Saturday, May 25, 2013

Shorten your URL AND Get a QR Code in One Place! | Bitly

I finally decided I should figure out how to get a shortened URL, now that I am posting links to Twitter (@cindyccm). So I went to and I started playing around with it.  I discovered that you will see stats on how many people click on your URL.  But the cool thing is you can also use that link to create a QR code for the URL, in just one click!  

  • Go to and set up an account, if you haven't already. Find a URL that you want shortened by pasting the link in the box that says: +Paste a link here, at the top of the page. 

  • After you have made your shortened URL, click Your Stuff and Bitmarks, where you will see a list of your links. 

  •  On the link that you want a QR code for, click view stats, and then click the QR code icon.  It will pop up on a tab ready to copy! 

Cool, right?  Well, I thought so, hope you do too.  Have fun!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Prezi - Not your Father's PowerPoint

Prezi is an online presentation tool, that you can use to create interesting presentations that are non-linear and exciting because you can zoom in on some fine print or drill down into an image or diagram (check out the magnifying glass theme). 

There is a free version and two premium versions, but you can do a lot with the free version, like try it out and see if you like it.  There are also 2 EDU packages, the free edu package gives you 500 MG of storage and allows password protection, unlike the commercial free version.  The premium package allows working offline for $59 per year for a teacher account, and gives you 2 GB of storage space.

There are themes you can use to easily get started creating a Prezi.  The most important thing you should learn first is the transformation tool.  Click on any element that you have added to the Prezi and the transformation tool will pop up and allow you to move, size, rotate or scale your element. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is an image of the transformation tool:

You can import PowerPoint presentations into Prezi, but not all of the PowerPoint conventions will work on Prezi.  See for more on that.

Here's a sample of one I really like, related to social media. The second one is one I created as a parent informational presentation (my first Prezi).  

Social Media 101

My first Prezi

Now check out this video to see how to get started.

Video tutorial Getting Started with Prezi

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


This is one of my favorite tools.  I am surprised I haven't seen anyone writing about it. Meograph is a presentation tool that incorporates Google Maps, slides and a timeline to present a story. It uses images, video, and sound to tell the story. Very easy to start using, just enter when, where and what happened for each slide. Then add media. 

Here is a sample Meograph presentation:

Classroom Activities using Meograph to address Bloom's Taxonomy
  • Students enter information and pictures about an historical event to help them to remember dates and events by doing, and also can review the slides later.
    Students can view a slideshow about Lewis and Clark’s expedition then analyze the maps in the presentation to understand the distances travelled, as well as the landforms or water bodies crossed for geographical as well as historical data.
  • It can help them to understand the chain of events and repercussions of the civil war by evaluating events, dates and length of time between each event.
  • They can create a presentation or biography about an historical event or person

For more information see:

Formative Assessment, Feedback and Technology

I've been learning about "formative assessment" and feedback in my graduate assessment class and it occurred to me that technology is perfect for formative assessment and it's corresponding feedback. 

What is formative assessment?  It's something teachers have been doing forever, but now it has a name. 
Formative assessment is gathering evidence of learning by asking questions, observing and giving feedback to students to change both their understanding and to give information to the teacher about what needs to be retaught or what in the curriculum needs to be redesigned.  As opposed to summative assessment, where the feedback is after the fact, formative assessment incorporates immediate, or almost immediate, feedback to the students, so they can revise their work before they end up going in the wrong direction. 

Technology can help give feedback to students in a number of ways.  The interactive quizzes that can be done on a computer, tablet or interactive white board can give immediate feedback to the students on the accuracy of their answers.  Many of the apps or activities will not move on until the student gives the correct answer, or they at least tell them what the correct answer is, and also may tell them why an answer is incorrect.  

But I am also referring to the personal interactivity between the teacher and the student.  In a creative writing class for example, the teacher may not be able to read every student's journal and get comments back to the student during class.  But if they were using a blogging tool to write their journal, the teacher could read and comment on it soon after it is published.  Then the student can read the comment as soon as they can get onto the Internet, either later at school, or at home later that day, if they have Internet access.  Many kids have phones or tablets that access the Internet as well.  The blog site could even send an email notification of the comment, if that option is set up.  

As we venture further into the 21st century, we need to employ 21st century skills.  The argument that it engages the students is one good reason for using technology in school.  But it also can help streamline the teacher's work and improve communication between the student and the teacher.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Social Networking and Education

Social networking, according to, means “the development of social and professional contacts; the sharing of information and services among people with a common interest.”
The term social networking carries some negative connotations due to sites like Facebook and MySpace, and recent stories in the news, but used properly, it can be an effective way for students to learn from their peers or others.  Kids can Skype with kids from other countries to learn about their culture.  They can share information via blogs, chats, Tweets, or instant messages.  They can create videos or presentations and publish them on the Internet, sharing information and creativity with others. They can use Google Drive or wikis to collaborate on a project, all working on the same document at the same time. 
The Internet, contains a lot of misinformation, but it is also a wealth of accurate information, if you know how to use it properly.  As Michelle Davis says, in her 2010 article in Education Week, Social Networking Goes to School, students feel at home online.  Davis reports that 73% of American teens are already using social networking sites.  She writes about a teacher in Florida, Sylvia Tolisano, who set up a social networking site called “Around the World with 80 Schools” using a networking tool called a ning.  Sylvia gathered 300 teachers and students on one site to share information about their home countries.  Our mission is to teach kids the skills they need to navigate the Internet safely and project a positive online image.

Davis, M. 2010.  Social networking goes to school.  Education Week, June 14, 2010.

Live Binders

LiveBinders is a web tool that allows you to save websites, notes, photos, video, scans... anything digital... into a well organized online binder.    Binders can be made private or public.  

The unique feature is the tabs.  You create your tabs (as in a 3 ring binder) to organize your pages just by clicking on one and giving it a name.  You can also have sub-tabs under each tab.  It also allows you to create different shelves for even more categorizing.

(Photo from

LiveBinders can be used as reference books, for taking notes, or even for creating electronic portfolios.  They save space - do away with all those paper binders, notebooks, journals and idea folders. Uploads and links can be combined into a single binder for saving lesson plan ideas.  You can share binders with others for collaborating on a project. If you add the "LiveBinder It" bookmarklet to your web browser's (i.e., Internet Explorer) bookmarks or favorites toolbar, you can save a web page directly to your LiveBinder with one click (well, maybe 3 clicks).   

bookmarklet screenshot safari  

See the LiveBinder tutorial for more info.  Your binders can be shared through email, twitter, Facebook and you can put them in your website or blog. Binders can be presented to an audience, like a PowerPoint presentation.  There is also a free iPad app that allows access to your binders.

See their website for more information and sample binders.

To see my Ed Tech Live Binder (in progress) click here