True Life: I’m a 30 year old intern

Nope, this isn’t a movie. It’s my life! Hyland Software, Inc. (maker of OnBase) has given me a shot as an instructional design intern. I’m loving it so far, but more on the details in a future installment of True Life: I’m a 30 year old intern.

In other news, the OnBase Blog features a post that I wrote! Everyone’s heard the advice, write what you know. Well, after a few days as an intern, I wrote a piece called “The Hidden Benefits of Being Clueless.” Check it out.


Quick check with Multiple Choice Qs in Google Classroom

A newer feature of Google Classroom is the multiple choice question option. Now, in addition to short answer, teachers can quickly poll their classes from the stream. Today I used it to get a feel for the progress each student has made on creating their own game on Scratch. Creating the question and viewing the results took less than 2 minutes, enabling me to prioritize which students I would help first.

Creating the question

Viewing Results


NEOTIE Issue 3 & a Personal Note

NEOTIE issue 3 is out!

There are articles written by some awesome people on things like:

  • Effective Professional Development
  • Design Thinking
  • SAMR model of integration
  • Overcoming fear of tech
  • What Netflix teaches us about PD
  • What you can gain from Twitter, with a list of individuals and hashtags to consider following
  • 15 Awesome Websites to use immediately
  • Beachwood’s IT Department
  • Also, my App Evaluation Rubric 🙂



    Personal Note

    I started this blog just over a year ago (April 15, 2015 was my first post, on getting tabs back in Chrome) and it has truly been the best year of my life. I got engaged to the most wonderful, loving person, traveled to Italy which has been a dream of mine since I was little, made professional connections that have blossomed into great friendships, snagged a pair of jobs that I am so excited to start, and really began feeling like I know who I am and want to be.

    It was my aim to post once a week for a full year, and, with the exception of my no-tech time abroad, I have accomplished that goal with 58 posts over the 52 weeks. So, I have decided to cut back on blogging and focus my energies on the changes ahead. I’m certain this won’t be my last post, but I can’t say when my next will appear. Until then, with many thanks, goodbye!

Less Stress in 5 steps

Very often, and especially lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with my to do list. Though of course it helps that the rapidly approaching changes are positive and exciting, the resulting stress is…still stressful! Here’s my advice to myself (and you!)

Prioritize & Schedule

Looking at each week ahead, block off time for who and what you love. Figure out when you can work toward your goals, both personal and professional. Set up calendar reminders to keep on track. Also leave time for nothing. Let yourself do whatever you feel like doing when that time comes, even if it’s just for 20 minutes.  Stop feeling guilty about tasks that aren’t enriching your life, or helping you meet your goals. Hand them off to someone else or quit them altogether. Another tip: schedule time to worry. Tell yourself, I’m going to think about this when ________. If you’re hyper-time-aware like I am, these ideas may help.

Get silly

Being serious is my default mode, but I’d rather be light-hearted, so I try to be. Last night, I wore a colorful outfit to see the Carol King musical, Beautiful. I laughed in my pink pants, salmon-orange coat and red purse, hand in hand with my black and white clad fiance. Currently, I have that topped.


Not everything’s about the clothes though. I got a game called Little Alchemy on the recommendation of my friend Amy, and it’s awesome! Last weekend Igor and I had fun discussing what kind of dragon’s we’d have as pets. And hanging out with my nieces inevitably involves giggles. What makes you lol? Do more of that.


Exercise is proven as stress relief. I’m doing terrible at this one lately. I should definitely get off the couch when I’m done writing this post. At least I know I’m scheduled to go orienteering Sunday!


I’m meeting friends at orienteering. That’s a one-two punch! Getting together with your favs and family is the best. Talking, texting or video chats help when the physical distance is too great. Make an effort to connect with someone you care about within the next 24 hours.

Ask for Help & Give it too

You don’t have to do it all by yourself. When you’re feeling overly stressed, ask your friends and loved ones to help. My mom is great at party planning. I’m so thankful she’s organizing some of the wedding details for us! Surely you have people that would like to give you a hand. Or would enjoy spending a relaxing hour lending an ear. Giving your time and efforts to others, or to a cause near to your heart, is another great stress reliever. Go, do good.


My “Net News” from ’97

Just over 19 years ago, when I was in 5th grade at North Kingsville school, I made a newsletter about the internet using MS Publisher on my parents’ Gateway computer.

One of my favorite parts comes from an interview with 4th grade teacher Mr. Druschel, “Mr. D. doesn’t think the internet is just a fad. He thinks it is really cool and that we are in Internet prehistoric times.” Prophetic!

Check it out for a trip down memory lane.




I’m going to interview at NDCL tomorrow. They’ve added a new position which I believe would benefit every district: Tech Coach. The interview process seems much better than the typical Q&A session. They took 5 actual lesson plans from the past couple of months, and asked for an extreme tech makeover for 3 of them. I was informed about the tech available and can use up to 40 minutes of the hour long time slot to demonstrate my ideas and abilities. Isn’t that legit?

Though you can’t see my slide notes, it may be fun for you to guess what I will say during each slide. Wish me luck!

Pixabay: An oasis of lovely, free images

So, something cool happened this weekend. A children’s book, Mother Goose and Her Goslings, was published on Amazon, and one of my images is in it! You can download it today, for free.

How did this happen?

my Pixabay images

In September 2014, I uploaded 14 photographs to Pixabay. Creating, rather than always consuming, is a value of mine. I shared some photos because I though that other people might want my images to create their own works. Through Pixabay, it is sharing in the truest sense of the word, because the images are copyright-free, using the Creative Commons license that allows for use without attribution. It was very kind (but unnecessary) of the author to ask permission to use my gosling photo, and mention me in the acknowledgements. I am so glad I was able to provide a useful image!

How can I use the site?

  • Download, modify, and use high-quality images
    • without worrying if you are violating copyright law
    • for personal, educational, and commercial purposes
  • You, and/or your students can upload and tag photos for others to find and use
    • Watch that download count go up. It’s so fun! I’m amazed that I have 1,722.
    • Try to predict which photos will be viewed or downloaded most
    • Adjust the tags to make your photos easier to find



A Sheet(y) View, Improved

“Oh my goodness, that’s awesome!” said a fellow Building Level Team member when viewing the spreadsheet created from a Google Form. He was genuinely excited and surprised to find out that the data collected from the survey was automatically organized. Our BLT wanted to view individual responses, but since the default settings in a sheet are not ideal for that task, I made a few quick changes to improve the clarity. Knowing how you can (and that you can!) do the following in sheets will make your eyes smile.

  1. Freeze Rows or Columns
  2. Adjust column width
  3. Wrap text
  4. Show Summary of Responses/Explore (Automatically created Charts and Graphs! So magical.)

Use playlist button to switch between videos.

Annual Report

WordPress emailed me a link to “Your 2015 year in blogging.” It’s a pretty neat way to view the data on my first year of blogging!

Two things were especially interesting. My Google Drive Video Series was the most popular post (excluding the #1 F Words, because the views are artificially inflated since I had my students read that as an assignment). I am glad that that information got out to so many people! The other thing is also an unexpected 2nd place…Brazil. Clicks from the USA is the obvious #1, but Brazil as #2? Must be a lot of Giovannas there.

In 2016, I want to continue blogging each week. I was already thinking about making a video series on Google Forms, and now based on the 2015 results, it seems like it could be a valuable and popular addition. 🙂

Happy New Year!

A Carnival of beautiful Slides

Not everyone is artistic. That’s fine. Jimena Catalina will help you! This generous visual designer has created SlidesCarnival to provide the world with beautiful slide templates. On this page on her site, she says:

Working in design for more than 15 years I’ve learnt that, when you try to communicate a message, good design may be as important as the content. Many times I’ve seen how people get frustrated trying to arrange a visually stunning presentation without design knowledge. So I decided to create SlidesCarnival to help people create meaningful content without worrying about the appearance of their slides.

I must admit that there is also a selfish reason behind all this: I suffer a lot when I see poorly designed presentations 😉

I feel a kinship with this woman whom I’ve just learned–or learnt 🙂 –about today, during my exploration of the resources from the WVIZ Tech and Learning Conference. We both believe that pretty presentations are better-received by the viewers than their plain counterparts. I tried out a couple of her templates on the Symbaloo Apps Warehouse, and finally landed on the one below. 

If your slides are a bit boring, start using SlidesCarnival tonight. It’s incredibly simple to start a brand new slideshow, and just a couple more steps to get the designs onto pre-existing slides. It also works with PowerPoint…in case you’re into that sort of thing.

To start a new slideshow

To apply a design to pre-existing slides