Saturday, August 5, 2017

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith

WHEN:  Tuesday August 8th, 2017
TIME:  4-4:30PM Eastern Time
Youtube Live:  Link

Want to win a Digital Copy of the Book?  Check out the Amazon Giveaway
I'm really looking forward to talking to Holly and Tanya about their amazing new book The Google Infused Classroom.

Preview their  latest Book "The Google Infused Classroom":

A little bit about Tanya and Holly:

Tanya Avrith M.A. EdTech is a passionate educator; from Montreal Canada, now living in South Florida. She is a Google Certified Innovator and Apple Distinguished Educator. With deep roots as a teacher and pedagogue, Tanya consults with schools to help plan and execute large scale deployments and professional development plans for digital citizenship, technology integration initiative and organizational development in schools. Tanya is currently the Director of Educational Technology at Grandview Preparatory School in Boca Raton, Florida.

Connect with her at:
Twitter:  @TanyaAvrith

Holly Clark is an award-winning educator and speaker based in San Diego. She is both a National Board Certified Teacher and Google Certified Innovator. A long time teacher and administrator, Holly consults globally with schools to help them successfully and purposefully innovate instruction through the use of learning theory, technology integration and design thinking strategies. Holly holds an MA in Education from Columbia University, New York.

Connect with her at:
Twitter:  @HollyClarkEdu
Hollyclarkedu on instagram

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Google Tutorial- Creating a Personalized Feedback Sticker for your Students.

I have been working with a fantastic school that is in the process of integrating the GSuite (Formerly Google Apps for Ed).  I was showcasing Google Classroom and how teachers can create assignments using a Google Doc.  It occurred to me that it might be fun to create a personalized feedback method using the build in Google Drawings Tool that works within Google Docs.  Here is what I came up with!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Teacher- Vickie Morgado

Date:  July 6th, 2017
Time:  4-4:30pm Eastern

Please join me as I learn from amazing educator Vickie Morgado.  I was Vickie do a presentation at the Canada Connect Conference.  I was not only impressed with the content of her presentation which showcased using tech tools in her elementary classroom, but how seamless she incorporated technology, including linking up to her classroom via Skype.  

A little about Vickie
Vickie has been an elementary educator in Ontario, Canada for 16 years. She has taught multiple grades and worked as a technology coach. Vickie believes in empowering her students to take charge of their learning to create positive change in the world becoming agents of change. She holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum Studies from Brock University and has presented throughout southern Ontario at various conferences including BIT (Bring it Together), OAME and Connect as well as internationally at ISTE 2015. Vickie is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE), Skype Master Teacher, and PioNear. She uses technology in her classroom to connects her students with the world.

Ways to Connect
Twitter @vickiemorgado1 @MrsMorgado1

Friday, June 23, 2017

ISTE 2017 Coming Soon

Doing my best to keep up with all things ISTE17.  Beyond my twitter feed, I am trying to capture some higlhights, especially poster area student presentations.  Below is some quick interviews/ videos.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Interview with E-Learning Expert- Dr. Liz Hardy

Over the past few years my work has led me to explore the potential and pitfalls of Online Learning.  It is a very new and trending industry and examples of both good, bad, and ugly abound.  As a matter of fact, I found lots of the E-Learning/ Online Learning Courses that I came across that were very dry and dull.  In essence, lecture style teachers were simply bringing their lecture style into an online platform.   While some teachers are certainly brilliant orators, I found that this was limiting the power of e-learning technologies.

So in my research, I came across the work of Dr. Liz Hardy.  Liz's work has been laser focused on making Online Learning, engaging and powerful.  Liz is in New Zealand, so our time zones were difficult to schedule an interview, so she kindly answered my questions via Google Docs.  Here are her insights into the future and possibility of Online Learning and education.

Bio:  Dr. Liz Hardy is the founder of, which shows online teachers how to work smarter - not harder.

Where to find her work:

My Interview: 

  1. Liz, I have been drawn to your work because you are very focused on Online Learning.  Can you tell me your learning process with OL ?  

My learning process involved jumping in at the deep end of e-learning, and starting to swim right away! I was suddenly teaching several courses in topics new to me, and I got very focused, very quickly! I asked a lot of questions of my poor colleagues, and trusted my own ability to adapt to my new environment and find my way around.

Part of the problem when you’re just starting out is it’s so hard to know if you’re doing a good job or not - and so you work like a maniac to prove yourself. That’s only natural - but it’s not sustainable (and early on, your methods are not efficient).

That’s one of the reasons I created SimpliTeach, actually - to save other online teachers the pain of working 24/7 to achieve the same result they could in much less time if they used better techniques.

  1. What do you think the future of Online Learning looks like?

The movement into gamification and mobile learning are talked about a lot, as ways of meeting the ongoing challenge of engaging learners who are overcommitted and highly mobile.  

Technological developments are always interesting (and of course necessary), but I think it’s vitally important to focus on the human side of learning first and foremost. There really has to be some rapport and trust in a teaching/learning relationship to get the best results.

  1. What projects are you working on?

I’m really excited about some revolutionary online teacher training courses I’ve developed! They’re revolutionary because they’re highly relevant and actually produce results.
I think we’ve all wasted time on professional development activities that have taught us nothing.

In my experience, professional development courses often give you one of two extreme experiences:

  1. They’re dry and crushingly boring, or
  2. They’re pointless, and just plain annoying! I went on a course once that involved getting up every hour and walking around, flailing my arms to “shake up the energy in the room” before getting back to drawing on brown paper with crayons. Why, why why?

I want to offer online teachers the opposite of these kinds of experiences - targeted, online training that they’ll actually enjoy, and which gives them insider information they can apply right away.
That’s why I offer courses like:

“Hunting & Gathering 101: Survival Skills for New Online Teachers” - which shows new online teachers how to do a stunning job from day one of their first semester, and

“E-learning Stardom: Take Your Teaching Career to the Next Level” - which shows more experienced online teachers how to get the rewards they deserve for all their hard work!

  1. Tell me about Simpliteach?  What is its mission?

I founded SimpliTeach to show online teachers how to work smarter.

Over the last 10 years when teaching 5,000+ online students at all levels, I’ve noticed some recurring challenges, for both teachers and students. From talking to my network of online teachers and from doing a lot of reading, I saw that there was a need for some real-world solutions to these challenges.

So I draw on my own experiences, the experiences of my colleagues, and the wealth of published material out there to create simple, practical strategies for online teachers to do a fantastic job.

  1. Do you see Social Media and online learning coming together?  VR?

I’d say it’s inevitable - there are already lots of ways to use Facebook and Twitter as tools for both teachers and learners. But as I said above, I really believe you have to prioritise the human element and remember the technology is a tool.

Speed Geek Questions:  Spin the Wheel 3 Times and answer the questions.
ex. first computer? Favorite operating system?  Star wars or star trek?

Star Wars or Star Trek or Harry Potter

Star Trek, because they’re always up for an adventure - whether it involves climbing plastic rocks on an alien planet, outsmarting The Borg on cube-shaped ships, or dreaming up computer-generated fantasy worlds on the holodeck!

Although I do love the talking paintings in Harry Potter, and I have something of an owl obsession.

Favorite Social Network

Twitter - I’m amazed at how you CAN have meaningful conversations in 140 characters!

How do you Unplug From Technology

I like to go away for the weekend to one of the little country towns near me in New Zealand - drink in the 40,000 shades of green in the landscape, and keep a keen eye out for hobbits! I always bring a notebook with me (the paper type!) because I’m usually working on new ideas for SimpliTeach or my other websites...

Monday, May 15, 2017

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Jen Giffen

Watch the Interview Streamed Live  HERE

Recently I attended the Canada Connect Conference, in Niagara Falls Ontario.  It was a really engaging conference with lots of good sessions and fantastic presenters.  During the presentation I did with colleague, Melanie Kitchen, I had a great conversation with Jen Giffen.  Jen had a lot of great ideas of her own and I could tell we could have talked edtech for a lot longer.  So I asked her to come on the #CWAG Program and tell me more.  I will ask her about the conference and her thoughts on the state of Edtech in Canada and in the schools she works with.  Can't wait to chat.

Here is a little bit more about Jen:

Jen Giffen currently works as a Digital Literacy Resource Teacher with the York Region District School Board, just north of Toronto, ON..

She earned her B.Ed (I/S English and Mathematics) at Queen's University and her M.Ed (Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning) at OISE at the University of Toronto.

She is a Sketchnoter, Google for Education Certified Trainer, and Apple Teacher. She has a keen interest in EdTech and is always looking for new tools to enhance the learning environment to engage students and increase critical thinking skills.

She spends her free time playing with her three little boys and coaching and participating in competitive cheerleading.

Connecting with Jen:
Twitter:  @virtualgiff  
Instagram: @virtualgiff  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Gaming and Gamification Part 3: Tangential Learning- The Trojan Horse Every Teacher/ Parent Needs to Know About

Many of us have learned about the story of the "Trojan Horse".  A good summary of the story can be found HERE (Shmoop)

This story came to mind when I heard about the concept of Tangential Learning.  Many educators I have talked to have not heard of this concept, and yet, I would argue EVERY educator and parent should know about it.  So in a nutshell, what exactly is it?  Well the classic definition is this:  Tangential learning is the process by which people educate themselves on a topic when it is presented in a context that they enjoy (source).  A really great video on the concept can be viewed below:  ****There is a 4 letter word in this video*** For Parents and Teachers its worth watching anyway.

I experienced tangential learning as a child watching the cartoons and movies.  How many of you remember Bugs Bunny Cartoons?  These cartoons featured Al Capone type Mobsters, Beethoven Musical Selections, and Napoleonic adversaries galore.  It wasn't until years later that I realized the cartoons contained snippets of classic music and art that I was able to remember for schoolwork and quizzes.  
Today's gaming climate offers an incredible amount of tangential learning possibilities.  From the classic WWII games like Medal of Honor to the most recent Assassin's Creed, history topics abound.