Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What do you have there?

A few days ago I spent some time at Caribou Coffee, working on my graduate school application. A man around the same age as my dad, sat down next to me and said "What do you have there? Is that an Apple? I just bought a MacBook." This led into a conversation about my computer. I shared a few helpful time saving tips and tricks with him, which evolved into what I do and why I have an Apple computer. Which turned into sharing with him all of the tech gadgets I had in my backpack at the time

  • iPad Mini
  • iPhone
  • Samsung Chromebook

    He was curious about each device and why I had it. As a teacher, there are many devices that can and are used in classrooms and I am often asked "What is the best?" My answer is to pick the best tool for the job, it could be different for different lessons and different age levels. If you are in a 1:1 setting, then picking the right app or program is a starting place. If you are in a school with carts of different devices then understanding your options is where you can start. The district I work for is fortunate enough to have a Media Specialist in each building, and a Technology Integrationist (me) for the district. We are great resources for these types of situations. The district I work for has a combination of Chromebooks, iPads, and iPods in a cart based system with the exception of our STEM school that is building a 1:1 iPad program.

    My Advice...

    First, teachers should plan their lessons according to the curriculum of the district and standards being used. Then, think about how your students will show their understanding. The great thing about having access to mobile devices is that this can look very different for each student in your classroom, if you allow it to.

    A Few Examples...


    www.educreations.com is a tool that can be used on a variety of devices, however when used on an iPad more features are present.
    There are two ways it can be used.

    1. As a teacher, you can record videos for your students to watch.  
    If you are thinking about flipping your classroom this is a great tool for you to use.
    It is up to you how and when students watch these videos.

    Here is an example of how teachers can use Educreations to help their students and families. 

    2. As a student, you can record yourself and your videos are shared with your teacher as soon as you are
     done. They are kept private unless the link of the video is shared with others. 

    The following example is built on the Common Core Standards which can be found here http://www.corestandards.org
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.1 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is...).

    Here is an example of how a student can use Educreations to share opinions. 

    Google Forms

    A Google Form is a tool that can be used on any device that can access the Internet, however when it is best
    to create a Form on a device that has a supported browser.

    1. As a teacher, there are many ways to use Forms. A popular use is to collect student work.
    Here is an example of what your submission form could look like. 

    All of the information submitted from students can be sorted and filtered on a spreadsheet to make it easy to manage and access.

    2. As a student, Forms are a great tool to gather and analyze data. 
    • CCSS.Math.Content.2.MD.D.10 Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems1 using information presented in a bar graph.

    I only mentioned a few ways different tools can be used on a few different devices. Are you doing the same things? Are you doing something different you would like to share? Do you have any tips to enhance my examples? I would love to continue the conversation on Twitter, you can find me @MrsKalthoff

    Monday, December 30, 2013

    What is your favorite app?

    I often get asked what my favorite app is. Drum roll please....... Google Chrome is my favorite app. I use it every day on multiple devices and this is why...

    On my computer...

    Chrome Web Store

    The Chrome Web Store has Extensions, they are programs that work in conjunction with the website you are currently using.
    • I use the following extensions on a daily basis
      • goo.gl
      • wunderlist
      • Send from Gmail
      • Google Voice
      • Save to Google Drive
      • Split Screen
      • 1 Click Timer
      • Tabcloud
      • Chromecast
      • HootSuite
    The Chrome Web Store also offers Apps, there are two different kinds. The first kind of app is just like a website, the app icon will take you to the corresponding website when clicked. The other kind of app takes you to a site that was developed specifically for use in Google Chrome and has features that you would not find otherwise.
    • I use the following apps 
      • Hootsuite
      • Feedly
      • Canva
      • PowToon
      • Blendspace
    To find out more about the Apps and Extensions in the Chrome Web Store visit

    On my mobile devices...

    Other Devices

    "Other Devices"is a wonderful feature you can find in the "Hotdog" on all of your devices using Chrome. It allows you to see and access all of your open tabs across all devices. There are two situations when this feature is extremely helpful
    1. When I am not able to finish reading an article on my school computer and want to continue reading it at home on my personal computer. 
    2. When I begin reading an article on my iPhone and want to finish reading it on my computer.  Side note: I use the extension "Split Screen". This extension allows me to open a                                                  Google Doc and the article and access them side by side. 

    Google Chrome has many other useful tools within the app, those are my top two favorites and where I recommend people to start when first using Chrome.

    Sunday, December 29, 2013

    Connecting Across the World

    I love that even though I live in a small town of 1,000 people, I can connect with people all over the world. Just the other day I was connecting with an educator in Australia. Our conversation started from a retweet of my session materials at the TIES 2013 technology conference by a fellow Minnesota educator. I presented a breakout session on the use of Google Forms in education and shared the link via Twitter. I am sharing my Twitter story with you via Storify

    I look forward to connecting with her in the near future! If you are a current Google Forms user and would like to share your materials please do so in the comments below. If you are new to Google Drive and would like to learn more about Google Forms here is the a link to my materials tinyurl.com/ties13gf and feel free to connect with me on Twitter @MrsKalthoff .

    Friday, December 27, 2013


    I met an intriguing person while attending #Ties13 . He travels the world and speaks on different topics but the two that stood out to me the most are

    • What are we doing with technology integration in our schools to make it  “what is best for kids?”
    • What does your your personal digital footprint look like?
    I attended a few of his break out sessions and a quickly jotted down a few more points that I have been reflecting on over the past two weeks.
    • How are you different than anyone else?
    • Am I empowering teachers or am I creating learners who are dependent upon me?
      • Students don't wait for a workshop on blogging, they Google it and figure it out.
    • Should we all use the same tools or should teachers pick what is best for them?
      • By using the same tools teachers are able to help each other and share resources with one another. 
    I will be expanding on each of these ideas in future blog posts.
    If you want to learn more about him you can visit his blog The Principal of Change.