November 2, 2015

Free Photo Resources, Social Media, and Parent Teacher Conferences... in Education Today

Some interesting ideas I discovered recently about free photos, using social media in a school district, and improving parent teacher conferences...

People, Woman, Coffee... Meeting / Pexels / CC0 1.0

20 Free Stock Photo Resources
from the PicMonkey blog at

PicMonkey--my favorite photo-editing tool--recently shared 20 Free Stock Photo Resources. Some of the sites you probably already know (Flickr, Pixabay, Unsplash, ...), but others are new (to me, at least).
  • Albumarium
  • Magdeleine
  • Negative Space
  • Pexels
  • Free Food Photos
  • KaboomPics
  • and more
(Be sure to read the licensing notes.)

Social Media Explained (with Donuts) / Chris Lott / CC BY 2.0

4 Steps to Mastering Social Media
from eSchool News at

A school district superintendent shares how his district successfully uses social media to improve community engagement.

Read about the strategies he uses:
  • Develop a plan
  • Tell your story
  • Encourage dialogue
  • Avoid pitfalls

Parent Teacher Conference / Innovation_School / CC BY-NC 2.0

5 Resources for Parent-Teacher Conferences
from Edutopia at

Are you pleased with how your parent-teacher conferences went this Fall? Would you like to modify your approach a bit? Check out the resources gathered by Matt Davis at Edutopia.

The tips include ideas for principals, teachers, and parents. Topics include measuring student progress, questions parents should ask, conference forms, and much more. I think you may likely find some good ideas here.

October 11, 2015

K12 Online Conference 2015 is Virtually Unstoppable! / / @k12online / #k12online15

When is the K12 Online Conference 2015 scheduled?
  • The pre-conference keynote is available Monday, October 12.
  • The dates for the remaining sessions are October 19 to October 30.

What is the cost?
  • It is free. Period.

How do I register?
  • You do not register for this conference.

How do I know what's happening?

Can I view previous year’s presentations? 

There's so much happening... How do I catch it all?

Don't miss this opportunity for outstanding professional development for teaching and learning with instructional technology!

October 7, 2015

It's back! Connected Educator Month is here again.

Connected Educator Month 2015

Connected Educator Month ( is here again... and there are many opportunities to learn and to connect with other educators.
How can you participate? Why should you participate?

Educators around the world participate in professional development opportunities as part of Connected Educator Month. Developed by the U.S. Department of Education ( and its partners, this initiative offers activities to educators at all levels. The expanded partnerships and enhanced programming in 2015 should reach even more educators.

Highlights of Connected Educator Month in 2014 included:
  • hosted 800 events during the month,
  • mentioned on 6 million web pages,
  • reached educators in 139 countries and
  • every two days counted 15 million tweets.

For more information on Connected Educator Month check out...

See previous posts I have written about Connected Educator Month:

September 21, 2015

Virtual Field Trips, Making Banners, and IFTTT Recipes... in Education Today

Some interesting ideas I discovered recently about virtual field trips, making banners, and IFTTT recipes...

School Bus / Marobl (Pixabay) / CC0 1.0
Ten of the Best Virtual Field Trips
by Meris Stansbury
April 7, 2013

These virtual field trips cover a variety of topics.
  • Learn about the Arctic.
  • Maintain a travel journal as you choose which of a list of countries to visit.
  • Use Google Earth to travel with literary characters.
  • Learn how Hershey's makes their delicious chocolates.
  • Explore the Louvre... including some rooms closed to the public.
  • Climb Mt. Everest.
  • Tour the Museum of Natural History.
  • View panoramas around the world.
  • Visit the moon or Mars or the White House.
Virtual field trips save time and money.
Add the fact that they are interesting, fun, and engage our students.
If you have not used virtual field trips recently, you may want to check this article for some very good ideas.

YouTube Banner / Jo Schiffbauer / CC BY 2.0
How to Make a Banner
by PicMonkey Staff

I use PicMonkey to edit my photos.
I also create collages and simple cover pages with it.
This article shares ideas for using PicMonkey to make banners.
When might you want to create a banner?
How about...
The instructions include:
  • backgrounds (plain or patterned)
  • overlaps for graphics text design and tips, and
  • suggestions for "standing out from the crowd."
Check out their examples... then try making your own banner!

IF... THEN... / Jo Schiffbauer / CC BY 2.0

11 Great IFTTT Recipes for Tracking NASA News, Photos and Space Exploration
5 Handy IFTTT Recipes for Gmail Users
both by Liane Cassavoy

Have you have tried IFTTT yet? IFTTT automatically makes connections between apps that would take you several steps to accomplish manually.

You may want to check these IFTTT recipes:
  • Track the International Space Station.
  • Have NASA's image of the day sent to you automatically.
  • Find the cell phone you misplaced in your home.
  • Save Gmail attachments automatically.
  • And more...
Have some fun with IFTTT. :)

September 7, 2015

Exit Tickets, Math Centers, Parent-Teacher Communications, and Tools for Student-Centered Classrooms... in Education Today

Some interesting ideas I discovered recently about exit tickets, math centers, parent-teacher communications, and tools for student-centered classrooms...

Exit Ticket / Phil and Jo Schiffbauer / CC BY 2.0

Back to School: Put Exit Ticket Strategies to Good Use
by Heather Lamb
August 18, 2015

Do you use an exit ticket strategy in your classroom? Or have you thought about trying the idea? Do you ask your students to write reflections about what they learned in class that day? Some teachers ask for answers to particular questions. Others use clicker systems to gather their exit ticket data.

Why do we use exit tickets? They help us to learn what our students have learned. And they ensure that we hear from all our students.

In this article Heather Lamb discusses exit ticket strategies. She also provides examples.

Math Partners / WoodleyWonderWorks / CC BY 2.0

6 Ideas for Creating Math Centers
by Beth Holland
August 17, 2015

Learning centers are useful in classrooms. They give students opportunities to work independently or in groups. Centers can be used when students need to review skills. Teachers can differentiate the content and skills their students are practicing. Learning centers are often a good way to help students use technology as they explore, review, and solve problems.

View the video provided with this article to see math centers in action. Read how teachers create math centers using technology (SMARTBoards, screencasting, Explain Everything, Book Creator, Padlet, Popplet, ...) I think you will find some useful tips from Beth Holland.

Communication is the Key / Sebastien Wiertz / CC BY 2.0

Successful Parent Teacher Communication Tips: 3 Important Times We Have to Talk
by Vicki Davis
August 19, 2015

Vicki Davis shares ideas to help parent-teacher communications be more effective. Read her tips for communication at the beginning of parent-teacher relationships, ongoing through the school year, and when problems arise.

Emma High Fives at In and Out / Julie Jordan Scott / CC BY 2.0

5 Fabulous Tools That Will Make Your Class Immediately Student Centered
by Paul Bogush
August 24, 2015

Paul Bogush share 5 tools to help your classroom become student-centered. He tells how to use these tools and why to use them. No reveals here! This is an article I suggest you read... and it is worth the read!

August 24, 2015

Homes, Apps, Websites, and Tools... in Education Today

Some interesting ideas I discovered recently about calculus-inspired homes, apps, education websites, and techie tools...

An Integral Part of Calculus / Dan Bach / CC BY 2.0

Calculus Inspired a Millionaire Mathematician's Curvy Home
Can calculus can help you build a beautiful home?
Dr. James Stewart integrated his home in Toronto, Canada into its environment using calculus. Stewart is the author of many calculus textbooks used in the US and in Canada. His lovely home is known as the Integral House or the house that math built.
Be sure to view this video example of using mathematics in "everyday" life!
Student iPad School - 175 / Brad Flickinger / CC BY 2.0
From Classroom Word Games to Dynamic Graphs, There's an App for That
Three educators share apps they use to help their students learn. One educator teaches middle school mathematics; another teaches second grade. The third is a librarian. The apps they suggest work well with a variety of subjects  and student ages.
The educators are Cathy Yenca (Texas), Erin Klein (Michigan), and Shannon McClintock Miller (Colorado).
The (very interesting!) apps they recommend are:
Education Website / Pixabay / CC0 1.0
Forty... Now Fifty Educational Websites for Your Summer 2015 Toolkit, Parts 1 through 5
The author...
  • names each app
  • lists key features/benefits and
  • provides the URLs in this list of educational websites.
This list is a treasure chest to explore!
Technology Tools / Pixabay / CC0 1.0
What's New: New Tools for Schools
This article provides lists of software, online resources, apps, and hardware to examine. The items listed vary from tools for teachers to tools for districts. Individual teachers and administrators both may find some useful ideas here.

July 20, 2015

Free Images and Online Presentation Ideas... in Education Today

Some interesting blog posts I discovered recently about free images and creative online presentation ideas...

Female User Icon / / CC0 1.0

Free People Icons for E-Learning
July 7, 2015
Tom Kuhlmann

Tom Kuhlmann shares how to access free people icons from a variety of sources. But he does more... he also shares examples of how he has used such icons in his work... and he provides instructions about how to properly attribute the icons. Nicely done!

American Flag / Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon / CC BY 2.0

Over 60 Free Stock Images
July 14, 2015
Tom Kuhlmann

Tom Kuhlmann (again) shares how to access free images for use in our work. This time he also tells how to edit these images.

Presentations / Peter Morville / CC BY 2.0

10 Creative Online Presentation Ideas for eLearning Professionals
June 18, 2015
Christopher Pappas

Pappas share presentation ideas that will engage your audience. He does not simply list tools for creating presentations, but rather he gives advice about how best to engage your learners with those presentations. His blog post is a hub from which you can access many good ideas. This article is a must read for anyone who wants to improve his/her online presentation skills.