8 States Going All In On Online Learning

This is a guest post from Online Learning on October 21st.

Today, there are more than 2 million students enrolled in distance education courses at the K-12 level and more than 6 million taking courses at the college level. That’s a significant portion of America’s students, and some education experts estimate that by the next decade nearly every student will take an online course at some point in their education. Those statistics are both the result of and the driving force behind many states’ push to expand and grow online education, both for their K-12 students and in their public universities and colleges. While online education is growing in popularity in virtually every part of the United States, some state governments and education departments are pushing it harder than others. Here, we highlight just a few of the states that are working to make online education accessible, varied, and in some cases, a fundamental part of a well-rounded education.

  1. California:

    California’s university system, one of the largest in the U.S., is embracing online education wholeheartedly. In early 2012, the state announced plans to create a centralized learning hub for all universities in the state system, creating a top-tier virtual campus for students to use. The program will be called Cal State Online, and will offer access to courses from 23 schools around the state. System officials hope that the online courses will help to meet student demand for higher education, while still working within the state’s tight budget constraints. Of course, online learning isn’t just a big issue at the university level. California is also working to incorporate online learning experiences into its K-12 schools. Statewide, there are tens of thousands of young learners enrolled in online courses, a number that will only grow as the state looks for ways to cut costs without reducing educational quality.

  2. Florida:

    In Florida, students have a chance to learn online at nearly all grade levels, from kindergarten to graduate school. According to research from a 2011 study by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, Florida is among the top states in the nation for online education, as it offers an enormous variety of online programs and courses to students at all levels. Additionally, nearly all of Florida’s large colleges and universities offer online courses and some are even free, like those soon to be launched via Coursera through a partnership with the University of Florida. Part of the driving force behind the expansive online offerings in the state is undoubtedly the requirement that high school students take at least one online course before graduating.

  3. Minnesota:

    Minnesota is another state that ranked among the best of the best, according to data from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, and there’s definitely a reason. Minnesota offers an amazing number of college courses online through its MinnesotaOnlineportal, which connects 31 member institutions from around the state. The Minnesota Department of Education is also working to ensure that K-12 students have access to online ed, supplying funding to online courses the same as if students were taking them in a physical classroom. According to the Minnesota K-12 Online Learning Alliance, there are 20 school districts in Minnesota that offer online learning programs and more than 30% of schools statewide offer some courses online.

  4. Idaho:

    Lauded for its full-time and supplemental online course offerings, Idaho is a state that is getting very serious about engaging students through online education. In fact, in order to graduate from high school, students in the state’s education system must take at least two credits’ worth of courses online, making Idaho the first state to mandate taking more than a single online course for graduation. State school superintendent Tom Luna, an online grad himself, is a huge proponent of online education and it has been his dedication to online learning, though controversial, that has not only helped to expand online offerings for Idaho’s students but has also ensured that each has access to a laptop.

  5. Ohio:

    More than 30,000 students in Ohio attend school entirely online or in blended programs, making it a national leader in terms of sheer numbers of students enrolled in online ed. Ohio now has 12 times the number of online students it did a decade ago when the first virtual schools opened, and experts expect that number to rise even further as the state expands its online offerings. Most online students in the state attend one of the seven state-sponsored charter schools, which are given the same amount of funding as traditional schools from the state. The popularity of the schools could grow in coming years as a new bill that encourages blended education, combining online and offline schoolwork, just passed through the Ohio legislature.

  6. Michigan:

    Michigan has long had a commitment to online ed. In 2006, it was the first state to require students to take a minimum of one credit of online coursework to graduate. Part of the drive to pursue online education in Michigan was undoubtedly its troubled education system. With some of the worst-performing schools in the nation, online education has been a key tool for turning things around. This fall, students at 15 Detroit schools are being allowed to take courses through Michigan Virtual University. Classes blend online and in-class learning and the program, if successful, will expand to other struggling schools in the future. Michigan’s universities are also experimenting with online education. The University of Michigan will soon be joining scores of other top-tier schools in providing free course content and learning resources through the online site Coursera.

  7. Wisconsin:

    Wisconsin is another state that has been held up as a model for online ed, as it offers a wide range of courses and online resources for students throughout their school career. In recent years, the state launched the Department of Public Instruction, which cooperates with public and virtual schools to provide digital learning opportunities to students across the state. Through DPI, students can take more than 200 middle and high school courses and administrators plan to expand blended course offerings in the near future. Online learning options are also rich at the higher ed level through the University of Wisconsin System’seCampus portal. Students can easily find courses and even entire degree programs that are offered online and in blended settings.

  8. Arizona:

    Arizona has more K-12 students enrolled in full-time online schools than any other state in the U.S., according to an annual report by the Evergreen Education Group. Students at those schools can enjoy many of the same benefits as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, and online schools are funded at nearly the same level as traditional schools. While Arizona is a leader in online education, not every legislator is on the same page. In May of 2012, GovernorJan Brewer vetoed a bill that would make major changes to the state’s online education system, helping to expand it and to provide greater oversight through student assessments. Even with setbacks, the online education system in Arizona will undoubtedly expand, especially in the higher education sector, as state schools like ASU begin offering more and more courses and degree programs online.

Part 5: Evernote and Study Blue

Continuing on with our “Evernote for the Social Studies” series, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss how we can use Evernote to teach about the 2012 Presidential Election, seeing as how the presidential election is just over a month away.

Now is a great time to be a Social Studies teacher, especially if you teach Government.  With all the issues being discussed during this political election year, there is a vast sea of resources for teachers and students to observe and study over.  In fact, there are so many articles that are written and so much terminology that’s thrown around it can be overwhelming at times.  Luckily, there are two awesome tools that teachers and students can use to gather and organize these resources…Evernote and Study Blue.

What is Study Blue?

We live in a world where everything is digital.  Everything to paying bills online, finding news articles, and yes, even studying.  Teachers and students now locate and share their content online, making the learning experience more engaging.  Online tools such as Evernote, Livebinders, and Google have provided ways for teachers and students to gather that content and present it online.  However, when  it comes time to study, what digital tool is there to facilitate that need?  Enter Study Blue.

Study Blue is essentially what I like to call “21st century studying” or what Study Blue calls “your digital backpack”. Studying has evolved beyond opening a text book and looking for key terms in the glossary, we now incorporate pictures, audio, and technology into the studying experience.

Study Blue

What is also nice about Study Blue, is that allows you several different ways of studying and adding studying materials:

With your study materials, once you have created your flashcard set, you have the option of studying as a review sheet, quiz, or as flashcards right their on your computer.  However, you might wonder what happens if not all of your students have access to a electronic device?  Study Blue also allows you to print off your flashcard set and cut them up into a hardcopy flashcard set or even export them into a Excel spreadsheet.  Here’s the link to a flashcard set of mine to see what it looks like when you select to print them off:  US Election Volcabulary. (Link opens in Evernote).  You can also share the URL to the flashcard set to Facebook, Twitter, and email (though whoever you share the link with must be signed in to their Study Blue account to be able to view it).

Studying Goes Mobile

With all of our technological advancements today, students are usually connected to some kinda of electronic device.  Text books are not the only means of studying now.  Students are now studying with the phones, tablets, and laptops.  Here’s a interesting graphic from Study Blue that shows some data about how studying has evolved over the years:

With Study Blue, students can study anytime they have their cell phones–in between classes, on break at work, or whenever they have free time.  Even better, Study Blue allows you to connect your material on their website to your Evernote account.

Study Blue and Evernote

Once you sign up for a Study Blue account (which is free, by the way), you can choose to go under your profile preferences and connect your Evernote account to your Study Blue account.  Once you have connected your two accounts, a new notebook in your Evernote account will be created, called “Study Blue”:

Let’s say, for example, that your students keep their class notes in their Evernote account.  If they prefer, when they want to study said notes, they can simply copy that Evernote note and move it into the Study Blue notebook.  Once that is done, that note will now be in their Study Blue account and they can simply go log into their Study Blue account and retype that note into flashcards.

How does this help the teacher?

Going back to how Study Blue and Evernote can help you teach the 2012 Presidential Election, one of the main things your students might have issues with is keeping up with the terminology.  Politics can have a slew of terms, which from a student’s perspective can be very overwhelming.  If you want to give your students some extra time with the terminology, creating and sharing these flashcards can be extremely beneficial.  If allotted the extra time, students might have a easier time with it during class, thus cutting back the time which you would have to revisit the terms and material.  Here’s the link to my Study Blue flashcards, or if you don’t have a Study Blue account, here’s the link to the notes in my Evernote account:  Study Blue link or Evernote link.

All of this is just a sampling of what you can do with Study Blue.  Sign up for a account today and give it a try!

For more information, here are more resources:


Evernote blog post on Study Blue

Part 1: Evernote for the Social Studies: What is Evernote

Part 2: Evernote for the Social Studies: Evernote in the History Class

Part 3: Evernote for the Social Studies: Evernote and Skitch

Part 4: Evernote for the Social Studies: Lesson Planning with Evernote

Evernote for Educators Livebinder

Teach like a Pirate!!!

Dave Burgess is a wonderful and inspiring educator who I’ve had the pleasure to meet twice in person at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference. I have also been in contact with dave multiple times on twitter and #sschat. I am so excited to share that he has just released his first book, Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator. It is  available on Amazon!!


I created several lessons after attending one of his amazing and overcrowded NCSS presentation in Baltimore. Dave’s  teaching techniqnies challenges you to design interesting and enagaging lessons for your students. He is the type of teacher that makes you want to be a better teacher.


His book is based on his  “Outrageous Teaching” and “Teach Like a PIRATE” seminars. It offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator.

You’ll learn how to:

• Tap into and dramatically increase your passion as a teacher

• Develop outrageously engaging lessons that draw students in like a magnet

• Establish rapport and a sense of camaraderie in your classroom

• Transform your class into a life-changing experience for your students This groundbreaking inspirational manifesto contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will skyrocket your creativity.

Once you learn the Teach Like a PIRATE system, you’ll never look at your role as an educator the same again.  So True!!!


Check out Dave’s blog or book today.

The All-Time Greatest Education Hits on YouTube

I’ve been asked to share this post written by the Online Education Database.  For years now, YouTube has been a great resource of incredible educational videos, from scientific wonders to inspirational commencement speeches. And while there’s no shortage of great educational videos to check out, some have really stood out as runaway hits, attracting millions of views and attention from around the world. Check out our list to find several of the most notable, popular, and amazing educational hits on YouTube today.

  • Cobra vs. Mongoose:

    The National Geographic YouTube channel is one of the most popular educational channels, boasting plenty of videos with millions of viewers. But the single most popular of them all is Cobra vs. Mongoose, with nearly 35 million views of the epic battle between mongoose and cobra.

  • Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams:

    Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch died in 2008, but before his death, he delivered an incredibly powerful last lecture on achieving your goals that still resonates today. It has been so incredibly popular, with 15.2 million hits and growing, that it’s been turned into a best-selling book that’s been published in more than 35 different languages, sharing Pausch’s inspirational story with the world.

  • Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address:

    Steve Jobs holds a special place in the hearts of many: Pixar fans, Apple followers, and tech geeks everywhere. So it’s no wonder that his inspirational 2005 Stanford commencement speech is still gathering millions of hits, with more than 15.3 million today. In this speech, Jobs shares life lessons from pivotal moments in his life, encouraging graduates to pursue their dreams and find opportunity in setbacks.

  • ‘Holy Smokes’ Hurricane Dean from Space:

    What does a hurricane look like from space? Join more than one million other viewers as you check out this video from NASA crewmembers marveling at the size of a potential Category 5 storm.

  • HUGE explosion on the Sun on June 7, 2011:

    Did you know that the sun can actually explode? Thanks to this educational video from The Bad Astronomer, now nearly 1.6 million people know what it looks like. The Sun’s eruption was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on ultraviolet camera, colored orange for viewing.

  • Walter Lewin’s Classic Mechanics, Fall 1999:

    Why would more than one million people want to watch a video about physics on YouTube? Because at the hands of the skilled MIT professor Walter Lewin, physics is kind of amazing. With enthusiasm and a fun teaching style, Lewin delivers an engaging 38-minute lecture on physics concepts including powers of ten, units, dimensions, and measurements.

  • Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?:

    This video from Harvard University explores the moral side of murder, and it’s attracted a following of more than four million viewers. Professor Michael Sandel’s lecture of moral reasoning discusses killing to save the lives of others, and asks interesting questions of its viewers.

  • Bill Gates Speech at Harvard:

    Bill Gates may have dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft, but he came back to share the secrets of his success with graduates in 2007. He urged graduates to change the world, telling them to “address the world’s deepest inequities,” particularly in health and social inequalities. With more than 3.5 million viewers, we know his words have had an impact far beyond the university.

  • Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?:

    In this brilliant TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson explains what’s wrong with schools, explaining how they kill creativity, and sharing his plan for an educational system that nurtures creativity. This video has been wildly popular, inspiring 3.8 million viewers to consider an educational world that opens up the doors to creative learning.

  • Bill Nye: Creationism is Not Appropriate for Children:

    Educational science favorite Bill Nye “the science guy” shares why evolution education is so important. Drawing on knowledge from Carl Sagan, Nye makes the case for why evolution is necessary learning, and more than 4.7 million viewers have listened.

  • The Hubble Deep Field: The Most Important Image Ever Taken:

    Over four and a half million people have viewed this video, getting to check out the image of a millennium captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003. Join in to learn more about our place in the universe and understand why this image is so important.

  • Simple Equations:

    The Khan Academy has many incredibly popular educational videos on YouTube, explaining topics from math and finance to language. But Simple Equations is the academy’s most popular video, with more than 1.3 million viewers learning about simple equations in a short 11-minute lesson.

  • The Known Universe by AMNH:

    Want to know everything so far about the universe? Check out this very popular video from the American Museum of Natural History, offering a look at the Big Bang, Himalayas, and the inky black of space. You’ll be joining more than 10.6 million enlightened viewers.

  • The Most IMPORTANT Video You’ll Ever See:

    Like Walter Lewin, University of Colorado lecturer Albert Bartlett makes arithmetic incredibly important in this video. Check it out to see why 4.5 million viewers have enjoyed what he has to say about arithmetic.

  • 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art:

    Explore the women of Western art in this creative educational video as portrait after portrait is morphed into the next with a musical accompaniment from Bach. This video has wowed more than 12.7 million viewers, and has been nominated as Most Creative Video for the Annual YouTube Awards. It’s certainly a fun and visually engaging way to learn about the history of female portraits.

  • A Fair(y) Use Tale:

    Think you’re the only one confused by copyright laws? You’re not alone! This Disney parody explaining copyright and fair use has 13.7 million viewers and growing. Offering an informative look at copyright principles, this is a fun and educational video to enjoy.

  • Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats:

    Thanks to this video from Hans Rosling and the BBC, more than 5.4 million viewers now know the joy of stats. Watch as Rosling combines public data with an engaging style, sharing development of the world in the past, present and future.

40 Creative Ways to Use Cell Phones in the Classroom

Here is a great post I thought I would share written by Online Universities.
4/52 - Homework

So many ruminations on what smartphone technologies offer the wired classroom begin with some permutation of how, at first, cell phones are often the bane of teachers’ existence because they cause disruptions. This isn’t one of those ruminations. Let’s just go straight to the suggestions, shall we?

  1. Use educational apps:One of the simplest strategies for engaging students using smartphones involves taking advantage of the thousands of educational apps as supplements.
  2. Create educational apps:After familiarizing kiddos with properly navigating smartphone apps, challenge some of the more tech-oriented ones to design and develop their own; Stanford already offers an open-source class on the subject!
  3. Scavenger hunts:Smartphone scavenger hunts have proven a popular pastime for technophiles, and teachers have been known to use them to provide interactive lessons about everything from natural history to nature. It’s an easy concept to adapt!
  4. Shooting video:Whether requiring short PSAs, as the linked assignment does, or another type of video entirely, students with smartphones make it easier than ever to shoot, edit, and share their digital projects.
  5. Backchanneling:Turn the classroom into an educational MST3K equivalent by equipping smartphones with Twitter and allow students to offer up their own comments and ask questions via a real-time feed that does not disrupt the flow of a lecture.
  6. Project Noah:Biology educators love transforming their students into “citizen scientists” by asking them to snap photos and videos of their wilderness finds and sharing them with pros and fellow fans alike.
  7. Send reminders:Whether through text or apps like Remind 101, smartphones offer greater connectivity so teachers ensure students know when assignments are due, what materials to bring, test schedules, and more.
  8. Text message rewrites:In order to get younger readers more familiar with the ins and outs of classic texts — such asRomeo and Juliet in this example — some intrepid educators are assigning rewrites in abbreviated speech through text messaging. Translating old stories into contemporary vernacular nurtures a greater understanding of the major themes, characters, and plotlines.
  9. Record podcasts:With mobile audio technology, classrooms featuring podcasts can record and share their commentaries and interviews on the go
  10. Geocache:Similar to a scavenger hunt, only more involved and detailed, classroom geocaching projects encourage participants to keep the movement flowing by adding their own treasure chests for other users to track down.
  11. Accessibility:Explaining smartphone potential in creating greater accessibility for special needs students is an article in and of itself, as there are myriad applications for different requirements varying in severity.
  12. Remembering notes:Some teachers allow their students to snap photos of the chalkboard or whiteboard as class wraps up in case they couldn’t finish taking their notes fast enough.
  13. Access textbooks:For classrooms where the textbooks are available via the Internet or ebook readers, smartphones equipped with browsers and e-reading apps lower the back strain associated with toting everything around in bookbags.
  14. QR codes:Create QR codes and let students scan them for quick access to class materials, supplements, and anything else they might need to earn the best grades possible.
  15. Encourage literacy:Whether teaching ESL, special needs, or mainstream students, numerous apps, assignments, and smartphone features allow users to learn grammar, spelling, pronunciation, and other essential literacy skills.
  16. Organizers:Both teachers and students alike laud smartphones as portable, quick, and convenient strategy for staying on top of anything and everything related to schooling. No assignments necessary — they just plain work!
  17. Going paperless:Green up the classroom by converting as many class materials to digital as possible and encouraging students to store everything on their smartphones, tablets, computers, or other device.
  18. Preserving lectures:Shooting videos of lectures allows students who miss class or may not have caught something the first time around play catch up come exam time.
  19. Alarms and timers:Almost every smartphone these days comes with a timer and an alarm function, so flip it on when students must complete tasks within specific temporal boundaries.
  20. Crowdsourcing solutions:Assign each student (or, more realistically, student groups) a smartphone and ask them to network with other individuals (or groups) to share their findings about what they’ve learned with the hopes of formulating more viable approaches to classroom content.
  21. After-school programs:Rather than spending classroom time creating smartphone applications, some schools have started offering such training as an extracurricular activity in order to build lucrative skill sets and keep students away from dangerous decisions.
  22. Field research:Laptops are bulky, and many educators and students alike have taken to gathering research out in the field in order to better conserve their energy and available space.
  23. E-mail:Seeing as how most smartphones sync up with e-mail providers, it provides one more convenient communication conduit between teachers and students.
  24. Clickers:Instructors who love punctuating lectures with visuals like slideshows can convert their smartphones into tools for scrolling through materials.
  25. Animations:For content unsuitable for shooting video, equip smartphone devices with the proper resources needed to draw up animations depicting anything at all – though physics and science demonstrations work nicely.
  26. Google Maps:Available even on non-Android phones, Google Maps and similar applications provide numerous educational opportunities for geography and history classes in particular. Some teachers might even like the idea of drawing up virtual field trips students can participate in via their smartphones.
  27. Storyboarding:Have students draw or shoot photos of sequential images and challenge them to draw up their own stories or storyboards involving both text and visuals.
  28. Blogging:Blogging provides a wonderfully diverse tool for establishing a digital classroom, and it’s easy for teachers and students alike to post, comment, read, and follow analytics.
  29. Critical thinking:Ask students to open up their smartphone browsers and send them to fake websites meant to nurture in them vital critical thinking skills about parsing fact from fiction on the Internet and beyond.
  30. Emergency numbers:Because so many preschoolers and kindergartners love playing with their parents’ smartphones, some teachers have incorporated the devices into lessons about dialing their country’s respective emergency lines.
  31. Calculator:Calculators come standard on pretty much every smartphone these days, and multiple apps exist for ones that either don’t have them or lack more advanced functions. It should be fairly obvious what benefits they provide the classroom!
  32. Grading and feedback:Not only do smartphones allow for grading on the go, text and e-mail functions mean teachers have a way to ship feedback students can’t lose (or feed to their dogs) as easily as a sheet of paper.
  33. Memorization skills:Create and distribute digital flash cards so students can stay on top of what they need to know – or, better yet, make them write and trade their own! Research suggests that fusing technology with traditional methods helps nurture memorization skills, despite stereotypes of smartphone owners as forgetful types.
  34. Pagers:For medical students and the pros who pass their knowledge onto them, smartphones have largely replaced pagers as the go-to device when things get real. In fact, some teaching hospitals and med schools even require enrollees to own one.
  35. Science:Encourage students to be as Tesla as they can be with these hacks meant to teach and analyze acceleration via censor.
  36. Augmented reality:Whether via apps or something designed specifically for the class, augmented reality enhances the classroom experience and are easily accessed and created on smartphones.
  37. Take attendance:Some intrepid educators love location-based check-in games like Foursquare for taking attendance that can’t be faked or lost.
  38. Teaching digital literacy:Responsibly using smartphones instills in students the digital literacy skills necessary to succeed in current — and, likely, the foreseeable future — job markets, so get them started as early as resources allow!
  39. Polling:Take quick surveys of what students think and want by asking them to respond via smartphone apps designed specifically for realtime feedback.
  40. Tours:OK, so technically this one isn’t the classroom, but it remains a great idea all the same. Some colleges, such as Berkeley, provide downloadable content allowing potential students to get to know the campus layout and history of the different features.

Presidential Infographic

ECollegeFinder has put together an interesting presidential infographic that I thought I would share.  President of the United States of America is certainly a prestigious title, so ALL of our presidents must have spotless school records and a few Ivy League degrees, right? Wrong! Check out this infographic and discover the true educational backgrounds of US presidents throughout history…


Online Colleges

How technology has helped me cope with a tragedy?

Anyone who knows me knows I am completely dedicated to my family, friends, students, and this blog. The past month I have been so busy with a new job in a new district, moving out of our apartment, and closing on a house. To say the last month has been stressful, is an understatement!


My Best Friend Gets Sick

Last week my college best friend and maid of honor, Cassie Davies has what she thought was a cold turned much more serious. She woke up Friday without any feeling in her legs and was rushed to the hospital. She went into a coma on Saturday and finally woke up this past Thursday. She is making small steps everyday but the recovery process is going to be a very long. Doctors are not still 100% sure of what she has but they are thinking its ADEM with other complications.


Feeling Helpless 

For most of the week I felt very helpless and hopeless. I couldn’t visit her and I couldn’t help her. I dove into a household project: I  reupholstered my entire dining room set as well as out outdoor patio. I kept myself occupied but could not escape the fact that she was sick and needed help. I moped around the house and avoided all types of schoolwork and housework. I told my students that she was sick and they offered to make cards and have a bake sale to raise money for her family (see the cards on the right).


How Technology Saved Me and Gave Me a Purpose?

When I got home from school on Tuesday I thought of a wonderful project to help Cassie. I thought I could use my love of technology to help her and in the process it gave me a way to cope in a positive way. Cassie’s high school friends created a facebook group to get the word out and give people a way to voice their love and support. Cassie’s support group now has 563 members!


Raising Money 

The first thing I did was create a video (see below) and a website to raise funds for her family. Cassie’s family is one of the most giving families you will ever meet and I know the medical, travel, and hotel expenses are going to be a lot. I created the video through iMovie and the website through  Indiegogo. So far we have raised over $6,700 with a 108 funders in the past four days. It’s amazing when a community comes together. I even tweeted it out and a few of my twitter friends have donated. Thank you for your support it means so much to me!


Photobook and Voicethread 

I created a Voicethread to share memories and stories to help Cassie while she is recovering. I think its so important for our friends who live across the US to be involved in the recovery process and this was one way we could send our support and memories through a touching project using our voices.


I also created a Shutterfly photo-book about Cassie using all the photos, memories, and good luck wishes. I fiqured it would be something she could treasure during her time in the hospital.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Build your own high-quality photo books at Shutterfly.com.



One of Cassie’s friends Monica ordered bracelets that are pink and white that say “Cassie’s Army” on them. They are $5 a piece and all proceeds will go towards the Davies family. She even used a google form to keep track or the orders, addresses, and payments.


This week I have shed more tears than I ever have, but technology has given me a positive outlet to contribute my skills and truly make a difference. I have realized that life is too short and we need to live each day like it is our last. Technology has brought friends together to help, support, comfort, and pray for our friend. Please send positive thoughts and prayers to Cassie.  She still has a long way to go but I am happy technology is helping to make that gap just a little bit smaller.

StudySync for Professional Development

StudySync is a web-delivered product designed to increase reading, writing, and critical thinking with award-winning lessons aligned to the Common Core Standards for Middle and High School. StudySync offers FREE webinars for professional development. It will get you up and running with our flexible, online, collaborative curriculum and demonstrate how you can use StudySync to help your students achieve higher levels of reading, writing, and critical thinking.
Sign up here!

Part 4: Lesson Planning with Evernote

Lesson planning is a huge component of any educator’s classroom.  We have to breakdown the instruction into several considerations to give our students the best means of learning the objective–i.e. what is the objective of this lesson, what resources will I/students use, what activities will be incorporated, etc.  Once it is all said and done, a lesson plan can be bursting with content and resources–which can be quite overwhelming for the teacher.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a “central hub” to gather all of our resources for quick and easy access?  Enter Evernote.


The more I get hands on with Evernote, the more I’m finding out about the extensive ways in which Evernote can be used in education.  One way that Evernote is making a teacher’s life easier is by making lesson planning much easier and streamlined.  Two educators that are apart of my PLN on Twitter, Melissa Seideman and David Andrade, are also huge fans of Evernote.  I recently asked if I could share their experiences with using Evernote and they agreed.  Here’s their testimonies:

Melissa Seideman:

Lesson Plans

The first set are screen shots are of my lesson plans. I got the idea of lesson plans using Evernote from twitter and I will never go back to any other type. I organized each class into a separate notebook and I created notes for each unit. The hardest part was setting up the lesson plans but once it was set up it’s so easy to just enter information.

Here are Melissa’s screen shots for lesson planning:

Example 1:

Example 2:

Example 3:

Example 4:

I find Evernote for lesson plans to be one of the most time saving technologies I have implemented into my classroom. I have my lesson plans on every device thanks to Evernote. I can make a change with a simple click on my phone, ipad, or computer. Every change syncs and keeps me organized. I am also making notes in each lesson to change if I teach the same course next year.  I have also shared my lesson plans with members of my department as well as my principal. I highly recommend using Evernote for lesson plans.


Using Evernote for Student Portfolios

My seniors are doing a final portfolio project using Evernote. The project is very detailed with each step of the project. It took a few days of getting students adjusted to working in Evernote rather than opening word, but the progress is beautiful. They shared their project notebook with me and I can see every change as well as the progress each student makes.   I attached a few student projects. I also created a shared notebook that I shared with them such as my how to guide, what if I am absent, and a sample portfolio layout. This project is truly digital in every sense including the directions for each project work day.

Here’s Melissa’s screen shots for student portfolios:

Example 1:

Example 2:

Example 3:

 Example 4:


Example 5:

Evernote is a great way to teach our students to be digitally responsible, organized, and literate. My hope using Evernote they will find other uses for cloud computing as well as ways to successfully use technology outside of school in the real world.


David Andrade

Evernote is my main lesson and resource organizational tool. I have notebooks setup for lesson plans and lesson resources, along with notebooks for things to do, things to research, and things to share. My lesson plan notes are set up by unit and have the objectives, links, resources, and attached files (like handouts and lab packets). I also have notes setup by week that I use to keep track of where each class is and to schedule my plans out. I can easily share resources and information with my students or colleagues. I have notebooks for faculty meeting notes, ideas for future lessons, Android tips and resources, technology support, and personal notebooks for financial notes and account information, recipes, travel plans, and much more.

In the image below, you can see my lesson plan notebook. It has my schedule for each week with what I am going to do in each class, each day. I also have notes with my unit and lesson plans, links to other resources, notes, and I have attached the files I use with each class.

Lesson Plan objectives:

David’s post on winning Evernote premium for himself and his classes for a entire year:

I just won a very cool contest Evernote hosted for educators. Along with 9 other teachers, I won a year of Evernote premium for me and all of my students, along with training and support to implement it with my class.

I have been using Evernote myself for years and always share it with my students, but this will be my first year really using it with them. I’m learning more about sharing notebooks and setting up groups and classes with Evernote. The first webinar from Evernote was great and we have a Yammer group for support, as well as more training from Evernote throughout the year.

Students have already been using Evernote to take notes and upload files from me and attach them to their class notes. Many are also taking pictures of notes on the board and uploading them to Evernote. I’m also having them submit assignments to me via Evernote. Each class has a notebook and the students tag anything they send me with their name for easy sorting. This will become their online portfolio. Students can share notes with me or email me files right into Evernote.

They are getting so used to it already, that when I say “where should you save this?” they automatically answer Evernote.

You can follow David on Twitter or his blog (Twitter: @Daveandcori, Blog: Educationaltechnologyguy)

I highly recommend you follow Melissa and David, they have shared some great things involving a vast area of education.

What do you think?  Give Evernote a try!

More resources for using Evernote:

Evernote for Educators Livebinder

Evernote for the Social Studies:

Part 1: What is Evernote?

Part 2: Evernote in the History Class

Part 3: Evernote & Skitch for the Social Studies

Gilder Lehrman Institute has Amazing FREE Resources

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has received a challenge grant from the NEH to substantially increase the affiliate program over the next five years. It is essentially a special relationship to Gilder Lehrman . The Gilder Lehrman resources are FREE and will be available in perpetuity.

Gilder Lehrman has contracted with over fifty historians to write original essays for the affiliate school site. The essays will cover ten major and forty sub eras in US history. Many of the essays will also explore interdisciplinary aspects of American culture. An extensive and current bibliography, new podcasts, primary sources, teaching strategies, and lesson plans will complete the package of resources. We have also been contracted by David Coleman and the Common Core to produce specific lessons on essential texts in American history.


In addition GLI will continue to expand its summer seminar program with preferential consideration provided to affiliate members. This year about 50 per cent of the 1200 positions are allocated to current affiliate school applicants. GLI will also continue to sponsor the History Teacher of the Year award (HTOY).This year’s winner will receive their recognition at the 9/11 Museum in New York City (a new partner with GLI). Bill Clinton will present the award.


Similarly, GLI will continue to provide school districts the opportunity to connect to history through travelling exhibits (a new major initiative is well underway related to the immigration) and several new projects in the history box series. As you reach out to schools, you might remind teachers that the affiliate relationship is like a toolbox. You never know when you need that one item but at least it is there when the time arises.. Just ensure that the building principal is onboard (I’m not sure that anyone will pass on no cost professional development). Moreover, GLI will conduct quarterly Regional Forums for affiliate school partners. These by invitation events will provide all day professional development programs related to significant historical themes or events.


Just a reminder that a classroom teacher or a librarian has to make the application. You should go to the Gilder Lehrman Institute and go to the affiliates dropdown on the site. This allows you to create an account and submit an application. The last page asks for some demographic information and that should be available from the school’s guidance office. The final question is just a short explanation of why you want to be an affiliate. You can visit their website for more information.