Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Teacher Orientation

Information and Education Technology

PWSD Systems
1.        Helpdesk
Open a ticket for tech support.

2.       Webmail
Best way to access your email remotely.  Use to help set up your PWSD email on your phone.

3.       Sharepoint
PWSD’s document management system.

4.      E-Community
Student Moodle site: this is where you can house all your course information for students to access digitally.  Open a helpdesk ticket to get your course(s) created.  (Lurk and borrow ideas from course that are already posted!)

5.       Collaboration
Teacher Moodle site: this collaborative site houses AISI and PLC projects.  Visit to find and contribute lesson ideas and resources.

6.      PowerSchool
Access teacher PowerSchool.

Software for home use
1.        Microsoft Office Home Use Agreement
2.       Virus Software & SMART Notebook

Resources for Lessons
1.        Video Streaming: PWSD has licences for 3 different sites.  They allow you to download the videos legally to use them in class.  You will need to go to each site and create a username. Get your passcode from your school.

Access Learning

Discovery Education

Learn 360

Link to the presentation on streaming with how to’s and pros and cons of each site.

2.       Smartboard Lessons
There are lots of places on the internet to find Notebook lessons but this is one of the best!

3.       Learn Alberta
Curriculum specific resources (videos, lesson plans, interactives and entire online courses) Once you have logged in, using the information below, create your own teacher login (you will need your teaching certificate number) which will allow you access to teacher only resources.

4.      2Learn
Another great Alberta curriculum specific resource, check out…copyright friendly image search, Enjoy pages for theme resources, parent page, digital citizenship information and more!

Professional Development
1.        NRLC
Local PD sessions, online and F2F

2.       Read Blogs

3.       Join Communities

4.      Participate in Twitter
#pwsd for all things PWSD
#edchat Tuesdays at 10am and 5pm for organized chat
#sschat, #daily5, #mathchat, almost every subject and grade to connect with other educators!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How I am using the Video Streaming

Since we subscribe to 3 video streaming sites, I have been making a conscious effort to try and include them in any lesson that I have been modelling in the classroom.

Here are two lessons and how I did it:

Grade 6 Science

You can find the complete, with videos attached, lessons that are PWSD password protected here.

How do I go about creating these:

1) Program of Studies - what is the outcome(s), skills or process that I want to focus on for this lesson.

2)  SmartExchange - start here looking for Notebook files to build on.  I look for files that have the interactive flash objects, those items that get the students up to the SMARTboard doing.  Save to my computer.

3) Preview videos from Learn360, Access Learning and Discovery Education - here I am just looking for videos that would fit, once I have found the video I save the portion that I need to my computer.  Make sure to check out the teacher resources as they may have other activities to go along with the video.

4) Interactives - depending on the curriculum area there are tons of interactives that might go along with a lesson.  I usually start with my delicious bookmarks and then a google search.

5) Putting it altogether - couple of things that I like to do
  • Insert (paperclip) a copy of the video into the notebook file
  • Use a graphic to link the video that you have attached
  • Add a title page with subject, outcomes and grade level (makes it easier to share)
Check out this short video!

How are you using the video streaming sites?

PWSD E-Portfolio Instructions

As usual all student my documents are deleted over the summer. Now is a fabulous time make sure that anything students want saved get moved into their e-portfolio.

Every PWSD student and staff have an e-portfolio.  Here are some basic instructions for how to access and add items to you eportfolio.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ed Tech Year End Report

It has been another fabulous year.  Here is the report presented to the Tech Committee

The best part of the Ed Tech position is working with students and teachers.  This year I was able to visit, sometimes extended visits, with almost every school in our district.  Here is a glimpse

Create your own video slideshow at

This year I also had some fabulous opportunities to travel, attend PD and put on various sessions.  Some of the highlights: Sir Ken Robinson, Alberta Education Community of Practice, ATLE, Mighty Peace Teachers Convention, Peace 10 District Day, Digital Citizenship Symposium and many more.

Create your own video slideshow at

Keep them creating...

How are you going to finish off the year? Below are some of the activities that I have used or that are on my hit list to keep students engaged and motivated as the temperature starts to rise and the countdown begins.

Review Game - Using either PowerPoint or Notebook, choose from any number of game templates to create an interactive review game.  Jeopardy, Hollywood Squares, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire or Koosh Throw.  Or set your students loose to create their own.

Live Binder - create an online binder of resources.  Bring a binder to life by including websites, videos, docs and images.  Take a look at a couple examples for World War I, Food Chains and Patterns

Voice Thread - combine images, audio, text and video for a multimedia slide show.  A fantastic way for students to demonstrate their understanding of a concept and engage in a dialogue with other people around what they create.  A couple of examples Pre-Calculus, Read Aloud Shiloh and Periodic Table of Elements.

In Plain English I love the Common Craft videos, their slogan is "Our Product is Explanation".  Students also love creating them which is a fantastic way to demonstrate what they have learned.  My favourites are Zombie in Plain English and RSS in Plain English which we watch to set criteria for a good "In Plain English Video" and then I set them loose on making their own around a topic.  See Grade 9 Social Branch of Government in Plain English

Flash Cards our Division 4 Social Studies group has been using Quizlet with great success.  The site allows you to create a set of flashcards (teacher or student can do this) and then review or play games with them.  Check out some examples for The Giver, Biology Terms or The Very Hungry Caterpillar (included images)

What year end activities do you have planned?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Jump Start your 2011/12 School Year

With some summer PD opportunities! Click through to see the complete descriptions.

23 Things: Independent Study (self paced)

SMART in Social Studies (August 15th)

Moodle - Not as Scary as You Think (August 16th)

Better Together - Social Media Bootcamp (August 17th - morning)

Blogging 101 (August 17th - afternoon)

Learning Coaches - Get a Jump Start on Your New Role (August 18th)

SMARTboard 101 (August 22nd)

Want to Engage Your Students - There's an App for That (August 23rd)

Google for Educators (August 24th - morning)

Web 2.0 - Create, Collaborate and Critically Think (August 24th - afternoon)



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Google Workshop for Educators

This was an awesome workshop!  We went through so many different google tools and their possible applications in the classroom that it was mind blowing.  You can find the entire workshop and resources here as well as my Google bookmarks.

Here are the top 5 that I want to share:

1) Google Advanced Search - you will never look at searching the same way again.  The tiny button at the end of the google search window "Advanced Search" gives you all of these options!

I love and will frequently use
  • Unwanted words - want the Taj Mahal but not in Vegas?
  • File Type - only want PowerPoint, only get them!
  • Usage rights - make sure you can get images or files you can legally use

2) Google Squared - a great way to organize information.  You can add and delelte information from your square as well as export it to a spreadsheet to work on yourself.

3) Adding and annotating a Drawing - I always thought adding arrows and text to a image in a Google Presentation or Document was a pain.  This makes it super simple. 
  • Insert -- Drawing
  • Add Image -- by URL, so it must be somewhere online
  • Add Text, arrows etc and then save and close to insert into your Google Doc

4) Language - again right at the end of the google search box is language tools.  An excellent way to translate anything!
  • A search
  • Type in Text
  • Translate a Webpage (Check out this page in Russian)
  • Change your default language
5) Google Labs -  this is a sandbox for all the things that Google is working on.  Some may disappear or they may become a part of the regular Google toolbox.  Check out:

Honourable Mentions

Friday, May 27, 2011

Do you Doodle?

It is that time of year again when trying to schedule a meeting: team, grades, curriculum, transition is insanely complicated!  It is meeting season in education.  Trying to pick a day when everyone is around and available is next to impossible.  You need to Doodle!

Doodle is super easy, just make an account and then....

Try it out by accessing my sample doodle here.  Just add you name and the dates you are available.  As creator of the poll, I get to see a view like this

Which allows me to easily pick the date the is most convenient for the entire group. Never have a crazy reply all email chain again!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Create: Drawing Tools

Getting students to create their own product has been the cornerstone of the PWSD technology plan this year.  With Kid Pix on the fritz since we moved to Windows 7, I have been compiling some replacement resources to have students create their own digital art.  Most of these websites are perfect for k-12.  Whether you are working on mouse control and saving properly or asking students to create original art for a presentation, one of these should fit the bill.  They all have their strengths and weaknesses, so play around to find out what works best for you.

There are 10 resources that I would recommend, feel free to add the public URL to you website or moodle page.
Some of the highlights...

1) Sumo Paint - more sophisticated than paint which will keep you advanced user busy with layers and filters but easy enough to just create an image.  You can save to the gallery, if you want to create an account, or download as an image if you don't. 

My favourite tools, symmetry and light effect filter!

2) Tux Paint - this is what PWSD is supporting to replace KidPix.  This is an offline program that needs to be installed.  If you want it on your computer lab, just open a helpdesk ticket.

3) Pencil Maddness - This one is new to me, but I think it has loads of potential.  Lots of cool tools and you can either create an account to save to the gallery, or just click on the JPG button when you are finished to download the image. 

These are just three of the many tools listed, have fun exploring or set your student loose on them all!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Collaborative Grade 3 Literacy Classroom

The  last in our AISI Literacy series this year that takes a look inside a classroom in Peace Wapiti School Division.

Special thanks to Mem, Collette and Donna for sharing their wonderful classrooms with us!  And to Rowena for making sure this good work gets done and published!

Savanna's PD Day

I love going to Savanna.  The teachers fabulous, the conversations challenging and they always feed me.  Unfortunately I don't get out there nearly as often as I would like.  At 143km from Grande Prairie, Savanna is number two on the list of our furthest away schools in Peace Wapiti School Division.
Mike and  Tina working hard!
After polling the group.....

and getting some rather inconclusive results, I tried to plan a day that allowed for a lot of time to explore, use and plan around the them of "Create, Collaborate and Connect".  

Take a look at all of their are a few:

Stacy's PhotoPeach Story
USA Foreign, Economic, Political Policy Timeline on PhotoPeach

Tina's QR Code (she is going to use this to figure out how many students have the tech to use them)

Stacey's Newspaper

Thanks for a great day!

ASBOA: Better Together

When the Association of School Business Officials of Alberta (ASBOA) was looking for presenters for their annual conference and approached myself and Sandy McDonald, from GPPSD, to do a session on Social Media it was an easy sell. 

Sandy getting things started!
Better Together: Connecting School Business Officials
The benefits of learning how to navigate social media, and to take advantage of social networking, are many. Sharing and learning with others inside and outside of your organization is easier than you might think. Come join Jen and Sandy and learn about new tools of the trade to help widen your network and make new connections to support your personal and professional growth!

While the topic, social media, was familiar to both of us, the audience and the location were new.   Instead of teachers and administrators the room was full of financial officers, executive assistants and a few occupational health and safety folks.  We went through the whys and how-tos, you can see all our resources here, but the conversations went a little more in depth around safety and privacy.  All in all it was a great day and a fabulous opportunity to connect with another group in Alberta Education.

Just out the backdoor!
Jasper was also fabulous and gave me the opportunity to photograph a few of the beautiful sites and critters...

The view
Mountain goats on the way back to GP!

Spider Scribe

I saw a tweet today

Which took me to

I am always on the lookout for a good mindmapping tool.  My go to tool has always been Bubblus but their last update has me less than impressed and looking for a replacement. (See some student bubblus mindmaps here)

Back to SpiderScribe, this one caught my attention because you can add text, word documents, images, event dates and maps.  You have lots of options for colour and text width and size and then you make the connections between the items as you see fit

The sharing feature allows you to keep your mind map private, share by email address or have it open to the public which is what I did above.

The tool does require an email address to sign up for an account and the tool is still in BETA, which could be good or bad.  Good because they will add new features and updates.  Bad because it may go away or cease to be free, in their terms of service they talk about charging.

You can see more written about this tool at Free Technology for Teachers or check out my bookmarks for mindmapping or graphic organizers that may work better for what you need.

May: It's been a tough month!

The hardest part?  This...

Loving the weather but struggling to get to bed at a decent time and using the snooze button far to much!  Anyone else having this problem?

Looking at my May calendar I knew it was going to be a tough month.  For the first ten days of May, the adults in my house were collectively gone for twelve and in a six day span I stayed in three different hotels.  Plus I started another course at UBC.  It's not an excuse but the reason for my prolonged absence here.

I am back and have a plethora of posts in various stages of readiness.  I have a ton to share, just need to sit down and get it published!  So here we go....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What's happening? May 2-6

Another whirlwind week ahead!

Monday - Wembley Elementary School to model some lessons.  Tomorrow we will be introducing one grade 4 class to cartooning, another grade 4 class will be finishing off some SMART training and I will be working with a Grade 1 class on writing from picture prompts.

Tuesday - Wembley Elementary School to model a lesson on Buoyancy.  The afternoon will be spent with GPPSD to work on the PD sessions for our Tri-District PD days next year.  See the sessions we are planning and put your name in to facilitate one of them!

Wednesday - working with Rowena, AISI Literacy coordinator, to finish editing the last (I think:) in our video series.  Check out the PWSD YouTube channel to see what has been posted so far. 

Thursday - Alberta Education's Jurisdictional Technology Contacts meeting in Calgary.  Watch my tweets for updates, there will be some interesting sessions on mobile and cloud computing that I am planning to attend.

Friday - Off...I am only working 0.85 this year!

Worth sharing

Monday, April 25, 2011

BITT: Video Streaming

What? Bright Ideas in Teaching with Technology Elluminate session

Where?  Online, just click here

When? Tuesday April 26th, 3:45-4:30

Why? Zone 1 has purchased 3 video streaming sites, Learn 360, Discovery Education and Access Learning for at least 2011/2012 school year.  Come find out some tips and tricks to use these more effectively.

What if I can't make it?  Here is the recording link!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Connected: PWSD Trustee's

A presentation at the Peace Wapiti School Board meeting today on using social media to connect and build relationships.  While the conversation was mainly twitter, we did touch on blogging, Facebook, geotagging photos and much more!

Make sure to give a follow our PWSD Trustee and Central Office Tweeps!

Stacey Pelland @StaceyPelland
Wendy Kelm @wendykelm
Richard Lappenbush @RLappenbush
Dana McIntosh @DanaMcIntosh
Kim Moodle @KimMoodie1
Sharilyn Anderson @pwsdsanderson
Christine Schlief @Christinepwsd

Sheldon Rowe @SheldonRowe
Brian Shields @JBrianShields
JoAnn Vanstone @JoAnnVan

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Fun Resources

A couple of websites, interactives and SMART Notebook files!
Please feel free to add this link to your Ecommunity page or website! 

What are your favourite Easter activities?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Intermediate Twits

A small group for Bright Ideas in Teaching with Technology (BITTs) today, but so long as there is one other person we will forge ahead.

Full Elluminate Recording

Previous BITTs

Please let me know what you would like to see in future sessions.  The next BITT will be on Tuesday April 26th and the topic is video streaming!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bright Ideas in Teaching with Technology

It’s time to revive the BITTs. Last year we had a number of BITTs, you can see the recordings here. Using elluminate from 3:45 – 4:30 there will be a brief introduction to a technology idea with classroom applications. The idea is to keep the sessions short, relevant and recorded so you can access them again later.

Tuesday April 12th – Intermediate Twitter (Tweetdeck, URL shortening, chats, lists)

Tuesday April 26th – Video Streaming (Learn 360, Discovery Education and Access Learning)

Tuesday May 3rd – To be determined (see below)

Please help me come up with new BITT topics by completing the following form.

To join an the elluminate session just click on the following link to access the elluminate room. It is best to have a mic and headset and feel free to pop into the room to check it out whenever you want. You will find additional information, resources and links on the PWSD Ed Tech Blog just prior to each session.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Writing Prompts and Moodle Forums

The last couple of weeks I have spent time at Teepee Creek school working with their Grade 5/6 Language Arts teacher.  We knew we wanted to do a writing assignment, that students could see each others work and reflect on it.

We picked 3 websites to use as writing prompts. 
For each of the writing prompts we created a forum.

Inside each forum was a simple set of instruction for how to get to the writing prompt, how to hand in the assignment and some feedback prompts. 

This was a great way for students to start sharing their work, reflect and respond to others in a password protected environment.  Next up...blogging!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

MPTCA - My Sessions

All About Blogging - This was my first ever my double session.  While I enjoyed having longer than 75 minutes, 3 hours was just too long! 
Who is that?  And what is he eating?
We spent a good 2 hours establishing why teachers and students should blog, setting up an RSS reader

and subscribing to blogs.  We then tried out three blogging platforms (Posterous, KidBlogs, Blogger) and then set up our own.  No wonder everyone was exhausted!  Feel free to check out the session here and play around with some of the blogging platforms.  There are instructions, usernames and passwords to try each platform out. 

Technology Integration for Social Studies Div 3ish - This was my second double session and I think I had better pacing for this one!  The best part of this session, my junior high social teacher Mr. Yas attended!  My theme was Create, Collaborate and Critically Think.  However with what was happening in Japan, we went a little off course (teachable moment) as I showed my #japan twitter stream, Al Jazeera English and The Boston Picture as alternative ways to get current events.  The majority of the session you can find here.  I think I started off strong with creating a fake Facebook page and different ways to use audio.  We deviated slightly off course here and there, taking a looking at The Week in Rap and National Geographic Typical Person video.  I think that teachers walked away with some new ideas and had a fair amount of time to play with them.

All in all a most excellent teachers' convention!

What I learned at MPTCA

It was a good one!  Managed to attend 8 of 8 sessions, although my stomach didn't appreciate it, my brain did!

Rick Wormeli (@rickwormeli) I attend his opening and closing keynotes.  It was great way to start the conference with a few laughs and great reminders to take back to the classroom. Some things that I will take back from the opening session:

Teachers do not play fair, students need to know the target to be able to hit it.  Why are tests kept secret?

Deviating from the path, sometimes produces the best results.

Because I said so = eat your spinach assignment!

And remember this about Rick...

During the closing keynote, who could forget the Sound of Music clip!  What an awesome way to explain differentiation.  Make sure that you follow Rick on Twitter and check out YouTube, he has tons of great clips, like this one.

Vanessa and the SMART session!
SMART Board in Humanities was next on my hit list, facilitated by twitter friend Vanessa Cassie.  She was fabulous, as usual, and even though I had to skip out early she gave the group these two fabulous ideas:

  1. Hiding the text bubble in a political cartoon, allowing students to brainstorm what would be there and then erasing to reveal.  I created my own here for those that are interested in trying it out and learning how to create their own.
  2. Using dice to create a story prompt.  Using the image and text dice and have dice representing character, setting and object.  Allow student to role to create their own writing prompt.  Again you can see my example here to try out!

Nicole Moodling!
Intro to Moodle was facilitated by Nicole Gilles and attended by all three Grande Prairie Districts!  It will be so awesome to have a common language and to be able to easily share and collaborate.  You can find all the session information here.

What I loved about using Twitter, again, is that I have my notes from each session! See the #mptca twitter search here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mystery Podcasts

Adding music.
Quick share of a great lesson done at Teepee Creek school with a Grade 5/6 class.   Since Audacity is supported software in our district, I had it pushed to the lab in preparation for this lesson.  Here is what we did:

1)  Podcasting Moodle Page - had all students start here, that way they have a list of resources, how tos and audio files, to refer back to.  As well I have linked the Audacity download if students wanted to use this at home.

2) Quick Demo - I did a quick demo of recording, saving and importing audio from a website, deleting and moving audio clips around. 
Reading from a script,

Reading from typed script
3) The assignment - you are doing a report from a crime scene.  Make sure to introduce yourself, add some music and describe the scene in detail.

Then we set them loose.  Look at some of their  creations!