Day 19: Flickr

santacornerhatI know that there will be a ton of pictures taken soon, so day 19 is designated for my favorite photo management site, Flickr.  You create albums or “sets” that allow you to control who can see the content or to share with the world. The following set of pictures of a micro-poetry assignment my students completed a few years ago.

Student Micro Poetry

Flickr also has a full range of creative commons licenses that you can share your photos under. Besides Pixabay, I use Flickr to find photos to use in class. Flickr has “The Commons” which is a collection of photos that can be used in your lessons. History teachers, I think you will like this site.

I also use the Flickr app to upload all the photos I take on my smartphone. I know that there many options for online photo management, but I personally like Flickr.

Icon designed by Artdesigner (Tanya)

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Day 18: Google Forms

presentI have been working with dental instructors on creating a form they can use to grade their students as they work with patients. The instructors wanted something that they could fill out in real time and allow their students to see their grades and comments. Google Forms.

For day 18 I thought about doing a how-to post, but honestly, a single post can not cover everything Google Forms can do for a teacher. So, let me expand on the dental instructors’ story.

The instructors tested the grading form in their summer course. Worked well. First, students got their feedback immediately. Second, adjunct instructors could use the form with no issues. (Adjuncts are important staff for CCC, so having tools that they can step into a class and use without spending a ton of time training is crucial.) Third, the instructors could analysis students’ performance throughout the semester. Each student had their own grading form. The instructors could see that a student might have had an issue with casting teeth three times in a row. This allowed the instructors to personalize their instruction for that student.

For the upcoming semester the grading form is now even more useful because we have mapped out the form to jump to sections needed based on the type of client a student helps with in clinical.

Now, understand, creating these grading forms took a lot of time to develop. I didn’t just make a form and off they went. But the time and energy spent developing the form has created a useful tool for the instructors and the students.

If you haven’t use Google Forms in awhile, I suggest looking into this tool again during break.

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Day 17: Blogging

christmas_letter_instatuts_comFor day 17 I wanted to share an idea instead of a specific tech tool; Blogging.

Blogging Sites
There are so many reasons to blog. One of the best years of teaching Eng 1010 was the semester I used Posterous (no longer active) to publish my students work. Once the students saw that their writing was live, their writing improved almost immediately. Yes, the hit count became competitive (I was teaching to five different schools on the IP system). But they shared each other’s post, left insightful responses, and had fun writing.

I blog to simply share ideas and make a positive impact in this world. I actually have three blogs; one for education, one for poetry, and a personal one. If you have ever thought about blogging, I suggest you start today. You can share your site with me in the comment section below.

Icon designed by Cucu Tudor-Ionel

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Day 16: Expresso

giftI’m going to be an English teacher for day 16 and share a website that will give you more information than you might want about your writing: Expresso. (But you will thank me after you use it.)


Expresso is simple to use, simply copy and past your writing into the text area and hit the analyze button.


For this post I used an older post, “Funyuns,” from my other blog.

step3There is a plethora of information in the “Metrics for editing” window. As an English teacher I could geek out with all the information. When you want to see the results of a metric click on the it to see where in your writing that is present. In the example I have activated “weak verbs.” In my post those verbs are highlighted green. You can activate as many metrics as you wish. Each metric will have a different color.

You can edit your work right in the application. To move your edited work, you will need to copy and past the text. There is no save or export option. I introduced this site to my students this semester. The ones that used Expresso loved it. Try it out, you will be impressed.

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Day 15: 30/30

mistletoeFor day 15 I have an app for you that will help you get things done: 30/30.

30/30 is a simple and useful task manager. You create a list of things that you want done, decide on how much time you want to give to each task and you are on your way to a productive day. The powerful part is thatthe tasks you need to do on a regular bases, 30/30 allows you to keep your list and use it any time.

As an example I have a grading task list. I have a set time to grade homework then I have a set time to check in on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook and then I give myself a few minutes to get up to move around. Another cool aspect of the app is the option to loop your task list. Most nights I have to loop my grading task list at least twice.

The controls are simple and gesture based. If you need to rearrange your list you simply swipe left to move a task to the bottom or swipe right to delete a task. There are a number of personalization options for your tasks like color, icon choices and the alert sounds. I find that I use this timer in all kinds of different situations. This is the app to help you focus on what you need to accomplish.

Icon designed by Artdesigner (Tanya).

This is an update article from 2012.

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Day 14: Memes

xmas_sticker_02Day 14: Memes


For this post I thought I would share some meme cheer. Sharing a meme has become an everyday way of communication. It also gives us a shared experience that strengthens classroom culture and personal relationships.  There are a ton of sites that will allow you to make your own meme but I am going to share the site Image Chef. It is a site and an app you can use to make memes and lots of other fun digital content.

Share your favorite meme in the comment section.

Icon designed by Delacro.


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Day 13: Smartphone

xmas_sticker_14I was talking with a colleague the other day about technology hurdles and the topic of smartphones as a cultural norm came up. I don’t want this post to be about the pros and cons of students having a smartphone in class.  Or to debate if we are addicted to them (that’s for a later post).

In the spirit of technology cheer let’s just admit that smartphones are awesome. Like anything in the classroom, it is how we use the tool that gives it value. I used my phone to make the Tellagami video for the day 12 post. My students use their phones to make projects like stop motion videos. I communicate with my family and friends through text messages, Instagram, and Twitter. My calendar reminds me of my appointments. Yes, I play games (Minecraft PE and Puzzles and Dragons are two of my favorites) and listen to music. But that is the cool part of smartphones, they can enhance almost any aspect of our lives, including helping us learn.

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Day 12: Tellagami

xmas_sticker_05Day 12: Tellagami


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Day 11: YouTube

candlesYouTube is my tech cheer for day 11, for both educational and personal reasons.

Maybe because I have been focusing on web-based courses for CCC this past semester, I have come to appreciate YouTube as a great tool. From embedding videos, hosting content as unlisted, and being able to edit the closed caption transcript, YouTube has become a valuable asset for creating online courses. (There is a more in depth blog post on this aspect of YouTube later.)

On a personal note, I use YouTube for motivation, learning, for my personal blog and for fun. In fact I am listing to my own playlist of music as I write this post. I don’t know if there is a day that I don’t interact with YouTube in some way.

If you are interested, here is an interesting look at YouTube’s history.

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Day 10: Pixabay

golden_ballFor day 10 I wanted to share the site Pixabay, one of my favorite sites to find photos, images, and vectors. All content from Pixabay is released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. Simply put you can use the content in anyway you wish.

Pixabay is also dedicated to having high quality content. All material must match their guidelines and go through a review process before it can be uploaded onto the site. I do contribute photos to the site, and have had some of them rejected.

Plus, most of the images are free. Pixabay does show Shutterstock images in the search results as one way to finance the site. But all content from Pixabay is free. There is an option though to donate for the use of an image if you like.

If you have some image based projects next semester, Pixabay is a great site to start with.

Icons designed by jj-maxer.

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