Sunday, April 26, 2015

My NETA 2015 Takeaways

A mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions- Oliver Wendell Holmes 

On April 23rd and April 24th I had the opportunity to attend the Nebraska Educational Technology Association Conference at the Century Link in Omaha Nebraska. I have attended several NETA conferences the past few years and I have always enjoyed this conference. I am sort of a Tech Geek and love using Technology for personal uses as well as with my student's in my classroom. My brain always hurts at the end of the conference because I always get information overload. There are so many tools and websites that come out it is very hard to keep track of them all. Below are some of the websites and tools I would like to explore more and find ways to incorporate these into my teachings and lessons.

New Websites and Tools Worth Trying:

Website/Tool: Stormboard (

What Is It: A Collaboration Space. Similar to Padlet
Lesson Idea: Might be a way for students to share insights when examining Primary and Secondary Documents.

Stormboard Explained in 60 Seconds

Website/Tool: Plickers (

What Is It: Way to collect student formative data without students having to need a digital device. Students just need printed cards. Teacher needs the app on their Phone/iPad and snaps picture of class to see who gets it and who is struggling.
Lesson Idea: Another great tool to provide formative assessment when asking Hinge Questions to the class.

Website/Tool: QR Treasurehunt Generator

What Is It: Web Tool that allows you to create QR codes to link to content to help create a Treasure hunt.
Lesson Idea: Might be a great way to use iPads and create an Underground Railroad Treasure Hunt for students to complete around the school like they were actually on the Underground Railroad. Each station would have a QR Code and information for students to learn about theUnderground Railroad. 

Website/Tool: Curriculet (

What Is It: Free web tool that allows you to take reading content and imbed annotations, videos, questions, etc..
Lesson Idea: Might be a way to help tier reading texts for students, help students analyze primary and secondary source documents.

Website/Tool: Recordit (

What Is It: Allows you to record your screen (no audio) and share the link to others (Saves the ScreenCast on their server. Also allows you to turn this into an Animated Gif.
Lesson Idea: Might be a way to quickly record "How To Steps" for students on how to use a particular piece of software or website.

Website/Tool: ScreencastOmatic (

What Is It: Screen Capturing Tool to record your screen and share with others. Version 2.0 is coming soon such as narration and editing tools)
Lesson Idea: Might be another way to share "How To Steps" with students, modeling Close-Reading Strategies/Primary Source Analysis, or creating Flipped or Blended Videos for students.

Website/Tool: Google Maps (

What Is It: Create personalized Google Maps.
Lesson Idea: Eric Langhorst has his students create a Google Map as a unit by unit reflection.  Each Layer is a Unit (Layer 1 Personal Interests, Layer 2: Current Events, Layer 3 American Revolution, Layer 3 Constitution, etc...) This might be a great way to help students connect their learning to geographical locations throughout the year and help students reflect what they have learned in each unit.

Website/Tool: Google Earth Tour Builder (

What Is It: Allows you to create Virtual Tours inside of Google Earth.
Lesson Idea: Next year when students are learning about Lewis & Clark, this might be a possible option for students to create a virtual tour of the expedition to highlight key aspects of this historical event.

Website/Tool: Google Cardboard ( & Photosphere IOS App ( 

What Is It: Using 360 Degree Images and this Stereoscope type device, you feel like you are in a virtual world.

Lesson Idea: This would be great as a way to get students into virtual places we study. If I could get 360 Panoramic Images of historical locations students could visit these places as part of our study. I played with one during the Makerspace Playground and it was very cool!  Although some of the Apps (Using the Google Cardboard VR headset with an iPhone) that go with Google Cardboard  might not have direct educational value, they were fun to play with.

Website/Tool: Fantasy Geopolitics (

What Is It: Website where teachers can create teams where they draft "countries" and earn points based upon how these countries appear in News Stories. This "current events" meets "Fantasy Sports."
Lesson Idea: Shared this with our Current Event's Teacher. Might be a fun tool to get students engaged into news and current events in different ways.  This "gamification" approach might be a great way in other ways. I wonder if something similar could be done with news stories involving Constitutional Amendments, Historical Events, etc... that get mentioned in the news where students could "Draft" these topics and see how history is still making an impact today.

Website/Tool: ChatterPix IOS App (

What Is It: IOS Photo App that turns any image into a talking piece.
Lesson Idea: This might be fun to take pictures of Historical Figures and have students use Chatterpix to give biographical information about this person or an important event they are associated with. I could also "spice up" my presentations by creating these "Talking Heads" to share key information to my students in a fun way. 

Website/Tool: Quizizz (

What Is It: Assessment Tool that allows students to test what they know, and allows the teacher to monitor student progress.
Lesson Idea: Students often get Kahoot & Socrative Fatigue as more teachers use those tools. Quizizz might be a great alternative for both students and teachers to assess student's understanding. 

My Tweets from Throughout the Conference

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