Great Tech Tool (Most) Teachers Aren’t Using

Written by Charice Carroll on . Posted in Uncategorized

Imagine you are reading a book as a class and you could have the author in your classroom to let students ask questions and interact with them. Imagine being able to bring in a Chemistry teacher or professor to conduct experiments that you may not be able to do on your own. Imagine being able to collaborate face-to-face with teachers in your building, district, or around the world without ever leaving your desk. What if I told you there is a tech tool available to every classroom in Utah that will allow these very activities, and more, but very few teachers are using it? This FREE technology is known as Interactive Videoconferencing; you may also know it as IVC, Hangouts, Facetime, Skype, or Acano. Never heard of Acano? It is a desktop conferencing tool available to Utah teachers for free through Utah Education Network (UEN).

We all know that most students learn best when they can immerse themselves in an experience rather than just reading it in a textbook. With this technology, students are able to really interact with a guest speaker or location, all without leaving the classroom. Many museums, zoos, and par ks now offer virtual field trips to their facility where you can learn about various topics, take tours and speak to subject experts. Talk to a scientist from NASA; take a look at exhibits at the Smithsonian; interview the mayor of your city; bring in a musician to perform – the possibilities really are only limited by your imagination! 

The equipment needed is a computer, network connection, webcam and microphone (most laptops have these built in), and a program. Some organizations that do this often have a service that they will connect you with, but if you want to do it on your own, you can use any of the programs listed above. A quick plug for using UEN's Acano service; when you use the free Acano client, UEN will help you test it out and make sure it is working on your network from your classroom. There is also a number you can call if you are having trouble and they can help you get it resolved. The cool thing is that the person you are bringing in doesn't need the client, you will just send them a URL link to the event and they can click to join. 

There are so many opportunities for expanding the borders of your classroom, it just takes a little organization and the willingness to give it a try. Summer is a great time to make contacts and arrange to have a guest speaker come to your class next year! 

If you have questions about getting started, feel free to drop me a note at

Being a Pioneer

Written by Andrew Clark on . Posted in Uncategorized

In my extended family we celebrate the 24th of July like it's Christmas.  It's something that we've done for more years than I think anybody realizes. The 24th always makes me think about the early settlers of Utah as I sat at the parade and watched representations of Utah's early history come streaming past. This year I have been thinking about the pioneering educators that have influenced me and have helped me to grow.  I think that most importantly I have to give a big shout out to Mary Green at Valley Junior High School and Kathy Gaskins at Granger High School. Their lessons were the kind of lessons that helped to shape my thinking and forced me to go out on a limb in my own education. They expected great things and pushed me to achieve that. In college I had the honor of taking classes from Dr. Scott Hunsaker and Dr. Parker Fawson. These two gentlemen helped to lay the foundation for my early ideas of what a classroom should look like and how I might achieve the classroom that I wanted. In my mind these are all pioneers because they laid the foundation for those who came after them. I owe them a huge thanks and a way to go. I appreciate all of the teachers and educators who help shape me as an educator and who continually share their great ideas.

So as you embrace the upcoming school year with excitement and enthusiasm I hope that you too will be a pioneer for the future educators in your classroom. I hope that you will find pioneering lessons in your departments/teams/PLCs as you use continue to shape the future. You rock! You are amazing! Thanks so much for being the educational pioneer that we need!

So Long May

Written by Andrew Clark on . Posted in Uncategorized

May is on it's way out and we are about to enter June. Some of you reading this are doing so from the comfort of your beach chair because you've had your last day of school, you said goodbye to your students, and you're on vacation (or you're getting close). Some of us are still in session participating in all kinds of end of the year activities. We've been helping students check out, and we've been crossing off several to-do's from our list so that we can catch our breath before summer work begins.

My own kids are counting down the days (and I say hours and minutes) until they complete another grade level and get to move on. They are thinking that they can shut down and relax for the next few months. They always act this way for about the first 48 hours, and then the dreaded "boredom" sets in. As a parent I can think of things for them to do and I offer suggestions and sometimes those suggestions turn into actual things that they need to do. This summer I'm going to have my kids work on the Wonderopolis summer activities. I'm hoping that being curious this summer they will learn and do more. I'm going to allow them to make more decisions about what it is that they want to learn, because as they get older they can decide more. I'm sure on our road trips this summer to the Rural Schools Conference in Cedar City we will enjoy some Brains On podcasts and we'll all learn together. 

I hope your summer is full of curiosity and wonder! Catch your breath for a minute have a delicious soda from one of those awesome soda shacks and get excited for all the good things that are coming up in the next few months!

Preparing for Summer!

Written by Sallie Warnecke on . Posted in Uncategorized

As summer is quickly approaching, it is a good idea to remember how to back up your data from your computer, ipad, and other technologies that you use during the year. A great place to back up data is in a cloud storage option, such as google drive. It's as simple as a drag and drop which doesn't require a lot of time. 

As we begin to think of summer, it's also a great time to look at some good resources out there that you can use during break and upon your return from summer break. Here's a brief list:

Haiku Deck – a great tool for creating slide shows with great graphics

eMaze – another great free resource for creating captivating slide shows – free resource for creating videos

PowToon – a free resource to create animated videos and presentations

beFunky – free collage maker

picMonkey – free collage maker

Have a great summer!