Upcoming PD

SAMR Through the Lens of Common Core Standards
12/3 @ 4:00 CST, sponsored by MyInfinitec.org

Are you looking for ways to leverage the power of technology to help students develop 21st Century Skills? Researchers have determined that technology integration typically moves through four specific levels: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR).The higher the level of an activity the greater the educational benefit. This webinar will demonstrate how to use the SAMR model of technology integration as a guide for planning and implementing classroom learning experiences that take student learning to higher levels. Join Susan Oxnevad as she looks at some traditional learning tasks, aligns them to the Common Core Standards, and walks them up the SAMR ladder to show how to transform your teaching and “Teach Above the Line.”

Register open to all


Weaving Digital Tools into the Common Core
12/7 8:00 – 12:00, DeIce Winter Mini Conference, Lockport Township HighSchool

We will take a look at free and user friendly digital tools through the lens of the Common Core to design and facilitate learning experiences that require students to construct knowledge and create. Google Docs and ThingLink will be featured, and additional Web 2.0 tools and apps will be explored, as we weave digital tools into the CCSS.


Digital Differentiation: Tools to Support Flexible Learning Paths for Individualized Learning 1/23 @ 1:00 PM EST, Sponsored by Simple K12

Technology is a tool that can be used to help teachers facilitate personalized learning experiences to address the diverse needs of all students. At the most basic level, digital tools can be used to help students find, understand, and use information. When combined with student-driven learning experiences that are fueled by essential questions and offer flexible learning paths, use of digital tools can break the learning barriers that exist in our classrooms. Join Susan Oxnevad as she provides an overview of digital tools and resources to design personalized learning experiences that effectively incorporate digital differentiation.

Register open to Simple K12 members


Winter 2013 Preview

Webinar: Google Docs Writer’s WorkShop, January 2014, sponsored by Infinitec

Webinar: Using Google Slides to Construct Knowledge, February, 2014, sponsored by Infinitec

Hands-on Full Day Workshop: Design Your Digital Classroom, February 2014, Illinois Computing Educators Conference 

Hands-on Full Day WorkshopDigital Differentiation, February 2014, Illinois Computing Educators Conference 

ICE Conference Break Out Session: Unpacking the Common Core: Embracing the Academic Vocabulary Shift, February 2014, Illinois Computing Educators Conference 

Webinar: Using Google Docs for Collaborative Learning, March, 2014, sponsored by Infinitec


10 Terrific Tools in My Toolkit

Flexible Learning Paths

The key to successful technology integration is the efficient use of digital tools tools that are appropriate for the task. Technology provides us all with the ability to develop our own toolkit of flexible resources for use when needed. Here is a toolkit I assembled that is filled with tools I frequently use for designing flexible student-driven learning experiences. Starting with a good toolkit is essential.

Explore this interactive image to take a closer look at my collection of resources for use with these 10 terrific tools. Try them yourself and remember to start with something simple.


Wikispaces Classroom – A Flexible Tool for Teaching & Learning

Wikispaces Classroom is a flexible tool that has many useful features for designing and implementing technology powered learning experiences to support all learners. This online learning platform and virtual classroom is free, efficient, and built to support teaching and learning. 
Wikispaces is well-suited for engaging students in creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

About Wikispaces Classroom

Launched last spring, Wikispaces classroom was designed to streamline classroom management and engage students in learning through the use of private social networking tools that are limited to members of a wiki classroom. There is a newsfeed, a projects calendar and a newly designed discussion area to encourage communication and collaboration about learning. Discussions can be monitored for student engagement in real time through the Assessment tab. This immediate feedback for teachers can be useful for providing students with on the spot interventions and challenges.


Designed for classroom use, the Projects feature provides designated workspace for project-based teamwork. With the push a button, teachers have the ability to set up a project, assign students to teams, and monitor engagement within each team space as a means of formative assessment. Projects can be differentiated for teams, since the teacher has the ability to manage and monitor the project workspace at all levels.


A simple widget lets wiki members embed Web 2.0 tools into any page to provide students with flexible means of engagement. Just pop the embed code from an online tool right into a wiki widget and bring the learning right to the student page. Students can create projects, explore projects created by their peers, and engage in discussions about the learning, 24/7.

Click to view larger


A wiki template is like a virtual copy machine that can be used to provide students with consistent formatting options, prompts, and directions for a project. Templates save time and they can be extremely useful for guiding the learning.

Student Accounts

Students do not need email accounts to join a classroom wiki. Teachers can upload a simple spreadsheet to add users instantly. Teachers can monitor student account activity and provide them with guidance to help them follow develop digital citizenship skills. 

Why I’m Wild About Wikispaces

I am wild about Wikispaces because it provides teachers with a flexible tool to help students become engaged in learning and it supports the development of collaborative skills necessary for them to succeed in school and beyond.

Take a video tour of the Wikispaces Campus

Digital Differentiation – QR Codes on the iPad

Managing a classrooms full of students with 1:1 iPads presents the challenge of getting them on the same page, literally. Trying to manage differentiated groups requires a good tool for organizing resources. QR codes are one quick and easy solution.

 Use a QR scanner on your iPad to quickly jump to any website

Here is an example I created with informational text at three different reading levels. To use this with students, simply project the graphic to a screen, point a QR scanner app at the appropriately colored QR code, and watch the device jump right to the designated page.

Just think about how many ways you could use this in a 1:1 iPad classroom.

QR Code created with qrstuff.com

Global Virtual Classroom to Extend Classroom Walls

How will you go beyond the walls of your classroom this year?

GVC LOGO with GSBI 2Global Virtual Classroom provides teachers and students across the globe with amazing opportunities and resources to collaborate, work together, and learn from each other. My longtime friend and mentor, Janet Barnstable, has been the program manager for Global Virtual Classroom for several years and I highly recommend working with Janet and the GVC team. You can participate in the Web Design Contest or the GVC Clubhouse if you are interested in extending the walls of your classroom this year.

The Web Design Contest

Three schools are teamed by GVC into a single team.  That team works together to create a website about a world issue that they have chosen collaboratively.This is a full year commitment which involves knowing how to create a website. Schools also need strong collaboration skills, as the 3 schools in each team are separated geographically, but need to work together as one.

More information can be found on the GVC wiki 

GVC also participates yearly in GlobalDreamers Peace and Holocaust Remembrance projects. There is also the opportunity for postal mail with schools in Kenya who do not have sufficient Internet access for online collaborations.

GVC Clubhouse

The Global Virtual Classroom Clubhouse invites you to join projects and learn about other students and places around the world. Join the  wiki and get started!
As an additional feature this year, we have added a Skype chat group called: GVCclubhouse.

Here are some of the ongoing projects:

  • Literature Corner – Original stories and poems as well as book reviews recommending books to other students.
  • International Recipes – Students and teachers from around the globe contribute recipes for favorite dishes.
  • Regions – Tell us about where you live; read about other parts of the world.
  • HandMade – What things are made by hand by people in your country?

Reach out and join us this school year!

Andrew Ezzell
Founder & President
Janet Barnstable
GVC Program Manager
Marsha Goren
GVC Clubhouse
Project Director
Ronda Zelzeny-Green
GVC International
Outreach Director

GlobalDreamers is a project created originally by Marsha Goren, Israel, who also runs the “Teaching for Life” Wiki with worksheets for teachers of English as a foreign language.
Global Virtual Classroom is sponsored by Give Something Back International, Florida, USA.

SAMR – Walking a Wiki Up the Line

For those of you interested in learning more about the SAMR model of tech integration …

I created a MentorMob playlist designed to share a sample of a wiki project I’ve walked up and down the SAMR ladder. The playlist displays illustrated examples of the project at each level of SAMR. After you’ve viewed the example, please read the whole post on GettingSmart.com to learn where this example fits into designing lessons.

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Using SAMR to Teach Above the Line on GettingSmart Today

I have been digging deeper into SAMR to help educators embrace this tech integration model because it is simple, easy to gauge, and something to strive for. I hope you will read my post on GettingSmart.com to see the connections I’ve made and watch me walk a wiki project up and down the SAMR ladder.


Explore – Wagon Wheel Project Toolkit

And now for a mouthful of EdTech…

I have been weaving together digital tools with the Common Core to design flexible student driven learning experiences that start out Above the Line, as defined by SAMR.

Good news! My digital toolkit is filled with great resources to tackle these design challenges. Do you have a digitalt toolkit of resources? Take a look at mine.

Essential Tools Used to Organize and Share this Project


Wagon Wheel Project Toolkit

Please explore this interactive image to learn more about each tool.