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21 Jul 2015
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How TechChef Makes 12 Tools for Creating and Curating Work for Her

Summer for me is difficult because I get out of routine… especially blogging routine. I truly don’t want to take a summer hiatus. In fact I find the mere process of blogging, reflecting, and creating content to be a much needed catharsis: it serves as both a brain dump and a way to archive ideas and resources. But I also find it difficult to blog and gather my thoughts during this time frame as new tasks, projects, and schedules emerge.

This particular post has been a long time in the making. It is hard to believe that I am embarking on year 5 with my blog (half a decade of posts) and I thought there was no better time to give a little back story…(If you don’t care for back story, and want to jump straight to the tools, I won’t be too terribly offended – scroll away.)

Why Did You Start Blogging?

My blogging origins were a blend of a few elements:

  • Ineffective Teacher Sites: When I worked for my previous school district, Ed Techs were provided with websites similar to Weebly. At the time I found the tool to be ineffective for organizing content and professional development resources and was searching for something to fill that need.
  • Loss of Content: I was also concerned that I was creating and curating a fair amount of content and resources that would essentially be shut down (for myself and everyone else that benefitted from them) if and when I left the district.
  • Lack of Educational Content Relating to the iPad: This was year 1 of iPads and there was little content available on the web. As I was navigating these waters, I sought to have a place to reflect and share these digital trials, tribulations, and successes.

So a WordPress blog seemed the most natural progression. I would retain ownership of the “rogue” site and found it easier to organize and produce content with the tool. For those of you interested in polishing your blog to starting one, I have delineated “21 Things Every Ed Tech Blogger Should Do in 2015” to guide and/or inspire you.

*** I contributed a vignette in Chapter 4 of Rafranz Davis’ new book, “The Missing Voices in Ed Tech” which details my call to blogging and shares some best practices. I am thankful for this platform to share the need for blogging and am a fan of  Rafranz Davis as she is not only an exceptionally honest blogger and author – she is a friend and a dear member of my PLN. 

The Missing Voices in Ed Tech

What is an Ed Tech Pollinator?

I have to say that it feels amazing to be in a field of work and at a district that I feels so passionate about. Honestly, I feel very blessed to have a profession that feels less like work and more like a calling. I feel like it is our job in this field to not only support students and teachers but to also share this support online… thus effectively pollinating the edusphere and allowing others to bloom and grow through this transfer of content and insight.

Be An Ed Tech Pollinator

So… (in a not so smooth segue) Adam Jones and I met at Miami Device last year. He attended a few of my sessions and wrote one of the most comprehensive and kind reviews I have ever read. Recently, he asked if I would do a show for his podcast, Adam Jones Ed. I agreed and I have to say of all the podcasts and interviews I have done – this was one of my favorite stylistically as well as professionally (Adam reminds me of NPR’s Guy Ross – the whole interview felt like having coffee with an old friend – sharing inspiring stories). It was a delight to share an hour chatting about education, pedagogy, and technology with him.

*** If you would like to hear this interview (mine is episode 11) or check out other Adam Jones interviews, visit his Education Podcast Archive. Adam’s blog is also fantastic!

What Are Your Go To Tools for Creating and Curating Content?

Part of the reason this post took so long to write and publish is my need to provide resources for my readers. While my origin story and philosophy on ed tech pollination might be interesting to some and will at least frame the 12+ tools I plan to share, I can’t in good conscience blog to just share that info alone.

12+ Smooth Tools to Create and Curate Content for Educators

I have had several inquiries to the tools that I use to create and curate. These ingredients seemed to be just the spice to complete this ed tech dish. While these may not be the most new and flashy tools in the edusphere, they happen to be tried and true ingredients in my kitchen for concocting and curating content… so I thought I would share.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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14 Apr 2015
Comments: 0

iPads Over the Summer… An Annual Affair…

At secondary, students have the option to either keep their iPad over the summer or turn it back in and pick it up at the beginning of the new school year. While most students DO choose to keep it over the summer, there are a fair amount that decide to turn it in each year. Every year we try to stress the benefits of keeping their iPad…

  • Access to their iPad for the last two weeks of school (as collections take so long at three secondary campuses and require ample staffing – we typically have to start them prior to the end of the school year)
  • Access to their iPad at the beginning of school (again as deployments across three secondary campuses require ample staffing and the beginning of the year necessitates all hands on deck, typically a student may have to wait till the second week of school to receive their iPad back)

This year Kacy Mitchell, Ed Tech at WRMS, created an infographic using Picktochart to share with students to illuminate them as to why it might be in their best interest to keep their iPads over the summer. As the HS pick up dates are slightly different than the MS dates, I opted to create my own version of the infographic based on Kacy’s design.

How Can I create an Informative Infographic?

I have started using Canva to create my infographics as the tool allows me to save my final product as both an image and a PDF. I also utilized a few icons from the Noun Project (iPads and PDF). While it does take some time to design an initial infographic from scratch, once you have a template, they are easy to change out and adapt. The one below is actually based off of the “4 Things Every Student Must Do to Preserve Their Work” infographic.

iPads Over The Summer Infographic by Lisa Johnson #TechChef4u #iPad (used with Thinglink) copy

How Can My Students Use Canva?

This is too cool… TechChef… but how can my students use Canva? So glad you asked! Recently I completed a post showcasing 25+ EDU Lesson Plans from a variety of expert educators.

How Can I Find All of Your Epic Canva Designs?

Wow – we are really in tune today. I have started publicly sharing my designs using Canva through my profile and including notes about their purpose and how they were used. If you are interested in App-Smashing Canva with other tools, I have delineated some ideas and highlighted some examples for that process here.

I sincerely hope these ideas and examples give you a hankering for infographics and cooking up a new recipe for delivering content to your students and staff! πŸ˜‰

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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09 Mar 2015
Comments: 4

App Smashing with Thinglink… Yes I Can…va!

On the heels of my most recent Canva/Thinglink App Smash, “4 Things Every Student MUST DO to Preserve Their Work“, I thought I would share what I hope to be a quick dip in to the App Smashing pool. Truly, my intentions are to demystify this process and provide some inspiration and courage for taking the plunge…

I have had a fair amount of inquiries in regards to my graphics and custom Pinterest boards recently so I wanted to share my secret recipe to whet your app-etite for what is to come…

What Can You Create by App-Smashing Canva and Thinglink?

Before I get too deep into a lengthy narrative on the process, I thought I would share a little inspiration. I have used Thinglink’s Channel feature (which is similar to pinning content to a board) to curate 10 examples of how Canva can be App-Smashed with Thinglink

  • What Am I Looking At? The ten designs I selected range from infographics and custom SAMR models to collections of professional development resources and collages to assemble student-created work.
  • How Were the Images Created? I prefer thinglinking custom original images rather than stock images so Canva is the perfect platform for that. Each of the 10 designs was created within Canva on my computer. With the exception of the most recent infographic (which was custom dimensions), all of the other images were created with either the poster (highlighted in pink) or the presentation template (highlighted in blue).
  • How Were the Thinglinks Created? Once the image is downloaded from Canva, it is easy to upload to Thinglink and link away. I try to be very strategic with my linkings and choice of icon nubbins to strategically place content and still deliver an aesthetically pleasing and easily navigable final product.
Canva App Smashes

If you would like to see all 10 of these in action… navigate through this interactive slideshow here or view these interactive images in list view here.

What is the Benefit of App-Smashing Canva and Thinglink?

But seriously… what is all of the hype about? Why would App-Smashing Canva and Thinglink be useful? Well, as mentioned before, I like to create custom visual maps, infographics, and collages using Canva as a base for my knowledge quests and multimedia collections of resources. Rather than sell you on this idea, let me walk you through each of the 10 resources and what I was able to include in each… I hope they speak for themselves:

  • Miami Device EPIC PD Recap: This one is a collage of pics from the event layered with my Evernote notes and a smattering of other media I gleaned during the week.
  • Amelia Bedelia Primary Book Report: This is a collage featuring student drawings app smashed with Croak.it audio recordings and Tellagami’s.
  • TechChef4u Epic PD Recap: This professional development recap is one of my favorites in design and functionality (stay tuned later in the week for a blog post on it). It highlights both the sessions I attended as well as the ones I presented with links to Smores, Tackks, blog posts, collaborative, Google presentations, and pics from the event.
  • Digital Transitions: This is one of my first infographics with Canva and was designed to support students and teachers with the process of managing their own content. It includes portfolio samples as well as direct links to the apps I mentioned. Note: A few of the icons used I purchased at the Noun Project and then uploaded to Canva.
  • SASSY SAMR: This one served as a map for a professional development session and includes Quizlet decks, videos, and links to samples.
  • Outlander SAMR: Many educators desire more than just SAMR… they want examples so I like to play with the themes of my creations. This one included a stock photo from Morguefile that was embellished with Canva and then app smashed with Quizlet and other SAMR resources.
  • Designing Thinking with Thinglink: This one also served as a professional development map for participants at a event. I used the numbered nubbins in Thinglink to guide attendees through a pre-assessment Padlet, collage of examples, a Smore of support resources, and a post-assessment with Todays Meet.
  • Kids’ Journal as an Exit Ticket: This was a reflection piece that I did to summarize a lesson I observed in Laura Wright’s elementary class. I used Canva to create the collage and then added explanations of each photo using Thinglink’s pop-up nubbin feature.
  • Technology in the Early Grades: This was also a professional development resource for an event. My session covered 9 different elements ranging from preparing devices for young learners and screen time to inquiry and e-portfolios. The collection included blogs, support resources, student examples, slide decks and more.
  • Rainbow Loom SAMR: This final example was another whimsical way to highlight SAMR in a completely different context. This resource includes a stock creative commons image from Flickr, Quizlet decks, and even a case study.

I know this isn’t an in depth tutorial, but I do hope that it allows you to feel more comfortable diving in to this process.

What’s New with Thinglink… Ulla?

Yesterday, I got to finally meet Ulla Engestrom, CEO and Founder of Thinglink, in person at SXSWEDU’s Education Expo. While we have been in contact virtually for over a year, this was the first time we got to meet face to face. I had an app-ortunity to share my app-thusiasm for the product at the booth with our teachers and students and even got the inside scoop on what’s new with Thinglink:

  • App: Thinglinks iPad/iPhone app is NOW rated 9+ (not 12+). Perfect for middle schools that have app age restrictions! And… safe search is now enabled so students can only see content images created by other teachers and students. The updated version of the app also includes student and teacher signup options with invitation codes which ultimately makes it easier to manage these district accounts (see more info below on that topic).
  • Verified District Accounts: Thinglink now offers verified district accounts. This process of establishing authenticity of an organization provides districts with an invitation code which associates students and staffs with the district, provides them with a dashboard to easily manage teachers, students, and groups, and ultimately makes it easier for teachers and students to share, curate, and create.
Ulla_Canva copy

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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09 Mar 2015
Comments: 3

4 Things Every Student Must DO to Preserve their Work

This has been a topic heavy on my heart and mind all year. More and more students are creating and collecting content on their devices… and this is a good thing. However, when we have to swap and/or turn in their iPad due to damage, graduation, or migration from the district… we start running in to problems. Most of these issues can be resolved with student education and a smattering of forethought and planning.

WHY Must WE Support Our Students With Managing and Archiving their Content?

Before I reveal “Digital Transitions: What Every Student Should Know”, let me just give you a window in to an all too real scenario. A student has damage to her iPad (dead spots to the screen that make it utterly unusable). She has done an iCloud back-up but would like to manually back-up content and media just in case. During our iPad Swaps, we discovered that if all apps are not updated and the iOS is not updated, sometimes all of the content within the apps does not return during the restore. So back to my very real media transferring chain of events…:

  • Plug in iPad in to her Macbook and pull off photos directly: this is a no-go as devices are managed and will be rejected by iTunes and other programs due to this configuration.
  • Upload Photos to iCloud: this was also a no-go as the device needed an update and would not “talk” to her Mac until that update was complete.
  • Upload to iFiles (Novell): we could have gone this route but the app was not set up with her Novell connection and having to turn the iPad 90 degrees every few seconds due to the dead spots on the screen proved less than desirable.
  • Google Drive: thought this might work but we kept getting network errors due to our filter glitch with Google and having to turn the iPad 90 degrees every few seconds due to the dead spots on the screen to troubleshoot the connection proved obviously less than desirable.
  • eBackpack: so we ended up using eBackpack (our current district workflow management system) and uploading photos and videos to the home folder there – somewhat less desirable as there is no bulk upload feature so we uploaded each photo and video one by one.

I truly hope and moreover believe that having a back-up and archive process in place (and training our students on this process) will alleviate the issue of students losing content as well as scrambling to back up content last minute.

WHAT Are the Types of Media, Content, and Apps Students Use Most?

So, I thought about the main types of media and content that students create and collect and also the apps that students most use and that we provision within our system. With that I created a quick infographic in Canva and then added a layer on instructional support using Thinglink and Voila…“Digital Transitions”:

HOW Will I Disseminate this Information to Teachers and Eventually Our Students?

It was painfully clear when I popped in to all classes participating in mandatory iPad swaps this year (due to the necessary enrollment in the updated MDM system) that professional development for students is a must. Multiple students in each class stared at me with very confused looks when I mentioned iCloud back-ups. Obviously, telling secondary students to complete a task is not enough… we need to show them how. This infographic is the first step to preparing our students to be effective managers of their own content:

  • Step 1: Collect my thoughts on this content management dilemma and prepare a resource that maps out the process.
  • Step 2: Meet with all Senior classes (starting with Seniors as they have to turn in their iPads at the end of the year) and walk them through the process of transitioning and archiving their content.
  • Step 3: Eventually meet with all underclassmen to do the same process.

I sincerely hope this information is helpful and I will keep you posted on this process as it develops. Would love any and all thoughts on the need for student professional development in the arena of preserving content.

 

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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05 Jan 2015
Comments: 2

21+ Things Every 21st Century Blogger Should Do in 2015

I have been struggling with a post that will set the stage for 2015 and serve as a worthy inaugural nugget for the new year… and I finally happed upon it. The inspiration came from a blend of Carl Hooker’s “21 Things Every 21st Century Teacher Should Do This School Year” and a tweet from a dear friend, Brianna Hodges, sharing her new site, “Educationally Techtastic” hot off the blog press. I found myself disseminating a few tips and best practices for blogging through a series of texts and next thing you know it I had drafted a list of 21 Blogging Do’s for the 21st Century Blogger.

Before I release the list, I wanted to share Brianna’s insight and a link to her own blog beginnings that I hope will serve as support and inspiration for you to create (or amplify) your own blog in 2015:

“I absolutely love being an educator and, as a lifelong learner, I am continually searching for inspiration & exemplars to incorporate in my classroom. One of those searches led me to TechChef4U and, there, I found my touchstone, my source of energy & innovation. I truly believe that we are at a pivotal moment in education and, in her blog, I found the perfect combination of creativity & practicality, sprinkled with a hefty dose of foresight & imagination. Moreover, Lisa helped me see that I can have a voice and a place at the EdTech table. I believe that we owe it to our students and children to help form tomorrow’s learning environment &, to do that, we need to share our experiences, ideas, failures, & successes. With that, my blog, educationallyTECHTastic, was born.” – Brianna Hodges

So here we go… can I get a drumroll? Or should it be a drumstick (#foodpun) πŸ˜‰

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote

Truly, these are not in any order and not all necessary to accomplish at once. I do hope that they provide you with a festive feast of fresh ideas to make the leap to a blog or spruce up your own blog in 2015:

1. Choose a Template that you can Customize and Grow with…

When choosing a template and a blogging service, consider what widgets and themes are offered and if you can truly grow with the site over the years. Though my site has changed designs over the years, I am and will forever be a WordPress girl… this time I just had to shell out a little cash for their paid templates.

2. Buy Your Own URL

This is an easy thing to do. Sites like GoDaddy and 1 and 1 offer this service. Trust me www.techchef4u.com plays a lot nicer on a business card than www.techchef4u.wordpress.com.

3. Plugin Your Feeds

If you are social geek like me, then you most likely already have a Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Add these feeds using a plugin to your site so people that visit your site know how and where to connect with you further.

4. Test Your Contact Page

I say this with a bit of frustration as my current contact page had to be taken down and recoded and in its place is a Google Form. Contact Pages are very integral for people to communicate with you for a variety of reasons ranging from permission to use your work to possible collaborations. Always test your contact page (and have others do so too) and if it doesn’t work, then add another means to initiate email contact. It never hurts to add social media contact info here as well. (Truthfully, I am fifteen times faster at answering a tweet or DM than I am an email.) I really like Holly Clark’s contact page because it includes a form as well as additional means of contact.

5. Tag All Posts with Your Name

This is something I have “stolen” and adopted from George Couros. Many times we tag posts with relevant terms like #iPad or #EdTech but we don’t even think to tag with our own name. Tagging with your name helps with Search Engine Optimization as well as brand recognition.

6. Infuse Pictures of Yourself

I have read many a blog with paragraphs of text. Truly there is nothing wrong with text but I find the sites that share relevant content blended with pictures of themselves and their students during these projects tend to resonate better and deepen the text for those of us that are visual learners. These posts also pin better. πŸ˜‰

7. Watermark your Images

I truly wish this was something I had done from the beginning. I have found my images floating all around the internet and Pinterest completely uncited with no way to find their way back to me. Matt Gomez does an excellent job of using the Signature Watermark Ultra WP plugin to add a special watermark using his own logo to each of his images. I also stumbled upon this Listly of 15 additional tools to watermark your images. Not only does this help with his branding but it allows people to find him and his work through his images as they are pinned and tweeted. Kevin Honeycutt takes this idea one step further and adds a personal quote to many of his images… they are called Honeyquotes!

8. Include a Disclaimer Statement

This is really key. When I started my first blog, it was considered “rogue” as it was not a district regulated website. To ensure there were no issues with my postings and my job, I added a simple disclaimer statement, “The content on this website in no way represents the opinions or beliefs of … district”.

9. Connect Content you Curate and Create

Many bloggers curate and create additional and supplementary content for their blog on other sites. Cathy Yenca not only blogs… she has a booming Teachers Pay Teachers store, an iBook, and a variety of Nearpod lesson bundles which are all directly linked from her site. People don’t automatically know what else you curate and create unless you share it so don’t be afraid to add this content as badges or even a tab on your site. Laura Moore of Learn Moore Stuff also does a fantastic job of connecting you with her other resources as she includes links to her bulb, Padlet, Smores, and much more on the right hand side of her site.

10. Add Links to Presentations, Videos, Podcasts, and Webinars

As you begin to prepare presentations and deliver webinars or even create videos for your class or school, share them on a tab on your site so others can get to better know you, your content, and your flavor. In the interim of cleaning up my site, I have posted all of my videos and webinars in a Pinterest board for easy access. If you don’t have speaking videos or webinars, consider posting video content that you have created. Both Carl Hooker and Dean Shareski do a most excellent job of blending their recorded speaking engagements with their own content ranging from Carl’s app smashes and iPad Orientations to music videos and to Dean’s workshop promos and success stories to his archived presentations and YouTube creation! The Langwitches genius, Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, includes her latest slide decks as a panel on her main site.

11. Creative Commons Your Work and/or Your Site

As you begin to blog and create content and resources, it will inevitably be tweeted, reposted, downloaded, and repurposed. Providing a Creative Commons Attribution license on your site allows your audience to know exactly what they can and can’t do with your work. One can provide a blanket statement for all content on the site or an individual statement for each piece of work. The Creative Commons site easily allows you to create these licenses and even populates a custom embed code for your site. Kasey Bell has an excellent example of the blanket statement at the bottom of her Shake Up Learning site and I have included a singular license for this list after #21. Beth Still provides and excellent write-up on how sites can be perceived when they do not properly attribute work within the Creative Commons framework.

12. Share Both Your Failures and Your Successes

It is easy to share and celebrate our successes but much harder to make public our failures or lessons learned. Everyone fails… let’s face it and embrace it. One of my favorite bloggers truly tackles the tough conversations – she is bold and honest and never sugar coats the truth and I simply adore her candid thoughts on life and education. Her most recent posts “From Midway Negativity to a Positive Ending” and “Facing Insecurities: You Are More Than Enough” frankly address the struggles and obstacles so many of us quietly face and endure.

13. Don’t Be Afraid of Lists

I often shy away from lists because my O/C gets the best of me and I feel the list must be comprehensive before posting. That being said, there is a real time and place for lists. For some reason, we are drawn to numbers and the potential to see if we measure up or can relate to the list and so the power of the list is maintained. I was inspired by Carl’s “Top 10 Things Not to Do in a 1:1 iPad Initiative” and “21 Things Every 21st Century Teacher Should Do This School Year” and recently wrote “11 Useful Tips for Managing iPads in the Classroom“, “6 Do’s and Don’ts for Secondary iPad Deployment and Support of New Initiatives” and “9 Must Read iPad Instructional Support Resources“. And I have to say there is nothing better than an infographic from the amazing talented Sean Junkins to revive or amplify even the finest of lists. I love how he put a spin on both Carl’s and my lists (scroll to the bottom of both posts to see the infographic). Another creative take on lists is the idea of dividing one in to reasonable time frames for completion as Ashley Cronin did with her New Things to Try in 2015: Things to try in 5 Days, 5 Weeks, and 5 months.

14. Break Up Text with Interactivity

As I mentioned in #6, images help others to connect with you and your content. With the fire hose of information at our very finger tips, we have become a society of scanners and skimmers. I find that I tend to glean more information from a blog that has some sort of interactivity to support or extend the content. Sites that embed beautifully into a blog and offer this type of interactivity range from Tackk and Haiku Deck to Thinglink and Listly (all embedded in posts linked above). Not only do those tools jive up your content, they drive traffic to your blog as they are also hosted on additional sites.

15. Provide a Link to your Blog on all of your Social Networks

This goes hand in hand with #3 and #10. Most of the traffic to my site comes from Pinterest and I want to ensure that people not only come to my site from the pins I post and curate but know how to connect directly from my boards. Any social network you maintain (e.g. Linkedin, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Thinglink, Snapguide, Scoop.it) should include both your brief bio as well as a link to your site so people can connect with your content no matter how they initially discovered you.

16. Build In Twitter Quote Widgets Within Your Posts

This is a recent development for me. I discovered the Tweet This WordPress Plugin on my brother-in-law’s site and have been itching for a way to begin incorporating it into mine. Essentially, the plugin allows you to build the content of a tweet for someone so all they have to do is go to your site and click on it and tweet it. If you build it… they may tweet it πŸ˜‰ If you are interested in seeing this type of plugin in action, check out one of Book Creator’s most recent posts.

17. Proudly Display Badges

The design of my site makes it difficult to host badges next to my posts. This is something I am looking to remedy in the future. While bragging and boasting are bogus… celebrating accomplishments is important. An easy way to do this is to post badges. Jamie Forshey, Erin Klein, and Gwyneth Jones do a fantastic job of highlighting their achievements and badges on their sites. Badges can range from awards and nominations to blogs that you cross post too. An added bonus of cross-posting or blog tailgating is that you offer your content to a wider audience. Technology Tailgate is one of my favorite sites for this process and offers a special badge you can embed if you author content within their feed.

18. Provide Consistency with Images for Brand Recognition

For me variety is the spice of life and I tire easily with the same color schemes and fonts. Unfortunately, my need for diversity sometimes leads to confused branding and attribution. That being said, two of my counterparts have really carved out their niche within this realm. Kasey Bell’s Google Resources, Gwyneth Jones Comic TutorialsMathy Cathy’s Math Thinglinks, Brad Ovenell-Carter’s Sketch Notes, and Ryan Read’s App Dice are all recognizable and each contribute to a cohesively branded collection (wow – was that a nod to Project Runway?).

19. Provide Consistency with Content

People like to know what to expect and how frequently it will be posted. Richard Byrne does an excellent job with his Free Tech for Teachers site as most of his posts have a consistent framework which includes a summary and educational applications for each highlighted tool. Terri Eichholz is a shining example of consistency with  frequency of postings as her site Engage Their Minds typically releases a new post every day. While I am not a daily poster, I do try to provide some consistency to the time of day my posts are released by auto-scheduling them to publish at either 9:30 or 10:00 am CST.

20. Build Your PLN by Answering Where?

As people start to really connect and relish your content, they like to know where you will be (e.g. upcoming conferences or speaking engagements) so they can connect in person and or even attend one of your sessions. You can add this information on a separate tab or at the footer of your posts. Many conferences offer an “I’m Speaking at…” badge that you can add to your site as well.

21. Start a Trend or a Tradition

After blogging for a few years, I found myself in search of a little whimsy. Thus, I decided to start an alliteration collection of posts ranging from Marvelous Monday and Thought Leadership Tuesday to Wicked Good Wednesday and Freebie Friday. I didn’t post one of these each day of the week but I did try to post enough of them that people knew what to expect. In the same realm as a tradition of weekly alliteration, Technology Tailgate offers a Techie Tuesday Link Up where you can feature someone else’s content on your own blog and build off of it and then link back your thoughts to the main site.  Another fun trend in education is #hashtags. Consider starting your own or building off of a hashtag that can connect your content with others. Carl Hooker used #student4aday to share his reflections.

22. Share Your Why

This is a nod to Simon Sinek and a post I wrote earlier in the year. I started this blog almost 4 years ago and have crafted 315 posts since then. The blog has evolved as I have so this year I wanted to carefully craft my WHY for the blog and the content I share to ensure that I stayed true to the path and meant the needs of my audience in doing so. As you embark in to 2015, consider establishing a WHY or a mission statement for your blog to guide you in the future.

ePortfolios are AWESome_ETT.001
Creative Commons License

“21 Things Every 21st Century Blogger Should Do in 2015” by Lisa Johnson @TechChef4u is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Bonus Blogging Tips

To be quite honest, I strived for 21 but ended up with a few extra so here goes: keep a notebook of ideas for posts, reduce the size of your images so your page loads faster, install a Pinterest widget so all of your images can be easily pinned, add a blog subscription so others can receive your latest scoop in their inbox rather than having to hunt it down, and make sure links within the post open in a new tab rather that redirecting your audience away from your post (this typically is a default for most WP blogs but that is not always the case for other blog hosting services). This list for me is a work in progress as there are a few I need to tweak in 2015 to amplify my own blog but thought there was no harm in sharing the ideas in advance of their completion.

Stop Being a Secret Genius…

As I am still on a bit of a professional development high from Miami Device and some of the epic quotables gleaned from that event, I thought I would leave you with a little inspiration from Kevin Honeycutt:

Add a little bit of body text-7

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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02 Dec 2014
Comments: 5

The Role of an Ed Tech within the Project Planning Cycle of a 1:1 iPad Classroom

During a conversation with my father over the Thanksgiving week, I realized that he had no idea what my job actually was. Now this may sound strange but truthfully when you hold a support role and you don’t occupy a classroom for seven periods a day, people often wonder what it is that you do. I know how busy I am during the day and those that utilize my services and plan with me also value my insight and position, but I thought the inquiry and topic might warrant a deeper reflection.

What is the Role of an Educational Technologist?

When people think about the role of Educational Technologist, they immediately consider co-planning with teachers and offering professional development… but what many don’t realize is that I work with students just as much as I do with teachers…

The Role of An Ed Tech

What Does a Life Cycle of a 1:1 iPad Project Look Like?

This blog could get quite lengthy… but I felt a Tackk was truly the best tool to highlight and illuminate the role of an Ed Tech within an actual project cycle. From that email or first point of contact with a teacher to the planning and support provided for both teacher and students throughout the life cycle of a classroom project…to the final stages of publishing and reflection. Check out this thorough reflection on the life cycle of an iPad Project.

See on Tackk.com

Many thanks to both Tackk (@Tackk) and Shadow Puppet (@puppet) for their social media love, kind words and app-reciation for this piece.

Appreciation

What is the Ed Tech Piece of the Pie?

A big shout-out to Carl Hooker for creating this epic mock iTunes U page to highlight some of the roles of an Ed Tech as well as to showcase a handful of carefully curated resources and supports that I provide:

I feel very blessed to have a job that I am so passionate about and that I wake up for each day knowing that I can make a difference. I sincerely hope that my time spent on metacognition and narration of this process is helpful and beneficial to the greater edusphere and will inspire others to reflect and share their work and insight within their own roles.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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19 Nov 2014
Comments: 2

STEM Day Recap…

On Friday I had the opportunity to teach coding to 5 kindergarten classes for STEM day at Eanes Elementary. We weren’t sure if Scratch Jr would hold their attention for a 30-35 minute class period… but we were pleasantly surprised… because it did.

Coding with Kinder

I spent a few minutes introducing the interface and then presented them with 4 challenges (one challenge at a time):

  • Create a New Project and Select a Background (Setting)
  • Add Movement Blocks to have Scratch Jr Move – (We also discussed how the number underneath each movement block would repeat that action that many times rather than dragging the same block again)
  • Add Action (e.g. Shrink, Grow, Disappear) and Text Blocks – (Students found very quickly that the number multiplier made the characters grow more quickly and many of them wanted the character to have a speech bubble with their name or lunch number. They also discovered that if you made a character disappear, that it would not reappear…without adding the Show Block).
  • Add and Paint a Character – (I think this may have been their favorite. Students really enjoyed customizing and adding characters.)

Before I know it, students began having their characters interact and even adding their own audio recordings. I have to say that Scratch Jr. is a natural choice to teach programming but also offers a lot of cross-curricular integrations such as programming distance with specific backgrounds or sequencing a narrative. My 2nd grade son even started using the app to study his spelling words and use them in context (more on that in an upcoming post.)

Capturing Coding with Kinder

As it is not every day that I teach kinder and utter phrases like, “1, 2, 3, Eyes on Me”, I am very grateful that Debbie Smith (@dsmitheisd) captured a few pics to commemorate the event… I have compiled those pics and added some additional Scratch Jr. resources (lessons and curriculum) as well as 30+ iOS apps for programming with students within the thinglink linked here and embedded below.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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13 Nov 2014
Comments: 3

Bringing S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR Back…

Last year I presented S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR at TCEA to a packed room. Flash forward a year, there have been many lessons learned. While the S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR Tackk, chocked full of questions and resources, proved popular at a host of conferences and schools this semester, in actual sessions the idea of attendees developing their own understanding of SAMR through the activities proved tricky.

The Evolution of S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR

Initially I had everyone complete a PDF survey (Substitution), and then stopped them and provided a Google Form (Augmentation) using the same questions. We discussed the pros and cons of each and then I offered a Google Slide Deck with full editing rights so each attendee could add their expertise and information to build their PLN (Modification). While developing the SAMR model in this context was revealing for some, others I believe struggled with this delivery method and wanted to simply be told what the SAMR model was. I too struggled to find a balance between discovery and divulging as well as meeting the needs of a diverse group of learners.

S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 3.0 Revealed

So… I went to the drawing board one more time… and decided to create a resource that had 3 tiered sections. When I launched the session at Miami Device this past week, I decided to provide a little back story (as I have done above for you) so those that planned on taking the resources back and using them as professional development for their own staff could make the adjustments as well. Then, I gave a quick review of each level of SAMR and discussed the “That’s So Not SAMR” section as a whole group. Finally, I allowed participants to self-select their comfort level with SAMR and connect that to one of the levels within the bulb site that I prepared (pictured and linked below) and begin to explore the exercises contained in each level.

SAMR Bulb

Breaking Down S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 3.0

Each tier includes an activity with reflective questions:

  • Fancy SAMR is for those that have no knowledge of SAMR
  • Cheeky SAMR is intended for those that have a basic knowledge of SAMR but would like to have some ideas for how to connect each level to a classroom integration example
  • S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR is for more advanced attendees and takes a deeper look at the TechChef acronym intended to make SAMR (also an acronym… yes, the irony is not lost on me) a little more digestible and easier to understand

S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 3.0 In Action

I do have to say that opening up a traditional sit-and-get session to be a more discovery and discussion app-ortunity is not without its own challenges, but I feel like the time spent on exploration and the thoughtful participant discussions that evolved during the session far outweighed the angst some may have felt by being asked to be “active” participants. After the discovery portion, each group revealed their insights and I closed with a quick history of the S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR acronym.

B12l5-XCcAAPsuR

S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 3.0: the Critics Are In…

I want to also give a shout-out to Adam Jones. He was an attendee at two of the sessions I delivered at Miami Device and he provided a very thoughtful and thorough reflection of both of my sessions as well as multiple others that he attended:

“Lisa has done a tremendous amount of work with SAMR – not just in her own classroom, but also teaching other educators how to make their classrooms more student-centric and project-based.  She said, ‘It not about evaluating teachers with this model, but rather deploying it as a structure to have an ongoing conversation about pedagogy…’ It is hard to overstate how valuable a maven Lisa truly is in EdTech.  Find her on social media and you’ll find a deep rabbit hole of carefully curated content.” – Adam Jones ED

Another shout-out goes to Joe Rommel, Instructional Tech Consultant from Southwestern Michigan that shared these kind words about my sessions:

“Miami Device was great. My favorites were Lisa Johnson’s “Sassy SAMR” and “Tech Chef” presentations. Her style was engaging, and she had an amazing collection of SAMR resources that she was willing to share for our own professional development purposes.”- Joe Rommel

Stay tuned for TechChef’s Miami Device Recap… Coming Soon…

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05 Nov 2014
Comments: 0

Outlander SAMR… S.A.S.S.Y. Sassenach

*** Bear with me on this one… and please know that even if you have not read the book or seen the series… you will be able to relate and utilize the resources shared… ***

The Back Story…

I have been reading the Outlander series since my Senior year of high school. It only took close to two decades to bring this beloved epic historical fiction series to the screen. As I am hopelessly sucked in to the highlander realm eight episodes deep… the series goes on hiatus… until April (I know… heavy sigh….).

Coping with the Hiatus…

Trying not to fash myself… and knowing that I couldn’t blog about Outlander just to blog about Outlander… this TechChef had to find a way to tastefully blend her literary palette with a crafty instructional recipe. SAMR seemed to be the perfect framework for serving up this topic as the technologies we have available today have redefined how we can interact with the content and the series (cue Twitter chats).

Keynote.001

As more and more literary classics are transformed for the screen… consider the possibilities of connecting with the actors and director and gaining insight as to their stylistic choices as they are being made. Thus, to bide my time until April… “Outlander SAMR was born…” – I hope you enjoy this S.A.S.S.Y. Sassenach πŸ˜‰

The Birth of Outlander SAMR…


 

Installing the S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 2.0 Update…

As I began wrapping up this post and prepare to reveal S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 3.0 at Miami Device this week… it occurred to me that I hadn’t even shared S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 2.0 in an official blog post. Have you installed the update complete with additional app-tivities and discussion questions?

See on Tackk.com

Back Up… What is S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR?

Great question! For those of you unfamiliar with the TechChef acronym to make the SAMR model easily digestible check out this blog post and S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR 1.0 interactive infographic.
 
 

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FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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23 Oct 2014
Comments: 0

Half the Page is a Stage … in a WordPlay iBook

I have to say I don’t typically blog to blog… I blog because I am moved to share, reflect, or archive something I feel has merit and value in the edusphere (and I do not endorse products and apps lightly). The new development of WordPlay Shakespeare iBooks definitely jives with these ideals and made me “as merry as the day is long”. While I am a self-proclaimed Shakespeare buff, I have to say Shakespeare proves to be an arduous reading for many (see clip below).

One person, Alexander Parker (@afmparker) and The New Book Press (@thenewbookpress) seeks to make Shakespeare accessible to all. Truly Shakespeare was never meant to be read… it was meant to be acted.

Something Transformative This Way Comes

“The short and the long of it” is that the New Book Press has created a revolutionary new iBook (accessible on both the Mac and the iPad) that seeks to inform the language through the performance by providing Shakespeare’s text side by side with a custom production.

“But really… What the dickens is WordPlay Shakespeare, you say?”

“As good luck would have it”, Alexander Parker kindly spent some time with our Freshman and Senior teachers this week showcasing the WordPlay books as well as sharing some pedagogical nuggets for utilizing the books in the classroom with students.

Sadly my sketch notes skills are quite shabby and do not measure up to the likes of Brad Ovenell-Carter (@braddo) and Tracy Clark (@tracyclark08) or the annointed infographic genius of Sean Junkins (@sjunkins)… so I opted to recap this information by app-smashing the free InstaMag app and Thinglink app.

“Sweet are the many uses of Thinglink”

Though my affinity for thinglinks may seem like madness, please know there is whimsical method in it (Shakespeare Thinglink embedded below linked here). πŸ˜‰

Beyond the pedagogical tips I have included some ideas for morphing student Shakespeare projects utilizing the iPad as well as a range of student samples from a variety of plays.

“Something transformative this way comes…”

I am super stoked to get this tool in the hands of students. Stay tuned for an updated post in spring when we begin to devour the text in the classroom setting.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE LATEST TECHCHEF GAZETTE ISSUE? Preparing for Back to School and Beyond

TechChef Techucation Gazette: Sign up to receive future issues of the monthly e-Newsletter: There are many more learning app-ortunities and professional development toolkits to come. If you don’t want to miss a morsel of this techucation feast, sign up today.

Hungry for MORE… EXPLORE the TechChef4u Alliteration Alliance!

Check out the other topics in the Ed Tech alliteration portfolio:

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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