Don’t Just Watch,

Engage, With EdPuzzle

I am definitely dating myself here, but I grew up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I used to love watching the beginning of the show, after he changed out of his suit jacket and into his sweater and after he changed into his sneakers, he would talk about what he was up to that day. He would look right into the camera and ask us questions like: Do you ever wonder how pencils are made? or, Have you ever planted a seed? He would pause for a moment, giving us kids a chance to think about the answer. Sometimes my sister and I would even be compelled to answer out loud. Watching Mr. Rogers was more than just a passive exercise in consumption of content. He was a master at getting us to pause, reflect, and even respond.
Since we have become a 1:1 chromebook school, with each student having their own device, teachers are utilizing more and more video in their lessons. As our students are watching videos, we want them to interact with the content. We want them to reflect, be thoughtful, and make connections. In short, we want to turn a video into a lesson.
EdPuzzle is a platform where you can turn any YouTube (or other) video into your next lesson. It is super simple to set up, the analytics tell you if your students are interacting with the video, and it is easy to share lessons with colleagues. Also, I should mention that it is FREE! Another bonus is that it works seamlessly with Google Classroom.
According to EdPuzzle, more than 84% of students use YouTube to help them with homework. The nice thing about videos is that they allow students to learn at their own pace. They can pause or re-watch videos, which they cannot do during your class. Using video in this way allows students to have some control over their learning.
Here is how EdPuzzle works.
Step 1:  Upload or choose a video. Built into the EdPuzzle platform is a whole list of places to find great educational videos including YouTube, Khan Academy, National Geographic, TED, etc. You then have the opportunity to crop the video. If you have a long video, you can easily crop it so your students will only see a portion of it.
Step 2: You can add an audio track to the video. If there is something that you want to explain in your own words, you can record it right in EdPuzzle.
Step 3: Now you have an opportunity to add audio notes. For example, you can add an introductory comment that will show up before the video begins.
Step 4: At this point you can add questions to the video. As your students watch the video, it will pause and your questions will pop up. You have the option of adding open-ended questions, multiple choice questions-if you choose this option you can make an answer key and it will auto-grade for you, or just insert a comment which can have a link, an image, an equation, or text.
Step 5: Once you have your video lesson set up, you can assign it to your class. It will automatically assign in Google Classroom or you can give your students a link directly to the video. You can assign it with a due date and you can also check a box that will prevent students from skipping ahead in the video. When you assign it to a class, you can track student answers, see who viewed the video and how many times they viewed it.
Are you using video in your classroom? What tools are you using? Go ahead and post in the comments section and share what is working for you.



If This Then That… Do More With Your Apps And Devices

If This Then That… Do More With Your Apps And Devices

Do you ever wish you could clone yourself?

I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to streamline, be more efficient, make better use of my time, and get more done without adding hours to the day. It seems impossible. There are always emails to respond to, Twitter feeds to check, weather reports to look at, photos to catalog. Now that I have found IFTTT, I almost feel like there are two of me:)
IFTTT stands for If This Then That and it is a free platform, launched in beta back in 2010,  that helps you do more with your apps and devices. It uses a formula called an “applet” that connects a service (everything from email, Twitter, Facebook, Time Magazine, Fitbit, etc.) to a “trigger” or a condition and then another service. I know it’s tricky to understand at first but this service has amazing possibilities. I worked with a teacher who was teaching an outdoor adventure-type of physical education class. He wanted a collection of his students’ photos on their camping trip and he wanted a way for them to comment and share. He had them post to Instagram using a specific hashtag he created. He used IFTTT to automatically upload the photos with that hashtag to his class blog. AMAZING!

Here are 5 examples of applets that already exist that you might find interesting.

1. If you get an email with an attachment, then it will save to your Google drive. This applet can be

helpful when you are trying to organize attachments that you get via email. This applet will automatically save those attachments for you. Once the applet is active, you don’t need to do anything except enjoy your great new organization system!
2.  Sometimes the best information comes not from the conference, but from the tweets sent out using the conference hashtag. But who has time in the day to load,
look at, and read all of those tweets. They come fast and furious once the conference gets going. This applet will automatically load tweets with a specific hashtag to a Google spreadsheet. You can look at them when you have time or just save the spreadsheet for future reference.
3. I happen to love quotes! I use them in my classes with students and I share them with friends and colleagues. I don’t always have time to look at or save the quote of the day from BrainyQuote. This applet automatically archives quotes for you in a Google spreadsheet which is automatically saved in your Google drive.

4. Not sure what to do with all of those photos on your camera roll? They are taking up space on your phone. This applet will automatically upload your camera roll to your Google drive. Automatic storage solution! I also happen to take a lot of screenshots on my phone. There is another applet (bonus) that will save those screenshots into their own folder.
5. This is one of my favorites. Every day at 6pm, or whatever time you specify, the weather report will be automatically added to your calendar. Never get stuck without your umbrella again!

Ok, hopefully you get the idea here. These are just a very few of the many, many applets that IFTTT has to offer. If you don’t see what you are looking for you can easily create your own. IFTTT walks you through how to make your own applet by connecting your services and devices by a trigger. If you are someone who uses any social media, there are many applets to help you streamline those posts. There are applets for voice assistants like Alexa or OK Google. I highly suggest that you take a look at the applet collections by clicking here. 
Are you using IFTTT? Post in the comments below and let me know what applets you have activated.


Google Forms Turned Up A Notch! Password Protect and 4 Other Amazing Google Forms Tricks

Google Forms Turned Up A Notch!

Password Protect and 4 Other Amazing Google Forms Tricks

Google forms are arguably the most transformative edtech tool in use today. They can be used for so many purposes. From submitting assignments, formative and summative assessments, and good old fashioned surveys,  to taking attendance at club meetings and opinion polls, Google forms are widely used by both teachers and students. It’s no wonder, they are simple and fast to create and user friendly for the responders. The team at Google has been making a few adjustments to Google forms that you might not know about.  Some features are still being rolled out.

 Sit tight because these 5 tips might make your head explode!

1. Password Protect Your Form With Response Validation

Don’t want just anyone to be able to access and complete your form? No problem, you can create a “password” by using response validation.  This one isn’t really so new but many people don’t know about it.
Here’s a pictorial of the 3 steps to follow:
1.Just click the three dots next to the Required tab and click response validation. Make sure you are in short answer mode. Don’t forget to make the question required.
2. Here is where you can set the parameters.
3. For a password, set it to “Text” “Contains” and then enter the password EXACTLY how it must be entered to use.  Where it says “Custom Error Text”  write in something like- wrong password, try again.

2.  New Question Type: The Checkbox Grid

This new type of question option allows your respondents to choose from multiple options in a table. This is really helpful for things like finding meeting times. You set the rows. The example here shows the days of the week. You then set the columns. The image here shows one with class periods on it.
Here is what the checkbox grid looks like to the respondent. I could see this being used in many ways for multiple disciplines. I’m thinking characters and traits, equations and properties, figures in history and events. I know you will put this one to good use!

3. File Upload Capabilities:

Finally! Our suggestions have been heard and Google has added the ability for respondents to upload a file into the form. When you add a question, just choose “file upload”. You will see the options below. Everything from an image, PDF, video, audio file and more. You can have them add multiple files and set the maximum size allowed.

4. Give Feedback In Quiz Mode:

Of course you know that Google forms now has quiz mode where you can assign points and even give an answer key. The form will grade itself! If you set the grades to be released manually, the email addresses will automatically be collected AND you can give feedback within the quiz. When your students get their grades, they will see the feedback you left for them within the questions.
Here is what the quiz settings look like:

5. Set Preferences that will apply for ALL of your forms!

Are you sick and tired of marking every question as required? Well now you can set preferences for your forms. You can automatically collect respondent’s email addresses, mark all questions required, and even preset point values for quiz questions. Once you set your preferences, that will be the default setting for all of your forms. Click the three dots in the upper righthand section of your screen and open Preferences.
Here is what the preferences options look like:

Coming Soon! Look for Intelligent Response Validation.

How are you using Google forms?
Go ahead and post in the comments below.
Want to work on these together? I’m happy to work with you and show you how to use these features in a way that makes sense for you and your classroom.

Teachers Meet Quizizz! You’re Welcome:)


Quizizz: Fun, Engaging, Multiplayer Classroom Quiz Games and Yes, Students Can Play From Anywhere!

I’ll admit that I can be a sucker for bells and whistles.  I love toys and games and fun in the classroom if they are used in a purposeful way.  When students come back and visit years after graduation, it’s the funny, silly activities that they remember and connect with most.  Do any students come back and say “Remember that time when we sat in rows quietly and took notes?” I recently led a workshop and asked teachers from various schools to describe what their classroom looks like when their students are truly engaged.  Words like “active”, “participation”, “loud”, and “excited” came up as the teachers thought about a time in their classroom when students were engaged. Of course, the topic of Kahoot often comes up during these types of discussions.  Remember the first time you did a Kahoot?  You will absolutely not get that kind of response when you assign a worksheet.  That’s because tools like Kahoot are engaging and fun by design.  They allow students to participate in a way that does not require them to push too far out of their comfort zone, but still makes you feel like you are playing a game and taking a risk.  One of the most common questions that comes up with Kahoot is whether or not students can participate in these fun quiz games on their own or from home.

That is why I am thrilled to share Quizizz with you.
Quizizz is  a free, online tool that allows you to create classroom game show-like quizzes.  Similar to  Kahoot, the students have questions and  up to 4 options for responses.  You can create your own or use one that has already been created.  You can even create your own quiz but then steal collaboratively take advantage of individual questions that other teachers have made and put them into your own quiz. There are several key features that make Quizizz different from Kahoot.  First, you can adjust the timer from 5 seconds to 15 minutes of time allowed to answer a question, or you can adjust the settings so the question timer is off completely. You can play the games live during class but allow students to play at their own pace because the entire question shows up on the students’ screens.  The way Quizizz works is such that you can play at your own pace but still feel like you’re playing against your classmates.  Quizizz also has a feature that allows you to assign the quiz for homework. There is a  calendar feature to set the days that the quiz is open and give your students the Quizizz code to join your quiz. It also has a meme generator that will give the students instant feedback by way of funny kittens and silly graphics. Another feature of Quizizz is that when students finish playing, they get valuable data showing how they did on each question.

When your students first log in at, they will enter the game code and their name.  In order to effectively grade the quiz, I suggest mandating a naming convention so that students must enter their first name and last initial or some other standard format so you will know who is participating.  The students are then assigned an avatar (mine was an adorable sheep with glasses) and then are prompted to proceed.  As students are answering the questions, they are given immediate feedback on how they did on each question.  Once they are done, they can see how they did on all of the questions and they can go back and review the questions.

As the teacher, you can pull up a “report” that shows the percentage of students who answered each question correctly.  You can also click on individual students to see how they did.  The reports page gives a very easy to read graphic so you can quickly see which of your students need more instruction. This type of formative assessment is quick and easy to put together, fun for the students, and very helpful you teachers as we make instructional decisions.

Quizizz can be used at any point during instruction.  You can then show the questions in slide show mode so you can explain and walk through the most missed questions.
Want to see more?  Here is a one minute video walk through of Quizizz.

You’re Welcome!

What are some of your favorite tips and tools for classroom engagement?  Share in the comments section below.

Easy On The Eyes! FTT Bee Line Reader

Easy On The Eyes! Read More In Less Time With Bee Line Reader

@Lisa Berghoff     @Joe_EdTech

This is a cross-post from Giant Ed Tech blog: 
In the past several years there has been a giant push for educators to have a better understanding of literacy skills.  We know that reading is imperative for learning and we know that comprehension plays a major role in multiple subject areas.  However, certain aspects of reading that often get overlooked are fluency,  decoding speed, and tracking ability, especially when dealing with reading digital text.  As more and more of our text is presented in digital format, it is necessary for educators to explore ways to help our students follow what they read with increased speed and decreased eye strain.
Bee Line Reader makes reading faster and easier by making a color gradient that guides your eyes from the end of one line to the beginning of the next.  I have been using the Bee Line Reader for 2 weeks and this simple tweak does seem to be helping me with both focus and eye strain.  The Bee Line Reader is an extension that can be found in the chrome web store.   You can use it as much as you want for free for 30 days. After that, you can continue to use it 5 times per day for free or upgrade to the pro version.
I believe that the Bee Line Reader can benefit all of our students, but it might be a game changer for our kids with dyslexia, ADD, or students  who struggle to decode.
Here’s the explanation of how it works, while using the Bee Line Reader:

Free Tech Tool Tuesday – Canva

Easily Create Beautiful Designs and Documents with Canva

This post has been cross posted with Giant Ed Tech, written by Lisa Berghoff

I talk to so many teachers who say “Oh, I’m really not a tech person”.  Of course those of us who are into growth mindset understand that all that really means is that it will take time, hard work, and perseverance to improve on those skills.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I’m REALLY not a design person. The part of people’s brains that makes sense of space and where things go in a room, on a page, or even clothing on a body just doesn’t seem to be present in my brain.  I do, however, enjoy using tools that make it seem like I am a design person because I can still create amazing images even though I’ve had a little help.  I also understand the importance of visuals in the classroom and if you’re going to use them, the quality needs to be fantastic.

Think about your students.  You probably have some amazingly creative students and you probably have some students who cringe at any sort of artistic project. We know that students learn best when they have multiple opportunities to work with new information in different ways.  Therefore, we often ask our students to create presentations but we don’t give them information about basic principles of design and so we end up looking at powerpoint presentations that are filled with tiny text or images that crowd the screen.  That is why I’m excited to introduce you to

Canva allows you to create presentations, social media graphics, online posters, magazine covers, documents, marketing materials, etc. that look fantastic with very little experience in the world of design.  The website is free (there is also an ipad app) and there are thousands of free open source images to use, as well as some options for purchase.   Of course you can always use your own images and easily drag and drop them right into your Canva design.

Canva was founded by Melanie Perkins, who was teaching graphic design programs at the University of Western Australia.  When she realized that many of her students struggled with the basics on tope of trying to learn complicated programs, she decided to create an online tool that would allow new students to experience success with less frustration.

Screenshot of Canva Design School

The drag and drop format of Canva makes creating professional looking visuals straightforward and non-threatening.  There is also a “design school” tab with tutorials and teaching materials intended for classroom use. I managed to successfully navigate three of the basic interactive tutorials in about 15 minutes. The beginner’s challenges  highlight basic principles such as the benefits of color and the idea that less is more.  Some of these may seem obvious to you, but to me (and many of your students) it was helpful to see and interact with the examples to observe the differences in design.  The Canva blog is fascinating and covers topics such as Powerful Examples of Visual Propaganda, and Build Your Brand: How To Choose The Right Fonts. 

I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to check out Canva.  You can easily create wonderful visuals to use in your teaching, or have your students get creative and share with you, each other, or the world.  How do you use the power of visuals in your classroom?  Post in the comments section below.

Canva image created by Lisa Berghoff


Executive Functioning just went digital! Check out: MyHomework App for Productivity and Organization.

My Homework App for productivity and organization.

@Lisa Berghoff

This has been cross posted on the Giant EdTech Blog.

Now that we are beyond the first few days of school, chances are pretty good that teachers have already given assignments and some students have already missed turning them in. I’m not trying to be negative, I just know realistically that it can be a big shift for many of our kids to keep track of due dates and expectations for multiple classes throughout the day. In addition, for many students a lack of executive functioning is the one thing standing in the way of their success in the classroom. I believe it is our job as teachers to not just teach content, but to help teach students how to learn, which includes organization, time management, and study skills. Even at the high school level, we cannot assume our students are ready to independently manage everything that comes their way.

That’s why I’m excited to introduce you to MyHomework App.  This app is available for Chrome, iOS, GooglePlay, Android, Mac, Windows, KindleFire, and just about any other system your device could possibly use. The versatility of this app makes it possible to sync to multiple devices which gives students options and allows for them to take ownership of their management system.
This app is designed to replace the traditional student planner to help students stay on top of their assignments on their device of choice.  It has several attractive features such as the ability to manage students’ schedules by class period, by time, or by block.  Students can set the priority level (low, medium, high) and can even set reminders which will pop up and let the students know that they have an assignment due soon.
Screenshot from Chrome Web Store
You can find MyHomework App in the Chrome Web Store. Once you have added it to your bank of Chrome apps, it will prompt you to create a log in.
You can sign in with Google, which makes it one less password you need to remember.

Once students sign in, they will be prompted to add their classes and indicate how they want to organize their schedule and color code their classes. You can always go back and edit or customize these settings.   The plus sign in the corner allows you to create a new class.   Once students have their classes set up, they can add assignments.

In the example shown here, I added a physics quiz. I was able to set the priority level to high and I also set the device reminder to pop up the night before so I will remember to prepare for the quiz.  There is also a text box to add other info. that might help clarify the assignment.

Students can mark when assignments are complete and are able to track their classes.  They can also earn “rewards” through a 3rd party advertising site called Kiip. MyHomework states that ads and rewards are family friendly and may include movie tickets, and snacks. You can purchase an upgraded account for $4.99 per year which will remove all ads and give a more robust tracker.MyHomework App also works in concert with which allows teachers to input assignments if you have an entire class using the app.

There are many digital options out there to assist students with planning, scheduling, and organization. What are your favorites?  Go ahead and post your suggestions below.

Split Personality? Managing Multiple Accounts In Google Chrome

Posted by “verndewd”
Managing Multiple Google Accounts in Chrome


Cross posted on the Giant Ed Tech Blog:  Giant EdTech

Welcome back to another year of learning! I’m excited to announce that my Free Tech Tool Tuesday blogs will be co-written by my friend and partner, Joe Taylor, Director of Instructional Technology at Deerfield High School. Hopefully together we will be able to bring you some good ideas for enhancing your classroom. HOWEVER, we wanted to start the year with a solution to make the lives of teachers easier!

Many of us have gotten “googly” in the past few years and there is a very good chance that you have more than one google account. We all have our Google education accounts through District 113 but you may also have a personal account or multiple other google accounts. Managing these accounts can get frustrating and confusing because as you switch back and forth, you will need to constantly be checking to make sure the correct account is the one that is active.  Since I don’t need any more frustration or confusion in my life, I have learned a simple solution that will keep all of your various things Google in their proper place.

First, here is the wrong way:

You might be tempted to click in the corner of your screen and click the “Add account” button. You might already have added your accounts and you might see that you can toggle back and forth between those accounts. Please resist the urge to do this! If you haven’t run into problems yet, you will.  You might click a link and the wrong account will come up. Or, you might be prompted to re-sign in multiple times. The lines become very blurry between your accounts and before you know it, your vacation itinerary will end up in your school account and your students will be booking their spring break trip just so they can join you on the beach.
How to manage multiple google accounts.
Step 1: Use google chrome. Go figure, google works best when you are using their chrome browser.
Step 2: Sign out of all of your accounts except for the account you use the most.
Here’s how you do that…
Click your account in the upper right hand corner of the browser window and click “sign out”. The page will say: Choose an account. Click remove: X out of all except your primary account.
Step 3: Select your primary account, and re-sign in.Step 4: Go to Account Settings

You may be required to sign into chrome again. (I know!)
You will now only see 1 account in the upper right hand corner.
Step 5: Set up google profiles in chrome. (This is where the magic happens!) Click on settings and make sure you are signed in. If you are not signed in, go ahead and do that and link the data. Then click top right. It shows you which account you are using.
To add another account, click on “add person:”
When you click “add person” a new chrome window opens. prompting you to log into chrome.
This time, log in with your secondary account and go ahead and link the data.

Each of your chrome profiles will be slightly different depending on the extensions and apps that you use with each account. You will now have 2 different browser windows with 2 different accounts. You can easily switch between the windows and your google profiles can stay safely apart from one another. (On a PC, Chrome will actually add an additional shortcut to your desktop or taskbar. On a Mac, you’ll need to “toggle” between people – which is explained below.)

You can toggle between accounts in the upper right corner.
This takes a little extra time to set it up but this will help you manage multiple accounts effectively moving forward.
Here is a short video that walks you through the same process:


Let’s Make The School Year More Like Summer



Happy summer!  When I see parents, teachers, and kids over the summer they have a certain happy glow about them.  The weather is warmer, the days are longer, the summer is about having fun and enjoying some rest and relaxation.  Why can’t we maintain that positive attitude all year?  There is no need to sink into a depression at the end of August! Here are some ways to keep the school year feeling more like summer, even when the weather changes.


1. Summer is fun, school can be fun too!

Don’t smile until Christmas is so old school and doesn’t actually work. Teachers can make learning fun and exciting for kids by taking some tips from our favorite summer activities. Keep things active, don’t be afraid to be silly, don’t be afraid to get messy.  As an adult learner, I know that my favorite professional development activities have been ones where I’m laughing and feeling good about my practice. Take a tip from Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like A Pirate. His book is full of “hooks” and other activities to mix it up and make sure to always keep the kids on their toes.

2. Summer is about exploration and wonder.  Hmmmmm.

In the summer kids get to choose, follow as they wonder, and explore things that actually interest them.  When I talk to my own kids about their day at camp, they talk about the new things they tried that they have never done before. They aren’t afraid to take risks when they are out of the classroom. They are more likely to go for it without worrying about how it will look to others. As teachers, we should be working hard to create that kind of attitude in our classrooms. Let’s celebrate when kids put themselves out there, regardless of the outcome, because those experiences lead to the kind of learning that will last.

3. Parents are not on their kids’ case in the summer.

That’s not really fair.  They aren’t on their kids’ case because there is no tedious homework to do. We can change that by making sure homework is actually meaningful and has value. Not just a never ending stream worksheets for “practice”.  With all of the technology that we have at our disposal, it’s easy for teachers to flip lessons and offer blended learning opportunities. Instead of lecturing to our students, how about having them get that information by watching a video for homework? Then, they can apply, connect, and check for understanding through active learning opportunities in the classroom.

4. Don’t stress and De-stress.

There’s plenty of activity going on over the summer. Some of the activities the kids participate in are even dangerous (bike riding, skate boarding, climbing, boating, etc.) and yet the kids are not stressed.  Let’s make our classrooms areas of high risk activity (learning), without the stress. The kids will take their cues from the adults around them. I am definitely guilty of this. “Summer mom” is definitely more laid back than “School year mom”! This fall I’m going to try to let my students and my own children know that it’s important to keep our stress in check. Stretching, yoga, and breathing exercises are good for everyone and it can be a wonderful habit to begin with your students. Love the sound of the waves? Why not listen to wave sounds all year round? Sometimes we just need to laugh, get creative, run around, or get some fresh air to let off some steam.

5. Eat outside.

Ok, I live near Chicago so that’s not really going to work.  The point is, change your venue once in a while.  When my family eats outside in the summer it is such a wonderful treat. Find ways to get out of your classroom and let’s get the kids learning in many different environments.  If you are fortunate enough to have nice weather for many months, take advantage of the outdoor spaces that you have.  If the weather makes it challenging to be outside, find other areas of the building where you can have your students creating and collaborating. The connections in their brains will thank you.
photo credit: Escape via photopin (license)

Are You Flipping Kidding Me? Why Would I Flip?

Are You Flippin’ Kidding Me?

Why Would I Flip?

@joe_edtech & @LisaBerghoff

This article is co-written and cross posted by Joe & Lisa. You can also find it on Joe’s Blog: WarriorEdTech


It isn’t about using technology because it is flashy, and it definitely isn’t about more industrial age efficiency. Integrating instructional technology is about being able to do something that you’ve never been able to do before. It is about re-imagining the classroom, and everything else about school.

 Last Saturday, we had an opportunity to host a Google Education On Air Hangout on the “Flipped Classroom” during which we provided our participants with a description and history of the Flipped Classroom teaching model, clear reasons why each of us tried it with our students, and some evidence of it’s effectiveness. If you are interested in reading more about that as well as accessing some tools to help you get started, you are welcome to visit the “Flipped Classroom Resources” webpage we created.

 However, we don’t want to take up our blog space and inundate our loyal readers (a.k.a. – Joe’s Mom) with a lot of information about what and how. We think it is really important to start with why. Why would you take the time to flip your class? Probably the best way to explain it is through the eyes of a few students. First, we want you to see class through the eyes of Lisa’s Special Ed US History students.



 My US History students all have IEPs.  Reading and writing is challenging for them and US History is dense with written information. Our textbook, while adapted for reluctant readers, is very long and intimidating. I wanted my students to be able to access the information but then do something with that information. I wanted them to apply their learning, make connections and predictions for the future based on what they are learning about the past. I wanted them to participate in activities that require them to think critically, make a claim, and support it with evidence. However, most of our class time was being used to read the material, talk about the content, and reach for a basic level of understanding. I was assigning homework activities that required them to extend their learning but I quickly became frustrated because many of my students were not completing the homework. The students who were completing it often missed the mark and the quality was nowhere near what I thought they could do.


 I decided to take a risk and assign a video for homework. The students would watch the video to get the information and then we could use our class time to work in small groups to apply what they learned. I was amazed when all of my students watched the 5 minute video. I gave them a short survey and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  Watching a video for homework was a low-stakes activity.  Everyone could access the video and it was much easier for them to get the information in this manner.  I was so encouraged I tried several other approaches.  For one assignment, I read the lesson from the text and recorded myself while highlighting the important information.  I then took it one step further and created a Zaption “tour” with this video by embedding questions. I could check the analytics to see who had watched the video and their answers were recorded and even graded for me! I could see how long the students spent on the videos.  One student clearly forwarded the video and just answered the questions.  Another student watched it more than once. This was exactly the kind of differentiation I was looking for.  The students had some control, everyone was able to get what they needed, and our class time was spent doing the kinds of activities that push their thinking and maintain the high standards that I have for my students.


That’s the success story. On the flip side – pun intended – my daughter spends hours and hours struggling with her math homework. It is no fun, and I fear that the constant frustration will lead her to dislike math, or worse, school. When she is in class, the teacher explains the concepts and the skills, and it all makes perfect sense. But by the time she gets home, she has forgotten much of the teacher’s instruction. It is just one of many classes and activities she participates in every day. More than once Katherine has said, “Ugh, I just wish I could see her work this problem again.” And that kind of thinking shouldn’t surprise us. She is used to looking up instruction on YouTube. When she wants to learn how to fix her hair a certain way, or create something new with her Rainbow Loom, or generate ideas for building in Mine Craft, she turns FIRST to YouTube and other digital resources available to her. Imagine how empowered she would be if she could review her math, or science, or music lessons in the same way.

 From a Technology Director’s perspective, I love the Flipped Classroom idea because it can act as a “Gateway Drug” to the integration of much more instructional technology, and can help facilitate the shift from teaching-centered classrooms to learning-centered classrooms. And as Lisa mentioned before, you don’t have to invest hundreds of hours to try it. All you have to do is “Flip” one lesson, one time.

You can still be a part of the conversation. Our Google Hangout Webinar “Flipped & Blended Learning for the Chromebook Classroom” is embedded below. If you have any questions, please contact us via Twitter or leave a comment in the box below.