The Water Effect

On a beginning note…this has nothing to do with technology so if you want to skip this post, I understand. But, I hope you will read on! Since technology is such a great tool, I want to share one way YOU can make a difference…

In 2013 I traveled with World Vision and was able to meet 2 of my 4 sponsored children. I visited Abaya, Ethiopia, and was able to see all that World Vision truly does for the families…providing clean water, an education, training, medical, and even nutritional needs.  As a Child Ambassador, I am committed to helping children in need.


Right now World Vision is promoting clean water and as a blogger, I want to pass it on. I have SEEN first hand the water of Ethiopia before World Vision provided fresh water (wells) to the villagers of Abaya. I was able to visit the watering hole and even pick up one of those HEAVY 5 gallon jugs of water. I don’t know how those women actually balance it on their heads…I could barely walk 10 feet with one! The water was filthy, muddy, and infested with worms.  This is the water that the families used for everything…drinking and bathing until World Vision built a community well with access to fresh, clean water.


Every day, nearly 1,600 children under 5 die from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and improper hygiene. Globally, 1 in 9 people lack access to clean water! Those are amazingly sad statistics.

Would you like to be a part of providing fresh water to a child in need? Contact me! I have many children that need sponsoring!


What Could You Do with $100?

JD Hancock / Foter / CC BY

What could you do with $100? $35?  I will warn you before you read any further – this is not my normal technology post. If you want to stop here, that’s fine! I am also going to ask you for money. I know, you thought I was giving it away…right? Nope. The reason I am changing my post for today is because not only is it Global Awareness Week at our university, but I feel so strongly about taking care of the poor and needy in our world.

We have 4 sponsor children through World Vision. I have visited 2 of them in Ethiopia. I was like many of you. I wondered…

  • Do those kids really exist?
  • Do they REALLY get my letters?
  • Where does my sponsorship money go?

I was very skeptical and had many questions. So I went and visited the World Vision headquarters in Ethiopia. I traveled to the homes of 2 of my sponsor children and it changed my life. Yes – they exist. Yes – they DO get my letters! My sponsorship money goes to healthcare, clean water, education, training for the parents, and so much more than I could imagine. My little girl, Maritha, was definitely poor. Her family lives in a hut that is falling to the side. As a newly sponsored child, her stomach protruded from starvation and worms were growing in her intestines due to gathering water from the local creek. My heart broke. Can you imagine – she was scared of me. She had never seen a white person and I am sure I looked like a sick ghost walking toward her. I found out that I could send money directly to the needs of her family. So upon arriving back to the US, I sent her family $100. The World Vision staff took the money, traveled to her home, and found out the needs of the family. Together they purchased a goat and an ox – highly prized possessions to a struggling family. (Food and farming!) She also received a new dress and shoes. Now, because of my support, she receives medical care and attends school. A new well has been built in her area and she receives clean water.

Last night I received a picture from another sponsor child of mine, Fany. She lives in Congo. I also sent her $100. I received a picture of what World Vision and the family together purchased. I WISH I could post the picture for you, but because of privacy, I won’t. Let me tell you– the look on their faces was pure joy!! Fany’s smile, and the smile of her mom, couldn’t have been any bigger as she stood next to her new mattress in her new school uniform and shoes, The family also purchased shoes for the mom, 2 chairs, 4 notebooks for school, and a shirt for dad. Her hut was in the background and I am sure that sleeping on the mattress will be a wonderful addition to their home! Can you imagine sleeping on the ground all your life and finally receiving a mattress as a gift?

My $35 a month is not a large expense for me. It’s a dinner out ~ and we tend to eat out every Friday night. But to a sponsor child, it means health, clean water, education, and vocational training for the parents. It means the building of a school and medical center – out in the middle of no where. It means farming equipment. It means so much more.

Please consider sponsoring a child. It will change a life! Click HERE –>

Are You Connected?

#bestfriends #motherdaughter #priceless

Best Friends

Are you connected? My daughter, Lauren, is my best friend. In fact, I am pretty sure we share the same brain. More times than not, I will pick up my phone to text her and she will be doing the same – at the same time – almost any time of day! It’s a little freaky!  We love to have a good cup of coffee and sit around and “chat”. She is uplifting, encouraging, and all-around-awesome. She helps me see things in new ways, and reminds me to lean on Jesus when tough times come around.

I am in the middle of reading a book by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age.  It has caused me to think about the instructors that I know (including myself) and whether we are truly connected. So many teachers I know are fascinated with the four walls of their classroom. I say fascinated because they enjoy their four walls and prefer to stay inside rather than venturing out.  Yet we know that growth is difficult if one is confined inside the four walls of a room.

Our family still eats dinner together – around a table. (smile). We visit, chat, and eat. We learn about each others’ day. We learn from each other. We help each other. Instructors learn about new ideas when they can sit around and chat with each other about best practices. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (2012) calls this meaning collaboration and authentic collegiality. We have at our fingertips an entire world of information from the best educators…we just need to search for it and share.

One thing I would like to see happen on our campus is increased collaboration. “Collaboration occurs when we approach goals as connected learners, relying on each other’s skills, knowledge, talents, and readiness to share” (Nussbaum-Beach, 2012). I can’t learn from you if you do not share and join in on the collaboration – and so forth. It takes all of us, joining together, working together, sharing, engaging, and enriching each others’ lives. When you step outside of the 4 walls and join together, you and I will both learn and grow.

Part of stepping out of your 4 walls can be done right from home! Get connected with others via Twitter or organizations such as CEM – Connected Educators. Again, there are excellent resources out there to help you improve your own practice. And – others will enjoy learning from you as well!

I would love to connect and collaborate with you. Please take 5 min. or so and share your thoughts. How would you increase collaboration? The results will be visible to all responders – so check back for new results!

Creating Your Own Content?


Have you been creating your own course content? Do you want to create your own but don’t know where to start? Visit AcademicPub!  Whether you are a K-12 educator or an instructor in higher education, you may be interested in giving it a try. You can upload your own materials, or piece together text and images from “over 8 mission pieces” from many publishers. Everything in the content library is cleared through the Copyright Clearance Center. Create a course pack specific to your needs. Then, distribute the book by print or e-book. Academic Pub uses cloud storage so that you may access your work from any device.  Questions about how this all works? Visit their FAQ page HERE.

Using Doceri as a Presentation Tool!

I’m always searching for new ways to present information. Doceri is one that is intriguing to me and fun to use!

Doceri is an interactive whiteboard app and screencast recorder. Instructors can easily use the drawing tools to draw hand-drawn lesson, graphics, and presentations which can easily be shared as a still image, .pdf, or screencast. Doceri is available as an app for the iPad, or as a computer download. If you do not want to create a hand-drawn lesson, pictures and slides can easily be placed into Doceri creating the ability for the instructor to present, annotate, and save. “Create as many different screencasts as you need, based on any Doceri project. The project itself remains intact no matter how many different screencasts you create or delete.” (Docerci)

There are so many wonderful functions of Doceri.  Here is a sample hand-drawn lesson I created:

Here are a few more videos about Doceri and its capabilities:

The Doceri App is free from iTunes.  Click Here.

Turnitin App = Awesome!


It’s here and it integrates with our Moodle! Yes ~ the Turnitin App! I have personally tested it out and can say with a great big smile that it works well and integrates easily.

Using the app you can view student work that has been turned in, view the originality report, and create custom and QuickMark comments.  The interactive grading rubric is very easy to use. Just select the criteria and the grade will be automatically calculated! Instructors can also add a voice comment. By syncing assignments you can grade on or off-line.

Here are directions from Turnitin on how to create a class code so that you can sync the information with your LMS (for our university, that is Moodle):

As an integration user, you will need a unique class access code in order to log in to your classes on Turnitin for iPad. To generate a unique class access code:

  1. From your computer, sign into your LMS
  2. Open the document viewer for a paper in the class
  3. Click on the iPad access button in the lower left
  4. Click “Generate code”
  5. The unique class access code will be displayed
  6. Tap the “Access Code” button on the Turnitin for iPad app login screen
  7. Type in the class access code you have generated
  8. Tap “Add”

Reference:  Turnitin

If you need help, please visit their help center for more information!

Starting Fall 2013 off Right!

Sleep.  You may not need 13 hours of sleep, but you do need 8-10 hours of sleep. My family may think I’m crazy, but I try to be in bed by 9:00 at the latest. I get up at 5:15 … the early bed gets the worm, right?

Start the day right.  Eat a healthy breakfast. Way too many people skip breakfast! It’s like gas in a car.  Put healthy food in to keep going throughout the day! I eat oatmeal, chia seeds, berries, and coconut milk every day for breakfast. It fuels the day.

Start the day right – part 2.  We’ve established to sleep right, get up at dawn, and eat correctly. Now it’s time to get the day started emotionally and spiritually.  I begin with “devotions” each day – a time set apart for God and me. It’s a time to connect, listen, and be quiet before the rush of the day begins. I like to read through the Bible every year. This year I am adding “picture journaling” to the mix. I read a few verses, then draw (using my paper app) a picture to go with it.  I’m finding that drawing each morning is also therapeutic!paperThis was created using Paper Fifty Three.

Coffee and Chocolate.  This means enjoy the small things. I enjoy coffee and chocolate. Every day I treat myself to coffee and chocolate! What small things do you enjoy? Treat yourself.

Be thankful. My new year resolution is to try to be more positive this year. It’s easy to look at the negative. Yet I have so much to be thankful for! In every circumstance, find something to be thankful for…even if it is the opportunity to grow.

Get moving. We all know physical activity is healthy. Get out there and start moving! Walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Take your dog on a walk. Ride your bike. Get moving. Record your movement using Map My Ride or Map My Run!

Give a smile. Give a smile to someone new each day if given the opportunity. There are too many people going through hard times – make someone’s day by spreading a little sunshine!

Give.  Volunteer more. Give of your time, talents, finances, whatever you can. It feels wonderful to give to others! You will reap rewards more than you can imagine in return.  I try to find sponsors for World Vision. Click this link to sponsor a child!

Offer an encouraging word. Most likely if you are reading this, you are an educator. We know that encouraging words are powerful to students. How about your co-workers? Start encouraging them – give that kind word and a smile each day.

Go out on a limb. Are you living life on a balance beam, hanging on for dear life? Try something a little crazy this year – something new, fun, exciting! Get out of the boat and do something you’ve always wanted to do. How about trying something new in your classroom like PollEverywhere or Infuse Learning?

Say I’m sorry.  Be the first to apologize. If someone has been wronged, make it right.

Make time. Make time for others.  This is a hard one for me. I get really busy with “stuff” that I forget to make time for the important things like relationships. This last one is for me to remember!

3 Great Rubric Generators

There are a few great rubric creators that I would like to share with you!


Rubistar has been around for years. In fact, it’s the first online rubric creator I used. You can use rubrics that are already created, share your rubric with others, or create your own from a template or piece by piece.  It is simple and saves time!



iRubric also allows the instructor to create a new rubric or use a pre-made rubric. The thing I like is the ability to search by subject:


ForAllRubrics is also free and works well with iPad integration. Instructors may collect the data offline, and then save as a .pdf or spreadsheet.




All Presentations are not the Same

QuintanaRoo / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Have a classroom presentation coming up and want to try something new to engage your learners? There are many options for you! Some of these options incorporate PowerPoint, and others are a PowerPoint alternative. My advice? Pick one and test it out!


The above link to Prezi will bring you to a presentation ABOUT Prezi. You see, Prezi is not just a presentation tool. It is non-linear and, if created correctly, tells a story by engaging the viewer using zoom and focus. Prezi has many tutorials available, content can be shared and viewed on or off-line.  You can also CLICK THIS LINK to view Prezi’s tutorial channel.

Haiku Deck

I am a huge Haiku Deck fan! In fact, I used Haiku deck to create all of my lecture slides this semester. CLICK HERE to read my blog post about Haiku Deck. The app is amazing. I created my slides and imported into PowerPoint so that I could also embed video and active links. I saved the slides as well as a .pdf to upload to my class Moodle shell.

Google Docs

Google Docs allows users to create slides similar to PowerPoint. Although I am not a huge fan of the themes/layouts, it is easy to use and the collaboration feature is very nice.


Keynote is Apple’s version of PowerPoint. I like it much better than PowerPoint. To me, it is more visually appealing and I like the choice of transitions and themes.


Powtoon creates animated video presentations. “To make your video, simply drag and drop the characters to the movie area and add text. A great feature is the ability to import straight to YouTube, no hassle, no fuss.” -AvatarGeneration View this simple video created by FixUp:

…or this one about Cloud computing:

Slideshare allows you to easily share the slides you have created on a blog or Moodle site. Voicethread  also allows the user to create slides with audio functionality. Collaborators may input a voicethread as well to a slide or picture.

What I enjoy are the tools that allow the instructor to not only present information, but engage the audience. Some of these tools are apps, others are web-based. Some of the tools push content to student devices so that they may follow along and others will not only push content, but will engage with questions and feedback.

Doceri :   CREATE hand-drawn lessons, presentations and graphics and SHARE them as still images, PDFs or audio/video screencasts – or mirror anything you’ve created to Apple TV via AirPlay. (via Doceri)

Mighty Meeting :  Share slides, images and whiteboards, push content to student devices

Create presentation videos using ShowMe, Explain Everything, or Screenchomp.

Try presenting using Presentain. Launch the Presentain app and use your smartphone as a clicker and presentation tool. It pushes content to student devices and allows them to engage with polls. Nearpod is very similar app that pushes content, adds polls but also has the ability to send web pages to student devices, then click off and back to the slide show with instructor control. Watch this video for more information!

Tips from the Best in Leadership


Today I am not going to write about technology. Rather, I have been at the Global Leadership Summit the past 2 days so I have decided to share some of my notes taken during the conference and summarize the thoughts that spoke to me the most. Yes, I did use my technology! I took notes with on my iPad using my Notability app.

During the first day of the session, I had the privilege of hearing such speakers as Bill Hybels, Gen. Colin Powell, Patrick Lencioni, Liz Wiseman, Chris Brown, Bob Goff and Mark Burnett. It was a day of powerful speakers!

Notes from delivery by Bill Hybels:

Courage correlates to every facet of leadership. This was the theme. Bill gave a great definition for vision as a picture of the future that creates passion in people. He continually reminded the audience to be strong and courageous because every vision will put your courage to the test. Some leaders become paralyzed by fear and abort the mission.  If an organization is in trouble, it is up to the leader to build a sense of urgency…status quo is “the precursor to death of the organization.”  He encourage leaders to cast a vision, then create a value to do it. Employees can like it or leave it.  I wish I would have heard this speech a couple of years ago!

Notes from delivery by Patrick Lencioni:

Patrick Lencioni is a gifted and talented speaker – and just plain fun to watch! His beginning question – Do you love your job? It’s not about a good job or bad job. It’s about having a fulfilling job – or we will be miserable. 

3 Things that Cause Job Misery:

1. Anonymity. Anonymity is a killer. We are called to love the people that work for us. We simply need to care for people!

2. Irrelevance. If you don’t think your job matters in some way, you cannot love your work.

3. Immeasurement. (Yes, it’s not a word.) Humans need to assess whether or not they are doing a good job. We need an intrinsic understanding of how we are doing.

Many people wonder why great employees will leave a company. Most times it does not have to do with money. It is because they either felt anonymous, irrelevant, or they had no performance feedback. It can be a game-changer for employee satisfaction, loyalty, and be a life-changer. These 3 things are qualifiers for happiness in a job.

Notes from Liz Wiseman:

Cover of "Multipliers: How the Best Leade...

Cover via Amazon

Liz wrote the book Multipliers. (I have it on order!) In it she describes how leaders are either multipliers or diminishers. “When you lead like a multiplier, people around you get smarter because they are working with you.” Multipliers use their intelligence to grow the intelligence of others.  Multipliers have vision, listen communicate, trust, and empower others.

The diminished makes others feel like they are not as smart as the leader. They do not delegate and tend to micromanage. They are often full of ideas, but do not know how to turn off the switch. (Hint: Look at this! We could do that! How about this?…) What do we do with leaders that don’t have an off switch? We tune them out! The pacesetter leader can be a diminisher because they may be out in front so far from others, that others never feel as though they can catch up. The rapid responder leader (quick decisions and quick actions) may cause others to feel diminished because everything is answered before they get to it. The optomist may even be a diminished because they may gloss over the struggle and invalidate the feelings of others.

I thought about how I have lead others in the past and I am pretty sure I have been a diminished without wanting to be. I would love to say, “Oh, I am a multiplier!” But as Liz read through so many of the scenarios, I could see myself in them. I am full of ideas and I am often out front. I tend to micromanage because I like to do things myself for fear that it won’t get done. I don’t like to be managed this way – so I should know that others don’t like it either! And, I am also a rapid responder. I like to get things done … right away. I never considered that I was robbing the joy of finishing something from others until I heard Liz speak today. Yikes. I am going to work on being a multiplier and not a diminisher. Starting now! (See – rapid responder.)

So – how can we be a multiplier and not a diminisher? Focus on one thing. Speak in the form of questions instead of telling. Don’t tell others – ask and let them find the answers. “Be a genius maker.”

The second day of the conference, I was able to hear Joseph Grenny, Vijay Govindarajan, Dr. Brene’ Brown, Oscar Muriu, Dr. Henry Cloud, and Andy Stanley.

Cover of "Influencer: The Power to Change...

Cover via Amazon

Joseph Grenny spoke about how to be an influencer. I adore his books and have read all of them. Rather than summarize his notes, I suggest you read his book Influencer.  I know I need to go back and read it again! And, even though I am tempted to write about all of the wonderful speakers, I won’t. I’ll finish with Dr. Brene’ Brown: 

“The 2 irreducible needs of men, women and children are love and belonging…in the absence of these, there is always suffering.” Love is when we allow our “most vulnerable selves to be known, when we give it to another person with trust, kindness, affection, and respect.” It is shared when there is self love present in both.  She explained how to lead with love:

1. Love is grown through connection. We do not do it by ourselves. It is not our job to have the answers. What a leader needs to do is model the courage to ask the questions.

2. We cannot give what we do not have. We can’t give help when we cannot ask for help. We can’t give courage if we don’t have it. When we judge ourselves for asking for help, we are judging others when we offer help.

3. Professing vs. Practicing. Love is a practice. We can profess love – but we have to practice it!

4. What kills love kills organizations. Five things kill both:  shame, blame, betrayal, disrespect, and withholding.

We need a sense of belonging. Be here. Be loved.

My final take-a-ways…get connected, listen, ask questions, love.