Ways to Get Technology into Your Classrooms

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

I’ve been quite blessed to travel to over 20 countries and help teachers integrate technology even in places with very little funding. You can watch a video of me helping students in Ogulin, Croatia to get an idea of what this looks like in action. Often, we are not fortunate to work in schools that provide us with the budget to get the technology we want. If you have a passion for teaching with tablets, Chromebooks, or setting up a digital station then you have many ways to afford that dream. Don’t give up! Below, are ways to fund your vision whether it be a maker station, 3D printer, or other project. Don’t forget to check out my previous post, on getting your students to create digital books to help others. Students have the ability to publish and sell their digital books online. The proceeds can go towards getting computers, laptops, tablets, better wifi, a technology cart, or other digital tools.


Find the ideas below in the bookmarks that follow or click on this link, Tech Funding.

Make a wish list or a project plan that you can share with students, parents, universities, local businesses, or other audiences to help you reach your goals. Often, you can get universities, churches, or businesses to donate their old technology to you when they make updates or get new inventory. This benefits them, especially when they can write it off for taxes.

Crowdfunding- Many sites will allow you to raise funds for a project by asking people around the world for small donations. Try DonorsChoose, DigitalWish, AdoptaClassroom, ClassWish, Indigogo, or KickStart.

Grants- You can apply for grants specifically meant for your topic. Try WeAreTeachers, GrantGopher, or NaNoWrimo.

Pilot programs- Often big companies like MicroSoft or Verizon will want to run pilot programs worldwide and provide your school with tons of their devices.

Develop an app that helps the community in some way or develop a game on an app. A group of kindergarten students created drawings for a version of MouthOff. Other schools have worked with developers to get their students to create an app. Find resources and places below to make an app easily. AppShed is a great tool for making apps.

Think of creative ways to fundraise! I have been part of celebrity dinners where students dressed as famous characters and served tables dinner. We also did a coffee and talent night with students reading poetry or playing music. You can discover tons of ideas in the bookmarks below.


Come up with a plan or project for your class and try one of these ideas to fund it.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!


Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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This Week’s Reboot (3rd Edition of the TRC Newsletter)

This is the 3rd issue of the new Teacher Reboot Camp eNewsletter. In this issue find free apps, web tools, resources, lesson ideas, professional development opportunities, and more.  Be inspired by the latest Edugems, discover a few of the top posts at Teacher Reboot Camp, and keep posted about The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators and the Reform Symposium Free E-Conference. You can subscribe for free at https://tinyletter.com/shellyterrell. You will get 1 to 3 newsletters per month.

Below, I have posted the current newsletter. Download this as a pdf file by clicking  https://app.box.com/trc2014news. This issue’s Edugems are: Jeffery Heil, Joe Mazza, Daniel Brown, Tom Whitby, and Esnart Chapomba. Thank you so much for your support!


Thank one of the Edugems for their resources!

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates or subscribe to the Teacher Reboot Camp free  eNewsletter to receive resources like these and updates on free professional development events!

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Fostering Meaningful Peer Collaboration with Digital Tools

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It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed. —Napoleon Hill

We believe in students learning from and with each other, but effective collaboration rarely takes place in most schools. Students rarely want to share their work and have peers critique it. They don’t tend to get excited about peer editing or group work.

Outside of school, the scenario is quite different. Everyday, millions share the narratives of their lives through written words, images, music, audio, and video they post on various social networks. They eagerly crave  feedback in the form of likes, retweets, mentions, reblogs, and tags. The trend is to be more social and participatory and the web is evolving swiftly with new technologies, apps, tools, and trends to enhance these experiences. It’s time we tapped into the potential of these developments to engage our students in meaningful collaboration, research, and writing.

Collaboratively Creating eTextbooks

This year, I co-developed the Crafting the ePerfect eTextbook EVO Session. This is a 5 week free course for teachers that is taking place NOW till February 16th. Participants create the beginnings of a digital textbook that meets their students’ needs. They receive feedback, tips, and support from over 400 teachers worldwide as well as our 15 moderators- Lindsay Clandfield, Chuck Sandy, Özge Karaoglu, Jason Levine (Fluency MC), Jennifer Verschoor, Janet Bianchini, Sylvia Guinan, Debora Tebovich, André J. Spang, Jackie Gerstein, Terry Freedman, Jake Duncan, Dave Guymon, and Rubena St. Louis. Find out more by joining the Google Community,  http://gplus.to/eTextbookEVO. This is only the first week so you can still participate and receive a certificate.

Fostering Effective Peer Feedback and Collaboration

We are using Google tools and apps to foster meaningful collaboration and peer feedback. Teachers can use the same process to engage students in meaningful collaboration, research, and writing. The video below demonstrates our peer feedback and collaboration process using Google tools.

Recommended Google Tools and Apps

Google tools and apps are incredibly useful for improving students’ writing, research, and collaboration. These are a few shown in the video.

  • Google Communities- Participants can share videos, images, links, & more. They can edit their posts and include hashtags to organize information. You can create threads to categorize posts.
  • Google HangOuts- Up to 10 can collaborate through voice and video. They can screen share and create/edit documents, presentations, audio, and so much more. If you choose, record the meeting. When you end the broadcast, the video automatically goes to your Youtube channel. Students will love the fun features, such as making themselves into a meme or dressing themselves in virtual hats, ties, crowns, and other accessories. 
  • Google Drive- 15 gb free, create documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and forms. Integrate apps and scripts that allow you to do so much more like grade with a rubric, add voice feedback, draw, or calculate grades quickly.
  • Kaizena app- leave voice feedback
  • Goobric- a script that allows you to grade essays quickly with a rubric.
  • Research- this feature is located in your Google Doc under Tools. Find creative common resources to use, research scholarly articles, and cite in MLA/APA/Chicago style.

Our participants have been separated into peer groups. Each peer group has Peer Group Leaders. They are encouraged to meet up and critique their work weekly through Google HangOuts on Air sessions. This is the document we have provided them.

I invite you to participate in our session and experience the process. Even if you do not want to create a digital textbook, you could learn how to use various powerful tools to engage your learners in meaningful collaboration and peer editing.


Try one of these tools this year to foster peer collaboration and feedback.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

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Send Them on Learning Missions

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Included in the Digital Tips Advent Calendar and part of the Effective Technology Integration category

“If you think of learning as a path, you can picture yourself walking beside her rather than either pushing or dragging or carrying her along.” ~ Polly Berrien Berends

We are born curious. Observe toddlers playing and you will notice their eyes questioning the objects around them. Through experimentation and play, they resolve their own questions. When kids go to school, this natural learning process is interrupted and redefined. Kids are expected to learn about their world by sitting quietly in desks, reading textbooks, and completing tests where one answer has been determined right. It’s the wrong kind of learning. It’s tedious, boring, and doesn’t make sense in a world where they are many solutions that lead us on different paths.

I want to be the kind of teacher who inspires my students to actively learn beyond my class, because they are curious. I began to integrate some of the characteristics of game based learning that invites them to learn through missions and challenges. Technology and blended learning helped me encourage my learners to explore beyond our class. I stopped giving mandatory homework and began to give them a choice of missions and challenges. I explain the process below.

Some Ideas

Create an online community

  • Set up a class blog, wiki, Facebook group, Google Plus Community, Twitter, Instagram and/or Edmodo site.
  • Keep it active by posting video and image challenges, polling them, posting fill-in-the blank statements, featuring their work, and hosting events like chats or Hang-outs on Air
  • Let the students organize their own chat topics and times. You can do this by having students set-up a calendar and organize their own chats. They may want to have a chat for those interested in discussing poetry, another for music, another for a book club, etc. Determine student leaders in your class to lead and manage the discussion.

Give them a choice of missions that are engaging. Below is an example.

Mission: Snap a photo of graffiti you think is art. In a video or presentation app, tell us why you think it is art versus just graffiti.
What You’ll Need: An app like Skqueak, Instagram, Voicethread, or Fotobabble.
Points Worth: 10
Bonus Points: Post a short reflection in your blog for 5 more points.

Set-up missions in an advent calendar

  • Each day your students can find a new mission worth points. See this post on how to make an interactive calendar with Thinglink or Wix.
  • Mix up the tasks to include various activities like visiting museums, attending a play, snapping a picture outside, playing an online game, completing a brainteaser, or creating with web apps and tools
  • Optional: Provide a points system 

Integrate games

Send them on a scavenger hunt

The Scavenger Hunt with Friends App is free and available on IOS and Android.

Organize a global project!

Host virtual field trips. I’ve bookmarked virtual tours here.


Try one of these tasks and see which motivate your students to keep learning during the holidays!

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How do you inspire your students to keep learning away from school?

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How to Implement Problem Based Learning with ICTs

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Part of the Effective Technology Integration Category

“All kids need is a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them.” -Earvin Magic Johnson

Kids and teens worldwide are currently using social media and ICTs to become heroes and solve real world problems. You can read about a few in this post, 10+ Kids Transforming the World Through Social Media. At the Bammy’s, I was privileged to meet one extraordinary 13 year-0ld, Mallory Fundora, who founded Projectyesu.org, an organization that provides food, medicine and education to women and children in Uganda. She raises awareness and gains support through social networks and web tools like Twitter, Facebook, a blog, and Youtube.

We have the opportunity to implement problem based learning and teach our learners how to use web tools and social media to solve real world problems. It’s learning that shows results in a meaningful way. The Prezi below shows the general parts of a problem based learning project that integrates ICT! Just click within the presentation to visit that resource or example.

Overview of the PBL Process

These are 4 basic parts of a PBL lesson with ICTs. I have highlighted these steps using Valerie Burton’s lesson, Teen Advocates Fight Against the Drop-Out Rate.

  1. Problem
    1. Introduce the problem
      1. Make it a powerful story that engages them or strikes an emotional chord.
      2. Ways to introduce the problem- through a blog post, show a video, take them through a case study, analyze an infographic, or have them play an online game or simulation. Valerie introduces the problem on her blog. In addition, students play a game at Boosthigh.org to learn about the drop-out rate.
      3. At this point, give students their mission with guidelines. Valerie’s mission is, “Create a website that hosts videos, blog posts, comics, PSAs, etc. to help decrease the dropout rate at our high school.” Keep it short and simple so students understand the task. You can include the solution product or leave that open and allow them to decide how to solve the problem. Most teachers will have a solution in mind, such as develop a safety poster or create a PSA.
    2. Give students time to reflect on the problem in pairs or groups. Find a variety of brainstorming tools here, http://pear.ly/bKmy9.
  2. Problem Research
    1. Options- Interviews, surveys, wikipedia, web quests
    2. Various online tools- http://pear.ly/bP38v
    3. Teach digital literacy, evaluation of online resources, bookmarking, curation, and annotation
  3. Solution
    1. You can give them the solution and guidelines when you introduce the problem. Examples may include, create a digital campaign or poster, make a Public Service Announcement (PSA), create an online game, create an ebook, organize an online project, create an advertisement, make a video, develop a product, design an app, host an event, create an infographic, or create a social network! Alternatively, you can give them a list of solutions to choose from like Valerie did.
    2. Generating solutions- in pairs/groups, students brainstorm possible solutions and the steps involved in implementing the solution
    3. Implementation
  4. Presentation
    1. Students present the solution, reflect on the process of implementing the solution, and discuss it’s impact
    2. Find various online presentation tools listed here,   http://pinterest.com/shellyterrell/presentation-tools/

This presentation was 1 of 6 sessions I gave at the #GAETC13 conference, which was held in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia. The resources for all 6 sessions are here,  http://teacherrebootcamp.com/tag/gaetc13. I tried collaborative note-taking with the audience on one Google Doc. Access those notes here,  http://bit.ly/pbl123. Thank you to Javaye Stubbs, Aaryn Schmihl @aschmuhl, Penny Christensen, @pen63, Kristen Drake, Margaret @MGGunter, Amy Sutton, @daniellesherfey, Marisa Wesker @WeskerTeach, Jessica Burce @jessica_burce, Tracy Sayer, Robin, @jandrwalters, Danielle @daniellesherfey, Alicia Coffie, Ambe Olinga @AJOlinga, Andy Pike @ANDYPIKE4, Michelle Easley @measleyfcs, @roamy82, Mike Vigilant @mikevigilant and others who helped with the collaborative note-taking experience.


Use one of these resources or ideas and share with me how the experience went with your learners.

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