OETC Day One – Early Hours

After struggling through some early morning traffic, I made my way to the Convention Center and registered.  After meeting up with one of my coworkers, we perused some of the sessions we had picked out that we’d like to attend before the keynote.

Luckily, we found a couple open seats in a session that focused on Google Chrome Apps for Struggling Learners, presented by Jennifer Heim of Ohio State Support Team 2.  I’ve previewed some of the apps and extensions before attending the session, but being there for the majority of the meetup (we walked in a few minutes late) was a nice start to the day.

The most notable extensions mentioned were related to reading accessibility.  When we walked in, Jennifer was discussing ATBar, an accessibility toolbar that is added to Chrome and gives some extra options for viewing and reading any text (including text-to-speech and display options).

Here are some of the other notable extensions that were mentioned:


From the developer:  “ATbar has been created as an open-source, cross-browser toolbar to help users customise the way they view and interact with web pages. The concept behind ATbar is simple: One toolbar to provide all of the functionality you would usually achieve through the use of different settings or products.”


Screenshot 2014-01-27 at 9.36.15 AM

Cruxlite allows users to simplify text by reducing the total number of words of the selected text.  You can adjust the text complexity to the user’s preference, which would make it ideal for modifying reading selections for students with a wide range of skill levels.

Our first keynote is starting (Kevin Honeycutt) so I’ll finish this up later in another post.  After walking on the stage and talking about being thrown out of a Wal-Mart for wearing Google Glass, I was sold.

Ohio’s Educational Technology Conference – Day One Preview

OTEC is the third largest state educational technology conference in the country.

Despite the cold and snowy conditions, many people in the education industry will be attending the Ohio Educational Technology Conference this week.  The three-day event will be filled with a plethora of innovative individuals, groups, and companies who are looking to leave their marks on the EdTech industry, and on education in general.  

For those of us who have the opportunity to meet up at OETC, the choice of sessions, workshops, and participant-driven meetups (OETCx) is impressive.  I have a feeling that after registering and going to my first 8:00 session I’ll adjust my plan for the day.

I’ll be attending Monday and Tuesday, and look forward to seeing what other teachers are currently implementing in their classrooms successfully to being back and share with my colleagues.  Hopefully I’ll have a lot to share tomorrow after day one.

Google Glass Explorer Invite

When I applied months ago to be a part of Google’s Explorer program for their wearable Glass, I didn’t think I’d hear back anytime soon.  I assumed that they would be selecting from a pool consisting primarily of developers and media folk who would give some positive early previews of the device to feed into the hype continues to build for the platform.

I had the chance to try Glass in December of last year when I ran into Brad Griffith, President and Web Strategist of Buckeye Interactive.  An Explorer himself, he was more than eager to share his Glass unit with me and let me test it out for myself.  The initial “wow” factor was undeniable, and I was eager to have more time with the product to experience its potential.  (read his experiences with Glass here)

An Unexpected Invitation

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised when I received an invitation email a few days ago from Google that I now had my chance to become a Glass Explorer myself.  After trying unsuccessfully to wipe the grin on my face that was my initial reaction to reading this, I clicked the link titled “Get Glass” and started to reflect about my current situation:  Is this new wearable smartphone accessory really worth the $1500 price tag?

My biggest concern with jumping the gun and shelling out over a grand for a cell phone accessory isn’t whether I’d actually use it or not.  While some Explorers have mentioned that wearing Glass in public can be a bit strange and awkward, I’d relish in the attention and would enjoy explaining the contraption on my face to onlookers.

Rather, I am worried that becoming an Explorer and paying for an unfinished version of the product will come back to haunt me upon Google’s official release of Glass.  How much will it cost?  When will is be released?  How much MORE will I have paid to get it earlier than others?

To Explore or Not To Explore

While I am leaning more toward declining the offer to pay to be a part of the program, I am curious to see what others have to think.  If you were in my shoes, would you take a chance to try out Glass up to a year before others?  Or would you ride it out and wait for the public release to (hopefully) nab it at a much lower price point in the near future?

Google Glass Explorer Edition

Having the chance to own Google Glass (even with the high price tag) is tempting – but is it worth it?

When I initially received the invite, only the Tangerine and Sky colors were available for purchase.  After checking again today, however, I’ve noticed that their other color options are now in stock (I’ve had my eye on Cotton from the beginning) which makes me reconsider giving it a go.

Leave a comment below or tweet @EdTechToolkit with your opinion, as I’m having a hard time convincing myself to make the transition to Glass right now.

Researchers See Video Games as Testing, Learning Tools

NLG Consulting

See on Scoop.itUsing Technology to Transform Learning

Wisconsin researchers are examining whether games can measure learning and build attention, empathy, and other noncognitive skills.

Norton Gusky‘s insight:

Research that will demonstrate how games can impact learning.

See on www.edweek.org

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A Teacher’s Guide to Social Media

A Teacher’s Guide to Social Media

A great overview of the “dos and don’ts” of social networking for teachers to follow.  While most of this article pertains to things to avoid doing yourself on social networks, points number 5 and 6 are geared towards ways to use social networking in positive ways to encourage, motivate, and communicate with your students.

Edmodo is one of many social networks that are intended primarily for student and teacher communication in an online space.  Edmodo has adopted a visual style very similar to that of facebook, which would allow students who are familiar with its layout to be more comfortable and engaged in communication and collaboration.  Schoology, a hybrid social network/LMS for students and teachers, also has a facebook-esque feel that most users are accustomed to.

As I read through this article, TED Ed was a service that I was not currently familiar with, but extremely excited about upon discovering.  I have tried using other services to easily create content for students to access on their own (Learnist, Khan Academy, other services that I have forgotten the names of) but TED-Ed shows great promise.

Like Khan Academy, TED-Ed allows teachers to assign students videos to watch to teach/reinforce concepts and then answer questions demonstrating mastery.  However, TED-Ed breaks the mold by allowing teachers to create context specific to what they are teaching, and customize the lesson as they see fit (not to mention that Khan Academy primarily focused on Math concepts).

After reading the article, check both of these services out to see how you could implement them in your own classroom.

Paint or Paint App? Value of Creating Digital Vs. Traditional Art | MindShift

Really like this topic! Technology doesn’t all have to be about databases and quantitative information… Also, if schools already have the hardware, this could be a way to save funds and resources while improving visual/spatial foundations and awareness.

NLG Consulting

See on Scoop.itUsing Technology to Transform Learning

While it may be easy to imagine how iPads can support classroom studies with reading, history, or science, some of the most groundbreaking — and creative —

Norton Gusky‘s insight:

Art and music opportunities using iPads – shouldn’t all students have the opportunity to explore ways to express their ideas?

See on blogs.kqed.org

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30 Poems, 30 Days: NaPoWriMo Has Begun

After having used NaNoWriMo in the past, it would be nice to use this in the classroom as well. NaNoWriMo has some excellent student materials and resources for teachers, but it seems that NaPoWriMo still has a way to go in incorporating K-12 education into its reach.

The WordPress.com Blog

Calling all poets! April is National Poetry Writing Month — NaPoWriMo for short. Modeled after National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), NaPoWriMo is an annual project encouraging poets to write one poem each day in April.


We love discovering poetry in the Reader and are proud of the poets who call WordPress.com their online home, like Pushcart-nominated poet Kellie Elmore. If you’re an established or aspiring poet, or want to dabble in free verse, lyric essays, and more experimental prose, we encourage you to participate this month.

A poem a day

First time participating in a post-a-day project like this? We asked poet and publisher Maureen Thorson, the founder of this project, for advice:

Be open to the possibilities. The point isn’t to turn out a fully formed sonnet each day — although if anyone wants to try, I’m not going to discourage them! The point is to just…

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