Friday, January 12, 2018

Digital Brainstorming with Answer Garden

Do you brainstorm with your students?  Colleagues?  If so, you might want to try Answer Garden!  "AnswerGarden is a new minimalistic feedback tool. Use it for real time audience participation, online brainstorming and classroom feedback.  AnswerGarden fits educational, professional and creative purposes, is standalone and embeddable, and shows thousands of answers in a glance! "  Click HERE to try it live.  It is possible to moderate these for classroom use.  Imagine the possibilities!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dragon Technology Summit

Dihanna Fedder providing some “basic needs” information to the students.

Ben Friesen, EdTech Team, inspired the students and staff to find their passion.

Interactive video-conference with Houston Space Center

Student using Google Expeditions virtual reality goggles.

Students learning to use online photo editing tools with PCHS Alumni, Mitch Ringness.

Students learning how to use drones!  Special thank you to Sky-Eye-Films!

Ben Friesen showing a group of junior high students about the Google Cultural Institute.

Student leaders presenting to their peers.

Learning all about 3D printing with Mr. Schlichting.

On September 19, Pine City High School hosted its first Dragon Technology Summit. In this unique event, students and staff had the opportunity to spend the afternoon immersed in the use of technology.  This innovative student-centered technology summit was the first in the area and one of few in the nation.  Pine City Public Schools believes as education researchers Fisch and McLeod put it, “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist . . . using technologies that haven’t been invented . . . in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”  

The goal of the Dragon Technology Summit was to increase the understanding and use of technology in the classroom.  Traditionally, curriculum drives the use of technology; during this summit, the students’ main focus was technology, the use of their devices and online resources.  By having the Dragon Technology Summit early in the school year, students should be better prepared to effectively, responsibly, and creatively use their devices as well as the online resources available to them.

The summit was inspired by data provided by bi-annual technology surveys taken by students and staff.  These surveys, conducted by Brightbytes,  provide stakeholders with data regarding technology and learning in four areas:  classroom, access, skills, and environment.  Online skills, multimedia skills, and foundational skills are all areas that were focused upon at the Dragon Technology Summit.

Ben Friesen, of EdTechTeam, was the keynote speaker.  Ben has presented globally on the use of technology in education and has inspired many to find their passion.  Ben is a Google Certified Innovator and Director of Professional Development at EdTechTeam, a Partner with Google for Education.

Following the keynote presentation students attended a panel presentation and breakout sessions.  The panel presentation was presented by various PCHS staff members with the purpose of informing students on how to be good digital citizens.  Topics included their digital footprint, school procedures, academic integrity, and copyright.

Nineteen different breakout sessions were offered.  Presenters included local staff, area educators, PCHS alumni, and PCHS students.  Topics ranged from 3D Printing to Video-making with Chrome to interactive video-conferences and more.  

Student and staff feedback has been very positive.  Student presenters were recruited and one pair said to Ms. Dihanna Fedder, “Thank you for the opportunity, it was great!”  After taking a session on photo editing one ninth grade boy reported, “I was really into class and was kind of bummed I didn't learn more, but I'm looking forward to doing this again.”  Another young lady reported, “I liked that we got to talk to the Houston Space Center live. I wish there was a little more time for questions at the end of the breakout session.”  One staff member summed it up with, “This was a great way to help the students see this is a school wide initiative and that they are apart of it.  I really hope the students know what kind of an experience they were able to have today.”

The project was made possible by a grant from Education Minnesota.  District Technology Integrationist, Dihanna Fedder applied for the grant and spearheaded the planning and organization of this event.  Pine City High School hopes to make this an annual event.

Photography by Jaymi Allison Photography

Monday, March 6, 2017

Getting Started with Synergy Assessment

Are you ready to get started using Synergy Assessment?  Do you have your items/questions ready?  Standards identified?  If so, then you ARE ready!  Check out this presentation for the first steps!  When you're done with that, let me know and I'll get you moving on the next step.

Click HERE to view the Getting Started guide.

Monday, December 19, 2016

ViewPure and YouTube

I went to many session and this is one of those little nuggets that is going to come in handy!  If you've ever had those awkward moments when a YouTube video is suggested or shows up at the end in the collage of videos that you might want to view ... this will help!!  It's awesome!  Go to YouTube, get the URL and then go to and paste in the URL.  Poof!  You've got JUST the video ... nothing extra, no awkward recommendations, no cat videos ad nauseum!!  Great for sharing in Google Classroom or using in front of the class!!  Mary Jane and I both agreed that this was a great little tool!

Watch for more to come, I have a list!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Google Drive Sharing Demystified

Have you ever wondered what happens when you share a file?  Should you share it for view, comment or edit?  What's the difference?  How to decide?

The graphic above should help you decide if you are a visual learner.  You can click on the image to make it larger.  But here are some simple tips for when you hit that magic blue button!

Can View - this gives viewing rights (but along with viewing rights, comes copying rights UNLESS you use the advanced feature and remove those rights - see image below)

Can Comment - this will provide rights to make comments using the comment button on a document - a great feature for peer editing!

Can Edit - this gives the right to make changes, move and remove items.  Be careful here - you may discover that giving edit rights at the folder level results in documents being removed when another person helps "organize" ...

Is Owner - this is a great method to change ownership of a file or even a folder!  Once you do this - it's out of your hands!  Be thoughtful when doing this.

Image source

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

5 Synergy Hidden Gems

Synergy is a powerful tool for teachers, students and parents!  I've picked five of my favorite things about Synergy to share here.  I have included some videos where appropriate to help.

#1 - Change multiple scores for one student:
•  Method 1:  In seating chart - click on student's face - choose Gradebook - Assignment Summary - Edit grades - Save
•  Method 2:  In Gradebook Main - click on student's name - Assignment Summary - Edit grades - Save.

#2 - Contact parents/guardians:
•  In seating chart - click on student's face - choose Student - phone numbers are listed
•  Note that you can also check what other classes the student has by clicking on Classes

#3 - Missing assignments
•  In seating chart - click on student's face - choose StudentVue - Choose calendar - choose missing assignments from third drop down "all" menu ... note that the other drop down menus allow choices by class and/or teacher.

#4 - Gradebook - Assignments
This window will help you "double check" two things:
1)  Max Value and Pts. Possible are equal

2)  Grading Periods are all checked - in the case below this is a Semester 1 course during Quarter 1 - so Q1 and S1FG are checked.

#5 - Analysis Tool
Want to analyse your grades - see how males do vs females, check grades by ethnicity, assignment type - this is the place to be.  See below for an example of gender analysis.  In this example females have an overall class average of 92.43% and males 92.97%.  

If you would like help doing any of these ... or need/want clarification on something else, please let me know!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Let's Get Our Learn On!

Be prepared to be awesome! - Kid President

There have been many updates this summer ... I've collected some of my favorite recent Google updates and am providing links so that you can review them.  If you'd like to talk more about them, stop by and be prepared to see more about each of these in upcoming blog posts.  This should whet your appetite!!

1.  Google Classroom - Added Guardians!!  Woot Woot!  Read this article to find out more about how parents/guardians can see into your classroom and see just what their students has done, needs to do, and how they've participated.  You can invite a guardian to view

2.  Google Forms - Allows for images in answer fields!  Image asking which of four images is correct or which one doesn't belong!  You can do this with forms!  I can't wait to add this to my Google Forms instructional slideshows (available under the Dihanna's Presentations)!  Check out this article by Alice Keeler (awesome resource) for more information!

3.  Google Forms - Now has it's own version of Quizzes!  Yes ... any form can be turned into a quiz, and get graded and have grades emailed out WITHOUT using Flubaroo ... check this out!  Here's an article about this topic!

4.  Google Classroom - Organization - You can now organize your class stream and move topics to the top, filter your stream, rename and delete topics.  Check out this article for more information!  You're going to love this!!

5.  Google Docs - Publishing to the web and embedding - not new but great timing for back to school web pages!  :)  This will help you learn exactly how it's done on Weebly - imagine embedding your syllabus once and never having to think about it again!  What about a table with your lesson plans - embed it once and it's there for the year - no updating necessary!!