Showing posts from 2014

Student-created websites

All students should be able to design and build a website by the time they graduate from high school. A good starting point for this essential skill is Google Sites. Google Sites is essentially a wiki, meaning that it is an easy-to-edit platform that multiple people can contribute to at the same time. This makes it the perfect platform for collaborative student projects and creating a shared classroom resource, where every student contributes content to one or more pages and then uses the entire site as a resource for independent learning.
SCAFFOLDING Even if you have no web development experience yourself, I can help you get started with Google Sites in your classroom. For the two projects below, I created the sites and the basic outlines for each page, then students added content to their pages. This approach takes some of the more technical work off your plate and lets you get right to the content. 
EXAMPLES U.S. States Project at BMS Instead of doing an old-fashioned paper …

Google Maps: More than finding your house!

Google Maps in the Classroom Ask a room full of kids if they've used Google Maps before, and almost every hand will shoot up. Ask how they've used it, and most will say "I found my house!" Finding your own house is a great introduction to a very powerful educational tool, but let's go deeper into what we can do with Google Maps in our classrooms.
Google Maps can be used to explore distant lands using Street View, which you've probably used to explore your neighborhood or places you've travelled before. Here's a Behind the Scenes look at Street View, including a nice overview video of how to use it best. You can create a quick introductory lesson for students to drop in to a place you're learning about, make some observations, and hypothesize about what they see. 
But I think the most powerful features of Google Maps lie in creating your own original maps. Students can be involved in plotting water quality data from a science lab or any other data…

Google Forms: Oh, the Things You Can Do!

Google Forms is a surprisingly powerful tool that can be used in more ways than most users realize. Google Forms are basically surveys that you create and share, with responses organized in a spreadsheet for you. The responses in your spreadsheet can be used and analyzed to accomplish a range of learning and teaching goals.

You've probably used Google Forms before, since we've used Forms to get teacher feedback on PD sessions and other surveys. If you've responded to Forms created by others, now it's time to create one for your classroom.

To get started, here's a 3-minute overview of Google Forms from Google Help:

And here are a few ways you can use Google Forms in your classroom.
1. Conduct an exit ticket or other formative assessment, to get a snapshot of your class' understanding of key conceptsHOW TO:

Create a form with a few multiple-choice questions (see video above)Share the link with students (you can generate a shorten…

Differentiating reading levels

This week I'll share a few tools you can use to address one of the most pressing challenges we all face in our classroom: differentiating reading levels to meet every student's needs.

These tools should only be used strategically and intentionally; there are times when it is not appropriate to lower the reading level of a text or use a text-to-speech tool in class. For example, during a whole-class lesson on a grade-level text, all students should be exposed to the grade-level text and grapple with its features.

But when students are working in small groups based on reading levels, or when they are working independently, these tools can help them comprehend the content.

Text-to-speech tools may not be the best ways to model fluency, as the computer voice often lacks the prosody that a human reader has. But these tools can be used as accommodations for students with special needs and help all students access higher level readings.

Let Google read to you!


Three tools you can use this week!

This week on the blog you'll find:
One tool I've been looking for for many years,One tool that allows the little monsters in your classroom to create their own monster avatar, One tool that transforms science lab reports.

Today I will share just a few of the many innovative uses of technology that I have seen in your classrooms over the past few weeks. Thanks to all the teachers who have opened your doors to me and allowed me to share these great ideas. In addition to these examples,  teachers are planning to use StoryBird, VoiceThread, WeVideo, QR Codes, and other tools in coming weeks, each of which I will focus on in a future blog post once we have student work and teacher tips to share. I hope you find something here you can use in your own classroom!

If you would like support in implementing any of these, or other, tech tool in your classroom, just email me! I'm in Glenwood schools every Tuesday, Carbondale every Wednesday, and Basalt every Thursday. I want to visit a…

Introducing...Google Classroom!

First of all...Congratulations to all teachers and students on completing the first week of school! I hope it was a great one for you. With the first day jitters and introductions behind us, I'm sure you're ready to get on with the serious business of teaching and learning.

Just in time...Google just released a new tool called Google Classroom that is designed to help teachers manage assignments, grading, and online discussions on a simple platform that is fully integrated with our accounts. Google Classroom is a Learning Management System, or LMS, that is free and easy to use. You may be familiar with other LMS's, like Blackboard, Schoology, Edmodo, Moodle, etc. Most of these older LMS's have more features than Google Classroom does right now, but Google is likely to add features to Classroom throughout the school year.

If you're planning on using Google Docs for assignments, and if your students will submit work to you via Google Drive or Gmail, yo…

How to create a classroom website

"How do I create a website for my classroom?" This was the most common question I fielded from our eager group of new teachers on their first day of orientation this year, and the most common question teachers throughout the District have asked me as I've visited schools this week. So here are some quick steps to get you started.

If you already have a website but want to improve it, explore the resources below and let me know if you would like more support. I will plan a hands-on session for beginners, and another for teachers who already have websites but want to improve them, if there is enough interest. Let me know in the form below.

Why create a classroom website? A website or blog is a great way to extend your learning environment beyond your classroom walls, and is an essential early step in effective technology integration. When I taught at BHS and RFHS, I always had a website for my classroom, and although it wasn't always pretty, it was a very useful portal …


Welcome to the Technology Integration blog for the Roaring Fork School District! In my new role as the Technology Integration Facilitator, I am excited to be working with teachers across the District to enhance the integration of technology in learning and teaching. Our outstanding technical team will continue to provide technical support to make sure your hardware and software is working as it should, while I will help you plan and implement effective instruction using those tools.

I will update this blog each week to help teachers get ideas and support in technology integration. I hope you will subscribe to email updates (at right) so you'll know what's happening with educational technology in the RFSD.

Who to contact...
I will use this blog to:Showcase the great stuff that I see as I visit classrooms throughout the District. You will be able to see what teachers in other buildings are doing with technology, then connect and collaborate to enhance learning and teaching in your…