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Reflective moment.. Having it all come together

So this year, I have been working on myself a little..

I had a job coach in fall and took a class on emotional reflection .. (both of these made available by wayfinding academy connections)

So some things that I noticed about myself that is good for those of us in higher education to think about.

We live very segmented lives…. we make it through the day or to the weekend, but we don’t really take the time to think like we should any more..

I was asked several times in the last few days about how I like to think.. and you know the answer was, I like to think in big pictures and think ahead.  but I found myself asking, if that is how I like to think – why I am just crossing things off list.. and how does it make it me feel?

Every experience makes you feel something, but given some meetings I had this week, and a project I am working on public speaking, I am realizing that reflection is important and it is okay to decide what we love doing and pursue it.

I think I am close to breakthrough (note: not breakdown) where there are a bunch of ideas that I have been thinking about are coming together.  I have had some amazing experiences in the last 5 years since we started the iPad project at OU. I have learned so much, changed how I learn, networked with some of the most amazing people in the world, and changed my views about expertise and educational change…  but where can I take those ideas? How can I combine them together? Research? Service? Teaching? or something else.

So I challenge you, my higher education friends,  have you reflected on where you are, where you have been and where you are going?  It is both scary and fun..

Join me on the rollercoaster and lets see where it can go!!


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..






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.




Updated Map for Teachers Leaving Oklahoma

I continue to work on my research about Oklahoma Teacher Flight.  You may remember the survey that is available at 

I am preparing to present my Research Findings on Thursday, October 5th at the Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association Annual Meeting in Lawton Oklahoma.

As I am working on my data, I created another map showing where teachers left.  It is embedded below. Click on a marker to see where they came from (Oklahoma Town) is the label and the marker location is marking their new home.  Data also shows their difference in Salary.

All teachers that responded that stayed in education are making more money than they did in Oklahoma.  (I removed one response where they were now a graduate student) I had 240 of the 250 provide full salary information in a usable form.  (The ones that were not excluded, provided most information but either were those that said they could not remember what they made in Oklahoma or provided non comparable amounts – ie.. I made 2,000 after taxes in Oklahoma but now make 56,000 etc.. ) I coded those 10 as not sure or non compatible amounts.

For the 240 respondents that gave salary information for both Oklahoma and their new jobs.  Just looking at base salary, no extra duties, it amounts a total difference of $4,582,626.00!!!!!!! (an average of around 19,000 per teacher!) 

Wow..  Wow .. Wow..  I continue to work on my data to present it as a post on Thursday morning..   but perhaps we should think of this..

Imagine what your community would be like if there was even a few people who had 19,000 more to spend. What would that mean to the restaurants? Car Dealerships?  Grocery stores?  Banks?  

As we talk about budget shortfalls – just those numbers sink in. 

Using Apple Distinguished Educator Books in Preservice Teacher Education

So I have been asked by local schools to quit teaching smartboard.  I am on the fence about this because my ed tech classes are a mix of Early childhood, elementary and secondary students.  So this semester, I instead made smartboard a choice, not a requirement and we will see how that goes.

Instead I made interactive whiteboard apps a requirement.  (they have been for several years) but I have always struggled to think of a way to have students use them in a meaningful way and not waste important content time.  Also, slimming smartboard bought me more coding time, a chance to visit our connect ed school in OKC, and more time for interactive whiteboards.

  • Previous Attempts:
    I have had them make tutorials (snoozeville) and then it also only focuses on the tech not content.
  • Last year I tried to have them report on Horizon report and the National Ed tech plan – and that was problematic for two reasons. Dry content and then they tried to use the IWB as powerpoint -which they are not..

So I had to redesign the assignment again.  Additionally, on my evaluations, I always have complaints about not doing enough allow enough content choices (ie.. secondary want to do secondary, early childhood want early childhood etc..) And all my students have iPads so how do I do it?

This summer I realized I was not using a great resource – the Apple Distinguished Educator Books available in the iBooks store.  They can be hard to search for but there is way to link to them.

This listing gets you to all the books that have been published by Apple Distinguished Educators where they associated it with their account.   These are stories from the classroom,  of how they are using Apple tools in the classroom and different Apps.

So to teach interactive whiteboards, I divided students up into groups and assigned them a interactive whiteboard ish app (Baiboard, Notability, Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe,  Paper by 53, and NearPod)  Then I let them pick any book from this list.. It was great because they triaged the books for me and could share with their classmates a few that are really good.

Lessons Learned
I am pretty happy with the assignment, they picked things they liked and were able to demo the apps well. I learned some new tricks in different apps and students were creative in using the tools.   They also had strong opinions which is what I wanted them to have so they can influence choices as a teacher by their school.

They needed more than 10 minutes for sure to present though.  I need to also add a youtube tutorial watching requirement (I could tell the groups that knew the apps better than others). Finally, I need to make a dibs google doc. ( Ie.. I need to have people call “Dibs” on a book), because after three classes, Bea Leiderman, I love ya, but if I see the Aphid story one more time, I am going to wig out.  So not allowing a duplicate book is more for me than anyone else.  Also, I could have directed them towards some that I really like – for example no one read Peter Esperanza, Brendan Kelly, Letty Batista or Dustin Carlson,(to name a few there are so many  more..)  and those are some good books for my preservice audience.  However, in the end their choice was important for me both to learn what mattered to them and to give them ownership.   Also it seems there are books that I know that are out there do not show populate the ADE directory in iBooks – different Apple ID maybe?  (For example Letty, Samantha and Jim ‘s heart book which is published under UGA – )

Here are some of the books
I did not get an exhaustive list,(and I fudged the titles a bit as I went – my apologies but use the links)  but here are some of the good ones that students really liked.. If you are not checking out Apple Distinguished Educator books on the IBooks store, you should be.

Mary Kemper is a Math Rockstar !  I have had several students create reviews of two of her books. what I really liked that is that elementary and secondary math minded students found stuff they liked.
Patterns –
Photo Walks

Bea Leiderman – Great story books with her bug photography My students really went to the Lady Bug and Aphids – They loved the independent nature of aphids – cuz they don’t need no man!

Rabbi Michael Cohen -Students Teaching Students  This sparked a good discussion on how to group students.

Mat Pullen – Engaging Parents – students liked this because they feel not especially well prepared.  They also loved Mat’s son in the pictures.

Jodie Deinheimer -Middle School zoo book.  This was a favorite among all three classes. They liked that the students had made the book themselves and found it appropriate for elementary students as well.

Cathy Hunt – IPad Art – I had three really artsy students – all different majors and they loved trying out the apps and getting inspired about how they could incorporate art in the regular curriculum.

John Neal Augmented Reality – This book was great because it made it seem approachable (which it is) and the students had ideas about using it AR right away and they tied it into IOS 11 and how you will be able to use AR tool kit.

Joe Allen – this book was very popular because students were hungry for ideas to help students. While it is Aussie, it had some great overviews for the students to think about accessibility and easy to use apps.

Jenny Graibec – Jenny is well known as an expert for kids with learning differences. Many of my students reviewed this book and she took the air out of my accessibility lesson. happy to have that happen.  Students were excited to try out the tools she talked about.

Natalie Woodward  This is an international book and I don’t think I know Natalie.  but the book was called iFlipped and it really had students debating if flipped learning was a good or bad thing.  Fruitful discussion for sure. Many were unsure what flipped was.. so definitions were great.

David Wingler – Gamification for Math.  This book was chosen often for a great cover and gamification. Students explored using this app and liked the idea.  It will be food for thought.

April Requard Keynote for storytelling. Students really enjoyed this book because of the showcase of student work and the creativity. It allowed me to talk about the updated vector shapes in Keynote which was a great teachable moment.

Students used Educreations with screen shots to show assistive tech settings. 

Students used vending machine cheese its to show counting patterns. 


I flipped had students explore if flipped learning was “good’ 

Students Baiboard as a group presentation with questions throughout.

Switched at Birth

So my latest binge on Netflix was Switched at Birth.. Wow..  really well done..

So here are a few revelations from watching this show.. *snark*

People with disabilities are people and have complex lives like everyone else.

People with disabilities have relationships and even have sex as teenagers like regular teenagers.

People with disabilities face struggles but they are not the same as people of color and the experience is not universal because a group is “othered”

Family is difficult for everyone.. disability or not..  and everyone has challenges and we need to work through them together.

I really suggest people watch it.  The one thing is, since there is signing and subtitles you can’t just passively watch, you have to engage with the show to follow.   But it is definitely worth it.



My Comic Book Syllabus got Mentioned in a BookCreator Blog

So I shared my Bitmoji laden syllabus on twitter and I was asked last week if they could refer to it in a Book Creator Blog.. this is fun..

First let’s read how they included it.

Building classroom community and culture with Book Creator

So here is my take on my syllabus..

I expect students to use Book Creator throughout the semester. Currently they are using StoryCubes to create a story with Book Creator.

I started this project, because I saw talk of Comic Book syllabi being using in K12 on Twitter and I thought, oh I could do that. I love Bitmoji and being able to laugh at myself a little.  Also, BookCreator has just come out with the Beta Version of their Chrome Editor version of Book Creator and one criticism, I get from my alumni is that I don’t do enough Chromebook integration so I wanted to try it out.

here is my syllabus!

I found the online system really easy to use the only thing that was not as “good” as the iPad app was the speed at which images were added.. but remember you are uploading to the “cloud” . I had one piece of functionality that I lost, I could not do a pdf of the book – so i downloaded an epub and then put it on my iPad and one page did not transfer. but overall it was good..

it was fun to do, and it made me feel like I could be more personal. However, my students did not love it..  I made the regular syllabus to copy and paste to the book. and some students really did not like the comic book syllabus and kind of rejected it.  We need to work on being more flexible for sure. All of the same information was there.

Back to what Book Creator wrote – did it help me with classroom culture?  Absolutely..  I think it started day one by showing that I was using the tools and it also helped me to better talk about Chromebook integration with students. I also embarked on it because of some twitter talk about referring students to services related to the book Paying the Price.  No matter what you do, as a comic or not..  its great to let students know you are there for them and make yourself a person to them.

I would highly recommend it to faculty, make yourself a person and make yourself accessible to students.   In the future, I will add a video welcome message, maybe made with clips! (for captioning).


Tool, either iPad or the Chrome version at  is great tool to use to make it happen. It produces an epub that is readable on all devices – android, Mac, IOS, or windows.

Holy Cow I was on News9

I wrote earlier this week about how my research project looking at teachers leaving the state has taken off.  Well after 46 hours, I got a call from CBS News 9 and I was interviewed and my project was featured on the 10 pm news.

Here is a link to the actual broadcast

I only got about 10 more responses after the News Story.. so I feel pretty good it is not going to totally skew my data.

Overall I am happy with the message and feel that I represented Oklahoma Teachers well.

If you know a teacher who has left Oklahoma to teach in another state, please share the survey address of with them, so they could participate.



Addressing Hate in the Classroom

I have been like many others aghast at the white supremacist and nazi activity since the last election.. To be truthful, I don’t doubt that it has always been going on, but for many reasons it seems now to some that these kind of thoughts are OK..   I am here to say they are not,  and that is not the America that I know and love.   We have worked so hard to move forward from our hateful past and I feel as though we are watching a loose string being pulled on a sweater, and we are being pulled back into dark times.   Part of how this kind of hate speech continues is that those who are not okay with it, don’t speak up.

However,  I think we need to think about our stations in life and how we make a difference in the world.  For me, it is by working with teachers, both current and future, and that is where I can have an influence.

I have been trying to find some good resources to address hate in the classroom – and did a little research and wanted to share them with my friends..
One lead me to the other two.. and they have different audiences and perhaps different uses. .
They are From Teaching Tolerance. (which has much more than I am highlighting now)
Responding to Hate and Bias at School – a guide for Teachers and Administrators
I am especially interested in this pocket guide – and the lesson plan that goes with it..
This by far is the best – Its a PDF booklet with ideas for students and teachers.
So I am left thinking about how I will incorporate them into my teaching – so far here is where I am at:
I want to make these options for some open ended badges on Webinars and classroom readings. I am going to explore the cyberbullying section in more detail (as that matches my curriculum most closely)..
I can’t possibly say it enough that it is not OKay.. but what I can do is incorporate topics into my teaching and help give other teachers tools, resources, PD, and lesson plans to deal with hate that may be in their classrooms. I hope if you are a teacher or know teachers, you might pass it along.

One lead me to the other two.. and they have different audiences and perhaps different uses. .

They are From Teaching Tolerance. (which has much more than I am highlighting now)

Responding to Hate and Bias at School – a guide for Teachers and Administrators…/Responding%20to%20Hate%20at%20Sc…

I am especially interested in this pocket guide – and the lesson plan that goes with it..…/how-to-implement-speak-up-at-sc……/ge…/speak_up_pocket_card_2up.pdf

This by far is the best –…/…/2017-06/Speak_Up_at_School.pdf Its a PDF booklet with ideas for students and teachers.

So I am left thinking about how I will incorporate them into my teaching – so far here is where I am at:
I want to make these options for some open ended badges on Webinars and classroom readings. I am going to explore the cyberbullying section in more detail (as that matches my curriculum most closely)..

For me, I know there are a lot of people online that are wanting people to speak out on social media about what happened yesterday in Charlottesville, I can’t possibly say it enough that it is not Okay.. but what I can do is incorporate topics into my teaching and help give other teachers tools, resources, PD, and lesson plans to deal with hate that may be in their classrooms. I hope if you are a teacher or know teachers, you might pass it along.

These are my initial thoughts,  I appreciate additional ideas and support.  One thing that I know is very important to remember, these are scary times, and we need to encourage every one who makes an effort in the right direction.   Unfortunately, there is not a clear pathway on many of these things, there may be stumbles along the way,  but by sharing resources and support – we can all make a positive difference.

Oh Alumni

So probably one of the best things about being a professor is alumni who stay in touch.

Are you shocked by this? I hope not..

In the last two days, I have had such great experiences with alumni and even some interested possible future students.

So what do I love about my interaction with alumni the best?

Real Feedback!  I had a conversation with someone yesterday and they explained to me that they did not continue on their educational path because of self protection – they wanted to maintain the creativity – and I felt – well.. Crushed!! but it was real feedback.

Another student, made a selfie video for me as part of an evaluation project and well.. Gosh.. I have watched it 4 times because I am tired and burned out and it reminds why I do what I do..

A third was showing me pictures of her new school.. and how excited she is to start her third year of teaching.  Thank you that excitement is infectious and a shot in the arm.

Also, this week I have had experiences talking to a first year teacher who will benefit from the Taryn Trotter Book Drive – which unfortunately is named for an 2013 grad who lost her battle with colon cancer.  

I love seeing our students making a difference in our world, be it in Oklahoma or Texas – I love seeing them making a difference in schools and kids lives..

If you are an alum, feel free to drop me a line.. let me know how its going ?  If you are not yet a student, come join us, let’s change the world together.