Browse Category: OTMS Newsletters

Communications with the OTMS faculty.

February 20 OTMS Tech Newsletter: Google Add-Ons

Google Add-Ons are services that add features to Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms.  After installing an Add-On, you can access them in Docs and Sheets through the Add-ons menu, and the puzzle piece icon in Forms.


Form Limiter will turn off a form at a time a date you choose, or when the form has reached a number of responses that you choose.

FormRecycler is a Google Forms Add-On that allows you to copy questions from other Forms in your Drive.

Copy Folder is a Google Sheets Add-On that allows you to copy complete folders in Google Drive

Flippity is a Google Sheets Add-On that creates flashcards and quiz games.  It can also create random student groups from a class roster on a spreadsheet.

Save As Doc is a Google Sheets Add-On that will save the data from a Sheet into a Doc.  Each row of data is saved onto a separate page of the Doc.  This can make it easier to read the data by reorganizing each row of data onto a single page.  This works well for spreadsheets created from Google Form responses.

Doc to Form is a Google Docs add on that will create a Google form from the text of a Google Doc.  This is useful for creating forms from existing assessments.

February 13 OTMS Tech Newsletter

Google Slides will now import videos from Google Drive in addition to YouTube.

Blind Kahoot is a different way of using a Kahoot activity at the beginning of a unit to introduce material rather than checking for understanding or reviewing at the end of a lesson.

OpenEd is a directory of open educational resources (free) that can be browsed or searched by standards, grade level, or keyword.  This has the potential to save time searching the web for quality resources since this site has already curated many videos, assessments, and activities into one place.  OpenEd integrates with Google Classroom, which makes it easy to share resources with your existing classes.  When you find a resource you want to share with a class, click the Classroom link at the top of the resource listing and a window will open giving you the option to create an announcement or assignment and select which class you want to receive a link to this resource.  You will then have the ability to title the announcement and assignment and include any instructions before posting to Classroom.

Participate Learning contains a database of free and paid educational resources (apps, videos, and websites) that are reviewed by teachers.  These resources  are linked to standards and can be searched by keyword and filtered by content type and grade level.  By registering with the site, users have the ability to create their own bookmarks and collections of resources.  Search results will also show the resource collections of other educators.  Participate Learning also includes ParticipateChat, which maintains a calendar of educational Twitter Chats and hosts an interface for participating in Twitter Chats.  ParticipateChat also allows users to create resource collections from the links and resources shared during a Twitter Chat.

February 6 OTMS Tech Newsletter

Nearpod has introduced a new activity slide called Collaborate.  This slide allows students to post sticky notes to a shared board similar to Padlet.  Teachers can moderate the board and delete any inappropriate sticky notes.


Matt, Jamie, Allison, and I recently attended the Powerful Learning Conference hosted by the Missouri Professional Learning Communities Project. The conference focused on implementing the PLC philosophy in schools throughout Missouri.  From the several hundred Tweets generated during the conference, I have compiled a few highlights from Powerful Learning Conference in a Storify.


January 13 OTMS Tech Newsletter

New features were recently added to Google Classroom

  • The ability to assign work to individual students or groups of students (differentiation)
  • New email notifications for work submitted after the due date and re-submitted work
  • Improvements to integrations between Classroom and non-Google web tools

EDpuzzle helps teachers customize video content for their classrooms by giving them an easy way to edit video clips, add voice overs, and embed questions. Teachers can assign a video to a set of students and track students’ viewing history and quiz results.  EdPuzzle integrates with YouTube and Khan Academy and easily allows you to search for and annotate these videos with audio, comments, and quizzes. EdPuzzle supports Google sign-in and integrates with Google Classroom.

There are still district licenses available for Nearpod.  Nearpod is an online presentation, blended learning, and assessment tool. Nearpod sessions can be teacher-led or assigned to students for independent or collaborate completion.  Assessment data is shown immediately to the teacher and saved in a printable report.  Fort Osage has purchased a district license to Nearpod which provides access to all Nearpod features and question types, along with a district library to facilitate the sharing of Nearpod presentations/assessment.  Contact me if you are interested in learning more about Nearpod or getting a district Nearpod license.

January 9 OTMS Tech Newsletter

EasyBib has changed their privacy settings and student accounts using the Google sign-in will no longer work.  Students can create an account using EasyBibEDU by following these steps:

  1. Go to or click the EasyBibEDU Registration OTMS link in Clever
  2. Create a unique username that does not contain any identifiable information
  3. Create a password
  4. Use or the EasyBibEDU Login link in Clever to login to EasyBibEDU in the future

If you prefer to share a video with your students, I have created a two-minute screencast that walks through these steps. Teachers can still log in to EasyBib with Google.  I have the ability to reset student EasyBibEDU passwords if they forget a password.

For the next few weeks, I will be sharing some “tried and true” web tools.  Although some of you are already using these tools, they are worth sharing again–either as a reminder or as an introduction to those who are unfamiliar with the tool.  These tools are linked on the OTMS Instructional Technology Resources site.

Actively Learn allows you to annotate and assign texts to classes of students.  Students can create accounts with their Google login and join your classes with a class code.  After you import a text (as a Google Doc or PDF), you can insert questions, notes, or links anywhere within the text.  Students must answer questions inserted in the text before they can move ahead to the next section of text.   Additional resources are available in their blog, resources page, and help center.

NewsELA is a familiar tool to many of us that contains news and current event articles at a variety of reading levels.  Each article is rewritten in five reading levels, allowing the whole class to read the same article (at different levels) and participate in the same follow-up activities. NewsELA supports Google sign-in and integrates with Google Classroom.

OTMS October 24 Newsletter

The ISTE Student Standards were refreshed last year and the new Student Standards were  introduced over the summer.  The new standards reflect the suggestions made by students, teachers, and administrators as they anticipate future shifts in education and the role technology will play within instruction.  More details about the philosophy behind refreshing the standards are available in this article and the new standards are published on the ISTE website.

MobyMax is now fully operational (a few subjects weren’t working correctly).  MobyMax is now integrated with Clever, allowing students and teachers to access MobyMax without a separate login.

Diffen is a website I recently discovered that will support the strategy of comparing similarities and differences.  It is setup similar to a search engine, but requires two search terms.  Those two terms are then compared in a table.

Registration is still open for EdcampKC–there were still 21 available slots as of Friday morning.  It will take place Saturday, November 5 from 8am to 4pm at Truman High School.

#OTFalcons Tech Update September 9, 2016

If you are new to Nearpod (we have purchased a district license) or thinking about using it in the future, Nearpod has created a short presentation to orient new users to their product.  This tutorial will show you how to create an account, find existing Nearpod lessons in the library, and launch your first presentation.  I will share more Nearpod tutorials over the next two weeks.  If you prefer printed instructions over a presentation, Nearpod has created a getting-started checklist.  Contact me if you have questions or want a district license to use in your classroom.
Listenwise is a library of podcasts and recorded news reports.  It contains recordings on recent events grouped by Social Studies, Science, and ELA.  The site supports creating an account with Google and when you login as a teacher, you can share podcasts through Google Classroom.  When you find a recording you want to share, click the blue link button between the assign and favorite buttons.  The window that pops up has a “share with classroom” button at the bottom.  Students do not have to create an account with Listenwise to access the recordings through Classroom.
I sent out an email last week saying MobyMax is working.  That was partially true.  We have since discovered that it works on a desktop computer, but not on a Chromebook.  We are looking into this and I will keep you informed of our progress.

Curate Your Professional Learning: ElevateEDU

I have spent the last few weeks covering tools to help you connect with colleagues and build your PLN with the ultimate purpose of helping you facilitate your own professional learning.  The “curation tool” for this week stands out from my previous suggestions because it is much more than a web-based resource or social networking site; this resource holds more potential for meaningful connections because it facilitates professional relationships both through digital tools and personal contacts.

Although I have been able to attend regional educational technology conferences in Omaha, St. Louis, Osage Beach, Des Moines, and Columbia over the past two years, I have found myself wishing  that these types of opportunities were available in the Kansas City area.  I am not the only one that has seen the need for quality professional development in educational technology within the Kansas City area; educational leaders across the Kansas City area have recently collaborated to transform and revitalize KCTechNet into ElevateEDU.  ElevateEDU is maintaining KCTechNet’s ISTE affiliate status and will continue to provide teachers and school leaders with meaningful and relevant professional development centered around the effective implementation of technology in the classroom.  But the vision does not stop there; these leaders realize that educational technology can change learning, but it is not the complete solution to transforming teaching and learning.  This fact was the impetus behind the name change from KCTechNet to ElevateEDU; where KCTechNet focused primarily on educational technology, ElevateEDU will include professional development and networking in multiple areas including classroom technology.  You can follow the organization through their website, Twitter account @ElevatingEdu, and the hashtag #ElevatingEDU.

ElevateEDU is planning a kick-off event for June 8 at William Chrisman High School and you can find complete details and registration information on their website.    The June 8 Summer Institute is designed to include networking, workshops, and planning for the future of the organization and how it can help teachers transform instructional practices and ultimately student learning.  Please consider taking advantage of this local opportunity to network and learn.  The event is designed to provide learning during that day and build relationships that will facilitate learning well after the day is completed.

ElevateEDU Conference Banner (3)

Curate Your Professional Learning: eThemes and edtechteacher

eThemes is a collection of curated lists of websites that are organized by topic and grade level.  These sites are curated specifically for student use and vetted for appropriate and accurate content.  You can search by keyword or browse by topic or grade level.  This collection is maintained by the eMINTS department at the University of Missouri.  If you are searching for a topic that is not included in their collection, they accept online requests for new topics from media specialists and eMINTS teachers.

Edtechteacher provides several resources to help teachers implement technology in their classrooms including tutorials, lesson plans, tech tool recommendations, and rubrics.

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