The New Tools – Episode 2.1

In our first episode of the new school year, we discuss a controversial article that claims educational technology is $60 billion hoax. Then we switch gears and talk about strategies for getting your students using tech in the firs few weeks of school.

Bell Ringer – Aha Moments


Tech Talk – Is Ed Tech a Scam?

Time magazine posted this article by a researcher claiming that getting technology in the classroom is mostly a scam to get education dollars flowing to tech and media companies.

We discuss…


Application Time – How Do You Get Students Going With Tech?

The start of the school year is a busy time, with so many important things to get going with students. From setting expectations to introducing schedules and content, it can be hard to find time to get your students going with technology in the classroom. I’m curious if you have tips, tricks or strategies for making room in your start of the year to get students going on with technology.

Valerie – Using with parents during Curriculum Night presentation last year got my stakeholders excited about the use of technology in my class. I used it with the parents before using with my students and I could tell families talked about it because kids came back to school the next day asking to play the game!

Blogging on an opinion based discussion (read aloud books, classroom expectations, use of balls versus chairs) is a great way to get going. Opinion based articles can be found on sources like Tweentribune and Newsela.  It gives the students a greater sense of involvement in making a class decision and practice sharing their thoughts and opinions with others.

Kris – Use Plickers in the first few days of school to survey students thoughts on the subject you teach.  Before you have even assigned students a Plicker number for the year, you can just hand out the cards, pose some questions and show the results instantly. Use them to get a sense of your students comfort level, previous knowledge, learning style, etc.  You can even post questions that allow your students to get to know more about you.  It can be a great sort of community building activity.  And it can serve as a model for students to start creating their own questions to share with the class later on.

Erin – Design Kahoot or Quizizz based on syllabus/class expectations/student surveys – introduce expectations surrounding devices (including BYOD)


Show and Tell


Actively Learn – Actively Learn is an e-reading platform that improves students’ reading comprehension and retention by empowering teachers to reach students inside a text. Teachers can customize instruction, provide real-time feedback, allow peers to collaborate, and get analytics on student performance.


Emaze– Teachers can use Emaze to create beautiful presentations that synthesize the elements that students have been learning into cohesive units. Students can use this tool to create presentations to demonstrate their knowledge on a variety of topics. Teachers can also track the progress that students are making on their presentations. Because Emaze works on a variety of devices and allows for sharing, it is a great collaborative tool both in and out of the classroom.


Voxer – Voxer is a walkie talkie app that can be used as the ultimate communication tool for professional learning communities.  You can talk, send texts, photos and even videos instantly to one person or a whole group of people.  It works on Android, iOS and on any computer with a internet connection.

Most features are free or you can go pro for a small monthly fee to get unlimited message storage and some other admin controls.  I use it to connect with health and P.E. professionals from all over the world in the voxer groups listed on


Valerie– Create a topic, choose the options to allow or not (number of votes, chat, etc..), share the board with a link, then students or colleagues could add suggestions and place dots on their favorite ideas. One idea I am using with you guys is to share a book about technology. I could see teachers using this with kids for predictions, recommendations, and more.