Shutters Unshuttered

I'm a technology coordinator.

More ICE Conference Links

Filed under: FacMtgs,ICE2014 — Lord Shutters at 3:01 pm on Friday, March 7, 2014

You can find all the materials presenters have shared at the ICE wiki. Presentations are organized by which day they took place, so if you did not attend the conference, it may be difficult to navigate this site. I suggest using the search box in the upper right part of the screen. Search for a topic you are interested in. A search for “iPad,” for example, turns up 25 results. Another option is to browse through each day’s offerings.

All of the ICE Conference keynote and spotlight presentations were recorded, and are posted on ICE’s YouTube channel. You really, really, really should watch the keynotes. Especially Friday’s, by George Couros (skip ahead to 35:00 for the start of the keynote).

During the conference, any time I heard of a cool resource, I bookmarked it with Diigo and tagged it with “ice14″ – you can find all the sites I tagged here.

I can’t stress enough how much Twitter has helped me improve my personal learning network. Without even attending the ICE Conference, you can see what people are tweeting about it by following the hashtag, #ICE14. I encourage any and every teacher to get on Twitter, and to check out what people are sharing there. You can follow me @shnology!


Filed under: FacMtgs — Lord Shutters at 12:22 pm on Friday, March 7, 2014

I have been sharing Graphite with my colleagues at faculty meetings lately. We recently obtained several iPads to use in our Lower and Middle Schools. Graphite is a great tool for finding apps, games, and websites relevant to your lessons. It is written by teachers and for teachers. Here is a little more info from Graphite’s About Us page:

Graphite™ is a free service from nonprofit Common Sense Media designed to help preK-12 educators discover, use, and share the best apps, games, websites, and digital curricula for their students by providing unbiased, rigorous ratings and practical insights from our active community of teachers.

Be sure to look at the field notes that teachers have written about any given tool. Those often have practical ways to use the tool in the classroom. Graphite is totally free, and no sign-in is required. If you do create an account, you can help out other teachers by writing your own field notes!

UPDATE: I just found out about another really cool feature of Graphite: app flows! An app flow is customizable lesson framework that lets you integrate digital tools throughout a lesson. A typical app flow contains a hook, direct instruction, guided practice, independent practice, and wrap up. A digital tool (such as an app or website) is suggested for each piece of the flow. I think this is a great way to find ways to use apps and other digital tools in actual lessons. Teachers can create their own app flows too.

app flow graphic from Graphite

Graphite is a part of Common Sense Media, another fantastic resource. Common Sense seeks to provide trustworthy information and tools for parents and educators about all types of media – everything from movie and game reviews to a cyber-safety curriculum. Check it out!

Free Self-Paced Google Courses

Filed under: FacMtgs,Google,ICE2014 — Lord Shutters at 11:53 am on Friday, March 7, 2014

Courses for Educators

I found out about these free Google in Education courses at the ICE Conference this year. They are online and self-paced, so you can work through them whenever you like, and take as long as you need on each lesson.

Course topics are very relevant to what our students and teachers need to know right now. They include:

I encourage you to take a look and consider learning from one of these courses. Maybe this is a good summer learning opportunity for you?

How long each course will take of course depends on the user. Each course has about 5 units. Each unit includes 3-6 lessons and quizzes. My guess is that each lesson would take about 5 minutes to complete. This equates to each course taking 2-3 hours. But remember, these are self-paced courses, and you can take as little or as much time as you need for each lesson.

Power Searching Courses

Do you always find what you are searching for on Google? No? Then I encourage you to check out these Power Searching courses from Google. Just like the courses listed above, these are online, self-paced, and free. They are not specifically geared toward educators, but I believe anyone can benefit from them.

I found out about all of these courses during a session taught by Molly Schroeder, who has a list of many other terrific Google resources here.

NICE Mini-Conference

Filed under: conferences,FacMtgs — Lord Shutters at 2:28 pm on Thursday, March 6, 2014

I shared a few points from the keynote speech at the NICE Mini-Conference at a recent faculty meeting. The keynote was given by Ryan Bretag, and titled “Reimagining Learning: Designing Experiences that Empower and Engage Inventive Learners.” I encourage you to watch the entire talk here.

One of the items that was memorable to me was the 180 Second Challenge. Ryan showed this video, of people attempting to stare at a screen for 180 seconds, without looking away at all, for a very desirable prize. Many people can’t do it. He even had us – the audience – try sitting still, no devices, for 180 seconds, and it was tough! The point was that if it’s hard for us to sit still without being distracted for just a few minutes, it’s even harder for kids. And yet, in a traditional classroom setting, we ask kids to do just that (stare at us, a book, a whiteboard, etc.) for way more than 180 seconds. And we expect them to automatically be engaged.

So how do we teach without asking kids to sit still and stare at something for long periods of time? One idea is to ask kids to create more. As we start obtaining more technology (particularly iPads at the MS level), let’s think about how we can use them to help kids create. Not just regurgitate what they’ve learned, but truly create. Let’s try to use our new iPads for more than internet research. Some of the apps that our new iPads have that might help kids create are: EduCreations, iMovie, AudioBoo, Aurasma, Tellagami, ThingLink, and ShowMe.

But don’t be limited to that list! Kids should be choosing how to share and present what they’ve learned. If a student wants to use something else, why not let them? At the same time, some may need guidance to know what presentation tools are out there. This gave me the idea to have a MS “show and tell” of presentation tools. Hopefully we can do that someday soon.

Another thought from the keynote that stood out to me: we should ask kids to give their opinion about whether a particular activity should use technology or not.  iPads and Chromebooks aren’t the best tool for every activity; why not ask kids what they think?

You may also want to check out the Resources page from the NICE Mini-Conference, where presenters have shared their materials. There are many great sessions, on iPad apps, Google tools, and much more!

Google Groups

Filed under: FacMtgs,Google,howto — Lord Shutters at 1:47 pm on Thursday, March 6, 2014

For Roycemore teachers: You can view announcement emails from division heads and other administrators by visiting the Google Group’s page. This is handy if you’d like to see anything that has been sent out, but can’t seem to find it in your inbox. All group communications are saved here, even if you’ve deleted the email from your inbox.

From your email, click the Apps square, then click Groups.

Screenshot 2014-03-06 13.31.26


Now click My Groups, and find the group whose announcements you’d like to see. For example, the MS Staff group includes all emails sent to all Middle School teachers. Clicking on a group shows all announcements sent to that group, with the most recent at the top. If you have trouble finding the group in the list, try searching for it at the top of the screen.

Screenshot 2014-03-06 13.47.05

Apple TV Instructions

Filed under: FacMtgs,howto — Lord Shutters at 9:06 am on Friday, February 14, 2014

Changing Projector Input

  • Use your projector remote (the black one).
  • Press Source. A menu will appear in the upper left corner.
  • Use your arrow keys and the Enter button to select the correct source:
    • HDMI is for the Apple TV.
    • Computer1 is for your computer (hooked up with black/blue VGA cable).
  • The projector will remember the last source used.

Wake up your Apple TV by pressing any button on the Apple TV remote (the silver one).

Using Built-In Apps

  • The Apple TV can use YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and several other video/TV services without a computer.
  • Press Menu on your Apple TV remote.
  • Use the round arrow keys to explore the Apple TV apps.
  • The school does not have Netflix, Hulu, etc, accounts. You are welcome to use your own, but please keep in mind that you will be using bandwidth.

Mirroring a Computer

  • For now, these instructions only work with a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. We are working on finding a way for those with white MacBooks or Windows computers to use the Apple TV as well.
  • Find the AirPlay symbol near the upper right corner of your computer screen. It looks like this:


  • Choose your room number from the list that comes up.
  • To stop mirroring your computer, click the AirPlay symbol again and choose Disconnect.
  • Note: Showing DVD’s will not work directly with the Apple TV. If you want to show a DVD, it would be better to connect with the VGA cable. If you still wish to use the Apple TV for DVD’s, please ask Beth to install extra software on your computer for this purpose.

Mirroring an iPad

  • Bring up “Mission Control” by swiping your finger up from the bottom of the screen.
  • Touch the AirPlay symbol (same as above).
  • Choose your room number from the list. Switch the MIrroring switch to the right (it will turn green).


  • By default, the sound goes through the Apple TV and out the projector. The projector’s speakers are poor.
  • You can change the sound output on your computer while mirroring to the Apple TV.
  • Go to System Preferences. Choose Sound. Choose Output.
  • If you are using external speakers, click Headphones.
  • If you’d rather the sound come out your computer, click Internal Speakers.

Augmented Reality with Aurasma

Filed under: FacMtgs,Ideas — Lord Shutters at 3:44 pm on Thursday, December 19, 2013

My school has just started to dabble in a cool, new technology called augmented reality (AR), using an app called Aurasma. Aurasma allows you to layer digital content on top of physical items. For example, you can point your mobile device at a printed picture and see a video play. The app recognizes the image and associates it with the video.

Our first Aurasma project was somewhat simple. The third grade class studies the ear each fall. Each student poses for a picture in front of a large ear model. Students also write a report about the ear. In the past, we’ve simply printed out these images and hung them in the hallway. This year, I recorded each student reading his or her ear report. Then I associated those videos with each of the printed ear pictures hanging in the hallway. Now, the pictures come to life! Parents, students, and teachers can use the Aurasma app to view each student’s video, simply by holding their phone or iPad up to the pictures in the hallway.

I hope this is just the beginning of how we’ll be using augmented reality at school. I know there are many other ideas of using AR in the classroom, and I am excited to try some of these ideas out! Some ideas of things you could augment include a word wall, flashcards, student projects, parent handouts, book reviews (use the cover of the book as the trigger), and bulletin boards.

Here are some resources and examples to check out – many of the ideas above are from these resources:

  • Aurasma Studio – this is where you can associate triggers (images) with digital content (like videos). I already have a school account, and would be happy to help get you started.
  • Aurasma for the Classroom Prezi
  • World Book Talk – this site will connect your student’s book talk videos with an image, such as the book cover
  • Tons of Examples & How-To Guide
  • Two Guys & Some iPads – these two guys are LS teachers who use AR in their classroom often. They have a website with lots of resources, and do a weekly podcast about what they’re doing up to. This page in particular has some really great ideas.

As with everything I write about here, please let me know if you’re interested in implementing AR in your classroom.

Skype in the Classroom Ideas

Filed under: FacMtgs,Ideas — Lord Shutters at 1:42 pm on Thursday, December 19, 2013

I have recently mentioned a few ways to use Skype in the classroom at our faculty meetings. If you are interested in any of these activities, please let me know! I will be happy to help in any way I can!

Here are some links to get you started:

Skype an Author: Many writers offer to Skype with classrooms to discuss their books. You can find a list of authors who do this here and here. You can find more resources by doing a web search for “Skype an Author.” Wouldn’t it be fun for your class to discuss a book they’ve read with the author?

Mystery Skype: Here’s a great way to reinforce geography skills as well as information seeking skills. A Mystery Skype session connects two classes anywhere in the world. Students take turns asking yes or no questions to figure out the other class’s location. You can find great Mystery Skype resources and tips for getting started here. There are many places to sign up for a Mystery Skype, including here and here. Or you can just let me know, and I will help you get connected to another class.

Here is a picture of my MS Creative Arts class doing a Mystery Skype with a 5th grade class in Massachusetts.

The closer we got to figuring out where the other class was, the more exciting it became!

Skype in the Classroom:  You can find many other activities to do with Skype in the classroom. Check out the Skype in the Classroom main page. Follow @SkypeClassroom on Twitter. Check out this blog post that lists 50 ways to use Skype in the classroom. Or just search for “Skype in the classroom” on the web.

NOTE: Even though I’ve been using the term “Skype” for these activities, they can all be done with other video calling services, such as Google+ Hangouts or FaceTime. Again, let me know if you’d like to do one of these activities. Help your students realize the world is bigger than the four walls of their classroom!

Global Education Conference

Filed under: FacMtgs,Ideas,MS — Lord Shutters at 3:27 pm on Friday, November 15, 2013

The Global Education Conference is a free, online conference that happens all next week (November 18-22). This is a great professional development opportunity. Most of the sessions are geared toward activities you can do with your students that help them gain a more global perspective. Here is a sample of session titles just to pique your interest:

  • Fostering Global Citizenship in the English Classroom: Monday 7pm
  • Anime as a Catalyst for Global Collaboration: Monday 8pm
  • Walking a Mile in Another’s Moccasins: Purposefully Developing Empathy: Wednesday 2pm
  • Think Globally, Look Locally (presenter is a fellow LMAIS teacher of 5th grade): Thursday 10am

Click here for a link to the schedule of all sessions in our time zone (Central). ALL of the sessions are archived, so if you can’t listen when they’re live, you can always go back and listen later. Please don’t hesitate to ask for help if you’d like to participate.




Filed under: FacMtgs,Ideas — Lord Shutters at 2:56 pm on Friday, November 15, 2013

I’ve been showing ThingLink to teachers at my school at our faculty meetings. ThingLink is a neat tool that allows you to tag images with a variety of other media. This can include text, links, videos, or even other images. The other media pops up when you hover over little icons in the original image. Click here for an example. Hover over the dots in the picture to see what I mean.

When sharing ThingLink with faculty, I start by showing the main website, then I show a few examples, then how easy it is to create a ThingLink themselves. To help with showing examples, I use this ThingLink of ThingLink examples! My favorites to show are:

You can even embed ThingLinks into other websites and blogs – though I couldn’t do it here, probably because I don’t have the paid version of Edublogs :-(

As you can see, there are countless ways to use ThingLink in the classroom!

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