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Showing posts from 2014

Plickers: The Free Clicker App (with almost no tech)

Collecting formative info from your students is something that I am a big fan of. One way to do that is to use a clicker system. For those who don't know, those are electronic devices that allow students to answer a multiple choice question (some brands allow for some limited open response) by entering their choice via an electronic remote. There are several brands (Smart Response, eInstruction etc) but these systems often are expensive and require a lot of software set up. Another alternative is to get an app that students use on their own device to answer with (Poll Everywhere, Socrative etc). These apps are often free and have a lot of the same features as the electronic ones but it requires students to have a device of some kind (either provided by you or their own).

Plickers negates almost all of those problems. I first heard about Plickers from a blog I follow called I Speak Math. That was a few weeks ago. Last week I was at the STAO conference and @Ryan_PSmith used them in …

Any Pen Pal Fans Out There?

Mystery Calls Classroom Activity:Connect with another classroom and try and guess where they are??  Could be local, could be anywhere!
Looking for a way to engage students, learn about the world, and practice the 4 C's? Try Mystery Calls, where two classrooms meet via Skype or Hangout and try to guess where each other is located. Learn about how every student can get involved in this episode.

Keep Them Working Job Sheet:
Global Learning in the Primary Grades
Google + Community for Mystery Call Connections
If there is interest and you are looking for some support on this activity feel free to contact Doug Sadler.  We could even setup out own Community for LOCAL Mystery Calls to get started.  The sky is the limit WECDSB.
Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments.
For more great ideas visit:


For her first placement, University of Windsor Teacher Candidate Felicia DeMarco taught Grade 8 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Elementary School. Her associate was Ross Sisco, who uses MyTools2Go* and the Provincial Learning Management System (LMS) extensively with his class. At the school, Ross and his students have regular access to Chromebooks and a computer lab.Felicia was added as a teacher in the LMS and was issued a MyTools2Go account. She quickly embraced this access by posting class announcements, adding content, and creating electronic dropboxes. Felicia even assessed student work on line using the Rubric tool in the LMS. Felicia encouraged and modelled the use of MyTools2Go with the students, using Google Forms to create a formative assessment and using an extension to automatically grade the assignment.

The learning environment in Mr. Sisco's classroom is a wonderful blend of face-to-face learning and seemingly unlimited access to current information and multime…

Let Your Phone do Your Math Homework

So I have waited for the dust to settle on this one a bit before I make a formal comment but the current buzz is about this new math app called Photomath. Take a look

Yup, this app will look at your math problem, interpret it, solve it, then show you the steps. The concept is pretty impressive. In practice though it still needs work. It doesn't work on all types of problems (I tried trig and solving a quadratic but neither worked) and you have to be able to isolate the problem you want to solve in the window but for the most part it does ok once it recognizes the problem you want the answer for.
That being said, I tried it out with these four problems. You can see in the video below that some work great and others not so well. Usually though, if the answer is wrong, that means it has misinterpreted the question (ie the character recognition did not properly see the question). And character recognition is tough and doubly tough when it is dealing with math formatting. So I can cut t…

Google will soon offer UNLIMITED Space on Google Drive

Google is living up to it's slogan "Keep everything" reports that soon GAFE users will have unlimited file space in Google Drive and allow storage of files up to 5TB in size.  The WECDSB offers all staff and students a GAFE account in the form of MyTools2Go.

We will let you know when it happens.  Special thanks to Dr. Brode for submitting this information to us!

Remind - Stay Connected with Parents with Ease

Remind - Stay Connected with Parents and Students with Ease Remind (formerly Remind 101) is not new but is taking American Teachers by storm!  Remind has become the number one choice by teachers in the US to communicate with parents.
Wall Street Journal - Remind
Teachers can send messages such as homework and test prep reminders, notes of encouragement or congratulations, photographs depicting an activity that the class engaged in that day, quick surveys about a recent school activity or assignment, and weather or venue updates. Remind even has an easy to use app for both iOS and Android.
Setup is very easy and available in TEXT and EMAIL formats.  ONE WAY COMMUNICATION.  Remind also falls in line with the Canadian Legislation on Anti-Spam as REMIND works on a Opt In model which requires Students and Parents to choose to accept the messages AND gives them a vehicle to STOP the messages.
Below is an example of a handout generated for you that could go home with your students.  I received …

WEC's Tool Shed is waiting for you!

The wheel has been invented!  The Proof is HERE:

The WECDSB is thriving on MyTools2Go! More and more innovative ideas to engage learners, streamline processes, and facilitate student collaboration are happening all over the board. These ideas are being generated by Teachers, EA's, and Support Staff!  WEC's Tool Shed is a PUBLIC Google+ Community you are welcome to Join or just take a look at.  Feel free to POST questions, comments or even better YOUR ideas or use of technology.  This is for any use of technology and not exclusive to Google or MyTools2Go.

How can I get involved? Login to your MyTools2Go account and then access WEC'S TOOL SHED (Click Link) . You can then JOIN the community from there.
Hope to see you there soon!

Education Technology Self Directed PD Opportunity!

edcampswo will host  planned “workshops” as well as our edcampSWO style participant driven learning sessions.  edcampswo will continue to provide this event FREE to all participants. 

Top 10 reasons to attend (by Aaron Akune):
1. You are a student, parent, educator or someone who is passionate about education.
2. Hierarchies do not exist at an Edcamp. Regardless of his or her perspective, each participant’s ideas and contributions are equally respected.
3. You are interested in learning about and sharing innovative ideas and practices in education.
4. You’d like to ask a question, share your learning or initiate discussion about a particular topic related to education.
5. You enjoy professional learning and want to broaden/deepen your perspectives about education.
6. You propose, vote for and attend session topics that you are most interested in.
7. You enjoy talking with others who are passionate about education, most of whom you don’t regularly interact with or may have never met before.


On Monday, May 5th, during Catholic Education Week, the students of Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School got to be the teachers for the day... well, for an hour anyway! Superintendent of Education Emelda Byrne used MyTools2Go created a Google Slideshow about visiting New York City, with the assistance of Grade 3 students Ben and Alessia. Her 'student teachers' helped her add some images about places to visit, like the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. Using a Chromebook, Mrs. Byrne even added a YouTube video about shopping in the Big Apple. Parents and Guardians were invited to sign up for STUDENT LED WORKSHOPS where they became the students and participated in the learning process. Mrs. J. Ouellette, Principal of Notre Dame, created a Google Form for Parents/Guardians to SIGN UP FOR WORKSHOPS.
1. PRIMARY LITERACY STATIONS with Mrs. Ginnasio's Class. Our Grade One students will teach you how to Make Connections, Visualize, Find the Main Idea of a Story, Make Predicti…

WECDSB Integrated Technology Summit

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board is inviting proposals for presenters at our second annual INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT.

Staff are invited to submit a proposal to present by no later than Monday, June 16th. Based on feedback from our original survey, we are looking for presenters in the following areas*:
* these are suggestions - staff are certainly invited to submit a proposal about
technology that does not fall into these categories
Getting to Know MyTools2Go  BEGINNERMyTools2Go  ADVANCEDDOCUMENTSPRESENTATIONSFORMSDRAWINGSSITESGoogle Drive BEGINNERManaging your Classroom with MyTools2Go ADVANCEDPlanning, Assessment, and Learning with MyTools2Go  ALL LEVELSGetting to know the Provincial Learning Management System  BEGINNERGetting to know the Provincial Learning Management System ADVANCEDiPads in the Classroom BEGINNERiPads in the Classroom ADVANCEDAPPS ShowcasePlanning, Assessment, and Learning with Technology  ALL LEVELSFor more information, please contact: Joe Sisco  - j…

Read&Write for Google

We are pleased to announce that every MyTools2Go user has be given Trial access to the Premium Features of Read&Write for Google from Texthelp.

Read&Write is a Chrome Extension which helps make Google Apps for Education more accessible to those with reading and writing difficulties, learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, or English Language Learners.
See Read&Write in action.

Google DRIVE on the iPad gets an Upgrade!

It's about time!
Google is revamping your experience on the iPad!  It is about time as Google Drive is seriously lacking compared to Drive on other devices.  The app is actually moving to operate less like it does on a computer or Android device and more iOS like. 

Google Drive is being split into 3 different apps.  I would guess the Drive app will cease to exist once the changes are complete.  Google Docs and Google Sheets is available now and I suggest you upgrade right away.  Google Slides will be coming soon.  This will be particularly nice since you currently do not have editing ability on Google Drive.  You can only view Google Slides. Click on the links below to download from the Apps Store!

Google Sheets

Google Sheets will allow for offline editing, sharing with others, sheet creation and more.

Google Docs
Google Docs is similar to Google Sheets as it too will allow for offline editing, sharing with others, document creation and more.

Both apps have added functionality and are a …


If you haven't heard of what an EdCamp is let me give you the 411. The EdCamp Unconference is becoming a happening all across North America. What is an unconference you ask? The general gyst is its a conference where the participants are also the presenters. That is, you come to the conference and if you feel like it you can put a topic you would like to discuss or present on up on the board and viola. pretty soon the board is filled with sessions with all kinds of topics ready to be attended.

Why do I bring this up, you might ask? Because its time for EdCampSWO. That is, an EdCamp here in South West Ontario. I think the first one that we had in our area was at the University of Windsor in October of 2012 (I think, I could be wrong) and the next one is April 12, 2014. Yep that's in two weeks.

This EdCamp is at Tilbury District High School and it goes from 8:30am to 4:00pm. With a special guest speaker, Doug Peterson, after lunch.

People are already talking about it and you shou…

Who Needs Augmented Reality?

I have written about augmented reality (AR) before when I talked about the Layar app almost 2 years ago. I like Layar. Even though it is a glorified QR code, what you can do with Layar is take an everyday object and make it "clickable". That is pretty cool.

But I don't know if I would consider Layar real augmented reality. In real AR, when you look at an object through a device (iPad/iPhone camera, Google Glass etc) then it actually changes. So for example here is a neat app called Elements 4D that gives you templates of 6 different cubes each with 6 elements on them and when you create those cubes and view them through the app, you see directly the effects of AR. Take a look below.

So that is a pretty good app that really shows some possibilities with AR. A the very least in a "Wow" factor for students. That app was created by a company called Daqri and they have other AR apps like Anatomy 4D. Can you guess what that is about? In both the Elements 4D app and th…


The Ontario Educational Resource Bank, OERB, provides Ontario students and teachers with thousands of resources from K-12, including entire course units, lessons, and interactive learning objects. The OERB has been integrated with the Provincial Learning Management System, or LMS. So, teachers and students may access these resources without having to login. Further, with this integration, e-Learning Ontario provides teachers with the links and embed codes that will bring students directly to any activity. This allows teachers to customize the way they use these resources to better meet their programming needs.


So, do not ever stop using the OERB, start using it with the LMS and direct your students to all of these great resources in a seamless, engaging way!

IWB in Your Pocket

Are you in need of an interactive white board (IWB) but don't have the $3000 to shell out to get one? Have you already got a data projector in your class and are looking for ways to enhance what you can do with it? Do you have a couple hundred dollars in your pocket and want to replace it with something else you can fit in your pocket?  If you answered yes to one or more of these questions then I have the tech for you: A portable device that you can carry around in your bag that turns any surface into an IWB.

I found out about this product last December when I was at the RCAC conference and sat in on Chris Knight's breakout session on Increasing Student Interactivity. Now although I suspect Chris would say that IWBs aren't actually as good as people think when talking about promoting student interactivity (and I might agree), he did mention that a nice option to have IWB technology in your classrooms for a fraction of the cost was a new product created by IPEVO simply calle…

How Readable is Your Text?

I was sifting through my many YouTube channel subscriptions and came across this video:

Now to be fair the video is about how we blindly just click "Accept" when we come upon those Terms & Conditions pages when signing up for things online and is a bit on the dry side. So I am not sure whether you want to spend the 10 minutes to watch it. One of the topics was about how complex the wording is in these documents and how that is a deterrent, right away, for most people to read them. So at about the 3 minute mark they talk a Google Chrome Plugin they developed called Literatin that would take the text of any web page (or any text you copy and paste into it) and give it a general rating that goes from Green Eggs & Ham (at the low end) and Frankenstein (at the high end). Using the plugin is pretty easy. Once you install it on Chrome, you will see an icon appear on your toolbar. When on a web page, just click on the icon and it will read the text on the page and give a repo…

Why Should I Use a Learning Management System?

In my conversations lately with people in the teaching world (teachers, consultants, e-Learning Contacts, etc.), I am hearing the word 'container' used very often. The context is that teachers are embracing technology in all subject areas and are now using video, audio, presentations, images, etc., as part of all that they do.  The number of ‘presentations’ alone, being created by students, has skyrocketed recently because of access to online presentation tools and the ease of incorporating multimedia from the internet. Teachers need a 'container' to hold all of this stuff.

Pragmatically speaking, a learning management system (LMS) is needed to simply manage all of the digital content that is a large part of the learning in today’s classrooms. From a pedagogical perspective, the access to multimedia must be leveraged to promote critical thinking surrounding the abundant content available at our fingertips. Ideally, an LMS needs to provide the platform for teachers to m…