Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Benefits of Blogging in the Elementary Classroom

This is a wonderful 4-minute video by Linda Yollis and her 2nd/3rd grade students provides a realistic examination of how blogging in your classroom can turn writing projects into communication projects.   

Mrs. Yollis shares how she has used it to change how she is teaching and her students share what they are learning.  I especially like how the students talk about how they rate their comments on other people's postings.  They rate them using 1 or 2.  The 1 comment responds to the posting but the 2 comment asks questions and continue with the discussion.

I know that I will be using this in my Using Digital and Social Media class.  What about you?  Is it benefiting your blog use?


Please respond with a 2-type comment below.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Opening Day for Educators at the Iowa Lakes Community College

I have the privilege sharing some ideas with about 80 educators at the Iowa Lakes Community College today.  Should be an exciting time.

This was originally organized as a lecture, but I have requested that everyone bring their own computers or smart phones or that the college supply laptops so that it will be a hands-on experience.  My strategy is not to tell them about using technology to support learning but to actually have them take collaborative notes, share their discussions from group work, analyze data collected through a Google Form, Blog, video conference and even video capture with the new YouTube Capture app.

Ths is the full slideshow which is stored on

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Inspirational Videos to Get You Ready to Start the New Year!


The new school year is here and 

                                       we are set to blow the doors off!

I was prepping for a class when a tweet crossed my screen that lead me to this inspirational video with Jeff Goldstein.  They turned his words into a musical creation (how did they do that?) that is quite moving.   

We've Got to be that Light - A Gift to American Teachers
A message from Jeff Goldstein about who teachers are and what is important.

I'm a Teacher: An Educator's Anthem
This is an inspiring video with a catchy tune.

A Salute to Teachers
The GLOBE program provides this thank you to teachers like you.  


 You DO Make a Difference!!! 

Dr. Z

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Anatomy of a 21st Century Classroom

We have talked about the differences between 20th and 21st century classrooms, but here is a chart that describes the anatomy of a 21st century classroom.  You will see that it is divided into the 4 C's of the Partnership for a 21st Century work suggests plus Research.

You will also notice that this chart separates the roles of teachers versus students.

What do you think?  Does this do an admirable job of describing the anatomy or do you have something to add?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Google Apps and Collaboration Presentations at Iowa Central Community College

I have the wonderful opportunity to provide a few workshops at the Iowa Central Community College faculty conference called Tools for Teaching (T4T).

I have two sets of workshops that I will be presenting.

Dr. Z's Creative Cookbook for Collaborative Learning workshop - This is a workshop where we will be reviewing what it means to learn collaboratively and then explore tools and strategies for making it happen in the classroom.

Here is the Slideshow that I used in this workshop:

Google Apps in the Classroom workshop - This workshop will cover a variety of apps that we can use to improve the Learning and Teaching experience for Students and Teachers.  It is difficult to identify the proper tools to introduce, because there is a wide and varying range of skill levels in this faculty.  I hope that it will be a mind-blowing revelation for those who don't have much experience with Google Tools and an interesting mind-expanding experience for those who already use these tools with their students.  Most importantly, I hope that I learn something from my attendees that I will be able to use in my future teaching.

Here is the list of Resources used with the workshop.  This is an open, interactive Google Doc so it will include information beyond what Dr. Z originally posted.

Here is the Slideshow that I used in this workshop:

I would love to receive your feedback in the comments below or share it using the icons below.


5 Unique Google Apps that You Haven't Seen . . . yet.

It is amazing what Google is continually innovating. As if it is not enough for them to create revolutionary ways to organize, access and create data, they are constantly pushing the envelope with new inventions.  You should review this WHOLE page before enjoying the videos to learn about what can happen in the World of Google.

Gmail Tap

Gmail Motion

Gmail Blue

Gmail Nose

Gmail Fiber

These are AMAZING applications.  They are creative, thoughtful and probably FAKE.  (I told you to Review This WHOLE page before enjoying the videos.  =-)


Friday, July 17, 2015

Dr. Z Has Gone Pink!!!

You know, Angela Maiers says that when you engage in social media at least 30% of it should be personal.  Including the personal part in your blog provides an opportunity for your readers to see who you are and what you do.

Here It Is!!!  Time for RAGBRAI!!!

Every year I get together with 20,000 of my best friends who I haven't met yet and we ride our bikes across Iowa in a week.  This is called RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa).   The route varies each year but it is a great way to see Iowa.  This year the route is 462 miles. 

This is my 13th year.  It is an annual extravaganza that is too exciting and fun for words.  I find that riding RAGBRAI provides a great sense of accomplishment so that what I confront the rest of the year doesn't seem so daunting.

I ride with Team Flamingo.  I am Z-Bird.  It is a great group of friends who train all spring to get ready for this trip.  As you can tell, we really get into the Pink Flamingo thing.  If you go to our website you will see some pretty scary pictures.

I just wanted to tell you that life involves more than using technology to support learning.  Life is filled with opportunities to do new things and confront new challenges and meet new people who interestingly become part of your life.

Go out and do something CRAZY this week.  Maybe I will see you on the RAGBRAI road.