Monday, October 21, 2013

It's Fall: The Perfect Time for SMORE!

Fall is the perfect time for SMORE!  Some of you might immediately think of a yummy campfire treat:  crisp graham crackers, gooey melted marshmallows, and rich Hershey's chocolate bars.  However, the SMORE I'm referring to is not the fall treat described above. Instead, this SMORE is a web 2.0 tool!

Below I have embedded a SMORE that I created to explain why I love this presentation and publishing tool. This SMORE is the perfect combination of a website, newsletter, and Glogster!

To create your own account and try this tool, visit SMORE.


If you are having issues viewing the entire SMORE above, click the direct link to the Project Flyer or Newsletter.

This is a great tutorial from YouTube that might help you create your very own SMORE.

For additional support and detailed FAQ to assist you in this tool integration, including items on profile, print and export, analytics, editor, flyer settings, promotion, and flyer management, login to and click on the HELP button in the navigation bar at the top of the screen.

What Can I Do With a Glogster EDU Free Account?

A few years ago, I used Glogster in my classroom, but honestly had forgotten about this great tool until recently. Glogster EDU is a web 2.0 tool that allows users to create virtual posters to demonstrate their learning and share with others in a creative way. Students will have the ability add text, audio, video, and images to enhance their virtual poster presentations.  Although the premium version of Glogster EDU does cost money, there are still several ways that your students can create and share Glogster for free in your classroom. 

PROS of Glogster EDU Free Account
·         Allows teachers to sign-up using their Google account
·         Fosters creativity and the use of multi-media to express new understandings
·         Students do not have the use an email or register to use Glogster; they simply use their teacher's code (this code is provided to teachers when they sign-up for an EDU account)
·         Teachers can manage up to ten accounts while additional students can be registered using the teacher code
·         Students can share their Glog with their teacher by simply sharing the link

·         Glogster provides several tutorials on creating and enhancing your Glogs

Happy Glogging!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Who are the Park Hill ITFs?

If you have been reading our blog or following our Twitter feed, you might be wondering who makes up the Park Hill ITF team.  Let us introduce ourselves . . .

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Looking for a Quick and Easy Sticky Note Tool: Padlet

Why use Padlet in your classroom?
One of the easiest and most convenient ways to integrate communication and collaboration in the classroom is through sticky note tools.  Sticky note tools create virtual, real-time boards which create a venue for collaboration in the learning environment.  If you are looking for a simple, user-friendly sticky note tool for both the teacher and the students, try Padlet!  Padlet provides a space for students within a learning environment to collaborate and communicate virtually, not only in the classroom but also beyond the school day.

What are some possible goal statements for sticky note tools like Padlet?
Padlet provides 21st century learning aligned with Common Core Anchor Standards.  Sticky note tools like Padlet proves students an opportunity to:
  • Clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions
  • Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives
  • Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas
What options do I have when I create a Padlet wall?
  • Teachers can logon to Padlet with their Google account, and students do not need to login at all.
  • Teachers share Padlet walls with a URL, which can be personalized within Padlet under "Address" options.  
  • Padlet walls can be modified with existing wallpaper backgrounds, or teachers can add their own wallpaper background by uploading an image. 
  • Padlet walls can be built as freeform walls, (posts can be put anywhere and can be resized) or built as a stream (posts are placed one below the other).
  • Teachers can set visibility options for each Padlet wall.  These include private settings, password protected settings, hidden link options, totally public options, invitation by email, and even moderator rights.
  • Teachers can set notifications so that they are emailed each time a post is added to a wall.
  • Each wall can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Linkedin.
  • Each wall can be exported as a PDF, Excel file, or CSV file.
  • Each wall can be subscribed to an RSS feed, such as Feedly, emailed, or printed.
  • Padlet walls can be embedded in D2L through the embed code.
  • Padlet walls can be accessed through an automatically generated QR code.
Check out this short tutorial!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cool, New Way to Make Presentations Interactive: Nearpod

PowerPoint used to be the "in" presentation tool.  Many teachers relied on Power Point to present information to students.  However, these presentations were lecture-style lessons with little or no student interaction. However, with more classroom sets of laptops through 1:1 learning environments or even 2:1 learning environments, students have the opportunity to become more engaged in the lesson with technology.
This leaves one question:  What do teachers do with all of those old PowerPoint presentations?

Answer:  Nearpod!

Nearpod is a web-based tool, with Google login capabilities, that allows teachers to upload previously created PowerPoints, or new PowerPoint presentations, and add engaging interactive slides.  Teachers have the ability to insert polls, open-ended questions, quizzes, and images (pictures or text) for students to annotate.  The presenter has the ability to control the pace of the presentation from his/her computer.  Students "join" a session (without a logon name/password) by entering a presentation pin that is automatically created once the presentation is published and started in a "live session."  In addition, once students have joined the live session, they sign in with their name and/or a student ID.  This allows the teacher/presenter to track interactions and gain feedback instantly.  At the end of a session, teachers even have the ability to send themselves a report, via email, that summarizes each session's activity, including the number of students in the session, the overall student participation, a student list with each student's percentage of correct responses, and student's individual responses for each interactive question/prompt.

Very few tools leave ITFs in awe.  This tool is one that allows teachers to begin shifting from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning by increasing engagement.  If you are looking for a simple shift to move your instruction from being the "sage on the stage" to being a facilitator of learning, check out

Nearpod from a Teacher/Presenter View

Nearpod from a Student View

Monday, October 7, 2013

What is VoiceThread??

Collaborating with peers and reflecting on work are two very important skills that kids should be practicing daily in the classroom, but in actuality, it doesn't happen as often as it should.

VoiceThread can change that!  It is a great tool that allows students and teachers to utilize a wide variety of media in order to collaborate, demonstrate understanding and reflect on their learning.  There is no software to install, because it's a completely web-based tool.  In simple terms VoiceThread is a multimedia slideshow that allows anyone with the link, anywhere in the world, to collaborate!

Once a VoiceThread is created, collaboration becomes possible when the creator shares the link.  The audience can comment through the use of text, video, audio and doodling on the actual presentation.

It's very easy to get started. Just create a free account and you can begin uploading documents, images, and videos to create your first VoiceThread!

Below are a couple of examples of how VoiceThread can be used in your classroom:

Example of students using VoiceThread to demonstrate expertise and teach or tutor a classmate.

Example of a teacher creating a VoiceThread to demonstrate expertise and teach or tutor a classmate.

Example of students working together to solve word problems.