Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TIES Conference and Technology Award 2008

Just returned from the 2008 TIES Technology Education Conference. Edina District & Media Technology Services was awarded the Minnesota Technology Leadership Award for 2008. It was a great four days of networking and learning.

I had three presentations at the conference. I did a half day workshop on Saturday on Google Tools for Educators. On Monday I lead a seession on Digital Footprints: Engaging Students in the Web 2.0 process. Lastly, on Monday I lead the Google Community of Interest. It was a great turn out and it was fun to share all of my Googly information with other excited teachers.

I also had the opportunity to meet Ben Friesen who is another MN Google Certified Teacher. We had a great time networking at the conference and at happy hour. We are excited to bring Minneapolis the first Google Learning Institute in August 2009. Details are still in the work, but if you are interested in receiveing information when it is first announced, fill out this form.

More on the TIES Conference 2008 to come...still sorting out all the great resources and ideas!
Here are the photos from the conference...Enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

SCRATCH- My new favorite program!

This summer I was chosen to work with a group of 5 teachers and the Science Museum of Minnesota to develop some Professional Development Resources for teachers to implement SCRATCH into their classrooms and curriculum. I have fallen in love with Scratch and am seeing the amazing learnings that kids have from this program!

Scratch is a free, block-based programming environment created by MIT to produce media and teach programming concepts. Using drag-and-drop techniques to join together block icons representing code, students create games, stories, and simulations in which programmable objects called "sprites" move and interact. Scratch's graphic block-based environment provides an excellent platform for introducing computer science concepts such as objects, methods, and conditional statements.

Scratch is available as a free download from Scratch works on both Windows and Macintosh platforms. Email Mr. Michaud for instructions on how to install Scratch on Linux.

My favorite part of learning Scratch is to see how it fits into the curriculum. I have just started implementing Scratch into my elementary classrooms but it has been exciting to see how the kids embrace the program and learn so quickly.

My first project was with my sister's fourth grade class. The students were studying Minnesota History and created an animiated 4 corners project that shared what they had learned. They were required to have four sprites that were animated and gave information about MN history.

The second project I did was with a small group of 3rd grade students. They were reading "The Green Book" and were learning about figurative language. The students chose four examples of figurative language to animate in SCRATCH. They drew the sprites, gave them different costumes to animate them and then shared the example of figurative language as well.

Click below to see some examples.
My MN History Example
My Green Book Figurative Language Example
4th Grade Students's MN History Examples

3rd Grade Student's Green Book Examples (coming late December 08)

Here are some great Scratch Resources!


The Networked Student

This video by Wendy Drexler called the Networked Student shows a great vision of how teaching and learning is chaning in the 21st Century. The skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the 21st century are radically changing the way we will need to teach. This video does an excellent job explaining the technology tools we have available to provide learning opportunities for our 21st century students.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Themes and Colors in G-Mail

Gmail just launched a "themes and colors" section under settings in G-mail. You can customize the look of your gmail account with a variety of different looks. Here are a few examples! I went with the notebook but will probably change often...I love how Google doesn't only make life easier, but the make life more fun!

SearchWiki-Customize your Google Search

Google just announced that you can begin to customize your search preferences with "SearchWiki." You can add notes to your Google search, rearrange the order your links appear in your search and see how other people are organizing and annotating the same Google Search. Watch this short video from one of the Google SearchWiki engineers to show you how to use this feature.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Geography Awareness Week Nov. 16-22

Google partnered with National Geographic to bring the world Geography Awareness Week! The site My Wonderful World is an amazing resource for students to participate in geography games, puzzles, quizes, and more to find out about the world around us. Take some time to explore this site!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Google Earth- Ancient Rome Contest

Google just announced a new layer in Google Earth that models the ancient city of Rome. Now they are hosting a competition to gather curriculum from around the Globe to compliment this new layer. Enter the contest with your Ancient Rome Curriculum!

Explore the new Ancient Rome Layer!

Self-Grading Quiz with Google Spreadsheets

This is a screen tutorial from a fellow Google Certified Teacher Jesse Spevack on how to turn a Google Spreadsheet into a self-grading quiz. Thanks to these amazing teachers that I am connected to through the Google Certified Teachers I am able to share so many excellent resources...Google and non-google.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Build Your Wild Self

Just wanted to post a fun site that I found. I think it could be used as a good story prompt for Fantasy writing! First the students create their avatar and then write an adventure, or a “How Molly got her wings” type story…Have students create multiple characters for their story! Too fun!

It is called Build Your Wild Self. Students could create fantasy creatures that look like themselves. It also gives you information about each of the animal features that you choose! Students could use this information for their story!

Here is my example!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Google Bus

Announced on the Google Student Blog, the Google Apps Bus just made a nation wide tour to many different College campuses to see how students were using the different Google Tools. Watch this video for more ideas for how to use Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Calendar and Google Talk.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Knol- Debates

Knol now has an area where people can debate current issues. The only debate that exists right now is on the Elections, but it is a great example of how people could use this site to debate current events, issues and ideas.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Knol Debates: The Election 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Google's Mission Statement

Just came across this in a Google Article. Thought it was worth a post here.

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Pass it on!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Webspiration

Here is a free online version of inspiration. Think visually. Work Collaboratively.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Have you used before? Take any text you have an turn it into a fun image! This wordle is words used from this blog.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

KIC Google Presentation

I will be giving this Google Presentation to a group at TIES called the Key Instructional Contacts. KIC includes people from around the metro area that are Technology Integration Specialists. We meet on a monthly basis to learn from each other about new technology tools and applications.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Google Teacher's Academy NYC- Nov 18th

Google announced their next Google Teacher's Academy to be held November 18th in New York City!

View the announcement here! Applications are due by October 10th so time is ticking!

The Google Teacher Academy is a FREE professional development experience designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google's free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion, Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local region.

Google Turns 10!

Amazing to find out that Google is 10 years old! I don't know if that seems old or young. I can still remember a time before the internet, and a time before Google but was that really 10 years ago? You can check out the Google Timeline to find out all the greatest events in Google's 10 years.

In celebration of Google turning 10, Google wants to give away $10 million to people that have innovative ways of helping people. The projects that can help the most people will win! What is your idea for helping others? Watch the video and check out the website and maybe you could be the change for the world!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Google Announces Knol

Google has made a new application Knol public. From the Google Blog..."Knol is a new Google service created for sharing knowledge. The service has been announced in December 2007 and it's now publically available." To me it seems like Google's version of Wikipedia. People can visit Knol and create their own knol article on a subject or topic of expertise. Knol encourages people who know a lot about things to share their knowledge. People can collaborate on a Knol toegether and there may be more than one Knol on a subject.

Read Google's official Blog about Knol

Visit Knol and share your Knowledge

Monday, July 7, 2008

An overview of the Google Teacher’s Academy Tools and Resources

Chris Walsh is the host of The Infinate Thinking Machiene blog videos gave a wonderful tour of advanced search features. Have you ever Googled “even more” you’d be surprised as to how many more features Google has other than search! Chris also gave some great tips on how to use Google with your phone!

Jerome Burg gave an overview of how he has used Google Earth and Google Maps for his Google Lit Trips. Have you ever dug a hole to the other side of the earth using Google earth? Measure distances on Google Maps? Geo Apps for Google :)

Mark Wagner demonstrated Google Docs newest features including how to collect information using forms on Google Spreadsheets. Also there is a new “gadget library” found under “create a map, cart or table link within a spreadsheet.”

Cheryl Davis shared amazing ways that she is using iGoogle, Blogger and Reader in her classroom. Did you know that you can share an entire tab in iGoogle with colleagues, students and parents?

Kathleen Ferenz introduced Google Notebook and other Google tools to use in the research process. Google Notebook is the future of online note-taking and when used appropriately. Your Google Notebook can also be shared with other people.

Kyle Brumbaugh shared how an entire district adopted Google Apps for Education. Can you imagine not having a Microsoft suite and having all the programs that you need hosted online? G-mail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and iGoogle are a great starting place for districts to start saving money on site licenses. Kyle also shared with us how Google Sites work as Google’s version of a wiki and a web page in one.

Life at the Googleplex

Google Teacher's Academy: The Beginning

The Application

I always try to stay connected by signing up for Tech-Ed list serves and I try to keep up with reading all the amazing Technology Education Blogs, but most of the time the day to day “to do list” takes priority and I end up deleting the list serve e-mails and saving the Blogs for another day. One day in the middle of May, I ended up reading one of my Google for Educators list serve e-mails and noticed an invitation to apply to the Google Teacher’s Academy at the Google-plex in Mountain View, CA. For the first time ever Google was opening up this academy to teachers outside of the San Francisco area and people from all over the world were encouraged to apply. I had to fill out a lengthy application and create a one minute video on classroom innovation. I thought I’d throw my name into the hat and see if I could earn a spot in the Google Teacher’s Academy.

Using one of Edina’s strategic directions I made my video on Classroom Innovation. My tag line…”Because building the perfect school isn’t about the walls…but rather everything beyond them.” In Edina we have a vision that we need to extend learning beyond the walls of the classroom. I used Adobe Elements Premiere to edit my video and found some music at jamendo. I submitted my video and application and had two weeks to wait to see if I would get an invitation.

June 5, 2008

I tried to act pretty casual on the morning of June 5th. This was the day Google was going to let 50 teachers know they had been accepted to the Google Teacher’s Academy. What if I didn’t get in? I didn’t want to act too disappointed, but knew I was watching for the little envelope in the bottom right hand corner of my computer constantly!!! The little envelope caught my eye about 8:07am and I checked my e-mail immediately…it was from Google. Before I could think too much about it, I opened the e-mail and at first glance saw the word, Congratulations! I was ecstatic! “Congratulations Molly! You have been selected to participate in the Google Teacher Academy at the Googleplex. We are excited to have you on June 25th out in Mountain View, CA.” I quickly filled out my acceptance survey and began my Google Adventure. I had to quickly check on flights, call some friends in Palo Alto to see if I could stay with them…and then I got to tell some fellow colleagues, friends and families! As my excitement grew, my boss jokingly said, “You’ll probably come back with a Google tattoo.”

The Social Network of the Web

Only days after I received my invitation to the Google Teacher’s Academy, Mike Walker saw a tweet from a social network twitter that there was a wiki started for teachers who had been accepted to the Google Teacher’s Academy. Sallie, a teacher from rural Virginia wanted to see if she could connect some other teachers attending the GTA on June 5th. Mike sent me the wiki and I logged on. I was the 12th teacher to find the wiki. We added our name, a short bio, a bit about our job and our life. We uploaded a picture and our video we made for the application. The wiki kept on growing and I was getting a chance to virtually meet a lot of the other teachers I would spend the day at Google with. A few days later the discussions started on the wiki. Where were people staying? Did anyone want to meet up for dinner the night before? Did anyone need a ride from the airport? Did anyone want to join the PodPirate at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium the day after the academy?

Teacher's Going to Google :)
Check out the wiki to learn more about other Google Certified Teachers

Out to the San Francisco Bay Area

I arrived in CA on the Monday before the GTA. I was staying with some great friends in Palo Alto. Jenny and Dave had lived in MN for three years before moving out the Bay area for Dave to attend Stanford Business School. Jenny works for Google in the Advertising and Marking department (how perfect!) I had a great dinner with them in Palo Alto and was so thankful for their hospitality.


I headed up to San Francisco on Tuesday for a day of exploring and shopping. I’ve been out to the city every summer for the last three years so I know a few hot spots that I like to visit. It was a beautiful day in the city and I got to do some sightseeing and shopping while enjoying the sunny 60 degree weather.

Because of the wiki connecting the “Teacher’s Going to Google” we had decided to meet the night before the training for drinks and dinner in Sunnydale. We had never met in person but the moment I saw the PodPirate in his Hawaiian shirt, I knew I had found the group. Fourteen of us sat around at dinner introducing ourselves, telling a bit about our lives, our jobs and sharing our excitement for tomorrow’s day at Google! It was a cool reality that the social network online is real and can truly connect people from around the world. One of the guys at dinner came all the way from New Zealand!

Google Teacher’s Academy, June 25th 2008
My day at Google

Because Jenny works at Google, I jumped in the car with her and we headed into Google for the day. We arrived a bit early so I had the chance to sneak a peak at her office, micro-kitchen (more later) and meet some of her co-workers. I was so impressed with how excited these people were that I was accepted to the Google Teacher’s Academy! They were really excited that Google was providing this kind of opportunity for educators.

The actual day was a whirlwind. There is no other way to describe it. The agenda was chalk full of tech tools, networking, listening to phenomenal speakers, learning from other Google Certified Teachers, exploring ideas for each of the Google tools and just trying to soak it all in! Our keynote speaker made a great analogy that being at Google was like winning the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. The feeling of being at Google was truly like this, I felt I had won the Golden Ticket! I was so impressed with the company as a whole. Each and every person there was happy to work there, eager to do great things for the company and respected for the unique qualities they bring to the company. Google has a philosophy of 80-20. You are required to spend 80% of your time at work for the job you were hired for but, you are also allowed to spend 20% of your time working for the good of Google in your personal interest area! The Google Teacher’s Academy is a result of Christin’s 20% at Google…how cool! Thanks Christin!

Now that I am a Google Certified Teacher I have a few responsibilities to fulfill. My job is to try to spread the word like wildfire as to how Google can be integrated into education. I am required to have a three part action plan so that I can share all the amazing ideas that I learned with as many people as I can. I will try to bring as much “Googleness” back to Edina as I can. I want to see our students and teachers learn how to use Google as an amazing tool that will connect them to the world outside their classroom walls. I want our teachers and students to feel just like I did at Google, passionate, excited, motivated, creative and most importantly successful in learning.

What now?

The first part of my action plan is to start introducing Edina teachers to Google tools and applications in our August 11-14th Tech Camp. One of the classes I am teaching is Google for Educators. I’m hoping to introduce the teachers to many of the tools and hold follow up sessions with each teacher to figure out how they can use one or more of the tools in the upcoming school year.

The second part of my action plan is to blog about different Google Tools on As a part of this Blog I will send out a Google Tip of the month to all of the teachers encouraging them to have me into their classroom to help launch one of the Google tools. I also plan on visiting staff meetings throughout the year to demo some of these great Google Tools.

A third part of my action plan is to try and present at some local and or national technology conferences to spread the word about Google for Educators.

A Network of Google Certified Teachers

I’m honored and excited that I am part of a group of educators that are passionate about teaching teachers and students how to use Google tools to help student learning. The energy that each of these teachers have towards technology and education is contagious and I plan on using each and every one of the 400 Google Certified Teachers as an amazing resource.

Stay tuned for the first Google Tools post in September!