Pre-Conference Workshop – iPad Essentials: List of Tools

This post is to provide the list of tools that were discussed during the pre-conference workshop, “iPad Essentials,” that I presented this past Sunday. Even if you weren’t in my session, feel free to take a look!If you have other tools that you’d recommend, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

Productivity apps

  • Documents
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • FileMaker Go
  • Cubby
  • Evernote
  • Penultimate
  • Dropbox
  • Tiny Scanner

Audio/video tools

  • GarageBand
  • Scribble Press
  • ScreenChomp
  • Animoto
  • Aviary
  • LiveCollage
  • Doceri

Communication tools

  • GroupMe
  • Remind


  • Flashcards
  • Google Docs

Effective Online Grading

Joe SafdieGwyn Enright of the things that I took away from this session is that the presenters don’t respond to every student’s discussion post. It’s important (clearly) to read them all, but the amount of time it takes to respond to all of them, when they have 5 English comp classes, each with 25-30 students, and each class having 10 discussion forum assignments—it’s a ridiculous amount of time, not to mention unrealistic. Instead of responding to every student, they create an announcement at the end of the assignment that gives the highlights of the topic and provide credit to students within the announcement (for their “10 minutes of fame”).About half-way through the presentation and we’re talking about rubrics. Rubrics are definitely worth having and not only makes grading easier but more consistent. What I’m not hearing is how the use of rubrics is actually “effective,” as the title denotes. As the presenters switch out and we begin hearing about the other instructor’s approach to grading, I don’t consider this session to be about “effective” teaching. Some of the things offered are certainly efficient, but how is it effective? What are students saying about the online grading that proves what you’re doing is effective?The 2nd presenter makes a good point…

It is true that we need to make text-specific comments, not generic ones: “the teacher holds a license for vagueness while the student is commanded to be specific.”

He teaches with a flipped classroom, but instead of the vague definition, he provided some examples of what he does, most notably having the students create the rubrics. While he uses rubrics, he strives to make them more conversational in nature and less focused on the percentages for each standard/category.In terms of paper writing, he recently started reading first drafts. The draft submission is required and is worth 40 points out of the overall 200 points for the general assignment. He then spends most of his time commenting on the draft – providing guidance and comments. Then when the final version is turned in, he’s primarily focused on what the student did between the draft and the final version. This makes the grading easier and faster (again, efficient, not effective).Overall, not real thrilled with this session. It wasn’t innovative and the content definitely didn’t live up to the title of the session. If you’re interested in more information about rubrics, here are some crowd-sourced resources:

Adventures in Video: Connecting with Online Students Through Camtasia

Tracy Schaelen beginning of this session focused on what the presenter has been doing with Camtasia and video. Before showing the 2nd video in her class, she mentioned that she uses green screen in Camtasia. You have my attention. She did mention that the “how to” portion will come later in the presentation, but I hope we have enough time…We’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at/watching various videos that she puts into her class. That’s something that I would typically expect from a standard session, but I was kind of hoping for more of a tutorial/walk through of what can be done in Camtasia. I don’t want to see the final product as much as I do the steps involved. There has also not been any mention of captions or ADA compliance and we’re 1/2-way through the session.At the end of the session, she talked VERY briefly about the chroma key (green screen). The setting to remove the green screen from the timeline is very simple and easy to find. Jason Valade also gave a basic overview of the differences between Camtasia Studio and Camtasia for Mac. He also indicated that the features between the PC and Mac versions are continuously getting closer and closer. That was about all we had time for in this session. Overall, not what I was hoping for or expecting. Wish we could have spent more time looking at captions and more of the technical “how-to” details in both Camtasia Studio and Camtasia for Mac.

Canvas as the Next Generation LMS

Carli TegtmeierRegional Sales DirectorThis session had a couple of parts to it. During the first part, Carli talked about the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment. Based on a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, experts did a study to determine what the LMS was going to be moving forward. It was interesting to hear about how important it is for interoperability across add-ons that are used. Not only that, but supporting Common Cartridge, IMS, LTI, etc. is very important.After that brief overview, Carli did a demo of Canvas with the new user interface.


The really interesting thing that I didn’t know could happen within Canvas is the ability to have 2-way communication between student/instructor, if the student sets up notifications. 


The new calendar interface allows instructors to drag/drop due dates for assignments. These due dates are then auto-updated across the course and a notification is sent to students. This is something that I have to mess with all the time. Whenever I create a new course, I have to change the due date on every assignment/quiz/discussion forum/etc. in a new course to reflect the new dates. One thing that I’m not sure about is how that drag and drop functionality changes the “available until” date on the assignments.

Home page

One of the things I haven’t liked about Canvas is that there is a home page. I know that it can be very helpful for higher education, but in the training that I’m doing, I don’t like having a static home page. The new user interface now allows you to set the home page to the modules page, which is something that I would definitely prefer.

Image/video integration

Canvas now has a direct link to Flickr Creative Commons and YouTube. These integrations make it easy to include rich media without needing embed codes, digging through copyright images, etc.


Based on the demo, it looks like the Speedgrader has undergone some changes recently. Most notably, the ability to annotate the submission from the students and the ability to have a back and forth conversation with the student on the submission.

Messaging students

One of the things that we’ve been having to do is track down students who haven’t completed assignments for the online portion of their training program. This is typically done manually, but it appears that this can be done automatically through the Canvas course site. Since we have a new section of the training program starting shortly, I’ll definitely be looking into this functionality to make the administrative side of facilitating a course when I get back to the office.Overall – I knew about a lot of the topics in this session, but I’ve definitely taken away some small tips/tricks to make facilitating an online class much easier!

Avoiding the Zombie Apocalypse: 2 Tools for Universal Design in Online Classes

Beth Ritter-GuthUnion County CollegeBeth started this session with a lie – she’ll be doing 3 tools; always better to under promise and over deliver!

Tool #1: EdPuzzle

Create quiz questions within a YouTube video that forces students to be engaged with the video. The questions must be answered in order (can’t skip ahead), and the scores can go into a gradebook. One question that I have is whether or not the grades can go into an LMS gradebook, or if the gradebook is specific to EdPuzzle. I’m hoping that will be addressed. <<Edit>> She indicated that the gradebook does not sync with the LMS (they use Canvas). She does, however, have an assignment in Canvas in which the student provides their username for the site. There is a CSV that can be exported from EdPuzzle for the LMS, if desired. To comply with FERPA, she only requires the students to use their first name; however During her demo of the videos, she had an audio intro that was added before the video started. After the video started, there was a question for the students. The question was open-ended, which she said you could go in and mark whether the student got full credit or not.Another question I have about this tool is what happens if/when the YouTube video is removed from the website. Is the video still accessible? <<Edit>> I asked this question and she said that there’s not much you can do. If the video is removed, students can no longer access the video. However, any grades accummulated at that point would still remain in EdPuzzle – just that no new submissions can be accepted. She also demoed how to find videos – it’s a very simple process. And within EdPuzzle, you can trim a video, so you don’t have to have the students watch the entire video if the video is too long. It sounds like there is an embed code which would allow you to put the puzzle directly into the LMS.

Tool #2: ThingLink

ThingLink takes a still picture that contains “hotspots.” So within the image, there can be a number of hotspots (links, static text, etc.). This is a tool that the presenter uses for students to create the content. The example that she gave was providing a picture of a brain (medical classes), and having the students label the different parts of the brain.In her demo of the tool, she started with showing how to do a Google Image Search. The process to do this is to go to, enter your keywords, then under the Search Options, select “free to use, even commercially” under Usage Rights. Once the image is in the tool, you can click on the image and begin typing tags. As you add tags, you can include “markers” that appear on the image – which would allow you to indicate to students which order they should go through. Once the image is finished, you can share it by using embed code and putting the image (and hotspots) into the LMS. There was a question a bout She did indicate that there is a paid version which provides you with more options.

Tool #3: FlipGrid

Flipgrid allows students to create video responses to a set of questions presented to them from within Flipgrid. The examples that the presenter showed look like they were recorded on a smartphone. Students also have the ability to respond to other students’ video posts.This tool looks easy enough to use, but because it’s on-the-fly-videos that are being recorded, there’s no transcripts or captions on the videos. The presenter also didn’t mention how this tool can/will integrate within the LMS. Because students can respond to others, it may be that they have to actually go to the website in order to view/respond to posts. Overall, some great tools to look into. I can definitely see integrating ThingLink into some corporate training that I’m working on.

Animated, Authentic, Accessible, and Free: Using Video in Online Courses

Anne Marie AndersonMelanie MorrisRaritan Valley Community CollegeWhy use video?

  • Personalize courses
  • Online courses receive “live” instruction
  • Flip & hybrid classroom
  • Re-watch & review concepts
  • Provide feedback on assignments
  • Universal design for learning

Tools that they use:

  • Screencast-o-matic: Never had a need to purchase the paid version ($15/year)
  • Camtasia: Paid licensing per user (~$300 per license)
  • Jing: Free version of Camtasia with less editing options
  • GoAnimate: Create animated videos in a variety of scenarios, characters, voice sounds, music, and effects to explain complex concepts.

The only one of these that I hadn’t heard of was GoAnimate. They showed a sample video from that site and they indicated that it took “a few hours” to create. My concern is that to only do a few videos yields a high learning curve; and doing a large number of videos takes too much time to create the videos for class. It’s a cool tool, but for the overhead (time), I think (hope) that there are other sites that make this easier.In addition to creating your own videos, they recommend a variety of sites for finding pre-existing videos:

In addition to the instructors creating videos, students also create video for the class. One important point is that you don’t grade on the students “ability” to produce the videos. But they do have some video production requirements:

  • Storyboard/script writing
  • Applying knowledge
  • Teaching the content
  • Information literacy

The presenters recommend using YouTube to disseminate the videos – with that, it eliminates almost all technical barriers to watch the videos. Additionally YouTube accepts almost every video file format and since Google owns them, Google has voice-to-text technology. They use the voice-to-text to copy/paste into Word for a full transcript of the video. The issue with this is that if you don’t “own” the video, you can’t replace the incorrect transcription. I did find out (from Amy) that if you own a video, you can select an option that allows others to edit your transcription – that seems to be a setting that the presenters didn’t know about.The presenters did go into a demo using screenshots to walk us through how to edit an auto-transcript that is generated from YouTube. This is a process that I’m already familiar with, but it’s a great thing for people who aren’t. the presenter did indicate that doing a read through of a 15-minute video can take about 4 minutes. Overall, a very informative session. It seems like the audience got a lot out of it!

9x9x25 Challenge

Todd ConawayYavapai CollegeAlisa CooperMaricopa Community Collegeshttp://9x9x25.wordpress.comI’ll start by saying this is an interesting concept. It’s not surprising that at institutions that are focused on teaching and learning, that many faculty are not going to take the time to write about what they’re doing. The concept is to have faculty write 25 sentences about teaching & learning. Who cares if the first time around it took some bribing with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?The intersting part about this project/experiement was that not only did the faculty do this regular writing exercise, but it became a competition. After leafing through one of the spiral-bound books that Todd passed around, some of these were 1-3 pages long. Faculty were writing about the innovative things that they were doing to share with other faculty at the institution. On implementation, they were careful about the wording that they used. They stayed away from “invite” and “mandatory,” and went towards words like “challenge.” Going back to the incentives, Todd made phone calls to lots of vendors who provided free swag to give away as more incentives rather than just the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.After 3 weeks of implementing the 9x9x25, other institutions started picking it up. And as it turns out, every institution implemented it differently. Some do 4 weeks, 6 weeks, etc., but the concept of the challege went “viral” (IMO).Some of the important things that were brought up include:

  • The faculty felt like they were part of a team;
  • The writings were outward facing – not confined to only be visible within the institution;
  • Some of the faculty indicated that this challenge was some of the best professional development.

Here’s an interesting point – Maricopa CC had a faculty member that wanted to participate, but preferred to do so in Spanish. Well, of course they can participate! Even if you have to provide an English counterpart (thanks to Google Translate), someone will benefit from it!At the end of the session, Todd and Alisa challenged everyone in the room to participate in an upcoming 9x9x25 challenge – of course I accepted! To reward us in doing so, we all got Ben & Jerry’s ice cream! an exciting session – looking forward to participating!

Gamify Canvas: How to Engage Gen Z with Gamification Strategies in Online Classroom Design

I’ll fully admit, because of a canceled session, I came into this session late. I’m interested in making Canvas more game-oriented to increase engagement in some professional development programs that we offer. But with that in mind, I’m having a hard time catching up to where this presentation is going. The first (and seemingly only) option for “gamifying” Canvas is storytelling. But I can’t tell how you would do this… Ok, so there is a landing page that outlines the story—the intro screen of a video game, for example. To create simple buttons, the presenter suggests going to to find and copy HTML for buttons that can be renamed and hyperlinked to a new page – like a game. Okay…The presenter also talked about the ability to take on a character within the class to respond to discussion forums and other tasks. This approach helps alleviate the social pressure of responding within the LMS. I’m not sure I agree with that, since the character is still tied back to a specific individual – unless the identity of the character is limited to just that student and the instructor. If it’s a private identity, then that might be a viable option.About 75% through the presentation, the presenter does finally start discussing badges and such. But I wish there was  a live example shown to see how that would be implemented. Everything in the presentation is hypothetical.This session was definitely not what I expected. The abstract does mention storytelling once, but I expected there to be other forms/types of games that could be used. I’m all for gamifying a course, assigning points and badges for various levels of completion, but I don’t think that storytelling/assuming a character persona is appropriate in many online courses. The instructor continuously talks about what “could” be done, but doesn’t provide any examples of this in practice. I would have loved to see some qualitative feedback on how this method of storytelling/gamification impacted student learning. Oh well, maybe next time…

Education in Abundance: Network Learning and Literacies

Bonnie StewartUniversity of Prince Edward IslandLink to the presentation slidesSo last night’s so opening keynote was all about “personalized learning.” All well and good, but many of the examples were in math. That makes sense, right? Give students a series of problems to work on in order to gauge where they are in terms of their knowledge. But last night’s keynote didn’t have a lot of practical application in other disciplines. Fast forward to this morning…Bonnie provides an example of her home school, UPEI, and how many of her disciplines simply can’t do that type of personalized learning that you can do in math. Especially in the certificate program for adult learning. Okay, @bonstewart, you have my attention… Bonnie states – We don’t let our kids go out on the playground by themselves, but we have no problem on a social network (like Facebook) on their own. Even if they aren’t the minimum age requirement for the network. As Bonnie talks about literacy, she strives to change the perception of it just being about reading. “What it means to be literate in the 21st century.” As she shows, we go from the “control” of knowledge to the “management and synthesis” of knowledge, to knowledge “abundance.” In addition to just literacy in terms of reading, she shows a diagram of the seven elements of digital literacy. Bonnie had us pair off during the session and talk about which elements we are strong at and which we are working on. Audrey and I agree that while we have different strengths, everyone should be working on the digital reputation. Sharing information online and who you share that info with is always a problem and there’s always learning to be done—especially in a world where Facebook privacy settings are always changing. (For more information about digital literacy and managing your digital reputation, check out this Prezi presentation that Kari and I presented on at ITC eLearning 2015.) There are 2 thoughts about the use/need for knowledge these days and how education needs to change to adapt to these thoughts… circle back to networks – Networks should be how one structures the abundance of information (para.). Building these networks (through Twitter, Facebook, face-to-face relationships) should help find, manage, and organize the abundance of data. you foster a network by just adding technology? As her grumpy cat indicated: No. There is an “architecture of participation.” I tried to find an image that she showed, but I couldn’t quickly, so I moved on. Sorry.There are a number of literacies that are necessary, beyond just reading. Here we go:

  • Literacy #1: Identity. Creating an identity is the “face of admission.” 

Bonnie began talking about the importance of having a network and using that network to enhance learning. She provided an example of a class she was teaching which had the students read an article and interact with others on Twitter (whom they didn’t know) about the article and topics that emerged from the article. Prior to the assignment, she asked, on her own network, if there were others teaching a similar class and/or would be interested in having their students also reading and discussing the article with her students. The result was astounding, it turned into an international conversation. And groups/cliques formed around different subtopics related to the article. This example wouldn’t have been possible or successful if she hadn’t utilized and fostered her network over the years.

  • Literacy #2: Contribution. 

An interesting thought – there is no such thing as a “digital native.” There are “visitors” and “residents.”, I have to admit that I started zoning toward the end of the presentation. Not because she wasn’t engaging, but 90 minutes is a long time to sit and listen to anyone, not to mention when she goes over by almost 10 min. Overall, the session was very engaging and very applicable to all forms of teaching & learning. I get a little aggravated with presenters that don’t know how to manage their presentation time, but aside from that, a great presentation!

Cool Tools: Work Smarter, Not Harder

Janet Hurn & Julie StraubMiami Universityhttp://jjtechnologies.weebly.comThis session hit VERY close to home, because the presenters are former coworkers.

Productivity Tools

ScreenLeap – Easily integrates within Google Apps for Education, but can be used without. Allows you to screen shares within the browser.Evernote – End of discussion.Note Anywhere – Chrome extension. Put notes dynamically on a page, then go and look through a note summary to see a list of all websites where notes have been added.IFTTT – Task automation. Enough said. 🙂

OER Resources:

Wolfram Alpha – Visualizations of math, data, etc.Crash Course – YouTube videos that have typical lectures (instructor on camera) to explain various topics. Different from Khan Academy in that Khan typically does drawings and images on camera, instead of an instructor. Videos are closed captioned.OER Commons – Ability to search a library of OER resources.

Video Interactions

EduCanon – Add interactivity to contents from YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Can create “classes” of these videos in order to do grading, analytics, etc. Can embed into LMS.EDpuzzle – See aboveTeachum – See aboveOffice Mix – Can embed interactions, video, assessments, etc. into PowerPoint.

Accessibility Tools

Web Speech API – Google Chrome add-on.Bergman Accessibility Ribbon – Integrates with Microsoft Word. Puts accessibility components from Word front-and-center to allow you to create accessible PDFs, etc.Overall, a great session. Always wish we had more time to cover cool tools!