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How to Avoid the “Flood of Tech Tools” Trap

In EdTech, Professional Development, Uncategorized by rafranzdavis2 Comments

I get excited sometimes when I learn about new tech tools. I actually spend the time playing with them to figure them out a bit. Then the reality sets in… I ask questions of myself which determine if this tool is necessary for my own use. I think about it from the lens of a teacher and student. What’s the purpose? Why would I choose this tool over “my reliables”? Does using this tool make task completion any simpler or does it add necessary functionality that I do not have access to now? What are the sharing options and how? …

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Going Collaborative with Canva + Thinglink = Pure Awesome Sauce!

In EdTech by rafranzdavis0 Comments

I absolutely love free easy tools that make my life a bit simpler. Canva and Thinglink both fit that mold for me.   Canva is a free web based design tool that allows users to create graphics of anything at any size. It’s still in beta so users will need an invite in order to create. I use canva to create almost all of my professional presentations because of its library of images and graphics that truly help to clearly get the message across. Users can purchase premium images from within canva for $1 each but I have yet to …

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Sharing the Process: Rebuilding the Blog

In EdTech, Professional Growth, Social Media by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Rebuilding my blog from the ground up was as simple as imagining what I wanted it to be and then doing it. I have a self-hosted wordpress blog which means that I have the power to customize my blog any way that I choose. Self hosting can be just as empowering as clicking publish and if you’re hesitant to start, here is how I did it along with a few handy tips. 1. Find a reliable and FRIENDLY host! I was hosting with bluehost and we have had a bit of a love/hate relationship as of late…mostly hate. I manage …

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While You Were Sleeping, the Adults of Facebook Found Digital Storytelling via Bitstrips

In EdTech by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Looks like the adults of facebook are joining the “creativity” party as well! Bitstrips, an app within facebook, has literally flooded my entire social timeline. As a social comic creation tool, users can build their own comic conversations by including their facebook friends in their story. As my 20th year reunion approached this past weekend, it became quite apparent that many of my classmates were excited as they were “bitstripping” throughout the day. Daily, users can log in to their facebook account and create a “comic status update” using a pre-selected group of scenes. Each scene can then be customized …

Visual Vocabulary Stories with Haiku Deck #txidea

In EdTech, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Weekly, my nephew is assigned a set of words in which he has to learn the definition and spelling for class. His teacher sends the list home and other than the sentences that he is assigned to write, he is on his own to learn each meaning. Basically, he is supposed to memorize each definition which means that he doesn’t really own a connection. While experimenting with my chromebook and haiku deck‘s beta web application, I decided to allow Braeden a “chromebook takeover” to visually create his sentences. Below are the sentences that he originally wrote. As you can see, …

Braeden Teaches: How to Make a Jack Skellington Nightlight

In EdTech, Random by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Everyday that I come home from work, I am amazed by what my nephew has created the night before. There’s always something! As of late, he has been a bit obsessed with the Nightmare Before Christmas movie and we’ve seen Jack Skellington in every shape possible I think. His latest creation is a nightlight. Braeden loves finding and using objects from around the house. For this project, he used some flameless tea light candles that he found. He took them apart and saw that the light still worked and came equipped with an on and off switch. Surrounding the base …

EdcampFWTX Blogging Roundup 1: Choosing a Platform

In EdTech, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis2 Comments

At Edcamp Fort Worth, I had the pleasure of facilitating the semi-round table discussion on blogging. I felt like I cleared up so many of my own thoughts and that was exciting. However, it was more exciting to hear how others felt that the discussion gave them points and tasks for the upcoming year. I’m splitting this reflection unto several parts in order to give more feedback.  How do you choose a platform?  There are many platforms around for blogging.  Choosing a platform for blogging is like choosing your wardrobe. It is all about personal preference. What is easiest for …

The Reality of EdTech with No Support

In EdTech, Professional Development by rafranzdavis3 Comments

In my daughter’s HS are SMARTboards in every classroom, computer labs so accessible that online testing presented limited problems, enough ipads for classes to check out and a BYOD policy that enabled teachers to utilize student devices. In addition, the wifi connectivity is amazing. On the surface, void of a schoolwide 1:1, this is a decent tech setup. However, what was missing was how to best navigate the waters of a flood of tools. My daughter graduated at the top of her HS class with an extremely limited tech vocabulary. At most, she utilized Microsoft Word and ppt, what her …

Our PD Talk: Date the Tool, Marry the Ability

In EdTech, Professional Development, Professional Growth by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Yesterday, I was fortunate to sit down with the amazing Dennis Grice and the equally spectacular Jacob Standish as we discussed professional development and differentiation. I’ve been in a bit of a struggle with traditional models of PD…you know, the ones where the trainer walks through tools and never ties it to learning. It is this model that drives teachers to leave the training at the location…never integrating into their instruction because they didn’t learn how to make it happen. The first point of our discussion was that PD should ALWAYS be connected to curriculum because it is the curriculum …