Episode 1.5


In our fifth episode, we discuss how we know when to pull back on using tech in the classroom and bring in Eric Ensey, a teacher at Pine Lake Middle School (and all around tech extraordinaire) to discuss the how and why of students making movies in the classroom.

Bell Ringer – Would You Rather


For this fortnight’s bell ringer we have a little fun with a classic road trip game: Would You Rather. Josh, Tricia and Carrie were forced to choose a side on the following tech-related Would You Rathers.

Would you rather have no computer or no smartphone?

Would you rather have to only use Apple Products or PC/Windows products?

Would you rather have a tech fail a little every time you use it or big fails at random intervals?

Would you rather have a tech fail in front of students or in front of an administrator?

Have someone do all your grading for you or have an empty email inbox?

Would you rather drool every time you used your smart phone or get a rash on your neck and arms every time you type an email?

Tech Talk – Unplugging

After a spur of the moment Would You Rather about all tech or no tech (with some surprising answers) our crew jumped into a discussion about how each of them knew when to govern the amount of tech they were bringing into the classroom, and more importantly, how they decided when to use tech with students and when to stay analog.


Application Time – The Power of Making Movies In Class

During Application Time, we hear from Eric Ensey, Josh, Tricia and Carrie about the benefits of using movie making in the classroom. Everyone was in agreement that the power of movie making is not about the movies so much as it’s about what goes into preparing for getting ready to make the movie (e.g.- brainstorming, writing, revising, planning, rehearsing, etc.) We also get some tips on the where to start with what can be a daunting, resource sucking, time-consuming process if you’re not careful. Fortunately, tech can help you out.

Eric shared that his real reason for getting into video making in the classroom was to up the engagement level. He saw immediate results and also that rigor comes from how students have to prepare, plan and organize before they ever grab a camera. Additionally, he and Josh agreed on the power of constraints that force students to think differently about how to present and share the information visually.

Tricia is a big fan of  keeping it simple with movie making and having a good scaffold helps ensure rigor and better videos. She also shared that she believes that video making is one of those experiences that is immersive and consequently leads to deeper learning. The strong positive emotions associated with video making will help you remember better.

Carrie identified two essential things to think about when working with video. The first is to decide how the videos will be viewed. Options include connecting to the projector and watching as a class. She also suggested gallery walks if you have iPads. She stressed the importance of celebrating the work but not having to hold onto it (feel free to have them delete the videos when they’re finished.) Secondly, she developed rubrics that made it clear to students what the expectations were and how they would demonstrate learning. Rubrics also make it easy to view the videos as ephemera that don’t need to be moved to a hard drive, or shared to YouTube.

Movie making is something we in the Ed Tech Department have a lot of experience with. Check out our slew of resources here if you want to get started.

Show and Tell


1 Second Everyday – This video app helps make it easy to build a video time capsule of your life. It integrates a calendar that visually shows you what days you captured video on. It will give you reminders to capture video everyday so that when you reach the interval you’d like to remember, you’re ready to choose one second from each day. 1 Second Everyday will then stitch those clips together and let you add music and titles to get you a finished project. Eric shared how he is using it with his leadership students to help them show their progress on a project.


Google Add-Ons– Google Add-Ons let you get additionally functionality beyond what comes standard with the Google suite of productivity tools. Docs, Sheets and Forms each have their own Add-Ons and accompanying store. To get going with Add-Ons, choose Add-Ons from the menu in Docs, Sheets or Forms, and then select Get Add-Ons. You’ll then be whisked away to a store where you can browse through the various options. When you find one you like, click on the + Free button. It will then be added to your Google Drive account and available whenever and wherever you log into Google Drive.


Stylus – Carrie waxed poetic about the joys of writing on a tablet (reminded by her new favorite toy: The Apple Pencil, which only works with iPad Pro for now.) She’s a pragmatist though and has found that even a basic stylus works great.


TED Ed – TED Ed, built by the people behind TED Talks, allows teachers and users to created lessons built around TED Talks, YouTube or your own videos. Teachers can add questions and videos get translated subtitles. Cool stuff for sure.