8-Bit Graphic Design

As a change of pace, I decided to create a one day project for my 5th grade graphic design class. I found an online web based pixel editor geared towards creating 8-bit inspired art. Using the program Piq, students created their own 8-bit inspired art and uploaded it to their Google Classroom.

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  • sheryl avornu's picture art
  • KB's art
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  • emily castro's awesome pixel art


Using Comments in Science Class

thoughtsHaving used a few different LMS packages over the last few years, I thought it was time to bring back allowing students to academically comment on material. I chose to do this with my 5th grade science class, which has been using the NGSS all year long. I have been piloting a blended and flipped curriculum with them since the start of September. Since viewing lessons I have created for them in Blendspace is business as usual, I planned a period for them to dig deeper into the lesson itself, leaving detailed comments for each informational slide. The results, have been great. Students had extremely targeted responses to each slide, which were all organized by subtopic. As the commenting continued, we decided to see how many comments both 5th grade classes could collect altogether. Prior to trying this out, students would review for a unit test – creating review documents on Google Classroom. As a change of pace, this worked extremely well. In the past, students were normally conditioned to leave simple feedback, sporadically referencing class material.


In 45 minutes of class, students had amassed 176 comments. On their own, they found the “help requests” button – signaling slides that they wanted to review. At the end of the class, I had decided to frame their commenting as a way to earn extra credit on the unit test that would follow the next day. If you would like to try this, I would suggest creating a Blendspace account. The best way to start using this for students, is to have them review for a test. It sets the purpose and focus for targeting their interactions initially with the program. Expand on this by pairing it with your own curated learning material.

3D Printing with Tinkercad


A collection of images from our interview along with write up. Click to enlarge!

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to show what I do at my school with 3D printing. Check out the write up and attached video for more information. The interview was conducted for CEI (Center for Educational Innovation. PICCS is supported by the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), which is granted from the U.S. Department of Education. The interview was conducted during a project my 5th and 6th grade students were working on. The students were designing New York City landmarks, with a process from sketch to model. Scholars needed to visualize their designs first using Google Draw to obtain the basic geometric shapes necessary for their models. Using these basic sketches, students began to model their creations using Tinkercad to great results. The process of the initial design workflow greatly influenced the creation of models that were possible to print using our Makerbot Replicator 2. After our class, we sat down for an interview were we expanded on our vision and student work. This project was the culmination of a year and a half of work with a new graphic design program piloted at my school.  Leveraging free web based applications, we were able to significantly cut down on the startup cost to get the program going.


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Click to see each stage of the project!

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A Modern Teacher

Today, I found myself looking back on my teaching expirences. I started as a general educator in elementary school. Since I decided to expand into educational technoogy a few years ago – my teaching world has expanded so much. During a planning period today, I found myself replacing Chromebook screens. There is certainly never a dull moment being a Teacher/Educational Technology Specialist.

ChromeTimeLapse from thinkedtech on Vimeo.

Blending Google Classroom

blendgoogleMy initial reactions to first using Google Classroom were mixed at best. The majority of my LMS experience has been centered around using Edmodo as a platform for any blended content that I would personally make. WIth the latest tweaks and updates to Classroom, a few issues have been since addressed. My main concern focused on the ability to turn off the student chat function. I still think the interface and document workflow is a tad counter intuitive for younger students (mostly 5th graders), but enough has been done to make it a powerful tool used in the right manner. I like the fact that students using Google Classroom can take them to the level of how we as adults use cloud computing. Edmodo was a bit to childish for my liking and perhaps even my 8th graders liking. Student engagement and interaction levels with Classroom give them the sense that they are working on document creation with a purpose. blendgoogle2 I have used Classroom extensively with my 5th grade science class as we started our first year with the Next Generation Science Standards. The document integration and creation capabilities of Classroom pair well with a curriculum that teachers need to curate such as the NGSS. As an avid user of Blendspace, I have found the best way to blend Classroom is to create my own documents for students to read. These documents parallel our class notes. I also keep a master Blendspace of our current unit, which in turn, I attach to any assignments they are working on for that given unit. Going even further, pairing Classroom with voice over or screencasts will definitely increase the capability of blending your classroom. While Google Classroom is not shaking up the world of ed tech, it is providing a clean and reliable blended learning platform (if you as a teacher subscribe to being a content creator and curator). I have enjoyed my time with Classroom as I integrate it with younger students. Classroom lends it self to an excellent workflow that students should get acclimated to at earlier ages in academia. If you are a teacher that liked Edmodo, check out Classroom. The change takes a few assignments for both teacher and student to become acclimated to, but it will benefit students in the end.

Tips for SEO

The better your SEO score is, the higher you’ll appear on search engines like Google and Bing.

Depending on the size of your online presence, you could make up to 20 percent difference in search engine results. In some cases, this can be a real game-changer, increasing your chances of conversion.

But keep in mind that having an authoritative and comprehensive website and an SEO-optimized blog page doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to win the search engine optimization (SEO) game.

That’s because even if you keep your site up to date, your SEO scores will change and your keyword rankings will be taken down if you don’t use technology and regular efforts to keep the site safe and secure, so sometimes the best way to help with this is to use a SEO company to help you with these efforts.

How does Google know I’ve done my job?

You cant give Google the whole truth if you don’t tell them what you’ve done.

So, how do you give Google a full explanation for your page?

First, find out whether Google has already assigned a high-ranking position to your website. If the answer is yes, make an honest list of your achievements. You can easily do this by downloading our simple, short, powerful SEO checklist.

If not, just keep checking back over the past few weeks. If you can find something that doesn’t look like your “good” or “special” work, you’re done a good job. The thing is, no one has done your job.

This means you’re actually doing something that other people weren’t.

How should I structure my content?

The content on your website should not change based on which page you look at first. One month it will be a blog post and the next month, it will be a chapter from a book.

What you do notice is that as soon as Google puts its “new” stamp on your website, everything that was deemed useless becomes useless.

So, its best to document your work rather than take a long time to find out what works and what doesn’t.

How long should I wait before I write a review?

You shouldn’t rely on anyone to have your back.

The best way to guarantee you get the best results is to provide 100 percent of your resources to your customers, but also write reviews with your brand behind it.

For instance, you might write a blog post that was written based on customer feedback. It isn’t a PR campaign, but it is certainly the only way you’ll show Google who you are.

The average customer reviews can be up to 5 pages long. That’s a lot of information to dump on Google. To make matters worse, if your customer review doesn’t stand out for a few days or weeks, chances are it will, in time, fall by the wayside.

Fortunately, there are several good ways to decrease the chances of your customer reviews going unnoticed.