May 13, 2015

Ms. Brooklyn Johnson

I believe this is going to be my favorite post on "Talking Tech with Robin".  I am not only going to get to brag on an Edgewood graduate, but also two faculty members.  It's a three for one! 

Ms. Brooklyn Johnson, daughter of High School teachers Sandy and Ben Johnson, has been selected to do her student teaching in Liverpool, England!  How exciting for Brooklyn!  

The best part is that Brooklyn has decided to blog about her adventures.  You can read Brooklyn Goes To Europe here. 

PLEASE take some time this summer to check in with her and encourage her through the comment section.

*Attention High School ELA teachers: This would be an excellent blog to show your students.  I believe we should encourage our students to blog. When students are asked to write for an audience outside of their class, they are more motivated, learn more and they write better than if they only wrote for their teacher.  Please contact me and I will help you set up blogs for your 2015-16 students.  

From Brooklyn's Blog:
"Hello! I am a senior in college at Ball State University working towards my bachelors degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in reading. This summer I am taking my passion for education over seas. I am from a small town in Ohio called Trenton. I am going to be attending Liverpool University in England this summer as well as doing my share of backpacking across Europe! Growing up as a kid I have always listened to my Uncle and relative tell stories about all their time spent traveling in Europe, so needless to say this trip is something I have been wanting to do since as long as I could remember. Thank you for taking the time to read about my experiences in Europe. "
Who do you think cried at the airport? Ben or Sandy?

April 28, 2015

Talking to Students about the Violence in Baltimore

The violence in Baltimore has hit close to home for Middle School teacher Andrea Hobson.  Her sister, Christi, lives less than a mile away from where some of the most dangerous activity is happening. Christi is a teacher and was forced to stay home today, and Andrea was able to have her speak with her classes through Google Hang Out.  What a great activity this was to bring the realization of what is happening just a few states away from us. 

Google Hang Outs are a simple thing to do.  We can connect with anyone who has a Google Account. Check out this website for ideas for your class.  Let me know and we can set up a hangout for you and your students. 

March 10, 2015

The Learning Continues with Plickers ...(Even Through This Crazy Test Time!)

As we approach the PARCC Assessment finish line, I hear a huge sigh of relief.  I was talking to some students, and the test is receiving mixed reviews. 

"I loved it. There were not as many questions."
"Give me back paper-pencil." 
"I really liked the ELA on the computer, but would rather have my paper-pencil for math."

I'm anxious to speak to you to see what you thought.

Do you want to see something impressive?  During this crazy test time, the learning is still continuing in Rachael Fryman's room. ( I am sure it is in your room also.)

Rachael and her student teacher Becca Maddox busted out some new technology called "Plickers".

Plickers is a great student response system that is perfect for classroom that do not have clickers. Let me explain.  Each student is given a piece of card stock that has a QR code printed on it. Each code card can be turned in four orientations. Each orientation provides a different answer. When the teacher is ready to collect data, he or she uses the Plickers mobile app (App Store or Google Play) to scan the cards to see a bar graph of responses. Teachers can create and save as many questions and responses as they like. The data collected can be viewed in a web browser or the mobile app.

I n this photo you can see that Rachael has just asked a question.  Her students are holding up their cards and Rachel is using her iPhone to scan the class and collect the answers.  How cool is that? 

After class, Rachael asked her students how they liked using Plickers.  They loved it. They liked the fact that they all had a chance to be a part of the class and could not see others answers.   Some even liked it better the Kahoot! 

Would you like to try Plickers in your classroom?  It is easy.  Let's work together and make it happen. 

February 21, 2015

Have you seen Grammarly?

I believe getting our MS/HS students to proofread and edit their own work is a big challenge?  Do you agree?
Even if they try ,many times, your eyes miss errors because your brain knows what you meant to say and skips right over the mistakes.
So, how can we help students to see their mistakes so they can correct them? Take a look at  Grammarly (, a free Chrome extension, to help students catch their errors as they compose anything from emails and write assignments online.
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Grammarly checks contextualized spelling, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and style. The number of mistakes will appear in the lower right-hand corner in red. Each individual mistake will be underlined in green. When you hover over the underlined section, a small window pops up to help you identify the type of error you’ve made and Grammarly suggests an improvement. You simply click on the suggested improvement and it automatically changes!
Grammarly catches errors as students compose messages almost anywhere online! (They need to be on Google Chrome.)  Students can (should) also create a FREE Grammarly account and begin writing directly on that document to catch errors as they write. 
Because our students (should) use Google documents for all of their written assignments, I recommend that they copy and paste their work into a Grammarly document to check it before submitting a final draft. Students are amazed by what Grammarly catches! Most don’t even realize their writing has errors until they use Grammarly.

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From the Common Core  Common Core Standards, this simple tool offers an easy way to support students in developing a “command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing.”  
If students begin to recognize the types of mistakes they typically make, it will be easier for them to look for and identify those mistakes in their own writing in the future. This also makes it easier for them to “develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, [and] editing.
I would imagine some teachers feel programs like this give students the answers, but I disagree. Often students cannot identify their own errors and need support to develop as writers.  This is a 21st century tool that is available to all, so I believe it is our responsibility to teach our students to use it. 
Here is my challenge to you: Install Grammarly on your own computer. (Make sure you are using chrome.) Use it for a couple of days and see how good your grammar is without using this plugin. 

February 18, 2015

A Google Time Line

Take a look at this very cool timeline generator I have found. You really need to take a few minutes to look at In short, students use Google Spreadsheet to collaborate and build a rich and intuitive timeline, incorporating all sorts of media: Youtube videos, Flickr pics, Tweets, Google Maps, Wikipedia articles – the list goes on. It honestly hits every EdTech-related Common Core state standard, from publishing and integrating digital media, to utilizing proper citation and sourcing skills.

It’s collaborative; it’s media-driven; it’s authentic; it’s engaging.  It's amazing!  
Take a look at these samples: 

Leave a comment and tell me how you are going to be able to use this tool in your classroom. I can't wait to hear what you come up with! 

January 4, 2015

A First for Edgewood City Schools

Congratulations to Kris Korty and Melissa Brown.  These two high school teachers recently stepped out of their comfort zone and gave their final exam online.

 A first for the Edgewood City Schools!  

Kris  has been using the LMS (Learning Management System) Coursesites, for his High School American History class. Using Coursesites  he has been able to blend his instruction, weaving online and face to face assignments.  When his students log in to their classroom they can see their assignments, any communication from Kris, and their current grade.  This system was perfect for his final exam. His students had their review posted in advance, took the exam, and knew their grade before leaving the class.

Melissa decided to use Testmoz. Testmoz is a free test generator that supports 4 question types, automatically grades, and provides a detailed report. Testmoz gives your students a code so there is no need for registration.

Now, let me tell you about the cool geek stuff!  We were able to "lock down" Kris Korty's classroom set of chrome books while his students were taking the test.  When his students opened the Chromebook they went directly to his test page and nowhere else! We disabled access to browse the web or take screen shots.  I'm not so sure the students liked it, but from the ed tech end, it was way cool!

So, would you like to try an online assessment?  Would you like to use an LMS? Let me know, and we will work together to make it happen!

November 6, 2014

Ms. Fryman and Mr. Harrison

It's a great time to be an 8th grade EMS student!

I received a Facebook message from Rachael Fryman last evening asking me to stop in to see her. "Oh no," I thought "her tablets are down."  So I stopped in today, and this is what I saw!  

Rachael has her class working in rotation stations. Nothing new and exciting there; however she can be at every table at one time.  (She is so smart!)  Rachael created a "station pages" for each student. Each station had directions for various math activities and scattered throughout the activity and in the end she inserted a QR code.  When the students scanned the code, they were taking to either her website, a video or just the correct answer.  

Would you like to explore how to use QR codes in your classroom?  There are tons of creative ways and students LOVE it!  Let me show you how simple it is, but first I have to tell you about Jamie Harrison

Last week I walked into Jamie's class and his tables were in rows, and he was standing at the board talking about volcanos.  Sorry Jamie, I'm going to be honest, I saw a few students who looked a little bored.  

Look what I saw today! 

Students in Jamie's class are studying erosion and deposition. He has taken this subject and found five real world problems and asked his student to take a stab at solving them!  Using the tablets they are researching, brainstorming, debating and solving the problems of the world!  

Could they of learned about erosion and deposition from a text book?  If you were an 8th-grade student, which way would you choose? 

WOW! What a great time to be an EMS 8th grader! 

QR Codes in your classroom? 

As you can see from the photos, some of our students were using a QR reader on their phones, and they are not allowed at EMS.  Rachael discussed her plan with Mrs. Beckkett first to get admin permission. This needs to be your first step! 

Quick response codes, also known as 'QR' codes, are simple, scannable images that are a form of barcode. By scanning a QR code image through a mobile device, information can be accessed including text, links, bookmarks and email addresses and more. 

In the classroom, QR codes can be used in a variety of ways including: 

Science Labs:  Ever feel like your students rush through a lab procedure, omitting important steps?  Turn each lab step into a QR code.  Scanning each step will force your kids to slow down and process the main idea.

Pass out QR codes at the end of a lesson for students to include in their notes.  (Print them on labels to save time!)  Students can visit the QR code for homework to view a short video, visit a website or access an important document from home.  Did someway say flipped classroom?

 How about creating an interactive review using QR codes?  

Self-checking answers:Take any existing worksheet and turn the answers into QR codes for self-checking.

Post a question or task as a QR code projected on your board to immediately engage students when they walk into the room.

Absent Work: Did we do anything when I was absent?  Don't you just love that question?  Use QR codes on a calendar to help students keep pace with your class when they are out.  If you post notes or activities on your website, use the QR code to direct them to the specific materials they missed. 

You will not believe how easy it is! There are TONS of QR code sites.  This is the one I use, just four easy steps. 

Here is a list of QR readers:

I will be waiting to hear from you!