Tech Savvy Teaching Here I Come!

Spring semester 2018 will be remembered as an opportunity we had to explore other realms of the education world that we had not previously engaged with (as much as others). One of the most prominent, and seemingly relevant topics to us, considering our current situation (and as we move towards teaching in the near-future) is technology. The EdTech class was not only engaging and insightful, but provided me with the skills and knowledge to navigate many different technological applications that involved video creation and manipulation, animation, voice-overs, creative arts, etc.

Unlike most classes that follow a specific rubric or have step-by-step instructions, this class and Prof. Pappas, gave us an incredible opportunity to explore new technology, but figure out all the tips and tricks on our own. Navigating unknown waters is an imperative skill to have as a first year teacher in all educational areas, and especially technology. We will be challenged by new and changing technologies and if we have an open mind and the ability to be adaptable, we can truly conquer any struggle and thrive as the most tech-savvy teacher ever!

For me personally, one of the most exciting parts of this class were all the ideas I generated when thinking about what tech tools I now have in my toolbox and ones which I can easily use in lesson and unit plans, as well as on a daily basis with my students. I hope to encourage my students to use technology wisely and to most importantly…be creative with it! There are so many amazing and innovative ways we can use technology and if it can be incorporated into all subject areas in the classroom, students will be engaged and excited to see what they can do when they get to try out something for the first time themselves–eventually becoming experts of course!

Technology is our future and we, as teachers, have a duty to learn about and deeply understand technology in education: finding ways to help ALL students access the material, keep classes fun, and inspire students to become the next tech-masters of the future!

Thank you, Prof. Pappas, for a wonderful, engaging, stress-free class. Thank you for helping us learn on our own, experiment, fail, and succeed throughout our journey in this class. I wish you the best and I am excited for the production of the iBook!

Ideas for Final iBook!

After a long, wonderful semester of learning about technology in the classroom and a variety of applications that can be used inside and outside the classroom to foster creativity, discussion, and collaboration, I think we should make our final book project be an iBook titled: “A Teacher’s Guide to Technology.” The iBook would be a larger compilation of everything we have explored over the past semester that could be used in our future teaching careers as a reference, as well as a guide for current teachers who are navigating the technological world at this moment. Due to the fact that technology is constantly changing, our book may only be useful for a couple of years, but being able to see all of our work and exploration come together in a shared book could be pretty special for everyone.

In the book, pairs or individuals would create a chapter or section explaining each, or the majority of the applications in depth, from Adobe Spark, to Toontastic. Each pair or person could explain some pros and cons to the application, talk about how they used it (and perhaps include examples that they made), and write a hypothetical lesson plan using the technology! We could do an entire section on “video” and manipulating video, as well as presentations, class activities, creativity, etc. I have loved seeing the past iBooks and I think this could be a cool representation of what we have been doing the past semester!

“VideoAnt” (Classroom Discussion through Video)

In Ed Tech class this week, we explored different applications that could be used in the classroom to facilitate discussion and be more hands-on than other technology we might be inclined to use. In addition, we were able to manipulate and edit videos that have already been created in order to build a lesson, advance communication between teacher and student as well as peer-to-peer, and find new and exciting ways to use old content.

The application that I decided to explore specifically is called “VideoAnt.” VideoAnt allows for a creator to take a video that has been previously made and essentially engage in discussion with the video and other people who can view it as well. I decided to pick a video titled “Even and Odd Numbers:  1st grade and 2nd grade Math Lessons.” I thought that I could potentially use it in my field experience classroom right now. I was also curious to see how a video lesson was trying to teach even and odd numbers. All in all, I was pleased by the actual video but I have mixed emotions about VideoAnt.

VideoAnt allows for the video to play while the teacher or editor can comment. With each comment that is made, a bar appears on the bottom of the video screen and the comment becomes bold as the video plays through. People who view the video can add comments, but the video has to be refreshed every time to see new comments. Additionally, when the video is refreshed, the video starts over and the viewer must click on the time stamp of a comment to return to that spot. Therefore, I found the application to be fun and easy to use in terms of commenting on the video, but the physical video was not editable and the comments simply appeared alongside the video but did not affect the viewing of the video. VideoAnt could be a good application for homework (students could view and add comments) and then discussion could be had based on the comments or questions that were shared.

*I only did a couple minutes of the 13 minute video just so people can get the idea of the application!

Happy creating!

My Review of Toontastic

Last week in EDTech class, we explored three different video making/story-telling applications: Toontastic, Clips, and Adobe Spark Video. I was particularly interested in Toontastic because it involves animation AND story-telling in an easily accessible way. When I was younger, my brothers were avid cartoonists and created hundreds of characters and story-lines. They drew everything out with pencil or pen and colored them to perfection. We cut characters out and played with them, giving each one a personality. It was one of my favorite hobbies as a child and bonding time that I spent with them that I will never forget.

In the modern world that is influenced so strongly by technology, there are new applications that allow for the recreation of what my brothers and I used to do. Essentially, the characters and stories can come to life with voices, song, and animation which can add to the overall experience for creators and viewers. The app “Toontastic” allows for creators to pick their setting, characters, and gives an outline for the story so that the creators can move through the process with a little more structure. I think this app is a wonderful tool for teachers to use to guide students through the story-telling process while allowing them to be creative. Students would definitely need to write a script out first because coming up with the story on the fly was much more difficult that I imaged. The creator also can move the characters around to match their words and build connections and relationships between characters as the story moves along.

I think this app definitely has a place in the classroom and specifically for guiding story-telling and creative activities. Students both young and old could benefit from a creative space to engage their ideas and voices (can also be used with partners or small groups to incorporate many different ideas and voices). Students would need to experiment with the app itself before using it, but stories can be shared easily with the whole class at the end of the day!

Here is a funny video I found of some young boys explaining the app:

<p><a href=”″>Toontastic</a> from <a href=””>Adam Brice</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>


Student Interest Project Using iMovie

In ED Tech class this last week, we learned how to use iMovie in the Digital Lab at University of Portland. Not only was this a particularly exciting application for me to learn how to use because I have always wanted to work with iMovie, but I had recently traveled to California to visit my younger brother at his college and see his life–so I had footage to use and was ready to create! I loved taking the small videos that I had and blending them together, cropping them, adding music, adjusting the sound levels, and replaying my video over and over again until I had it all just right! It was a creative process for me to eliminate unnecessary clips, pick the perfect song, and ultimately produce my very first short film using iMovie!

As a future educator, I also look at iMovie with excitement for how it can be used in the classroom! I am using my video as an example for what I would consider a “Student Interest Project.” A Student Interest Project could be created using any type of medium the student chose (but video would be encouraged), and students would be given access to the application (iMovie/Movie-Maker) if they do not have it at home. The goal for this assignment would be for students to pick some aspect of their life, something they love, something that describes them, and try to show it artistically using video and music. Like my video, it could be about a trip, family members or friends, a sport or other activity, or anything the student hoped to share with the class! A step up from the “Student of the Week” poster projects, using iMovie or another movie-making application can give students a chance to share part of their life with the class, build community, and utilize their own creativity with technology and imagination!

Letter to My Future Self

Dearest Dylan,

Wow, you would not believe what is happening with technology in education now! The resources and opportunities are SO different than what I had back in college. For one, we are completely paperless! In an effort to conserve paper, every school in the US has converted to one-to-one devices that are connected to each student. Not only are they able to access all their academic work, but their device goes with them, interacts with them through video and speech, allows them to video chat with teachers and other students, and they can virtually go inside a text book or video in order to get a full on 3D, virtual experience!

Do you remember when you tried the virtual goggles in the special room in your ED Tech class? Well, imagine being able to enter into your favorite book or movie and see the action with your own eyes! That is what we can do now! Also, the entire classroom is virtual so the teacher can create documents, diagrams, and models with their own two hands and their words; it is similar to the 3D printer but anyone can do it (including students), which allows for a truly hands-on experience and the students have benefited greatly from having the best technology every created that allows them to access information and data in ways I (back in the day) never could have imagined!

A note to you from your future self: get excited about technology! There are so many amazing things coming and you could be part of setting it all in motion! Listen to your kids ideas–many of the fantastical ideas that the kids drew on paper with a pencil in your class, have become the reality for students of the future! Technology in educational settings has the ability to change how we learn, what we learn, and how we are able to do it! The future is yours!

Much love and best of luck,


Money for First Grade using PADLET!

For the Padlet assignment, I decided to use the Padlet as a teacher lesson planning tool to prepare and create three lesson plans for a small unit about money and coins for First grade. In this way, I wanted to see how I could utilize Padlet as a teacher, to help organize the ideas, documents, activities, and information I was compiling from multiple sources, and then ultimately using for each of my lesson plans. Padlet provided me with an easy-to-use application that helped me plan my unit in a way that worked for me, was efficient, and something that other teachers could use when planning their own lesson plans regarding money and coins for first grade! I think Padlet is a great application that has a lot of potential for teachers and students alike!

Made with Padlet

Where I am From: Neskowin, Oregon

For this post, I decided to explore where I am from using the application SWAY. Sway allowed me to alter my photos, add content, make photo galleries, and ultimately tell a story about a place that is hugely part of my life and who I am as a person. I hope people can get some insight into the beauty of Neskowin, and my love for the place I call home.

Sway allows for students to express themselves creatively and I can think of a number of assignments and activities where students can use Sway in some form or another! I am excited to continue to explore Sway and see what I can do with it!

“Apples to Oregon” by Deborah Hopkinson (Interactive Story Map)

By Dylan Hite, Hanna Knouf, and Laura Barros 

[embedit snippet=”apples-to-oregon-2″] 

 Title of Book: Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains

Author: Deborah Hopkinson

Illustrator: Nancy Carpenter

Year written: 2004

This story is about a family of farmers who travel  across the country from Iowa to Oregon in search of a new home and more land.  They take all of their crops in their wagon in order to start a new life out West, and the book tells some of the experiences that they have, and ones which many pioneers experienced on the Oregon Trail.

Excerpt from book: “So Daddy built two of the biggest boxes you could ever hope to see. He set them into a sturdy wagon and shoveled in good, wormy dirt. Then he filled every inch with little plants and trees. Hundreds of them! Daddy was ready for the most daring adventure in the history of fruit.”

This book could be used for a lesson on the Oregon Trail because it shows another perspective from the pioneers that is relate-able and easy to read. Students can use Google My Maps to create their own journey that the characters go on, where they write the descriptions, pick the pictures, and turn it into their own post. I think Google My Maps allows for a lot of creativity in the classroom and for students to get more engaged in what they are reading and studying! Teachers could also make this a collaborative effort like it was for us, so that ideas can be shared among many students.

Our Little Friend- The Brookesia Chameleon

Our google slide project would be used as a science project about the rainforest and its animals, specifically a unit based on ecosystems and the food chain. We would begin our lesson by going through the google slides presentation with our students to demonstrate what we are looking for in the presentation, pausing occasionally throughout to participate in a discussion. We would directly hyperlink in our presentation to take our students directly to comment on the video or photo about what they see or think is important to notice. We may also use the Q & A or comment feature in google slides as part of this discussion as well so students can see many different ways to have class interaction within the presentation. Students will be active participants in the presentation constantly commenting their ideas about the chameleon and what they are learning which also allows the teacher to check in assuring that students are both following along and are understanding the knowledge being presented to them. Once we finish the presentation the students will break into groups of 4-5 and become animal researchers picking an animal from the rainforest in Madagascar to learn about and present on. Students will collaborate together to create their own google slides presentation on their animal. The hope would be that this would be an activity incorporating technology into the classroom in a fun and collaborative way that incorporates a lesson students are excited to do.

Quizlet Tutorial!

Quizlet Tutorial using Loom

Here is a little tutorial I put together on the website Quizlet. Quizlet is a free learning tool that can be super helpful during studying, as well as inside and outside the classroom. The virtual flashcard sets can be used to study, test, write, listen, and play games with the terms and their definitions, which students create themselves. I have found Quizlet to be incredibly useful during my academic journey and I hope this quick video can help anyone get used to the website themselves!

Digital Literacy: Introduction to Magnetism

For this activity, students are asked to examine different images related to “magnetism” in order to try and build a theory of some of the elements related to magnetism, as well as the history of it. The images themselves (found through public domain searches) are meant as tools to lead students on a search to find as much information as they can. Images such as these can be used to prepare students for a “preliminary assessment” on the topic, or to help generate ideas in a class discussion before the unit begins.

An introduction to magnetism is something that we have been discussing in my Physics 109 course.  As such, I have found recently that many people have a limited idea of what magnetism includes and think solely of magnets or other objects being attracted to one another. The truth of the matter is, however, that there are many more elements involved; for instance, magnetism exists in the liquid core at the center of our Earth which changes the “geographic North and South” and the “magnetic North and South,” among other things.

Guiding Questions:

  1. When you think of magnetism, what do you think of first?
  2. What do you think people originally believed to be true about magnetism? Why do you think that?
  3. How can these images change, or add to,  our preexisting views of what we think magnetism is?

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Magnetic Materials 

Magnet with Nails

Magnets Together

Magnetism of the Earth