12 Days of Techmas Day 7: Flipgrid

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners

I always try to remember it�s not about the tech, it�s how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the door to bigger discussions about, creativity, pedagogy, and learning. It is ok to sometimes start with the tool and then explore how or why you might use it to enhance teaching and learning.

Day 7 – Flipgrid
Yesterday, I shared The Padlet, a great resource for collaboration and communication. Up today is one of the best tools to engage students in reflective learning. 

Flipgrid is a video discussion platform for teachers and students. Flipgrid has become a favorite resource in my classroom and school to engage students. My students and I use Flipgrid in a variety of ways, including:
  • Student Introductions
  • Online Discussions
  • Formative Assessment
  • Reflective learning
  • Persuasive TED Talks
  • Exit tickets
  • and more . . . 

Learn more about the power of Flipgrid with our Flipgrid Tips and Resources Document

If you�ve used Flipgrid in your classroom, please share your story in the comments below. If you have questions or other ideas, the comments below are waiting for you to ask or share. 

(Links to Each Day’s Resource as They Become Available)

I will be back tomorrow with a new resource. Lather, rinse, repeat. Does anyone actually do this?
 We wouldn’t have the internet if it wasn’t for cats, right? Image Source
I am a Science Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. I am a lifelong learner who is always looking for new ideas and challenges. 
Twitter: @WickedEdTech | Blog: Know Your Why | Website: WickEdEdTech

The 12 Days of Techmas – Day 6: Padlet

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners

I always try to remember it�s not about the tech, it�s how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the door to bigger discussions about, creativity, pedagogy, and learning. It is ok to sometimes start with the tool and then explore how or why you might use it to enhance teaching and learning.
Day 6 – Padlet
Yesterday, I shared The Noun Project, a great resource for high-quality icons and graphics. Today I am sharing one of my favorite resources to support digital collaboration and communication. Whenever I want students to share ideas or creations with the class, Padlet is the place. 

Padlet is a digital bulletin board where students and teachers can post messages, collaborate, reflect, share links, share videos, and share pictures. Padlet is a great resource to support student voice and creative communication in any classroom.
Everything you need, nothing you don�t. If only life were like that.


Did you know that Padlet posts can include file uploads, links, Google searches, photos, webcam recordings, audio recordings, screencasts, drawings, map locations, or links to other Padlets? 

Learn more about the power of Padlet in our Padlet – Collaboration & Communication Resources and Tips Document

If you�ve used Padlet in your classroom, please share your story in the comments below. If you have questions or other ideas, the comments below are waiting for you to ask or share. 

(Links to Each Day’s Resource as They Become Available)

Don’t worry, I will be back tomorrow with another resource to share. 

I am a Science Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. I am a lifelong learner who is always looking for new ideas and challenges. 
Twitter: @WickedEdTech | Blog: Know Your Why | Website: WickEdEdTech

12 Days of Techmas Day 5: The Noun Project

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners


I always try to remember it�s not about the tech, it�s about how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the door to bigger discussions about, creativity, pedagogy, and learning. Sometimes exploring a new EdTech resource can lead to some incredible learning experiences. 

Day 5 – The Noun Project

Yesterday, I shared Unsplash Photos, one of my favorite resources for finding incredible royalty free images. Today I will be sharing another great resource to support visual design.


The Noun Project is an incredible resource to add some visual flair to anything you create. My students and I regularly use the royalty-free icons in our presentations and digital sketchnotes. I also love to use specific icons in place of bullet points to organize the learning process in many of my HyperDocs

Creating, Sharing, and Celebrating the World’s Visual Language Millions use Noun Project to simplify communication, across borders and around the world. 


The Noun Project also has an Add-on for both Google Slides and Google Docs.  Be sure to check out The Noun Project Blog, which is chocked full of great ideas and strategies to make the most of visual language. 

If you�ve used The Noun Project in your classroom, please share your story in the comments below. If you have questions or other ideas, the comments below are waiting for you to ask or share. 

(Links to Each Day’s Resource as They Become Available)


I will share another resource tomorrow. We will not repeat any resources during this 12-day adventure. Not quite Groundhog Day, but you get the idea?

Image Source

I am a Science Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. I am a lifelong learner who is always looking for new ideas and challenges. 
Twitter: @WickedEdTech | Blog: Know Your Why | Website: WickEdEdTech

The 12 Days of Techmas – Day 4: Unsplash Photos

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners


I always try to remember it�s not about the tech, it�s how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the door to bigger discussions about, creativity, pedagogy, and learning. It is ok to sometimes start with a tool and then explore how or why you might use it to enhance teaching and learning.
Day 4 – Unsplash Photos
Yesterday, I shared one of my favorite resources for quick visual designs. Today I will be sharing another great resource to support visual design.

There are many great royalty free photo websites, but Unsplash Photos is definitely a favorite.

Make something awesome. Over 550,000 free (do-whatever-you-want) high-resolution photos brought to you by the world�s most generous community of photographers.
Created with Adobe Spark using Unsplash Photos


Images can be copied or downloaded from the site without signing up. Unsplash Photos is also an Add-on in Google Slides. No need to ever leave the My students and I use Unsplash Photos all the time to incorporate images into our presentations, memes, infographics, and more. 

If you�ve used Unsplash Photos in your classroom, please share your story in the comments below. If you have questions or other ideas, the comments below are waiting for you. 

I promise I won’t be Scrooge. I will be back tomorrow with another resource. I wonder what it will be? So many awesome resources, so little time! Hopefully, I can figure it out before tomorrow.

Image Source

I am a Science Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. I am a lifelong learner who is always looking for new ideas and challenges. 
Twitter: @WickedEdTech | Blog: Know Your Why | Website: WickEdEdTech

The 12 Days of Techmas – Day 3: Google Autodraw

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners


I always try to remember it�s not about the tech, it�s how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the door to bigger discussions about, creativity, pedagogy, and learning. It is ok to sometimes start with a tool and then explore how or why you might use it to enhance teaching and learning.
Day 3 – Google Autodraw
Yesterday, Melissa Wilson shared one of the great lessons from the Google Applied Digital Skills Curriculum. Today we are sharing another great resource for Google.

Google Autodraw is a digital whiteboard with a bit of an awesome surprise. 

“AutoDraw is a new kind of drawing tool that pairs the magic of machine learning with drawings from talented artists to help everyone create anything visual, fast.”

Google Autodraw has all the power of a digital whiteboard, with one huge advantage. The Autodraw AI will attempt to match sketches with actual graphics created by graphic designers from around the world. This allows users to blend their own notes and artwork with Autodraw’s vast library of graphics. 
I am a huge believer that sketching or drawing is a great way to make learning stick. Paper and pen is still one of my favorite ways to create sketchnotes, memes, and infographics. Google Autodraw has become the go-to resource for my students when we are creating quick digital reflections, sketchnotes, memes, infographics, or other visuals. It is also quite a bit of fun to watch students work hard to create a sketch that matches the graphic they have in mind. 

If you�ve used Google Autodraw with students, please share your story in the comments below. 

No melting here. I will be back tomorrow with another resource. I wonder what it will be? So many awesome resources, so little time! Hopefully, I can figure it out before tomorrow.

I am a Science Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. I am a lifelong learner who is always looking for new ideas and challenges. 
Twitter: @WickedEdTech | Blog: Know Your Why | Website: WickEdEdTech

The 12 Days of Techmas – Day 2: Google’s Applied Digital Skills

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners

I always try to remember it�s not about the tech, it�s how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the gate to bigger discussions about pedagogy and learning. Start with a tool and then explore how or why you might use it to enhance teaching and learning.
Day 2 – Google Applied Digital Skills (If/Then Lesson)

Yesterday, I shared Adobe Spark. Adobe Spark is a great resource that allows educators and students to create graphics, web pages, and video stories all in one place. Today guest blogger Melissa Wilson shares her experiences with Google Applied Digital Skills. 

Google Applied Digital Skills is a wonderful resource for all teachers. Google�s impressive, free curriculum uses video-based lessons that cover a wide range of digital skills for students to develop and utilize. The best part…you can incorporate these impressive lessons into your own instructions and content, while also teaching real-world applicable digital skills. In my sophomore English classes, I decided to dive into the If/Then Adventure Stories Curriculum and used it to teach and assess narrative writing. This awesome curriculum teaches digital collaboration, presentation formatting, and slide hyperlinks utilizing Google Docs and Slides; it can also be used in other classes besides English, as students should be creative and writing in every class.

Students worked in partners and created a Choose Your Own Adventure-style story in Google Slides. We followed the curriculum set in place by Google, but I tweaked it as needed for my classes. We watched videos together, discussed them as a class, and then students were given time to collaborate and create. All of this was done in class, as I am not a fan of giving homework. In my 11 years of teaching, this activity was probably one of the most engaging, popular assignments completed by students. For almost two weeks, students were engaged the entire class period and complained when it was over. They were creating, communicating, collaborating, and critically thinking while crafting these stories. Most groups wrote more than was expected of them due to their excitement over their story ideas and development. I was apprehensive to try this, but I am so happy I did! My students requested to do something similar second semester, and if they are this excited to write, then I will make it happen. While Google Applied Digital Skills provided a shell for the unit, I was able to modify as needed based on what my students needed to learn the skills and complete the assignment. This unit provided evidence that giving students opportunities to create, collaborate, and take ownership of their learning develops the most memorable and meaningful learning experiences for our students!

Isn�t it great to still be learning while you are enjoying the holiday season? Don�t you worry, we will be back tomorrow with more goodies to get you excited for the new year!

Melissa is an English Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. I love learning from my colleagues and challenging my students to take ownership of their learning.

Twitter: @mrswilsonnv
Website: #WhatsupEDU

The 12 Days of Techmas – Day 1: Adobe Spark

12 Days of Our Favorite Resources to Engage Learners

I always try to remember it�s not about the tech, it�s how you use it. This being said, sometimes learning about a new tool or resource will open the gate to bigger discussions about pedagogy and learning. Start with a tool and then explore how or why you might use it to enhance teaching and learning.

Day 1 – Adobe Spark


Adobe Spark is an incredible creative design resource for teachers and students. In fact, it is actually 3 tools all wrapped up on one site (holiday pun intended). I use Adobe Spark in a variety of ways as part of the learning process. If you want students to create as part of the learning process, Adobe Spark is a great place to start.

Create and share incredible graphics connected to learning experiences with Spark Posts.
Create and share awesome photo stories and video voice-overs with Spark Videos.
Create and share inspiring designs and visual web stories with Spark Pages.

If you�ve used Adobe Spark with students, please share your story in the comments below.

We will share another resource tomorrow. Same Bat Channel Same Bat Time? See you then!

Image Source

I am a Science Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. I am a lifelong learner who is always looking for new ideas and challenges. 
Twitter: @WickedEdTech | Blog: Know Your Why | Website: WickEdEdTech


Reflecting On Another Year of Blogging – It’s Not About the Tools or IS IT?

I love Twitter and for a while, it was all I needed as an educator and a learner outside of my school. I eventually realized that it was hard to say and see everything I wanted to in a medium that moves so fast., for this reason, I started to blog a few years ago with two goals in mind.

  • The More You Share The More You Learn! #CanIGetAWitness
  • I Am A Reflective Learner And Blogging Is One Way To Reflect On My Teaching and Learning Experience. 

I’ve tried to come up with a consistent theme for my blog this year, but I still don’t know that I have found a niche for my blog. Maybe it is because there is not one thing that I am great at? Jack of all trades, but master of none? 
I do have a couple of fundamental beliefs about teaching and learning that hope show up somewhere in most of what I share.

  • The word technology cannot be separated from teaching and learning anymore. The legacy of going to a computer lab to use tech needs to die. Like it or not, technology is deeply ingrained in almost every aspect of our lives. 
  • You must start exploring why you are doing something before looking at how you will get it done. If I don’t know why I am doing something connected to teaching and learning, then why would I still do it?
  • When I get it right, this quote is the absolute truth.
    Pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator” – Michael Fullan
  • Content has its place, but learning can’t just be about content. I think of my content as a tool to support the development of essential skills for students. 
  • The best educators are facilitators of learning. They are not the source of all knowledge in a classroom. Student-centered engagement is not easy, but it is the best way. 
  • Everything is a remix. We can’t stand alone, we must collaborate to help all learners grow. 

Looking back, I realized that One Thing has changed for me this year. I used to believe that everything I did needed to start with good pedagogy before the technology should even be mentioned. I realized this year that sometimes it is ok to start with an EdTech tool or resource. Sometimes starting with the tool leads to some incredible and innovative lessons and activities. Does it make sense to say that EdTech is my muse?

Sometimes it is ok to put the cart (Technology) before the horse (Pedagogy) as long as you know that eventually, the horse needs to take the lead if true change is ever going to get rolling. 

I’d love to know if any of my posts that focused on a particular tool or group of tools inspired something awesome in your school? Please share in the comments below or using the hashtag #ShareYourWhy.

Here are some of the top posts this year connected to some of my favorite tools that I use with students and educators. Do these posts inspire you to do something new with your students? 

What’s next for the blog . . .

We will be doing a 12 Days of Techmas series of posts starting on December 25th. The idea is to share some tech tools that might inspire some innovative teaching and learning. Look for us to get started on December 25th. (I do have a few guest bloggers booked.) 

In 2017 I reflected on the posts that received the most hits, and I plan to do the same thing at the start of 2019. Stop by sometime after the 12 days of Techmas to learn more.

I hope you find and share your why in 2019. Happy Holidays!
The More Your Share The More Your Learn!

DitchSummit 2018 – Listening, Learning, and Collaborating


The Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit is a FREE virtual event from December 14-31, 2018. It brings together some of the brightest minds in education to discuss technology, pedagogy and more.

This is one of my favorite online conferences and I highly recommend engaging in the videos and sharing your thoughts via the #DitchSummit hashtag.

I am going to do my best to engage each day and share my key takeaways in this document.






Building a PLN The More You Share the More You Learn

My Personal Learning Network Love Story
Yes I Love My PLN

I�ve only spent about half of my educational career as an active member of a Personal Learning Network. I still remember getting started as a science teacher in 1992. I was given some paper resources (The internet was still little more than a fad at this point.) and a syllabus for the class. I was the only one teaching the class, so I was mostly on my own. I created, experimented, and revised activities and assessments by myself. My students were my critics. If I was lucky enough to attend an educational conference, I sat in the back of the room and diligently recorded ideas and resources that I would take back to my classroom and my students. I kept to myself, I am an introvert by nature. I thought I was doing all I could to grow as an educator and help my students. I was wrong.

In April of 2009, I joined Twitter. I won�t lie to you and tell you that this made all the difference right away, there was no glorious light that suddenly appeared from the heavens. It was the open gate that started me on my path as a contributor to a Global PLN. I mainly lurked on Twitter until the ICE Conference in 2012, where I discovered the power of the educational hashtag. This is the moment where I was off and running. I made new connections and began collaborating outside of my school. I met, collaborated, and learned from educators both in a digital world and in the real world. It was and continues to be a glorious experience. Today I love to learn, collaborate, and share on a variety of social media platforms with educators from around the world. I no longer hide in the back of the room at conferences. I present, I tweet, and I collaborate every chance I get whenever and wherever I can.

Being part of a PLN has made all the difference for me. Few educational experiences have done more to help me learn and grow as a lifelong learner. Being part of a PLN has made all the difference for me. Few educational experiences in my life have done more to help me learn and grow as a lifelong learner. I love my PLN.

In and effort to support other educators who want to get started on their PLN journeys, we�ve created a Personal Learning Network Interactive. The document is designed to provide both new and experienced connected educators with new opportunities and experiences to grow as lifelong learners.

I Believe All Educators Owe It To Their Students to Make Connections & Share Ideas

 Here are a few additional resources to help everyone build a more collaborative PLNs.

If you are already engaged in Twitter, Facebook, Voxer, Google + or someplace else as a learner, set aside an hour or two each week to learn something new. If you have not taken a dive in social learning why not get started today?