Podcasting for Ed

I was a last-minute fill in for a small conference section on using podcasts in the classroom this past Saturday. The conference organizers contacted me about a week before and asked if I was available to teach something and, of course, I said yes. I’d actually taught podcasting to other educators before… back in 2011. A lot has changed since then!

I had a great time using a little bit of my old information, plus a lot of my old podcasts that I had created, or my students had created, that were all still saved in my Google Drive.

I used podcasts as a method of content delivery for students. As part of a unit on Walden I realized there was information I wanted students to know and apply, but didn’t want to use class time for short lectures. Instead I chose to record short podcasts to encourage note-taking/active listening and be able to reach students even if they are absent during the week. This was my first foray into a flipped classroom and podcasts are still a great alternative to screencasting for flipped and blended learning.

Here’s the site I created to house information for my attendees: http://podcasted.us

And here’s my presentation:


Annotate in Google Docs

Google’s Applied Digital Skills lessons for students are amazing. They just released one on annotating (note taking) with Google Docs that teaches students WHY and HOW to annotate. This is a great resource if you are working on creating a paperless classroom or if you just want students to develop their annotation skills in a variety of ways (because they can also annotate paper, annotate on sticky notes, take 2 column notes, etc.)

Check out the Applied Digital Skills lesson to see how you can apply the learning in your own classroom!

Annotation and close reading

pexels-photo-632470.jpegWhen I was a sophomore in high school I was assigned selections from Hamlet to read in my English class. I read it, understood it, and took notes in the margins as I was asked to do. But the following day I was told I didn’t have “enough” annotations and was assigned a detention (a Friday Evening Inconvenience – it was boarding school).

But what is “enough” when it comes to annotation? As a college student I think I finally learned to annotate so that my thinking – at the time I took the note – was clear to me when it came time to use the note.

I think that, as teachers, we need to help students connect to the text through annotation. This starts with how we select the text and how we select the assign the annotation. We have to give them clear guidelines and support. Annotation is a skill that needs to be developed

Chunk – How can you break up longer texts?

Purpose – What’s the learning objective? Make this explicit to the students so you can all begin with the end in mind

Quantify – How many comments do you expect per paragraph, per page?

Notations – What do you want to see in the margins? Symbols, questions, definitions, specific connections? Symbols or color coding should include a key each time.

Rereads – When you need them to reread for fluency or in a coaching group, give them a different purpose or lens for the next read

We can use technology or low tech tools to support students through universal design.

  • Color coded sticky notes with questions or comments written on them
  • Hypertext annotation to definitions, expansion of ideas, etc.
  • Kami – potential shared annotation
  • Google Docs – comments in the margins
  • A document camera will allow you to model the annotation, with out-loud metacognitive thinking about why and how you are annotating, for students. Some document cameras will allow you to record the whole thing for playback later.

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Satirical videos

For the last few years in Digital Composition, a senior English elective, we have been making satire videos. The course covers rhetorical modes of composition in alternative ways, integrating technology in creative and thoughtful ways as compared to traditional English classes.

Students work on the films over the course of a semester and are asked to satirize some aspect of our high school community. By this point in their education there is much for them to poke fun at about the school. Embedded below are some of my favorites from the last few years. Because this is an English class, we have never had a budget for technology – students film on their iPhones or other personal devices and edit their videos using whatever software they have available to them.

The assignment is intended as more of a storytelling exercise than an assessment of technological or video prowess. Students do have access to a publication from the Director’s Guild of America, Making Movies: A Guide for Young Filmmakers.

Professional Development

Recent Presentations for Professional Development

Literacy Conference 2014 – High Tech Timelines
ASD Literacy Conference 2014 – Flipped and Blended Learning
SAHS Staff Meeting 2014 – Turnitin
ASD Literacy Conference 2013 – QR Codes

ASTE 2012 – Infographics
ASTE 2012 – QR Codes
ASD Writer’s Conference Digital Writing – conference flyer
ASTE 2011 – Flashmob Research

ASTE 2008 – Seminar
ASTE 2007 – Wikis

Digital Footprint


This is an update to a post I created as an example for students a few years ago.

The intent of this assignment is to think about the sites we use on the internet and how we interact with them. Some sites are public and others are private, so the way we interact with each changes quite a bit. Some are more static in nature, some are for facilitating teaching and others are personal social networks.

My website

I maintain a website for parents and students, a method of communicating what we do in class, major assignments, and contact information. I use it in my district e-mail signature in hopes that people will use it to connect with information they’d normally use e-mail to find out.


I still use Edmodo for professional connections, like the PBS Digital Innovator group, but have moved my classes over to Schoology. The professional connections are not as robust but the LMS organization suits me better.


The first year I used Edmodo was for professional development and connections. It has great communities for teachers to learn and assist other teachers. Lately I use it instead of Wikispaces or Moodle for creating flipped and blended classes for students.


LinkedIn has been a great tool for helping me keep my resume current. It’s interesting to connect with people from high school, college, and Anchorage and see how our choices and careers have overlapped. I’d like to use it a bit more for professional development, but in the meantime it has brought me more opportunities.


Facebook has primarily been a way of connecting with family and friends, all of whom live thousands of miles away. The platform is easy to use and I like being able to share photos of my kids with my grandfather and friends I’ve had since Kindergarten, all with a few clicks.


I’m starting to see the need for YouTube as a teaching tool and my only “issue” with it is that the content that should be easily integrated into classrooms is still blocked. I’ve loved having all of the videos created in my classes in one central location to I can continue to watch and share them.


I have had Twitter for years now but not used it well. After the PBS Summit this summer I decided I need to figure out ways to use it more efficiently to develop a better Professional Learning Community (PLC). Past Digi Comp students have credited me with getting “everyone” at South to use Twitter and, now that I see what “everyone” at South tweets, that scares me. I keep trying to follow hashtags that help create a professional learning network for me, but I still find it confusing.


I only use Instagram in conjunction with Facebook. I like the super simple ways of editing photos that otherwise look too dull when shared. Hipstamatic is a more fun and dynamic app, but not nearly as easy to use.


Pinterest makes me feel like a 13 year-old girl with pictures of Rob Lowe and exotic locales taped to the walls of her room. I like having things visually organized so I can find them again quickly and I enjoy seeing the things my friends pin. Now that I’ve used it for years it isn’t nearly as big a time suck as it used to be.


I enjoyed thinking about how I interact with different sites on the internet. I chose to not provide links to Facebook and Instagram, because I consider those sites more private and personal, while I did link Twitter and Pinterest. I use Twitter for teaching information and Pinterest, though some of the interest is personal the content is not. When I google my own name quite a bit more comes up that I could have added to this list but these represent my main interactions.

ISTE standard V – Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical
behavior. Students:
a. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
b. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity
c. demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning
d. exhibit leadership for digital citizenship