Yes Tech!

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Yes Tech!

Bye Bye Edublogs

December 3, 2013 · 1 Comment · Ed Tech

Yes Tech! has been  hosted on Edublogs for the past seven years. My district has moved to Google Apps for Education and therefore it now makes sense for me to use one of the Google tools as my blogging platform. I believe that using Blogger will help me to better support teachers who also wish to use it. Additionally, it’s free (I have been paying a yearly subscription fee to Edublogs), so continuing to pay for something that I can use for free just doesn’t make sense.

My new web address is

I’ve lost some of the navigation, but the content has moved over without issue. I”m glad that I am not starting from scratch, because I like being able to scroll through history (and my professional growth) by browsing older posts.

I have neglected my Edublogs blog, so hopefully I will post more regularly there!

For those who subscribe and enjoy reading my posts, please go to my new blog and subscribe there.  I do appreciate your support. :)


Lucidchart, a cool online diagramming tool

September 8, 2013 · No Comments · Ed Tech

lucidchartI stopped by the Google booth when I was at the ISTE Conference in San Antonio in June.  I saw a demo of Lucidchart and put it on my long list of “tools to explore” list.  It looked to me like a nice alternative to Inspiration, and it is integrated with Google Apps.  Since it is free for educators, I was especially interested!  Over the summer, I set up an account and viewed some video tutorials to help me get started (I found this webinar by Eric Curts to be the most helpful.)  After creating a few graphic organizers with success, I decided that this would be a nice tool for staff in my district.  Upon my recommendation, our Network Manager added it to our Google Apps for Education domain.

To help get the word out about it, I facilitated a session at our annual ed tech conference, Spice it Up! (Aug 22, 2013)  I now have several teachers who will be trying out Lucidchart with their students in the next few weeks.  The interface is drag and drop.  The teachers were excited to discover all the possibilities this app will offer.  I think most participants liked the Google images integration and the mind mapping tool the best.  A science teacher who attended wants to use it when she is teaching a unit about circuits.  A math teacher intends to try out the floor plans tool when teaching geometry concepts.  I’ve asked the teachers to let me know how it goes when using Lucidchart with students.

Lucidchart’s support has been outstanding.  When I needed help, Brad Hanks, a member of their support team, was there to help. He answered questions and offered support as I was planning my session.  I even called him from my session with a question and he was happy to help!

Walled Lake staff, the Lucidchart extension needs to be added from the Chrome store. (Create > Connect More Apps > search for Lucidchart for Education. Add.).  Then you can create a LucidChart diagram right from Google Drive.  See handout here.

This is a tool worth exploring!



GAFE Summer Online Course

September 8, 2013 · No Comments · Ed Tech

elearningI decided to try something new over the summer. I created an online course using Moodle as the course management system. The topic was Google Apps for Education.  Teachers could participate in their own space, at their own pace over the course of the summer. I estimated the time to complete the course would be about 9 hours.  I had no idea if teachers would be interested in learning this way, and I wondered if it would work be as effective as traditional face-to-face workshops.

Over 100 teachers and administrators participated and they loved it!  Here are some of their comments:

  • I liked the videos and the application opportunities. I also liked reading the discussion forums to get ideas from colleagues.
  • I REALLY liked many things about this course. First of all, I liked that both the Tutorials and Hand-outs were available. I like the 2 different modes of learning, which helped me a lot on the tougher apps! I also thought that the tutorial and handouts were extremely specific which REALLY helps others who lack computer skills.
    I also liked working at my own pace. Some of the apps were more of a review for me while others were brand new and required me to move at a slower pace. In traditional PDs, the instructor often has to move on which would add further confusion to my already scrambled brain! In addition, as a result of the step-by-step instruction, I could return to the handout or video when I became stuck. I also enjoyed seeing how others were using the same apps.
  • I liked that this course allowed me the flexibility to complete it at my own pace and when I had the time in my schedule. I also liked that it covered a WIDE array of USEFUL information that I can directly apply to my every day teaching.
  • I liked being able to go back and listen to a video again if I needed to. I was able to refer back to the documents as I was completing the assignments. I could also work at my own pace!
  • I liked that I could work at my own pace and make mistakes on my own time! I also liked the fact that I could read how other people plan on using some of the apps. I also liked how it didn’t have a Wham Bam! feel.
  • It covered all aspects of google docs and it forced me to be accountable for my work by participating in the forums.
  • I liked that the course was more individualized. Everyone has their own comfort level with technology and google. On some of the topics, I was just happy to complete the minimum but on topics I had prior knowledge, I could take it to the next level and develop deeper understanding or more efficient ways of doing things. I feel like I have a head start for this school year.
  • I enjoy working at my own pace at home. I tended to work an hour at a time and go back ant try some of the features.
    Online learning is the best kind of learning for me.
  • This course helps me feel more comfortable in using the Google apps with my students, which is essential with them using chrome books. It also greatly improves the efficiency within my classroom and communicating with students and parents.
  • This gives me a lot of confidence moving forward with Google Docs. Traditionally I am good at figuring things out on my own, but I am positive this was a great way to learn more about GAFE and how I can use it in my educational setting.
  • It has given me a solid foundation for the transition to Google Docs. I’m thinking I’ll be using something from the course every day!
  • I feel more comfortable using Google Apps. Initially, I was a bit freaked out about using it but now I definitely feel more confident.
  • I feel so way more confident in google apps. I had done some dabbling with it before but now I am confident. We will be using google chromebooks, so I will use lessons from this class everyday. I am no longer afraid.

The sharing that occurred in the discussion forums was powerful.  Teachers from all levels were eager to learn, brainstorm ideas, and share their experiences with one another.  I am proud!  I’ll be doing more of this type of PD in the future.



Spice it Up! Conference

September 8, 2013 · No Comments · Ed Tech

This article was published in one of our local newspapers, The Spinal Column, and was written by ANNE SEEBALDT.


The annual Spice IT UP! Walled Lake Consolidated School District staff technology conference, which took place at Sarah Banks Middle School on Thursday, August 22, was a resounding success.

“It was a pretty fantastic event,” said Executive Director of Instruction, Technology and Development Mark A. Hess at the district’s school board meeting that evening.

Pam Shoemaker, technology instructional coach, who was heavily involved in the planning of the event and also conducted presentations throughout the day’s breakout sessions, stated: “There was just a smorgasbord of offerings for teachers.”

In fact, there were 54 presentations total, she said. The event, which has been offered for nine years, included lots of networking, collaboration and sharing, she added.

All but three presenters were district staff members, “They’re learning from people using the same equipment, so the support is really there for them after the fact as well,” stated Shoemaker.

More than 400 Walled Lake School teachers were in attendance as Troy Hicks, associate professor, Central Michigan University, who opened the session, shared numerous ways to incorporate digital resources and encourage students to write.

His presentation, Mixing Sources, Amplifying Voices: Crafting Writing in an Information Age, was interactive. Its intent was to aid teachers to “help students find, evaluate, and synthesize information from a variety of sources” as well as to “help them craft digital writing in more effective ways, utilizing the information they have found to develop multimedia texts.”

Teachers were required to bring their own digital device to explore “web-based tools and mobile applications” for Hicks’ presentation. He also hosted a post-keynote conversation with educators to follow up on their questions.

A sampling of the topics addressed at the various breakout sessions included: • Read & Write Gold, a literacy software designed for use with grades 6-12 • New enhancements to the Skyward pupil accounting system • Pixie, an elementary school software that allows students to create multimedia presentations as well as facilitates simple animations • iPad use in the classroom for elementary educators •How to put a lesson on You- Tube • Use of Google Chromebook, which includes basic information about Google Apps for Education (for most of the schools, this will be the first time using Chromebooks) • How to use of Google Forms to create online assessments • Use of Google Sites in the classroom • Updating writing workshops for the digital age and creating students’ own digital writing spaces using Wikispaces • Why and how teachers should use Twitter

Shoemaker said one change from past years was the fact that larger presentation rooms were used, giving event a conference-style format. “It was a great change,” she added. “People seemed to be happy with the way it worked. And the staff (of Sarah Banks Middle School) did a great job getting the school ready.”


Attendees were asked to provide feedback about their experience at the conference.  They identified plans for implementing what they had learned at the conference in their classrooms.  It is going to be a great year!


Digital Citizenship Prezi

May 10, 2013 · 1 Comment · Classroom Examples, Ed Tech, Internet Safety

 Mr. Reed’s 5th grade classroom at Walled Lake Elementary School recently had a “BYOD Day” (Bring Your Own Device).  As part of their learning for the day, the class had a lively discussion about digital citizenship, which resulted in the creation of a class Prezi presentation.  See it here, and be sure to watch the final video!

While students and teachers are anxious to integrate new learning tools into the classroom, taking the time to empower our students by giving them instruction in digital citizenship is critical.  Students must understand the consequences of being irresponsible using digital tools, as this could affect their futures.

Mr. Reed helped his students understand the importance of using technology responsibly in a perfect way. Instead of providing information by lecturing or presenting digital safety tips, his students were active participants in the process, which makes it more meaningful and relevant.  Way to go Mr. Reed and his class!



First and Third Graders Share Poetry in Radio Show

May 9, 2013 · No Comments · Classroom Examples, Ed Tech

The 3rd grade students of Mrs. Bond at Glengary Elementary teamed up with first grade students of Mrs. Brossard at Commerce Elementary to share poetry in a radio show this afternoon.  Both schools are part of the Walled Lake Consolidated School District in SE Michigan.

The students celebrated the writing of original poetry with oral presentations in their own classrooms.  The radio show allows students to share their poetry with others outside of the classroom walls.  It is apparent that they practiced for the show and were proud to share their outstanding work with others.

Congratulations to the students and teachers for a job well done!  Click the play button below to listen to the 8 min 45 second Poetry Fest Radio Show.

Listen to internet radio with Celebrating Third Grade on BlogTalkRadio


Is there a difference between integrating technology and using technology?

May 1, 2013 · 1 Comment · Ed Tech

I just read an interesting article from titled “12 Ways to Integrate (Not Just Use) Technology in Education.”  This is something that I try to explain on a fairly regular basis. Usually asking a question that makes people think about the benefits of using technology is helpful, such as “Is it more effective for students to complete a worksheet using technology than with paper/pencil?”

The edudemic article includes a nice chart from Teachbytes (see below).   The chart could be used as part of a PLC discussion or staff meeting.   The facilitator could ask everyone to jot down on paper a list of how they used technology in their instructional practices over the past week.  The Teachbytes chart could then be distributed.  In small groups a discussion could take place about whether the technology was “used” or “integrated”. This could be a very powerful discussion!




MACUL Conference Photo Contest

March 10, 2013 · No Comments · MACUL

Are you going to the MACUL Conference this year?  If so, be sure to enter the 2013 MACUL Conference Photo Contest!  

Enter at Submit up to five photos: some type of creative expression related to the MACUL Conference.

The contest is hosted on Photoscramble this year. For the first time ever, conference attendees will vote to determine the ten winning photos!   See details on the MACUL Photo Contest Photoscramble site. You must register for an account to enter the contest and to vote. Registration is free.

Grand prize is a FREE 2014 MACUL Conference registration. The next nine vote-getters will receive a MACUL T-shirt and a MACUL USB drive. Prizes will be given and photos shown at the Grand Prize Giveaway on Friday afternoon.

Submission and Voting Deadline: 10am on Friday, Mar 22.




March 8, 2013 · 1 Comment · Ed Tech, Google

I just learned of a Google Apps script called Doctopus that makes it easy for teachers to manage and share documents with students or groups. After sharing a document with students, the teacher can keep track of when students last edited the document at a glance. The teacher can also “lock” all the student documents with one click on the due date so that grading can be done, provide feedback, and then “unlock” the documents so that students can revise.

Check out this video tutorial created by Jay Atwood.  Enjoy!


Nominate Your Favorite Tech Leader for a MACUL Award!

November 24, 2012 · No Comments · Leadership, MACUL

Each year, the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) recognizes exemplary leadership in classroom teaching with technology and building and district technology leadership.
Three categories are awarded:

Do you have a colleague or staff member who stands out and should be considered for these awards?
The MACUL Outstanding Leader Program is a perfect opportunity to recognize great work and contributions to your school and district.

All winners will receive fabulous prizes.

Information and applications can be found at:

 Deadline for the 2013 awards is Monday, January 14, 2013.