Nov 022013

Here’s the plan for our session today. We’ll learn about:

  • Presenting from your iPad: How to control and project your classroom computer, and how to project your iPad screen to your classroom computer & projector
  • Screencasting – creating learning objects with some cool interactive white board type apps
  • Creating rich media projects like narrated slide shows, picture- and full blown eBooks, and full movies.
  • Classroom quizzing, formative assessment and student/parent engagement with free web-based tools
  • Finding good places for educational iPad apps

Didn’t get that the first time through? Here’s the presentation video from the URSA Conference, using Google+ Hangout On-Air (YouTube Video). You can also view the presentation here.

Apps, links and resources for each area above:

Aug 082013

OnTrack Section #: 65480, Course #: 58985

Today we’ll get you up to speed on your iPads and show you some amazing things you’ll be able to do in your 1:1 iPad classrooms. I’ll include links to everything we discuss today below, as well as a PDF and PowerPoint version of my presentation. The plan for today includes:

  • Cover the basics to get everyone on the same page
  • Presenting from your iPad: How to control and project your classroom computer, and how to project your iPad screen using Apple TV
  • Screencasting – creating learning objects with some cool interactive white board type apps
  • Creating rich media projects like narrated slide shows, picture- and full blown eBooks, and full movies.
  • Classroom quizzing and formative assessment with free web-based tools
  • Finding good places for educational apps & media

1-1 iPad Classroom Solutions PDF

1-1 iPad Classroom Solutions PowerPoint

Here’s the presentation from a similar session at the Rural Schools Conference in July, using Google+ Hangout On-Air (YouTube Video).

Apps, links and resources for each area above:

May 022013



Student Project Examples from SEDC TEAM Grant

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Apr 052013

I’ve been asked to present what students are doing with technology at the K-16 Alliance Meeting in St. George this week. With my co-presenter, Dr. Deb Hill from SUU, we’ll be discussing what technologies and apps are being used effectively in the classroom these days, and show some example projects that ANY student could create.

The examples that I’ll be showing have come from the work we’ve done on the TEAM Grant. This grant has provided 5 iPads to Special Needs teachers in 8 schools from the SEDC region. You can learn more about the grant here, and you can see all of the examples that we’ve posted here. The projects that I’ll be highlighting are shown in the Google Presentation below.

Awesomeness Quick Share

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Apr 042013

Below are some great things in EdTech that I’ve come across in the last few weeks – lots of great resources for those of you looking for options with Project Based Learning (PBL) and student response systems:

  • iPad uPad wePad; Going 1-1 at St Oliver Plunkett – This article details the iPad 1 to 1 rollout ‘Bootcamp’ at this school. Don’t miss the posters on Core Teacher Apps, Core Student Apps, and Inquiry Learning with iPads as well as the iPad Boot Camp Summary
  • Nick Vujicic Anti-Bullying Assembly: Utah Simulcast Recording – Hour-long assembly from an internationally known speaker engages and inspires Utah students to be more respectful and supportive of each other.
  • InfuseLearning – A web-based student response system like Socrative, but brings so many more assessment and instructional options – sort of a fusion between Socrative and Nearpod (described below) with the sorts of questions you can ask students. Web based means that you are not tied to a specific device, or even a device at all – anything with a web browser will work! Here’s what it can do.
  • Haiku Deck iPad presentation app – An alternative to Keynote & Prezi on the iPad for presentation creation. Simple to create a presentation, and the interface forces you to focus on keeping the message simple and to the point. Also allows to easily insert stunning copyright-free images, as well as charts and graphs with a few taps. Oh, yeah… it’s FREE. Learn more at
  • Symbaloo – great bookmarking site that works really well on the iPad. Easy to create your own groups or themes of links – check out my Symbaloo collection of the apps I cover in my 60 Educational Apps in 60 Minutes Prezi as well as the Symbaloo collection from EduTeacher.
  • Nearpod – Lucky enough to have a set of iPads or iPod Touches in your classroom? Then you’ll love Nearpod. Nearpod allows you to take control of what your students are viewing during a presentation. You can create or import presentations and then add videos, web sites, quiz questions – even add the ability for students to draw or write their answers. It’s tough to explain how great this app is – check it out!
  • – Self tagged as ‘Google Docs for visual people’, allows groups to collaborate on a giant whitespace (sort of like Prezi) where you can drag pictures, text, sound and videos from any Web site or your computer and map your ideas in a visual way. Check out their intro video below.

Dec 032012

Want to do more with your iPad to engage your students? Have them create animated story problems for the math concepts you are covering. Using the Explain Everything and SMART Notebook apps for the iPad, I’ll show you the steps you or your students can take to create a fun and interactive story problem in minutes. Can’t see the video below because YouTube is blocked? View it on SchoolTube.

Apr 292011

Project-Based Learning Made Easy

By Bob Lenz


“Project-based learning is great but it is too hard for teachers to do well.” I have heard this belief stated more times than I can count. Is PBL really so difficult that only a select number of masterful teachers, innovative schools, and dynamic school leaders can pull off high quality projects? I don’t think so.

In the service of inspiring educators to embrace a performance-based approach to teaching, learning and assessment by highlighting great projects, I am worried that we actually dissuade teachers and leaders from using this approach. As learners we need to be presented with challenging yet attainable tasks in order to gain our full engagement. A bar set too low is boring and a bar set too high is daunting — why even start on this task if I will fail?

To dramatically increase the number of students and teachers engaging in project-based learning and performance assessment we need to highlight examples that are attainable. Rather than ask teachers to become master designers of curriculum, we should encourage teachers to tweak, or adapt, their current work to give it a more performance-based flavor. Here are a few examples from Envision Schools using a few of our design principles for instruction:

Academic Rigor — Ask a Question

In addition to mapping from state content standards, we use inquiry as driver for almost all projects, units and lessons. A physics teacher who has a solid lab unit on bridges need only change the focus. Instead of a recipe lab that produces structurally strong bridges, she can ask the students the question, “What is the best structural design to produce the strongest bridge?” She can teach the content as she always has but now students will need to apply that knowledge to their bridge design. Not all of the bridge designs will be strong but many will. Most importantly, the students will own the content because they applied it.

Balanced Assessment — Write an Essay with a Rubric

Like most tenth graders in the country, Envision Schools’ students read To Kill a Mockingbird. Unlike most tenth graders, their assessment of learning will include more than a test to measure their mastery of the facts about the novel. Our students are asked to write a multi-page textual analysis that requires the students to think critically about the novel by analyzing text, making inferences, and drawing conclusions. The student’s papers are assessed using a common textual analysis rubric that is shared by all English Language Arts teachers. Of course, this takes more time for both the learner and the teacher but the addition of an essay that requires critical thinking is not a huge instructional challenge for teachers.

Active Exploration and Adult Connections — Conduct an Interview

Envision students are required to write a proficient college-ready research paper to graduate. This could be completely an academic affair but with a small twist — students will be more engaged and learn important college and career skills. In a US History class, the teacher asked the students to interview an adult — not at the school — who was alive during the historical period or is recognized as a content expert, such as a college professor.

In addition to learning the research process and the history content, students learn how to locate a resource and set up and conduct and interview. We have seen the attention to detail and quality rise significantly with this approach — the students want their resource to be impressed by their paper.

Making a classroom more performance based can be as simple as asking a question, writing an essay, and conducting an interview. I don’t think that is too hard and the payoff will be significant for the learners and the teacher.

Related Resources

A great place to start!