you want to make sure that you get to the workshop room ASAP. You will be shocked at how many resources these presenters throw at you within a 30-45 minute span.  Have a plan, take out the agenda before FETC, and highlight the concurrent workshops that you find interesting.  Warning – as I said before, they do fill up fast, so always have a plan B and Plan C incase you cannot get into the workshop session you planed on attending.  There are many concurrent sessions to choose from but its important to remember that your time is valuable. Do not hesitate to leave a concurrent session. If you sit in that session for 5 minutes and you realize this is not what you were expecting, just quietly stand up and leave. Go to your plan B or Plan C. Remember that you are there to learn.

Paid workshops – These workshops are worth every single penny. Concurrent sessions are phenomenal because they are free.  Having said that you will learn lots and lots of resources but not necessarily how to navigate or use them effectively in your classroom due to time constraints within a concurrent session. Because of this you will have some Home Work to do. Paid workshops are usually 2, 3, 5 or 7 hours long. Paid workshops are usually hands on workshops. They are much smaller, intimate, and they will walk you through their presentations making it a memorable hands on experience.  There is no guessing in these types of workshops. You will leave knowing how to use that product, resource, or understanding that philosophy.

Be Prepared – Know Your Agenda:

There are so many workshops to choose from. This is where the overwhelming part comes in. As stated earlier, make a plan, have some back up workshop plans, and make the most of your experience. If you look at your agenda two minutes before the workshop starts, and try to figure out where you want to go, it will be to late. That workshop might have gotten filled.

FETC Highlights:

Edmodo is a secure social learning network for teachers and students.  It is also an amazing web based classroom platform where you can post assignments, give student polls, exams, and flip your classroom into a virtual paperless classroom.  Edmodo will be heavily involved in FETC. By signing up for Edmodo you will be able to join “groups”/presentations and access all of the presenters resources from the presentations that you attend.

iPhone and Android  FETC- APP:

FETC is going to launch a new app for the conference. The APP will have lots of useful information as well as an up to the minute agenda for participants to pick and choose which presentations/workshops you would like to attend. Strongly recommend that you download their app as soon as they release it. COMING SOON!

Social Media:

The beauty of FETC is the truly within the participants and Social Media. If you are not yet on twitter you are missing out. If you follow the hashtag #FETC through out the conference you will see people tweeting and sharing resources non-stop through out presentations. Its what many participants do in order to not only share the amazing information they are learning in a presentation, but also read and keep up with some of the other presentations that you could not attend because they are going on simultaneously.



You will find several tweet-ups at FETC. This is a set time and location where educators and conference attendees get together and network. You will often find lots of presenters at tweetups and this would be a great way to ask more questions that you might have not had the chance to ask earlier. Tweet-ups are very informal. Last year I met another technology director and we actually shared notes from our sessions with each other that we took on Evernote. A friendship was formed and we are now constantly communicating and sharing resources with each other via twitter. Here are two excellent places for an FETC tweet-up.

Wednesday January 25th, 2012 PLN Tweet and Greet


Location: TGI Fridays on 8955 International Drive

Starts at 6:30pm

Sign up at: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AolL0gtED_t6dEJfRTVPZmdTdkR4N1R1Szl2eExya2c#gid=0

Here is a link to a YouTube video from a previous years tweet up: – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyvQeflc6OQ


Tuesday, January 24th,  2012 Live Tweet Up @FETC

Location: Exhibit Hall at the Social Media Lounge Booth 1261

Starts at 5:30pm

Should I bring my Computer/some form of technology? 

YES! You are going to be overwhelmed with information. This is a good thing. You will see people with their laptops, typing away taking notes. Last year participants had iPads, others had iPhones or Android smart phones. Some just bring a note pad and hand write a million notes. Bring what ever it is that you feel comfortable using to take notes.

FETC iPad Apps Survival Guide : 

Last year it was no secret that the iPad was the technology choice of many to attend workshops, take notes, and stay connected to social media. The Smart Phones were a close second. Here I thought that I would cover the basic must have iPad apps for FETC, since I have a feeling we will see even more iPads at FETC than ever before.

  • FETC 2012 App

    FETC (App) – Keep in touch with everything FETC through the FETC app.

    FETC APP2012

  • Evernote App

    this is my #1 app. You can take notes on your ipad, computer, or smartphone using Evernote.  All of the text and pictures that you may take using Evernote is searchable. This will become extremely useful when you go back to your hotel or classroom after the conference and organize your notes. Evernote is just that, and organizational tool for your notes. For more info on Evernote: go to  http://www.evernote.com/evernote/

    Evernote App

  • Edmodo App

    Being that presenters are going to be putting their presentation resources in Edmodo, its important that you can access this information. Make sure that you download the Edmodo App, create an account, and join the group of the presentation you are attending. For more info on Edmodo:  go to http://www.edmodo.com/mobile/

    Edmodo App

  • I-nigma App

    In a technology conference you will find so multiple QR Codes and you will want a QR code reader on your phone or iPad. QR codes will give you information , and in many cases allow you to win some free prizes for just scanning.  There are so many different kinds of QR Code Readers out there, use the one that you like the most. For more info: Go to http://www.i-nigma.com/Downloadi-nigmaReader.html


  • DropBox App

    Free cloud based storage. As presenters share files with you, you can store them in Dropbox for later use and share them with someone else. For more info: Go to https://www.dropbox.com/home#:::

    Dropbox App

  • Camera App

    Take pictures at the conference. Using your iPad or phone. Document where you went, where you want to go back, what products from vendors you really liked and why. You can do this using your camera app or do this within Evernote as well. After that first day, you are going to be exhausted, and wont believe all of the great resources and vendor booths that you saw. Why not reflect a bit, look at the pictures that you took, and make a plan for the next conference day. For more info: Go to http://www.apple.com/ipad/built-in-apps/camera.html

    Camera App

  • Remember The Milk App

    You can put your selection of FETC workshops free or paid in here. This way you have a check list of where you are supposed to go next and what time they start. For more info: Go to http://www.rememberthemilk.com/services/iphone/

    Remember the Milk App

  • Skype or Face Time App

    Stay in touch with your group of choice. When going to FETC as a group you can communicate through these apps. In a large conference you will see that getting a hold of your friends is going to be a challenge. Try using SKYPE or FACE Time to tell them where to meet, or let them know that you are in an amazing workshop and they need to get to room 205E.  Every year I find numerous teachers Skypeing with their classes back in Illinois , Arizona,  Puerto Rico or wherever they may be from. Teachers will suddenly show their class the opening keynote or just chime in and say hi to their class and tell them that she/he misses them.  I had one teacher ask me to speak to their class and tell them where I was from and what I did for a living. – Love it! For more info: Go to http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/home

    Face Time

  • DIIGO App

    Social bookmarking is amazing. You are going to run into a never-ending list of great online free resources. Use Diigo to save them all and access them later. While saving the bookmarks you can make notes to remind yourself what the bookmark was about. For more info: Go to http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/diigo/id417202559?mt=8

    Diigo App

  • Bamboo Paper App

    Lets be realistic here. Typing on the iPad takes lots of practice and some getting used too. One option is to purchase a Bluetooth keyboard and type using the keyboard. If you really want to use your iPad but write notes with your finger Bamboo Paper is the app for you.  Bamboo Paper is free, and allows you to send the  written notes to your email or convert them into a photo. For more info: Go to http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bamboo-paper-notebook/id443131313?mt=8

    Bamboo Paper App

  • HootSuite App

    HootSuite is a great way to stay connected with Twitter. You can always just use the twitter app, but if you are going to follow #fetc and keep track of your twitter feed at the same time HootSuite is the app for you. It’s very important to stay connected in a technology conference to twitter and the conference feeds being that vendors do multiple free giveaways through twitter, and people are constantly sharing resources. For more info: Go to http://hootsuite.com/

    hootsuite App

  • Groupon HD App

    Yes had to throw this in here. I would definitely search groupon in Orlando to see if there are any hotel or food specials. For more info: Go to http://www.groupon.com/mobile/

    Groupon HD App

  • Around Me App

    This app will give you a list of hotels, or places to eat near your current location. For more info: Go to http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aroundme/id290051590?mt=8

    Around Me App

  • Four Square App

    Make sure that you get foursquare and check in at local hot spots like restaurants. You will often find discounts for just checking in. For more info: Go to https://foursquare.com/apps/

    FourSquare App

  • Safety Post by Lee Kolbert

    Conferences and Online Safety by Lee Kolbert – http://www.leekolbert.com/2011/12/conferences-and-online-safety-101.html



And Most Important – Have Fun

Going to a technology conference is business, however this does not mean that you cant have fun. Go and meet new people.  Find memebers of your PLN and catch up with them. My PLN is amazing – and I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet up with them in these kinds of events.

Fantastic FourFantistic Four – Jerry Swiatek, Stephen Veliz, James Gubbins, and Carlos Fernandez at FETC 2012


I hope that this Survival Guide has helped you prepare for FETC. If you would like for me to add any other information please comment on this post – and I will gladly add it.


I have covered Dropbox many times in my Blog. I really hate to over kill something but It seems as though every week I run into a person using a USB Thumb Drive, or someone who has never heard of Dropbox before. I then go through my little 2 minute speech, capture their attention and then convert them into a Dropbox user for life. You would think I actually work for Dropbox.

As an Educator I can’t even imagine going 1 day with out Dropbox.

Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage has become a staple in my life. There is no doubt about that.

In this post I would really like to focus on answering basic questions on Dropbox and share some Dropbox ideas and resources that I have come across that I hope you find useful. Below you will see some of the slides that I will use at FETC 2012 when discussing Dropbox along with many other teacher friendly resources.

Question #1

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 4.43.02 PM

Dropbox is one of those amazing tools that is cloud based storage. Basically all of the data is stored through a cloud based server. This means that you do not need to carry a USB with you any longer. As long as you have internet access you have access to your Dropbox account any where in the world.

Dropbox 2

Remember that Dropbox is web-based. This means that you can access it from any device that has access to the internet.  So which device best works with Dropbox? Well that depends on which device you are the most comfortable using. I personally use two main devices for Dropbox. My work/home computer and my iPad. When ever I am traveling and I need access to a specific file that I stored in dropbox my iPad is always with me.

My wife was so hesitant about using Dropbox. She thought I was wasting my time. She said ” why would I use this when I have a thumb drive that is always with me”. So I took her thumb drive and thew it in the fire. Just Joking.  I did not do that, but I felt like doing it. I actually took the thumb drive and created a dropbox account  for her, and transferred all of the data for her with out her knowing. Exactly a week later, she freaked out. Can you believe that her amazing trust thumb drive stopped working. She was in the phone practically crying because all of her lesson plans and data were in that device. I then told her what I did, and won some serious brownie points.


There are so many different way to use dropbox as an Educator.  Any document that you feel might need storage for later use will be perfect for  Dropbox. As I speak with different educators from all over the country I here that they use dropbox as a lesson plan storage center. Some Educators keep rubrics or answer keys stored in Dropbox for easy access. As you can see just about anything can be stored in Dropbox.


Below you will see a great youtube video explaining dropbox.

Here are some other great resources:

Using iPad in the Classroom LiveBinder by Jerry Swiatek.


The Complete Dropbox for Educators



Often we find ourselves using the same form of presentation that we always use. We stick to what we feel comfortable doing and what we feel is easiest at that time for us. Isn’t it Ironic that as educators we are always trying to get our kids out of their comfort zone? This is how we expose them to new ideas, thoughts, ways of thinking, and get the most out of them, yet as educators we cocoon ourselves up and stay in our safe house. One of my least favorite quotes is “I am using technology in the classroom, I present using PowerPoint”. That statement gives me chills, and not good ones.

An interesting group that we could all learn from happens to be TV Commercial writers.  They are constantly changing trying to stay relevant. They have a target group in mind; they know their target group in and out. They can tell you trends on what’s hot and what’s not.  Should teachers not be in this same mind frame.

Negative Teacher Comment: “Well that’s too much work. That is too hard and I don’t get paid enough to work that hard, I don’t have time for that.” – All I can think about when someone speaks with this tone, is I would do everything in my power to make sure your not teaching my daughter.


Present differently, Present to be relevant.

The continuous effort we put into our presentations should have an direct correlation on whether or not our students “buy into our product”, a product that so happens to be knowledge. In the spirit of EDTECH and Sharing here are some Relevant Presentation formats that I use.

PreziPrezi – This just might be the most popular presentation tool of teachers that are not using Power Point. Prezi is a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas.



simple_chartsKeynote – Definitely one of my favorite ways of presenting if not my favorite way to present. It is very similar to power point. Easiest thing to put together. Keynote for Mac is great, Keynote for iPad is just as good. I can put together a short great visual presentation in no time using Keynote.



Comic Life


Cartoons/Comic Life: Presentations are not meant to be 2 hours long or even 45 minutes long. If it takes that long it should be called a lecture rather than a presentation. Presentations are supposed to capture us, help us understand, grab our attention, and give us visuals that connect with the content. I don’t care if you are an Elementary teacher or a High School teacher. Using comics as a form of presentation is an eyeopener and an attention grabber with all ages.

On a closing note, these are just a few examples of what I like and works for me. This is not a one size fits all blog. There are so many different forms of presentations out there. You just need to remember to change it up. Find new content, use new methods, and most important stay relevant.




Generic Picture

Livebinders is a digital notebook for teachers, students, or anyone who wants a place to organize their materials, thoughts or ideas.

I first came across Live Binders and thought to myself big deal. I can use so many other products that do roughly the same thing.  Then I started to think about using it as a teacher, and light bulbs began to brighten up in my brain.

As an AP US history teacher, I thought Live Binders fit perfectly in education or in any highschool class.  I saw myself using  Live Binders by running a Blog – most likely made through wordpress.com or blogger.com. The blog would have basic information on upcoming announcements that parents and students would need to know about my class.  I then, would have a live binder embedded into the blog, or I can just put a link in the blog that would give my readers access to a specific livebinders.

Like many other teachers out there, we all have textbooks, but don’t use them or make the students read them page by page. I use a large amount of supplemental material that I have gathered over the years that might help my students understand specific ideas and topics. Using  Live Binders , I now have a place where I can not only keep some of this material but organize in a way that would allow my students to visit my livebinders site access the information, and keep them within  Live Binders a safe environment, rather than exploring the net or getting distracted.

After using  Live Binders in class I then realized that students had started to make their own  Live Binders as a form of studying and digital portfolio. they were showing their livebinders as a form of assignment proving to the teacher that they are staying organized, understand the material, and will continue to use it in the future.

Live BindersLive Binders is not something you just read about. You have to go to the website and check out some  Live Binders that many amazing educators have already created and then you will understand.  My initial intent of using live binders was as a teaching tool, I then saw how powerful it can be as a professional development tool.  Teachers can share  Live Binders and you can view someone else’s  Live Binders on iPad resources, or on Dropbox.  You will see some of their personal notes, or best practices being put in a digital format to share with others.

Live Binders notebooks can be shared or made private. Now let me give you a warning.  Live Binders does not have bells and whistles. It’s not a flashy website, but when used properly it can be very powerful.   Live Binders just teamed up with Word press in a collaboration. I strongly recommend you check this blog out and try  Live Binders out.


Is an iPad a computer replacement?

SplashTopAfter a good amount of time with my iPad 1 and iPad 2 it is very obvious that it’s not a computer replacement. My wife was so skeptical about me purchasing the original iPad one. I told her I really thought this could a “game changer” and it was.  It is not a computer replacement but it can be if you want it to be.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love working on my PC or my Mac Book Pro. I actually rather work on my computers than my iPad. I can work a million times faster, and feel as though I can get so much more done in a short time frame suing a computer.

My Mac Book Pro is also a million pounds heavy in my backpack, holds me up when I travel through airports, and has an awful battery life span when I am in conferences.

The iPad can be used a million different ways. From a business perspective it’s very close to a computer. The main thing is that it keeps me connected.  By using Apple iWorks (pages, keynote, and numbers), I am able to work on any kind of documents if I really need to.


An app like Quickoffice HD is another amazing app that keeps you connected and allows you to not only view Microsoft documents but edit them as well.

From a teacher’s perspective:  I am looking at an iPad as a management tool. I can show presentations through my projector using keynote which is phenomenal, but using the iPad I can take attendance, keep track of discipline. I can grade projects or papers by creating a digital rubric and send myself all of the data to import later on a computer or just remote in to my computer as I grade.

The iPad – allows me to surf the net in an instant and get as much information as I possibly want.  Lastly the iPad does not weigh as much as my computer.  Traveling with the iPad is easy and convenient. Battery life and portability are ideal.

Now I live and die by having access to my computer. I use many programs like Evernote and Dropbox which happen to be my two favorite applications but every once  in a while I run into an important document that is left on sitting in my work computer desktop.  I have lost sleep over these situations. It might be a an important presentation that you need to tweak over the weekend but cant access because its sitting in the office or classroom and it just happens to be Saturday when your work environment is closed. Whether you are either 18 or 1800 miles away, using a remote desktop application you will be able to easily access any of your computers files. This for me is hands down the one thing that helps justify my iPad and not carrying a bulky computer around.

I can remote into my computer and grab a document, send a document to Dropbox or Evernote or email it to my home computer. The iPad screen turns into  your home/office computer screen.

The feature product that I wanted to overview today is an iPad app called SPLASH TOP.

Splash top is a remote desktop app.  Now, let me be honest with you, there are a bunch of apps that do the same thing.  The reason I tell my teachers to use splashtop is because it’s secure, and it’s the cleanest and easiest remote desktop app that I have used, and trust me when I say I have been through about 30 of them and still go back to splashtop app every time.

Splashtop requires me to put download a splashtop streamer program on the computer s that I want my iPad to connect with.  Once I have this, I connect the computer and iPad to my Gmail account give myself a password and now I have a secure connection between my iPad and computer.

Splashtop app cost about 2.99 in the iTunes app store.  So far all of the administrators and teachers that I have spoken with have said this has been the best and most useful app they have used.

Splashtop Desktop

Here is an example of splashtop.  This is a screenshot of my iPad connecting to my Mac Book Pro.


As a former classroom teacher, I learned that many of my former students had a similar learning style to mine. My students were extremely visual and they needed to see things rather than just hear them. This was not an earth shattering discovery. We are talking about the same population that was born watching TV, lives on social media with their computers, have a cellphone attached to their hands and can text about 80 words per minute.

As an Educator I am always looking for new ways to present my information. One day I decided to do a whole lesson on mind mapping. I was intrigued to learn how the students mind was working when we were covering several topics. I know how my mind works, I know the steps and processes that take place, I know how my mind makes connections with several topics, but I was not sure if the students were understanding the content topics well enough to make some of these same connections that I was making.

This is exactly where mind mapping took off in my class. It allowed not only for me to see the students written thoughts, but allowed them to explain to me why they would put several things in the order they chose, or explain why they linked a connection between two topics. Watching the students create a great mind map, then explain the connections they had made, argue with each other over connections made, where they belonged, why that connection was chose was better than any standardized test the state or myself could have ever made. It was clear that the students understood the material, could make connections with other events, could create new thoughts and ideas to build on the ones that have already been discussed. In a nut shell mind mapping in my class was GOLD!

I have used several mind mapping tools in the past. Some have been amazing, and other not so much. I am always looking for something simple yet visually strong enough to make an impression and todays featured tool is my current choice for mind mapping. Its called POPPLET.

Popplet is an interesting mix of sticky notes, mind mapping, cluster mapping, timeline, visual pictures or text and so much more. I personally use Popplet to organize my presentation. Popplet is my personal drawing board. This is where I just type down the notes or thoughts, then show connections then add pictures if necessary. I often use my popplet in my presentations so the teachers or students can see how I got to this concept that I am trying to explain. I like to think of it as a snapshot of some ones brain.
Popplet is a web-based program, but also has an iPad app that is AMAZING! The program is currently in beta, and is free. I strongly suggest that you take advantage of this amazing application. Popplet can also be used to collaborate with others. It can be treated as a working document or working “popplet”.

I thought I would share some of my brain storming Popplets:



Edmodo Popplet

Thought I would start off this post with a little something about me. My confession: I am a lecturer. I come from a History background and I love talking about history. I can sit in a chair, stand behind a podium and just talk all class period long. Now, I would like to think that my stories/history lessons are mesmerizing, but a couple of years ago I knew that I needed more student interaction. After repeating the same story 5 times in a row, my 6th period was not getting my “A-Game”. The one thing that I learned was that STUDENTS ALWAYS HAVE QUESTIONS. They do not necessarily ask them but they have them. So I started to invest my time and money in hand held devices, student response systems, call them what you will. I challenged the students to stop me, and ask me questions in the middle of my lecture. I changed my delivery style in order to have questions built in to the lesson where the students needed to respond back and give me the answer or just give me their personal opinions. Students should have a voice and should be allowed to express their opinions. Once the students hit their comfort zone and asked questions via response system, or polling, it was very apparent that comprehension of the subject matter sky rocketed. Here are some of the tools that I personally believe can be effective in a classroom. The list is no particular order.

I also did want to mention my title is the slogan from Socrative, my first tool. I thought the title fit perfect with this post. Engaging students in learning is what us teachers should be striving for.


Socrative: http://www.socrative.com/

“Engage your class using Any Device” – well that slogan pretty much says it. If the device has internet access the students can access Socrative. Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.


Edmodo: http://edmodo.com

Although my focus is polls and student response systems on device I  had to bring Edmodo in to the mix. Edmodo basically is a paperless classroom environment. Some would even go as far as saying its an LMS (learning management system). The feature that I would like to mention about Edmodo is its polling. Teachers and students can create their own polls and answer them anonymously for free.

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere: http://www.polleverywhere.com/

If you want to get a student excited about your lesson, all you need to say is this sentence. “Alright students, take out your cell phones”.  There is no other sentence that is as powerful as that one for middle and high schools students. Poll Everywhere is known for “Instant Audience Feedback”. I have seen it be so succesful in conferences, meetings, workshops, and yes in the classroom. Important information to know before you buy stock in this product – Poll Everywhere is free for audiences of 30 people or less and they do offer paid plans for larger audiences.


Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/

You can select almost any type of questions (multiple choice, rating, scales, drop-down menus, fill in the blanks, and much more). You can make certain questions mandatory or optional, give the teacher full control.  Many teachers are using Survey Monkey as not only as a response/feedback outlet for their students but also as a new form of assessment.

Easy Polls

Easy Poll: http://easypolls.net/

Easy Polls is another simple way to create polls. You can share your polls via Facebook or twitter. It’s nothing earth shattering but gets the job done rather quickly.

Poll Daddy

Poll Daddy: http://polldaddy.com/

Poll Daddy gives you up to 200 surveys for free a month. Might not seem like enough but some teachers only use Polls with certain classes and maybe only once or twice a month. If this is you, PollDaddy.com is a great product. Polldaddy also has an app where students can interact via iPad, iPhone or smart phone. Poll Daddy “Engage Your Audience”. Trust me it will.


Poll Junkie

Poll Junkie:http://www.polljunkie.com/

No sign up.  No log in.  Just quick and anonymous polls in seconds and results you can count on. Another simple Poll Maker.

Response systems: Hand held devices

If you are not interested in allowing students to use their cellphones and wish to purchase a student response system for the class there are many out their in the market.

 qwizdom remote

Qwizdom: http://www.qwizdom.com/

Qwizdom Q2′s and Q4′s are phenomenal. They work through a radio frequency, very reliable and easy to use.


Promethean has the activ-expressions.  Expressions allow you to participate in any form of question and does not limit you to just multiple choice style questions. The Activ-Expressions are teacher direction driven like many other devices. This allows that students to focus on the teacher and not activate the device until the teacher has decided to do so. Although they may seem a bit bulky, they are a huge hit in the classroom.



Smart has a whole line of student response systems for all ages. They also have an app/web-based program that allows the students to participate using their own device or using the Smart devices. This is a huge step as more and more schools turn to BYOD (Bring your own device).

Final Thoughts: Its’s not always about the device or software. Yes, a good device and piece of software might be flashy, but it’s really about making that connection with students. Allowing the students to participate in the class. Let them ask questions via device. Get feedback on your lesson. Ask those students what they thought was the hardest thing they learned that day? What did they enjoy about the lesson today? Ask thought-provoking questions that will help your students understand the content, and help you the teacher deliver it more effectively. Can’t think of a better way to end this blog then by polling you, so lets put polls into work. I will be using Poll Daddy- wish me luck.



Students Gotta Share! So let’s allow them to!

facebookOne of the biggest battles that I have fought as an educator is inspiring people in higher educational positions than me to allow the use of social media in an educational setting. I do not find it necessary to restrict high school or even middle school students by blocking sites, or asking them to turn off their electronic devices while at school.

In a time where educational funding is scarce, we should be looking at outlets and our student resources for answers on how to continue moving forward in our digital world rather than blocking access to it.

Kids today were born into a life with social media.

They know how to use  and  better than we do. Our society is changing, and shifting into a digital world, and so many of us are being left behind. Why are we fighting this change? Why are we not embracing it?

A good teacher does not just teach, but finds ways to make connections with students. Teachers should make connections that will last all year long and possibly longer. Social media can do just that. It can open a portal into a student’s mind, and allow you access to what they like what they are into, and as a teacher you can use this information to better reach the students.

Is this not what  and so many other online companies are doing to us? They are putting cookies into our computers and analyzing our trends and habits, so they can better meet our needs and of course buy their products. Why are we not taking this approach with our students? Friend them, tweet with them, show them where you are in four square.  Make yourself human, and show them that you too have a life. Is it so bad to learn about what music they listen to, or what is currently trending?

Twitter DrawingStudents have this “I Gotta Share” fever, and we should be encouraging them, not distancing ourselves from them. If we are not active and embrace this Social Media movement, we just might find ourselves falling behind times and not fully understanding our future. So maybe it’s not such a bad thing that you start familiarizing yourselves with the following brands. They are here to stay.


iPad and Me

Seven months ago I felt as though I was just going to die if I did not get myself an iPad. I was in the market for a new computer and I could not make up my mind on what I wanted to purchase. I researched everything that you could possibly humanly research and came up with several conclusions. I wanted to purchase this so called iPad. I took advantage of some turkey day sales and bought me an iPad and Lenovo Desktop which I am so happy with and love.

Being an educator in both a bricks and mortar school along with an online environment I knew that I needed something small, light, and most importantly something that did not take forever to turn on. I did what any other consumer would have done and drove to the nearest BestBuy electronic store to test out the iPad and double check that it would be able to run all of my online content necessary to teach. That was the day that I had officially made up my mind that I would purchase the iPad has not let’s just say that the iPad has not let me down one bit.

I am aware that by no means is this a computer replacement but it sure is a close one. One of the biggest issues that I, along with many other laptop users have is that we basically put to much junk in our computers and without realizing it we slow the machine down considerably. Next thing you know you have to defrag, remove programs, and much more. When I purchased the iPad, I purchased it with one thing in mind. I needed to have instant online accessibility to help my online students when they needed it. It was a pure work machine, and to this date it has remained as such. As an educator it is nice to have an iPad with me at all times. I take my notes on the iPad during faculty, team, department, county and many other meetings.

This is where the program Evernote comes in. Evernote is my bread and butter for the iPad. There is not one day that passes without me using this program. It is free, and its simple. There are so many different ways to use Evernote that I could spend a 30 page series of blogs explaining the functionalities of Evernote. (Evernote Blog coming soon). When purchasing an iPad the current and future costs of Apps are something to seriously consider. iPad’s like anything else can be fully customizable. You the owner can put any and everything you want in it. Many apps are free but not all.

So the question that I always get from everyone is how do I use the iPad. What do I use it for? So here is my list of an educator’s perspective of iPad usage in no particular order.

–  Amazing note taking machine. If you hook up a Bluetooth keyboard to it you can take notes on this machine just like you would with a laptop. I don’t rely on my Bluetooth keyboard but it has taken my iPad to much further levels.

– iPad apps like Evernote and Dropbox have become my life and soul in education. These apps not only allow me to take great notes, and organize them but they also keep my information synced throughout all my computers. It is common for me to wake up early in the morning and type up some stuff in my home computer, finish it after school at work, then go to Starbucks for a meeting with a friend bring it up on my iPad, and then make final adjustments to the file at home, all using those two apps.

– Presentation tool: With the proper adapter you can make an amazing keynote and connect it to a projector through a VGA cable. Once again some of the same functionalities that you would find in a laptop, but its not a laptop. You can use keynote for power point like presentations. I find myself to use the iPad a lot during my lectures. Instead of having a note card or piece of paper, I can have my own personal notes, or even the presentation itself running on my iPad while I speak.

– Amazingly quick online experience. Our school laptops are for lack of better words deathly slow. From off to on may take anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes. Of course this is because they are trying to find the school server, and it takes them forever to realize I may not be in school working on this laptop. This is a serious issue, being that I teach online through virtual school. When students call me they need to know I can look at whatever screen they need me to look at quickly in order to better serve them. The iPad will allow me to be online within less than 3 seconds.

– Online textbooks, ebook’s with amazon kindle and iBooks are used by my students daily. As a class we are able to keep up with news through the USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, and other major as well as local newspapers. CNN’s app is short of amazing for quick up to date news.

You may ask, so based on those simple reasons is that enough of a reason for me to “invest” that much money into this machine? The answer for me is “yes”, but only you can answer that question. The fact that its small, light, easily portable, strong, fast in loading, and versatile in apps/programs is enough for me.

Final thoughts:  What works well for some does not work well for others. Like anything else the iPad is only as good as what you make it to be. I use my iPad religiously because I love it and because it does not make me feel like I am actually working. I use my iPad for 90% work but the other 10%  is also very important to me. I suggest if and when you buy your iPad, you customize it. Add pictures of you and your family or friends, put some great music on it. Do something to it to remind you that not only is this a cool tool that you can possibly use for work, but it can also be pleasure. Why else would you have paid that much money for it if your not going to have fun with it.

Edtech: Edtech (Educational Technology) is the use of technology to support the learning process.

Washington DC

145 of my students in Washington D.C.

 I would like to think of myself as a person who keeps up with technology or at least tries to. It pleases me to know that the youth of our nation and their willingness as well as love for the use of technology is strong. In a time of so called “recession” we are still able to advance as a nation and come up with new forms of computers, tablets, software, apps, and other cool gadgets.

I recently took 145 students to our nation’s Capital to get a hand’s on learning experience of not only important historical figures through out our American History but to take a deeper look at historical locations with the overall goal of having the students gain a stronger positive perception of American History.

Throughout the trip I was exposed to students using technology on an everyday basis. I know the students use technology in my classroom, because I am lucky enough to be in a position where I can supply them with the tools, but it was a rewarding experience seeing them use technology throughout this trip.

Our “Fabulous” coach lines gave us coaches that had two power outlets under every student’s seat. So during the 15 hour drive students never lost power to their electronic devises. Normally I would expect students to be listening to their iPods the whole trip. These are 14 year old boys and girls that we are talking about. I was shocked to find out that they were using technology to learn on their own.

Throughout the trips I saw, iPads, iPhones, iTouches, Android phones and more. The students were not listening to music or playing games. They were surfing the web with search engines like Google and Bing in order to learn about some of the venues that we were visiting. Students were listening to podcast that dealt with former presidents like Lincoln and Jefferson. I caught students quizzing themselves in the back of the bus, and using their phones as the source of information. Started to make me wonder why we had a tour guide.


Social Media was an unbelievable source of communication throughout our trip. Students were taking pictures of themselves as they traveled and then posting the pictures with updates on facebook. Of course there parents loved this. It was the best way for them to communicate and see some of the venues that their child was visiting.  One thing that stood out for me as the lead chaperone was the lack of old school cameras. Students do not carry cameras anymore. Everything is digital. They took pictures with their cell phones and instantly posted the pictures onfacebook .

One teacher took a different approach. He made the most of four square and showed students what foursquare was during the trip. This teacher easily earned what seemed to be hundreds of points using foursquare that week.   He had other friends keeping up with the venues that he was checking in at. As if things could not get any better our “Fabulous” coach (bus) was breaking in a brand new 2011 coach. The driver pumped up the music, turned on the flat screen TV’s and took out his iPhone to take video of the students singing and dancing in the bus.

He of course posted it on you guessed it.youtube-logo


Technology is everywhere. It no longer seems to be a luxury that some of us have. It has turned into a necessity, a way of life for these kids. This trip has made me proud to teach these students and made such a strong impact on them to be open to new forms of technology. It’s important to remember that, technology is a tool. Use it as you wish, but only use it if you think it will help you be successful in what you are trying to accomplish. After this trip its obvious that not only do I love EdTech, but my students love it as well.



This weekend I was fortunate enough to experience an important part of my hometown’s history with my students. I challenged my students to use their parental-convincing skills and convince their parents to take them to a local Civil War re-enactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge.

Battle of Natural Bridge 2011 from Carlos Fernandez on Vimeo.


Last year was the first year that I attended this event, and I was completely blown away at the accuracy and professionalism that was presented by all of the participants. Being an American History teacher I understand that events that took place over 140 years ago might not be as exciting to our youth as modern-day television shows, or Xbox games. So I knew my job as a teacher was to get them to these kinds of events and let the event do the rest of the teaching. No lecture was involved, and very little explanation was necessary. Sharing a re-enactment experience with my students was nothing short of amazing. They let their five senses take over, and a vivid memory was made.  Making history come alive in your classroom is not an easy task. If ever given the opportunity I strongly suggest that if and when possible you go to a re-enactment of some sort.

The best way for me to explain this experience is to pretend that we got in a time machine and dialed March 6, 1865. We walked through Union and Confederate Camps and did not see any modern-day tools of any kind. The participants stayed true to their southern or northern accents and lingo.

After walking through the camp I was able to make my way into what appeared to be an incredible battlefield. At first, I was slightly disappointed when I realized that the other thousand people before me got the good seats, but I never lost hope. After walking all the way to almost the end of the battlefield, I realized my standing/picture position was perfect. Who knew the confederate soldiers would be setting up in front of me?  Let’s just say I got my fair share of action.

Although the battle itself lasted a good 30 to 45 minutes, the show was clearly not over. There was a medical demonstration for those that could handle a ridiculous amount of blood (and some world class actors!) My students obviously have a much stronger stomach than me. When inviting students to these kind of events there are always positives and negatives. My fear in inviting kids to events like civil war re-enactments deals with the interesting crowds that might show up. Some people are, let’s say, “still passionate” about the topic, and may act inappropriately. Well, I can tell you that law enforcement was everywhere and the experience was nothing short of spectacular and educational. What more could you want from a “weekend field trip” of sorts?

So I challenge you, the educator, to take your children out of the classroom and go to a similar event. Show them why the information written in the history books is so important by not only make a lasting memory but by allowing history to come alive.

Everyday, as teachers, we have a million things to remember. We have our personal lives to deal with:  family, kids, groceries, shopping, car and house maintenance, bills, etc.  On top of that, we also have work obligations:  lesson plans, department meetings, grade level meetings, faculty meetings, parent conferences, Individualized Educational Plans, papers to take home and grade, report card comments, etc.  Well…You get the point.

The purpose of my Blog is to simplify your teaching day through the integration of these simple free tech resources.


Evernote is my personal digital assistant; I like to think of it as my secretary. Through this tool, I am always capable of recording my thoughts, and can capture interesting bits and pieces that I come across and may want to use in the future. I personally use Evernote to create notes, clip interesting web pages, store pdf’s, and snap photos.  The best thing that Evernote offers is the ability to take my notes everywhere I go. They can be accessed through the computer, my phone, iPad, or even web. Evernote is always with me.

So what can Evernote do for you?

Here are just a few examples:  make checklists, capture information from a webpage, capture images to clip into Evernote. I capture images using my phone, scanner, or even the web.  Evernote also recognizes any of my hand written scribbles to help me easily find these notes later.

No student works or thinks the same. This goes for teachers as well.  What you put into Evernote depends on your individual need and usage. These tech tools can easily simplify your life as a teacher. These tech tools should be able to make you feel confident enough to make Evernote your own “private secretary,” and not be handcuffed in any one way.

Examples of Usage:

A)    Evernote as an organized Filing Cabinet. Safekeeping of and organization of the following:

School receipts, lesson plans, meeting notes, student assignments, progress monitoring, rubrics, tracking of differentiation notes used in your teachings, planning of field trips, keeping a reflection log or journal, organizing your next lesson or activity.  My point is as a professional, Evernote can simplify your daily activities, and allow you to not only remember things, but keep you organized with the overall goal of increasing your productivity and effectiveness as a teacher.  Evernote allows you to use any file including word documents, power point presentations, and spreadsheets. One can say, “Well, my computer or external hard drive keeps all my files.” But does your computer sync your Evernotes onto any computer that you may use and give you instant access to all of your information without having to pay for a fee? The answer is no, but Evernote can do just that.

B)     Evernote as a Student Tool:

Teachers can use Evernote to reach the students in a variety of ways. One of the most popular techniques for Evernote usage is the creation of student files/portfolios:

Elementary K-6

In a class of 22 or 25 students you may find that replacing manila folders and an old rusty file cabinet with digital documents and digital student portfolios that can easily be accessed anywhere is the path you want to take. Teachers can make individual student folders and monitor their contents from anywhere. As the student completes specific assignments and shows growth, you can use Evernote to document, track modifications that may have been used, and basically create an overall portfolio of your students’ work to share with their parents, friends, faculty, or fellow students. What you put in the portfolio is up to you, the teacher. That is the beauty of Evernote. You can manipulate it to satisfy your personal needs. 

Middle School and High School 6-12

Evernote can be used as a digital journal for your classroom. You can assign a homework assignment to be turned in through Evernote. You can have students keep their own personal folders from lectures to record their reflections on different themes or topics discussed throughout the year. This way, when it’s time to review for Midterms, AP Exams, Finals, or just a simple chapter/unit test, the students have a digital copy that goes everywhere with them. Students can choose to share their Evernote notebooks or keep them personal.


DropboxDropbox is a cloud that allows you to store files. Drop box is one place for everything. It’s always there on your computer, but you can also access it from any computer with web access, no matter where you are. Drop box keeps track of all of your files and allows you to organize them however you wish. It’s a single secure place for all of your materials.

How to use drop box in the classroom:

Drop box eliminates the need for a USB drive. Teachers can work from home or their classrooms.  They can put a file into drop box, move to a different location, and know that they will have access to that file no matter where they are.

Drop box with other programs:

I was once that teacher who brought home 250 -500 papers to grade over the weekend and spent my Saturdays and Sundays with one eye reading papers, and the other eye keeping up with my beloved College Football and NFL teams. I always carried the world’s biggest book bag and wished the students had typed their papers so I could grade them quicker and actually understand their handwriting.


This program allows the students to submit a word document, power point presentation, pdf, or spreadsheet into a personal folder inside my drop box. This allows me to have a digital drop box for students to turn in assignments so that I can grade them using a multitude of computer platforms.

Social Bookmarking:

Diggo or Delicious:

Diggo and Delicious are social bookmarking networks. They are sites that allow you to save your online bookmarks in a virtual cloud. The teacher will be able to not only tag and categorize their personal and work bookmarks, but have the ability to share them, along with their own personal notes on each bookmark.  Diggo and Delicious open up new doors in the teaching profession when it comes to collaboration. Teachers can now collaborate virtually as well as face-to-face.

The goal of this presentation is to teach teachers new ideas and tools that can be used not only in their professional lives, but their personal lives as well. These tech tools can be used in a variety of ways both professionally and personally.  There is no one way of using them, so teachers have complete freedom to expand and take these tech tools to a new level. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo DaVinci

A big thanks to www.evernote.com, http://www.dropitto.me/, and http://www.dropbox.com/ for your amazing blogs, posts, tutorials and website information that made this blog possible.

Intellectual Property:

 Do you honestly know what intellectual property is? According to businessdictionary.com, Intellectual property is : Documented or undocumented knowledge, creative ideas, or expressions of human mind that have commercial (monetary) value and are protectable under copyright, patent, servicemark, trademark, or trade secret laws from imitation, infringement, and dilution. Intellectual property includes brand names, discoveries, formulas, inventions, know how, registered designs, software, and works of artistic, literary, or musical nature. It is one of the most readily tradable property in the internet (digital) marketplace.

In the field of Education the stealing of ideas is something that at times can be seen as a good thing and is often encouraged rather than scrutinized.

I have recently come across certain events that have taken place around me and friends in which have caused me to seriously reflect on my personal ethics as a professional and question how I personally use others intellectual property. As a somewhat young teacher or at least I would like to see myself as such, I was always taught that when it comes to Education, it’s ok to take ideas from others. It’s encouraged to steal, tweak, make them your own, and use them however you may wish with the overall goal of making you a more effective teacher.

If this is so, when does someone officially cross the line? When is it good and when is it not ok to use others ideas?

Now, by no means am I or have I been an angel my whole life when it comes to IP. I too was frivolous in my thoughts and thought it was ok to take things from Google images, or information from great informative websites and use them in lectures or class presentations of some sort at one time or another.

Never even thought about it twice at the time. I am a teacher I can do these things right? Wrong!

Why did I not give credit to the site or person that I took it from? As I internally struggled coming up with reasons on why I did this or better said “excuses” I came up with the following:

1)   Was short on time – this is not a good excuse. We are all short on time.  We are all in a hurry. But the author put in their time to write and create this knowledge that I stole.

2)   I did not want to have to write a 10 page bibliography for all the sources that I used in my 10 minute lecture, or class presentation. – still not a good excuse because these ideas were not my own. This is when the title of a “professional” should be taken away from someone.

3)   I am idiot that did not know any better, and should have probably been trained on the proper way to use others intellectual property in order to be a better teacher.  – This sounds like the truth, but it’s still not good enough of an excuse.

All teachers have one thing in mind and that’s the instant success of their students. We all get this and understand it, but it still does not excuse our bad judgment when stealing IP.

3 stories come to mind all that deal with intellectual property, lack of credit, which eventually lead to anger and/or frustration.


Story 1: Science teacher –  stolen ideas

A career changing new middle school science teacher joins a focus group. This focus group is basically a support group with one or two leaders that meets with new teachers and helps them get acclimated to their new profession and surroundings. The science teacher (friend of mine) shared some of his amazing projects that he was doing in his class, along with the lesson plans and personal notes. Sharing of ideas and teaching strategies was something that was heavily encouraged in the focus groups.

– He later finds out that another teacher in his focus group was using his lessons and earning high marks on observations along with infinite praise and even a teacher of the year nomination from his school. My buddy was furious. He spoke with other science teachers in the other teacher’s school, and they said how the new science teacher was bragging about his new and amazing lesson plans that he created. What did this eventually lead to? A young energetic and enthusiastic teacher, turned into an isolated, private, does not wish to collaborate or share his ideas with others type teacher.

Story 2: APUSH syllabus stolen

An APUSH teacher finds out that another teacher had stolen her syllabus. After speaking with this teacher I learn about how furious she felt. She had no problems lending someone a copy, or helping them create their own syllabus but the fact that someone had stolen her intellectual property was too much to handle. Anger and rage set in. Lack of trust in a work environment led to suspicion, and just an overall ugly bad situation at that school.

Story 3: Presentation Stolen at Major Tech Conference

A couple of years ago I met an amazing presenter at a technology conference. This presenter not only put on a great show in his presentation, but did so with class and dignity.  Based on the remarks from my colleagues they said that his presentation was one of the best presentations they had attended in that tech conference. I was fortunate enough to spend some time speaking and getting to know him throughout the conference. I later learned that the following day he sat in a similar presentation topic (same conference) as the one in which he previously presented on. He then began to see a number of the same exact slides that he used the previous day. He did not know how to react. He was shocked to say the least. In many ways he was flattered because of the presenter at a conference was using his slides and his information but the credit he was waiting for and deserved never came. She took complete credit for all of the slides. He confronted her in a professional matter after the presentation and she pretended not to know who he was. When asked a couple of questions she clearly said “it was all of her original material”. Now keep in mind we are in a major technology conference and the intellectual property “thief” worked for a major global electronic corporation with the hopes of selling their product. The original presenter (my friend) is a well-known author, and the information from his presentation was in book, so technically he could have gone after her for copyright infringement but he didn’t. It’s amazing how something that took place 1 to 5 years ago which is the range of these stories can still bother one so greatly. In each case the originators were more than willing to share, they just asked for some credit in return. Not money, credit. A mere note at the end of a power point, presentation, or lesson plan would have sufficed.

Intellectual property is something that we do not think about on a daily basis. The common person truly does not care much for it until it’s their intellectual property that is being stolen and used for someone else’s personal gain.

Disappointment, resentment, disgust, hatred, frustration are all feelings that can be associated with the theft of intellectual property. The majority of people do not have an issue with others borrowing or using ideas. All they want is some form of credit. Some acknowledgement or praise saying that their work is great and they wish to use it in a learning environment.

Is it an ethical issue, I think so, but even more than an ethical issue it is my belief that it’s a lack of education and understanding issue. So now that you have read this much of my blog and not clicked the shiny red X on the corner of the screen I ask you to not only respect others intellectual property but help educate others on the proper way of using it intellectual property. This is an important lesson that I have learned, and wish others to consider.

Good friends of mine have motivated me to write this blog. I only hope my basic and limited story of their personal IP experiences can be used to educate others of its importance.

Ask and you shall receive.


Image Source: http://blog.smallbusinessadvocate.com/intellectual-property/what-does-your-intellectual-property-ip-strategy-look-like




It is Official. Fernandezc4 is now blogging. Woohoo! First and foremost thank you for taking your valuable time to read this blog. I have been wanting to blog now for two possibly three years, and sadly I was using the “I just don’t have the time to do that” excuse. Some of the same things that I criticized other professionals (educators to be more specific) on, I found myself doing in one format or another. If there is one thing that I have learned the last couple of years, it is that technology will not wait for you to catch up, therefore as an active responsible digital citizen it is our duty to learn and keep up with technology and in the process figure out how to make it work for us as an individual.

I am a strong believer in setting goals in the classroom. As a teacher and as a parent, I constantly remind myself of my goals so I will not get off track and be able to recognize them when they have been accomplished. The initial intent for this blog is to help educate you the reader of different online tools and resources that can be implemented in the classroom for student success along with give you tips and tricks on how to expand your personal professional development. It is up to us individually to grow as an educator and become a responsible digital citizen.

FETC 2012

The following post is a small and quick representation of a of web 2.0 tools presentation made at the 2011 LCS Interactive Technology Summit by Carlos Fernandez and FETC 2012. I was asked to participate in a friendly web 2.0 shootout with a great friend of mine Stephen Veliz.  Knowing Stephen as good as I do, I knew I had to bring my A-Game. With the help of my amazing twitter PLN and a few of my own personal favorite web 2.0 tools I was able to come up with what I believe are Web 2.0 Tools that will instantly impact a teacher’s classroom in a positive manner. The Web 2.0 Tools listed below are in no particular order.



Join Me



Join.me: This is an easy to use screen sharing tool. Whoever initiates the screen sharing only has to share the link with anyone else they want to share their screen with. I have used this before when a teacher or student has one of those “need to see it” type questions about something they’re working on or something I want to demo for them. You can either instruct the teacher to create the screen sharing link and send it to me or vice versa. Works nicely when either party is on a time crunch. There’s even a mobile version for iPad, iPod Touch, and Android. https://join.me/


Audio BooAudioboo: Brilliant podcasting tool and so easy to use. You can record a message and send out to students, students, can record messages to you. Can be used for assignments, Discussion Based Assessments, you can also embed the recordings into your website.




Todays MeetTodaysMeet: This could be used as a backchannel in the classroom. I would recommend to use these as discussion groups. Get that “shy” student to participate through typing. Maybe pair up the students and give them a solid topic to share some ideas with each other.Encourage the room to use the live stream to make comments, ask questions, and use that feedback to tailor your presentation, sharpen your points, and address audience needs. http://todaysmeet.com/

Jing by Tech Smith 

Jing: This is a screen capture tool, but it’s not for just a quick picture, it actually records videos so you can record yourself talking and explaining a website or resource, and then send it to your students. This could be your perfect outlet to using you tube videos for your classroom, with out all of the inappropriate side stuff that may come out.


  Google VoiceGoogle Voice: Google Voice gives you one number for all your phones, voicemail as easy as email, free US long distance, low rates on international calls, and many calling. Screen all of your calls. Give the students your google voice number rather than your cell phone number. You must have a Gmail account in order to use google voice. https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=grandcentral&passive=1209600&continue=https://www.google.com/voice&followup=https://www.google.com/voice&ltmpl=open


 Survey MonkeySurvey Monkey: Allows you to make all kinds of surveys. It automatically puts the results into graphs and summarizes things for you. You can do up to 10 questions for free in each survey. This could be a great form to get feedback from students and parents. http://www.surveymonkey.com/


EvernoteEvernote: I like to think of Evernote as an organized filling cabinet that is always with me. I personally use Evernote to create notes, clip interesting web pages, store pdf’s, and snap photos.  The best thing that Evernote offers is the ability to take my notes everywhere I go. They can be accessed through the computer, my phone, iPad, or even web. Evernote is something that does not have a single use, it has hundreds of uses. My wife uses it to keep an updated shopping list on her at all times and make digital copies of her important receipts. I use it as a digital portfolio that each of my students can use to save their work and show growth. This is my personal #1 web 2.0 tool. You can use Evernote with your Ipad, Itouch, Droid, PC or Mac, or just about any computer that has online access.  http://www.evernote.com/


 QuizletQuizlet: Quizlet is a free site that allows you the teacher or a student to make their own vocabulary words and definitions, and then the site generates flash cards, games, and even exams that the students can take in order to study.



VocarooVocaroo: Allows you to make a voice recording and send it off to anyone. The students can make a recording and turn it in as an assignment, maybe they can just record themselves going over the vocabulary, email themselves the link and listen to it through their iTouch, iPods, phones, or any computer. Obviously works great for those audio learners.


  Present mePresent.me: This site will allow you to record and share your presentation. With Present.Me you just upload your slides, click record, present into your webcam and then publish instantly on the web. http://present.me/




Message HopMessage Hop: ( could replace voice thread) you have pictures and text that turns into an animation. You can use multiple pictures and write as much as you want under each picture. You can use this for group work. Once you create them you can send them to who ever you want. You can use them for presentation or maybe use it to have different groups create stories on a topic of your choice. http://www.messagehop.com/


Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 10.49.51 AMWallwisher/Padlet: allows you to create a page online were students can come and put their ideas, link ideas and pictures, add comments. This site is great for brainstorming, can be used with groups or individuals. You can control the wall to whom can edit the wall. You can add pictures, link to websites, videos and much more to your wall. http://www.wallwisher.com/


Edmodo: It allows students and teachers to interact outside of the classroom. Edmodo is an  environment where teachers can share ideas, assignments and much more with students or other teachers. Edmodo is free and can easily be used to not only replace your website, but use it as a classroom outside of your classroom. You can manage and grade assignments using Edmodo. http://www.edmodo.com/


PreziPrezi:  Prezi is a web-based presentation application and storytelling tool that uses a single canvas instead of traditional slides. Text, images, videos, and other presentation objects are placed on the infinite canvas and grouped together in frames. The canvas allows users to create non-linear presentations, where users can zoom in and out of a visual map. http://prezi.com/index/


  KeepVidKeepVid: This site will help you download a video from YouTube and convert the video format so you can show it in your classroom. http://keepvid.com/


   LoudLitLoudlit: A collection of books that have been recorded. You can see the text and hear it being read to you. You will find novels, short stories, poems, children’s books, classics, and more. http://www.loudlit.org/



Digital Dialects


Digital Dialects: This site allows you to learn different words and pronunciation from so many different languages. This could be a great tool for students to use when doing projects about different cultures and languages. The digital dialects site features free to use online games for learning languages. Language resources include games for learning phrases, numbers, useful words, spelling, verb conjugation and alphabets. http://www.digitaldialects.com/


EyercizeEyercize allows you to learn speed reading. On this website, find out how to beat information overload, and read much, much more in the time you have available. This will help your students read at a much faster rate. This is something that they can do in school or do at home and practice.  http://www.eyercize.com/



MeegeniusMeegenius: children’s audio books (K-5) whole books that are being illustrated and

you can read along as the book reads it to you. You can also choose to read it yourself. http://www.meegenius.com/




  SKYPESkype: Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet. Skype service is free. You can use Skype to communicate with other classrooms and share projects, assignments, ideas, or just learn about each other. http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/home





Diigo: Diigo allows you to Collect, Highlight, then Remember. Diigo is basically a site where you can keep track of all of your favorite bookmarks. It allows you to put tags with each book mark for organizational reasons. It also allows you to write a brief description of the site in which you are saving. The beauty of Diigo is that it is also a social networking bookmark site. You can share your book marks or keep them private. This is a great way for teachers to collaborate on teaching resources. http://www.diigo.com/


JotformJotForm: JotForm is the easiest and quickest way to create web forms. You can do surveys, applications, and so many more. If it’s an on-line form that you need you can make it with JotForm. Teachers can use this for contact forms, surveys, use them as an assignment and much more. You can embed your JotForm onto any website. http://www.jotform.com/




Dropbox: Dropbox is a cloud that allows you to store files. Drop box is one place for everything. It’s always there on your computer, but you can also access it from any computer with web access, no matter where you are. Drop box keeps track of all of your files and allows you to organize them however you wish. It’s a single secure place for all of your materials. http://www.dropbox.com/


 DropittomeDropit.tome Insert Here This program allows the students to submit a word document, power point presentation, PDF, or spreadsheet into a personal folder inside your personal Dropbox folder. It basically allows students to turn in assignments digitally. http://dropitto.me/






Study Blue-StudyBlue: StudyBlue is your online home to store lecture notes and make flashcards. Study online and on your phone for effective, productive learning. http://www.studyblue.com/


Live BindersLive Binders: Live Binders is your personal 3 ring binder for the web. You can collect resources, organize them neatly and easily and present them. They can be used in a classroom for students or teachers who wish to keep a portfolio. http://livebinders.com/




Sound BoardSoundBoard: This site has an amazing soundboard and you can find audio files from famous historical figures, movies, radio, or pretty much anything. This would be a great resource for History Teachers. http://www.soundboard.com/


Shakespear in BitsShakespeare in Bits: For iPad and iTouch. This is an amazing way for students to hear and watch Shakespeare. This site breaks down the plays, and animates them into cartoons. This app reminds me of the infamous John Wooden quote ” You haven’t taught until they have learned.” This is one of those resources that takes you away from traditional teaching and allows the students to learn using modern-day technology.



TagxedoTagxedo: This site allows you to make word clouds. This site could be used to study poems, speeches, important documents, or just analyze websites.  It allows students to view text differently and even creat their own interpretation of a visual text document. http://www.tagxedo.com/

TestmozTestmoz: Testmoz is a test generator that sports 4 question types, automatic grading, a really simple interface and detailed reports.Testmoz is free, and does not require you (or your students) to register. You can build a fully functional test in about a minute. http://testmoz.com/



engradeEngrade:  Engrade allows teachers to create an account and have direct communication with students and their parents. Teachers can manage student grades, track attendance, schedule upcoming homework, and provide students and parents progress reports http://www.engrade.com/


GCFGCF: This is a site where you can find a bunch of free tutorials for so many programs. Microsoft Products, Word, Power Point, Excel, Office Products and so much more. Free on-line learning with GCF: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/topics