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Pete MacKay resources

Here are links that Pete MacKay has offered lately from his site:

  • Kahoots, a no-charge service that helps teachers create and play quizzes, discussions or even surveys using any device with a web browser. The URL:
  • WordSift isn’t just another tag cloud generator. It’s a visualization tool that can be easily manipulated, sorting and emphasizing words in a piece of text. The URL:
  • – Students connect their note-taking to their Google Drives. The notes are synchronized to the timeline of the video and then synched to Google Drive for easy access and sharing. The URL:
  • Insect Generator – A fun interactive that asks students to create their own insect by choosing head, abdomen, thorax and wings from a variety of insect models. The URL:
  • Practice Tests – a no-cost practice test, flashcard and classroom assessment. The URL:
  • Computation Castle –  a fun math interactive to teach students to use fractions to save characters in a medieval setting. The URL:
  • Next Vista For Learning provides a library of free videos made by and for teachers and students everywhere. All content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution. The URL:
  • History Channel (Flash) site explains itself: “Take a journey through the vastness of time and space, where you will experience spectacular scenery as you learn the facts about red-hot planets, distant galaxies, dying stars and killer asteroids.”  The URL:
  • Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum in Ottawa. The URL:
  • Zooniverse project: Condor Watch. The URL:
  • Wellcome Library collections – This vast collection contains historical images from Tibetan Buddhist paintings, ancient Sanskrit manuscripts written on palm leaves, beautifully illuminated Persian books and much more. Much of the collection is available in high or low resolution for educational use either by permission or by Creative Commons licensing. “Whether it’s medicine or magic, the sacred or the profane, science or satire – you’ll find more than you expect.” This is probably more useful for the secondary level students. Preview for use by younger students, just to be safe. The URL:
  • 100,000 stars – a galactic perspective from Google’s Chrome Experiments. 100,000 stars is a tour of the closest stars to our own Sun. It’s completely interactive.  The URL:
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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Uncategorized


May is just around the corner!

As always, when the school year comes to close, things tend to get busy.  With the transition of the school district over to Google email (from MS Exchange), just finishing a Moodle for Administrators through Remote Learning and all the other shoes that I wear, the year continues on at light speed!

Looking for a ‘mind mapping’ tool that integrates nicely for Google Drive?  Try out ‘Coggle’ (!  It’s free and every map you make, it will save to your Google Drive.  If you’ve worked with any mind map tool before, Coggle will be very easy for you to use.

If you haven’t visited Khanacademy lately, you should.  Like all the great tools out there, this site continues to evolve.  The ‘coaching’ program has changed – for the better.  Check out the following two links and have a look for yourself:

Being that we’re going fully Google, you should check out the following link which takes you to where one can get certification.  If you want to take advantage of what the Google tools have to offer, this would be an avenue to put you on the right track:

In my work with Palliser’s ‘Academic Wrap Around’ iniative, we’re always looking for assistive technology to assist the students in their academic pursuits.  One area that comes up often at the text-to-speech (TTS) programs.  Besides taking advantage of the iPad ‘accessibility’ features and the chromebook’s ‘Natural Reader’ (which is also available for the iPad), the following sites offer alternatives for TTS:

Digital citizenship is an ongoing area that I’m always looking for additional resources.  See the following link –  MediaSmarts has been around for a while and they just keep evolving.  Check the site out!

The iPadagogy Wheel (that was created by Paul Hopkin’s education consultancy) offers teachers the visual to use for determining the apps used to fulfill the various levels of Bloom’s taxonomy –,

In Palliser, we’ve been using the Lego Mindstorm Robotic kits for a number of years now.  They are really great for providing students with ‘critical problem solving’ skills.  At $350 per kit, they tend to be a little pricey.  Orbotix has come out with the ‘Sphero’ ( which has a much more manageable price.  For a box of ten, they cost $60/ball.  They are not as functional of the Mindstorm robotics but students can program/code the ball to navigate a course – thus leading them into the area of coding which has become a big player in the education area as of lately.  If you want to look even further, check out the NAO Robots –

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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Uncategorized


March 9, 2014

Here is a link for those teachers just getting into the profession.  LiveBinder has been around for a while now.  I think the LiveBinder would be an ideal tool for students to create their own e-Portfolios.  Anyways, here is the link to a binder focused on Classroom and Behavior Management

Yet another social media tool has sprung and I think that this one does have potential.  ( –  Celly brings the power of mobile social networking and knowledge discovery to everyday life in a private and secure way. Classmates, coworkers, and teammates can use social building blocks called “cells” for everyday collaboration, knowledge sharing, and group communication on any device.  The ‘cells’ are private to the members who sign up (your students and parents) so it takes the place of Twitter.  What’s nice is it isn’t public to the world like Twitter is.  Features include:

  • join by text in seconds
  • unlimited members
  • group messaging with moderation
  • multiple-choice polling
  • scheduled reminders
  • track feeds automatically
  • link networks together
  • phone numbers are kept private
  • works on any phone with text messaging (SMS), Android app, web and email

Add to Celly, another of the newest social media site – Pheed (  This site has the following reviews:

Labeled by Forbes as ‘the new Twitter,’ Mashable as ‘the next social craze,’ and Huffington Post ‘the next generation of social media.’ Fortune listed Pheed as ‘The #1 Social Network to Watch in 2013’ and Business Insider ‘the social media company of the year.’

Vantage (Learn Alberta resource that you can subscribe to!) for February 2014 provided grade specific link with a art theme.  Check out this link for these sites. (VANTAGE Feb 2014 ART theme)

Here is a listing of sites that might provide some tools sites to use in your classroom:

From Pete MacKay (, he offered the following items to check out:

  • What is this Raspberry Pi? The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. It will be better to link to the FAQ page so you can learn more – it’s quite an intriguing little device! The URL:
  • “For ideas about how to channel your math degree into a fulfilling and lucrative career, check out this list of 10 large and growing U.S.-based companies that employ math majors.”  The URL:
  • La Presse+ is available on the iPad Newsstand at no cost. The three years and $40-million investment in the research and development of the product has resulted in a stunningly beautiful and easy-to-navigate product.  The paper can be automatically downloaded overnight and articles can be saved to a personal space. This would be tremendously useful in French language and FSL classes. Teachers and students may read more about the product in English and the app is available on the App Store.  The URL:
  • Here’s a 15 minute clip of Jim Henson demonstrating puppetry techniques that are simple and entertaining. The article states that he made this just before joining Sesame Street but you can see some of his iconic design in this early work.  The URL:
  • A list of 50 animation tools will offer something for everyone.  The URL:
  • Here is a collection of resources and lesson plans about organ donation. Starting with the Interactive Body, students can learn about the different types of transplantation. Teachers can find the lesson plans in the Educator Resources menu.  The URL:
  • Infographics are all the rage these days but as students and teachers are enthusiastically assembling them, here are a few things to keep in mind when sourcing the data used.  The URL:
  • Google Apps for Education is taking schools by storm. With its cloud-based suite of functional apps, teachers can start at the Learning Center to learn more about how to use the tools, join a community of Google-users, find training and even become certified as a Qualified Individual or Trainer themselves. If you’re looking for a starting point to utilize this tool for your own classroom, this is a good one to bookmark.  The URL:
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Posted by on March 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


February 2014

With the schools becoming more and more a 21st century classroom, there is becoming a greater need to access digital resources.  With the Chromebooks, there is an app ‘Cloud Reader’ which ties into Amazon’s Kindle ebook library.  I’ve explored this as an option and it has promise.  Basically, with the app, you can visit the Amazon resources and purchase ebooks.  I found one book for $0.99 and another for no cost!  For 99 cents, I was able to download/purchase two novels.  Besides the cost (which in this case was very minimal), the other draw back would be that the resource is not able to be shared.  So each student would have to purchase their copies of the book.  If one was lucky enough, they might get lucky and get a book(s) for a small cost and all would be good.

Through the ATLE (Alberta Technology Leaders in Education), there has been some discussion around this topic.  Some districts in Alberta are accessing OverDrive.  I’ve just sent off an inquiry and I’m looking to see what they have to offer.  I guess when it comes right down to it – what is it going to cost the district to access the libraries that they have to offer.  I’m hoping that it’s attractive as Palliser has initiated a ‘literacy’ program and being able to access a library that is cloud based could prove very useful!
(To Be Continued)

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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


Christmas – second page

Here is an interesting article regarding the continual evolution of the ‘internet’.  This one is titled “Internet of Things Will Replace the Web” which you will find at:!

I have this thing about collecting quotes.  Some that I had recently stumbled upon are:

  • Success seems to be connected to action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. (Conrad Hilton)
  • Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. (Dr. Seuss)
  • Literacy is as important as it has ever been in education. We just have to realize that literacy is a constantly evolving thing. (George Couros)
  • Teachers only fail their students if they fail to care about them. (Nicholas A. Ferroni)

I recently presented at the Palliser Admin retreat on the role of technology with the districts focus on ‘literacy.’  I used Prezi as the presentation tool.  If you would like to view it, the link is –

As usual, Vantage keeps coming out with links for particular subject areas from K-12.  This time around I have two to share – they cover Language Arts and P.E./Health.

Here is the Language Arts PDF – Vantage Vol9 Num5 Language Arts November 2013

Here is the P.E./Health PDF – Vantage Dec 2013 – PE and Health


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Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


Christmas is almost here – already!

Merry Christmas everyone!!

I just returned last week from a two day workshop up in Red Deer.  It was the first meeting this year for the Alberta Adobe Master Teacher group (AAMT).  This year, the group has expanded to 60 participants!  More people required a bigger venue to accommodate everyone.

The big emphasis this time around was directed toward the ‘Adobe Youth Voices.’  Until this workshop, I had no idea what this program involved.  Anyone can join this venture and the best part is that for teachers, the program comes with lesson plans and exemplars.  Basically the program is focused on using the Adobe software as a vehicle for our young students to express themselves on current global issues.   You should check out the site.  I believe you will be impressed!

Here is link to an infographic which does a nice job of guiding through the process of selecting the ‘best’ Adobe tool for a particular task –

The Palliser virtual school initiative is moving forward.  A group of 15 teachers met in November to begin the work of establishing various courses that will be implemented in the upcoming new year (semester two)!  At the time of this writing, I don’t know for sure which courses are being worked on, but a few include Social St. 20-2, English 10-1, Math 10 to name a few.  Palliser already has a waiting list of students to start using whatever courses it can provide.  I’ll update you on the progress of this initiative in the next blog entry.

For those exploring the ‘flipped classroom,’ I ran across these links via my Twitter access:

Searching for Apps?  Here is an article from Edudemic outlining the 10 criteria teachers should use to find the best ones –

If you are like me and you are continually looking for that next ‘piece’ of information or site to help in promoting Digital Citizenship, here are a few links:

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Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


November – Remembrance Day

Wow – how quickly the year is passing!  Already into November!

Through searching the we since my last blog entry, as usual, I’ve come across some links that you might find helpful as you are working your way through the school year.

For those of you who might be using or considering the use of the Chromebook (CB’s), here is a link to get the discussions going –  In Palliser, we have various school sites using the CB’s and from all accounts, teachers AND students love them.  In one school, the entire junior high has gone one-to-one with the CB’s.  Just the other day, I worked my way around to the different classrooms and in each, the students had the CB’s open and working on them.  Most of the activity was collaborative based – which is the direction we want to be going in light of the 21st century classroom!

If you get a chance, check out Kathy Schrock’s site (Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything) –  Kathy has done a great job of providing information for a wide range of classroom activities using technology.  This is from the start up page for her site:

“As an educational technologist, I keep learning each day.
As I develop new presentations or interests, I create a page of support resources and this site will serve as the entry point to these links, ideas, tips, and tricks!”

I follow Richard Byrne (Free Tech for Teachers – on twitter and from his site, I found the following links for Google Apps related topics:

  • How to Automatically Close Google Forms at Specific Times – Richard indicates that through the use of a script ‘FormLimiter’, one can limit the number of responses to a form, the number of characters in a response and set a time for the form to automatically stop accepting responses.  For those of you who are users of Forms (and if you haven’t checked these out – YOU SHOULD!!), this script could prove very useful.

(On a side note – on December 21st at the University of Alberta, there is a FREE full day workshop with a focus on Google Scripts.  The time of year isn’t great but I’m going.  I’ve always wanted to get into and explore this area because it would create even more functionality within the GAFE environment.)

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day – don’t let us forget the sacrifices that were made for us!!!


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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


Almost into November already!

If you are looking for a browser supported ‘text-to-speech’ plug-in, here is a site that lists what you could use for a particular browser –

When it comes to integrating technology into our classroom, we have to ensure that it is used as a tool to help meet the outcomes we’re attempting to cover.  TPACK is a program which was designed with this in mind.  The approach should be:

  1. 1.      Establish the Outcomes
  2. 2.      Develop your Pedagogy to meet the Outcomes
  3. 3.      Only after the first two steps have been achieved, then we look at what there is in the form of Technology to help achieve the Outcomes

Judy Harris (William & Mary School of Education) tends to make her way through Alberta on an annual basis promoting this program – it’s well worth your time to take in this PD experience.  In her workshop, Judy guides the participants through the process of TPACK.  She had a site which was really nice because she had it laid out so that one could look for the technology tool to support the activity to achieve the outcome.  Here is the current site –  Unfortunately, I can’t find the work where she provides the activity and the suggested tool.  Here is an example of what there used to be available:

TPACK sample

I’m going to register on the site to see if this provides the access to this information – here’s crossing my fingers that it does!!

It would appear that others have taken on the this TPACK approach – as I just recently received this information my a fellow teacher in the district.  This approach is referred to as the SAMR Model.  The acronym stands for:

  • Substitution (Substitute and no functional change)
  • Augmentation (Substitute with functional improvement)
  • Modification (Significant task redesign)
  • Redefinition (New tasks previously inconceivable)

As you work your way from S-A-M-R in the model, you are moving from the basic ‘recall’ to the area of ‘creating knowledge’ which is where you want to be in the 21st century classroom.  Check out the new graphic to support this newly evolve process ( :

SAMR Model

For those teachers who are having issues with their SMART notebook where the flash objects (the interactives) are not working properly, there is a fix.  What has occurred is that the newest flash upgrade is NOT compatible with the newest version of SMART notebook!  At temporary fix is to ‘downgrade the flash version’ which I’ve done and it works well.  Here is the link to the fix which involves a three step process (which I should indicate is designed for the PC environment – not sure about the Mac environment) –

Looking for ‘free’ science apps for the iPads?  Here are 7 from  Have a look – they include:

  • Bill Nye The Science Guy  iPad app
  • goREACT
  • Powers of Minus Ten: Bone
  • Virtual Heart
  • 3D Brain
  • Essential Skeleton
  • Solve the Outbreak

I think we may have found the replacement for Audacity!!  It’s called Audio Expert (  The site allows students to record, convert, edit, merge and mange audio clips with no software to install!!  Thanks Pete!

Here are some more links that Pete Mckay from his share recently:

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Posted by on October 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


Vantage links

Vantage does a great job of providing links for various subjects from K to 12.  This time around they have (PDF format):

Art – Vantage – Art theme Oct 2013

Math – Vantage – Math theme Oct 2013

If you don’t already subscribe to Vantage – you should!!!  Go to


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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


Moodle & Literacy

Palliser continues to work on its virtual school! With Alison H. leading the way, we’re hoping to be able to offer a collection of courses come the second semester.  With the move to version 2.5.2 Moodle, we now have a number of new plugins and blocks that will really enhance the functionality of Moodle.  With the following new additions, students and teachers will be able to get maximum use of the this learning management system:

  • marking manager
  • glossary quiz
  • moodle dictionary
  • collapsed topics
  • text-to-speech
  • navigation arrows
  • checklist block
  • PDF writer

We’re working on creating a template so that all of the courses we’re accessing from the Rockyview Hub (a consortium of school divisions who have willingly shared their Moodle courses for other districts to use!) will have a common appearance and functionality.  By doing this, students should be able to go from one course to another and not have to worry about figuring out the different setups.

Last week, the Palliser Admin got together for three days in Calgary to focus on Literacy.  This is a major focus for Palliser this year and we are very fortunate to have two very passionate and knowledgeable staff to help carry us forward.  Connie A. and Bev S. put together what every Administrator said was ‘by far the best ever PD they had taken part in!!’  Way to go ladies and the seed has been planted and now we look forward to the germination process as Admin gets all teachers on the same page – ‘Every Teacher is a Teacher of Literacy’!  It’s not just the English/Language Arts teachers who promote literacy – it’s EVERY teacher!!


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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized