Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fall Semester Learning at UNI

It has been a very busy semester for me this fall. I am wrapping up two classes. The first is a curriculum design class.  I have spent the entire semester working with 4 other instructional coaches working on a comprehensive SAMR Model instructional unit for IHS.  It is a really great professional development unit! We will get a chance to look at it during our February PD day.

The unit is structured using the UbD, or Understanding by Design model. Basically, UbD is backwards design. Instead of planning the instruction first, you plan the outcomes and assessments before you dive into the teaching materials. This works very seamlessly with the Gradual Release of Responsibility model that we have been learning about.

For my other class I learned how to make instructional media. We covered things like photography, video, among other things. For my final project I created a unit on Augmented Reality. After second semester begins I will be holding mini technology integration learning sessions in the library on Wednesdays. To learn more I have created a website for the trainings. Each new class will be posted on the site. Be looking for sessions on SAMR and Flipped Classroom before the end of the school year. Here is the link if you would like to check it out ahead of time:

Finally, I have had two semesters of using BB9, or BlackBoard's learning management system. I am excited to talk about Blackboard during our LMS discussions this spring. I am hopeful that we will be able to see many examples of programs that you are using so that we can select one and all use it together. I really think our students will appreciate one LMS next year instead of several.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Google Offline

Since the implementation of our new 1:1 program we have encountered situations where kids need offline access to their Google Drives. Between some students not having Internet at home, or weekend trips away from home with family, the need for offline word processing certainly does need to be at the front our minds as we continue down this path. Having offline access for teachers is just as important as well.

Here is some informative tips and steps to making offline access possible with Google Drive and Google Chrome:

1.) You will need to have Chrome installed and running. If you haven't already downloaded the Chrome browser from self-service (IHS only), you will need to start there.

2.) Inside Chrome select the Apps Switcher:
3. If you don't have a Google Drive App already installed, then You will need to follow these steps:

4. Once you have the app in your Chrome browser you will need to turn on the offline option in Google Drive.

It is okay to then go back to New Drive once you set up offline access. Eventually we will all be forced to use New Drive.

Again, this process will only work if you use Chrome and you have turned on offline access through Google Drive. 

5.) In order to edit documents offline, you will need to first go to Chrome and then to your drive. You can do that by clicking on the apps switcher menu and selecting the Drive icon, or by typing in the URL address bar in Chrome.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chrome: A Better Browser

When I started my classes at UNI we made a pact to use Chrome as our default web browser. At the time I thought that this was just insane. I used Google for just about everything, but never really got into Chrome. Typically, I used Safari or sometimes Firefox. I was not a Chrome fan, and did not see any advantage to using it over Safari. One thing, well maybe two things, changed my mind:


Google Chrome has a lot of extensions that you can download and use to help make ordinary tasks more efficient and a lot more fun. The Chrome Web Store is like that of the Apple App store, yet very different. I suggest that before you add an extension that you read the reviews and the extension capability pages very carefully. 

It took going to the Midwest Google Summit in Lincoln, Nebraska and a lady by the name of Stacy Behmer from AEA 267 to change my views on Chrome. I sat in her class called "60 Chrome Extensions in 60 Minutes."Yes, she showed 60 different programs to us in that one small hour. I don't think she had any time to hardly breathe, it was that intense. 

Here is the link to her slide show.  I am going to highlight some of the Chrome extensions and help categorize them in the next few posts on this blog. 

Let's look at four extensions that can help students that may have literacy challenges. 

1.) VOICE SEARCH The Internet user can use their voice to search the web rather than type in the   keywords into the search bar. You will need microphone access to use this extension. 

2.) SELECT AND SPEAK Select and Speak will read parts of a website to the user. You first 
highlight the text that you want read, then click the extension icon to hear the text. I suggest that you experiment with the extension's voice and speed. The default sounds like a robot, but if you slow him or her down, it is much clearer to understand. 

3.) ANNOUNCIFY A step above SELECT AND SPEAK, this extension reads a page paragraph by paragraph. It also blurs out the paragraphs not being read, so the user doesn't question where the reader is at. 

4.) TLDR Too Long Didn't Read is a great app that shortens or summarizes longer pages of content. It pulls out the key facts and gives the user the option to see the summary, a shortened version of the text, or a longer summary of the text. It does all of this without leaving the page. Here is a video to explain the extension further:
THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER IS THIS….. If you have a lot of extensions open at once it will slow down your computer's processing speed. Make sure you close them out when not in use. In a later post I will help you organize your extensions and help you put them in one place for easy access. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Letter to Teachers

Dear IHS Colleagues,

            I am super excited to start working as the technology instructional coach at IHS!  Over the past several weeks I have traveled to multiple states to learn about technology and leadership. My first trip was to UNI for my masters program. I participated in an intense weeklong technology integration boot camp. We covered new learning from 8-5 each day and worked on a group project well until midnight each night. (I will attach a link to our project at the bottom of this letter.)

            Last week, I went to Lincoln, NE to the Midwest Google Summit. I can honestly say that Google has more programs for education than I ever dreamed of, and more and more are coming all the time. Google plans on unveiling their LMS (Learning Management System) in the coming months. Over the two days in Lincoln, I also started the work toward my Google Certified Educator and Google Certified Trainer certificates. In the next 90 days I will be completing the coursework and taking the exams. Hopefully, I will be invited to Mountain View, CA next summer to complete the final requirements of a GCT.

            I also went to Ankeny to an Iowa leadership conference, and on Sunday I leave for Lawrence, KS to participate in another leadership conference. I look forward to getting the instructional coaching training needed to be an effective addition to the IHS staff. Needless to say, it has been a wild summer of learning!

            For those of you that don’t know me, I have been in the ICSD for nine years. I started subbing at IHS and got my first contracted position at Irving. Before that, I taught at PCM as a K-8 GT instructor and a 7th grade language arts instructor. I spent three years prior to that as a special education associate, while I completed my teaching degree from Buena Vista University.

            My husband, Jamie, is a career firefighter for the City of Des Moines and serves our community on IFD as well. We have adopted two kids from South Korea. Teegan is entering 3rd grade at Irving. He loves reading and drawing. Adelyn will be entering preschool this year. She is our little diva and certainly keeps us on our toes. We also have a golden-doodle named Doug. My parents are retiring from a ministry in Baxter, IA this summer and are moving back to our hometown of Lake City, IA. I’m sure they will be taking quite a few trips to Indianola this year.

            Last week I moved into room 323 on Abbey Road. I have tables set up where we can meet when I hold small group training sessions. I can also come to your room when needed this year.

            Currently, I am preparing for our pre-service days and setting up our Apple training for the DLE. The training will occur over two consecutive days. Right now we are leaning toward November. A benefit to this is that you can get some experience with the machines, before we tackle any new learning. The classes being offered are “Reaching All Learners” and “Challenge-Based Learning.” The classes will focus on the Apple products, tips and tricks. We need 20 teachers to come to this training. It will be an EXCELLENT opportunity to learn more about our DLE capabilities. Apple doesn’t disappoint, and they have excellent trainers who will come out to teach us. Please let me know ASAP if you plan on attending or think you will.  I will be the organizer of this event. When we get the dates set I will send you more information.

            To conclude I want to say how honored and excited I am to be on the IHS staff this year. You all have so many talents and are committed to our community’s youth. I admire the work that you do, and will continue to do, in order for the DLE to be successful. I want to emphasize that I am here for you for whatever you are going to need. We are going to have bumps along the way, and not every moment will be the best, but the end result is that we will send these kids out into the career and college worlds with rich technology experiences. It will take many months for all of us to shift our teaching and classroom learning to be completely digital. We know this, and I plan on doing everything I can to support you along this journey.

            If you need anything before school starts or after, don’t hesitate to contact me. No question is too big or too little.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Padlet for Exit Tickets or Formative Assessments

Now that ALL the kids will have computers at IHS, which is just exciting all by itself, we will have an easier way to complete exit slips. One big advantage of being 1:1 is the fact that you can gather formative assessment data quickly and efficiently.

Here is one method to communicate formative assessment data. There are other uses for this app also, but I see this as being a powerful exit ticket solution. If you don't like the this Web 2.0 tool for formative assessing, no worries. Over the next several months I will be blogging about many other options.

The app is called PADLET. I used PADLET for the first time today at a DLT meeting. Mary Montgomery created a question and we answered it online.

Here is what you need to do: (Read all directions before completing the first step)

1.) Click this link:

2.) DOUBLE Click on the PADLET screen.

3.) Type your name…or make up one.

4.) Type your favorite color.

5.) Position your text box on the screen.

So that is all there is to it! Please feel free to comment below if there is another way that you think PADLET would be helpful in your classrooms.

Monday, June 2, 2014

PLN Power

PLN stands for Personal Learning Network. This is a network just for you and your needs as a professional. All of you probably have a PLN and you don't even know that you do. A PLN is very similar to a PLC except your PLN consists of people who are most likely not your coworkers. They may not even live in the same country that you do. PLNs can span across the globe and that is what makes them unique and also so useful.

If you have a PLN that means that you follow someone on FaceBook, read their blog postings, view tweets on Twitter, etc. You may even communicate to them and vice versa. These people are connected to you in some way. You learn from them, relate to them, and can gain powerful information from what they have to share.

Because I am a child of the 80s….and somewhat of a nerd…whenever I think of my PLN I think of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Watch this opening theme from every episode and then I will describe what I mean:


 I feel like my PLN is just like this. Prince Adam is charged to protect Castle Grayskull, and he has special people and powers that make that happen. Although I am no prince, I do have the responsibility to help people connect to technology. He-Man's sword reminds me of my Twitter account because that is the first tool that I used to form my PLN. So, BY THE POWER OF TWITTER…I HAVE THE P-O-W-E-R…of a PLN.

Unlike He-Man, I don't share the secret to this PLN power. I have always advocated the use of Twitter for the classroom and for teachers. There have been a few "Cringers" that have come my way. Some teachers are terrified of establishing a PLN on Twitter, or they just don't want to use it.  Hopefully I have given them the guidance and resources over the years to create a successful PLN that they can rely on. I am also here to help YOU become part of the Twitterverse if you are interested. There are so many things you can do with your students by using this social media platform.

Most importantly, He-Man is only one man. He would not be successful without all of the help from his PLN, like Orko, Man of Arms, Shera, and the Sorceress. I truly think I would NOT be the educator that I am today without my PLN. Thankfully, they inspire me, help me, and guide me to new readings, learnings, watchings, and doings.

 Twitter also offers the use of hashtags (#) for educational chats among members. Two chats that I follow are #edchat and #edtechchat. Depending on your content area, I am sure we can find a chat for you to view and follow.

If you are interested in seeing who I follow on Twitter you can click the link below:

Click here to see who I follow on Twitter.

 Oh, one more thing….If you, like me, enjoyed He-Man growing up, I recommend a motivational site called Skeletor is Love.  You can also follow "Skeletor is Love" on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The site has motivational quotes on pictures of scenes from He-Man. Some of them are guaranteed to make you smile, while others just make you shake your head. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Blogosphere!

My name is Ali Sauter, your T.I.C. (Technology Integration Coach) I am discovering the world of educational blogging in my new UNI grad school adventures. Blogging is a way for teachers to connect to other people and resources via cyberspace. Blogs are a great professional development tool, journal application, and communication tool to use with students, colleagues, and parents. If you are a blogger, you are connecting with some sort of community. Another acronym for this is PLN (Personal Learning Network).  The goal for my blog, 21st Century Purple & Gold, is to provide you with resources for our journey into the 1:1 environment. So, buckle up everyone! We are going to be embarking upon a wild adventure!!

 In this post I do want to highlight three educational blogs that I have started to dive into. I will explain what each blogger discusses, why I find their work interesting, what themes connect them, and why I think they are useful. Let's get started!

 Blog #1 Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne

  Richard Byrne is a former high school social studies teacher turned blogger. He integrated technology into his classroom while he was a teacher, and now he blogs and speaks about technology integration at conferences. I find Richard's blog interesting because it is one of the widest resources I have found. The blog is by far my favorite resource on the Internet for technology tools in education. The tools are also FREE! (What educator doesn't like free stuff?) The tools range from applications, guides, and other resources that are system or content area specific. Not only does he cover PC, Mac, Android, and iOS, he also covers several learning content area resources like math, language, science, or social studies. 

With Richard's help, I find myself immersed in technology tools that can be used in all classrooms. Not only does he have the blog, but he also links his posts for free technology tools to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest. I find that these are easier ways for me to follow all of the information that he shares, but his blog is a nice place to go search out new resources.  

Blog #2 Dangerously Irrelevant by Scott McCleod

  Scott McCleod is a pioneer of K-12 technology in education. He has been instrumental in advocating  for 1:1 implementation.  I find Scott's blog very "RELEVANT" actually because he speaks of technology implementation from a leadership point of view. He is the founder of CASTLE and helps administrators and coaches stay motivated in the quest to become 21st Century leaders. Scott is a wonderful advocate for technology and 21st Century learning. I admire this about him and can relate to his philosophies. Here is a clip of Scott McCleod speaking at Ted-X Des Moines:


Blog #3 Angela Maiers, Educational Services, Inc. 

I have followed Angela on Twitter for a few years. Recently, I had the opportunity to see her present at NETA in Omaha, NE. Angela is an author, leader, and literacy advocate. I am currently reading her book Classroom Habitudes: Teaching Classroom Habits and Attitudes for 21st Century Learning.  Angela is an advocate for spreading the belief that all kids have worth and matter. I find her passion for children and learning very uplifting. Angela writes about what it takes to be a 21st Century learner and also offers great resources for technology leaders and advocates. Seeing her in person was very uplifting. Here is her Ted-X talk in Des Moines:

 All three of these bloggers are passionate about learning and technology. They are passionate about why technology integration and 21st century skills are so important. I feel very privileged  to have seen two out of the three speak at conferences. All three are on Twitter also.

All of these blogs connect technology with education, but Richard's is more about  an incredibly useful list of technology resources. Scott and Angela offer more theory and motivation with technology and education within their blogs.