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26 Mar 2015
Comments: 1

Sweet Learning Nuggets from SXSWEDU 2015

I have been to SXSWEDU in the past (see SXSWEDU 2014 Recap) and I have to say that this year without a doubt was indisputably my favorite. It didn’t hurt that I got to have breakfast with Guy Kawasaki and hear him speak at both SXSWEDU and SXSWInteractive but beyond that…

“I just felt like the event accurately connected, curated, and celebrated pedagogies, trends, and innovations that are currently in line with the pulse of education.” – Lisa Johnson

So…earlier in the week I app smashed Canva and Thinglink to curate and archive my learning from TCEA 2015 so this seemed like the next logical progression. As I mentioned in my earlier post, lately I have been getting just as much interest in my workflow and graphics as I have in my content so I thought I would elaborate on my home grown PD Recap Recipe.

How Did You Create this Epic PD Recap?

  • Choose a Functional Base Image: In this case, I had gotten to SXSWEDU early one day and decided to take a few selfies using my Mac and PhotoBooth in front of one of the SXSWEDU banners at the convention center.
  • Add Filter and Flare to Your Image: I loved the color to this image (see below) so I opted not to turn it black and white as I did in my last PD Recap. I did still opt to add a layer of polish and poise to it with my best kept secret the “Orton Style” filter in the BEFUNKY WEB APP to add a bit of grit. (Note: CANVA also has built-in image filters but not quite like this one.)
  • Build Your Graphic: Once my base image was ready, I uploaded it to CANVA and added pretty much everything else you see in the image below. (Note: One of the icon graphics I paid for via the NOUN PROJECT as I it fairly regularly and CANVA did not have a comparable icon in their gallery.)
  • Add Interactivity to Your Graphic: Once the base graphic is complete, I upload it to THINGLINK.. and all the interactivity you see below…AND HERE.

What Learning Nuggets Might I Discover by Hovering Over All of these Nubbins?

So glad you asked… Within this Thinglink, I included links to my Evernote notes on the sessions as well as direct links to slide decks and archived videos of some of the presentations. Debbie Smith, a fellow iVenger, also did a bang-up job of curating and reflecting on the week so I included each one of the blog entries that she cranked out as well.

“I have to say that this is unequivocally one of my favorite conferences to attend – no other event is quite at the intersection of policy, educational entrepreneurs, innovation nor blends K-12 and higher higher education like this event.” – Lisa Johnson

But Wait! I Have a Few More Questions…

Can you tell me…

How Should I Share Out My Learning?

Before you jump on the Epic PD Recap band wagon… please know that these do take me about 2.5-3 hours to complete with building the image, cleaning up my summaries and linking all of the content (and the fact that I can be oftentimes crippled by my need for perfection). Now that I have a Canva template and work flow, that time is somewhat decreased. I am in no way trying to dissuade you from this method as I do believe that graphics and chunked content is always the best delivery method… but what I am saying is to do this takes time and careful curation of content. In the end, I have found it is always worth it for my own metacognition as well as the inspiration of my staff… but know that these don’t just grow on trees. They take time to cultivate and perfect – and that time is well spent… but time nonetheless… 😉

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

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19 Mar 2015
Comments: 6

What No One Tells You About Social Media in Education

Before I get too deep in to social media tips and best practices, I wanted to extend my deepest gratitude to Deb Evans and Cyndee Perkins. I worked with both of them at Computer Explorers many years ago and their forward-thinking in the social media arena set the platform for amassing my own PLN on LinkedIn and Twitter.

“If I put a pot of instructional gold in the forest of an empty PLN, will anyone benefit from it or know that it is even there?”

So let me first set the stage… by answering the question… “What does social media have to do with education?”

  • Proactive Curating is the Life Vest for the Content Tsunami: With the fire hose of content that is pushed out every day, social media is a way to curate, collect, and locate best practices and keep up with trends.
  • Creating and Publishing Content Isn’t Enough: I am not deluded enough to think that just because I post something, that someone will read it. We all have busy lives so publishing content is not enough. If you really want to impact education, you have to connect with a PLN via multiple social networks.
  • Modeling and Teaching Appropriate Use isn’t Optional Anymore: With colleges and businesses looking at student’s social media posts and feeds and more and more businesses looking to optimize and enhance their product and service with a sound social media strategy… this topic is no longer optional. It is integral to educating the whole student and preparing them for the world beyond our institutional walls.

Social Media Best Practices for Bloggers and Educators

This section first focuses on us as educators, curators, and purveyors of pedagogy and instructional best practices and how we can optimize the impact of what we share with the greater edusphere. Before you jump head first into the graphic and best practices, you might want to ensure that you have the proper social media flotation devices in place:

  • Have a Blog and Beef it Up: I have to say the first thing is having your own blog. I have a whole post on best practices for that “21+ Things Evert 21st Century Blogger Should Do in 2015” that can support you with this endeavor.
  • Get Savvy with Social Media: build up a PLN on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+ by sharing both curated and created content. I have a post on Curating and Creating with Care that will provide additional support as well.
  • Take Your Social Media to the Next Level: Once you are savvy with basic social media practices and blogging… reading Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick’s book “The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users” is a must. I devoured the book in less than a hour and gleaned 6 action items that I needed to add to my own social media plan. Truly there are far more in the book (120+) and many I have discovered through navigating my own social media paths throughout the years but these 6 really stood out to me as ones that needed my additional attention.

Guy 1

I really don’t want to take away from the book or the SXSW presentation so I will leave you to digest the slide deck here that provides tips for being organized and optimal as well as clever, curious, and valuable. And just in case you aren’t totally sold on how good this pitch was… there was a fire alarm that went off in the middle of it… and very few participants of the packed room… including myself… were phased enough to leave (see video). 😉

Social Media Best Practices for Students

So now to our students… Guy shared 10 best practices for students in his “If I Knew Then… What I Know Now” talk at SXSWEDU. As he is the Evangelist of Canva, naturally I thought I would take a picture from our breakfast together and create a graphic to summarize his tips using Canva. Both of the images embellished with Canva are actually part of a stock photo series by Guy.

Guy 2

I really don’t think I can do his speech justice… fortunately SXSWEDU was kind enough to record and archive it for all to learn. If you are looking to supplement his talk and tips with tools to support students with social media and positive identities online, I have curated a Blended Resumes Smore and a Pinterest board on Digital Health and Citizenship.

As social media is clearly not going away… I hope this post whets your appetite for navigating this digital literacy to meet both professional and instructional goals.


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: or request booking here.

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 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


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: or request booking here.

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