Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Flip the Moodle Way

Flipping the classroom can be quite easy using Menasha Moodle course server. You will be able to add music, video, and websites with activities. The reasoning behind Flip is to allow the students to have prior knowledge of the topic being studied in the classroom before coming through the door. Peoples' neurons need to be sparked two to three times before they can make a connection. By Flipping you have already sparked the neurons one time.

Any questions on Moodle Course Server you can go to Atomiclearning or speak to Isaac or myself for pointers.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Atomic Learning

Atomic learning provides video tutorials for a variety of software and web2.0 tools. One of the major hurdles facing educators who want to use a new tool is learning how to use it and Atomic Learning provides a great service to help you do so. The tutorials are easy to find, cover many different tools and are available anywhere you have internet access. The Menasha Joint School District subscribes to and you will be given automatic access to the program at if you would like access to the tutorials from home you can find the district password on the training resource page right above the link.


-Tutorials on Google Apps, Moodle, Contribute and Microsoft Office
-Easy access in district or at home


-District needs to purchase service
-No tutorials on Edmodo

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Capturing Student Voice

Here is another free site that I'm excited to share with you! It is a very simple website that allows users to capture voice and then put that recording into wikis, websites, blog and more. The site is called Vocaroo. The is no need to log into this site. It used to be an option but they got rid of it. The netbooks that are being used in the 7th grade and by Maplewood staff have microphones built into them so you can easily record audio. Watch the video below to see how easy it is to capture voice using this site.

The ability to record voice can be useful for many multimedia projects as well as in foreign language classrooms. There is no limit to the length of the recording. If you close the window before copying the code or URL for your recording, it is lost and you will have to re-record. If sounds quality is bad, adjust the volume on your computer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Using Overdrive and How to Download to Kindles

Overdrive is here, Overdrive is here!!!  If you are not familiar with Overdrive, it's a subscription based website that allows users to download eBooks and Audiobooks on to their electronic devices for free.  Most public libraries have Overdrive (including all in our area), and now our school district also has Overdrive available.  I'm so excited to be able to offer Overdrive to both students and staff as a way to access books from the school library 24 hours a day!

You can download eBooks and Audiobooks onto your: computer, android phone, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, iPad, Kindle, Any Device with the free Kindle App, Nook, Sony eReader, etc.  List of compatible ebook readers.

Most adults may not enjoy reading books on their phone, but we have to remember our students are from a very digital generation.  As an experiment, one teacher allowed her students to bring in any device that had the Kindle App loaded on to it (which was a surprisingly large percentage of students).  The students were then allowed to download books to their devices from Overdrive.  I went up to help, and the students were so excited about being able to read on their own devices. One student who normally did not like to read, was quietly sitting in the corner reading off of his iPod Touch.

The Menasha Overdrive site is located here:
Student's can use their student ID number to check out materials.  Staff will be receiving (if you do not have it already) a letter with your id Number (or you may ask any library papaprofessional) in their mailbox soon.

Further Overdrive Instructions for Our District are Located Here. (only works if logged into your district gmail account)
How to Download Kindle Books from Overdrive

How to Read Early Grade Disney Books Instantly
Overdrive Pro's:
  • Easy to download to Kindle or any device with Kindle App
  • Easy to download and read K-3 Disney books online (if you have the subscription, which Menasha does)
  • Instant access to books.
  • Access to school library 24 hours a day/7 days a week
  • Students can read books on their own devices.
  • If you have the Adobe Digital Editions software loaded on your school computer (we do not) it works great with a Smartboard for class reading.
  • Link right from Overdrive to free public domain books.
  • Links for visually impaired students.
Overdrive Con's
  • Must download Overdrive Media Console software in order to download books to devices other then Kindle or Early Grade Disney Books.
  • Overdrive Media Console not loaded on our school computers (yet)
  • Must have Adobe Digital Editions software in order to read PDF books on computer (which is not loaded on school computers (yet)).
For additional videos and help with Overdrive check this website (you will need to be logged into your school gmail account).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Photo Peach

Photo Peach, "A Fresh Presentation" Very little effort needed but big results.
This can be introduced to the students as a tool they may use to create a project. Photo Peach allows you to add your own music, your own pictures (any jpeg), and upload from Youtube. Not only can you create a slide show with photos and music, you can also organize your slide show further by adding comments, and setting the speed. Photo Peach also has a quite large catalog of music to choose from. Watch the quick 1 - 2 - 3 step video and make your own Photo Peach Presentation!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Charts.hohli allows students to quickly and efficiently create many different types of charts. It is very easy to use, free, does not require a log in and is very customizable. If you have students who need to display data it is defiantly worth checking out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PDF Forms - Go the Paperless Route

Here is a video showing you how to take a document that you created in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and change it into a form that allows for the viewer to type in text fields you place on the form, re-save and email it back to you.

*For those using only Google Docs - Once you have created this form, you can upload it back into Google Docs, but do not convert it over to the Google Document format. If you do that, you lose the feature of filling in the form. Sharing the form in it's original PDF format allows the user to get the PDF form from you and then they download it to be able to fill in the fields. You could also just attach the PDF form to an email and send it out.

Google Docs works great for collaborating, but if you want just one student's answer and work at a time, this allows you to go a paperless route.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Google Voice

Several times a year I have the opportunity to deliver a technology grad class. One of the assignments the teachers are asked to do, is to become an expert of a web tool. They were also asked to introduce it to the class. Well last year Lynn Sessler introduced Google Voice. I was very intrigued with the concept of using Google Voice as an assessment tool. As explained by Lynn, “I needed to find a way for students to use their second language of Japanese.” Lynn would have her student call her Google Voice number and leave messages using their second language. Quick, easy, readily available when you are ready and the messages easily saves in a file. I can see this tool being used in all subjects. Follow the video below and set up your own Google Voice today.

Setting when your phones should ring You can set your phones to ring only during certain times or days of the week. To set a phone's ring schedule, follow these steps:
1. Sign in to Google Voice.
2. Click the gear icon at the top of the page.
3. Click Voice settings.
4. Select the Phones tab.
5. Click the Edit button under the phone for which you want to set a ring schedule.
6. Click the Show advanced settings link.
7. In the Ring Schedule section, select your option using the radio buttons. To make sure a phone doesn't ring at a specific time of the day, select Use custom schedule and enter your time range.
8. Click Save at the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Aviary provides an amazing suite of creative tools for free and in the cloud and given the unbelievably slow development of Microsoft Paint (I just checked it has a new layout but the exact same tools as I used in middle school) it is a tool that many students need to let their creativity and not software limitations dictate what they design. Aviary provides four types of image editors that provide students many of the basic tools they would find in an Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, two types of audio editors that allow users to create their own and edit audio tracks and a tool that allows you to capture screenshots of websites without installing any software.

The tools that Aviary provides allow students to create a variety of projects that lend themselves to all content areas. When I explore the suite I can remember times when students have asked me if they could create “photoshoped” images, tee shirt designs, their own website graphics, magazine covers, or radio ads and have been limited by the software available to them. Having a website like this to direct them to will allow students to channel their creativity however they see fit. I can certainly see teachers learning to use specific parts of Aviary and asking an entire class to complete a project using it but if you do not have the time or skill to do so it would be equally valuable to direct an eager student to where they can learn how the website works via video tutorials. Either way the Aviary Suite allows students to tackle almost any design project that they can dream up from any device with an internet connection.

  • Allows students to be very creative and develop graphics and audio files in almost any way they can think of.

  • Suite is available on tablets, phones and computers

  • It is free and there are no ads

  • A large community and tutorials available to help students trouble shoot problems

  • Students who have used Photoshop or Gimp will love to have a similar product available anywhere

  • Aviary has developed an education site that allows teachers to set up student accounts

  • Negatives

  • You must create an account to use many of the features

  • Creating graphic or audio files online takes a ton of bandwidth, with a slow internet connection this is a very slow process

  • All of the tools and options can look overwhelming to teachers and students
  • Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Brainpop, Brainpop Jr, and Brainpop Espanol

    Due to unforeseen circumstances our Wednesday blog did not happen this week.  But don't fret, we still have a great web tool for your use, Brainpop, Brainpopjr, and the Spanish version of Brainpop.  Brainpop is an award winning educational web tool that features videos and activities that go along with our curriculum.  Try it and you'll be amazed how the Brainpop team can take any subject and break it down in an easy to understand format.  Even better, students love it!
    Brainpop offers videos for free, but if you have a subscription you can enjoy the full range of services it has to offer.
    If in the Menasha School District, you can obtain the login information for Brainpop here.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011


    Zamzar File Converter
    I like free web programs and here is one that I use often. This is an online file converter. Sometimes you save files in one format but later need to use them in a different format. This program can convert images, documents, music, videos, e-books and other obscure file types. Click HERE to go to Zamzar.

    To use Zamzar, you need to have a file that you'd like to convert and an active email address. It's that simple.

    Watch the short video below for the steps to submit a file to be converted. When a file is done being converted you will get an email with a link that will allow you to go and download your newly converted file. This is a helpful tool to keep tucked away for any conversion situation.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Big Universe

    Our first ever Websday Web Day post is about Big Universe.  Big Universe is billed as an online reading and writing community.  Big Universe has a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books that can be used on the smartboard, computer, or any device with internet access.  Books can be searched by subject, curriculum area, reading level, grade level, interest age, foreign language, and much more.  It also has an area where students and teachers can create ebooks using clipart or their own images.  Big Universe requires a paid subscription (which Menasha school district has), or you can try it for free for 14 days.

    Big Universe from Jennifer Peterson on Vimeo.

    You can also view Big Universe's video about their site.

    If you belong to the Menasha School District, directions for how to login to Big Universe can be found here (you will need to be logged into your school google account to access this site).
    If your Big Universe login does not work, contact Jen Peterson.