Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Favourite Things: A December #BlogHop

Hello #peel21st & other readers!

We are writing this month to share 5 of our favourite things related to education. The list of contributors to this blog hop can be found at the bottom of this post. Here goes! (In no particular order...basically the first 5 things that came to mind tonight!):

1. For creating video lessons I choose Explain Everything

This is an app for iPad that is fairly user friendly and has had quite a few features added to it this past year (i.e. I can now add mathematical equations). You can upload your videos to a large variety of places from the storage on your iPad to YouTube to Google Drive.  It does have a cost to download, but it has been well worth it for me. I know that some schools have paid to have it put on school devices for student use as well.

2. For a LMS I will be switching to Google Classroom (either next Semester or in Sept)

A lot has been developed for this system since it was first introduced. I currently use Edmodo and while I like to be able to give parents the option to have a connected account (and while they have added Microsoft online, which is a bonus) the fact that students in my board already have google accounts means this change makes sense at this time. There are a lot of connected apps that you get immediate access to by switching to Google. Though I must admit, I do not look forward to redoing my online assessments...again. But such is life!

If you have google apps/add-ons to suggest please comment below or catch me on Twitter :)

3. For organization I live off of Evernote

I use this app on all of my devices (it is cross platform and can be accessed on their website) and use it instead of using bookmarks on my browser - mostly to save education related resources - because you can tag each item with as many tags as you would like. I also use it to go paperless at home (i.e. keeping car repair/maintenance records), save recipes, and it is where I note-take when I attend PD (this is handy when it comes time to update my resume, or I need to review something from past conference, etc).

4. For teacher-directed PD I am often found on Twitter

I participate in formal chats on twitter with groups of like-minded educators. It is usually through these times that I undergo the most professional growth. I am able to get ideas from others, ask questions, share resources, and work on discovering new things on my own time, at my own pace. I have found that in many circumstances, finding like-minded people is more valuable than finding people close by. Of course there are times when face-to-face meetings are more beneficial, but I have done most of my learning around tech and flipped learning online.

5. For reading/assessment professional learning - Rethinking Letter Grades

This has been the driving force behind a lot of my work with #AssessPeel to go back to focus on backward design (by creating overarching learning goals) and letting this inform all assessment decisions - from creating a course learning map to learning goals/success criteria, and evaluations. I have blogged about this resource and our work earlier in the year. The entry can be found here.

Please check out the other blogs below!

Jason Richea
Heather Lye
Amit Mehrotra
Jason Wigmore
Melanie Mulcaster
Jonathan So
Jim Cash
Tina Zita
Maggie Fay
Pam Taylor
Gina Loutrianakis
Laura Smiley


  1. This is a great list of favourites. I, like you, will be switching from Edmodo to Google Classroom. I was disappointed to hear how difficult Edmodo is making it for students to upload files from their Google Drive, and that was enough to make me investigate a switch.

  2. Thank you for your list Heather. It is amazing how much we can learn from each other in the online world. I think to before when I didn't really get to learn alongside folks that weren't in my area or my division.
    You reminded me I need to pick up Explain Everything again. Haven't played for awhile.

  3. Heather, I too am really loving Google Classroom this year! Looking forward to learning even more. I have found twitter to be a great tool for finding resources and connecting with teachers around the world. Our last two contacts for Mystery Skypes have come from hashtags on twitter!

  4. Hi Heather, great list. Google add-ons: Form mule, goobric, doctopus, and autocrat are just a few of my favourite things in Google. Also think you should investigate Google Draw and how it could help you in the classroom.

    I am in love with explain everything. Think it is one of the best screen apps available.

    Thanks for sharing