Wednesday, November 30, 2016


EDpuzzle allows you to customize a video by editing, cropping, recording audio, and adding questions. This helps create a more engaging lesson or presentation that keeps the viewer involved. Their are tons of different channels that are filled with videos such as YouTube, TED Talks, Khan Academy, and many more. It allows you to search a topic and then brings up all the videos for that topic. After you choose a video, you click "use it" which allows you edit the video however you think is best. Once you are done getting your video just right, you can share it with others. Not only can you make your own video lesson, but also, you can use videos someone else has already made.

This sounds easy enough right?? EDpuzzle is great for adding extra information to a video that students are watching. For instance, their is a great video talking about the rainforest but it doesn't mention layers of the rainforest enough, so you can add in more information through text, an image, a website, or audio. Another great feature is the questions because it pushes students' thinking and makes sure they are paying attention. Their are both, open ended and multiple choice questions. This helps enhance students critical thinking skills.

Flipped classroom and EDpuzzle? Sounds like a perfect match to me! Teachers have the ability to create more meaningful lectures for their students to watch at home now with the use of EDpuzzle. Throughout the video, teachers can add questions to get the students to think critically which will help with class discussion the following day. Multiple choice questions are a great way to see how well students understand and retain the information from the video. Before class, teachers can now review your students understanding by checking how they did on the questions throughout the video. This allows you to come prepared to class to help with what students are not understanding.

Not just teachers get to have all the fun using EDpuzzle. Students can also use EDpuzzle to create their own video lessons. This will enhance student centered learning because they get to complete the task in ways that enhance their learning. Then, they can share their video with other classes. They could even share them globally!!

What a neat tool!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

QR Codes

A QR Code consists of black and white squares that are read by a camera to reach the information they are storing. Both children and teachers can use them in their classroom to enhance the learning environment. QR Stuff is a website that allows you to create your own QR Codes and has multiple data types available. In order to create a QR Code you go to this site and paste the Website URL then it generates your QR Code. It allows you to pick the color of your QR Code. Lastly you download the QR Code which allows you to print it or you can impend it into different technology based resources. Simple enough!?

So how can you allow students to use QR Codes??? Students can create their own QR Code leading others to a project or another resource. This gives them power to use a new form of technology and explore their creativity in using them. For instance, students could work in a group and create a video presentation which they put in a QR Code. They can then take this QR Code and place it on a poster for other to scan and then watch their presentation. In order to read QR Codes on your choice of technology you must download a QR Code  reader like i-nigma.

Teachers have unlimited options to use QR Codes in their classroom. Teachers can create a QR Codes that read books to their students, which is great for younger students. Scavenger hunts and timelines are a few exciting activities for the students to do involving QR Codes. All the students would do is take their device and scan the QR Code and follow the directions from their. To easily take your students to different websites and videos, just create a QR Code and project it at the front of the room.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mystery Skype

Mystery Skype is a guessing game students all around the world can play. It helps students learn about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences of children lives around the world. Not only does it teach students Social Studies material, but it also allows students to use higher order thinking skills, such as, critical thinking. What an exciting and fun way to learn!

Students have to ask yes or no questions to another class they are Skyping to try and guess their location before they guess yours. It takes about 45-60 minutes to play this interactive game. This is a fantastic way for students to practice important skills and learn about other places around the world without actually physically being there. Students are challenging their problem solving skills when they receive a no to one of their questions and have to come up with a new question. They ask questions until they can piece together the location of the opposing class. Additionally, students will be using different resources to narrow down their search, for instance, a map. The students will also be practicing their collaboration skills as they work together to find the answer. 

Neat, huh?! Mystery Skype is an enriching opportunity for your students to build multiple higher order thinking skills and expand their knowledge of other areas in the world. This way of learning is fun and doesn't exactly feel like learning to the students. Personally, I will be using Mystery Skype in my classroom to increase my students' learning in a fun, yet enriching way. 

Mr. Solarz is another educator who has provided detailed instructions on using Mystery Skype. Visit his website to learn more!

Image: by Mark Thomas

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Now that technology is an active part of learning there are many amazing tools that teacher can use in their classroom. One tool that I personally love is Kahoot. This free learning platform is game-based and excellent for classrooms. It is one way to gamify your classroom that students will love. Teachers can create their own quiz, survey, or discussion or they can use one of the Kahoots already made. Kahoot allows you to create questions and answers and also add images and video.

Once the Kahoot game is created or chosen, you will launch the game to your students who will then enter the pin and a nickname at As the teacher, you will display the game on a common screen of your choice that all the students can see. Every student will play the game on their own device. This could be a laptop/desktop, phone, i pod, tablet, or anything that has a browser and connects to the internet. What an excellent tool for a one to one learning environment don't you think?

The questions will come up with different option and the students will select the shape and color of the correct answer. Students gain points by answer quickly and correctly. This creates an exciting game for reviewing material. I know when I have seen Kahoot implemented in the classroom students were thrilled to play! All students were actively engaged and it was a more interesting way of learning. Kahoot is a way embrace students' love for competition and technology.

One awesome feature that allows you to expand the learning of your students, is that it can even be played with students around the world.

As an educator it is important to ask yourself a few questions before creating a Kahoot.
  • What do you hope the results will be?
  • How do your students learn?
  • Are you allowing time for discussion between each question?
  • What is the overall goal of this activity?
This game can be really fun and valuable for your students, but only if it is used effectively.

Here are some useful ways to use Kahoot:

1. Review for a test

2. Asses students understanding

3. Way to wrap up class

4. Way to warm up class

5. Introduce a new topic

Below is a YouTube video sharing an example of students playing Kahoot in their classroom.

In the future, I will utilize Kahoot in my classroom for a variety of subjects. It helps improve students learning in a fun and positive way. I suggest that all educators try to use Kahoot in their classroom to increase students excitement for learning.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


This semester I focused on building a Personal Learning Network (PLN). As an educator, creating connections is important to be successful! One thing led to another and pretty soon my PLN expanded a great deal. In the future, these connections will be beneficial and I will continue to build them.

This is a before picture of my PLN...

As you can see there was not a ton there.

I first started building my PLN by creating a professional Twitter. I decided to create a Twitter for educational purposes so I could create beneficial connections with other professionals. To start I found other educators to follow. Immediately, I started finding useful information. In the future, I will continue to grow my Twitter network because it is an excellent way to learn new thing, share ideas, and ask questions. Additionally, this would be a great way to share information with students and athletes.

Once my professional Twitter had a good base, I started to try to build connections with others. I spread new knowledge I was gaining in class and retweeting beneficial information. I even shared links to different assignments that I created, hoping to give others ideas or provide them with an activity they could use in their classrooms.


It was exciting to get a response but I found it really difficult to gain follower for them to benefit from the information I was sharing. In the future, I will gain more followers and it will be easier to get feedback and to get my work out to others. The more experience I gain the more valuable people I will interact with over Twitter. I did not realize the amount of knowledge at your fingertips from one social media source.

As a way to build more connections and gain followers, I joined a TweetChat. This was completely new to me and I was not really sure what to expect. Professor Zeitz had suggested this to his EdTech students so I thought it was a cool way to expand my PLN. It ended up being a live stream video were you could tweet others who were also watching the live video of Trevor, the creator of Train Ugly. This experience was fantastic! It was such an exciting and easy way to gain information. I was able to talk to other educators and even ask questions to Trevor. I started following a number of other educators, furthering my PLN. In the future I will definitely join more TweetChats to expand my knowledge and bounce ideas off of other educators.


From their I was thrilled to learn more about Train Ugly. I immediately started following Trevor Ragan on Twitter. He discussed the Train Ugly website in the video chat so of course I had to go check it out for myself! Seeking this resource allowed me to find out even more about Train Ugly and gave me more time to brainstorm how I will use it. This website was great and I already found ways I would take things I learned from their and implement them in my life. In the future, I will use this website to find out more information, share this wonderful ideas with others, and to contact Trevor in order to find out more information. I can see how growth mindset is important to instill in my students and athletes in the future.


Additionally, Twitter helped connect me to other resources. I saw a retweet of a Twitter account called "WeAreTeachers". I followed them but the article ended up talking me to a blog called The Brown Bag Teacher which was filled with many beneficial articles. I explored this and read many interesting articles. This blog was so helpful I thought about how I could use it in the future as an educator. This source is filled with lesson plans for different subjects, articles about technology in the classroom, and other informative articles for teachers. I will definitely continue to dig deeper into the blog and in the future use it to continually grow as an educator. This will provide some fun ideas for future lesson plans.

Well now that I had so many wonderful resources to use in the future, I had to create a more efficient way of storing them other than hundreds of sticky notes. This lead me to Symbaloo! I have always been one to keep more than twenty tabs open at a time, in addition to my sticky notes covered with different resources I will need down the road. Symbaloo is a website that allows you to book mark different resources so you can efficiently return to them when they are needed. I first created a Symbaloo page that had different websites that I will use in the future. For instance, the Train Ugly website, Iowa Common Core website, and many others.

The benefits of Symbaloo were apparent imminently. I can use it now to organize things for class and things I discover that I want to use in the future. It will also be very beneficial in the future to continue to organize important things as a teacher. This got me thinking...How can this benefit my students? I can create Symbaloo pages for students to organize any important websites they will frequently visit. Older students could save websites that they find when working on a project or a paper to easily return to them. Additionally, I can create a Symbaloo page that my students will use the websites that I have preselected and they will be located in one spot.

I absolutely love reading! So when I was reading one of the Harry Potter books, I got to thinking that it would be cool to reach out to J.K. Rowling. This would be a fun and interesting way to build my PLN. I tweeted J.K. Rowling but sadly I never got anything back in response. It is understandable though because she has so many fans. In my future classroom, I will try to make connections with authors of the books my students love. This would make the kids ecstatic to hear back from one of their favorite authors. Before I would tweet to one of their favorite authors I would contact them and fill them in on how my students love their work and would enjoy hearing from them. I think this will prepare the author and hopefully then we would get a shout out.

This then lead me to checkout a couple of my favorite authors' websites. I have not ever visited an author's website before but after I tried to reach out to one of them I was curious to learn more about them. I chose to visit J.K. Rowling's website and Ransom Riggs' website. It was really insightful to read and learn more about each author and any news about their work. As a teacher, I plan to encourage students to find the websites of their favorite authors. Students will learn more about their personal life, career, and maybe find a new book to read. Additionally, I learned that it will be valuable to students learning to have them research information about the author of the book we are about to read.

Pinterest, the consumer of hours... Most of us could say that they have spent hours on hours looking at tons of different things on Pinterest; I know I have. One fun way I found to expand my PLN was through Pinterest. I ended up creating a new Pinterest account that is just for educational purposes. I have seen so many educational boards on Pinterest that I wanted one account that I could organize all the good ideas that I was finding. This resource gave me so many great ideas from other educators that I can use in my own classroom eventually. It is so easy to specify your search to find an abundance of ideas for that particular topic. I was also lead to other websites and book through Pinterest that I will utilize in the future.

I created boards for each separate category. For example, I made a board dedicated to Social Studies material only. I will benefit from Pinterest in my future teaching because I will use it to find different experiments, activities, crafts, and much more to implement in my classroom. Additionally, I will use Pinterest to share my own ideas with other educators and parents. I can even create different boards that will be beneficial to my students to use.

Another awesome tool I used to expand my PLN was Zoom. Zoom is a free video conferencing source. I learned about Zoom because I had a Zoom meeting with my professor and group to discuss our group project. It made it convenient for everyone to meet even though we were all in different locations. Zoom is a great resource that I will use in the future to communicate with teachers around the world and collaborate with my colleagues. I will use this resource to reach out to other educators to gain different perspectives and expand my knowledge. This will make it much easier for me to gain knowledge from a teacher who is teaching in a very different area of the world then me. Overall, this tool will help me educate my students with different perspectives in mind.

My PLN has grown so much in such a short amount of time. This is a map of what my PLN looks like now...

Can you see the huge difference? I know that to be a successful educator I need to continue to grow and expand my Personal Learning Network. There are so many amazing tools and people out there, you just have to go find them!

Friday, November 4, 2016

1st post


I am Emily Spilman. I am currently studying at UNI to become an educator. This blog will share my exciting journey to become an educator. Blogging is completely new to me so I am thrilled to get started. Someday I will look back to see each stepping stone along the way!