Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thing 7: Infographics

Welcome to Thing 7! 

You've probably seen a lot of really cool infographics being shared on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere on the web. According to InfographicsFactory.comInformation graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge created with the intention of presenting complex information quickly and clearly. You may have seen infographics explaining everything from what your preferred coffee says about your personality to what happens to plastics in the ocean to how much data is being posted online everyday
This was my first experience creating an infographic, so I evaluated several different infographics generators and decided to go with, although worthy contenders included and Piktochart. I chose because the free version includes the ability to add pictures, video, and many different types of charts.

Here is my first effort, using the following website as my info source:

Infographics seem to have so much potential for educators, who need to present information in a variety of ways to a variety of audiences. They also have so much potential for students, who need to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. I mean, really, does the world need another PowerPoint?!

Here is a tutorial I created:

Here are some other resources to get you going:


  • Sign up for an account with (feel free to try one of the other infographics programs if you'd prefer, but do try one that you have NOT used before).
  • Create an infographic about anything. Your infographic should have at least 3 different components (eg. graph, chart, video, image, number, facts + figures).
  • Embed your infographic into your Thing 7 blog post.
  • In your "Thing 7: Infographics" blog post, reflect on your experience. How did you find the experience of creating an infographic? How could you use this with students (either to explain something to them or to have them create an infographic to demonstrate their learning)? Do you think you will create more infographics in the future?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Thing 6: Organizing and Saving Content Online

Now that you're on Thing 6, you've made it past the halfway point in the program!


One of the biggest challenges posed by shifting more and more of our daily lives into online spaces is organizing and saving it all. My #1 most-used online web tool is Evernote. Evernote acts as a heavy-duty online organizational systems of notebooks, notes, and tags. Anything you find on the web is able to be saved as an Evernote note, and can be filed into any of your Evernote notebooks. Each note can also have multiple "tags", or labels, allowing you to search for individual notes by tags. You can also create new notes, which are useful for making "to-do" lists, taking notes, creating meeting agendas, etc. Evernote is available as an iPhone/iPad/Android app, on the web, and as a desktop software application, allowing you to access any of your notes no matter where you are in the world. Evernote has a Chrome App as well as a Chrome Extension. The extension sits up in your browser-- you simply click on the little elephant icon whenever you want to save something on the web to your Evernote. Finally, you can even share your notebooks with other people, making it a social tool as well as a tool for personal productivity.

Here is an Evernote overview screencast I created to give you a look into my Evernote universe:


Another, simpler tool for organizing content on the web is Pocket. Pocket is a way to easily save websites, images and video to your online account for reading and viewing at your convenience. How many times have you thought, "I'll come back and look at that video/picture/article later", only to have it disappear into the ether? Pocket is best for saving web content that you don't necessarily want to keep forever, but that you want to look at at a later date. I use Evernote for content I want to save long-term, and Pocket for content I just want to look at again. Pocket is also available as an iPhone/iPad/Android app as well as on the web, and has a Chrome App and Chrome Extension, making saving and accessing your content easy.

Here is a good Pocket tutorial and overview I found online:

To Complete Thing 6:

  • Create an Evernote account.
  • Set up some notebooks and start adding notes (websites, new notes, pictures, etc.) with tags.
  • Optional (especially if you've been using Evernote for a while): try sharing Notebooks and Notes.
  • Create a Pocket account.
  • Add some content (websites, images, video, etc.) with tags.
  • In your "Thing 6: Organizing and Saving Content Online" post, reflect on your experiences with Evernote and Pocket. What did you think of these tools Would you use one, both, or neither? Have you used them before? How do you normally organize and save online content?

    ***If you have used either/both of these tools before, you could instead make a screencast tutorial teaching others how to use them. You could then embed this into your Thing 6 blog post. We can add this to our tech integration websites for others to use!

Thing 5: Screencasting

Welcome to Thing 5!

Screencasting is one of my favorite types of web tools because it can be used in so many ways: creating tutorial videos, digital storytelling, flipped classroom lectures, etc. Many types of screencasting tools exist, some paid and some free, but the one I've used the most is Screencast-o-Matic (the "Chrome Apps & Extensions" screencast embedded in the "Thing 2" post was made using Screencast-o-Matic). The free version of this tool allows you to record screencasts up to 15 minutes, which you can then upload to YouTube and/or save to your computer as a digital .mp4 file. The free version even allows you to film yourself via webcam as you narrate your screencast, an option that really brings Screencast-o-Matic into the realm of being a truly versatile tool. The paid version includes enhanced features such as editing tools, screenshots, webcam-only screencasts, and more, but I have been more than satisfied with the free version.

Here's a screencast I made to demonstrate the webcam narration:

There is an option to click "Start Recording" directly from Screecast-o-Matic's website. I had a problem with this, however, due to not having the correct Java plug-in, so instead I just downloaded the app directly from the website:

If you download the app and are on the Mac side of your computer, to access the app you will just open your Apps folder. If you are on the Windows side of your computer, you open it from "Programs." If you need help, just let me (or a tech integrator) know!

Here is an online tutorial that covers all aspects of getting started with, recording, and publishing Screencast-o-Matic videos:

To complete Thing 5:

  • Create an account at Screencast-o-Matic
  • Create a screencast about anything. Try using the webcam-inside-the-screencast feature.
  • Upload your screencast to YouTube (it will prompt you to enter your YouTube username, which is just your school email) and/or save it to your computer. You can change the YouTube settings to "Private" if you prefer, or just keep it "Public."
  • Add your screencast to your "Thing 5: Screencasting" post (a YouTube video is the easiest way to do this), and reflect on your experience. Did you find Screencast-o-Matic easy to use? Would you rather have more features, or is the free version enough? Do you think you'll use this in your professional work?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Thing 4: Online Quizzing & Student Response Systems

Welcome to Thing 4!

One of the best ways to integrate technology into your work with students is to leverage their mobile technology. You may have seen student response system clickers (they're like little remote controls that a school has to purchase), or maybe you've seen online quizzing demonstrated at a conference, etc. Tools like these allow you to instantly gather feedback for formative assessment, opinion polling, classroom competitions, review sessions, and more. In Thing 4, we will be exploring two of the best free online examples: Socrative (we will be looking at the new 'beta' version of Socrative) and Kahoot!.


Socrative has been around for a while and is a favorite tool for many teachers. It is straightforward, simple to use, and does not require students to have their own accounts. Students navigate to a URL (, enter their teacher's "room number", and are immediately ready to take the quiz using the web browser of their personal mobile device (iPad, smartphone, laptop, etc.). Results are immediate and are displayed on the teacher's screen. Quiz types include Single Answer (multiple choice, T/F, short answer) or Quiz-Based (self-paced or teacher-paced quizzes, exit tickets, and space race group game). You can even download responses for later review!

Here is a great tutorial video:

Also, for all you pinners out there I found an entire Socrative Media Pinterest board with all sorts of additional Socrative tutorials and resources!


Like Socrative, Kahoot! is a tool to administer real-time quizzes, surveys, and to start discussions. Its interface is bit more game-like than Socrative's, and you can share "Kahoot!s" you've created with other people, but otherwise it is fairly similar.

Here is a quick tutorial to get you started:


  • Sign up for a teacher account at Socrative. ***Note: this link ( is to the "beta" (new) version of Socrative, so if you have people take your quiz, make sure they use this beta link (instead of just going to
  • Do a test run, as recommended by Socrative when you first sign up. You will need 2 devices (eg. computer + laptop, laptop + iPad, etc.)-- one of which will be the "teacher device" and one will be the "student device." Alternatively, grab a friend and have them be your "student", using their own device. You could also use 2 different browsers on the same computer (eg. Chrome & Firefox) Practice using different types of questions (multiple choice, T/F, short answer), creating quizzes, and having your "student" complete exit tickets.
  • Optional: try using Socrative with students. Maybe with a whole class, or even just with a few students who can help you test it out.
  • Sign up for an account at Kahoot!.
  • Play the Kahoot! quiz I created:
    • 1. When you first go to my Kahoot quiz, you have to sign in with your account. 
      2. Then click "Start Now". It should then give you a PIN number. 
      3. Open a separate tab and go to "". Type in the PIN and a nickname for yourself, then click "Join Game"
      4. Go back to the first tab and click "Start Now" (you should see your nickname). You will see the question and 4 color-coded multiple choice answers.
      5. Go to the second tab and click on the color of your choice to answer each question.
  • Respond to this Kahoot! discussion:
  • Take this Kahoot! survey:
  • Create a quiz, discussion or survey (or all 3) and paste the link into your blog post.
  • Optional: try using Kahoot! with students. Maybe with a whole class, or even just with a few students who can help you test it out.
  • In your "Thing 4: Online Quizzing & Student Response Systems" post, reflect on your experiences with Socrative and Kahoot! Which did you prefer? If you tried them with students, describe your experiences. Will you use one or both of these tools in the future?
  • Comment on 2 other participants' posts (any post is fine). Choose participants on whose blogs you have not yet commented.