MACUL Journal Spring 2016

Page 1

A Publication of the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning










Engage Learning

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 2016 Conference Highlights: Engage Learning Course Design, Cognitive Science, and Learning Making Learning More Engaging & Interactive Engaged Storytellers



Problem Solving



For All Ages



For information on how LEGO® Education solutions can turn your classroom into a dynamic environment where students take an engaged, active role in their education, contact: Ivery Toussant, Jr. • LEGO Education • 877-647-0043 •


The MACUL Journal is published four times per year (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer) by MACUL, the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning, Inc.


MACUL OFFICE 520 S. Creyts Road Lansing, MI 48917







A publication of the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning Spring 2016 | Volume 36, Issue 3

Table of Contents

Telephone 517.882.1403 Fax 517.882.2362 E-mail: Executive Director Mark Smith Operations Manager Ieva Kule Finance Manager Barbara Surtman Digital Platforms Manager Matthias Bell MACUL Journal Editor Judy Paxton


Executive Director Emeritus Ric Wiltse

MACUL Officers and Board of Directors............................................................5 Special Interest Group Directors.......................................................................5

The MACUL Journal digital version is available at

From the President’s Desk................................................................................6 From the Executive Director..............................................................................6

The MACUL Journal welcomes and encourages letters, articles, suggestions, and contributions from readers. Publishing guidelines are posted at: > MACUL Journal.

2016 MACUL Conference: A Celebration!.........................................................7 Tools to Motivate, Involve, Inspire.....................................................................7

All editorial items and advertising inquiries should be sent to: Judy Paxton, Editor 231.342.4801 E-mail:

How Students Learn..........................................................................................8

Composition and design by: Jonathan Guinn Rogers Printing, Inc. 3350 Main St. Ravenna, MI 49451 Telephone 800.622.5591

Amazing Google Forms Add-Ons....................................................................14

Making Learning More Engaging & Interactive................................................10 2016 MACUL Conference Information............................................................12 Collaboration Through Integrated Technology..................................................15 Open Educational Resources...........................................................................16 The Engaging Tools List...................................................................................18

Information is available upon request.

The CCSS Doesn’t Inhibit Creativity................................................................19

Portions of the MACUL Journal may be reprinted with permission as long as the source is clearly acknowledged.

Engaged Storytellers........................................................................................20 Achieving Library 2.0: Engaging Learning.......................................................22

Opinions expressed in the Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent MACUL. Publication of items in the MACUL Journal does not imply endorsement by MACUL. MACUL journal


Spring 2016



2015 - 2016


Igniting Learning Through Meaningful Collaboration And Innovation Founded 1975 An organizational member of The International Society for Technology in Education

February 15

MACUL Journal 2016 Summer issue articles due:

Full STEAM Ahead

February 16

MACUL Board meeting, MACUL Building, Lansing

February 28

Last date to enter MACUL Student Video Contest,

MARCH 2016

March 9-11

March 9

MACUL Conference, Grand Rapids, MI: Engage Learning MACUL Grant application window opens, MACUL is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that exists to:

p rovide a state association for educators involved with, or seeking knowledge of, computer-related technology in learning ■ provide for the sharing and exchanging of ideas, techniques, materials, and procedures for the use of computerrelated technology through conferences, publications and support services ■ promote and encourage effective, ethical and equitable use of computerrelated technology in learning ■ encourage and support research relating to the use of computer-related technology in learning.

APRIL 2016

April 19

MACUL Board meeting, MACUL Building, Lansing

MAY 2016

May 6

UP MACUL Conference, Kingsford HS, Kingsford, MI

May 13

May 15-17

May 16

Last day to submit MACUL Grant application, 5 PM

May 23

MACUL Journal 2016 Fall issue articles due

Mobile Learning Conference, Kalamazoo RESA MACUL Leadership Retreat, Grand Rapids

JUNE 2016

June 26-29

ISTE 2016, Denver, CO

Use the online digital MACUL Journal

E-mail address:

Download the complete PDF, or access the online Journal from the MACUL website. These formats give the reader direct access to live resource links in the articles.


Share the MACUL Journal with your colleagues! 4

Spring 2016




Kevin Clark, President Berrien RESA Gina Loveless, President Elect Calhoun ISD

Tammy Maginity, Past President Pennfield Public Schools Ron Madison, Treasurer Genesee ISD

Melinda Waffle SIG Liason Calhoun ISD

David Prindle, Secretary Byron Center Public Schools

John Phillips SIG Elementary Education (EE) Berrien RESA


Pamela Moore SIG Computer Science (CS) Eastern Michigan University

Eric Strommer SIG Multi-media (MM) Flint Community Schools

Craig Allen Breitung Township Schools

Ron Houtman Kent ISD

Laura Cummings Oakland Schools

Liz Kolb University of Michigan

Tim Davis Charlevoix-Emmet ISD

Andy Mann Muskegon ISD

Shannon Degan Jackson ISD

Stacey Schuh Jackson ISD

Steve Dickie Archdiocese of Detroit

Pam Shoemaker Walled Lake Consolidated Schools

Jeff Trudell SIG Technology Coordinators (TC) Wyandotte Public Schools

Sue Hardin Macomb ISD

Sue Schwartz REMC Liaison

Daryl Tilley SIG Technicians (TECH) Ingham ISD

Patti Harju Diocese of Grand Rapids

Michelle Ribant MDE Liaison

Ben Rimes SIG Webmasters (WEB) Mattawan Schools

Erica Trowbridge SIG Library Media Specialists (LIB) Oakridge Public Schools Danielle Letter SIG Online and Blended Learning (OBL) Genesee ISD Mitch Fowler SIG Professional Learning (PL) Calhoun ISD Gayle Underwood SIG Inclusive Learning (INC) Allegan AESA

Go to > Special Interest Groups for complete listing of SIG Officers and SIG information. MACUL journal


Spring 2016



FROM THE PRESIDENT cities, the first session of the MACUL Annual Conference declares, “Assemble;” we come together to prepare for action. At the close of the opening keynote, we “Roll Out” to over 200 sessions, numerous conversations, and interactions with peers and other experts. On Friday morning, the conference is in full swing and as we meet the day, “Punch it” is the phrase that sends us at top speed (cue spinning stars) into the day. Finally, as we climb into our cars at the end of an exhausting, but exhilarating event, each one of us can calmly sit back in the seat and command, “Engage.”

have arrived back in your classrooms, use what you’ve learned to engage your students. They are the ones who will carry the learning forward into the next generation. Kevin Clark is the Director of Technology Services at Berrien RESA and has been a MACUL member for 16 years. He enjoys running, video games, and his family. Contact him at

Engage, and begin moving into unexplored territory: a new teaching strategy that you have never used but might hold promise with some of your more challenging students. Engage an interesting, but untested tool which could be the hook for a reluctant colleague. Engage with a professional community, where both successes and failures can be shared and appreciated.


f you’ve reached a certain level of geekiness, then you immediately understand the reference when I type “Engage!” For the rest of you who still hold the rank of ensign, “Engage” means that the ship is in motion, moving forward, and fast! If you’re still a little unclear, let me cover some other nerdy bases; it could be synonymous with “Roll out!” or “Assemble!” and certainly “Punch it!”

So as I entertain myself alluding to comic books and movies, enjoy yourself at the annual conference and in the conversations before, during, and especially after. While you’re there, engage in the learning available and begin to explore what other opportunities lie before you. Most importantly, once you

Every March, as thousands of educators gather together in one of two Michigan

FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR • BY MARK SMITH it begs the more important question: how do we create the necessary personal connections to learning for our students, peers, PLN, etc.?

As we get ready for MACUL’s 2016 Annual Conference, I am guessing that most of you have prepared a plan of attack, a divide and conquer strategy or even the more chaotic “let the chips fall” mantra!

At MACUL, we have focused our efforts for this year’s conference on creating a 3-day span of learning that has multiple points of engagement for all types of learners. We have hands-on sessions, workshops, a Maker Space, Student Technology Showcase, traditional sessions, a Showcase theatre, Lighting Talks and a 40th Anniversary bash for our Annual Party at the Conference!!!

Engage Learning means many things to many people, but for me it has always been tied to this question: Why do we do what we do? In other words, what is “it” about what we are doing that evokes passion, interest, identity in or commitment to the topic at hand? Perhaps 6

It is my hope that MACUL 2016 will provide you with every opportunity to |

Spring 2016

engage your learning in a new or old way! We look forward to seeing as many of you as we can in Grand Rapids. A reminder to those of you that can’t attend this year: download the conference app and follow #macul16 on the social media of your choice to keep up with all of the great things going on in Grand Rapids! Mark Smith is currently the Executive Director of MACUL and is a 2001 Graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and 1998 Graduate of James Madison University where he focused on Integrated Science and Technology. He has worked in K-12 Education for 10 years, but most recently as Dean of STEM for the L&N STEM Academy in Knoxville, TN. He began the Executive Director position in July 2014. Follow him on Twitter @SmithStem or contact him at MACUL journal


A CELEBRATION! By Susan Hardin, MACUL 2016 Conference Chair

MACUL turns 40! Join us for a rollicking birthday bash and learning extravaganza, MACUL Conference 2016. We’ve got three days of high-energy networking, relationship building and learning events planned for you. This year’s conference, “Engage Learning” is being held at the DeVos Center in Grand Rapids, MI from March 9-11, 2016. We’re expecting over 5,000 attendees and we’ve been hard at work to make sure that this a rewarding and memorable experience for each of you. Throughout the three days there will be rich programming, lots of hands on technology experiences and an abundance of networking opportunities. With over 350 workshop sessions, special events and featured speakers, you’ll be able to harness the power of MACUL’s diverse community to help you build education technology toolbox. The conference officially starts Wednesday morning with MACUL’s Special Interest Group Pre Conference Sessions. These half-day and full-day workshops provide participants with the opportunity to explore a topic of interest in-depth. The conference kicks into high gear Thursday morning with an exciting Opening Keynote address from Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist, Google Inc. Thursday night, join friends and colleagues at MACUL’s 40th birthday bash. We’ll gather at the Grand Rapids Public Museum for an evening of fun, fellowship, and networking. Enjoy a photo booth, snacks, some birthday cake, and an escape room by BreakoutEDU. Light refreshments and a cash bar will also be available. New this year, MACUL is partnering with Rushton Hurley and Next Vista for Learning to conduct a student video contest. Encourage your students to design a video that highlights your creative approaches to teaching and learning. More information about the contest is available at 2016 MACUL Conference has something for every educator. Read on for additional “don’t miss” special events. I look forward to seeing you there! And Happy Birthday MACUL!! Sue Hardin, Macomb ISD

MACUL journal


Tools to Motivate, Involve, Inspire By Sue Schwartz


hen we’re engaged in something, we do better at it. That’s as true of learning as it is anything else: an engaged student is more likely to learn and succeed than a disengaged one. Technology can play a huge part in this: motivating, involving, inspiring. I’ve rounded up a few of the many tools/resources from the REMC Association that can help you do that in your classroom. The Blended Learning in the Classroom course (www.remc. org/blendedlearning) provides job-embedded professional development where participants experience the facets of blended learning as a student. Participants begin developing their own blended course that meets the multiple needs of their students, actively engaging students in blended learning and assessment activities. The Michigan Learns Online Portal provides teachers with strategies and courses that lead to more engaged learners. (1) Strategies - REMCMLOStrategies (2) Courses - REMCMLOCourses 21 Things 4 Students curriculum leverages readily available technology tools to engage students. The Quests in Thing 4, Collaboration introduce word processing using either Google docs or Word Online/Office365. Students use a poem by Robert Frost to practice and apply skills such as: formatting, file

Spring 2016


management, graphics, tables, headers & footers, and sharing. They learn to share their work with classmates, make comments, and collaborate on assignments. Students (73%) indicate these are invaluable skills they use and demonstrate in their other classes. 21 Things 4 Teachers has technology resources teachers can use with students to increase learning and engagement. In Things 21, Emerging Technologies, the Maker Movement is highlighted. Whenever students are making and creating they are active learners and are engaged in the task. Students can use for example the Makey Makey or LittleBits kits to tinker and design music, art, games and much more. SAVE Bid provides statewide high volume pricing for products that support engaged learning. Examples include: personal learning devices, interactive displays and digital resources. These are just a few examples of how the REMC Association supports the transformative use of technology and provides Michigan schools with access to educational resources and professional development to support quality teaching and learning. If you have any questions about the Association or its Projects, please contact me at Sue Schwartz is the Executive Director for the REMC Association of Michigan.



By Jamey Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of MVU

A N E X A M I N AT I O N O F C O U R S E D E S I G N , COGNITIVE SCIENCE, AND LEARNING A basic challenge of teaching, whether it happens face-to-face, online or in blended mode, is that educators are trying to affect long-term change in something they can’t observe – a student’s mind – by using tools and strategies that are typically observable. Usually, we rely on a combination of information resources (e.g., text books, videos and online articles), learning activities, (e.g., engaging students in inquiry, discussions and research) and assessments (e.g., tests and reports) to promote and validate learning. And while teachers certainly hope that what students learn will stay with them well beyond the current school year, there isn’t much certainty that this will be the case. Every teacher has witnessed students struggling to remember course content, such as the causes of World War I or how to solve a math problem, while they can clearly remember and explain the conflict between the districts and the Capitol in The Hunger Games trilogy or how to build the best houses for survival in Minecraft. A common explanation for this phenomenon is that students are more engaged with what interests them and therefore apt to recall information related to their interests. While the ideal may be to personalize every course to match every student’s interests, this just isn’t practical. 8


Keeping students’ attention in the classroom has its own set of challenges. Teachers routinely use a variety of visual and verbal strategies to help students stay focused on the task at hand, although they still can be worlds away in their minds. When a teacher is not in physical proximity to students, as is the case for online instruction, the big challenge is to engage learners cognitively. Thoughtful instructional design engages learners. “Engaging students in their learning is an instructional design strategy,” says Peter Arashiro, director of instructional product development at MVU®. “Our instructional design team understands the impact building on cognitive principles has on creating courses that lead to more engaged learning.” Arashiro refers to a recently published resource that reflects this approach: The Science of Learning (from the Deans for Impact, a national nonprofit of educational leaders). Sound design involves mindful alignment between basic cognitive principles, practical classroom implications and strategic instructional choices. Successful instructional design is based on cognitive principles. The Science of Learning presents six questions to engage educators in thinking about how their students learn and in making instructional

Spring 2016


MACUL journal

decisions that support learning, regardless of whether they are teaching face-to-face, online or in a blended mode.

What motivates students to learn? Cognitive Principle: “The ability to monitor their own thinking can help students identify what they do and do not know.” Learners need to understand what they know and don’t know and be able to self-assess.

1. How do students understand new ideas? 2. How do students learn and retain new information?

Practical Implications: Tasks developed specifically to give students practice in observing and describing their own learning provide the opportunity not only for self-reflection but also for reassurance.

3. How do students solve problems? 4. How does learning transfer to new situations inside or outside of the classroom? 5. What motivates students to learn? 6. What are common misconceptions about how students think and learn? Each question is addressed by a set of related research-based cognitive principles and practical classroom implications or suggestions to consider when working with students. Two questions – How do students understand new ideas, and what motivates students to learn? – provide an opportunity to illustrate how to make the connection with online tools and strategies. How do students understand new ideas? Cognitive principle: “Understanding new ideas can be impeded if students are confronted with too much information at once.” Connecting concepts in a thoughtful, relational, systematic way is key to real learning. Too much new information can be overwhelming; students will struggle to maintain focus and may even shut down, unable to organize and understand all the working parts of a lesson. Practical implication: It is possible to overload students with competing messages. Presenting new information or concepts using complementary modalities such as illustrations and accompanying explanations, properly paced, reinforces content, and helps students follow the progression of ideas and stay engaged longer.

This lesson from a blended Accounting course asks students to answer three questions: “What did you learn?” “What questions do you have?” “What more would you like to know?” Students’ responses to these questions often reveal if students are on track in their understanding of newly learned concepts and also inform teachers what next steps they should take with students (e.g., remediation or enrichment). Understanding how students learn supports student learning. In an age where formal learning (i.e., school) can happen anytime, anyplace and at any pace, we can no longer rely solely on teaching strategies that have been honed for the face-to-face classroom to help students learn. With the physical separation of teacher and students taking online courses, meeting learner goals requires additional supports. Well designed courses in the hands of a teacher who is also adept at facilitating online learning build the important foundation for effective learning experiences that will contribute to student persistence and course completion. Anyone who is involved with student success, including mentors, parents and guardians, can make use of cognitive principles to provide another level of support to students to help them engage, persist and own their learning. When they are familiar with course content, activities and goals, the student’s support team can reinforce the growth of learning strategies and self-reflection, keys to developing lifelong learning habits. Understanding and applying cognitive principles that have been shown to promote learning and engage students’ minds is the next area of expertise that we must bring into our practice of online and blended learning. Deans for Impact (2015). The Science of Learning. Austin, TX: Deans for Impact.

This lesson from an Entrepreneurship course illustrates the concept of structuring instruction into “bite-size” chunks on each page that don’t overwhelm the student with too much information. Text and video complement and support each other to reinforce the same concept to students. A study guide is also provided as a scaffold to help students organize and understand new concepts. MACUL journal


Jamey Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of MVU, has served as a catalyst for change and a champion of innovation in public education. Fitzpatrick serves on the Board of Trustees for Olivet College.

Spring 2016



Making Learning More Engaging & Interactive: Formative Assessment Tools You Can Use! Collect data using engaging tools that incorporate video feedback, interactives, and virtual learning. By Jennifer Parker-Moore

Answer: Spice up your lessons, activities, and assessments with Interactive Learning Technology trends have transformed educator productivity, student activities, and data collection for school reporting. Educators use technology to collect data to inform objectives and increase productivity. Students use technology for lessons, assessment, and engagement.

Image source:

Formative assessment tools can help guide instruction. Setting objectives and providing feedback are two of the most important “best practice recommendations” for improving student performance (Dean, Pitler, Hubbell, Stone, 2012). The keys to helping educators frame their objectives, assess student baseline knowledge, chart student progress, or give immediate feedback to students on their levels of learning lies with the technology that supports these critical elements of improving student achievement – formative and interactive technology. In the quest to become “tech ready”, the challenge may be to find engaging tools that fit best in each teacher’s unique classroom environment.


on collecting four types of data: demographic, perception, process, and achievement data. As technology has evolved, the power of data collection to inform instruction has become a part of our daily routine with student information systems, data warehousing, and online tools and apps. From paper and pencil to clickers, we now have a new level of smartphones, tablets, and one-to-one environments that make data collection a part of our emerging school culture. -Demographicidentifying information such as name, birthdate, gender, ethnicity, address, subgroup

-Perception-Process-Achievementhow the organization how the performance is perceived by other organization does information stakeholder groups, business, including on local, state, i.e. community, policies, procedures, national testing; students, colleagues, protocols, and can be summative and/or superiors culture or formative

Educators are asked to collect four types of data for school improvement: demographic, perception, process, and achievement. One of the first data collection tools used in classrooms have now infiltrated classrooms everywhere. In 2000, eInstruction pioneered CPS “Clickers”. These handheld devices looked like television remote controls, and were used by students to “click in” answers to pre-set questions the teacher displayed using multimedia. This revolutionary assessment system became a safe but costly bet for engagement and assessment. Fast forward to 2015, where online formative assessment tools like Polleverywhere have turned smartphones into personal clickers, and students are given QR codes to vote using a single device Plicker system. Image source:


oday’s learner is influenced by a high-tech society filled with smartphones, video gaming, portable mobile devices, and animation. According to the 2015 K-12 Horizon Report, augmented reality, the Maker Movement, and wearable technology are top emerging trends. In the area of assessments, educators now administer summative assessments online and the move to oneto-one devices is becoming increasingly more popular. So how can educators respond to these trends, make learning more engaging and entertaining, and improve student achievement in the process?

Online interactive tools like provide an engaging way to administer formative assessments using a variety of devices. In the ongoing quest to show increased student achievement, schools focus |

QR Codes like this for can be used for interactive scavenger hunts or with Plickers as a formative assessment.

Spring 2016


MACUL journal

Quizlet provides users with a variety of ways to check for understanding, including games, online notecards, or printed sets in a multiple formats. Younger audiences may appreciate AnswerGarden, which creates a word cloud based on audience responses of up to 20 characters. Don’t miss the power of Blendspace where you can create a class and build interactive lessons that include poll or survey questions. Select from a variety of sources to drag and drop content into the tiles as you build lessons. These innovative “online interactive scavenger hunts” can include YouTube videos, documents or files, web links, align to standards, and more. Share the link with students to complete this “web quest”, or create and share amongst themselves. In the sample, students can move through the lesson on the Causes of the Civil War by navigating the tiles – ending with a final Quiz or Poll question. Students might also be asked to create a Blendspace as a digital artifact that demonstrates their learning for sharing with others. In most cases, the Internet now offers a variety of free online formative and interactive tools to help educators gauge or gear up their instruction. Looking to create your own online poll or survey? Check out Survey Monkey, Kwik Survey, or GoSoapbox - which all have polling and survey features that provide immediate graphs, as well as reports for analysis. If you don’t need the bells and whistles, and want simple online questions or surveys with multiple questions, consider using Office 365’s Excel Surveys, or Google Drive’s Forms. The benefits of these two tools are the spreadsheets they create behind the scenes for further inquiry and analysis. The power of polling and surveys creates unique opportunities for educators to create online assessment using that same technology. Multiple questions surveys become multiple question assessments - with data ending up in a spreadsheet format that is easily uploaded into any grading system. “Excel Surveys”, a new feature found within Office 365, has a look and feel of “Google Forms”. MACUL journal


For a more entertaining approach to formative assessment, check out and Quizizz. Polls, surveys, or quizzes that allow the teacher to upload images, video, and audio to increase the effect and allow you to enter your class list for tracking and reporting. Add games to the mix, or replicate many summative test types using Socrative - which allows the teacher to create classrooms, and add multiple questions assessments using a variety of media.

Image source:,

Take it a step further, and use Polleverywhere for a visual interpretation of responses with word clouds, also made popular by AnswerGarden. For practice activities, consider the interactive flash cards found at Quizlet, Cram, or game-like activities at Illuminations, PBS Learning Media, or National Library of Virtual Manipulatives.

Robust reporting and datasets are the best features when you try Quizalize, EDPuzzle, or GoFormative. Quizalize can point out individual student progress, including which were the hardest questions and who needs more help. Improve the way you thoughtfully critique your students by creating video feedback, voiceover, notes, or embed questions into existing video with EDPuzzle. Make it your lesson, assign it to the class, and monitor student progress. With GoFormative you can even upload existing documents (e.g. pdf ’s) and transform them into online assessments for classes that self-enroll using a code. Image source: http:// Sample questions inserted into existing video using EdPuzzle. So get started today – locate demographic, achievement, perception, or process data – or make your classroom more interactive and engaging with these great online formative tools to poll, survey, quiz, assess, or inform your teaching. For more activities to support formative assessment, interactive learning, and virtual learning – check out 21things4teachers. net -- Things 11 (Content Area), 12 (Interactives), and 17 (Evaluation and Assessment) and the Additional Resources or the Dr. Jennifer Parker-Moore is an Instructional Technology/School Data Consultant for Macomb ISD, REMC 18S. She is a co-creator of 21things4teachers, 21things4administrators, 21things4students, 21things4ipads. She is a certified McREL facilitator in the “Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works” framework and co-creator of She can be reached at or follow her on Twitter @jpmoore67.

Winter Spring 2016



Last year over 5,000 educators inte curriculum attended the 2015 MAC

The MACUL Conference is an excellent opportunity to experience best practices for using technology to engage students and educators in learning! With 350 featured, breakout, interactive and hands-on sessions, the 2016 MACUL Conference is Michigan’s largest education conference. The conference provides an outstanding opportunity to ignite learning for… ● Teachers ● Curriculum Leaders ● Technology Leaders ● Superintendents and other Administrators ● Library Media Specialists ● Online Instructors ● Policy Makers including School Board ● ● ● ●

Members Teacher Educators Staff Developers Higher Education Representatives Government and Industry Representatives at the local, regional, state and national levels.


PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS Half and full-day sessions are STUDENT TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE SPONSORED BY MICHIGAN sponsored by MACUL Special VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY Interest Groups on Wednesday, Thursday, March 10, 11 AM – 1 PM. The showcase features some of the March 9. Pre-registration and best learning environments enhanced an additional fee required. PARTICIPATE AND SHARE SESSIONS 60-minute sessions where participants will use their own laptops and other devices. HANDS-ON WORKSHOPS Two-hour sessions in a Mac, Windows or Chromebook lab. Pre-registration and an additional fee required.


Full Conference (Thursday & Friday)......$195 Single Day Rate......................................$145 Full-time Student Rate (1 or 2 days).........$75 Register by February 23, 2016 to receive these early registration discounts. The fee increases by $50 after 2/23/16. Call MACUL Office for information about TIM CHILDERS discounts on full conference registrations Assistant Principal for Technology for 10 or more attendees from the same Integration, L&N STEM Academy, school district. Individuals who have Knox County (TN) Schools pre-registered for the conference may add workshops to their registration ELIZABETH CHRISTIANSEN online until March 2. Workshop Instructional Coach, EAC Consulting tickets will be sold on-site at the Help Desk, as space is available. LESLIE FISHER Director, Visit for complete preconference, workshop & conference pricing, information and registration!

with technology in Michigan. Students and teachers will be available to discuss their projects. Open to all conference attendees.

VIDEO CONTEST MACUL is partnering with Rushton Hurley and Next Vista for Learning in a video contest asking students to highlight creative approaches to teaching and learning, MACULvideo.




LIGHTNING SESSI This fast-paced event will be held prior to the closing keynote on Fri Participants will deliver a 5-min dynamic presentation on a topic abo which they are passionat


are highly regarded educational tech sessions on best practices, tools for t

KRISTIN FONTICHIARO MATT MI Teacher, A Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of Michigan Indiana and MAYANK KHANNA LANCE ROU Graduate Student, School of Vice Presiden Information, University of Michigan and Educatio RICH KIKER Discovery Edu Founder and CEO, Kiker Learning, A Google Education Partner

REGISTER NOW Spring 2016


MACUL journal

erested in learning how to blend technology and CUL Conference in Detroit.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS JAIME CASAP Chief Education Evangelist, Google, Inc Opening Keynote: Iteration and Innovation in Education

MACUL TURNS 40! MEET FEATURED SPEAKERS IONS Thursday, March 10 d just Thursday, March 10, 7:30 – 10:30 PM NEW at MACUL! Meet the featured An evening of fun, fellowship, and iday. speakers in the MACUL Zone. Check networking at the Grand Rapids Public nute the conference app and Twitter for Museum. A photo booth, birthday out people and times. cake, and an escape room by Breakout te. EDU are just some of the highlights. EXHIBITS Light refreshments and a cash bar will E Hall C in DeVos Place be available. N Thursday, March 10, 9:30 AM – 5 PM Friday, March 20, 8:30 AM – 1 PM MAKERSPACE Visit this dynamic exhibit area that Thursday, March 10, 9AM – 4 PM features displays of current hardware Friday, March 11, 9 AM – 2 PM software, and other materials related Create, invent, and learn in to educational technology. Makerspace @MACUL16. Bring ideas, expertise or simply enthusiasm to this informal collaborative environment designed to celebrate hands-on MACUL SHOWCASE THEATER exploration and creation. DeVos Place upper level walkway Friday, 10 – 11 AM and 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM NEW at MACUL! Be sure to check out this area with lots of educators owcasing their ideas, talents, and programs. Walk away with ideas fueled by the energy and passion of colleagues in a short amount of time!

SHANNON MILLER Educational Consultant, Mackin Educational Resources and Cantata Learning • Friday Keynote: Let Them Be Heard. Giving Our Students a Voice • Digital Tools and Apps to Connect, Create and Collaborate • The New voice in Libraries, Classrooms and Educations…Makerspaces RUSHTON HURLEY Executive Director, Next Vista for Learning • Closing Keynote: The Lyrics of Success • Making Your School Something Special • Getting a Digital Video Project Going

hnology experts from across the country. They will present the classroom, and in-depth training for educators of all levels.

ILLER Author, Blogger and Speaker,

MARK SPARVELL Senior Manager, School Leader Audience strategy in Worldwide Education, Microsoft Corporation

UGEUX nt, Learning Communities JOANNA VAN RADEN onal Consultants, Teacher (retired), Manchester ucation Community Schools

for 2016! MACUL journal



to plan your schedule and explore session descriptions, featured speakers, presenters, strands, session times, exhibitor information. Maximize your conference experience using the app for your desktop, Android or iOS device! Spring 2016



Amazing Google Forms Add-Ons

Google Form and Google Spreadsheet add-ons have greatly increased what a user can do with Google Forms and Google Spreadsheet data. Below are some By Andy Mann of the add-ons educators find most useful. Note some can only be added when editing a form, and others only in Spreadsheets or in both. As of this writing, Add-ons are not enabled for the newest version of Google Forms.


Form Notifications Form Notifications can be found under Add-on editing a form (it’s not available as Spreadsheet Add-ons.) It answers the question, “Was my form ever received?” Form Notifications generates an automatic email notification – with text you have provided. It requires an email field on the form. It is simple in what it does…but is useful. Form Publisher Form Publisher is one of the most useful and needed add-ons. It takes form data and merges it into a separate summary document for each entry/record. It will automatically save the merged document as a .pdf or Google Drive document and send it to specified email addresses or an address from the form. It requires you to also create a Google Doc to serve as a template that has specific labels for each of the fields to be merged. It uses a format with identifiers around the field name, e.g. __##First Name##__. The free version allows up to 100 merged forms each month. Update to the $24 a user or $200 a domain, annual premium version for unlimited merged forms. Schools are using this for building use requests, discipline forms, staff evaluations, and project rubric scoring. Choice Eliminator Choice Eliminator like Form Notifications can only be found under Add-on when editing a form. It does what you think – eliminates choices on a form after they are selected. It is a popular add-on when creating a form for parent/ teacher conference time slots or when students select a topic for a report. Yet Another Mail Merge (YAMM) Yet Another Mail Merge is an easy to use mail merge add-on. It takes data from a spreadsheet and merges it into an email you’ve created and saved in your “Draft” folder in Gmail. The column headers/field name label from your spreadsheet is used as placeholders for the merged text using chevrons around the label, e.g. <<FirstName>>. It’s easy and works. The free plan allows 50 mail merge recipients per day. Upgrade to the $24 a year plan to send up to 400 merged emails a day. 14


Awesome Tables Awesome Tables is a Google gadget that works within a Google Site. Yes, you must create or use an existing Google Site to install and use the Awesome Tables gadget. This gadget creates a table from your spreadsheet data and adds interactive controls (like a pull down menu) to select the specific data you want displayed. If you are viewing a lot of data – this is an amazing gadget. There are even add-ons for Awesome Table. Form mule and AutoCrat Form mule and autoCrat

ET39aK are add-ons developed with the leadership of Andrew Stillman and the New Vision Cloud Labs. Form mule is a more advanced mail merge tool, supporting triggered merges, merging into as many as 10 different email templates based specific send conditions, and more. AutoCrat is a powerful document merge tool that creates .pdf or Google Drive documents and then shares/ emails the merged documents. Because of the wide number of options, autoCrat is a great choice for complex merge projects, beyond what can be done with the easier-to-use Form Publisher. Talk to your area ISD or REMC to learn about workshops related to these useful add-ons, or look for a session at state conferences like the conferences sponsored by MACUL. You are welcome to attend one of the ½ day Google Forms Add-ons workshops offered at the Muskegon Area ISD as part of our ISD’s Lunch and Learn workshops Andy Mann is the Director, REMC 4, Instructional Technology Consultant for Muskegon Area ISD, a certified Google Education Trainer and also a member of the MACUL Board of Directors.

Spring 2016


MACUL journal

COLLABORATION THROUGH INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY Michigan eLibrary (MeL) Offers Research and Classroom Products from Gale with Google Apps for Education to all Michigan residents and schools

As a Google for Education Partner, Gale’s digital research and classroom products available through use the most current and popular Google tools to support students as they develop key study and organizational skills. By integrating Google Apps for Education, a free suite of tools that includes Gmail, Classroom, Drive, Docs, and more—Gale supports teachers/media specialists looking to extend the reach of their resources outside of the library and helps educators improve student engagement, encourage collaboration, and foster critical thinking. Best of all, these innovative features are available from anywhere and on any device to all Michigan educators, students, and residents:

MACUL journal


Seamless User login: After the standard auto-authentication into the resource, users can log into Opposing Viewpoints In Context, Research In Context, GVRL, Kids InfoBits or InfoTrac resources using their Google Account credentials.

Integrated Google tools: Once logged in, users can easily share and download articles—including their highlights and notes— using Google Apps for Education tools like Drive and Docs.

Google Classroom integration: Teachers and students can seamlessly assign or turn in content from Gale Resources to Google Classroom via Google’s new Classroom share button.

The Michigan eLibrary is very strong in PreK-12 content. Using Google Apps for Education now integrated into our Gale eResources, teachers and media specialists will be able to more easily incorporate MeL’s vetted, reliable content into the classroom improving the research and learning experience. Webinars for those who would like a step-by-step introduction will be available and will be recorded. Please check the MeL Gale Product Web Trainings site, for the schedule. Dinah Ramirez, Gale Customer Education Specialist (Midwest Region) Deb Renee Biggs, Michigan eLibrary & Outreach Coordinator, Library of Michigan

Spring 2016




By Carol Isakson, MACUL SIG Online and Blended Learning


pen Educational Resources (OER) are excellent additions to engage your students, illustrate a concept or demonstrate a process. They can be images, simulations, videos, lesson plans or even whole course modules. The best part is that you may freely revise, remix, reuse, redistribute or retain (the 5 Rs) to fit your online, blended or face-to-face classroom needs.

The Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN) has collected some of the best resources. OPEN provides an extensive annotated list that includes search engines for creative commons licensed materials and OER repositories including images, video, audio/ music, recorded lecture, tutorials, simulations, open textbooks, and even complete courses.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and UNESCO have been instrumental in supporting the development of the OER movement since 2002. They provide the generally accepted definition: “OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. “ Creators of materials choose one of six standardized licenses from Creative Commons that grant different levels of permission to use their work within the boundaries of copyright law. See the “About the Licenses” page at for descriptions of the six licenses and a short video, “Wanna work together?”. In the past decade, great resources have been developed and organized by dozens of non-profits, educational institutions and government organizations. The result however is a confusing array of content scattered over many repositories around the world. In 2015 a number of the organizations came together to create a strategy to consolidate the global OER movement. They published the “Foundations for OER Strategy Development” www.oerstrategy. org in November as a call to action to promote and develop a global OER community. This document defines the OER movement, acknowledges the similarities of the institutions and prioritizes the strategic goals of OER. They agreed that the following elements were necessary as preconditions of OER adoption: • “Users: Awareness of OER and the motivation to use it. • Content: OER content that users want – and the tools to find, use, and adapt it. • Context: Community and systemic support that will sustain OER.” Join the movement! Learn more about OER by exploring resources and discovering ways to use them with your students. Consider creating and sharing some of your great materials! 16


Florida’s digital repository, “The Orange Grove” is a great example of a general education set of OER organized by K-12, higher education and other collections. A video on the home page explains how contributors choose the appropriate creative commons license. Want to learn more about finding and using OER, blended best practices, mentoring students or creating engaging assessments? You’re in luck! The Special Interest Group for Online and Blended Learning (SIG-OBL) will offer the following pre-conference sessions on March 9, 2016. Watch our webpage for additional information as the conference nears.

Spring 2016


MACUL journal

Creating and Curating Content for your Blended Classroom Blended learning is the combination of excellent teaching and excellent digital content. But where do you get that content? There are many Open Educational Resources available, which we’ll explore. And for the times when you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, there are several tools to help you easily create exactly what your lesson calls for. Blended Best Practices for Your Classroom Blended learning has become a national phenomenon; time to join in the fun! This preconference session is an opportunity to learn more about what blended learning is, how it can impact your classroom and what you can do to get started now! Expect an interactive & collaborative session where you will be working with others and constantly reflecting on your practice. Mentoring Online Students: Conversations to Support Improvement Engaging in professional dialogue is an opportunity for mentors of online students to think about their practice and ways to improve it. This session will engage participants in an active learning experience to explore challenges mentors commonly face and stimulate constructive conversations about effective practices. Strategic Creativity: Your next favorite assessment tool! Traditional assessments are un-engaging. Creative activities yield data that’s difficult to use. How do we balance assessing student progress with creative learning opportunities? Come with us - see engaging and effective assessment through the exploration of digital tools that unpack student learning through screeners, formative assessments and more. Each attendee leaves able to immediately apply tools to the classroom!

References: Creative Commons. Lumen: What are Open Educational Resources? http://lumenlearning. com/about-oer/ Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN). find-oer/ “Open Educational Resources.” Wikipedia has extensive list of links and references. UNESCO What are Open Educational Resources (OER)? http://bit. ly/1xL0Wup or access-to-knowledge/open-educational-resources/what-are-openeducational-resources-oers/ William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Open Educational Resources. or OER logo from UNESCO. communication-and-information/access-to-knowledge/openeducational-resources/global-oer-logo/

Carol Isakson is the webmaster for PlymouthCanton Educational Park at Plymouth-Canton Community Schools. She is the communication officer for MACUL SIG-Online and Blended Learning and may be contacted at carol.

Continuing your education can be key to your career success! Lawrence Technological University

Can Help!

Explore these innovative programs: › › › › › ›

Master of Educational Technology * + Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering Master of Science in Computer Science Master of Science Education * + Bachelor of Science in Robotics Engineering Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering

016 26016 2021061 202106126016 26 201 201260210616 01 26 Also discover “fast-track” graduate certificates in: GREEN BEST BEST COLLEGESBEST COLLEGES BEST COLLEG NATION’S BEST GREEN COLLEGES NATION’S BEST GREEN BEST COLLEGES BEST COLLEGES NATION’S BEST

inMidwest the Midwest in the COLLEGE in the Midwest COLLEGE › Instructional Design, Communication,COLLEGE and Presentation Review Review Review Review Review Review › Instructional Technology * + 016 016 ONLINE PROGRAMS ONLINE PROGRAMS ONLINE PROGRAMS U.S. News U.S.U.S. News & & & News World Report World Report ® ® ® World Report


Scholarships provided to participants NATION’S BEST NATION’S BEST NATION’S BEST * Available + online ONLINE PROGRAMS ONLINE PROGRAMS ONLINE PROGRAMS U.S. News U.S.U.S. News & & & News World Report World Report ® ® ® World Report

Princeton Princeton Princeton ® ® ®

016 26 201 01 26

GREEN GREEN GREEN COLLEGE COLLEGE COLLEGE Princeton Princeton Princeton Review Review ® ® ® Review

® ®

Princeton Princeton Princeton Review Review ® ® ® Review

NATIONALLY FRIENDLY NATIONALLY FRIENDLY FRIENDLY UNIVERSITIES NATIONALLY UNIVERSITIES UNIVERSITIES Highest Alumni Highest Alumni Highest Alumni S C SHCOHSOOCLHOOL O L U.S. News & U.S.U.S. News & & information: News Apply free: More Salaries Salaries Salaries G.I. G.I. Jobs ® Jobs® World Report® 201260210616 AMERICA’S BEST AMERICA’S BEST AMERICA’S BEST

Lawrence Technological University | Office of Admissions 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075-1058 | 800.225.5588 | |

016 01 26 201 26

TOP 10% TOPTOP 10% 10%

NATIONALLY NATIONALLY UNIVERSITIES NATIONALLY UNIVERSITIES UNIVERSITIES Highest Alumni Highest Alumni Highest Alumni U.S. News U.S.U.S. News & & & News World Report World Report World Report ® ® ®

Salaries Salaries Salaries

PayScale PayScale PayScale


26 2 201

BEST COLLEGESBEST BEST COLLEGES BEST COLLEG COLLEGES BEST COLLEGES BEST COLLEGES inMidwest the Midwest forfor in the for Veteran Veterans in the Midwest Veterans


PayScale PayScale PayScale

U.S. News U.S. News && & U.S. News World Repor World Report ® ® World Report


LTU ranks fifth among U.S. colleges and universities for 016 01 26 201260210616 201 202106126016 26 boosting graduates' earning power. – Brookings TOP 10% Institution TOPTOP 10% 10% MILITARY MILITARY MILITARY World Report ® ® World Report

for Veterans forfor Veterans Veterans

Princeton Princeton Princeton

U.S. News U.S. News && & U.S. News World Repor World Report ® ® World Report


BEST SCHOO BEST SCHOOLS BEST SCHOOLS Game Desig Game Design Game Design Princeton Princeton Princeton Review Review ® ® ® Review

G.I. Jobs®




BEST SCHOO BEST SCHOOLS BEST SCHOOLS Game Desig Game Design Game Design Princeton Princeton Princeton Review Review Review ® ® ®

G.I. Jobs ® ® G.I.G.I. Jobs ® Jobs

Lawrence Tech offers over 100 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management.

MACUL journal


Spring 2016



instantly accessible. Google forms and Moodle quizzes work well for this and by embracing these external tools gives students instant assessment on essays and quizzes. THE ENHANCING ENGAGEMENT TOOLS LIST Screencast-O-Matic ( is easy to use. Teachers and students can capture a screen, include a webcam, and mouse clicks to a narration. It is a wonderful tool for making instructional videos, especially in a class where students use new web tools and need to see how to use them. MACUL SIG Professi onal Learning

Haiku Deck ( limits how much text can be added on slides and helps teachers and students find Creative Commons licensed images for presentations. Movenote ( allows a student or teacher to record a video of oneself talking about a presentation via a webcam, and syncs it to the slides. Teacher and students can upload slides from other programs and record audio and/or video of your explanation/narration as part of a single new presentation.

By Julia VanderMolen,

THE ENABLE COLLABORATION ENGAGEMENT TOOLS LIST WeVideo ( is used by educators and students to capture, edit and distribute content for a variety of school activities, including classroom presentations, project reports and extracurricular documentaries. This web-based tool provides broader collaboration by allowing up to 50 people on unlimited projects.

The Internet has changed how the world communicates information and ideas, but when teachers introduce new technology into a class, it is very important to consider whether that technology is truly necessary and if using more technology in your course is a good idea. So how does a teacher engage students with technology? Start with using technology to enhance a lesson’s content. Today’s students tend to be highly visual, preferring pictures and video to words and speech. Mixing in visual learning tools increases their engagement by adding variety to the learning environment. Equally, when students can choose between several teaching media such as online videos and interactive reading materials, their engagement and motivation are also boosted. In addition to mixed media, enable collaboration to reach even more students. Today’s students are also social. They love being part of a community, collaborating, sharing and exchanging ideas. Instant messaging allows teachers and students to discuss tasks, share ideas and links, and generally work together. This can also extend beyond your school group. After all, to succeed in today’s world, students need to network widely and this may mean collaborating with others outside the classroom. Online virtual learning communities such as communities of interest and knowledge communities are great for this, as are tools such as Skype. Another thing to think about is how technology can be used to empower students. One way to do this is to have them each set up a WordPress blog or Twitter account. But remember that not everyone is the same: introverted students might find Twitter intimidating, for instance. Instead, offer choices: podcasting, YouTube, etc. Finally, teachers should think about how technology can be used to exchange feedback. Today’s students are used to giving and getting immediate feedback. Technology can help with this, making data 18


WireWax ( is an interactive video tool for adding new layers of information to educational videos such as those found at YouTube EDU. Teachers can create videos for students or have older students create videos to share with others. “Tag” key points at which students might have questions. At those points insert tags that reveal clarifying information from another video, a web page, an image, or an audio recording. THE EMPOWERING ENGAGEMENT TOOLS LIST Twiducate ( is a simple and free social networking site for teachers and students. A bonus to Twiducate is that it does not require students to have email accounts. Twiducate is a good micro blogging tool for teachers and students to create their own private classroom workspace or network. Voxopop ( is a voice-based elearning tool. Rather than typing discussions, everything is voice. Great for language teachers! THE EXCHANGING ENGAGEMENT TOOLS LIST TodaysMeet ( is an online backchannel designed to allow students to have a conversation behind scenes. It creates a personal chat room that can be set up to invite students to check for understanding. Teachers can check by asking a comprehension question and have students respond in a succinct manner as TodaysMeet only allows for 140 characters. Dr. Julia VanderMolen is an Assistant Professor of Allied Health Sciences with Grand Valley State University. She is the Communication officer for MACUL SIGPL. She can be contacted at (616) 331.5566,, or Twitter @jvanderm.

Spring 2016


MACUL journal

The steps to problem solving include understanding the problem, developing a plan, and implementing a solution. First, students read the problem for understanding, paraphrase in their own words, and visualize by drawing a picture. Next, students develop a plan by estimating quantities and sharing strategies with partners. Lastly, students implement a solution by experimenting with different strategies and showing all of their solutions.

The CCSS Doesn’t Inhibit Creativity

Problem-solving strategies include: changing your point of view, making an organized list, looking for a pattern, solving a simpler problem, drawing a diagram, making a table, using a variable, acting it out, using logical reasoning, guessing and checking, working backwards, and experimenting. Students will take time to reflect on the multiple strategies used to solve one problem. In integrated science, students generate and test hypotheses. This involves the critical thinking skills students learn and use in language arts and advanced math. As a science teacher, I help students develop these skills even further by providing them with more opportunities to experience critical thinking firsthand. I hope that some form of critical thinking is being taught, cultivated, and encouraged in all general education classes, not just language arts and advanced math.

By Mike Lerchenfeldt

Critical thinking encourages discoveries and innovation. However, critical thinking skills can only be acquired through practice.

Are you tired of hearing negative comments about how the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) inhibit creativity? The CCSS is a directional pacing guide that provides teachers the freedom to be flexible and creative with their instruction. These standards encourage students to develop their critical thinking skills in order to obtain deeper levels of understanding rather than rote memorization.

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method that provides the student-centered practice required to develop critical thinking skills. Students increase their knowledge by working for an extensive period of time to investigate an engaging question or problem. The project also helps students develop success skills such as collaboration and self-management. Students locate the resources for information and decide what they create. There is time for teachers and students to reflect on learning or work quality. Students use this feedback to improve their product. They should have the opportunity to share their project with people beyond the classroom.

I have certifications and experience teaching language arts, advanced math, and integrated science. The critical thinking skills students develop in our classrooms are essential for a successful career. In language arts, students investigate the different techniques used in persuasive writing. Using texts of my own choosing, I push students to comprehend and reflect on what they read. They use critical thinking skills such as interpretation and evaluation to analyze the material.

An example of an inquiry project that I use in my science classroom is called “What are things made of?” Students investigate their surrounding environment and research what elements are in the things around them. They try to find patterns and make connections. They conduct research, gather data, and draw conclusions based on evidence.

Interpretation is the ability for students to understand the information. In addition to understanding, students must be able to communicate the information effectively to others. Evaluation is the ability to measure the validity, creditability, and reliability of the information provided. Students learn how to evaluate a website by searching for the author’s and organization’s credentials. I strive to implement fun ideas to engage students when I facilitate my lessons. Using resources from John Stossel, students write persuasive essays on current controversial topics involving national security, government regulations, and global warming. Students learn how to search for information by identifying relevant sources and gathering current data. They use logical reasoning to draw conclusions supported by evidence. In advanced math, students learn to use multiple problem-solving strategies that involve critical thinking. This shows that there is more than one way to do math in real life. After students solve a problem, they write sentences explaining what happened and the strategy they decided to use.

MACUL journal


A service-learning project can give students opportunities to practice their critical thinking skills. This school year, our students will be Stream Leaders for the Clinton River Watershed Council. They will have the opportunity to monitor water quality in our area and interpret data. The Common Core allows teachers to be flexible enough to utilize teaching models like Project-Based Learning to meet the needs of our students. Mike Lerchenfeldt is a member of the Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship. He earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Oakland University and his Masters of Education Degree in Educational Leadership from Saginaw Valley State University. Since 2008, he has been a math and science teacher in the Chippewa Valley Schools. Mike is a Blogger at The Light Bulb for Digital First Media. Connect on Twitter @mj_lerch.

Spring 2016





By Eric Strommer, Director of MACUL SIG Multi-media

Back a few years ago I gave my class of 2nd graders an option on their poems. Would they want to just write them out on paper, type them on the computer and print them out, or post them on a web site and be able to share them with the world? Posting them won hands down. They all thought it was a neat idea that someone from a different part of the country or even from a totally different country could read their poems. I took it a step further and had them read their poems, recorded on my netbook, and then uploaded their typed poem and their recording to VoiceThread. Not only could others see the poems they wrote but also hear their voices. This just blew the kids mind. Never had 20


Spring 2016

they thought they would have others outside their family or school read something they wrote or hear them read. To see their expressions of awe on their faces and the glow of “I did this!” is why I teach. So, over the years I’ve have continued to give students more opportunities to tell their story digitally with the use of computer programs, web based apps, and mobile apps. What follows is a short list of software, apps, and websites that I’ve used or dabbled with in my classroom. VoiceThread ( A website where you upload content – text, an image, or video. And share away. But here is where it gets interesting. Those who view your media can leave a comment. And that comment can be a typed one, an audio recording, and a video recording. How cool is that? VoiceThread then becomes a great tool |

MACUL journal

for collaboration. It is free to sign up and use. You are limited to the number of threads but you can pay for more. There is an education side of VoiceThread where teachers and schools can purchase a premium account for even more features. StoryBird ( A wonderful site where you start with an image, a piece of art really, and begin telling a story, write a poem, or begin a journal entry. Write a one-pager, a short story, or fill chapters of an epic tale. What makes it even better, is that it is free for teachers. You can read the works from other writers and are able to purchase copies of what others have written. You can even get copies of your work: hardcover, softcover, digital copies. What a great way to showcase your students’ writing by having a hardcopy to bring home to share. My Storybook ( An interactive website geared for lower elementary students. This one was shared to me by one of my 3rd grade students a couple years ago. You are given a blank book to fill with images, text, speech bubbles, etc. Start with the cover and then add background scenes on your pages. Place characters and text to tell your story. There are various items to use to add detail to your story. Save your work at the site to work on later. You can read what others have written and download digital copies of your stories.

My Storymaker ( From the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh comes My Storymaker. Another lower elementary digital story telling site. This one is not as open ended as the others but has tons of tools to work with. The kid friendly site also walks the writer through the process of writing the story and using the tools. You can save your work for later with a magic code. When you are done you can print out, download, and share your story through email. Animoto ( Create video/slideshows out of your photos. 30 seconds for free, pay for longer. Use any device to upload your pictures or videos to the site, add to a theme, add music, and add text. You are able to do some tweaking to the images and focus on certain areas. The site then puts it all together for an instant digital story. Blabberize ( Not so much a digital storytelling site, but quite fun to use nonetheless. You take a photo (upload or brought over from another site) and add articulation points around the mouth. Record your voice and the site makes the image talk using your recorded voice. I had my students pick a notable American, find a quote from that person, and use Blabberize to make them talk with the students reading their quote. You can share your blabbers online or download as a video. It’s free to create with and has a premium level with more features. Toontastic ( Toontastic is an iOS app that lets the user create animated stories. They choose a theme, backgrounds, characters, and various items for their story. They then narrate their story through the iPad microphone. They move the characters around the setting. What I really love about the app is that it walks the user through the stages of the story: setup, conflict, challenge, climax, and resolution. Chatterpix ( If Blabberize was made for adults and older students then Chatterpix is definitely made for kids. A free iOS app. Take a picture, draw where you want it to talk, record your voice, and add a few pieces of bling. Very simple for kids to use – and fun too. I know that this list just scratches the surface of all that is out there for what you can use in your classroom for digital storytelling. Best thing to do is get out there, try out the tools and see what works best for you and your students. And have fun at the same time! Eric Strommer is a 4th grade teacher at Holmes STEM Academy in the Flint Community School District. He also serves as Director of the MACUL Multimedia Special Interest Group. You can follow him on Twitter, as turtleman810.

MACUL journal


Spring 2016




By Tim Staal


t has often been said that technology can help to engage learners. But, as the use of technology both inside and outside of our school environments becomes more commonplace, will that engaging quality fade? What do we, as librarians, teachers, and technology coaches, need to do to ensure that our students are engaged in their learning? Step One: Engage Teachers Teachers need to be fully engaged in the learning. Students quickly know if a teacher cares about what they are teaching. Teachers need to be planners, organizers, learners, and coaches. Some of the best gifts that librarians and technology coaches can give their teachers to help them be successful is the time, training, and tools, to do all that planning, teaming and organizing. Librarians need to explore the great variety of technology tools that are available for teachers. These tools include simple classroom organizer and productivity tools such as timers and more sophisticated collaborative tools such as Evernote, Diigo, and Google Apps. We also need to help our teachers be engaged in continual professional development, not only formally through courses, conferences like MACUL, and local in-service opportunities, but also informally through personal sharing, informal personal learning networks (PLN’s) and even fun activities like gamifying PD activities, or over a little breakfast or lunch for sharing opportunities.

and for learning and sometimes the best technology to use can even be no technology. The designing of processes and technology use is another excellent time for librarians and technology coaches to engage with their teachers. We can often serve as catalysts to help teachers try new ideas, work with other teachers, and expand their skills. Helping teachers with organization tasks, planning or even team-teaching is usually very welcome as well.

Librarians and technology coaches should also be involved in one-on-one informal content discussions with classroom teachers to bring different perspectives and new ideas to the table.

Step Four: Engage Students Finally it is time to engage the students. If the teaching and learning teams, the content, the processes and technology are carefully designed and implemented, the students will enjoy their learning, be engaged, and learn more effectively. If this seems like a long involved process for simple teaching with technology, please understand that many of these steps happen over time and informally as a part of the craft of teaching. The important thing is that engaging technology use can enhance learning when it is a part of carefully designed and implemented teaching practices where teachers, librarians and technology coaches work together. Some learning experiences can even go a step further and engage parents as well!

Step Three: Engage Processes and Technology Once the content has been determined, activities for learning should be determined based on that content and the strengths and needs of the students as well as the resources and technology available to the students and their teachers. This is the point where creativity and new approaches using technology can be effective in engaging students in their learning. Project based learning, cross-age and multi-discipline learning, cooperative learning, simulations, gamification, flipped classrooms, and many other engaging learning and teaching techniques can be employed and in many cases enhanced by the use of technology. It is important to remember that technology needs to be appropriate for the content, the process, and the teacher and students. A variety of different technologies is important both for student engagement

Step Two: Engage Content It is important that content and not technology drive instruction. Content needs to be tied to standards, but it also needs to be locally important and make a difference 22


in the lives of the students. Teachers, librarians, and technology coaches need to be involved in district and building team level content committees to ensure that the content that students are expected to learn is appropriate and beneficial. Librarians and technology coaches can be essential partners in these discussions to ensure that not only are such important topics as digital citizenship and the ISTE technology standards included, but can also ensure that the appropriate resources and technologies are available.


Spring 2016

Tim Staal is a retired Librarian, Past-President of MACUL, former Executive Director of MAME and a technology coach,


MACUL journal

2016 MACUL Conference

Register Now March 9-11 • DeVos Place • Grand Rapids, Michigan

Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.