Tech Talk: Google+

This week’s Tech Talk was Google+ . Here are some resources for you to explore —

Google+ Overview

Google+ Presentation by Hank Thiele/Stacy Behmer at the Midwest Google Summit

Google+ YouTube Playlist of Tutorials

Several teachers in the district attended the Midwest Google Summit earlier this week. Please feel free to explore the AWESOME resources that are listed on the website.

App/Extension of the week-
There are many Google Chrome apps and extensions available in the Google Chromestore. An app or extension enhances your experience on the web. Each week, I will try to share a new one for you to explore. This week’s extension is Silverbird. If you are a Twitter user, this will save you lots of time! You can check/tweet from your Twitter account right from the Chrome browser.

Have a great week!


Midwest Google Summit

Today and tomorrow, the Midwest Google Summit is taking place in the Wisconsin Dells.  This has always been one of my favorite conferences because I learn so much!

Today, one of the YouTube videos that was shared through our keynote caught my attention.  At this time of the year, tests like WKCE, MAPS, PALS, AimsWeb, etc. seem to suck out so much time from our day.   This video was a great reminder of how important it is to incorporate lessons with higher level thinking skills.  How often are we really giving our students an opportunity to be creative and innovative?  Take a peek  at the video and let me know what you think —

P.S. If you are a teacher that would like to live vicariously through those that are attending the Summit, please follow #mwgs on Twitter or check out the session resources.

Tech Talk: Voicethread

What is VoiceThread?

VoiceThread is a tool that allows your students have virtual discussions around media such as images, text, sounds, and video. With VoiceThread, you can create slides (like a PowerPoint), and students can then come in and comment by recording their voice, typing their comments, or video recording themselves using a webcam. Other students can then listen to these comments and make their own contribution to the discussion.  Check out this quick explanation of a Voicethread –  

VoiceThread Accounts

All students and staff have a VoiceThread account set up for them already. To access these accounts, go to

Student Logins
Email Address = Student’s school email address
Password = Student’s network password

Teacher Logins
Email Address = Your school email address
Password = Contact me for your district password

VoiceThread Tutorials

Please visit the Voicethread Tutorials page on the library website for video tutorials, written step-by-step directions, and sample VoiceThread projects.

If you are interested in using Voicethread in your classroom, please email me to set up a meeting time so we can walk through the creation process together.

Have a great week!

Tech Talk Update

I don’t think I’ve ever been so behind on Tech Talk posts! So sorry! Here are the topics we’ve covered in the last several weeks! Many of these topics will also be featured sessions at the Summer Instructional Technology Academy (SITA), so I listed the session time. If you are consortium member of EWITC, you can attend for FREE! Non-consortium members can attend for $25/session. It is filling up fast!

Google Maps – (SITA Session on 8/1 at 9:00am)
Google Maps is becoming more and more robust every day! Many of the features are becoming comparable to Google Earth. One activity that you can do is map a character from a book. In this example, 4th graders used Google Maps to mark the places that the characters visited in the book. The capability to add pictures, links and videos is also available! Students can actually go on this “trip” and go into street view to see what the characters saw in the book!

Quizlet is an AMAZING flashcard study tool! Check out this demo video! Before you spend lots of time creating the flashcards, search for similar ones on the site…there may be some that have already been created! Be sure to download the app too!

Are you looking to add another Web 2.0 presentation option for your students? If so , PowToon is a great option! Check out these examples of educational PowToons to see the potential! (They have just added pricing options for educators, but there is a 30 day free trial! Their FREE PLAN is restricted to 45 second presentations, but might work for you.)

Doctopus/Goobric – (SITA Session on 7/29 @ 12:00pm)
Managing student files in Google Drive can be a nightmare! Doctopus to the rescue! Check out the video walkthroughs for Doctopus and Goobric, and call me if you would like to try to set this up for your students! It is sure to make grading more efficient, and file management much more tolerable!

Chrome Apps & Extensions – (SITA Session on 7/30 @ 12:00pm)
Once you log into the Chrome browser, you have the option to add apps and extensions to enhance your experience on the web. Confused? Check out this presentation to learn more about Chrome. Check out this presentation for more app/extension recommendations. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Announcify – You must try this! Great for kids that have a tough time focusing in busy websites. It reads the site to you and blurs out the junk!
  • YoWindowWeather — great for teaching weather to primary students, allows them to see through a “window” to the outdoors!
  • ScreenCapture by Google or Awesome Screenshot – annotate screenshots in a jiffy!
  • TabCloud – have a million tabs open? Use TabCloud to save your tabs and open them all back up when you need them again.
  • Readability or Clearly – cut the junk off of those busy websites to make the page easier for kids to read.
  • Ginger Spellchecker – Who doesn’t love a good grammar/spell check while on the web?
  • Shortener – shorten those loooonnnnng web addresses in one click!
  • Sharaholic for Pinterest – pin to your boards in one click!

Here are some apps that you may want to check out –

  • Haiku Deck – a SUPER AWESOME presentation app
  • Google Drive – upload videos right to your Google Drive from the app, great for sharing videos with a restricted number of people
  • FaceTalkHD (.99) – create a talking avatar, similar to Blabberize

edcamp Milwaukee was last weekend! Check out the great list of sessions and notes that the participants came up with! Remember to mark your calendars for edcamp Green Bay on October 19, 2013.

Phew! I think that’s it for now! If you have any questions or need help with any of these things, please let me know!

3/7 Tech Talk: iThings

This week’s Tech Talk was: iThings

This week, we met together to discuss apps and "apptivities!" Here are some of the fun things that were mentioned –

  • I have been looking for apps that are similar to Blabberize and Voki for a long time, and I feel like these are a great alternative for the iDevices. In addition, they will have you laughing for hours! I could see them being a great addition to a Daily 5 Read to Self center…as long as the kids don’t get too carried away! 🙂 The first one is Mad Lips Free – Add lips to a character and narrate. It reminds me of those eTrade commercials! And the 2nd is Morfo – Use your face (or someone else’s) and watch how animated it becomes when you add voice! So much fun!!!
  • Magisto – This app reminds me a bit of Animoto. Easy video editing! I don’t think it’ll be free for long so get it while it lasts!
  • Dr. Seuss Cat Cam – I really wish I would’ve discovered this app a week ago, but better late than never, right! Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
  • Electric Company Party Game – a multi-player game that incorporate 1st and 2nd grade math and literacy curricula
  • Electric Company – Feel Electric! – This would be a great app to help students understand feelings. It allows children to identify how they feel each day.
  • Toca Boca Apps – lots of apps for creative play!
  • Pic Stitch – An option if you have a need for photo collages.
  • Pic Collage – An option if you have a need for photo collages.
  • iMotion HD – a great option for students that want to create stop animation movies.

Moshi Retro Handset – A great low cost addition to any Daily 5 center! Use the retro handset to record and listen to audio. The kids will LOVE it!

Have a great weekend!

Professional Development News

Supper & Strategies –
Last week, I was honored to present at one of our Supper & Strategies events in our district. Our curriculum director is hosting these once a month. Teachers are welcome to come and learn about an assigned topic, and she feeds everyone as a bonus! We all know how much teachers love food so it’s been a hit! February’s topic focused on Web 2.0. The website that I shared with teachers has a ton of Web 2.0 resources listed and the LiveBinder presentation focuses on the specific 30 sites that I shared with the group. I hope you find it helpful!

Northeastern Wisconsin Teachers — Mark Your Calendars!
The annual Summer Instructional Technology Academy (SITA) will be held from July 29th – August 1st at West De Pere High School. Bayport usually hosts this conference, but it will be in West De Pere this year! You can always find the latest news about SITA on the EWITC website or the EWITC Facebook Page. Sign up for email updates so the information gets sent right to your inbox! This professional development opportunity is FREE to all members of the consortium! I am so excited for another awesome week of learning!

Wisconsin edCamps News!

  • The 2nd Annual edCamp Green Bay will be held on October 19th at Denmark High School. If you aren’t sure what an edCamp is, watch this video to find out more information.
  • edCamp Milwaukee will be held on Saturday, May 11th. The registration is open, and I won’t be surprised if it closes very quickly! edCamps are always FREE and a ton of fun!

If you have any questions about any of these professional development opportunities, please let me know.