Friday, December 19, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Audio interview with Marco Torres

OHS Teacher Gary Hostert interviews Marco Torres about Challenge Based Learning in this 5-part series entitled "An Apple A Day."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Educational Origami

So much 21st Century Learning Resources in one place!

I can't say enough about this wiki!

Keep it bookmarked and return often!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Two Tools I Tried Today

Letterpop looks like an easy way to create professional newsletters online in a drag and drop mode with integration with Flickr and other sites. The free version lets you publish 10 newsletters in a year, but the paid versions go up from there. Although I haven't finished my first letterpop newsletter yet, it is remarkably simple and includes many templates to choose from.

Glogster: I created my first glog today based on one of Dan Pink's "Six Senses" from A Whole New Mind... Story. You can check it out here:
Glogster has a neat interface that kids will love. It allows for a variety of media formats and ways to express yourself. If you sign up for the education version at: you can create student accounts under your login name. For example, if I used mrsmorrow as my login, my student accounts would be s001.mrsmorrow, which is nice to avoid student sign-up with extensive forms. I really enjoyed this tool and can see lots of potential uses for students in the classroom to express themselves and create content on the web.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Google Tips for Teachers from OHS inservice

Google for Education
Katie Morrow, Google Certified Teacher

The “Google Gamut” by Kern Kelly.
Listen and watch this 20 min. overview of all things Google:

Google Apps for Education

We used this free service of Google to create modified google accounts for all our 7-12 students. This login gains them access to Mail, Docs, and several other great features, but does not allow them access to all of Google’s tools.

What students need to know to use Student Google accounts at OHS

Use the button off the high school webpage (OPS Google)
Login with fullname (firstnamelastname-- no spaces, no caps)
You may need to sign in to Mail and Docs separately, but otherwise you are ready to go!

Create your teacher account
For full access, I recommend that you (the teacher) create your own fully functioning Google account by following the simple steps provided at this link:

Another great service of Google is gmail, with which you can use with the Mail program on the Mac. Even if you don’t give out your gmail address, having an extra email is handy, and you can at the very least use it to send out messages while at home (ESU mail doesn’t send out at home.) Sign up for this as well, if you desire.

“Even More”
Go to, click on “More,” then click on “Even More”
It is quite obvious the extent of Google’s presence on the web. So much more than just a search engine! And most important of all... it is all free!

“Favorites for the Classroom”

#1 - Google Docs
Collaborative documents (word processing docs, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms) that you can store online and invite other people to edit with you.

#2 - Blogger
Create your own blogs.

#3 - Google Maps
Driving directions and collaborative maps that all can add points of interest on.

#4 - Google Earth and Google Sketchup
Must download and install, but then you can create 3 dimensional models and look at the earth from a 3-D perspective.

“Search Better. Faster.”

Just by clicking on “Advanced Search” or entering an extra operator into your search query, you can vastly improve your searching ability. Try some of the following:

And more and more resources for getting started with Google for Education:

Google For Educators: (Reproducibles for use with your students)
Tutorials for Educators: and

Friday, October 31, 2008

Technology Tricks and Treats

Great tricks and treats for utilizing technology in the classroom from Scholastic's Tech Tutors series:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quotable Quote

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
~George Eliot

We are all 21st Century learners on an educational journey. We are all capable of growth. We all have amazing potential for innovation, creativity, and thinking different. Let's start TODAY!

:) Katie

Friday, October 10, 2008

Technologies for laptop classrooms

An article entitled "Ten Technologies for Tech-Savvy Teachers to Use in A Laptop/Tablet Classroom" with a subtitle of: "(all could be used in a traditional classroom with some modification)" is a good resources for educators. Read it here:

Thanks, Deanna Stall, for sharing the find.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Maximizing your MacBook's Potential

"I have NOTHING to do!"
Those are dreaded words in a 24/7 Learning environment. With a MacBook at your fingertips, you have access to hundreds of educational opportunities that are just begging to be utilized. Here are 10 favorites to get you started. Please add comments of any other things to do with your MacBook to enrich your learning "when you're through."

10 Things to Do "When You're Through"
(Maximizing your MacBook's Potential) pdf document

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Google Teacher Academy - Chicago '08

On September 24, 2008 I was privileged to be able to join 50 fellow educators from 17 different states at Google Chicago to take part in the 5th Google Teachers Academy (GTA). Along with “Lead Learners” such as Lucy Gray, Mark Wagner, David Jakes, and Steve Dembo (just to name a few), we spent an incredible brain-packed day, trying to “think different” and expand the learning opportunities for our students with the use of Google Tools.

Tips, Tricks, and Tools:
Use Google’s Advanced Search to search for .kmz files for Google Earth
Create gadgets on your iGoogle page from your Google Reader feeds to create an RSS stream of student blog posts
Use Google Presentations embedded within a Google site and participants can live chat while you are presenting.
Embed Picassa web photos into a Google map

Of course there are a ‘google’ more possibilities...

Some of the most valuable tidbits I brought back with me were more than simply tips and tricks, however. Call it a “Google Philosophy,” or simply being “Googlized”, but these lessons go deeper than the “how to” and more into the “Even More.”

  • Treat your students like adults
  • At least 20% of students’ learning time should be self-directed and laden with choice.
  • An atmosphere of “Fun” is more productive than a classroom of resistance.
  • Creativity should be encouraged at all corners.
  • Wisdom of a team is better than the sole ideas of an individual.
  • Don’t be afraid to “Be the First!”
  • Form connections with those near and far....

The Academy has inspired me to project beginnings and possibilities galore for my students, the teachers I work with, and even my own professional learning journey. Be sure to stay tuned to this blog to follow the progress and the work of those around me each and every day.

I am proud to be called a Google Certified Teacher.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Originally uploaded by kevinzak
Photo by Kevin Zak, TANN Digital Design

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Who is up for a Challenge?

If anyone wants to start the new school year by challenging themselves to use their SMART Board in more innovative ways, then this Interactive Whiteboard Challenge is for you!

Seven weeks worth of challenges are presented on this wiki, along with instructions and tips for sharing. Just visit the site and make it a goal for yourself to try as many of the challenges as you can in the upcoming weeks and see if your SMART Board use grows!

Leopard for your Classroom

It's back to school time and you may be feeling the "rustiness" of your technology skills, in teaching anyway. Or maybe you are one of those lucky enough to start off the new school year with a brand new Mac. Either way, this pdf reference is perfect for brushing up on the ways to use Mac OS X - Leopard in your classroom. Created by Matt Fuller and accompanied with a podcast of related information, this is a great resource (for free!) that I highly recommend you download and learn some new tips from. Enjoy!

You can get it from here:

Free Podcasting Booklet from Tony Vincent

Want an amazing resource all about podcasting for FREE? Download Tony Vincent's pdf "Podcasting Booklet" from his website Learning in Hand. This 34-page document will guide you through the process of podcasting from listening to podcasts all the way to producing your own. Most of the recommended software is just as free as the booklet itself, and GarageBand can easily replace Audacity during the production steps on your Macs. Even if you are a seasoned podcaster, this booklet offers tips and information that will make it worth your time to download. And did I mention that it is free?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

iTunes U

iTunesU has even more resources than previously imagined. If only we had more time to explore them! Here are a few from today that I highly recommend:

TechEase - Classroom Tech Help
from the University of South Florida

Beyond Campus - KQED - Quest

Also- I learned that you can "tear-off" the last breadcrumbs tab to save as a shortcut to get back inside of iTunesU quickly and easily.

Great resources!


Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow - Today

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Professional Development Meme

OK- I've been tagged twice (Michelle Bourgeouis and Josh Allen) on the same professional development meme, so I had better accept the challenge!

Here it is:

Summer can be a great time for professional development. It is an opportunity to learn more about a topic, read a particular work or the works of a particular author, beef up an existing unit of instruction, advance one’s technical skills, work on that advanced degree or certification, pick up a new hobby, and finish many of the other items on our ever-growing To Do Lists. Let’s make Summer 2008 a time when we actually get to accomplish a few of those things and enjoy the thrill of marking them off our lists.

The Rules
  1. Pick 3 professional development goals and commit to achieving them this summer.
  2. For the purposes of this activity the end of summer will be Labor Day (09/01/08).
  3. Post the above directions along with your 3 goals on your blog.
  4. Title your post Professional Development Meme and link back/trackback to
  5. Use the following tag/ keyword/ category on your post: pdmeme.
  6. Tag 8 others to participate in the meme.
  7. Achieve your goals and “develop professionally.”
  8. Commit to sharing your results on your blog during early or mid-September.

My Goals
1. I need an extreme makeover!
(A web-presence-makeover, that is!) My website needs a major overhaul, the OPS 24-7 Learning site needs to be revamped, my blogs need to be organized, cleaned-up, and possibly consolidated, and I need to learn how to use tools to connect all of the above. Someone (including myself!) should be able to USE the web-based resources that I've posted online, instead of getting LOST in them!
2. Publish or Perish?
For years I've been hoping to write something to satisfy my author's urge. While I get to create presentations and write on the web, I have a personal goal of someday being published. I'm not sure exactly what this will look like in fruition, but this summer I am going to START a writing project with the ultimate goal of being published in print.
3. Letting Go...
This one isn't as concrete, but I am giving myself permission to fail. Yes, that's right, I have a fear of failure. As I talk with teachers about letting go of the power in the classroom and not always knowing all the answers, I have to remind myself of that as well. It is OK to blog about something and be proven wrong. It is all right to create a pd model for the staff that not everyone agrees with or submit a proposal that isn't accepted. It is acceptable to be brave and say what I think a little more. Because it is in these failures, that we will find our biggest successes.
(Right?) :)

OK- There are my three summer pd goals. Now, to pass on the challenge... I tag... the participants in my 21st Century Learning class. For many, their first blogging efforts, this may be a good example of the far-reaching power of the blogosphere. If not, it might just be a good way to check on our goals and get something done professionally this summer!


Thinkature looks like a potentially great collaboration tool.

Check it out and see what you think!

Monday, June 9, 2008


An example of many of the elements of project-based learning, collaboration, and 21st century skills that we know are essential for our students today. Even better is the fact that this teacher put this entire project together in iWeb... a tool we all already know and love. Give yourself a little tour and see how parts of this project could be adapted to work in your classroom.

Learning from Other Professions

As a perfect summary to a large portion of our discussion this week, The SMART Board Lessons Podcast latest podcast episode focuses on connections--- connections between education and the outside world, connections between educators in professional relationships, and connections between teachers and students to foster a more productive learning environment. In addition, Ben and Joan focus another another much-needed quality of successful 21st century learning environments... the ability to take some time for self and reconnect with your personal life. (Tammy has a great blog post emphasizing the need for this along with empathy and social relationships among staff on her class blog.) So listen in to Episode 128: Learning From Other Professions and enjoy. And when you've had a chance to relax and reenergize, don't forget to download some of 's past episodes as well. Cheers!


You've heard us say that we want learning to happen 24/7 for our students. You've heard us say that the learning shouldn't be confined to the classroom walls. And you've heard us say that learning shouldn't stop when the bell rings.

Our 21st Century Learning graduate class has ended, but I hope that for you, too, the learning will continue. Please continue to follow this blog not only to reference and remember the week, but also to continue to grow in your professional journey.

I leave you with a quote I heard on the radio this morning originally attributed to Walt Disney.
"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional."

Friday, June 6, 2008

More tools to try on your own time

Way more tools than we have time for!


Self- Evaluation

In your opinion, what are the most important skills for 21st Century learning? What are the most important technology skills to infuse into your learning environment? (Feel free to cite the NETS*S and/or the P21 Framework)

Tell some ways, via digital tools, you have learned to:
• Create/Innovate
• Communicate/Collaborate
• Problem-Solve/Critically Think, etc…

Changes you can implement TODAY in your teaching (as a result of this class) (don’t necessarily have to be technology-related)

Assess yourself and your learning journey this week. Did you…?
• Create more than you consumed?
• Contribute to a collective/shared body of knowledge?
• Participate in digital dialogue?
• Use self-directed or discovery learning? (find some answers on your own)
Please try to give specific examples of all of the above.

Finally, did you “Think Different”?
Or, how has your thinking changed (if at all) as a result of taking this course?

Survey-creators, data-collectors, poll tools...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Some sites for NETS*S #1: Creativity and Innovation

Brain Rules

This book sounds incredibly interesting AND directly related to what we have talked about this week. I can't wait to order it and read it. In the meantime, the presentation and accompanying information on this blog post are really great, too!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Google Earth for Educators

Download and install GoogleEarth at:

Then visit some the many tutorials, educational resources, and classroom ideas for Google Earth listed on my Delicious Links:

RSS Aggregators

Google Reader:

Monday, June 2, 2008

21st Century Learning... a new Doane class begins at O'Neill!

A new week-long graduate course to make us 'uncomfortable' and push us to 'Think Different.'

Join in on the conversations here!