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16 Dec 2015
Comments: 1

CoJournaling as a Way to Nurture Positive Tendencies

3 Tips for Nurturing Positive Tendencies Through CoJournaling

Over the years, my blog has evolved and my boys continue to grow. I find that the content that I share also becomes diversified. Thus, I am adding a new category… “Leveraging Learning at Home“. While we enjoy the holidays with our families and begin setting goals for 2016, I am reminded of Angela Maiers and the idea of mattering. Her session and keynote at Miami Device really resonated with me. As I spent more time concentrating on this idea, I sought to delve in to the research behind this concept:

MiamiDevice2015_BeFunky

Why Should This Matter?

  • Paying Attention to What Matters: “Mattering is not an ideology… it is biology. Give Lasting Compliments. The things you observe will be the things that will happen.” – (Angela Maiers)
  • Intentional Activity Impacts Happiness: “About 40% of our happiness is accounted for by intentional activity whereas 50% is explained by genetics and 10% by circumstances.” – (Eric Barker)
  • Praise and Gratitude Cement a Relationship: “Emails of praise or thanks… (don’t) just contribute to (our) own happiness, (they) very literally cement a relationship.”  (Eric Barker)
  • Importance of Relationships and Learning: “No significant learning can occur without a relationship.” – (James Comer)
  • Importance of Relationships and Development: “It is through others that we develop into ourselves.” – (Lev Vygotsky)
  • Creating Intentional Environments: “We should focus our efforts on creating environments for our innate psychological needs to flourish.” – (Daniel Pink)

I know that I need positive reinforcement and thrive in environments that meet my innate psychological needs so why not intentionally provide the same thing to my son? After all… these lasting compliments and conversations are free and permanent.

Why CoJournaling Matters

 

What Should You Consider Before or While You Co-Journal?

Diving in to the process of co-journaling, I wasn’t quite sure where we would end up or what the process would look like. Now a month in, I feel like I can provide a little more guidance on initiating and engaging in the process:

Know Your Goals: I found that my eldest and I didn’t have a whole lot of time after school or before bed to chat and reflect and that I also spent a fair amount of time during those waking hours on logistics of getting out the door, getting ready for bed, and/or getting ready for the next day. Additionally, I felt the time that was spent on navigating the dynamic of my boys together was somewhat disproportional to the amount of time spent fostering a healthy mother son relationship with them each individually… especially with the eldest one. So, my goal was fairly simple… to build capacity within our own relationship by noticing and nurturing positive tendencies. Having this in mind helped me guide our ongoing communications.

Know Your Goals for CoJournaling

Embrace the Style of Communication: At first I started writing these somewhat proper letters and then realized that my son was responding with phrases and drawings so I started adding in my own drawings and phrases to link our communication and connect to his style and voice.

Embrace the Style of Communication When You CoJournal

Leverage the Communication: While my goal is to essentially notice and nurture positive tendencies and interactions, I do try to leverage the format to throw in a quote or even note emphasis on communication styles. I don’t ever want this to feel like mommy’s not so covert way to teach grammar, punctuation, academic vocabulary, and letter writing skills so I use this leverage sparingly and cleverly as appropriate.

Leverage Your CoJournaling Communications

 

Every night I try to write a letter reflecting on the day, noting something positive, or addressing upcoming events and then leave it in his room after he goes to bed. He ever so quietly gets up the next morning and immediately starts writing back to me and then leaves the journal in a place I will find it. While I will never have more hours in the day, I do feel like this type of innovation allows us to asynchronously communicate. Please let me state that co-journaling does NOT replace talking to your child but it does provide a framework for nurturing positive tendencies, initiating thoughtful daily conversations, and crafting a feedback loop of gratitude and personal learning.

I can’t tell you how special the communication is between us and how much I relish it… well I guess I just did… 😉 I hope this inspires others to take the plunge and flavor your own type of authentic co-journaling experience. If you do, please share. I know my son would love to know that our experience has served as a launch pad for others. And yes, I did ask him permission before posting any of our  personal communications.

WHERE WILL TECHCHEF BE NEXT?

If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know more about her speaking history or professional development portfolio… visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email techchef4u@gmail.com.

Dates for 2016:


30 Nov 2015
Comments: 2

5 Surprising Ways to Make Amazon Literacy Work 4 U

Amazon Literacy Header

Relevant Side Note: I have to admit I have been negligent with blogging these few months. My website went down in mid September and it has taken me much of the semester to transition and mold it to be what it is right now (more on that in an upcoming post)… But for NOW! 😉

Sometimes it just takes a good kick in the pants to jump start blogging and that is exactly what Ross Cooper (@RossCoops31) did for me with his post, “Are You Amazon Literate?“.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Should This Matter?

So you might be asking yourself why does Amazon Literacy matter… Is this even a thing? Or is this a fictitious dish the TechChef is trying to serve up after the Thanksgiving break? Well, let me paint a picture for you. My go to for pretty much any initial purchase is Amazon.

How to Be Amazon Literate

While Amazon is super easy to find products… it can be ever so cumbersome to locate quality professional development resources unless you are… Amazon Literate:

  • Cookie Crumb Trails: Think about it… to locate quality books on creative writing, I essentially have to find one really good one and then follow the cookie crumb trail of recommendations.
  • Visit Another Restaurant: Recently, I started falling deep down the rabbit hold of visual communication and slide design. I found one amazing book, “Talk Like Ted”, which is really a book designed for the industry… not necessarily the classroom. That moves me to my next point… oftentimes, we get comfortable with what we know – we stick to books and resources that are designed for educators when in reality many of the books designed for the industry are just as impactful and provide a more transparent window into college readiness skills and purposeful practice than any educational industry book alone could. Honestly, I learned far more about the creative process and authentic publishing from Austin Kleon than any classroom-focused text.
  • Don’t Let Reviews Exclusively Color Your Opinions: I do look at the customer reviews BUT I am also realistic. Sometimes one customer had a bad experience (that may or may not be directly linked to the product) and they have decided to lash out in the reviews. I try to scan the middle of the road reviews (3’s and 4’s) because they seem to be more truthful and authentic than the rants or superficial praise.
  • Take a Visual Bite Before You Order: I have to admit that if I can’t get nab a “Look Inside” for a book… I tend not to order it no matter how great the reviews. Sometimes older books don’t have a sneak peek but they can be found on google. My hack for the “Look Inside” is to google the book and see if I can get nab a preview of a page or two that way. If I am successful and the book piques my interest and meets my expectations, then I go back to Amazon and order it.

Though these ideas can guide your searches, there is still a bit of practice needed to master this literacy.

Creative Writing Books

Before I share some ways to hone your Amazon Literacy acumen… I want to share yet another example to sell the skill further. Below is a picture of 9 books that I ordered off Amazon to support creative writing and creative writing prompts AND only one of the 9 books can be found in the first 10 pages of an Amazon search for “creative writing” or “creative writing prompts”. Essentially, without a prowess for Amazon Literacy, I would have never known about the other 9 books.

Blogger’s Note: If you are interested in these 9 creative writing books …I have pinned all of them to this board “Books that Ignite Literacy”.

 

How Can I Practice these Skills?

With Amazon Two Day Prime and my constant need for books and learning… I have had multiple opportunities to hone these skills. In Ross’s Amazon Literacy post, he delineated a few challenges that might be useful in polishing your acumen for Amazon Literacy.

As I don’t want to regurgitate what Ross Cooper said in his post and the superb list that he offered, I thought I would  generate my own list of “5 Surprising Ways to Make Amazon Literacy Work 4 U” (and yes, I totally realize that these are loaded tasks that are in line with my current reality and visual communication rabbit hole):

  • Beyond Education: Find a book that is not necessarily designed for education but could be purposefully used within the classroom. (Explain your rationale.)
  • Attention Grabbers: Share a book that grabbed your attention by book cover alone. (Explain what part of the book grabbed your attention… e.g. color, title, font, image and WHY).
  • Best Collection for a Purpose: You are a secondary teacher and you need to teach your students about slide design and presentation skills. Find the book with the best collection of practical resources, tips, and examples.
  • Accurate Search Terms: Discover search terms that work for you. As mentioned above, a quick search for “creative writing” oftentimes doesn’t locate the books that I really want. Austin Kleon is an amazing author that supports creative writing and his books don’t even rank on the first page. That being said… “The Emotion Thesaurus” does! This book is fantastic but I actually ended up using it with slide design and speaking skills because it talks so much about body language. If you search “body language” in Amazon, The Emotion Thesaurus doesn’t even rank within the first 10 pages. Determining search terms that work for you is truly an art form in it of itself.
  • Surprisingly Educational: Locate a “Surprisingly Educational” book or resource… something that is more rooted in the edutainment field but definitely could be incorporated in to a curricular setting. My three examples for “Surprisingly Educational” are “Artists, Writers, Thinkers. Dreamers”“Medieval Lego”, and “Fictitious Dishes”. The Artists book is fantastic for blending biographies and sketch noting and the Medieval Lego book is stellar for inspiring students to summarize historical events and create visual scenes. The Fictitious Dishes one is a clever spin on dishes that could be drawn from literary works and offers up quotes and anecdotes to support the dishes.

Too often we live in an echo chamber when we search on Amazon… this is why Amazon Literacy is so integral to bettering ourselves as educators and honing our craft with appropriate resources.

 

Why Will Trusted Curation be Our Future?

At some point it is not going to be enough to just google something or search within in Amazon. With the vast amount of content being published each and every day, we have to search for trusted curators. In an effort to provide you with a springboard in to Amazon Literacy AND your holiday shopping cart…, here are 3 boards I have carefully curated to support you:

And… I have one more idea for you… Why not create a collaborative board to share all of the books that you and your colleagues have read that you find instructionally impactful? AND then each of you can comment with your review or how you used it with your classroom… Here is a collaborative board I created for my colleagues to house books that blend education and technology in innovative and meaningful ways.

Ed Tech Shelf: Books for Education and Professional Development
Many thanks to Ross Cooper for allowing me to expand upon his original post. Please don’t forget to read Ross Cooper’s original post, check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @RossCoops31 and please, please remember to share these ideas with others… as you begin to organically grow and hone your own Amazon literacy skills.

 

Where Will TechChef Be Next?

As you may or may not have noticed, the TechChef4u site has undergone a few changes in both design and organization over the past few months.

If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know where she will be speaking next… visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email techchef4u@gmail.com.


22 Sep 2015
Comments: 0

iPads: 3 Purposeful Perspectives

The beginning of school is always busy… hence the delay in TechChef blog posts. Many times we are just trying to troubleshoot, set up procedures, and grasp ideas and best practices that will support us and our teachers in the weeks to come. While you wait for the next TechChef blog post, “Epic Canva Hacks”, I thought I would share these 3 articles I have written for Edutopia to support iPads being used in three very different… yet purposeful settings.

What Have you Cooked up for Administrators?

The first, and most recent, is designed for administrators to support them when they walk in to a classroom that uses iPads (or really any mobile device) instructionally. It includes 20+ Look-Fors.

What Have you Cooked up for Instructional Support Staff?

The second is designed to provide ideas (and examples) on how to use tools like Nearpod, Padlet, and Google Forms to gain valuable data about participants prior to delivering professional development.

What Have you Cooked up for Teachers?

The third is four student projects that illustrate how students can blend paper and pencil tasks with digital tools in a purposeful manner and includes five guiding questions.

Hope everyone’s beginning of the year is going well. While this post serves as a healthy instructional staple, please know that I have every intention to dazzle your taste buds for the creative with a most decadent dose of digital delight soon… on the topic of Canva Hacks.

STAY TUNED FOR A SPECIAL Back to School ISSUE of the TechChef Gazette!

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.

Cooking Up Keynote

***Where Will TechChef Be Next?***

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Summer PD and Workshops: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com or request booking here.


12 Aug 2015
Comments: 0

Why App Smashing With Tackk is HOT!

Now that you know my 12+ Tools for Creating and Curation Work…, I thought I would dive a little deeper in to one of those tools. In my experience, I have found that Tackk*** is my go-to tool for creating professional development resource pages. As many of you are preparing to go back to school, this seemed like the perfect time to focus on this tool.

Why Choose Tackk over Other Tools when Creating Professional Development Resources?

Fantastic question! So glad you asked… Tackk:

  • Is Easy to Edit and Perpetually Add Content to
  • Is Linear and Easy to Follow
  • Creates a Custom URL for Easy Access
  • Is Easy to Share (not a PDF or a PPT that has to be hosted externally)

And did you know that Tackk offers the ability to embed live maps, photos, text, links, and videos within their platform from a wide variety of sources?

Why Should I App Smash with Tackk?

As I mentioned above, Tackk has a variety of benefits over stand-alone tools. Now I could just wax intellectual about the anatomy of app smashing with Tackk but I thought I would embrace my inner geek… the one that loves similes and lego mini figures.

App Smashing with Tackk

Think about it like this.

“Your content is like a hot dog. It is better when you add toppings and house it in a bun. Tackk is simply the solution to holding all of your content in one bun… I mean place.” – Lisa Johnson

What Kinds of Apps Smash Well with Tackk?

There are two ways that apps and tools can dress up a Tackk by being embedded within it:

  • Direct Embed: Some tools can be embedded live (and are fully functional without having to leave Tackk) like Thinglink. 
  • Thumbnail Embed: Other tools like Shadow Puppet, Haiku Deck, and Snapguide will be linked within Tackk and appear as a small thumbnail (that will take users to an external site).

As we are approaching the end of summer and time is a commodity, I will forgo any further similes and share with you an interactive guide to App Smashing with Tackk (with examples). The guide includes examples of each type of embed and what it looks like.

How Do you Get Tackk Badges for Your Website or Blog?

If you are down with Tackk like I am, then check out their new badge site to grab your logo.

*** Disclaimer. I truly honor and respect my audience. To ensure transparency, I have been nominated as a Tackk Advocate. That being said, I do not receive any money from Tackk and do not blog on Tackk’s behalf or at their request. I use Tackk because I feel it is the best tool for the job and want to share my inspiration for app-smashing and productivity utilizing the tool.

STAY TUNED FOR A SPECIAL Back to School ISSUE of the TechChef Gazette!

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.

Cooking Up Keynote

***Where Will TechChef Be Next?***

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Summer PD and Workshops: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com or request booking here.


08 Jul 2015
Comments: 1

How to Achieve Ultimate Desktop Zen with Canva

Summer can be a double-edged sword. As educators, we are relieved to have the time to regroup and rejuvenate our content and minds. However, we sometimes pile our to do lists and DIY projects so high that we become overwhelmed once again by the sheer volume of things we would like to accomplish in two to three months.

How to Transform Your Desktop with Organizational Wallpapers - includes a step by step guide and 50+ Examples

How Do You Get Organized?

I know it sounds silly, but when I have a clean desk, I tend to get more done because I can immediately get to work rather than become distracted by the pile of papers and binders on my desk.

The same holds true for my computer desktop. From my own experience, I have found that when all of the folders, screenshots, and web clips are nice and tidy, I can easily jump into checking email or blogging rather than spend time looking for files.

Step by Step Guide to Create an Organized Desktop and Achieve Productivity Zen

How Can I Get Organized?

I have had a few people take interest in my Type-A-OCD-desktop… so I thought I would spend some time designing a step-by-step guide for you to achieve desktop zen!

 

What If I Don’t Want to Create one of these from Scratch?

If you are digging this idea, but would prefer to start with a ready-made organized desktop or just need a little more inspiration on layouts and possible categories… check out these 50+ options I have curated for you on a brand new Pinterest board!

50+ Desktop Organization Backgrounds

What Other Productivity Hacks Do You Have For Me?

I am so glad you asked. I have two other posts to help you achieve tip-top productivity shape this summer:

Enjoy and Achieve Productivity Zen! 😉

STAY TUNED FOR A SPECIAL SUMMER ISSUE of the TechChef Gazette!

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.

Cooking Up Keynote

***Where Will TechChef Be Next?***

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Summer PD and Workshops: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com or request booking here.


09 Jun 2015
Comments: 2

Capturing Creativity with Canva

I have been a loyal canvagelist for some time now. Recently, I was approached to do a webinar on the topic. Many times I find that people just need to see how the tool is being used by students, in classrooms, and professionally before they feel comfortable enough to invest the time.

The Complete Guide to Using Canva in Edu

How Can I Use Canva? Let Me Count the Ways…

As Canva is image based, I thought the best way to encapsulate my canvagelism is through a Pinterest board. Because I tend to need order and consistency within my boards… each pin on this board starts with “Use CANVA to…” and then explains how the tools is used.

45+ Ways to Use Canva

How Can I Use Canva? Tell Me More…

For those of you that would prefer a guided tour, the FREE webinar is archived here. In the webinar I highlight 35+ ways Canva can be used ranging from classroom collages, posters and tables of contents to infographics and iTunes U icons.

Many thanks to Peggy George @pgeorge and Classroom 2.0 Live for archiving the webinar and all the links and resources here.

Talk to Me About Curation…

And for those of you planning to level up your curation practices this summer, I have one more educational nugget for you. Recently, Carolyn Foote @technolibrary and Dean Shareski @Shareski, and I did a Google Hangout on Curation Best Practices and Tools.

Beyond the tips and best practices we share, I found the idea of calling in experts on various topics and conducting Google Hangouts with them for each section of a college course to be a most epic educational idea indeed. If you are interested in the other topics he has gleaned, Dean has archived them all here in a Playlist.

Please Curate and Create Responsibly this Summer…

As always please curate and create responsibly. If ever in doubt, I have prepared this Listly of tools and best practices for Curating and Creating with Care 😉

STAY TUNED FOR A SPECIAL SUMMER ISSUE of the TechChef Gazette!

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.

Cooking Up Keynote

***Where Will TechChef Be Next?***

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Summer PD and Workshops: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com or request booking here.


29 May 2015
Comments: 2

Why I Declared Email Bankruptcy… and 11 Tips for Reclaiming Your Inbox

As educators, we all have ideas and to do lists for what we would like to accomplish for summer. Beyond keeping my boys busy with 1,000+ apps, app-tivities, and educational crafts, I always have a “few” items on my own list I intend on completing (that many times I could either not complete during the school year or am trying to complete before the new school year to ensure a smooth run.)

Email Bankruptcy Pin

Now that I have set the stage for one of my to do’s… I will divulge a deep dark secret. Mine is that I am an email hoarder – avoider. I didn’t start out with this issue in 2007 (when I opened my Gmail account… my first personal email account after my AOL Mail account – I know you are judging me now) but slowly over the years, I signed up for more and more email subscriptions and newsletters and the task of unsubscribing to them all became overwhelming. In fact, the task of even sorting through the emails and filing and archiving them became insurmountable. I would grab a beverage and throw on a movie and plan to organize them and I would make it through 200-300 and feel no relief or sense of accomplishment as I knew there were 4,000 still awaiting my review.

No Choice But Email Bankruptcy

What Prompted You to Take the Plunge?

Everyone has a defining moment – a turning point if you will. While I would make excuses for my delayed responses and missed emails and felt inept when my husband asked me, “didn’t you get that email I forwarded you?”, I still held firm that I could eventually dig myself out of the email quick sand. Yesterday I found out that my boys’ principal is leaving the district and I immediately felt distraught – she is amazing. How did I now know about this? So I texted Carl Hooker to ask him about it? And he kindly told me that that email was sent out nine days ago. I mentioned that I had 8,000 unread emails (most unactionable) and he said “delete them”… he called it “email bankruptcy“.

“What? Delete them? Can I actually do that? Do I have permission to do that? Why has the idea never crossed my mind?” – Lisa Johnson

The idea stuck with me and felt liberating just to think about. I know I would be admitting defeat – that the great big email monster had conquered one more innocent victim. But somehow there was relief in starting over and employing new organizational and discriminating tactics that clearly I did not have in my arsenal in 2007.

Pros And Cons of Email Bankruptcy

So naturally before making the decision, I created a pros and cons list. The pros were way ahead of the cons I could think of at the time.

Email Bankruptcy Pros Cons

My mind was racing with anticipation. I thought about my closet.

“Could one function with a closet they couldn’t walk in to? One that gave them anxiety every time they opened the doors? Bursting with clothes they couldn’t find? Thousands of clothes they hadn’t worn in years? ” – Lisa Johnson

The answer was was clear. I keep a very organized closet and I go through clothes every few months and even sort them in to categories with ease (e.g. summer clothes, winter clothes, work clothes, casual clothes)… so why couldn’t I apply these principles to other parts of my life?

Before taking the plunge I posted my Pro/Con list and my quandary to both my personal Facebook and my TechChef one and was met with an overwhelming positive response:

  • “There is nothing in that inbox that is required for life” – Stephanie Wallace
  • “Archive Everything! Let it go!!! Let it go!! If you let go and it needed a response, people will email you again.” – Rafranz Davis
  • “You can also just delete chunks. Like delete everything over 6 months, then when you realize you are going to live, go to 4 months, then 2 months…” – Renee Hooker

So, I pondered it for the next twelve hours. I didn’t want to act too soon but I also know if I wasn’t proactive, I might get cold feet. I even did some research:

And then I took the plunge… and archived it below to support others that might also be on the verge of this life-changing decision.

11 Steps to Email Bankruptcy

Declaring Email Bankruptcy

Yes, I ultimately admit defeat but I also vow to never let it happen again. As some of you might be in my shoes… I thought I would share my process:

Vacation Responder

  • Set Up a Vacation Setting: I did this to notify people of what I was doing as well as to provide alternate ways to communicate with me that might be more effective and even efficient. My intent is to only leave the vacation responder on for 2-4 weeks so people know I am going through a transitional period.
  • Make a List: Make a list of any actionable emails that are still on your docket. Typically ones that haven’t been answered in the past week or so and make it a priority to answer them before the bankruptcy day.
  • Remove All Labels: I Removed All labels. I was a label hoarder (e.g. I had over 30 labels –  one for every district I worked with and sometimes one for each app developer). I was like that kid that put a different label on every document rather than sorting them into overarching simplistic labels. So first I deleted all of my labels.
  • Streamline Labels: Next, I streamlined my labels into the categories I receive email in most (e.g. Personal, TechChef4u, and TechChef4u Receipts). Personal is anything from my family and school-related to my boys. TechChef4u is anything involving my blog or communications and TechChef4u Receipts are any online purchase I have made relating to the business.
  • Limit Yourself to 2-3 Stars: I go star and label happy and then I never know what they mean when I mark them on an email so I forced myself to just choose two.
  • Set a Filter for Promotional Emails: So as I mentioned I have signed up for several accounts over the years (e.g. Shutterfly, Picaboo, Starbucks, Groupon, etc…) and I actually want to receive these emails but realistically I don’t have time to review them and they tend to be very distracting… So I set a filter for these types of emails to be directly archived in to my “Email Bankruptcy” folder. If I want to look for a sale or have a little money burning in my pocket, then I can open this folder up… but at least now I want be hammered with sales on books, Groupon deals, and what new item Starbucks has decided to add to the menu for summer.
  • Delete All Drafts: I wanted to start simple and dip my toe in this process so deleting all drafts made the most sense. Clearly, if I haven’t sent the email by now, I am never going to.
  • Delete All Spam Forever: This felt good! I did it one fell swoop.
  • Disable Labs: I had multiple labs that were cluttering my workspace and were entirely distracting. Less is more so I disabled any labs or widgets that I felt took away from my productivity at large.
  • Change Email Notifications: I use several apps and services like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Scoop.it, etc… that send me notifications when someone tags me or comments on something I write. While this info is helpful, it oftentimes distracts me from the task of actually answering emails when I am in my inbox. So I made sure to turn off those notifications as the comments will still be available within Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc when I log in to those accounts.
  • Change Theme: This was the final step before I took the plunge – kind of like getting a hair cut after a break up. I changed the theme to a custom background to celebrate my acknowledgement of failure and resolve to move past it.

Email Bankruptcy Loading

Once this was complete, there was nothing to do but delete. Well, I wasn’t quite ready for that just yet. I opted for the “put all of those clothes you don’t wear in a box and put them in the attic and/or garage and then give away anything you don’t need or access in the next 6 months to a year.”

No New Mail

I felt liberating. I selected ALL, labeled them with “Email Bankruptcy” and archived the whole lot of them. Strangely, my 8,438 was actually 14,725 but tis no matter. There is no reason that I should be using 7.42 GB of my 15 GB storage cap in my Gmail account. Anything that I most likely needed was either already downloaded from the attachments or curated somewhere else as a link.

How Do You Feel?

I do say I feel lighter. I know that is strange… but I do. I will tell you that I keep refreshing my inbox like a school girl that picks up the phone to see if it is still working or if anyone has called. Other than that, I feel pretty good but only time will tell 😉

I am hoping that this will be a fresh start but know that I have to make changes as well:

  • Cancel Subscriptions: As subscriptions roll in, I am unsubscribing from most of them.
  • Better Organization: I am hoping that the streamlined labelling and star system will help me quickly navigate through incoming emails. My hope is for improved productivity and communication.

Please Share… If you or someone you know suffers from email avoidance or email hoarder syndrome, know that this is a serious and real condition but there is treatment and support. No, but seriously, if this can help others realize they aren’t alone and they can reclaim their productivity and inbox… then I have succeeded in my mission. Also, if you or someone you know is a serious 0 inboxer, I would love to hear tips and strategies for this process.

SECRETS TO SUCCESS

Email Bankruptcy and Inbox 0 are just two strategies that relate to a much bigger picture. This is a board I have been working on secretly… and just made public.

“I realize that in ED Tech many times it is about troubleshooting and professional development… and sometimes we forget to educate the whole teacher… including skills for productivity and organization and overall general well being that can come from appropriate use of technology…” – Lisa Johnson

So without further ado… I bring you my Life Hacking Secrets to Success board that I will continue to update with topics like creativity, stress-management, people skills, tips for organization and much more…

Secrets to Success

 

STAY TUNED FOR A SPECIAL SUMMER ISSUE of the TechChef Gazette!

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.

Cooking Up Keynote

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Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Summer PD and Workshops: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com or request booking here.


27 May 2015
Comments: 3

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY KIDS THIS SUMMER?

I often ask myself this same question. While I do work most of June, July and much of August is spent with my two boys, age 6 and 8. If you have boys, then you know that you have to keep them busy and many times plan activities and games in advance. So thinking forward to this summer… I have started curating and preparing a few resources to support those of you that are home with your little darlings too…

1000 Summer Activities

What Can We Do with the iPad?

Many of us have iPads and rather than letting brain drain set in with Angry Birds Transformers, I have compiled a few resources to support you. Don’t get me wrong… I don’t think you have to practice sight words and multiplication tables all summer long either… but choosing times to create something with your child or expose them to critical thinking and coding apps in a 1:1 relaxed setting goes a long way to making the summer a cool experience for both of you:

Common Sense Media Summer Learning Apps

Now this section truly deserves its own bulleted list because it is out of this world. Augmented Reality is such a delightful and intriguing past time… here are some Augmented Reality resources to try at home:

Augmented Reality Books, Puzzles, and Toys

What Can We Do without the iPad?

I have said it before and I will say it again… not everything has to be done on the iPad… so… I have curated 500+ Educational Crafts and Experiments for you…

500+ Educational Crafts on Pinterest

I also happed on this board of 1,500 Science Activities for Kids that is most epic indeed.

Graphic Novels for Learning: And if you like summer reading but you want to get a leg up on some of the more important themes and topics your students will encounter… I have curated 100+ Graphic Novels for Learning, which are essentially graphic novel versions of books they will most likely read in school.

What Can I Do to Destress?

I don’t know about you… but planning all of these activities and bouncing around all day with my boys can be quite exhausting… so sometimes I need to destress. A popular trend for this is coloring therapy. Now I don’t mean grab the nearest Elmo or Frozen Coloring Book or grab a table at Macaroni Grill… I mean Adult Coloring books. I am a little obsessed with these as you can well see. I have even curated 80+ examples so you don’t have to go hunt them down on Amazon. My favorites were the Cool Cats, Steampunk Designs, and Unicorns are Jerks. 😉 

Adult Coloring 2_BeFunky blog

Hope these resources help you cook up a recipe for learning and fun this summer. If you have found other resources in these categories, please include them in the comments section. The TechChef would love to hear from you!

 

STAY TUNED FOR A SPECIAL SUMMER ISSUE of the TechChef Gazette!

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.

Cooking Up Keynote

***Where Will TechChef Be Next?***

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Summer PD and Workshops: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com or request booking here.


20 May 2015
Comments: 0

The Do’s and Don’ts of Slide Design for Students

I have spent most of educational technology career supporting secondary students. Projects and Presentations are always a plenty… but what I noticed is typically students have great presentations and poor content or great content and poor presentations.

“Rarely, are students able to deliver a compelling message in a visually stimulating and engaging way with purposeful use of media and graphics.” – Lisa Johnson

So… being Type A, a perfectionist, and someone that relies on visuals to communicate… I went a googling in order to create a comprehensive guide (and yes, I also staged a few Lego Minifigure pics in my back yard for emphasis too.)

3 Teacher Wishes for Slide Design

I’m Ravenous for Research… What Resources Do You Have For Me?

While I found several excellent articles, I didn’t want to share a list of articles and resources with students and teachers. That would be overwhelming at best and neither party has time to dig through each resource and make sense of it at this time of year (or frankly… at any time of year).

80+ Slide Design Tips and Resources

 

So, I combed through the 80+ articles, slide decks, and infographics curated above and condensed them in to one infographic with 7 distinct categories. My favorite resources I gleaned were:

After perusing the slide decks on presentation savvy… it became abundantly clear that it is not PPT or Keynote that is the problem… but the lack of slide design and visual acumen that plagues presentations… so I took the best tips and ideas from the pros and created a menu of Do’s and Don’ts for students and teachers alike.

Dos and Don'ts of Slide Design

What Have You Cooked Up For Us Today?

So naturally… I decided to put an end to the drama and support the visual literacy cause with the infographic below (offered as a FREE PDF download). I spent countless hours dissecting the 80+ slide decks, articles, and infographics from the pros to curate the Ultimate Guide of “Do’s and Don’ts for Slide Design for Students” which addresses theme/template,  layout and slide design, use of images, visuals, video, color, text and font.

Slide Design for Students Infographic by Lisa Johnson

Translating the Resource: Yolanda Barker, my former colleague now stationed in Qatar, asked me if I would share the graphic so it could be translated in to different languages… in her case… Arabic. If this is an interest of yours as well, please email me lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com and I would be more than happy to share the Canva design with you so you can translate it for your students and/or teachers.

What Does This Mean for Teachers?

While I ultimately designed this resource for students… I can tell you that everyone benefits from a clear and compelling message devoid of extraneous bullet points, wonky text formatting, and awkward stock templates… Truthfully, many of these design principles can be adapted to our emails and other communications as well… so…

“the next time you send out an email communication or prepare a handout or presentation… remember a dose of design goes a long way for readability and retention…” – Lisa Johnson

My new favorite blog, “The Visual Communication Guy” posted this  MUST READ article “Why Ugly Handouts Are Bad For Teachers (and everyone else)” which not only provides a rationale for basic editing principles but a fantastic before and after pic too.

Why Ugly Handouts Are Bad

Beyond the need for clear communication, providing students with opportunities to excel at media literacy ultimately prepares students for the labor force and beyond…

Stay Tuned for The TechChef Visual Design Summer Challenge

I didn’t learn and adopt visual design principles overnight… but I will say that I have come a long way from the original presentations I created 5+ years ago. If you are looking for a summer PD challenge, dig up one of your old or particularly bad PPT or Keynote presentations and stay tuned…

 

 

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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.

Cooking Up Keynote

***Where Will TechChef Be Next?***

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Summer PD and Workshops: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com or request booking here.


06 May 2015
Comments: 10

The Complete EDU Guide to the Apple Watch

In my last post, I exposed “7 Benefits of the Apple Watch 4 U to Ponder”. One week later, I thought I would highlight 4 Unexpected Benefits and 10 Questions to Ponder…

Before I dive right in to the EDU portion of this post, I thought I would share some additional insight and benefits associated with the wearable technology.

Let it be known that I receive no kickbacks of any sort blogging about the Apple Watch and that I share my reflections freely and solely to provide the edusphere with insight into the product and the possible impact it may have in education… Let it also be known that I enjoy staging my own product shots with my collection of LEGO Minifigures (see the full collection here in this Flickr album).

#AppleWatch Blog Graphics #TechChef4u #iPad #iWatch (used with blog post)

4 Unexpected Benefits of the Apple Watch…

I have to admit I originally bought the Apple Watch due to my desire to be an early adopter and explorer… BUT I soon realized that my tech accessory was ticking with unexpected benefits…

  • Longer Life of iPhone Battery: While there have been multiple posts about an increased drain on the iPhone battery, I have experienced an inverse trend. I use the Apple Watch when I need to and have far less of a need to use my iPhone (which is great… as I recently dropped it like an irresponsible teenager and the model I have also has a battery defect).
  • Less Distraction: I really thought more devices = more distraction BUT I actually found this to be quite the opposite. The Apple Watch provides quick pings and alerts so I feel connected but not distracted. I know that may sound strange but I liken it to the idea of having a work computer and a play computer. If you have two devices each devoted to a different focus than you tend to be less distracted when using that device for that purpose. I can tell you that my iPhone was super distracting. I would get a Twitter ping and then next thing I know it I would be checking my email and pinning.
  • Less Loss and Damage: As I mentioned above, I recently dropped my phone and cracked it. I can also tell you that I have misplaced it several times. As a female, I don’t typically have pockets and I don’t like carrying a purse so my iPhone is most likely in my hand or sitting on a flat surface close to me. The beauty of the watch is that it is an accessory that is attached to my wrist so the likelihood of loss or damage is greatly lessened and I am truly hands-free.
  • Fewer Missed Calls: We did away with a land line a few years ago so we really do rely on our cell phones. When I get home, I typically charge it in the kitchen or the bedroom and find myself sprinting to answer a call across the house. The ability to quickly answer calls right on my wrist saves me the occasional bashed knee cap.

Apple Watch Benefits_small

But you mentioned EDU questions to ponder, TechChef… you have me intrigued…

10 Apple Watch EDU Questions to Ponder…

With this new addition to wearable technology, comes a few intriguing questions.

  1. How Will Existing Apps Be Redesigned for the Smaller Screen? (See Article Here)
  2. How Will The Gaming Industry Design Apps for the Apple Watch? (See Article Here)
  3. Will The Length of Articles Evolve With the Smaller Screen Size? (See Article Here)
  4. What Should and Could You Do with an Apple Watch? (See Article Here: Not Appropriate for EDU but good read as it poses the question of which device is best suited for certain tasks. This Article highlights what you can do with the Apple Watch without your iPhone.)
  5. How Will the Apple Watch Be Implemented in Educational Settings? (See Article Here)
  6. What Factors Will Decide if the Apple Watch Will Triumph Google Glass? (See Article Here)
  7. What Kind Of Impact could the Apple Watch Have on People’s Health? (See Article Here)
  8. What Kind of Impact will the Apple Watch Have on Safety? (See Article Here)
  9. What Accessories Will be Designed to Support the Apple Watch? (See These Examples… Battery Straps, Unified Charging Docks, Customized Bands, Charging Dock Cases, etc…)
  10. How Will Apple Watch and Other Wearable Technologies Impact Marketing? (See Article Here)
  11. Bonus: How Kind of Impact Does Wearable Technology Have on Security? (See Article Here)

“Many students take part in maker labs, hours of code, and even write persuasive papers – these topics are very timely and interesting and if anyone can solve them or provide creative solutions for them… it is our mobile natives… the youth of today. “- Lisa Johnson

10 Apple Watch Questions

What Other Apple Watch EDU Goodies Do You Have For Us Today?

You know me oh too well… I do have a few goodies. With my slight obsession for the Apple Watch, I have happed upon a few wicked good resources. All of them are curated on my new “Apple Watch” Pinterest board

  • Clever Apple Watch Journaling: The clever Venspired on Instagram has been journaling her experiences with her new Apple Watch. I love that she recently mentioned the benefits of receiving notifications on her wrist during the movies. (The idea of advertorials and different types of writing and audiences is way to expand and strengthen our student’s writing portfolio. Journaling your experiences with a new device or even pedagogical method is such wonderful reflective learning process that obviously could be expanded to other topics beyond the Apple Watch.)

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.11.45 PM

Lego Watch 68

Apple Watch Dock

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.03.45 PM

  • Creative Musings: Many times we use setting to differentiate creative writing. For example, we take a Shakespeare play and set it in modern day New York. Consider a creative writing project that asks the question… “What If Shakespeare, Napoleon, or Lincoln Had an Apple Watch?” This idea of historical fiction infuses creative writing and critical thinking in an engaging way. Carl Hooker has a fantastic example of what this could look like in his post, “How Modern Technology Could Have Changed these Classic Movies”.

O Cursed Spite

Where Can I Learn More?

If you are a trend seeker or just interested in digging in deeper in to the impact wearable technology will have on education, you can follow my new “Apple Watch” Pinterest board that also includes user tips, research, and even more on accessibility. If you are a Twitter junkie like myself… then you can follow the #AppleWatch, #iWatch, #Wearables, #WearableTech, and #WearableTechnology

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 8.41.11 AM

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.

Where Will TechChef Be Next?

Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Spring and Summer PD and Workshops: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com or request booking here.