The Wisdom of My Fellow Bloggers

As I have mentioned, I started this blog for my Ed. Media Apps class. Throughout my blogging days, my fellow classmates have been blogging their way through the semester too. So, in this post, I will showcase the top three things I have learned from my fellow bloggers.

  1. To begin, in his blog, Wesley Wingert talks to his readers about Green Screening. His this blog posts, he lists a nice little “Q&A” section about the benefits of using the green screen in the classroom. Here’s the section featuring those questions and answers–

Q. Where can I find the materials for a green screen, and how much will it cost?

A. Actually, a cheap and effective way to build a green screen is buy finding an open space and taping or hooking a green shower curtain to the wall. One would also need, preferably, a tripod and a recording device such as an ipad or camcorder.

Q. What devices can use green screen technology?

A. Certain apple devices can download apps (for a small fee) that warp the green screen behind you as you record, but also most computers can change the green screen while editing the footage on imovie.

Q. Where can I find an awesome example of a green screen project?

A. Look no further. Keep in mind, this was done for a school project and used a minimal budget: perfect for teachers!

Any further question?  From working with Wesley on a green screen project, I found that he has many great and innovated ideas for using this tool in the classroom. Green screening is a (simple) way to add a little fun into education. With green screening, the possibilities are endless. Further, I highly recommend checking out the green screening video Wesley posted on his blog. Also, check out his Demoslam on green screening!

2. My fellow blogger Stephanie Walrack talks about Pinterest as collaboration tool in the classroom. Before this post, I only saw Pinterest in the light of DIY home crafts (I am a very crafty person…crafty as in craft-making). Stephanie is also a secondary education major like myself, so I tuned right in to this blog post. She says she looks at Pinterest for lesson plans! I learned from her that you can quite literally search for lesson plan ideas on Pinterest. Goodbye, broad Google search, right? Once you find something you like, you can “pin” it to your board for later usage and even share those ideas with fellow teachers. Give me a second, I have to make a Pinterest account now…

Also, I really like Stephanie’s Philosophy pageI love reading other future teachers’ education philosophies, and Stephanie has some great beliefs!

3. My third learning experience is from Patrick SwansonIn one of his blog posts, he talks about a flipped classroom. I was always intrigued by the idea of a flipped classroom, so Patrick’s post helped answer a lot of my questions. Unfortunately, Patrick had a bad experience with a flipped classroom, but his bad experience helped me to know what not to do in a flipped classroom situation. For example, in a flipped classroom, the lesson is taught outside the classroom–the lesson basically becomes homework. The classroom time then becomes a homework or study session where the students can work with the teacher on any problems that arose when they watched/ listened to the lesson. Because of this, teachers should make their lessons very clear and thorough so students can easily understand them. Aside from the bad, Patrick also highlighted some good aspects of a flipped classroom. Some good points include, students can learn the lesson on their own time which gives them the time they need to learn. Some students need more time to understand a lesson while some need less.

I highly recommend checking out Patrick’s blog post. He posted some links about flipped classrooms that can clear up any confusion or questions that someone might have!



Communication and Collaboration: Google Hangouts


Google Hangouts is just one of the many collaboration tools that can used to foster classroom communication. Google Hangouts allows users to chat to individuals or in groups, make phone calls, and make video calls–all for free. All one needs to do is sign up for a Google account, preferable a Google Plus account.


Here’s a screenshot of my Hangouts page, if I follow the link above. As you can see, you can video chat or message anyone if your contacts. To add someone to your chat, you simply need to add their Google email (Gmail) into the search bar. You can also search by name, but I recommend searching by Gmail because when you search by name, you get basically any Google Plus user. 

Google Hangouts can be used in the classroom for many different uses. For example, if students are working in groups for a project, they can communicate over Hangouts via group chat so everyone gets the message (way easier than group texting).Teachers can also bring in “guest speakers” via video call on Hangouts. This way, the students can still communicate in real time with the speaker without the speaker having to physically travel to the classroom. This can also be helpful if the speaker had planned to come to the classroom but cannot travel a long distance due to, say, weather. Further, teachers can also communicate with students via video call if they are away from the class. For example, if you as a teacher had to unexpectedly leave school but had a test to give the same day, you can make a quick call to the class to give them instruction on the test while another teacher watches over them. 

Overall, Google Hangouts is very simple to use. For those who need a little help, Google Support has a great Help Page. 

If you are curious about more communication and collaboration tools, check out Collaboration LiveBinder!

Tools for Formative Assessment: Kahoot

Today I’m going to tell you about Kahoot! Kahoot is a free online assessment source. You simply have to sign up to use it. Users then are able to create their own learning games in which they can add their own questions, images, and videos. Need some inspiration on why to use Kahoot? On their website, Kahoot features stories from other blogs and news sources on how to use Kahoot as an assessment tool as well as articles that basically tell readers how fun and easy Kahoot is. Give them a read!

Kahoot is a wonderful tool because it put a little fun into assessment. A quiz on Kahoot can be used to measure how much students learned from a lesson without having the students feel like they are taking a formal quiz. Students (or “players”) simply have to join the quiz using a PIN and a username. Students can use a computer or mobile device, it doesn’t matter–as long as they are online, they can assess your Kahoot! There is a feature that blocks cruel or crude names from being made. Students then take the quiz online as a group. Each question is timed and scored. The one with the most points at the end wins!

Kahoot is a good tool to use for review games. It’s slightly competitive and fun–and it’s also a form of assessment so students are learning! In addition, quizzes on Kahoot can be made for any subject! Kahoot also has an entire page dedicated on ways to play Kahoot! These include using Kahoot to introduce new topics, as a form of assessment, or even as a survey. Kahoot offers many features for your need of assessment. For example, an introductory Kahoot can be used later in a lesson to assess how much students have learned. There is a mode called “Ghost Mode” that allows students to play against their previous scores.

There are also many great step-by-step tutorials that walk you through how to use Kahoot if you are a beginner. I have one here:

If videos aren’t your thing, Kahoot also has a step-by-step tutorial PDF.

Interested in trying out this cool new tool? You can find out how Kahoot works here and get started for free!

Guest Blog!

Guess what? I get a introduce a guest blogger! What’s even more awesome is I don’t have to write this entire blog myself!

My guest blogger is Wesley Wingert, who is a near and dear friend, classmate, and royal pain. He is a secondary education English major at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

And now, I shall turn it over to Mr. Wingert.

Hello! My name is Wesley Wingert and I’ve known Ms. Burbach for my entire college career. Together we’ve shared our opinions on a wide variety of topics, one of the most important being education. Of course, we are both on the way to becoming teachers. This semester, for the first time we share a class together: Educational Media Applications. I’ve been invited to write on her blog, so here goes.

It’s April 4th. It’s my birthday today. My 21st, in fact. But I’m not thinking about drinking, and not very much about celebrating (though I did go out to dinner). What am I thinking about? One research paper in my Shakespeare class, one in my Classical Mythology class, and another research paper in my History of the English Language class, all due near the end of the semester. On top of all of this, of course, is the rest of my regular homework load, which includes daily hours of reading from all of these subjects and a healthy dose of studying and homework from my Spanish course. Usually I am not one to procrastinate. In fact, if I don’t have a paper done days before it is do, I feel extremely guilty and a little ashamed of myself.

Lately, though, I feel I have been procrastinating. I haven’t started a single one of these large projects, because, well, I’ve been doing all my other homework and I’ve been able to tell myself that I’m doing enough. But I’m not. So I need a way to focus, and restrain myself to getting my work done. Now, in order to cut myself off from playing videogames, there’s a simple solution. I’ll have my brother hide my power cord. But, on the matter of getting distracted on my laptop, well… I can’t exactly hide that. I need it to write my papers. So what can I do? Well, technology, of course. I found an extension for Google Chrome called “Stay Focused”. What you can do with this extension is limit the amount of time that you will allow yourself to spend on a website each day. I plan on setting my allotted time to Facebook to be no more than 10 minutes each day. With this in place, rest assured I will solely be working on my projects (however slowly). This entire thing may seem a little silly, but when it comes down to it, it is very easy to get distracted and/or procrastinate in an age where technology surrounds you. But, as you have just read, technology can help you if you know what to look for.

So, if technology has helped me in my personal life with just a minimal amount of effort, what are its implications in the classroom? Well, as I’m sure Ms. Burbach has already mentioned in numerous blog posts, infusing technology into the classroom is not only entertaining, but also essential. Teachers need to keep up with their students in order to understand and relate to them, but, most importantly, keep them interested in what they’re teaching. Believe it or not, there are fun technology tools for almost any topic (Coolmath4kids, anyone?). If you don’t believe me, just google them. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed my little interruption in Ms. Burbach’s blog. Bye now!