Technology Does Not Replace Teachers

My take on teaching and education is that it is not about the content and the facts. It is about the relationships and connections. …This indicates to me the intense value of a teacher. The value is not in their ability to transmit facts, but in their ability to care for their learners. Good teachers can not be replaced by technology. What technology does is allow teachers to spend more time focusing on their learners and building those relationships.” – Alice Keeler

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Getting Started on Google Plus by @davidtedu

David Theriault, Google Certified Teacher, created a presentation on how to get started with Google Plus. He generously is allowing me to post this to my blog.

Click Here to link to the presentation.

You can follow David
Twitter: @davidtEDU
Google Plus:
And his blog:


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Zaption: Interactive Instructional Videos



If you are not familiar with Zaption, it is a free service that allows you to make videos interactive. These do not have to be videos you have created, they can be videos from YouTube even.


Including videos into online and blended classrooms has been transformative. Allowing students to access content anywhere at anytime is a big deal. However, in replacing a classroom lecture or discussion with a video we lose out on some of the interactivity. This is a bad thing. Learning is not just about content, but making connections. Research shows that if we do not make connections to our learning we do not tend to retain it long term. Then, what is the point to learning it?

Zaption takes us the next step in the right direction. It allows the student to respond to the video, be interactive. Zaption is of course a tool so it does not magically create dynamic learning experiences or good interactivity. It still requires an educator who designs the learning environment and who crafts really good questions to ask.


I have seen multiple sources suggesting to teachers that they should not try to create their own videos necessarily. Agreed, there are a lot of great resources on YouTube and other places. Why re-create the wheel. In some cases you should absolutely not make your own video, let an expert or someone with first hand knowledge tell the story better than you.

An experience can be lost without providing an opportunity to reflect. Providing students a video can provide them with a nice and interesting video to watch, but did they get out of it what you wanted them to get out of it. Many times when watching a video in a face to face class growing up the teacher would stop the video to ask the class questions. To make sure they saw something that just happened. In other words, they did not let the video teach for them.

Zaption allows the teacher to insert text on the video, to draw or annotate on the video or to insert thought provoking questions.


It took me about 5 minutes to make my first Zaption. The interface is really easy to use.

Create a Tour

Creating a tour is what Zaption calls creating an interactive video. Choose to create a new tour.

My Movenote

For this video I used Movenote so that I could put my face into the presentation. It helps students to connect to their learning if they feel they are connecting with their instructor. This is my first Movenote. It is not perfect, but I think that is okay. Our students do not expect perfection from us and I hope you won’t from me :) My next one will be better. Click here to view on Movenote.


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Create Contact Groups to Share Google Docs With

google contacts

If you are using Google Drive you may have had reason to want to share a document with a group of people. I suggest creating a folder and sharing the folder with the group of people, but there are reasons you would just like to have a contact group.

Go to to see your contact list. It will show you your circles as well.

New Group

On the left hand side towards the bottom is the option to create a “New Group…” Click on this option.

New Group Google Contacts


Group Creation

There are a lot of different types of groups you may want to create. One for your grade level team. One for your students. If you are differentiating for your class you may have need to share a Google document with a subset of your class. You may want to create a group of your parents.
Create a Google Group

Click on Group

Underneath “My Contacts” you will find your group listed. Click on the group. It should be empty.
choose your group

Add Contacts

At the top of the group is an icon of a man with a plus indicating you can add people to the group. Notice when you hover over the icon a help tip tells you that you are adding contacts to that particular group.
add to the group

In the box that appears you can copy and paste the email addresses of everyone in your group. I usually obtain these by having said people fill out a Google Form. You can also type their email addresses in manually. You can use a comma and a spacebar after each email to allow you to enter multiple email addresses in at once.

Press Enter

Pressing enter will submit the contacts to the group.
contacts added

Use in Gmail

In Gmail you can start typing the title of the group you created and it will auto populate the group for you to choose. This will allow you to send an email to your entire group easily.
start typing

Use in Google Docs

If you want to share a document with a group, click on the blue share button in the upper right hand corner of the document.

In the sharing settings you are able to type in the names of individuals you wish to share the document with. You are also able to share the document with a group you have created.
invite a group in a google doc

Edit the Group

Go back to to add or remove people from the group. You can also right click on the group name on the left hand side to delete the group.
delete google group

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Control K: Create a Hyperlink

control K

Control K on a PC or Command K on a Mac is sometimes the shortcut for creating a hyperlink. This works in Google Docs and also in WordPress.

Type Words

Oftentimes the URL you want your students to link to is rather long and ugly. Instead you would rather have something such as “Click Here” for them to click on. Decide on the words that you want to make a live hyperlink and then type them into your document.


Highlight the words you want to turn into a hyperlink.
highlight click here

Control K

The toolbar probably has an icon that resembles a chain link that allows you to create a hyperlink. Some programs have a picture of a globe or the word “link.” Instead of clicking on the icon in the toolbar, instead hold down the Control key and strike the letter K. This will open a dialogue box to allow you to paste (Control V) the URL you wish to link to.
Control K on WordPress

Control K on Google Doc



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YouTube: Isolate a Video from a Playlist

On occasion I will be viewing a YouTube video, but it is part of set of videos in a playlist. The URL at the top links to the playlist. This is a problem for when I want to isolate the video in the playlist and only share the one video.

Edit the URL

Notice the URL is much longer than a normal YouTube URL.
list youtube url

The link to the video you are watching has been appended with the information about the playlist.


The URL to the playlist is the URL of the video you are watching appended with “&list…”  Strip everything out of the URL to the right of “&list.” Don’t forget to delete the “&list” also.

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Students and Teachers Using Snagit Chrome Extension

techsmith snagit chrome extension

If students are using computers there is a need for students to capture their learning and to be able to explain it. Additionally, teachers need to be able to comment on and provide feedback on digital student work. Snagit by TechSmith has a Chrome app and Chrome extension that is free.

Chrome Web Store

Using the Google Chrome browser, go to the Chrome web store and type in “Snagit” into the search.
Search Snagit in the Chrome Webstore

The Snagit app and extension are both by TechSmith. Install both the app and the extension.

Extension Icon

When students are doing digital work they are able to use the Snagit extension to screen capture their work and progress. While on a webpage students will click o the blue S extension icon to the right of the Omnibox.

Choose Capture Region

Clicking on the extension shows a menu of options on the right hand side of the screen. Most of the time I use the first option “Region.” This allows the student, or myself, to screen capture part of the screen. If the student wants to show the entire webpage they may want to choose “Visible” or “Scrolling.” Scrolling captures the part of the webpage that is off the screen.
capture region

Draw a Rectangle

Students can capture a particular region of the screen by clicking on the upper left hand spot on the screen where they want to capture. Holding down the mouse click, students will drag out to create a rectangle that captures the region of the screen that they want to show.

After releasing the mouse click, the student can adjust the capture region by dragging on the orange corners or sides. Once they are satisfied that the capture region demonstrates their work, students will click on the blue camera icon.
click blue photo icon to confirm

Edit the Capture

The capture will launch in a pop up window that allows the student to annotate the capture. If the website offers a score or indication of progress they can draw arrows or put a box around the important parts of the image. Students can also add text to the image to explain elements in the image.

While there are not as many annotation options as the desktop version of Snagit, it is nice that students are able to clearly identify the areas of the screen that the teacher and classmates should pay attention to.
annotate the screen shot

Saves to Google Drive

There is no save button because the image automagically saves to Google Drive. Have students go to their Google Drive. On the left hand side of Drive under “My Drive” a folder for “TechSmith” has been created. The images are located in there.
Techsmith folder

Explain Your Work

While students are working digitally, create the expectation that they will capture their process and work. They should then go to Google Drive and create a Google text document. There they would insert their screen capture images and then reflect on their learning, referring to the screen captures that demonstrate their work along the way.

Insert Image

In the Google Doc students would go to the Insert menu and choose Image.
insert image

On the left hand side of the image upload box are different upload options. Students can find their annotated screen captures by choosing “My Drive” underneath the Google Drive option. The images would be located in the TechSmith folder.
Insert Google Drive My Drive Image

Teacher Feedback

While students can use the Snagit Chrome extension to provide evidence of their learning, teachers can use the extension to provide feedback to students. If the teacher is giving feedback to student on a Google Doc created by the student, the teacher can screen capture elements of the document, annotate and then insert into the bottom of the students work in order to provide more detailed feedback. Other ways the teacher can get the annotated screenshot feedback to students are to share the image with the student from Google Drive, to email the student the image, or to create a feedback document and share it with the student.

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New Google Drive: Filter for Google Drawings

Filter for Google Drawings

In the new Google Drive you can filter your search by file type. Unfortunately the new Google Drive omits the file type of “Drawing.” My first Google Docs activity I do with my students is to create a table tent with their name on it using Google Drawing. I then go to my Google Drive and filter for “Drawings” that are “Not Owned by Me” and between a certain date range. This allows me to find all my students drawings easily so I can print them out. This of course requires that I can filter for Drawings.

File Type

To filter in Google Drive notice there is a little triangle to click on in the search box in Drive. Clicking on this triangle gives you menu options to filter the search. Clicking on the File type options allows you to filter for Spreadsheets, Presentations, PDF’s, etc… but not Drawing.
Filter by file type


Rather than using the drop down options you are able to type your filter options. Directly in the search box input “type:drawing”. Do NOT have a spacebar between the word “type” the colon (:) and the word “drawing.” This will filter your search for Google Drawings.


To filter my Google Drive for the documents my search ended up being…

-owner:me type:drawing after:2014-08-20 before:2014-08-27
filter Google Search

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Oooops, I Wrote on My Google Docs Template

Laurie Roberts Yoda

If you are like me you create templates and graphic organizers to use with your students with the intention of making a copy before you use it. Unfortunately, sometimes I end up using my template when I meant to make a copy.

Make a Copy

Once you have discovered that you have typed on your template you want to make a copy. The copy is now your current document. Rename your copy accordingly.

file make a copy google docs


Revision History

Google Docs has revision history. This means you can not only see when edits are made and by whom, but you can roll back the document to a previous version.
file, see revision history

Find the revision that contains the original template. Click on the revision.
roll back revision history

Restore This Revision

When you click on one of the revisions listed Google will show you what the document looked like at that moment in time. It will also show a link to “Restore this revision.” Clicking on this link will put your template back the way it was before you “messed it up.”
revision history google docs restore this version

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Using Flickr for Creative Commons Images in a Presentation

provide credit

In putting together a keynote presentation, I try to be mindful of copyright when choosing my images.

Flickr Images are Not Free

Most images on Flickr, and on the internet, are under copyright. Creative Commons is a license that content owners can place on their works that gives people permission to utilize the content… with attribution. In other words, give credit! You must filter your search in order to isolate images you are able to utilize for your presentations.

I have my Flickr account setting set up to default my images to Creative Commons. Click here to view my Flickr photostream. Feel free to use the images, just remember to give credit.

Find Images

Flickr is not the only place to find Creative Commons images, but it is a source for them. In Flickr type your keyword into the search box. Once you search you will notice a link under the search box that says “Advanced Search.”
advanced search

Scroll down on the options page and the last set of options is Creative Commons. Check the checkbox to “Only search within Creative Commons – licensed content.” Click “Search.”
search creative commons

Of course all the really cool images went away. If there was an image you really wanted to use, contact the content owner and obtain their permission in writing. I have had good success with this.

Click on Image

Finding an image you like, click on the image to isolate it from the other images. I hold down the Control key (Command on a Mac) to open that image in a new tab so I do not lose my search results page.

Download Photo

If the image is labeled as Creative Commons you will have the option to download the photo. It is recommended that you NAME the photo with the content owners name so you remember where you obtained the image from.
Download Photo

“View all sizes”

After downloading the image size you desire, hover back over the download icon and choose the “View all sizes” option.
flickr view all sizes

Record Owner Name

The all sizes page gives you information about the photo’s Creative Commons license. There are different types of Creative Commons licenses so double check what the content owner is giving you permission to do with their intellectual property.

You will want to give credit to the content owner, make note of the content owners username.
photo license in flickr

Copy the URL

You want to provide a link back to the original content. Copy the URL at the top of the page.

It would look something like this:


Blank Slide

You can use any presentation tool. PowerPoint, Google Slides or Apple’s Keynote to name a few. Insert a blank slide.

Since I am using Keynote for my next presentation the following directions are specific to this tool, but any of the tools have similar methods.


If you are on a blank slide, or do not have any elements selected, the “Format” option in the upper right hand corner will allow you to format the slide.
background on Keynote

On the right hand side is an option for “Background.” The default background is a “Color Fill” in the drop down menu.

Image Fill

Choose “Image Fill” from the drop down menu. The background will default to the last image you uploaded.
image fill


Click on the “Choose” button to choose a different image. Browse your downloads folder for where your Flickr image downloaded.
choose image


Once you have the background image set you will need to provide attribution for the image on the slide. Click on the “T” at the top of Keynote to create a text box.
text box

In that text box I type “Creative Commons Image: Username” and place that text box in the bottom corner of the slide.
Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 10.44.17 AM


You will want to hyperlink the text back to that image. Highlight the text and choose Command K to insert a link. You can also use the insert menu to find the insert link option.

The default is for the hyperlink to link to a slide. Notice this is actually a drop down menu. Click on the link to “Slide” and instead choose “Webpage.”



The default is to have the text link to

Replace the link with the link to the Flickr page.
replace with flickr link

There is not a save button. Just click somewhere on the slide to close out the linking options.

Video of Work Flow

Other Sources of Creative Commons Images

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 10.57.27 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 10.57.33 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 10.58.26 AM
Go to and search images. These images are under copyright, thus not available to use. Use the settings cog in the upper right hand corner to choose “Advanced search.”
google advanced image search

Find the usage rights in the options and change from “not filtered…” to “free to use or share.”
usage rights google advanced search


Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 11.24.35 AM

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