Showing posts from February, 2014

How Backchanneling Stimulates a Classroom Environment

Today in class, I showed a video about Chick-Fil-A and how successful they have become by staying true to their beliefs and values. I knew that this would stir up an interesting conversation, since many of my students are at different ends of the belief spectrum. This can cause many students to shy away from conversation because they are intimidated by speaking or sometimes a conversation is dominated by one passionate person. I knew that this could be a barrier to their learning, so I had an idea to give all students a voice through backchanneling. First of all, what is it? It's using technology to maintain a separate conversation during live events, like showing a video, having a class discussion, or making a presentation. It is what has made Twitter so popular. I created a free backchannel through Today's Meet , so that I could give all of my students a voice. The best part of this site is that you don't have to have a a username or password, you can choose how long

Using NoRedInk to Improve Student Writing and Grammar Skills

The Common Core emphasizes the need for students to develop strong writing and communication skills. While this is an important skill, many of our students struggle with grammar development. This barrier can cause our students to lack the communication skills necessary to achieve this goal. NoRedInk is a free website and Edmodo App for teachers to provide students with practice assignments and quizzes to help them develop grammar and writing skills. How does it work?  1. Sign up for a free account at 2. You will be prompted to create a class and give it a name. 3. After you have established a class name, you can create assignments or quizzes. Assignments are formative assessments, where students can learn from their mistakes and fix them immediately. Quizzes are summative assessments where students can fix mistakes at the end of the quiz. You can create assignments or quizzes on capitalization, apostrophes, commonly misspelled words, colons, commas, and pro

What's White, Black, and Grey All Over? Cell Phone Usage in School

When you think of cell phones in school, what image comes to mind? I think of a student with a hooded sweatshirt, turning to the side, constantly glancing down and fidgeting because they are busy texting.  I think of the time I walked into a restroom and saw feet pointed sideways in a bathroom stall and the sound of click, click, click. I tapped on the door and said "when you're finished texting, step on out."  I think of the high school I recently visited that allows students to text during lunch time. Friends are literally sitting next to the same friend that they are texting. It made me question the value of cell phones in education, however, w hy not use cell phones in the classroom? Kids already have them in their pocket and are dying to use them anyways!  There are so many possibilities to open up creativity and  engagement  in the classroom. Plus they are already finding creative ways to use their cell phones when they are not supposed to have them anyways.

Getting Ready for #PETEC14 with AudioBoo

I am really excited to make a return to  PETE&C  in Hershey, PA on Monday, February 10th. I will be making 2 presentations!  Please feel free to check them out! 5 Awesome Ways To Use Weebly In Schools   from  11:30 AM - 12:30 PM in the  Cocoa Suite 5 (Hershey Lodge) Changing Learning through AudioBoo   from  3:45 PM - 4:45 PM in the  Crystal A room (Hershey Lodge) This week's post is very abbreviated because I am still putting the final touches on both presentations. You might be familiar with Weebly already, but I would like to get you excited about AudioBoo . Here are  several resources to help you get started:  1. Want to Use the Web Version of AudioBoo?  Check out this tutorial: 2. Want to Use the iPhone App of AudioBoo? Check out this tutorial: Please feel free to say hello at either presentation. I love meeting my readers! You are all my inspiration and why I continue to write.  Matt

Using the #SAMR Model to Create Collaborative Google Presentations

Since the beginning of my career, I have always naturally wanted to integrate technology into my lesson plans; however, I have never really given much thought to the strategy involved. I just seem to do it.  Recently, I have come across the SAMR model of technology integration, which stands for: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.   There are so many resources on the topic. In fact, here is my favorite article from    After much thought, I have found that I have emphasized the Augmentation and Modification levels of the SAMR model in my own quest to integrate technology. For example, many of us have used PowerPoint as a form of Augmentation or using technology as a replacement for common tasks. It is a great substitute for lecture and provides visual representation for visual learners; however, I have found that our students are often “PowerPointed” to death and tend to lose interest almost immediately. I wanted to try somethin

Converting Files Made Easy:

I am currently preparing a presentation at PETE&C next week on AudioBoo. Due to the nature of the presentation, I am using several audio clips. When you are at a big conference, you always have to prepare for wifi issues. A few weeks ago, I watched another presenter's presentation self-destruct because they weren't prepared for this. I have learned in the past that you should have a saved copy available to use because you never know. In the past, I have used Any Video Converter to have a backup copy of YouTube clips for my presentations.  This time is a little different because I am sharing several of the audio clips that I have used on AudioBoo and I needed a way to convert the audio clips  to MP3 that was quick and easy. When you search the Internet on this topic, you will find many creative ways of doing this. Some are complicated and others are not. I found a great site that can help you covert and download audio, video, documents, eBooks, and images. It is cal