NEOTech Conference Notes

I attended the NEOTech conference today, and wanted to share what I learned with those of you who couldn’t make it. The entire session listing and resources are here. Below are ones I attended.

Session 1: Turn Up The Tech

Fast paced apps reviews by Angela Wojtecki & Annette Lang. I want to look more into:

  • Quizizz
    • Like Kahoot but not timed
  • NearPod
    • Devices mirror the presentation. With integrated questions.
  • Thinglink
    • Add hotspots linked to other files on to an image
  • Credly
    • Badge Creator
  • JoeZoo Express (Google Docs Add-on)
    • Rubric builder and writing feedback
  • A Web Whiteboard
  • Prism
    • Good for Language Arts. Have students highlight text evidence, teacher gets aggregate results.
  • Zaption
    • Video with embedded questions. Auto-grading.
  • 81 Dash
    • Private chat rooms. Can moderate.
  • Noisli
    • Nature based white-noise.
  • Google Keep
    • Sticky notes to share and keep organized.

Session 2: Using Google Classroom for Professional Development

Maria Kehres

Session 3: Eye on Infographics

Mary Ann Stahr uses Piktochart. Folder and Presentation.

Session 4: Clone Yourself with Screencastify

I presented on Screencastify. It went pretty well! 100% of respondents to my feedback survey said they would “definitely” use skills or ideas gained during the session within the next couple of weeks. All but one reported their skills and ideas for integrating teacher created videos increased. One person wanted more examples and one wanted a comparison with Snagit. I’ll have to consider that if I’m accepted to present for EdCampNEO.

Favorite quotes from attendees:

“You made it very easy to learn!”

“I was able to go into the ballroom where it was quiet and put together a video rather quickly. I would not have been able to do this if it were not for your presentation, thank you very much for your presentation 🙂 ”

Session 5: Let’s Hang Out

Ann Radefeld hosted a mystery Google Hangout. We took turns asking yes or no questions to figure out what state the other class was in. Turns out, Texas. So fun!

End of Day

Sadly, I didn’t win any of the door prizes. But coffee with friends was lovely!

NEOTech Conference: Screencastify Session

Next Thursday, I’ll travel to Kent State University (my Alma mater!) for the NEOTech Conference. I attended last year, and enjoyed being a learner for the entire day, but this time, I’m going to do a bit of teaching!

I use Screencastify to share my screen and my voice with students, colleagues, and friends. It’s so versatile. Certainly, the people coming to the session will figure out useful ways to integrate it into their practice. After a brief introduction, they’ll have time to play around and learn by doing.

I’ll be in 306A, from 1:15-2:05, but in case you can’t make it, or you can and you’re curious already, here’s my slide deck. great for subs, and E-Rate compliance

My lovely fiance gave me a virus last week, and I’ve been out of school a couple of days recovering. Luckily, preparing for a sub isn’t too taxing, especially with my rosters and assignments already set up for just such an occasion. Post the link on Google Classroom, and bam, finished. offers online lessons with auto-grading. (It also has discussion and journal options). Students watch an animated story and answer questions (multiple choice, fill in the blank, drag and drop) as the plot progresses. Lessons include Cyber-bullying, Blogs, Internet Essentials, Composing Emails, Sending Emails and more. Having students do this while I am away is ideal, because it is easy for any sub to manage, and doesn’t require technical expertise or content knowledge. I know I can’t be the only technology teacher that isn’t comfortable leaving plans that rely on a unknown substitute!

The Ohio Department of Education has purchased this program for use in all pubic K-12 districts (and non-public charters). You can find out if your district has already registered, how complies with E-Rate and CIPA, and more here. I suggest getting your roster put together and assigning lessons ahead of time, so that when you get sick, it will be quick and easy to get those sub plans finished.

UPDATE: 2 days after publishing this post, I got the following email, which I have permission to share.


There is still time to get your students started with the Easy Tech Online Safety Curriculum. Whether you are preparing for a possible E-Rate audit, needing to offer standards based lessons on cyberbullying and online safety, or just wanting to send additional district personnel to a workshop to learn how to implement it, this upcoming March 7 hands-on workshop is for you.

INFOhio is hosting an additional workshop March 7 from 9-2 on this powerful curriculum and its new mobile app, available for free to ALL Ohio schools, public and private, through the Ohio Department of Education.

Learn how your AUP needs to be revised and about the 3 key pieces of data you need to collect to be ready for an eRate audit! Since 2012 schools have been required to

  • provide education for Appropriate Online Behavior and Cyberbullying for students,
  • state that they are providing the education in their AUP and
  • be able to provide documentation for the lessons to be compliant for eRate requirements.

Learn how the EasyTech Online Safety Curriculum provides the lessons, resources and documentation for these changes at no cost to Ohio schools. Join Tricia Kluener from Ross Local Schools to see how these changes can be implemented in your district.

The Easy Tech Online Safety curriculum not only meets but exceeds those requirements, covering topics on appropriate online behavior, keeping personal information safe and cyberbullying awareness with lessons, journaling and discussions. All the assesments and reporting necessary to meet the national E-Rate requirements for student Internet safety training are included along with a learning management system, a mobile app, and numerous resources for teachers and parents.

In the first semester of this school year 309,876 students across Ohio have been enrolled in the EasyTech Online Safety Curriculum for K-12? There’s still plenty of time to enroll your students!

Find out how you can successfully implement the curriculum in your school the upcoming hands-on workshop, March 7, at OhioNET, 1500 W. Lane Ave., Columbus.

 Register yourself and additional district personnel now at

To find information on the curriculum and the E-Rate requirements, go to

To sign your district up for the EasyTech curriculum, go to

We recommend that someone in technical support be your district’s key contact on the registration form.

To learn more about this curriculum and see if it’s right for your district before registering, check out INFOhio’s recorded webinar on EasyTech at



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.

Quote your students, Value them

Earlier this school year, I wrote about Educanon, an application you can use to add questions and pause points to videos. A new quarter recently started, and I used the same Video Bulb with the fresh group, but this time around, I took their best extended responses and put them into a slideshow.

The day after the vidoe viewing, I showed the presentation and we talked about each student’s insight. Kids were clearly proud and pleased (sitting up straighter, smiling widely, checking out their friends reactions, etc.) to see their brilliant quotes up on the big screen.  Making the presentation by re-reading their answers and copy/pasting the best of them took only about 15 minutes, and was so worth their positive response. You could use this idea in any class. It reviews your content and shows your students that you value their voices.

One tech issue I ran into was the text pasting into the slides with original (ugly) formatting from Educanon. Like this:

bad copy paste

But, if you use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+V, it pastes without formatting, and will automatically take on the style of the slide! It looks much better.

good copy paste

Utilize TabResize, guys

My fiance has a 3 monitor monstrosity, so he can comfortably view many windows at once. (Or, I can catch up on my Hulu while he works on the remaining two screens.) Schools can’t afford this kind of luxury, so we make do with one screen per device. My students found a sweet little extension to help them see two windows at the same time, like this.

If you or your students want to do this too, get TabResize. It’s possible to accomplish the feat without the extension, but why make life harder?

TabResize can break your tabs into any number of configurations. Here are some suggested options.

Recently, students used TabResize to watch YouTube on the left, and type in a document on the right side of their screen. It was much more efficient than switching back and forth! Watch how:


Google Forms Advanced Video Playlist

For my snow day, I decided to finish up my video series on Google Forms. In the advanced playlist below, you can see how to add section titles, pictures, videos, and sections (which are actually different pages). You can learn how to make respondents jump to different sections (different pages of the form) depending on their answer to a multiple choice or drop down question. Finally, and most importantly, you can learn how to add collaborators. Two heads are better than one, right?

Remember, click the jump button  to jump to different sections.

And here’s a post on how to best view your data.


Google Forms Video Series

  1. Collect data
  2. Analyze data
  3. Take action based on data

All teachers and administrators need to follow these 3 steps. Completing the first two efficiently gets us to the most important step more quickly. Google Forms allows us to create highly customized surveys, questionnaires and assessments in minutes, send them out in seconds, and analyze much of the resulting data instantly. Also, it’s free.  Learning to do all of this will take you under 12 minutes.

The video playlist below shows how to start a Google Form, what all the question types are, additional options for questions and the form itself, how to send it out, and how to find and analyze the results. If you want to skip around within the playlist, click on the 1/17 in the top left corner.

I will be making more videos about the advanced features of Google Forms, but this will get you started. Let me know if you have any questions!

Ready for the advanced options? Need to know how to view your data in a visually appealing way? Check the linked posts.



DIY Chromebook Cart

We don’t have much money in our district, so creativity is required. This week, I rigged this ridiculousness up with a regular tripod, gallon freezer bag with hole cut in it, an aluminum tray and a bunch of rubber bands scavenged from the teacher’s lounge.


It’s now an iPad mini tripod, that will be used on Friday to record the spelling bee. I’m pretty proud of myself. This DIY item hasn’t been tested yet, but our Chromebook carts have.


We’ve had carts for teachers to sign out for a couple of years now, and since buying one outright costs over $1000, we improvised and saved money. I wasn’t involved in the original setup or purchase of the carts we have so I can’t say for sure how much, but looking at the cost of the materials used, it must be substantial. Through trial and error, and collaboration with colleagues, we’ve improved on the original concept, and have a solid design. The high school sent over 2 Chromebook carts for us to borrow, so I got them into shape–middle school style–the past couple of days. I have no before picture, but this is how I feel about it:

Before: before


It may not look like much, but it makes me happy, because it works!


If you need a lower cost cart too, first buy a rolling file cart. Overstock sells the model we’re using for $180.99. Safco-Scoot-Mobile-File-with-Locking-Top-466e045c-9a5b-44d6-994e-23bcc6820cde_600

We have a APC Back UPS 550 ($57 on Amazon) on the bottom shelf, along with 4 basic power strips. 81Ap6jVpkTL._SL1500_wp-1452111215833.jpg

Each Chromebook cord is plugged in to the strip, and then velcroed and/or zip tied to the sides and front. wp-1452111199851.jpg

If I were you, I’d just get 2 zip ties per charger and forget about the velcro backing. (It is sticky, time consuming, and unnecessary). Place a zip tie through the bottom row of holes to secure and provide a base. Then add another tie on the 2nd or 3rd row to hold the charger tightly against the cart. Roll up and velcro most of the slack on the cord.

Next get some Smead Tuff hanging folders. It’s worth paying more for the extra tough ones, because the metal bars are stronger, and will last longer than the regular folders.wp-1452111210938.jpg

Take out the quantity you need, and tape them together at the top. Before the redesign, we didn’t tape the folders, and kids would put Chromebooks between folders instead of inside. Then they’d slip underneath all the folders or be more difficult to charge. Eliminate the option. Place the taped folders inside the cart.

Finally, get medium sized binder clips, and clip each charger between the cylinder and charger head as shown below.wp-1452111186869.jpg

By clipping in this way, there will be no slack to get tangled (and subsequently untangled)! Ahh, I love that fact best.wp-1452111206462.jpg