Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Educators Guide to Designing Your Business Cards

By Dr. Will

Educators, like every professional, need business cards. Even in this digital age the business card is the still the standard individual professional marketing tool. Whether you are at a conference or meeting parents or happen to cross the path of someone you want to stay in contact with, you need a business card to present yourself as a professional. The following are three quick tips for designing your business cards. 

Contact Information

Do include your first and last name, phone number, email address, blog, and page (If you don't have one, get one). In addition, don't forget to include your current title such as Fourth Grade Teacher or District Technology Director. And being that this is the digital age, feel free to embed a QR Code on your business cards. They are a great way to lead people to your online content. 


Business cards come in all shapes and sizes. You can get the traditional business cards, the mini cards, the horizontal ones and the vertical ones. You can also choose from all types of paper and looks. From matte to gloss to 100% cotton to recycled paper to the traditional card stock, you can make your business cards as unique as you are.

When it comes to the design itself, keep it simple and clean. Don't over do it with graphics or color schemes. You don't want your business cards to be too busy for the eye to quickly recognize what is on your card. Don't overload your business cards with contact information. You may be on every social networking site in existence, but only put one or two on your business cards. Remember the idea is to keep your cards clean.

My favorite cards are the ones with a photograph of the person. Not only do they prominently feature the individual, creating a solid branding statement; business cards with a photograph are clean and helps the person you handed the card to to remember the two of you meeting.

Amanda Pelsor is an amazing designer. Not only did she design a banner for this blog; she designed my business cards.


This element of the card is your branding statement. Think “digital learning tour guide” or "connected web 2.0 leader”. What this does is present your value proposition. In other words, it is a way to sell people on what you bring to the table. As antithetical a branding statement may sound to the mission of an educator, it is needed and very useful in leaving a imprint in people's mind about the kind of educator you are. 

Let me know if the tips were helpful to you in any way. Feel free to share your own ideas and/or post a pic of your business card for others to see. 

Check out more of Amanda's design skills: 

You can connect with Amanda on Twitter: @misspelsor.

Reflections of The Un-Conference Experience – EdCampATL & Beyond

By Jamie Vandergrift

This post originally appeared here. Article and photo are posted with permission of the author.

Long time, no blogging! Yes it seems my last blog was also about EdCampAtl, in promoting the event, and here I am now reflecting upon it. To be honest, my blog has hit the back seat in comparison to my digital newsletter. In the last few months, I have wanted to become more connected to my audience, see more analytics, and understand who I was talking to, and what they wanted to hear. I have made the shift from the classroom educator, to the speaker, coach, trainer role full time. In doing so, communication sure changes, and so sorry dear blog… I have neglected you!

With my professional shift, one might ask how I so heartily still jump at the chance to pour months of work into a totally free event, especially now that I get paid to do similar tasks. The answer to that is quite simple I must say… I am a teacher at heart, and boy do we love all things FREE! :) Seriously though, I must say that I see the need for edcamps and the philosophy behind them. EdCampAtl, as well as PadCampDallas, both served a very different purpose in the professional development realm. They hand over the learning to the participants, and as a result the take away by attendees always yields better results. Follow any edcamp or padcamp hash tag weeks and months after the event, and see all the tweets about what attendees are NOW doing DIFFERENT, all because of that experience.  Honestly, my commitment to edcamps most certainly make me a BETTER consultant. I won’t ever go into a school without knowing what the teachers in that building want and need. While I honor the vision of the administration, and will do my best to do as asked, I also want to design what I do to give the teachers who are working with me the content THEY want. It is essentially the merging of consulting, with the values of edcamps, which in my mind will only send more of those I meet along the way to edcamp events close to them.  I would love nothing more than to be a part of the changing vision of professional development for educators in the days to come.

If perhaps you are interested in the tech tips and tools I send out each Tuesday morning, you can sign up for my digital newsletter here - - And if that simply isn’t enough… I post daily to my educational technology Facebook page, which you can find and LIKE here - And as always I tweet as @jaimevanderg …. Google + Hangouts are also my new happy place. (A side effect of now working from home without co- workers) …. Find me & Hangout with me there! I love to discuss all things educational!
Also feel free to guilt me into a guest blog post for you… As that tends to bring me back here to just flat out say what I think!

About the author: Jaime Vandergrift is an educator, speaker, trainer, and unwavering believer in the power of effective integration of instructional technology. Jaime has spent years building experience through trial and error with digital tools in her own classroom, as well as delivering professional development to other teachers with interest in educational technology. Jaime knows that digital learning is not contingent on school budgets, or hand-held tools. She knows the time and effort it takes to create digital learning plans, and assists districts, schools, and teachers by developing how to effectively integrate educational technology using the tools present in each individual learning environment. Jaime serves as a director of EdCamp Atlanta, and was the founder and co- chair of PadCamp Dallas. She believes effective professional development is the most important factor in implementing innovational educational practices in schools today. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Google Apps for Education

By Al Elliot

I am a technology enthusiast.  This is a nice way of admitting my addiction to technology.  I am one of those people that wake up and check my phone before get out of bed.  I’m am convinced that the most successful people are those that learn to channel their addictions into a positive, productive activity in some way.  This quest of mine, to channel my addiction, has led me to a few useful discoveries when using Google Apps for Education (Namely Drive) with my students.

Originally, I started using Google Docs a few years back because of it’s automatic save feature.  I was running into problems with my students forgetting their jump drives or not properly ejecting them prior to pulling it out of the computer.  It was a nightmare.  Every time we would go to the lab, we were delayed by several technical difficulties.  By using Google Docs, I didn’t have that problem.  Since that time, Google has made some serious strides in improving their products and how they work together with other Google Products.  In this blog entry, I’ll cover three four of my favorite uses of Google Drive with my students.


My school system is a Google Apps for Education School which means each student has been assigned a Google Account.  When the students are working on a paper or typing an assignment on the computer, they share what they are working on with me.  This is different than sending it to me.  By sharing it, they are granting me access to edit the document.  We can both be logged on to the same document at the same time.  I can also comment on their work..  I highlight errors they may have made in their writings and they can read my comments, reply to my comments, and make the needed corrections.  I also am teaching them how to take pictures of a homework assignment and load it to the homework folder. (They actually just email me a picture of their homework and make the subject line read “homework” and sends it to the shared homework folder automatically.)  I can highlight a portion of the picture of their homework and provide feedback on their work prior to them getting to school the next morning.  And, because the folder is “shared” with the entire class, they all  can comment and help each other’s understanding of the homework too.  Needless to say how convenient this is for any students that may be absent.

2.  Web Publishing

Google Docs is a web based tool.  This means that everything you create in Google Docs is already on the web, you just need to publish it and manage the permissions of the created digital artifact.  Lets say you create a presentation for your class on a topic and you have published the slideshow to your class blog or to a website, or have just emailed it to a few people.  After publishing it, you discover a glaring mistake.  All you have to do is log on to Google Docs and make the corrections needed.  All of the links to the presentation you’ve sent out will automatically be updated.  Having the ability to continue to edit after publishing a document is a wonderful feature for young people learning to publish their work to the web.  I’ve found it quite useful as a teacher that is famous for discovering mistakes after a student has brought it to my attention.  Now that it’s not etched in stone, it can be corrected easily without having to resend or repost anything.  And, if you don’t want it out for public consumption any more, all you need to do go into the Google Docs settings, and un-publish it, and all of the links that have been sent out associated with the document will automatically no longer work.

3.  Search

By selecting “Tools” in the taskbar in Google Docs and then choosing “Research” students, can actually research a topic or find pictures without ever leaving the open document.  Google Docs can actually automatically insert footnotes if you use resources found in this manner.  How important is it for students to cite where they are finding their information?  Extremely important.  It’s as easy and dragging and dropping an image found from the right search draw, dropping it in your document, and Google Docs will automatically put the correct footnote number next to the image and the corresponding information at the bottom of the page.  No more wondering, “which folder did I put that picture in and what was the jpg’s name?”  It’s important to mention that many of the features in Google Drive work best when using their Chrome Browser.

4.  Sharing Pictures

Okay, I know I said three, but I couldn’t leave this feature out and I’m not about to delete the original number 3 so, consider this one a bonus.  I often take pictures of my students doing work in class with my phone.  I have created a “Class Pic” folder that I have shared with all of my students.   When my students log onto their Google Accounts, they have access to the pictures of themselves working in class that I have batch loaded from my phone.  They often insert pictures into documents and presentations they are creating about what they have learned in class  and share their presentations with others.  This is a powerful storytelling tool.  No longer is it cumbersome and time consuming to get pictures from a camera in documents.   Simply select all the pictures you’ve taken, choose the folder you want them to go to, and press send.  It’s that simple.  And because Google owns Youtube, you can also make a YouTube Video Slide show with the pictures that are already loaded to your drive!

If you're a Google Apps for Education School or if you're interested in learning and sharing more about how to use Google Products with students, please consider joining a group I've formed on Tioki.  Tioki is a social site just for educators. 

About the author: Al Elliot is an elementary educator currently working in the Hoover City School's System.  He is currently enrolled at the University of Alabama at Birmingham pursuing my doctorate in early childhood development. You can find him on Twitter @ellication and on Google+

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chromebooks vs iPads

By Jamie Reaburn Weir

This is a re-post by permission of the author.

For the first semester of this school year, I was again given the wonderful privilege of continuing my blended learning project. This year instead of having a class set of iPads, I had 13 iPads and 10 Chromebooks and it was awesome! It wasn’t quite 1:1 in any of my classes but between the board technology and students bringing their own devices, it worked out quite well.
Now I know that many people will be hoping for a recommendation of one over the other in a post such as this, but in all honesty, I don’t believe one device is superior over the other. They each have their pros and cons and it really depends on the kind of task assigned as to which device the students preferred.
So here are some observations about each device instead:
Pro- the battery lasts a really long time as I found they only needed to be charged two to three times a week
Pro- the camera allowed my students to create some beautiful images and videos
Pro- iMovie is relatively easy to use and most figured it out quickly
Pro- many of my students have iPods or iPhones so were quite familiar with how to navigate an iPad
Con- many students still see this as a device that is for entertainment and I had to spend a lot of time talking about how it can be a productive piece of technology
Con- doesn’t run flash so it was difficult to make infographics
Con- some projects got altered by other students since devices shared among classes (although that provided an authentic opportunity to talk about digital citizenship and respect)
Pro- runs flash
Pro- students appreciated having a keyboard
Pro- Google tools work beautifully
Pro- totally customizable for each student through their Google account
Pro- easy to share among students since everything is saved in the cloud
Con- runs off keyboard shortcuts and many students didn’t even know Ctrl C….
Con- students expected full functioning of a laptop since it looks like a laptop
So I apologize to those of you looking for a reason to purchase one over the other, but I really believe having both was ideal as it gave students the choice and autonomy to use what they felt would work the best for them as individuals based on the tasks assigned. (As a side note: I use web based programs like Edmodo, Google Docs, etc., so that tasks can be done from almost any piece of wi-fi enabled technology.)
About the author: Jamie Reaburn Weir is a high school English teacher from Ontario, Canada who has a keen interest related to technology in education. Her blog is a place where she posts her thoughts, experiences, opinions, and musings about what she is reading or doing in her classroom. Jamie is always looking for feedback or opinions (collaboration is the best way to learn in her opinion!) so please feel free to comment, add suggestions or give her food for thought on the always developing and expanding world of technology in education.

Friday, February 15, 2013

TEDxMarin - Tiffany Shlain - What Does It Mean To Be Connected in the 21st Century

Uploaded on Jul 27, 2010
Honored by Newsweek as one of the "Women Shaping the 21st Century," Tiffany Shlain is a filmmaker, artist, founder of The Webby Awards and co-founder of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Her films have been selected at over 100 film festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, and Rotterdam, have won 20 awards including Audience and Grand Jury Prizes and translated into 8 languages. Her last film "The Tribe," was the first documentary short to be #1 on iTunes. She is currently completing a feature film, "Connected: A Declaration of Interdependence." A sought-after speaker, she just delivered the keynote address at UCBerkeley's commencement ceremony. She lives in Mill Valley with her husband and 2 children.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Google+: Ghetto Film School's MasterClass

Google+ for Professional Development

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

It is no secret how much I love Google+. It's like a one-stop professional development shop. I can follow individual educators, for-profit and non-profit education-focused organizations, and city, state, and federal education departments. I can also continue the conversations I have with my PLN on Twitter, and engage in longer, more in-depth communications via Google Hangouts. But the best part about Google+ is the ability to use On Air Hangouts to produce content. The following post outlines the ways in which educators can use Google+ for professional development.

Google+ Stream

Your Google Stream will feature the posts by the individuals or organizations from your Circles. You can choose to stream specific Circle(s) postings or all of them. What your G-Stream does is provide you with a steady stream, pun intended, of information without you having to search or ask for it. 

Your Stream is great if you are on the go or need to quickly check what new information is out there. I really enjoy checking my Stream on my smartphone. 

Some of the educators I recommend you follow are: Alice Keeler, Jamie Vandergrift, Eric Sheninger, and Rich Kiker

Google+ Communities

Google Communities are groups developed around specific subjects or interests. For example, there are Communities for Ed tech, Communities for the Chromebook, and Communities for adult education. What you will find in a Community is discussions around various topics and postings from an array of web-based sources.

What I like about Communities is the ability to obtain content-specific information as well as the opportunity to network, and meet new like-minded educators. I actually belong to several Communities. Here are a few I recommend: Chromebook EDU, Google Apps for Education, and Google Hangouts in Education 

A bonus! Once inside a Community, you can start a Hangout. 

Google+ Hangouts

Google Hangout is a video chat feature that allows up to 10 people to join a chatroom at the same time. With Hangouts you can discuss a myriad of issues with other educators, share best practices, or you can just use to shoot the breeze. 

In a Hangout, you can share Google Docs, share your screen, share Youtube videos, etc, which makes collaborating on projects that much easier. 

I have used a Hangout to talk with other doctoral students about their dissertations. I have also used a Hangout to demonstrate to other educators just how simple and useful a Hangout can be. And of course, I have used Hangouts to further develop the relationships I've developed with people on Twitter. What you can do with a Hangout is only limited by your imagination. 

Quick tip: Have a pair of ear-buds or a headset on hand when doing a Hangout. They help with any feedback you might get.

Google+ On Air Hangouts

On Air Hangouts allow you to record your Hangout. You can use an On Air Hangout to demo lessons, record tutorials, lead workshops, develop online programs or classes, or host discussions or conferences. The best thing about On Air Hangout is that they are recorded and automatically uploaded to your Youtube channel. What this does is allow you to archive and later share your On Air Hangout with others. 

I have used On Air Hangouts as part of what I do as the Chief Social Strategist for StrengthsFactors. I have also used them to discuss ways in which educators can use Google Hangouts in the classroom. My plan is to use On Air Hangouts to develop a Talk show titled: PeoplegogyTV, which will be about everything related to education. 

I love Google+. Check it out. If you do, I believe you'll love it too.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Google What? Google+: My MECA 2013 Presentation

By Will Deyamport, III, Ed.D. Candidate

My MECA 2013 presentation was on how teachers can use Google Hangouts for professional development, for communication, for community outreach, and for teaching and learning. After the PowerPoint talk, I walked the attendees through a Hands-on working of Google+, and I ended the presentation with a live-demo of an On Air Hangout with Jaime Vandergrift, an Educational Consultant.

PowerPoint Talk

Hands-on working of Google+

Live-demo of an On Air Hangout with Jaime Vandergrift

Who did I meet at MECA 2013? Eric Sheninger

By Will Deyamport, III, Ed.D. Candidate

I met Eric Sheninger three years ago on Twitter. Over that time we have developed a friendship and he has been supportive of my work, even inviting me to facilitate a Webinar for So you can only imagine how surprised I was to find out that Eric was going to speak at the same conference I was attending. I was excited and looked forward to meeting him face-to-face. 

Meeting Eric was very cool, and strengthened my resolve to move my career in the direction I want to. 

The following is a picture from Eric's Key Note address:

Eric dazzled the crowd during his Key Note address. He talked about how he uses social technologies for professional development, for communication with stakeholders, and for promoting and branding the great work being done at his school. He also talked about how his teachers are using social technologies to engage and enrich the learning experiences of the students at his school. And Eric gave suggestions for how the attendees can use social technologies at their home schools and classrooms. He was dynamic, personable, and very matter of fact. His Key Note set the perfect tone for the rest of the conference. 

Check out a clip of Eric's Key Note address:

Eric Sheninger is the Principal at New Milford High School located in Bergen County, NJ. He is a NASSP Digital Principal Award winner (2012), PDK Emerging Leader Award recipient (2012), winner of Learning Forward's Excellence in Professional Practice Award (20 12), Google Certified Teacher, Adobe Education LeaderASCD 2011 Conference Scholar, co-author of "Communicating and Connecting With Social Media: Essentials for Principals" and "What Principals Need to Know About Teaching and Learning Science", writer on education for the Huffington Post, co-creator of the Edscape Conference, sits on the FEA Board of Directors, and was named to the NSBA "20 to Watch" list in 2010 for technology leadership (taken from 

MECA 2013

By Will Deyamport, III, Ed.D. Candidate

MECA 2013 conference logo

MECA 2013, hosted by the Mississippi's Educational Computing Association, was my second time attending the conference. While I was there I met some interesting technology-focused companies, ed-tech consultants, and universities, such as the University of Memphis, highlighting various graduate degrees in instructional technology. I also had the opportunity to speak with educators across the state of Mississippi about the many ways they are using technology in their classroom like Lin Zhong, who teaches as a graduate assistant at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Surprisingly, I connected with a Dean at a local university about joining the School of Education as an adjunct, teaching an online ed-tech class.

Overall, I had a great experience and look forward to attending and presenting at MECA 2014. I will be posting more videos to my blog from MECA 2013, including my own presentation.