Category Archives: teacher education

The Time is Now!

So teachers in Oklahoma and I never thought I would see the day and I am excited for them.

Much of it is being done on facebook in a group called the Time is Now

The time is now logo
Time is now Logo

Right now it is still at a talking stage but districts are pledging to support teachers.

Oklahoma teachers are some of the best educators I have ever met, in the face of disrespect they use their creativity and their sweat and tears to be there for our kids and they deserve to make a living wage.

I hope that this works out, and I hope that our legislators listen.

I am still thinking of how I can best support #Oklaed, I welcome your suggestions!  here or on Twitter @DrTerriC

I may have a problem… Merge Cube

So what is a Merge Cube and why is my teacher hoarding gene acting up?

Merge Cube is a Augmented and Virtual Reality Toy that used be around $20 at Christmas and is now on Clearance at Walmarts for $1..  It has a ton of apps available for it and it allows you to video and learn more while you use it. .

Most reviews say that it is was early to market  -but it does some fun stuff.. and well there are a ton of ideas for the classroom. For example..  this video of the pirate view game could be a great writing prompt (idea from Carrie Price)  Or using one of the anatomy apps for “looking around”

IMG_1245 IMG_1244


Here are some videos I made with the cubes.




So I may have bought a few..

And I may have gotten my former students, my husband, and even my Mom to pick a up a few..  but it has great potential. I signed up for the developer program and my husband and I are going to see what we can do.. (might as well use that masters in programming right? )

My full cart of merge cubes.
So I may have bought few..
And i may have gotten others to do it well.. (a former student and my Mom)

So You might say. I am in.. I want to find these .. How do I do it.. Here is the trick. there is a site called Brick Seek that will that will search Walmart’s inventory.

Go to:

Just choose Walmart and put in the code 854590007105 and then your zip and it will show you if they are available in your area and where.

brick seek search
brick seek search

Then it will give you a list showing inventory:  Then GO shopping.


Brick seek results
Brick Seek results


I am excited to see what educators come up with..  but there are already some resources available.

The site for the company  has some ideas.

This guide is helpful including information for login issues (under 13 etc)

An Educator’s Guide to Augment Learning with Merge Cube

A review of Merge Apps for the Classroom

If you start using them.. I am excited to see what you do.. and I am excited to develop some ideas of my own..






Should Oklahoma Teachers Strike?

You know about a year ago, someone on facebook reached out to me through a teacher group and told me about his plans to plan a strike. I discouraged him, I said you have an advocate in the state department, there is good will, lets see if they legislature delivers.  They did not strike.. I should mention that this person is no longer a teacher, they left the profession.

So now after several failed attempts a teacher raise – including the 1 cent sales text with President Boren, the Step Up Plan,  and suggestions by Joy Hofmeister in her OKSDE budget plans – I am left reflecting on if now is the time?

I see the teachers in West Virginia protesting and walking out – because they are making much more than Oklahoma and its still not enough..  and I see them on the news, and I know their legislature is getting the message.

Tonight I spent time watching the public hearing at Bartlesville as to whether they should support a teacher strike.. I was moved by the community that supported their teachers and how it was not teachers talking, it was students, business owners, and grandparents.

As I know from my study on teachers leaving, it is a hard choice for them.. but I worry that it is almost too late for your students in Oklahoma.  If another wave of qualified teachers leave, what will our classrooms look like.. 35 students, 40 students,  standing room only?  Or will we have to stop viewing teaching as a profession all together and just make sure someone is in each room?  What will the solution be?

I feel as though my perspective has changed from a year ago.  I think if teachers strike it will be justified and the only people to blame is all of us for not holding our elected officials accountable much earlier.

the whole thing makes me incredibly sad.. I know how important teachers are to our communities, to our social fabric, and most importantly to our children.

Have we crossed a line of no return?

EdCampOKC is This Weekend!

So this Saturday is EdCamp OKC but it is in Norman at Irving Middle School!   I am super excited because I love to see our students and grads and hear what they are up to.

Check out what an EdCamp is all about


They still have seats left, I really hope that you will join us!


Why to EdCamp as a Professor:

  1. it helps you build connections with local schools!
  2. It helps your students network and find jobs.
  3. You learn new things!
  4.  You get ideas for your classroom.
  5. Even if you don’t teach teachers, it can help you know what is happening in K-12 schools and improve your way of reaching Freshman and underclassmen at the University.
  6. You can learn about the Unconference Model.. (we should do more of this in Higher Education).
  7. It is Fun!

How do I Edcamp?  I am more a hallway person,I may not go to many sessions but I talk to everyone. Also, I always do a session about what future teachers want to know.  My students are usually too nervous to run their session, but I can lead them and model for them.   In this session, I invite teachers and administrators to come and answer our preservice teacher questions.   It is a lot of fun, I get to know my students better, and I love how administrators that I don’t know come to meet potential employees.

If you are a professor, there may be an EdCamp near you and this would be a great way to connect with your community.


We got interviewed on BadgeChatK12

So I got interviewed on BadgeChatK12 broadcast about our use of badges in our preservice technology integration classes.

You can see it here:


We did it a little on the fly – I asked if any of my students in the morning class wanted to participate and I got 1 yes – From Brody Smith.. We were far from rehearsed but it is an interesting conversation.  We will practice more in the future so we share the time better!

Noah Geisel – is a badge pioneer who organizes BadgeSummit right before ISTE (day before). It was the highlight of my conference last year so I definitely encourage you to consider going in Chicago. (here is last year’s link)

Noah interviewed us about using badging in preservice teacher education and the who what when where and why of it.. I am proud of what we are working on and how using badges allows busy working students to create flexible learning experiences.   the chat really helped me see where we need to go.

Participating in this chat was a very reflective process for me.  First, It got me to think about how we can bolster the project by involving administrators from local schools in the process as endorsers.  Second, it helped me to think about how I should be teaching more about badging in general – ie.. I have not been getting students to consider if they will use badging themselves and more about the equity side of badging.   Third, I see that we need to provide even more choice – so students pick 16 badges from a list of 22 or so.. versus having to do all 16.   After the interviewing, I will look for outside endorsers of the badges and increase readings.

it was a little scary to talk about what we are doing – because I know that we are newbies in the badge process.  People like Rick West have been doing badging for a long time. However it is important for all levels of implementation to have a voice..  Hopefully people who heard us talk about badging which is about a year old -will be willing to investigate it and consider trying it themselves.


Please comment on this post with your ideas after you watch it.. How could we better use badging in Preservice teacher education.


Celebrating PreService Teacher Questions

This week the @oueducation students in my technology integration course took over the #OklaEd Chat. I moderated but a lot of my students attended and asked so many questions. They are hungry to know more about being a teacher and twitter provided a good forum to get those questions out and facilitate class discussion.

How did we pick the questions?

We used tricider to have all questions suggested and then we used the top 7 (we combined a few to get most of the questions out)  Tricider is a tool for brainstorming that I learned through some of my work with ISTE.  it worked well in this context. Students put up their questions and then had a few days to vote on top questions.  The key to using tricider is time to vote and formulate orginal ideas – and those two times being separate.

Here is our tricider page:

The OklaEd Chat

The chat was many side questions.  Our students had a bunch of questions, and wanted them answered – and Oklahoma educators were great at doing that.  To see the actual chat transcript visit:

Also it was featured on OklaSaid by Scott Haselwood and Erin Barnes.  This podcast dives deeper into the issues. 

In addition, we did a follow up activity that was a bust at first, but now has seemed to be valuable for those that got replies – I created a @Flipgrid for our students to post questions and then to have teachers answered. I had a few rock stars that answered a bunch, and they made it work.. but overall it was a bit of a bust because teachers are busy and I did not have that many answers.

I loved how the flipgrid showed a little picture of who had replied.

So here is what I learned from this experiment.

  1. Giving students forums to ask “real life” teachers questions is great and necessary.
  2. Find a group to get more engaged in answering – if I did this again – i would get up front agreement and not spring it on them.  (ie.. maybe a graduate class or a teacher organization).
  3. I got several several alumni to engage – which was great and helped me to foster greater alumni connections (which can be important for placement, recruiting, and to support projects as well as the alumni themselves).
  4.  Pay attention to the questions preservice teachers ask, it tells us a lot about their fears and what we project.  Most students asked about work life balance, workload, and getting a job.  This is what is on their radar and we should consider this in student teaching and first year supports. And also know that they are hearing how terrible teaching is, we need to celebrate the great parts of the job, like #TeachLikeMe and other movements.
  5. I got replies from all over the country, even people I did not know. I love how supportive the teacher community is.. but I wonder if my students get that just yet.
  6. I need to better define student roles and have them do more of the leg work in the future..  I still moderated with student created questions/tiles  but I think next time, it will be better to have a committee of students to run it.
  7. The class discussions after the chat were great. We shifted through answers that concerned them…(like stay away from Pinterest) and helped make sense of them.  It was a valuable discussion for students who participated and who did not.

Not all of the students appreciated it, but those that “got it” really made great direct connections to teachers. I have to remind myself that not all students are developmentally ready to truly participate in the teacher community – but that for those that are, its a wonderful experience.  For many others, it is an early exposure to the field and teaching community and as they grow, they will know places to find it in the future.

For the future, I may reach out and see if we can do this as part of the #TeachLikeMe movement in spring.   This would be a great way to involve Preservice teachers in the recruitment of future teachers and give #TeachLikeMe involved teachers a way to communicate their message.




Spending Time in the Schools

So Monday and Tuesday I cancelled class and took my students instead to local schools.  I am so thankful to the relationships that I have with local educators to be able to do it.  I have to say arranging these kinds of group visits -gosh logistically it is hard! but totally worth it.

Students spent their class time during the week attending a school and observing how they were using technology.  On Monday we went to Norman North High School and Tuesday we attended the Showcase at Arthur Elementary in Oklahoma School.  Arthur is a Connect Ed School who received a grant from Apple so all students were given an iPad and teachers received a ton of Professional development.

Here are some pictures and some of of what the students did..

Chris Kalinsky – Apple Distinguished Educator and iTeam leader for Norman North High School  lead our tour of the new beautiful school.       

About 20 students attended.

Peter Leisenfeld spent a lot of time talking to students about preparing for their jobs.

The Norman North faculty and staff were amazing in supporting our students. Several teachers took time out of their day to talk to us including the librarians and Principal Dr. Pete Leisenfeld.

On Tuesday,  we took a group to Arthur Elementary – This a ConnectED School.

Students were proud to show us their work.

Principal Dr. Rhonda Schroeder took time throughout the day to talk to students to both get feedback and share her leadership philosophy.

The special education team took time to talk to your our special education students during her prep time.


We got to see our 2017 grad  Tessa Turnbull teaching which was great for my students. 

Carrie Price, a current graduate student in our ILAC program, taught how to create presentations in Keynote using shapes.  Something I had just seen THIS week in the Apple Teacher newsletter.  They are doing things quickly there.


So why is this sooooo important? 

I am finding more and more that we need to get our students into schools more.  By attending as a large group, yes, we don’t get an authentic experience but we get a shared experience that we can talk about for the rest of the semester.

My students got to see schools in two different stages of technology integration.  Norman is starting a new initiative, Arthur is 3 years in – those are very different an provide great opportunities for discussion and comparison.

The most meaningful interactions were between teachers and administrators with students. They got to see different philosophies and what they shared gave “street cred” to my curricular choices.  This is especially true when students saw the different technologies we use in use in the classroom.

So what does it do for me as a professor? 

Spending more time in classrooms helps me to keep my technology skills limber and relevant.  Let me give a great example. Many of the teachers were using Classroom app to control the iPads at Arthur.  When Classroom first came out, it was not compatible with how we do not manage our iPads.  So Barry took a few minutes to show me the update and get me up to speed. I am changing what I am teaching next week to demo this in class.  It is also really important for students to see that I have relationships with teachers and administrators.  I work really hard to make sure what we do is relevant and updated and I think this visit helps to establish that..

I really wish I could spend more time in schools.   I have often been jealous of friends who work at PDS schools and get to embed in the K-12 environment.  Interacting with teachers every day, is a lot of fun and we need to do more of it in Higher education.


I got to sneak peek at a new book and I liked it!!!

So I know Monica Burns as a speaker from our iPadpaloozaOU conference in 2016 and 2017 and through the ADE program.  I generally know her in only a professional capacity.

She recently asked me if I would be willing to do a review of her book coming out next week, no pressure but if I would be willing to write a review of it.  And honestly, I felt no pressure and approached it as if I were looking at for use with my preservice teachers.

First, let me say that I was complimented.  I have reviewed books before in the pre-publication phase but never been given an opportunity to endorse a book or not..   I have copies of some of Monica’s other books and I find them to be very practical and applied, which can be a great compliment when paired with more empirical readings as part of teacher education or professional development course for current teachers.  Students seem to be really motivated by these hands-on books because they are wondering how it is done in the real world and inservice teachers are looking for ideas that are well justified and tied to curricular goals.

Much like when one is asked to review someone’s tenure dossier and you realize they are “good” .. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the pre-publication copy of Monica’s Book Tasks before Apps and realized it was REALLY GOOD!  So I was comfortable endorsing and could see using it with my preservice teachers or in my spring graduate course where I always have students read one professional book in addition to research articles.

So the book is called Tasks before Apps

This book deals with a problem that I have long felt in Ed Tech. The idea that we have to keep chasing the new popular app and forget all about what we were wanting kids to do in class.  Tech without content or without a sound rationale for using it.. (ie.. is it assessment? will it help students to explain? Will it engage additional communication channels or ways of explaining?)   A perfect example of this problem is whiteboard apps.. I see teachers all the time that really have mastered something like Educreations but then hear that Explain Everything is “better” and abandon their workflow and process to use the “better” app.  Both of these apps have their pros and cons but the most important factor is a teacher who knows them well and uses them comfortably with their students –  and even more importantly has their students create things with them to achieve a meaningful classroom task (explanation, assessment, presentation, communication, etc..)

Additionally, Tasks before Apps  focuses on having students using tools in content creation – which matches my philosophy and is where I see educational technology needing to go.. We need to get past teacher productivity and move to concrete examples of students creating things with technology to show their understanding.  We also need to make more examples available to teachers of how this can be done to both generate ideas and opportunities to discuss and critique actual use cases.

Finally this book has real example of how you could use different tools in the classroom in a meaningful way. I especially liked that it dealt with different grade levels. I love teaching an educational technology class, but sometimes wish my early childhood, elementary, and secondary students were in different sections – because rarely are there examples for all grade levels.

I am going to consider using this book as the practice book for my Teaching with Technology graduate class this spring (I always pick one book that is under $30 that might be read as a book group for PD)  and perhaps in the future for my undergraduate course.

When we think of our service role to our field, I think looking at new books and helping to curate content is an important role for us as professors to play. We have the opportunity to review resources both open resources and affordably priced resources that could help our future teachers generate ideas, critique and feel supported in the classroom.  I enjoyed this opportunity and look forward to other opportunities to share my expertise in the future.

So I think I have an endorsement on the book, (haven’t seen it yet, but Monica Tweeted my comment out) but happy to endorse. I think this would be a good book for preservice teachers or for a book study in a district. You might want to check Tasks before Apps out.

Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom