Biking: Technology is Like This

In honor of “May is Bike Month” …

May is Bike Month Logo

How would you plan your commute to work?  May is bike month and so I have been considering how I would ride my bike to work in order to fulfill my “mileage” pledge.

I ride a bike for several reasons:  I enjoy the quiet time. I enjoy the exercise. I enjoy beautiful routes over rolling hills. I enjoy being outside. I enjoy technology for several reasons: It helps me be more productive. It helps me better engage my students. It helps me be creative and collaborative.

I consider riding to work often but there are thoughts that always flood my mind…What if I get a flat?…It’s dark in the morning…It’s too cold…I can’t carry my computer on my bike.  The thoughts go on and on.  If I listened to them, I would never ride to work. So this month, I decided to put the thoughts away and step out and just do it!  I started a week early just to get myself in gear (lol). Technology is like this. As a classroom teacher, there are many reasons not to give technology a try…It’s the way I’ve always done things…It’s too much planning…What if it doesn’t work? It takes making a decision to step out and do it.

I have to be prepared. I get in my cycling gear, get water bottles ready, load up my backpack with work clothes, and test the air in my tires. Technology is like this. It does take preparation! Do a test run (or try out a sample assignment) before trying it out in class or assigning as a project. This may not always be possible, but prepare as much as you can. How about giving out the grading rubric to students along with the sample assignment?

I have been working on figuring out the perfect route – one that gives me enough ride time, but doesn’t cause me to leave when it is too dark or cold! I started May is Bike Month in April just so I could figure out routes! As a classroom teacher, I have to have a plan for my classroom. I have to decide the route to take to help the students meet the intended learning goals.

Beginning cyclists usually like riding somewhere easy…around the block or the American River Trail. They want to ride where it is flat and away from traffic. They begin with short distances and many times will choose to ride with someone who has experience or knows the route.


Technology is like this. If you are just starting out – start easy! Don’t take on something too big that you can’t handle. Choose one thing and begin there. Just as I had to test out many routes, find something that suites you and your students. Seek out a colleague or staff member with experience (your PLN!).

But – don’t stay there! Imagine taking the same road…every day… for years and years and never venturing off the trail. Augh. Undoubtedly it would get monotonous. Technology is like this. Some teachers teach the same as when they started their profession. We need to engage our students and help them be creative, innovative, and collaborative. Do your research (map out the route) and once you find the tool that will best suite your students’ needs, give it a try. Reflect. Did they meet the intended learning goal? Did the technology add to the experience or detract? Do you need to try another route?

It takes effort to grow. But it is worth it! If I only rode on nice, flat, short rides I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the beauty of climbing up a hill. Technology is like this. Step out of your comfort zone a little to try something new. You may not want to try it right away with a class, but do the research and test it out. You may find that you like it! Remember – some of the prettiest (and most fulfilling) roads are off the freeway. Technology is like this.

Finally, I cannot ride my bike to work all the time. Sometimes it is simply not the best choice. I need to carry my computer. I have to leave early for a meeting at another location. It’s pouring out. Technology is like this. You do not have to use it all the time. Sometimes it simply is not the best choice. BUT – sometimes it is. Consider the goals, the students, and the routes.

I do hope to see you out there! 

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Interview | Changing the ‘Study’ Paradigm with StudyBlue

I’ve written several times about StudyBlue – a great app for creating flashcards. This interview contains some useful information about StudyBlue. As we approach finals, you may want to look into this app again!

There are some tools for learning that just feel right. What’s better is when they’re actually good for you, and when the results are amazing. This story is about a little company having a big impact, and that provides for students both in high school and college settings, as well as the teachers and professors who help them. As head of company, Becky Splitt brings over 15 years of experience in early stage tech business growth, has worked for Microsoft running MSN’s International business; Christopher Klundt heads technology development and operations, graduated top of class in Computer Science and BioMed Engineering at UW Madison, went straight to work designing the software platform that is now StudyBlue.

Victor: Briefly, why StudyBlue?

Becky: We created StudyBlue to give students the power to create and share online flashcards and study materials for their courses. We realized that, all too often, students have to…

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Plagiarism Week

Plagiarism Week

Did you know?

Turnitin is offering Plagiarism Education Week THIS week April 21-25.

“Plagiarism Education Week returns for its second annual virtual conference from April 21-25, 2014. Join us for a week of free, daily webcasts devoted to sharing ideas and best practices to teach educators and students how to move from copying to critical thinking. This year we have lined up some premier thought leaders—including Turnitin All-Stars, educational experts, and passionate educators—to share their perspectives, lessons, and research. Certificates of Participation are provided, and all attendees are eligible for a daily drawing of $100 toward the project of their choice on Turnitin 

Learn about harnessing the power of choice, research and writing in the digital age, and even how to promote individual work!

Remember – it’s free and will be well worth your time!

None but Jesus.

I am sharing my daughter’s blog with you this morning for Easter. Although I wasn’t there for her run that she is talking about, I do remember her sharing it with me. Can you imagine how hard it would be to carry a big board across your back after completing a long run ? Or even more so, what Christ endured for us? Take up your cross daily and follow Him. Happy Easter!

Bliss + Simplicity

I spent many summers in Mammoth running and training before I moved here. I have one favorite run that tops any other, and it’s still my favorite. Up until this morning, I haven’t ran it since 2012 with my college team. It’s the long run.

I first did a portion of this long run back in high school with Athletes in Action Altitude Project distance running camp. It’s a beautiful route winding through town, down into Shady Rest, under the highway, up a steep climb, down through around the back side of the chalk bluffs, out to Owen’s River, to Hot Creek. Today, it’ll be longer. 

The one thing monumental and life changing about the run? 

Carrying the cross at the end. 

You’re exhausted by the end. Heading onto Owen’s River, it’s flat and you think the end is near, because it is. Until, you climb more hills to get…

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10 Great Reasons to Use Lecture Capture!

To meet the needs of various learning styles and better engage our students, William Jessup University offers lecture capture through Panopto. Our classrooms are equipped with excellent tools that capture audio, visual, and the presentation screen. Lecture capture can be powerful to the learning process and benefits both the students and the instructors!

What is lecture capture? It is a way to “capture” or record classroom lectures. The lectures can be recorded at home for the hybrid/flipped classroom, or during class time. Our campus uses Panopto and it simple and easy to use! In fact, instructors at our campus don’t even have to do anything! They can let our IT department know that they want lectures captured, and the lessons will be automatically record for them. “In recent years, lecture capture has gone from a helpful learning aid to an essential utility that more and more universities are using as part of the learning experience. Recent studies have demonstrated that recorded lectures improve student engagement and achievement by providing individual control over the pace of learning and the ability to review complex topics after class.” (Panopto)

Here are 10 great reasons to use lecture capture!

1. It allows students to review material at their own pace. Students can take notes within Panopto! Take a look at this screenshot:


Notice how the PowerPoint slides appear within Panopto. This lecture was recorded with audio and presentation. Teachers have the option to choose what they want recorded – the entire class scene, just the audio and presentation (as above) or just audio. For those reluctant to have themselves recorded during class time, a great option is to record the presentation/screen and audio!

2. It allows those that miss class due to sports or illness to attend virtually. This is very important to students that are involved with sports or miss class due to absence!

3. It offers flexibility with note-taking. Have you ever experienced being in a class where you can’t keep up with the notes? The speaker just talks way too fast? When an instructor records the lectures, students have the ability to go back and fill-in notes that were missed. They can stop, rewind, or pause the teacher and write at their own pace.

4. It allows students to catch up on missed material. Again, this may be due to absence, or it may be due to arriving late or having to leave early. It could be that the student just couldn’t keep up with the lecture! Whatever the reason, being able to go back to the lecture and pause it is a great resource.

5. It provides additional resources to archived lectures (lesson review in preparation for a test).  Archived lessons are wonderful review materials to help prepare for a final exam!

6. It allows students to review difficult material or tutorials for lab work.  The instructor  move on with content when all students haven’t fully grasped the concept. Recorded lectures allow those students to go back and step through the problem/material again.

7. It allows students to closely examine the steps of a demonstrated procedure/problem. If students are in the back of the room, it may be hard to see fine details in class.

8. It benefits students with special needs by allowing them to take notes at their own pace


9. It can be used for hybrid learning/flipped instruction. William Jessup University uses Moodle for its learning management system. This is a great tool for hybrid/blended/flipped classrooms. Instructors and students can also leave “comments” to be viewed by others. Instructors, how about adding some engaging questions in this section? Look here:

10. It allows for English language learners to review the lecture at their own pace. Let’s face it, some of us are fast talkers! Those not as familiar with the English language can struggle. This allows learners to listen again at their own pace.

Finally, lecture capture also benefits instructors! How? Here are 4 great reasons:


  1. Do not have to review material for those that missed class
  2. Can self-reflect on the effectiveness of a lesson
  3. Can record a guest lecturer, with permission
  4. Are able to share lectures between departments: At Eastern Michigan, for example, Fedel utilizes the Panopto recordings of colleagues in disciplines such as athletic training, chemistry, and anatomy. To remind his students what they need to know about osmosis, for example, he links them to a short biology lecture on the subject created by one of his colleagues. “It’s the cooperative business of education,” he says. “We’re building a holistic approach. It’s a very flexible system. It’s dynamic, interconnected, and growing.”

Great New Way to Spark Creativity!

I am loving a new tool called Tackk! It is a SUPER EASY way for teachers AND students to create and share web pages. Sign up for free (or use your Google email address with a one click log in) and get started simply by pressing “create”.  Quickly add text, images, video, audio, and more.

1.  Click “Create”



2.  Choose a template, or a blank canvas.


3. Click to add content. Note how many choices you have…heading, text, images, video, audio, buttons, maps, skills, and even your email address.


4. Easily search for photos using 500PX. Or, upload your own!


5.  You can even choose a photo from your Instagram account. It’s an easy link!


6.  Finally, add tags so that your Tackk is easily searchable.


Here is a .jpg of the finished product:

See on
How would you use it as an instructor? What would you have students create?

Synch with!


Google has been doing a great job offering new “add-ons” to Google Docs and Drive. is one such tool that can benefit instructors and students! Use to sync notes with videos. “All the notes you type are automatically synchronized with the video. Later, just click on a line for the video to jump to the relevant part” ( The notes are then saved to Google drive where they can be accessed using any device at any time. Since the notes are stored in Google drive, they can be shared with the same viewing permissions. What a great collaboration tool!



For the teacher with the flipped classroom, this can be a wonderful, free tool!  Want to make sure your students are taking adequate notes? Ask them to share the notes with you! (I just wish that it worked with Panopto recordings!) Currently, works with YouTube, Khan, Vimeo, EdX, Udacity, and Coursera.