Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The @ScanSnap SV600 Review #EdTech

The Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 is awesome. I just wanted to get that out of the way first. It is incredible and the idea of a contactless scanner is perfect of the things I need to scan on any given day. Here is a video that will quickly walk you through the features. 

This video does a great job of showing all of the cool things the scanner can do for a teacher. I love the end of the video where the student brings up their work, presses the button, and it is scanned right away. As an English teacher, scanning pages of books on a copier is a huge headache. I can't take the book apart for individual pages either. The SV600 is the perfect solution for scanning pages in a book. I can now scan pages, upload the PDFs to my Smart Notebook or Smart Amp file and have students annotate on the document. 

Another great use for the SV600 is archiving our old student news papers. We have papers dating back to World War II and it is too costly to have the pages scanned and saved by a company. With the SV600, students can carefully scan individual pages of the newspaper and we can now have archived editions of our school newspaper. Here is a collection of photos as I tried out the scanner with the newspapers. 

I loved having the scanner connected to my computer and my Smartboard so students could see the photo and note the high quality image that was scanned. 

The image of the scans were beautiful. We could zoom in on the scanned pages and we could see every letter and every picture clearly. It was an amazing picture. The scans can be saved as a PDF or a JPEG as well, so there are options as to how we choose to share these items. As an Evernote guy, I love that scans can be sent directly to Evernote. If there are pages of a document I want students to annotate, I can scan them and share them directly into a folder that the students have access. It is a simple way to get my students work. Once it is scanned once, I no longer have to worry about scanning them again. It will save me time in the long run when I scan the work. 

There are some other cool features that are worth noting:

Auto crop several documents in one scan. If you are scanning a bunch of business cards, it will recognize this and crop out just the cards. Up to 10 documents can be in one scan.

Page turning detection. It knows when you turn the page and will start scanning. This is just cool. The extra button pushes are removed with this feature and it works great!

Fingers are erased. You can easily edit out your finger if it made it into the scan holding a page down. This is a nice feature for those who do not want their pudgy fingers not the page. 

Items can be scanned to Google Docs, to Microsoft Word, Dropbox, and other Cloud Storage services. 

The ScanSnap SV600 is priced at $795.00. When I was given the quote to archive all of our student newspapers, it was a few thousand dollars. With the ScanSnap SV600, I can do all of the scanning myself and whatever I want to scan for years to come. 

Overall, the ScanSnap SV600 is a beautifully designed scanner with high quality pictures that is very easy to use. The scanner would be perfect in the library for students and teachers to use who need to scan parts of books or their projects. The ability to share easily with Google and Evernote is a huge plus for me and I see this Scanner getting hours of use the rest of this year. The ScanSnap SV600 is an archivist dream and librarian's best friend. 

I was sent a ScanSnap SV600 for the purpose of this review. All content and opinions expressed are my own. 

#PBL in Practice #EdChat

Below you will find another excellent example of why project based learning is a wonderful part of the classroom. I asked my students to create their own Myth or Legend at the end of our Myth and Legend Unit. They could write a story, create a comic, make a movie, or offer an alternative. Most student chose to write the story, but these two students wanted to go all out and film their very own legend. There are some areas of grammar that could be worked on for this short film, but the overall idea was great. The students in class loved it and it started great conversations about Myths and Legends in each class I showed it. These two students worked hard in class and put in hours after school to add the sound effects and to just edit the entire piece together. I've written this before, but I'll write it again. What type of bubble test could inspire these students to work or accurately asses what they accomplished?

Enjoy the film.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The #EduBroAwards v3.0 #EdChat

The #EduBroAwards are back and better than ever! Please take this brief pause to collect yourself and keep reading. 


Good. Now that you are slightly more calm and tad bit more collected, I will go over the fine details of how the #EduBroAwards work and why they have come back. 

The #EduBroAwards show was conceived as a way for people to celebrate one another after a long year of working hard, sharing, caring and generally being awesome. There are too many awards shows that focus on the few when we should all be celebrating the many. That is what makes our awards show so special and different from all of the rest. We want everyone to be recognized for how truly awesome they are. We have unlimited awards to give out and we can't wait to see the craziness that ensues when we hold out live Google Hangout to hand out the awards. 

The Awards Ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Thursday December 18 at 8:30PM EST

Things the #EduBroAwards will be about:

Having fun
Veiled references to 90's pop culture
Not so veiled references to 80's pop culture
Too many inside jokes
Kyle Pace's hugs
Steven Anderson's height
Bow ties
Boy Meets World
Girl Meets World
All other things that ARE awesome

Things the #EduBroAwards will NOT be about:

All other things that are NOT awesome

Here are how the #EduBroAwards are going to work this year:

  • You can create your own award and nominate anyone you want.
  • You can create your own award and nominate yourself.
  • Someone can be nominated for more than one award. 
  • Everyone will win something.
  • Here is a list of the award categories we have created.
    • Best Mustache/Beard in Education
    • Best Hug Giver
    • Twitter User Most Likely to RT a Post They Didn't Read
    • Best Twitter Avatar
    • Best Title to a Blog Post
    • Best Educational Road-trip
    • The Daniel LaRusso "You're The Best Around" Award
  • All nominations must be made in the comment box.
  • You must identify yourself in the comment. No Anonymous comments.
  • You must nominate yourself for one of the awards created or one you have created. 
  • Tweet your nominations with the #EduBroAwards tag
  • Nominations end Wednesday December 10th.
Awards Show
  • The #EduBroAwards will be held using a Google Hang Out that will be streamed on YouTube
  • Nick and Tim will host the awards. 
  • Every award will be presented live on the show. If you were nominated, you get to hear your name read out by Nick or Tim. 
  • Badges will be available after the ceremony is over. 
  • The show will be funny. 
  • Casual attire is encouraged, but formal attire would be way funnier.
The last thing we want to say before you start filling the comments with nominations is that this is supposed to be a fun event. We love our friends and we want to recognize them in a way that is not a competition focused on self promotion or popularity. We want to do something fun and the #EduBroAwards are just the thing to put a smile on people's faces. 

The @BlackboardK12 BITS Learning Sessions #14 #BbK12Live

I've partnered with BlackboardK12 to share out the awesome sessions they are having this Fall. Educators can sign up to attend and share with other great educators what they have learned. I'll feature the session and the description on my blog each week and on my Twitter account. If you have questions, feel free to shoot a tweet to @BlackboardK12. Have fun learning and sharing!

The Best of Both Worlds - a blended co-teaching model

We have a unique co-teaching and blended learning model at the NC Virtual Public School. Our co-teaching and blended learning model pairs an Exceptional Children's classroom teacher with an online content teacher. The students work within the online course and the classroom environment, giving students both a classroom teacher and an online teacher who collaboratively plan with a focus on each individual student. We will share the benefits found in our model along with details about its beginning, implementation, and next steps.

Sherry Bell, RttT STEM Project Manager and Instructional Director of the Blended Occupational Course of Study Courses/Exceptional Children/504 Programs  

Jen Currin, Instructional Director for English, Science, and Credit Recovery

Jen Currin is the Instructional Director for Credit Recovery, English, and Science at NCVPS. Jen has been with NCVPS since 2010 and has served as an online and blended learning teacher, Instructional Leader, course revisionist, and course development team lead. Jen was the 2013 NCVPS Teacher of the Year and a finalist for the 2013 National Online Teacher of the Year.  

Sherry Bell joined NCVPS in March 2012 and is the RttT STEM Project Manager and Director of the Blended Occupational Course of Study Courses/Exceptional Children/504 Programs. She is responsible for quality assurance in the online learning courses in order to support the learning of exceptional children taking NCVPS courses and in accordance with the virtual STEM model outlined in the Race to the Top grant. Mrs. Bell holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders and a Master of Arts in Speech Language Pathology, both from Appalachian State University and has a license in Exceptional Children’sProgram Administration K-12.

Twitter: @JenCurrin @sherrydbell

Monday, December 1, 2014 3:30 PM EST

Sign Up

Don't forget to check out the Blackboard Live App. It has all of the sessions you might have missed and much much more.

Here is the playlist where you can watch this recorded session and other sessions you might have missed.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thank an Educator #ad

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chevrolet for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.


‘Tis the season for thank yous and I wanted to share with all of you the best way that I have ever been thanked as an educator. One of my favorites was a student who created a zombie version of my head and gave it to me on graduation last year. She wanted to thank me for always supporting her artwork. Here is a video of it from Instagram. 

While this may not be a conventional way to thank a teacher, as an educator, these types of gifts mean the world to me because it is something I never expected to get. Any gift from a student or a parent is always so amazing because we do not teach to get presents. We teach because we love teaching. We love working with students and seeing their light bulbs go off after so many short circuits. There is so much joy in working with students that gifts do not even enter our thoughts. Knowing that we impact the lives of so many students every year is something that still makes me smile when I come to work. I think that is why they are so meaningful.

In today’s culture, educators are at the center of a storm where we feel very marginalized. Our work is not seen as valuable. It is not the best climate right now to be an educator though we are an essential part of our society. Maybe that is why even the little things right now mean so much to me. The smallest thank card from a student holds so much weight because it feels like society just wants to drive you into the ground. While I am happy with a small token of appreciation, it is really nice to see organizations offer support and thank educators in their own way. Chevy is offering an educator discount for all school employees as a thank you for all of the hard work they put in day in and day out. Things like this can go a long way in making educators feel a bit more appreciated in what they do every day.


The Educator Discount applies to public and private educators kindergarten through university. Chevy is taking an awesome step in supporting the great things educators do every day by providing them with a wonderful discount on the purchase or lease of their next car. For me, I will always have a special place in my heart for Chevy and doing something for teachers only enhances my admiration for them. More companies need to follow Chevy's lead and support educators at a time when others are turning their backs.

If you are looking for a new ride this winter, take a few minutes to check out the awesome options available from Chevy. If you’re not in the market for a new car today, you can wait until the summer because the discount lasts until September 30, 2015! Check out a 2014 Malibu MTZ, 2014 Impala LTZ, 2014 Equinox LTZ AWD, 2014 Traverse LTZ AWD, or the 2014 Silverado 1500 4WD 2LT Double Cab V8 and arrive in school in style with a few extra bucks in your pocket from Chevrolet’s Educator Discount.

There are so many people saying so many different things about education and teachers right now, it is sometimes the simplest thing that people need to say or do that can make all of the difference. As an educator, I wonder how often we take a minute to thank the amazing educators around us. We get so wrapped up in our own lesson planning and student interactions, how many times do we stop and thank our peers for their help? It is something worth thinking about this holiday season and, truthfully, all year long.

So, how would you thank a teacher?

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Week 12 Reflections #NerdyCast

Here are some thoughts on the role students should have, if any, in creating learning objectives and using TodaysMeet to foster class discussion. How are you reflecting on your classroom this year?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The @BlackboardK12 BITS Learning Sessions #13 #BbK12Live

I've partnered with BlackboardK12 to share out the awesome sessions they are having this Fall. Educators can sign up to attend and share with other great educators what they have learned. I'll feature the session and the description on my blog each week and on my Twitter account. If you have questions, feel free to shoot a tweet to @BlackboardK12. Have fun learning and sharing!

50 Shades of Data

While some data can be very unappealing, the right tools and support can increase your staff and students’ awareness and engagement, allowing you to fully utilize your resources and maximize end-user adoption of your LMS. Learn how Lawrence Public Schools maximizes personalized learning for students and staff in a data rich environment by utilizing a learning management system (Blackboard) complemented by adoption-success software.

Angelique Kobler, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning Terry McEwen, Director of Assessment, Research, & Instructional Resources

Angelique Kobler leads a team of education administrators for Lawrence Public Schools. As the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, she partners with dynamic educators who are leading the way in innovative classroom practices. She shares her passion for disrupting the status quo via social media. You can reach her at or through Linkedin. Terry McEwen currently the Director of Assessment, Research, and Instructional Resources for the Lawrence (KS) Public Schools. He has been in the district office in the Lawrence Public Schools for the past 12 years.

Previous to his tenure in Lawrence, he was a senior high school Instrumental Music teacher and then a senior high school English/Language Arts teacher in west-metro Denver for 25 years. He chaired of a 20-teacher English Department in a high school of 2200 students in Jefferson County Public Schools. In his teaching life, he has literally taught Kindergarten students through seniors in high school - and every grade in-between.
Terry completed his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Kansas, which led him to his current position in the Lawrence, Kansas School District. His doctoral research focused on the curriculum design of mathematics and resultant student outcomes.He also serves as an adjunct professor of education at Baker University School for Professional and Graduate Studies in Overland Park, Kansas; and an adjunct professor of graduate studies in education at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas.

Twitter: @akobler @terryomcewen

When: Monday, November 24, 2014 3:30PM EST

Sign Up

Don't forget to check out the Blackboard Live App. It has all of the sessions you might have missed and much much more.

Here is the playlist where you can watch this recorded session and other sessions you might have missed.

Monday, November 17, 2014

An Apology To My First Hour #EdChat

This is really a letter of apology to all of the classes that get the first run through of a lesson. Today is just another example of how teachers change on the fly to make lessons better as the day go, but I feel bad for my first hour. 

Today, I had my students use TodaysMeet as their exit ticket. They needed to re-write a good topic sentence based on an old topic from earlier in the year. My thinking, which was terrible, was that I would give them a thesis I wrote based on a question they encountered earlier in the year. Even explaining it is complicated. Students seemed confused and had a hard time coming up with a new topic sentence because they did not write the thesis. Ugh. It was a mess, but my students did the best and completed the task. 

As the disaster was unfolding, I realized that I would have my 6th hour just rewrite one of their claims from the essay in front of them. It was so simple, I should have just gone with that in the first place. I managed to talk myself out of it and I'm not sure why. 

The good part is that I'm reflecting as I teach and making changes as they are needed. However, what about my first hour? Are they forever doomed to get the "not as good" lesson? I really wish I had a rotating schedule here so the I would see different classes at different hours so the first hour would always change. 

Anyone have any thoughts on dealing with the first lesson of the day mess-ups?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Week 11 Reflections #NerdyCast #EdChat

Here are some thoughts on student projects and teacher evaluations. I've thought about instructional goals for the evaluation process, but I have never really thought about Leadership goals. I wonder how many teachers have approached it the same way I have over the years. Here are my thoughts on the week. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A @GoSwivl Class Example #FlippedEd #EdChat

I've written about Swivl on my site before here and here, but here is a great post on a how a new teacher has used it in her classroom to accommodate a student who misses school due to illness. This is a great reason to consider Swivl for your classroom.


My name is Katie Parent and I’m an English teacher in Michigan. I’m writing today about Swivl, a piece of technology that I recently tried in my classroom.

I have an honors student who is chronically ill and is hospitalized for treatment one out of every five weeks—we’ll call her Rebecca. Rebecca is a star student, always putting forth 100% effort and contributing to class discussion; school is a positive place where she can excel. As you can imagine, having a debilitating illness can get in the way of this. Rebecca’s mother contacted me before her first hospitalization this school year, wondering if I would be comfortable recording my classes so that her daughter can watch them while she is receiving treatment. I was eager to do so, but faced one issue: I am very mobile in my room, hardly staying in one spot for more than a few seconds. How would I be able to record myself as I moved around the room? Enter: Swivl.

A couple of coworkers threw out the idea of utilizing Swivl. It’s a “robotic mobile accessory, app, and cloud service” that tracks the subject as he or she moves freely about a space ( As long as the subject holds or wears a small infrared sensor (about the size of a lighter), the Swivl docking station will pivot and tilt to track the subject. The dock fits iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. I was initially concerned about recording the hour-long class on my iPhone, as I have minimal memory remaining. Fortunately, Swivl has an app that uploads the recording directly to the Swivl Cloud, saving you precious space on your device.

Setting up the Swivl was seamless. It was delivered to my room 2nd hour, and by 3rd hour I had it up and running, recording my lesson. Students were fascinated with the device and were eager to learn about how it works. I placed the Swivl on a file cabinet in the back of my room, where it would minimally distract students. The gears and motors in the Swivl are so silent that the students didn’t even hear the device pivoting and tilting throughout the lesson. There were times where the device took a couple of seconds to sync with the sensor, but overall, it tracked me rather well.

One hiccup was that my phone locks every five minutes, which meant that the recording stopped every five minutes. This was quickly fixed by changing the lock settings on my phone so that the lesson would be recorded in one take. However, it would be nice if the app could do that automatically.

This product has been a huge help to my classroom. Rebecca was able to stay on track, despite missing five consecutive days. I didn’t have to explain anything to her once she returned because she saw it all firsthand. I plan on using Swivl for every treatment week or any lesson that I would like to have a recording. Swivl has helped me accommodate a student in need and will prove to be an asset, especially when working with students who have extenuating circumstances.

-Katie Parent

Grosse Pointe South High School  

The @BlackboardK12 BITS Learning Sessions #12 #BbK12Live

I've partnered with BlackboardK12 to share out the awesome sessions they are having this Fall. Educators can sign up to attend and share with other great educators what they have learned. I'll feature the session and the description on my blog each week and on my Twitter account. If you have questions, feel free to shoot a tweet to @BlackboardK12. Have fun learning and sharing!

Blending at the Beginning

You are ready to blend, now what? Join me for a discussion on how to move your elementary classroom from direct instruction to a blended learning environment.

Paula Barr, 2nd Grade Blended Learning Teacher

I am a seasoned teacher with 32 years of experience teaching first and second grade. I began my journey with Blended Learning one year ago and watched as my students transformed into totally engaged, collaborative, self-directed learners. I’m excited to share about my most effective year as an educator.

Twitter: @pbarrhorses

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sign Up

Don't forget to check out the Blackboard Live App. It has all of the sessions you might have missed and much much more.

Here is the playlist where you can watch this recorded session and other sessions you might have missed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's All About That Project, 'bout That Project, No Tests. #PBL #EdChat

My Freshmen have been turning in their projects and presenting their work to class this past week and part of last week. The assignment was pretty simple. Take the essay that you wrote and turn it into a visual presentation. They needed to choose a theme in the novel Of Mice and Men and support it with examples from the text. They were not limited to the type of project they could choose. The students have created some amazing items.

I've had students do puppet shows and create dioramas to express the different examples. There were plenty of Prezis with videos and pictures embedded to add a bit more to a typical presentation. There was one that stood out the most that I want to share here. A student decided to create a whiteboard video and, with the help of her mom, created something awesome.

Hannah took a concept and was able to explore it and share her thoughts in a way that was meaningful to her. She had fun and was able to convey complex relationships in a way that the ret of the class was engaged when she presented. She had fun and wanted to go first to share what she had done. This is the power of a project. What multiple choice test could inspire this type of passion and dedication. I'm still shocked by those that are still committed to the worksheet and the 50 question multiple choice test. Here is just another example of why Projects trump exams every time. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

Don't Forget the Fun #EdChat #GaETC

I went to my sessions early yesterday and I had some time to kill as people were filing in. I thought it would be fun to play a video of the greatest cartoon theme songs of all time.

This was just a silly way to start the session and the people were smiling and singing along. I was able to engage in conversation with the audience and start off with a positive energy in the session. I was thinking about this after the day was over and wondered what inspired me to do it. I realized I do things like this in my classroom.

I love starting class off with random songs or videos. The kids get a little goofy and we have conversations about whatever is being played. It starts the class off with a positive note and the kids have the high energy. It is important to remember to bring the fun and silly into class. Students are moving from class to class and they are just beaten down sometimes. Changing the pace and letting them have a little fun to start the class can really have a positive impact on class. 

The next time you feel the energy dropping in class, just stop and have a little fun and watch the class come back together. 


Thursday, November 6, 2014

#20 Time Round 2 #EdChat #GaETC

Another year and another great adventure in 20 Time. Last year, I was not sure if I wanted to do 20 Time again because I was so exhausted and I was worried I would never be able to recreate the environment where my students excelled. After the first marking period passed, I am so excited to see what my students are planning on doing.

I used TodaysMeet to have students share what their projects were and then we could all talk about them in class. It is a little change to the process I took last year and it worked well. The students had a bit of a harder time choosing their projects this year and I was worried about the commitment the students would have to the project, but I gave them a bit more time and they came up with some great projects.

They will have their first blog posts up next week and I will share those out. What I learned over the summer and at the start of the year by talking to students who did 20 Time was that they loved having others read their blog and connect with them. It was great to hear that and I look forward to sharing their work and seeing the connections that can be made.

Thanks for all of the support everyone and I'll keep you posted on how all of this goes.