New Features Coming to IC Grade Book

Infinite Campus will soon be rolling out new features in the Grade Book. Campus Instruction is a new suite of educational tools for teachers. Designed with teachers in mind, Campus Instruction offers a clean and straightforward approach to planning instruction, assessing student growth, and reporting progress—and it’s all in one place! Plus, there’s no need to purchase or install additional software – it’s already in the product you have, ready for teachers to use (coming for the 2014-15 school year).

Campus Instruction includes:

  • Grade Book: Everything teachers need for grading and reporting is now found in one place; teachers create assignments, attach files for student download, receive student submissions online, grade those assignments, and give immediate feedback visible to students and guardians on the Portal.
  • Planner: Teachers create and change upcoming assignments in a calendar format directly linked to the student Portal. Teachers can also quickly view other teachers’ schedules to facilitate collaboration.
  • Seating Charts: Use easy drag-and-drop setup to mirror a classroom’s physical setup.
  • Student Groups: Teachers can group students for projects or for differentiated instruction and create assignments just for those students.

Watch the video below to see the new features teachers will have for the 2014-15 school year.

Digital Storytelling in an Elementary Classroom

Many online “creation” tools are more appropriate for older, middle and high school, students. Little Bird Tales is one of the exceptions. The free site allows elementary students to create multimedia stories. Similar to a PhotoStory project, students can upload pictures, draw images, or capture pictures with a connected webcam. The stories can be written with text or students can record their own voices. The advantage of this service over a PhotoStory is the ability to easily share the completed finished story. It’s already online, so you simply share the link or embed the story on your class website. Watch the video below for a quick overview.

Stories from 1:1 Classrooms: Success Factors

Project RED” is the largest study to identify and prioritize the factors that make some U.S. K-12 technology implementations perform dramatically better than others. The research included 997 U.S. schools represented 49 states and the District of Columbia. The full report is 100+ pages, but “K-12 Blueprint” does a nice job of summarizing the research: Study Shows The Benefits of 1:1 and the Factors that Enhance Success

What information is important teachers? Project RED identified best-practices that teachers can use to guide their use of technology in the classroom. Begin thinking how these best-practices of a 1:1 Digital Learning Environment (DLE) will change your classroom lessons and daily-routines:

  • Use technology daily in core classes (especially intervention classes)
  • Collaborate with students and colleagues with technology
  • Use technology for CFA’s (common formative assessments)
  • Engage students with online games, virtual field trips, and social media

Stories from 1:1 Classrooms: Effective 1:1 Teachers

Last week I started a section in the newsletter called “Stories from 1:1 Classrooms.” Although teaching in a 1:1 classroom might be new to us; several schools have gone before us. We can learn from their mistakes and accomplishments. The idea of this section is to share articles and resources from educators who have experience teaching in 1:1 Digital Learning Environments (DLE). For example, you might be wondering… What does it take to be an effective 1:1 teacher? What new skills will I have to develop? Am I expected to be an expert on all these standards and now technology too?…  You might be surprised to learn the skills needed to be an effective 1:1 teacher are not drastically different from a teacher in a traditional classroom. In his blog post, What I Know About Teaching In A 1:1 Environment, Tim Wilhelmus writes:

The conclusion I came to was that, really, the skills that it takes to be an effective teacher in the Digital Age are the same as the skills it takes to be an effective teacher in any environment. Briefly, the 11 topics I covered were…

You’ll have click the link to see his 11 topics, but I encourage you to continue reading the rest of his article. He shares new insights of effective teaching one year after creating the original topic list. What would you add to the list?

Screenshots with the Windows “Snipping Tool”

You have maybe used the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard to copy/paste the entire computer screen into a document or presentation. It works, but what if you only want a specific area of the screenshot? You can crop that image, but there’s an easier way… the Snipping Tool. A lot of people do not know that Windows 7 includes a Snipping Tool to make screenshot of selected areas. You can even markup the screenshots with annotations. Watch the video below to see how it works.

Flipped Classroom Tools Keep Getting Better!

The number of instructional and assessment tools for flipped classrooms continues to grow. On top of that, the features of these tools keep improving. One that has a lot of potential is called eduCanon. Here are six reasons why I think eduCanon is a tool worth trying: You can…

  1. Login with your NP Google account… for free.
  2. Use your own screencasts or select any YouTube video.
  3. Insert assessment questions throughout the video lesson.
  4. Prevent students from “skipping” forward on the video lesson.
  5. View assessment data in real-time on your teacher account.
  6. Link or embed eduCanon lessons on your Moodle or TeacherWeb pages.

Take a look at the sample eduCanon lesson below. At first, it just appears to be a normal YouTube video clip. Differences appear when the progress bar reaches one of the question (?) bubbles… The video pauses, slides to the right, and an assessment question appears. The student can answer the question and receive immediate feedback. When the student clicks the [continue] button, the lesson resumes and the data is recorded on the teacher’s dashboard.

Please Note: The sample below is only a “preview,” so the score is not recorded and cannot prevent “skipping” forward. In a classroom setting, students would create an eduCanon account by logging in with their NP Google username/password. Next, they would enroll in their teacher’s course to complete the assigned lessons.

Stories from 1:1 Classrooms: Just a Bigger “20″

Just a Bigger “20″

At the Jan. 20th Staff Development Day, I presented information about the NPAS approved Digital Learning Environment (DLE). The presentation, Just a Bigger “20,” compared this young girl’s first 60m ski jump with our 1:1 initiative. In this video, the girl is standing at the top of the 60m hill, trying to build up the courage to go down for the first time. Many of us are going through the same emotions as we think about students bringing Chromebooks to class everyday…

Is this going to change the way I have to teach? Am I expected to use technology in every lesson and activity? Is there going to be training and support? What other schools have done this? What does the research tell us?

We are standing at the top of our 60m hill and just like this girl, we have to compare this to all of our previous experiences. For a ski jumper, it’s all the repetitions down the 20m hill. Working on form and proper technique, the ski jumper builds confidence at the beginner level before they move on to the intermediate level. For us, it’s the technology integration focus we have had since 2005. We compare the DLE with our experiences of taking students to the computer labs, transitioning to an online grade book, building TeacherWeb and Moodle course pages, collaborating with students on Google Docs, and creating digital projects on laptops in our classrooms. Although we may feel anxious and tentative looking down the hill, our previous experiences have given us the skills to take this jump successfully.

In the next several newsletters, I will be including articles like this one, “How To Use Real-Time Technology In 1:1 Classrooms.” The 1:1 classroom stories will share best practices, experiences, and strategies for teaching in a DLE. I feel confident that like this young girl, we will soon be saying, “It’s just a bigger 20.”

Create a Review Game with FlipQuiz


There are several ways to create Jeopardy-style review games for the classroom… now there is one more. FlipQuiz™ provides educators with a quick way to create quiz boards for test reviews that can be saved for later use. Making your first FlipQuiz is easy:

  1. Go to the FlipQuiz website:
  2. Click the Sign Up! button to register your free account.
  3. Click the Create a New Quiz Board button.
  4. Enter the name of your game, categories, questions, & answers.
  5. Click the Save button… click the Launch Presentation View button.

That’s it! Your game board is now filled with topic categories and point values. Divide your class into teams and select a topic category. Click a point value to reveal the question and the answer button to check for accuracy. Teachers can even add images and hyperlinks for multimedia-rich content.

At this time, FlipQuiz does not have an option for tracking team scores, but new features are planned for the near future. For example, they recently added the ability to “Discover New Boards.” This allows teachers to browse other FlipQuiz boards. Create your account to get started.

Flipped Education Minnesota Summit

NPAS Teachers: Do you have a passion for helping students learn with technology? Do you enjoy sharing new technology resources with colleagues? If so, we invite you to join us at the 2014 Flipped Education Minnesota Summit, Saturday, May 10th. The second annual Flipped Education Minnesota Summit featuring Google for Education is a one day, hands-on conference that focuses on integrating Google Apps for Education in K-12 learning environments. All presentations will be from the Google Apps for EDU team, Google Certified Teachers, and Google Apps for Education Trainers. Strands and themes for the Summit include:MNgoogleSummit

  • Google Apps for Education
  • Flipped Classroom
  • Sessions for Beginners and Geeks
  • Technical Deployment
  • Chromebooks in Education
  • Google Apps for Administrators
  • Chrome for the Classroom

Topics for the breakout sessions have not yet been announced, but you can expect to see topics similar to the 2013 Summit. These sessions represent the type of content we want presented at our own 2014 NPAS Summer Workshops, but we need your help. Staff Development will cover the registration fee for all NPAS teachers who are interested in attending and willing to:

  1. Attend the Flipped Education Minnesota Summit on Saturday, May 10th (Edina HS from 8:30am – 4:30pm)
  2. Present a 1.5 hour summer workshop to NPAS staff (paid stipend)

Please email Shawn Brandt ( if you are interested in attending. For more information, visit the conference website:

Presentation + Audio + Video = MoveNote

MoveNote is one of my favorite new tools. It’s simple, effective, and you don’t have to create an account… simply login with your NP Google account. MoveNote is a free, web-based tool where you can present information with pictures, documents, and slides. With a connected webcam (or one built into a Chromebook/netbook), you can record audio/video of yourself presenting the lesson. Why would a teacher want to record themselves presenting?

  1. The pre-recorded lesson provides anytime, anywhere access. Great for review, absent students, or flipped classrooms.
  2. Studies show, when online students “see” the teacher presenting the information, they feel more connected to the lesson. (source)

I’ve posted two videos below. This first video demonstrates how to create a presentation with MoveNote…

The second is an example of a MoveNote presentation…