Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Get People Involved in Training? — Guila Muir and Associates

What’s the best way to assure your training participants groan inwardly and “turn off” the first second you open your mouth? Simply by following conventional wisdom about how to open a training session: introduce yourself and provide your credentials. Instead, generate curiosity, interest and motivation from the outset. Use a “Hook” before introducing yourself. (Participants […]

via How to Get People Involved in Training? — Guila Muir and Associates

The 5 Best iPad Podcasting Apps for Students

Jonathan Wylie: Instructional Technology Consultant

ipad podcasting apps title

If recent predictions are to be believed, the podcasting scene will explode in 2016. For me, that’s great to hear because I am a big fan of podcasts, but it is also great news for teachers who are looking for new ways for their students to communicate their ideas and reach a global audience. So, with that in mind, here are some of the best apps for podcasting on the iPad.

What is Podcasting?

Depending on who you ask, the definition of podcasting can vary. Some people think they are podcasting when they record audio, but to most who are familiar with podcasting, this leaves out one important aspect, namely the ability to reach that global audience. So, here’s a definition I like from the Oxford Dictionary.

The practice of using the Internet to make digital recordings of broadcasts available for downloading to a computer or mobile device.

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STEM K12 Research Initiatives and Teacher Preparation Programs

  As STEM education gaps continue, US STEM occupations have increased four times the rate of total employment (Batts & Lesko, 2011). According to the 2010 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, funding and research targeted to address challenges include a two-pronged approach, to prepare all students to have a rich foundation in STEM and to inspire and motivate students to learn about STEM subjects in hopes more choose to enter a STEM career field (Raju & Clayson, 2010). The purpose of this paper is to explore K12 research and curriculum approaches to improving teacher preparation, which will assist in creating positive student perceptions and interest towards STEM and STEM career pathways using an online MOOC platform.

The following full academic paper presentation explores current literature and research exploring face to face and MOOC STEM teacher training programs.



Teacher Feature: Kindergarten Explores Star Wars


It’s Teacher Feature Thursday!

This week we are featuring Cathryn Prudencio and Silvana Oderisi in the Kindergarten classroom. Their classroom was finishing up a three month exploration of Star Wars. When Cathryn and Silvana were trying to decide what to study they observed that their children were already getting excited about the release of the new Star Wars movie. They decided that they could use this theme and still easily achieve the curriculum requirements.  Our executive director, Kim Kiehl, documented how they did this throughout their unit in her blog post, What Happened to Kindergarten?

I joined their class near the end of their Star Wars unit. During this lesson they are exploring merchandise. Below you will find a reflection and lesson images from Cathryn and Silvana.
Kinder Cover

What were your topics of exploration? Why did you choose them? Where did they come from?

Our topic of exploration was Star Wars and merchandising…

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Promises to My Learners as a Maker Educator

User Generated Education

I used to teach a graduate course in professional ethics for the educator. One of the assignments I did is have these inservice educators develop a list of promises to their students. I asked them to make it poster size so they can post these promises in their classrooms. Here is an example: 10 Amazing Teacher Promises for the Beginning of School.

As I prepared to teach a summer school/camp on maker education (see, I decided compose a list of promises to my learners as a maker educator.

  1. I promise to make the making environment positive, joyful and physically and emotionally safe so you feel safe enough to take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, and test things out.
  2. I promise you to provide you with resources and materials to help you create, make, innovate.
  3. I promise that I will respect and support your own unique ways of…

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5 Ways School Administrators Can Use Google Apps

Good tips here for campus leaders.

Indiana Jen

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.


One of the most powerful ways that administrators can encourage their faculty to adopt new technologies in their classroom and curriculum is by modeling effective application of new digital tools. With Google Apps for Education, there are many tools that are helpful for administrative tasks, providing a number of ways to effectively model technology usage on a daily basis.


Use Google Docs to create and share meeting agendas. Not only will it prep your faculty for meetings, but they can use the document to keep shared, electronic notes; this is especially useful if you have a designated individual to keep minutes. You can include live links for content, embed materials, create & share calendar events, etc. These are not possible in a static, paper document and not only demonstrate your commitment to…

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Exploring Voicethread Using PBL and ARCS Instructional Design Approaches

VoiceThread can provide a powerful communication mechanism to facilitate increased student attention, confidence,  relevance, and satisfaction. Often students lack self-motivation, do not feel confident in online learning environments, lack feedback, support, or don’t a clear understanding of course expectations. Implementing J.M Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivation (1983) through VoiceThread can increase student engagement and student motivation within blended learning environments.

Working with a GT teacher, Patty Christensen at Carroll ISD last year, we designed a VoiceThread project as a component within a 5th grade GT Project Based Learning (PBL) ELA and Social Studies lesson. As her instructional digital coach, I was able to assist Patty through the design of a PBL activity that implemented many blended learning components employing VoiceThread, KidBlog, and Edmodo. Students took the career role of a library scientist and investigated a famous creative leader. Activities led students through a media literacy series of activities to critically review journal articles and biographies about their famous leader’s life. Through this project, students connect prior learning to a current real world scenario or issue. Research materials were stored using Edmodo, making information accessible outside of class. Students presented their projects using VoiceThread and peers reviewed and facilitated feedback and questioning using ARCs instructional model within VoiceThread. Afterwards, students reflected about the experience in KidBlog, embedding all components of the project based learning activity.

Patty will be sharing her PBL project with me at TCEA’s ELA/SS Academy on Tuesday, Feb.  We hope you find some of these resources useful.


In Search of Creative Leaders PBL Lesson

Patty Christensen’s  Website


Connecting PBL and STEM… 40 Free Engaging Resources To Use In The Classroom

21 st Century Educational Technology and Learning

Welcome to one of my most resource-filled posts ever!  One that is dedicated to highlighting some amazing free resources that will help support STEM-based PBL in the classroom .  Before introducing this goldmine of resources… I want to  thank you for continuing to return and for continuing to share this blog with others. If you haven’t subscribed, please take a moment to do so. You will be guaranteed future posts by subscribing by either RSS or email. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter at mjgormans. I really do enjoy  networking with all of you! Now… on to  that goldmine I promised you. Have a great week!

Entire PBL 

The sites below are considered to be great resources that provide ideas or blueprints for an entire PBL project. Included in most plans are project titles, content addressed, 21st century skills, driving questions, products, procedures, and evaluation. The…

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Celebrating International Dot Day 2015 #dotday

Source: Celebrating International Dot Day 2015 #dotday

Divorced or Separated? Five Back-to-School Tips to Reduce Your Children’s Stress

helping children thrive

As you check off items on your children’s back-to-school supply list, consider this: Perhaps the most important thing you can do for your children is to help reduce the stresses that arise at the beginning of a new school year – particularly if you are recently separated or divorced.

The research-based tips I will share with you here have been developed particularly for families in marital transition. But the underlying principles can help all children – of all ages – to cope with the stresses of a new school year.

The single biggest question on children’s minds during times of transition is, “What’s going to happen to me?” This is true whether they’re toddlers or teens or any age in between. They almost always experience – and often hide from their parents – a myriad of uncertainties and emotions about what lies ahead.

And then…there’s a new school year –…

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