Incredible FREE PD! K12Online Conference 2015

Connected Educator Month!

The K12Online Conference 2015 is a fantastic resource. You’ve got another week to experience it LIVE. Even afterwards, all of the work is still there. You don’t want to miss out! Join in!

K12Online Conference 2015

K12Online is never really over … it’s all online and archived. If you look really hard, you might even find one about integrating on a shoestring…..

K12Online Conference 2015 Keynotes

The 2015 keynote speakers include Don Wettrick @DonWettrick, Alan Levine @cogdog, Stephanie Chang @MakerEdOrg, Scott McLeod @mcleod, and Karen Bosch @karlyb.

The K12Online 2015 Conference Schedule

The full lineup of presentations and presenters is available on the 2015 Schedule.

There is an entire week yet of presentations, but all the presentations from every year are archived – just navigate to The Main Site and look across the top … each year the conference has been held is listed.

Also remember all video presentations are available in iPad / iPhone / iPod touch compatible format in the iTunesU Portal

Connecting with K12Online Conference

Conference hashtag #k12online15

The K12Online conference organizers 2015 deserve a big shout out for helping create such an incredible resource for educators around the world. A big thank you to:

I appreciate also Lisa Durff’s work with the K12 Online Conference 2015. (Lisa helps me in amazing ways while still finishing up her PhD!)

I hope that all of you out there will use these resources and get started with your learning. You can get started with my friend Don Wettrick’s keynote and just keep going!

As anyone who has presented at the K12Online Conference will know, these presentations take SO MUCH WORK. Creating video isn’t easy. (I know that some of  my past presos  took days to make!)

Thank you to all of the volunteers, organizers, speakers, and attendees. K12Online is awesome! I learn so much all year long from them!

Vicki Davis

The post Incredible FREE PD! K12Online Conference 2015 appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


Diigo Social Bookmarking Tutorial

Productivity Tools for Students and Researchers

Diigo Social Bookmarking tutorial

Social bookmarking is the modern student’s research tool. As I share in Reinventing Writing, research and pre-writing helps a student start strong. But how? Here’s your answer: Diigo has a fantastic new outlining tool! Before students write, have them turn in their outlines to you. Also, require that they rephrase their research sources at the point they bookmark it. I teach how to get a private link for the outline. If you still want it in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, I even show you how to export your outline! So easy.

TIP FOR TEACHERS: If you’re using a Learning Management System, you can cut and paste the key points and action steps and use the videos as is.

Social Bookmarking is green!

One ream of paper is 6% of a tree! It is estimated that a page of paper costs 6 cents each in terms of waste. Then, why do we have students printing a fifty page Wikipedia article or a 10-page document to verify one quotation? Why are we using paper when social bookmarking can make research so much easier. You can even link Diigo to other services like Evernote using

Each video is separated below, but you can also view this series as a playlist on Youtube

1- Why do we need social bookmarking? [0:34]

Key Points: Why Do We Need Social Bookmarking?

  1. It saves paper.
  2. It keeps your email from filling up.
  3. It is an easier, more productive way of researching.
After You Watch This Video You Should:

  • Understand some of the benefits of using social bookmarking.
  • Why you need a tool to help you organize your online research.


2- What is Diigo? [0:21]

Key Points: What is Diigo?

  1. Diigo lets you easily share with groups.
  2. You can annotate web pages.
  3. You are creating your personal library of online bookmarks to use in many ways.
After you watch this video, you should:

  • Understand that Diigo is a social bookmarking tool to help you organize and share your research. 


3- How to Sign Up for Diigo [0:28]

Key Points: How to Sign Up for Diigo?

  1. Sign up at
  2. Teachers should sign up for a free teacher account to get extra features.
After you watch this video, you should:

  • Sign up for a Diigo account at
  • TIP: If you have a Google account, click “Sign In” and click the Google button, then just fill in a username and password. It will link with your Google account! 


4- Install the Diigo Chrome Extension [0:28]

Key Points: Install the Diigo Chrome Extension

  1. The Diigo Chrome extension can save you time.
  2. The button is typically found after logging into Diigo the first time. (You can also use the link below.)
After you watch this video, you should:

  • Install the Diigo Chrome Extension by clicking here. (The rest of this tutorial uses the Chrome extension, but you can bookmark and use outliner from any web browser.)
  • If you use any other Web browser including Internet Explorer or Firefox, use the Diigolet. 


5- Annotating a Web Page with Diigo [1:05]

Key Points: Annotating a Web Page with Diigo

  1. Annotating a web page means that you can highlight the page.
  2. You can also add a private sticky note to a page.
  3. You can add a public sticky note to a page if you send it to a group. (You have to join a group first.)
After this video, you should:

  • Annotate a web page by going to a page and using different color highlighters.
  • Write a sticky note and put it on a page.
  • If you are a member of a group, put a sticky note on a page and send it to your group.
  • Go back to your Diigo account and click “library”. See what annotations look like in your library.
  • Look at the screenshots below and read the captions to see how annotations will show up in your library and in your outliners.
Social Bookmarking Diigo - see how annotations show up

Screenshot 1: The annotation made in the video and how it shows up in the library view of Diigo. Note that sometimes it appears faster if you go ahead and bookmark the page.

The view mode button in Diigo's outliner view helps you see the annotations you made with this social bookmarking tool.

Screenshot 2: To see annotations in the outliner view (that I teach you below), you need to click the “view mode” button instead of “edit mode.” Then, the annotations show up.

6-Bookmarking a Web Page with Diigo [0:52]

Key Points: Bookmarking a Page with Diigo

  1. Anything you select with your mouse will go into the bookmark when you hit the button.
  2. You have to turn off the annotation’s Highlighting feature for this to work.
  3. Whatever you type in the box becomes part of the bookmark.
  4. Summarize what you’ve read in the box. (This will help prevent plagarizing work by putting it in your own words.)
  5. Be consistent with your tags so you can see patterns and organize your bookmarks.
After you watch this video, you should:

  • Bookmark a web page using your Diigo button.
  • First, find the web page you want to bookmark.
  • Using the mouse, select and drag your mouse across some text.
  • Click the bookmark button.
  • Type some text in the box summarizing what you’ve read in addition to what is already showing.
  • Don’t click “Save” yet, watch the next video first! 


7- Adding a Diigo Bookmark to the Outliner Research Tool [0:26]

Key Points: Adding a Diigo Bookmark to the Outliner Research Tool and Tagging

  1. You can create outlines for different projects.
  2. You can share bookmarks with groups when you’re bookmarking it.
After you watch this video, you should:

  • Send your bookmark to an outline.
  • Make sure that you create a NEW outline for the project to send your research to.
  • After you send the bookmark to your outline, go to diigo, then click “outliners” to see what it looks like. 


8-Using the Diigo Outliner Tool to Plan [0:46]

Key Points: Using the Diigo Outliner Tool to Plan

  1. Use your tab key to indent and shift tab to out-dent your outline.
  2. You can turn in a public link when you are done.
After you watch this video, you should:

  • Click on a line in your outliner and press tab.
  • Hold down shift and press tab and see what happens.
  • Use your mouse to point at the bullets and drag something around in the outliner.
  • Type something in the outliner to see how it works.
  • TIP: You don’t have features to change the font or format. I’ll show you how to export this to a wordprocessor to make this fancier if you want to.


9- How to Organize a Diigo Outline [1:27]

Key Points: How to Organize a Diigo Outline

  1. When you have bookmarks already in Diigo, you can find and quickly add them to your outliner.
  2. You can organize your outline with text that you type.
  3. Click the shareable link button to share a private link for people to see your outline.
  4. You can copy and paste it into Microsoft Word or Google Docs. You can also copy and paste the notes into Powerpoint and make it into an outline in PowerPoint.
After you watch this film, you should:

  • Type some text in your outliner.
  • Click the shareable link button and email it to someone else. Let them see if they can open it.
  • Click the Export button to open up a report.
  • Copy some of the text and paste it into Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
  • Copy some of the text and paste it into a PowerPoint slide. (Advanced users can use the Outliner in Powerpoint!) 


Bonus Diigo Tutorials

These tutorials are not necessary for beginners but show some advanced features that many of you who are already using this tool may want to use. The bulk tool lets you move bookmarks, retag them, and re-organize. Researchers will want to know these tools. Bloggers or those sharing resources might want to auto-share their bookmarks to their blog.

9 – 5 Minute Power Diigo Tutorial [5:05]

10 – How to Auto Post Diigo Bookmarks to Your Blog [3:27]

Want to know about modern writing? Check out my book Reinventing Writing.Buy Reinventing Writing by Vicki Davis 

The post Diigo Social Bookmarking Tutorial appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

The Perfect Assessment

tulanepublicrelations-the-perfect-assessmentThe Perfect Assessment

by Terry Heick

Nothing is perfect, but we can dream. So let’s dream about assessment.

First, what is an assessment? A measurement? A snapshot? A kind of bar for students to clear? In The Most Important Question Every Question Should Answer, I theorized that “the benefit of assessments for learning isn’t merely a more clear picture of understanding; Used properly, it can also inform the rest of the learning process, from curriculum mapping (what do we learn when?) to instruction (how will it be learned?) to assessment design (how should future learning ideally be measured?)”

If the goal of our collective craft is understanding, than the tools we use should promote understanding, both directly and indirectly. Assessment is one of those tools–one widely misunderstood by teachers, and causing anxiety in the students we’re trying to serve. So then, can we do better with our assessments? I want to think of assessments in a completely different light, especially in light of modern technology. Take a clean sheet design approach to how we think of the word “test” (the patriarch of the assessment family).

So what would the perfect assessment be like? If we can design anything–not just digitize multiple choice questions, but start from scratch? What would the perfect assessment do? How would it be formed? What data would it yield? What effect would it have on the student?

How would it be used to improve learning? How could it server students–like stairs–instead of being obstacles to clear, like hurdles?

How can it promote understanding without haunting students?

There’s no single answer here because there are too many moving parts. So we can’t hope for perfection, but we can hope for perfect alignment between goals and function: What we want, and how we hope to achieve it. It’s not impossible, then, to begin to identify a set of indicators of a near perfect assessment–what it would and would not do, for starters.

Below, I guess at some of these indicators. I didn’t have a particular assessment form (MC, essay, performance task, project, etc.) or mode (norm-referenced, criterion-based, etc.) in mind. Clean sheet design and all. (You can read more about different types of assessment, or see 10 assessments you can perform in 90 seconds or less as well.)

I was more interested in the function of assessment as a tool for learning, and what we might be missing.

The Perfect Assessment…

…will be in the form and mode that will help the students reach their goals, not the institution reach its goals

…will provide data to revise planned instruction

…will show both short and long-term progress

…will adjust in real-time and scale (in complexity, knowledge demands, etc.)

…will compel students to respond with their best effort and particular genius

…will produce easy-to-extract, usable data that both teachers and students can understand and use

…will use transfer as an indicator or degree of understanding

…will be based on a specific learning taxonomy

…would allow the students to enter a state of “flow”–a complete–and perhaps playful–state of mental and emotional immersion, where they give themselves entirely to the task

…will have multiple entry or starting points

…will uncover both equally what a student does and does not understand

…would be a learning experience in and of itself

…would be fun (i.e., as a basketball game is an immersive and entertaining “test” for athletes)

…will align exactly with the stated goal–an academic standard, future aspiration, personalized learning desire, community need, etc.

…will use a scoring system that reflects degrees of understanding, progress, or mastery of individual line items/standards (rather than a gross score for a mash of “things)

…will provide a clear starting point forward for both the student and the teacher

…will allow the students to use their inherent strengths to compensate for their weaknesses (as adults do in their daily lives)

…will give students hope

…will yield compelling artifacts to bolster student portfolios and/or improve that student’s human circumstance (e.g., a product that improves their lives/community)

…won’t mistake confusing with complex

…won’t drown the teachers with follow-up work or other processes that keep them from doing anything else other than using that data to revise planned instruction for each student

…won’t be designed to yield unusable or irrelevant data

…won’t be widely misunderstood by parents, families, and communities at large

…won’t required students to sit in a desk in a room

…won’t be a matter of “pass or fail,” but rather start here and move forward

…won’t be designed in a such a way that one error here can allow several errors there (e.g., a math problem where if the first problem is solved incorrectly, the rest of the problem can’t possible be right)

…won’t have built-in barriers that obscure understanding of exactly what’s being assessed (e.g., a complex text that demands strong reading skills when it’s knowledge of the water cycle that’s being assessed)

…won’t resort to distractors or tricks as a test of a student’s “grasp” of the content

…won’t have inherent cultural biases (e.g., in regards to race, gender, economic class, faith, or other “human” factor–see Diane Ravitch’s The Language Police for some background here)

…may use simulations or scenarios that invite students to use contextual cognitive processing–thinking in relation to circumstances they can play with or are naturally drawn to or are authentic–to agitate and coalesce academic knowledge

…may provide scenarios for students to think their way through, providing an authentic context, need to know, and opportunity to transfer understanding

…may not have a beginning or an end, but rather function as an ongoing, iterative effort

The post The Perfect Assessment appeared first on TeachThought.

Google Apps For Education Now Has More Than 50 Million Users

gafe-fiGoogle Apps For Education Now Has More Than 50 Million Users

by Cinthya Mohr, User Experience Lead, Google for Education

In a junior high class in Queens, New York, Ross Berman is teaching fractions. He wants to know whether his students are getting the key concept, so he posts a question in Google Classroom and instantly reviews their answers. It’s his favorite way to check for understanding before anyone has the chance to fall behind.

Across the country, in Bakersfield, California, Terri Parker Rodman is waiting at the dentist’s office. She wonders how her class is doing with their sub. With a few swipes on her phone, she finds out which students have finished their in-class assignment and sends a gentle reminder to those who haven’t.

Google Classroom launched last August, and now more than 10 million educators and students across the globe actively use it to teach and learn together, save time, and stay organized. We worked with teachers and students to create Classroom because they told us they needed a mission control – a central place for creating and tracking assignments, sharing ideas and resources, turning in completed work and exchanging feedback.

Classroom is part of Google’s lineup of tools for education, which also includes the Google Apps for Education suite – now used by more than 50 million students, teachers and administrators around the world – and Chromebooks, the best-selling device in U.S. K-12 schools. Here are a few of the stories we’ve heard from teachers and students who are using Classroom.

Learning Better Together

We built Classroom to help educators spend less time on paperwork and administrative tasks. But it’s also proven to be highly effective at bringing students and teachers closer together. In London, fifth grader Kamal Nsudoh-Parish stays connected with his Spanish teacher while he does his homework. “If I don’t understand something, I can ask him and he’d be able to answer rather than having to wait until my next Spanish lesson,” Kamal says.

Terri, who teaches sixth grade at Old River Elementary School, also observes that Classroom can strengthen ties and improve communication. “When a student doesn’t turn something in, I can see how close they are,” she says. “In the past, I couldn’t tell why they didn’t finish their work. I was grading them on bringing back a piece of paper instead of what their ability was.”

Resource room teacher Diane Basanese of Black River Middle School in Chester, New Jersey, says that Classroom lets her see her students’ minds at work. “I’m in the moment with them,” she explains. “We have dialogue, like, ‘Oh, are you saying I should use a transition?’ We’re talking to each other. It’s a better way.”

Removing The Mundane

By helping them cut down on busywork, Classroom empowers teachers to do even more with every school day. “I no longer waste time figuring out paper jams at the school photocopier,” says Tom Mullaney, who teaches in Efland, North Carolina. “Absent students no longer email or ask, ‘What did we do yesterday?’ These time savers may not sound like much, but they free me to spend time on things that I consider transcendent in my teaching practice.”

In Mexico City, teachers at Tec de Monterrey high school and university switched to Classroom from an online learning management system that often added complexity to their workflow instead of simplifying it. Professor Vicente Cubells says he’s found the new question feature in Classroom particularly useful for short quizzes, because he can quickly assess learning and have an automatic record of their responses and grades. “The Classroom mobile apps have also become essential for our faculty and students, we use them to stay connected even when we’re not in front of a laptop,” Cubells said.

Giving Teachers Superpowers

Teachers are some of the most innovative thinkers in the world, so it’s no surprise that they’ve used Classroom in ways we never even imagined.

Elementary school teacher Christopher Conant of Boise, Idaho, says his students are usually eager to leave school behind during summer break. But after using Classroom last year, they wanted to keep their class open as a way to stay in touch. “Classroom is a tool that keeps kids connected and learning as a community, well beyond the school day, school year and school walls,” said Christopher, who continued to post videos and questions for his students all summer long.

These endless possibilities are the reason why Diane Basanese, a 30-year teaching veteran, says that Classroom is the tool she’s been looking for throughout her career. “It has made me hungrier,” she explains. “I look at how I can make every lesson a hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark lesson.”

Growing Our Classroom

Ever since we began working with teachers and students, it’s been rewarding and encouraging to hear their stories, collaborate to find answers to their problems, and watch those solutions come to life at schools and universities around the world. Lucky for us, we’re just getting started.

The post Google Apps For Education Now Has More Than 50 Million Users appeared first on TeachThought.

Kid President: Kids Inspiring Kids to Change the World

Every Classroom Matters episode 181

Kid President helps kids change the worldKid President is a cute kid. His short videos pack a powerful message. His brother-in-law Brad Montague helps craft his message. Take a behind the scenes look at the viral sensation sweeping through classrooms today.

Important Takeaways

  • Brad gives a behind the scenes look at how he and Robby Novak started Kid President.
  • Have you heard of #kpawesomegirls?
  • Hear the story behind the new Kid President rap about awesome girls throughout history? (to be released soon)
  • What about the pressure put on Brad and Kid President to just be “entertaining”?
  • Learn about socktober and helping homeless shelters?

This chat with Brad Montague makes me fall in love with Kid President even more. I love the message behind the fun but also love Brad’s passion. Brad wants to leave a library of work to make the world a better place. If so, he and Robby Novak are off to a great start.

Share the Story of an Awesome Girl You Know!

Want to tell Kid President about an awesome girl in your life or school? Here are 3 ways to celebrate the awesome girls in your life:

  1. Tweet Kid President @iamkidpresident on Twitter and hashtag it #kpawesomegirls
  2. Give a shoutout to your #kpawesomegirl on Kid President’s Fanpage on Facebook
  3. Email Brad Montague. 

Kid President Resources and Links


brad montague kid president

brad montague (1)

Kid President helping kids change the world

Join the Every Classroom Matters Awesome Educators Network on Facebook

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. 

The post Kid President: Kids Inspiring Kids to Change the World appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

A Visual Cheat Sheet For Education Technology


A Visual Cheat Sheet For Education Technology

by TeachThought Staff

Keeping up with technology is impossible, even for blogs like Mashable, Engadget, and Techcrunch that do it for a living. Moore’s Law and all. And lately, education has had its share of innovation, whether it’s showing up in your local public school/K-20 classroom or not. Combine the two, and it can be difficult to keep up.

The following infographic/cheat sheet from @goboundless outlines some of the larger scale (eLearning) or controversial (MOOC) movements, as well as those on the rise (1:1, personalized learning), and providing working definitions for each. Perhaps this is old hat for you, but there may be a teacher still understanding how to implement technology in the classroom. This could act as a kind of overview of what’s out there.

  1. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC)
  2. Gamification
  3. Virtual Classrooms
  4. Digital Storytelling
  5. Blended Learning
  6. 1:1 Technology
  7. Asynchronous Learning
  8. Adaptive Learning
  9. Course Management Systems (CMS)
  10. eLearning
  11. Personalized Learning
  12. Informal Learning

Browse more Education infographics.  Source: Boundless Blog Featured Image source:

The post A Visual Cheat Sheet For Education Technology appeared first on TeachThought.

How to Pick the Perfect Color and Use it Anywhere

Practical Graphic Design Tips Anyone Can Use

How to pick the perfect color

Graphic designers need to understand color. But there are some basics we all need to know. We should remember: a little bit of color theory, how to pick colors, and how to use them. This three-part video series will help you learn the basic color theory and tricks you’ll need to use great colors together in Microsoft Office.

Graphic Design Video 1: Understanding Color Theory

This video from the Artist Block explains basic color theory better than I could. (Plus, he’s cool.) The important thing for students to understand is the primary colors and that certain colors go well together. Once they are a tad overwhelmed or at least convinced that this is complex, then they are ready to get the help given in videos 2 and 3.

Graphic Design Video 2: How to Pick and Use the Perfect Color in Desktop Publishing

My Google Plus connection Penny Cristensen added this note to the video today (and shared a cool resource) after it went live:

Vicki, I’ve been using this extension for a couple years now & love the Color Picker. Thank you for adding Color Schemer Online to my toolbox! I like to show others where that hex code can be used: Picmonkey, Google Draw, Canva. I also include the tools Adobe’s Kuler and the Kuler app for picking colors from your real life surroundings and point out how to use palettes curated on Pinterest. Feel free to check out my post on the topic: I have added your link to the comments of the original post – thanks!

Graphic Design Video 3: How to Pick the Perfect Color and Put it into Microsoft Office

In Microsoft Office, you will probably want to change the color in three ways: the background, the borders, and the font color. Learn how to take the “perfect colors” and color in Microsoft Excel. This technique also works in all Microsoft Office Programs: Microsoft Word, Publisher, and PowerPoint.

Graphic design doesn’t have to be difficult. Learn the tools that help you do it better. Please share your tips in the comments. 

The post How to Pick the Perfect Color and Use it Anywhere appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!