Friday, January 25, 2019

Flipgrid - Engaging Student Voice for Creative Critical Thinking

"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't." - Anatole France

Outside of the Google for Education Suite of resources, there are three essential resources that are fixtures in my classroom. My students and I use Flipgrid, Pear Deck, and Padlet to communicate, collaborate, create, and most importantly engage in critical thinking. 
This post is all about Flipgrid. If you are not familiar with Flipgrid, know that it is one of the easiest tools to capture student voice using video. Educators can quickly and easily create Grids with different Topics and then share a link with students.

Grid = classroom or learning community. Adjust any security/privacy settings and customize the look of the Grid. Create a Grid for each class, school-wide, or a global connection!

Topics = discussion questions or prompts. Topics are created within a grid. Topics can simply be text-based or include a resource such as an image, video, a giphy, an emoji, and attachment.

My students and I have used Flipgrid in a variety of ways, including:
  • Student Introductions
  • Online Discussions
  • Formative Assessment
  • Reflective Learning
  • Persuasive TED Talks
  • Entrance & Exit Tickets
  • Global Connections 
  • Engagement in Field Trips
  • Debates
  • and more . . . 
I want my students to be creative communicators who are comfortable planning and sharing a thoughtful response to a question or concept. The process of planning and creating a response using Flipgrid is often a great critical thinking exercise for my students. 
"Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness." - Nichael Scriven & Richard Paul 
While not all of my students love the idea of videotaping themselves, many of my quietest students have found their voice using Flipgrid. Students who may be reluctant to speak up during class discussions will sometimes share some of the most insightful and engaging responses in a Flipgrid topic. (Flipgrid has some great resources to support reluctant students.)

We've organized a document of Flipgrid resources to support educators who are using or might be interested in exploring Flipgrid to engage students. 

Have a favorite Flipgrid moment or resource? Please share in the comments. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

What Are Your Favorite Formative Assessment Tools, Web Resources, and Books?

You Don't Know What You Don't Know and Sometimes You Don't Know What You Know!

For me, formative assessment is an essential tool or maybe I should say part of my philosophy connected to how I teach and how my students learn. Without frequent and effective formative assessment my students and I have a difficult time following a learning path. Formative assessment is my GPS unit, if I am lost or make a wrong turn, it is there to get me back on track.
We are working on updating some of our assessment resources connected to teaching and learning and I am looking for some help from my PLN. In particular, I am looking for books, EdTech resources, and websites connected to formative assessment.

Here is a bit of what we have so far. I hope you will considering sharing additional resources or ideas in the comments below. You can also send me a message on Twitter

Monday, January 21, 2019

Book of the Month - Intentional Innovation by A.J. Juliani

The best educators are not content to do the same old thing year after year. Innovative educators push their thinking by engaging in social media, exploring blogs, attending conferences, and exploring the newest generation of educational books.
We've created a Recommended Educational Book Site to organize and share some great books connected to teaching and learning. 

As the world changes, how do we educate differently so students, teachers, and staff are empowered to thrive in this environment? In this new book from bestselling author A.J. Juliani, you’ll learn a clear process to guide risk-taking and lead change so you can be intentional about innovation in your classroom, school, and life. Juliani shows why we need intentional innovation and how to implement it effectively using the PLASMA framework:
  • What to Praise, Look For, and Assess
  • Support What is Different
  • Make Time for Creative Work
  • Allow for the New and Unknown
You’ll also gain insights on celebrating failing and learning, creating conditions for creativity, and leading the change. Whether you are a technology and innovation coach, a teacher, or an administrator, Intentional Innovation will motivate you to take risks, be up to date on the latest research, and manage strong working relationships designed to help students succeed beyond school doors. It’s not just about technology for change, but about fostering relationships to motivate, inspire, and challenge us to step out and lead in a future that is exciting and unknown.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Creative Student Voice and Choice Challenges

Creative Student Voice and Choice Learning Challenges

Guiding Question: What is your top learning takeaway connected to a recent learning experience?
Tell Your Story
Choose one or more of the resources challenges below and create something that you can share today to tell a story about teaching and learning. Please share your experience and creations with the #ShareYourWhy hashtag.

Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark Design Challenge

GSuite for Education
Google Drawings and Google Slides Design Challenge

Flipgrid Interactive Challenge

Padlet Interactive Challenge

Pear Deck
Pear Deck Interactive Challenge

More Creative Study Voice Resources
Explore these resources and share how you might use something here to engage learners with an educational hashtag of your choice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Getting Ready for the #ICE19 Conference - Workshop Recommendations

One of my favorite midwestern educational conferences is a little over a month away. I cannot tell you how excited I am to make new connections and reconnect with some incredible educators.  I've attended the Illinois Computer Educators Conference on and off as an educator for more than 20 years and I always walk away with something new that helps me grow as a teacher and learner.  I've even been lucky enough to facilitate a variety of sessions over the last 10 years. 
"The ICE Conference is a teaching and learning conference that attracts educators, educational leaders, and pre-service teachers from PreK - Higher Ed. The conference engages educators from across the Midwest in an exploration of pedagogical strategies and resources connected to instructional technology. Districts, schools, classrooms, and libraries will all gain valuable insights at one of the Midwest's largest educational technology conferences. In fact, last year was our biggest conference ever as over 5,000 unique visitors joined us at #ICE18."
I've also loved watching the conference evolve over the last decade. The primary focus when I first started attending was hardware and software. It was all about what to buy and how to use the software. Today the tools still have a place at the conference, but pedagogy has taken the lead as educators explore how EdTech can support and enhance quality teaching. I've been to quite a few EdTech conferences and I don't think you can find one that is better than ICE. 

This year I was lucky enough to be part of the selection committee and one of my areas of focus for me was the conference workshops. There are some incredible workshops being offered at the conference this year. 
#ICE19 Workshops are full and half-day sessions that must be registered for separately. If you have already registered for the conference, just add them to your registration; if you have not registered yet, be sure to check the workshops out during your registration process.
The ICE Half-day and Full-day Workshops are a great way to take a deep dive into just about any topic or resource you are curious about. I believe all of the sessions and presenters are incredible, but I am going to highlight 7 in this post that I really love. Hopefully these 7 workshops will inspire you to explore all of the workshops being offered at the ICE Conference in 2019. 

  • Design Thinking Sprint By Future Design School
    The majority of the workshop is a Design Sprint. Participants will learn the process of design by developing a solution to a common challenge. The session includes techniques for empathizing with a user and ideating solutions. These repeatable methods can be used with students to help them solve real-world problems. Along the way, students build their skills in creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. 
  • Genius Hour - Time to Get Your Hands Dirty
    This workshop will move you through the steps of Genius Hour and how it really feels to go through the process. By remembering how it feels to be a learner we can understand the struggle often felt by our students. We will also chat through some tips and tricks to the successful implementation of Genius Hour.
  • Technology and Literacy A Love Story
    Add to your arsenal of technology tools that work together perfectly to promote literacy in the classroom or in the library. Bring a device and get ready to explore 50+ tools that promote literacy in our technology-filled world!
  • Cardboard Challenge A Celebration of Creativity, Innovation, and Teamwork
    A cardboard challenge is a celebration of creativity, innovation, and teamwork, where teams of students use the engineering design process to build whatever they can imagine out of cardboard and then play it or display it. See and hear about how we planned, organized, and staged a school-wide cardboard challenge in our 3-5 school. You will also be taken through the same process students went through as you get to design and build your own cardboard creations!
  • Compassionate Leadership Leading with a Tech Mind and Heart
    During this active engagement workshop session, participants will evaluate/identify their current technology management approach, review the principles of compassionate leadership with a lean-to diverse tech teams, learn techniques to integrate compassionate leadership in to their day-to-day work and develop a team development strategy with a focus on 1) learning; 2) standards; 3) bulldozing barriers; 4) leveraging influence; 5) fueling passion and reinforcing the value of a team.
  • Breakout! Design Your Own Digital Escape Room
    Digital escape rooms make learning meaningful and engaging for multiple contents, even when you're not there. Participants will explore how to use free tools to create digital escape rooms with Google Sites, Google Forms, and Canva. By the time the workshop is done, participants will be well on their way to having a completed digital escape room for classroom use.
  • Mythbusters EDU The Empowered Learner Episode
    On this episode of Mythbusters EDU, we will tackle the myths of student empowerment. Join us as we explore activities that promote learner engagement, voice, choice and design thinking. Let’s not just talk about the myths regarding student empowerment, let’s put them to the test! 

There are many other incredible workshop options and I wish I could include them all here. I hope 7 is enough to inspire you to explore all the workshops the conference is offering this year. What workshops are you excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

Registration is open and some great early bird discounts still apply. You can check out all of the workshops in the ICE Workshop Schedule and then register on the ICE Website. I hope to see you there. 

A complete list of all sessions, including workshops, can be found at an interactive site that lets you plan your daily #ICE19 schedule. 

You can also download the official #ICE19 app on iOS and Android and stay up-to-date on everything for #ICE19.

Even if you can't attend the conference this year, mark your calendar to engage in the conference Hashtag #ICE19 on February 25th through the 28th. 

This is part 1 of a 3 post series connected to the ICE conference. Up next will be some of my favorite vendors and I will wrap up the series with 1o general conference sessions that I love. Stay tuned! 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

People's Choice Sessions - ISTE 2019

The ISTE Conference is huge, but for me, it is the little things connected to the conference that make all the difference. I love connecting with my PLN and the ability to build my own schedule connected to my PLN. One of my favorite ways to make this big conference smaller is the People's Choice Voting.

Thousands of educators apply to present at ISTE every year. I believe that the conference committee does a great job selecting the best proposals, but nobody is perfect. This is why I love the People's Choice Voting. It is a chance for educators to support the sessions and the presenters that they love. For me, this makes a big conference a little smaller. It is also a way of giving more control to attendees by supporting a more customized schedule. 

Voting for the People's Choice Sessions is open now and there are many incredible sessions already posted. Anyone can vote for as many different sessions as they like, you just need to register or be a registered ISTE Voter. You don't even have to be physically attending to vote for sessions you love. 

I've voted for about 20 that my PLN has already shared. Here are some of my favorite proposals so far. What will you vote for today? 

Sticky Learning with HyperDocs- Purposeful Lesson Design To Meet All Kids Needs
Description: How long do your lessons stick? Experience HyperDoc lessons that will change the way you think about what we ask our students to do, and the lasting effects. Participants will walk away with multiple lessons and resources to create more to fit the needs of any grade level, including administrators.

Hipster Google - Tools You Probably Never Heard Of
Description: Everyone knows about Docs, Gmail, and Search, but there are also loads of lesser-known hidden gems from Google. Learn about nGram, Trends, Web Fonts, AutoDraw, Tour Builder, Toontastic, Canned Responses, Smarty Pins, Poly, Reverse Image Search, Instant Search Cards, Mystery Animal, Science Journal, Semantris, Grasshopper, Art Palette, and more!

Digital Storytelling and Digital Literacy: Using Video to Demonstrate Learning
Description: Participants will explore a variety of different video tools, styles, and formats that students can use to demonstrate learning. We will explore how video + Google Apps can be used together to encourage and enhance collaboration and reflective practices.

Students problem solve with design thinking
Description: Participants will collaborate to develop solutions to current problems with social media using design thinking protocols and discuss how the same exercise can be replicated in any classroom with any curricula with examples drawn from a class of 9-12 grade high school students.

Quick, Visual, Digital Reflections for Teachers and Students
Description: No time to reflect on your practice? So busy that time just gets away from you? We've all been there! Life is busy and time is valuable, so come learn how to reflect in a way that is consistent and meaningful with #EduSnaps: the quick, visual, digital way to reflect.

Voting closes on January 22nd. You can view all the People's Choice Proposals by click on the People's Choice Link on the main ISTE 2019 Page

Update! Here are a few incredible sessions that I love that posted after I wrote this post. Have you voted for your favorites today? 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Reflecting on Visual Thinking, Student Creativity, and Vocabulary Content

I have always believed that creating or exploring visuals is a great way to make learning sticky. My students use Google Autodraw, create sketchnotes, create memes connected to content, create infographics, social media graphics with Adobe Spark, and more visual designs. We also frequently just get out some good old fashioned paper and sketch something connected to what we are exploring. I also try to incorporate visuals into our formative and summative assessments. (I've shared one type of these visual assessments connected to this activity below.)

The recent DitchSummit inspired me to try something a little different connected to visual thinking and visual design. We went low tech and with paper and colored pencils to design logos/icons to represent essential vocabulary terms.

I asked students to engage in a section of the textbook connected to our Agriculture Unit before starting this activity. Based on student feedback the majority of them did not spend too much time exploring the vocabulary from we started the activity.
Here is a quick overview of the process we followed in class to engage in some essential vocabulary.

1. Students picked up a sheet of drawing paper and colored pencils along with this Agriculture Essential Vocabulary Document as they came into the classroom.

2. We discussed the goals and objectives connected to the activity. They were encouraged to discuss the words and share ideas on how to represent the terms with there table partners during the creation phase. 

Goal: Create visual representations of essential agriculture vocabulary for a quiz. Just visuals, no text. You will partner with another student and challenge them to correctly match each icon with a vocabulary term.
Objective: Create a unique Icon/Emoji/Diagram on the sheet of paper for each of the vocabulary terms below. Remember that you will be partnering up and using this as a quiz of sorts, so please don’t just do the terms in order. Pick terms that you are least familiar with and scatter them across the page.

3. I set a 20-minute timer and the students went to work. I circulated the room, guessed some visuals as they worked, and answered questions. There was quite a range of how many terms students sketched, but most students were able to create between 5 and 10 vocabulary representations during this time.

4. After 20 minutes, students were asked to pair up with another student that they did not already collaborate with as they created the icons. Students exchanged papers and were asked to use the vocabulary lists to label the images created by their new partner. They then graded each other and discussed how each icon represented the term. We took about 10 minutes to complete this phase.

5. Next, each pair partnered with another pair to reflect on the activity. Each group was given a notecard and asked to find 2 to 3 terms that most of the group created icons for. One side of the notecard was labeled similarities and the other differences. I asked students to explore and record how the ways they chose to represent the terms were similar and different compared to the icons created by the other members of the group.

6. We will be completing this Sustainable Agriculture Visual Quiz as a formative assessment connected to this activity.

Over the students enjoyed the experience, but based on their feedback there are a few things I will change the next time we do this. 

  • More creation time or fewer words during the time given. I am leaning toward more time because I want students to be able to choose the terms that they want to explore without everyone being limited to a small set. 
  • This activity was near the start of the unit and some of the students wished they knew the words a little better before starting this activity. While I like the idea of exploring new words this way, I also think this could be a great way to formatively reflect on the vocabulary at the end of a unit. 
  • Create a list of words that are less similar. I purposely kept this to a set focused on Farming. I was hoping for some critical thinking when they tried to find different ways to represent similar terms. My goal was for them to really think about how to represent terms that were similar, but the students really struggled to create different icons for similar terms. While I liked the idea of forcing them to engage in some deeper thinking, most just skipped the words that were similar to what they had already drawn. I think I may broadent the content covered a bit the next time we attempt this learning activity. 

How would you adapt this for your content or for a specific subject? Have you already done something similar you could share? Do you have any suggestions on how I could improve this activity in the future? 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

EdTech Tip of the Week - Remove Backgrounds From Photos

Sometimes you have the perfect image, except there is something in the background that just doesn't work for the message you are trying to send. What do you do?

You could try to crop the image to eliminate most of the background? Or maybe snip out just the part of the image you want to use? Not perfect, but without access to good photo editing tool that was about the best you could do.

Most of the free online photo editing tools were either incredible time consuming as you tried to carefully trace what you wanted. Even with a lot of patience, it was hard to get it just right.

The challenge of removing a background is no longer such a challenge. Today you are just a few clicks away from an image with a transparent background.

Go from this!

To this in less than a minute!

Here are two sites that you might want to explore next time you need to remove a background from an image.




Have another favorite photo editing site? We'd love to read about it in the comments below!

Special thanks to Matt Miller and Tony Vincent who inspired me to explore these resources during the 2018 #DitchSummit

Looking for more EdTech and Google Tips? Explore the Archive of Past EdTech Tips.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

12 Days of Techmas Day 12: Tall Tweets

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners

I always try to remember it’s not about the tech, it’s how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the door to bigger discussions about, creativity, pedagogy, and learning. Sometimes exploring a new EdTech resource can lead to some incredible learning experiences. 

Day 12 - Tall Tweets

Yesterday, Taina Moneim shared some great tips connecting Screencastify and Google Classroom for student feedback.

We've finally made it to Day 12! I've enjoyed sharing some resources that we believe can enhance student engagement. Today's resource is another great tool to add some animated GIFs to presentations or student activities. It is also a quick way for students to created animated stories that run automatically. 

Tall Tweets is up today. Tall Tweets turns Google Slides Presentations into animated GIFs. Create the presentation, add it to the Tall Tweets site, choose the size, duration, choose which slides should be included, and then create. It's that simple! The image below is a sample. 

The Words of Wisdom in this Animated GIF is from this presentation inspired by Lolly Daskal's post 35 Words of Wisdom You Will Never Forget. (I just chose the first 5 for this animation.) I will be adding all 35 to the original presentation to share with my students when we get back to school. 

Learn more about Tall Tweets with this YouTube video from the creator.

If you’ve used Tall Tweets in your classroom, please share your story in the comments below. If you have questions or other ideas, the comments below are waiting for you.

(Links to Each Day's Resource as They Become Available)

That's a wrap folks! I hope everyone is excited about exploring at least one of the resources we shared these 12 days. Happy 2019!

I am a Science Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. I am a lifelong learner who is always looking for new ideas and challenges. 
Twitter: @WickedEdTech | Blog: Know Your Why | Website: WickEdEdTech

Friday, January 4, 2019

12 Days of Techmas Day 11: Google Classroom

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners

I always try to remember it’s not about the tech, it’s how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the door to bigger discussions about, creativity, pedagogy, and learning. Sometimes exploring a new EdTech resource can lead to some incredible learning experiences. 

Day 11 - Google Classroom

Yesterday, Chris Skrzypchak shared Pear Deck, a great tool to add interactive questions to Google Slides. Today our guest blogger, Tania Moneim is sharing a great tool to help teachers and students go paperless. 

Back in what seems like the dark ages, before tools like Google Classroom, I was a High School English teacher.  I would collect assignments and then spend countless number of hours giving students meaningful feedback on their writing.  Aside from correcting the mechanical and grammatical errors, I often posed questions to my student challenging their claims or questioning their evidence.  I was certain that the feedback that I provided would make all my students better writers and thinkers. But, when I handed their assignments back, all my meaningful and thoughtful comments ended up in the recycling bin. It seemed that all my hard work fell on blind eyes and deaf ears.  All the students cared about was the grade at the end of paper. I have come to realize that the problem was two-fold: the feedback was after the fact and the comments were no longer meaningful. Student’s had no reason to care about my comments.

Fast forward to 2019 and enter a little tool (Google Classroom) and it’s sidekick (Screencastify). Feedback no longer has to be scribbled in the margins with the hopes that someone would read them and do something with it.  First off, I use the Private Comments to give my feedback. Rather than write the comments on the paper, I use the Private Comments in Google Classroom to create a dialogue with each student about their work. The private comments allow me to engage in a one -on- one conversation with each student regarding their work. You can have an entire conversation with their assignment in the private conversation. By using Google Classroom’s private comments, I am forcing the students to (1) Read my feedback and (2) reflect on my feedback - shifting the assignment from being a grade generator to being a learning opportunity.  The important thing is to create the comments and the conversation while the students are still working - not after they have turned it in, Once the assignment is turned it, students view the assignment done.

Similarly,  I can use Screencastify to record my feedback verbally as I am going over the parts of their assignment,  I can read parts of their assignment - raising my questions that I would previously write in the margins. Aside from being a timesaver for my grading, it again forces the students to listen to the feedback. The students can then access the video and see/hear the feedback while they revisit their work.   Once you create your video with screencastify, grab the link from your google drive and share it with students in the private comment section of Google Classroom.

Google Classroom can provide you with a comprehensive way to give meaningful feedback to your students before they finish an assignment.  I am not going to lie and say that it will save you a ton of time, But, what I have found, by investing the time and providing the feedback while the student’s are creating,  the student’s have become better learners and have grown exponentially from when I would hand back unread comments. In fact, WIth Google Classroom, with the help of my buddy Screencastify, I can reach students while they are working and guide through their work without spending valuable class time meeting with each of them one on one.

Learn more about Google Classroom using our Google Essentials Document linked in this post.

If you’ve used Google Classroom in your classroom in a unique way, please share your story in the comments below. If you have questions or other ideas, the comments below are waiting for you. 

(Links to Each Day's Resource as They Become Available)

I will share our final resource tomorrow. The future is almost here!

Image Source

Tania is the Instructional Technology Coordinator at Metea Valley High School in Aurora, IL.  I enjoy talking about best practice and utilizing technology to engage students and teachers in the learning process. Twitter: @EdTechTania

Thursday, January 3, 2019

12 Days of Techmas Day 10: Pear Deck

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners

I always try to remember it’s not about the tech, it’s how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the door to bigger discussions about, creativity, pedagogy, and learning. Sometimes exploring a new EdTech resource can lead to some incredible learning experiences. 

Day 10 - Pear Deck

Yesterday, I shared Gimkit, one of my favorite game-based formative assessment tools. Today our guest blogger, Chris Skrzypchak is sharing a great tool to help teachers engage students with interactive digital activities. 

Pear Deck is an awesome tool that you can use to engage learners and gather formative data to determine their knowledge and understanding of the content. Pear Deck has been around for a while but has gone through some significant changes in the past year to make it much easier to use especially if you are a Google Slides user. If you have never used Pear Deck before, it’s as easy as adding an add-on to Google Slides. You can get started by following this guide.

The free version of Pear Deck allows the teacher to add interactive response slides into a Google Slide presentation so that students can respond to questions during the presentation making it more interactive and engaging. The teacher can also project anonymized student responses for the class to see as well as lock the slides when presenting. Teachers can use this data to ensure that all students are responding and not just the ones that they are calling on for the answer. With this data, you can gauge whether the class is ready to move on or if you need to review the material more.

While the free version of Pear Deck is good, the premium version of Pear Deck adds some really great additional features. The premium version includes a Teacher Dashboard that can be used to control the presentation and monitor student responses in real time and project individual student responses. You can also share the slide presentation and student responses after you are finished with each student with a feature called Takeaways. You also get some additional response options such as Draggable and Drawing slides.
We are fortunate that our district has purchased the Premium version. This has allowed many of our flipped and blended learning teachers to use another premium feature called Self Paced Mode with their students. Pear Deck’s Self Paced Mode allows the teacher to create a Google Slide presentation with Pear Deck response slides and share it with the students through Google Classroom. Students complete the presentation on their own time and are learning via the slides and responding to the questions. The teacher is able to monitor the student’s responses and deliver the appropriate follow-up content based on the data received.

If you would like to see some examples of Pear Deck slide presentations, check out Pear Deck’s Orchard.

Learn more about the many great features of Pear Deck with using out Pear Deck Tips and Resources Document.

If you’ve used Pear Deck in your classroom, please share your story in the comments below. If you have questions or other ideas, the comments below are waiting for you. 

(Links to Each Day's Resource as They Become Available)

Guest Blogger Tania Moneim will share another resource tomorrow. No need to jump in the Delorean and had back to 2018. We are ready to move forward in 2019!

Chris is an Instructional Technology Coordinator at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, IL. Chris enjoys helping students and teachers learn how to best utilize technology to better their lives. Twitter: @biztechtchr

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Let's Start the Year with One Word

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something." Neil Gaiman

I am curious!

How will you start the new year with your students? Will you jump right into the content? Reflect on the break or the year that was 2018? Will you do something fun? Will you take a risk and try something different?

Last year I was inspired by Sean Fahey to use a #OneWord Challenge as a hook for a HyperDoc that reflected on 2017 and moved us into 2018. This post shares some details and a link to the Hyperdoc that we used last year.

This year I am going to welcome my students back with a bigger focus on choosing One Word as a focus for 2019. Here is the HyperDoc I will be using. 

If you would like to create a copy for your students, click here and then click on "Use Template". The only thing you need to change is the link to your own Padlet.
I also think it is important for educators to have a word that will define 2019. What will your word be for 2019? Would you consider sharing it in the comments below or on Twitter with the Hashtags #OneWordEDU and #ShareYourWhy.
My word this year will be "Risk". I am going to challenge myself daily to step out of my comfort zone and do something different. I believe that taking risks and maybe sometimes failing will help me grow as a learner, a teacher, a leader, and a person.

Special Thanks to Lisa Highfill for putting together this Wakelet with some additional #OneWord HyperDocs. 

12 Days of Techmas Day 9: Gimkit

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners

I always try to remember it’s not about the tech, it’s how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the door to bigger discussions about, creativity, pedagogy, and learning. Sometimes exploring a new EdTech resource can lead to some incredible learning experiences. 

Day 9 - Gimkit

Yesterday, I shared Book Creator, one of my favorite creativity resources for teachers and students. Today I am getting my game face on to share one of our first formative tools of the 12 days.

Gimkit was created by a high school student in Seatle. I like to use a variety of game-based formative tools, and Gimkit is definitely one of my student's favorites. 

Gimkit is a great formative tool for all subject areas. If you are curious about some of our other favorite formative tools, please take a moment to explore this post

If you’ve used Gimkit in your classroom, please share your story in the comments below. If you have questions or other ideas, the comments below are waiting for you.

(Links to Each Day's Resource as They Become Available)

Tomorrow, Waubonsie Valley's esteemed Technology Coordinator, Chris Skrzypchak will share something awesome. We definitely won't experience any Deja Vu moments tomorrow!
Image Source
I am a Science Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. I am a lifelong learner who is always looking for new ideas and challenges. 
Twitter: @WickedEdTech | Blog: Know Your Why | Website: WickEdEdTech

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