Flexible Learning Conference

Thank you for attending my session at the Flexible Learning Conference at Madison College. I hope you had as much fun as I did and that you arrived home safely with some bricks and clicks that can try in your classroom. This blog post was designed as your outsourced memory for the session. So, if you forgot something, that is ok, it is here for you to jog your memory any time you want.

The first thing I asked you to do, was to join me on the outsourced memory page. The QR code below is for those of you with smart devices. If you don’t have a QR code reader on your device, I would suggest getting the i-nigma app from 3GVision http://www.i-nigma.com/downloadi-nigmareader.html



prEmail & Thinslicing

Prior to the event, I sent out a prEmail (Pre-session Email) to those of you I had emails for. If you aren’t in the habit of sending prEmails the week before classes begin, you may want to give it a try. And might I also recommend adding a personal touch? For example, give a short video introduction of yourself and share something with students just for fun, no grades or assessment intended.  In my prEmail,  I shared a video and logic puzzle. Here they are.

The Question:

If Coffee pot A holds 32 ounces of coffee; about how many ounces does coffee pot B hold?

Entrance Ticket

One of the first things I did was to ask you to open a window on your computers or smart devices to this link. This is Sli.do an we are going to be using it as a backchannel/clicker tool throughout the session. 

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know!

First Five

During these first 5 minutes while we are waiting for things to begin, I have a little logic puzzle for you. The task is to connect all 9 dots with four straight lines. Once you put your pencil to paper though, you are not permitted to lift it again. Go ahead, give it a shot. Ask the person next to you if they have the answer!




You may remember the 9-dot logic puzzle I gave you during our First Five. I gave you this to spark discussion around the question, “What are you doing in your First Five to get students thinking?” The strategy being, “if you are always doing things that are engaging and fun before class even begins, your students will be more likely to show up early, ready to learn.”

Road Signs

The logic puzzle led us to a discussion about our blind spots.  I asked you about the road sign and possibly shared the video below.

If you are interested in learning more about our blind spots and Cathy Davidson’s ideas on Collaboration by Difference, I recommend you check out her book, Now You See It. Just click on the image below to learn more.

After our discussion of blind spots, I shared the Ten Teacher Tricks every teacher should know.

Ten Teacher Tricks Every Teacher Should Know

1) If you are having trouble focusing and getting work done, check out Leechblock for Firefox, StayFocusd for Chrome, and WasteNoTime for Safari. Or simply put your device in airplane mode and turn off your notification in Microsoft Office. You can also employ an app like  http://selfcontrolapp.com/

2) Use Google as much more than a web search tool: Google goes way beyond search definitions, the FAA database, & unit currency conversion. Try out some Google Operators like: site: &  filetype:

3) Learn how to take screenshots http://www.take-a-screenshot.org/

4)When browsing on the Internet, don’t use the scroll key or your mouse, hit the space par to go down one page and the shift space par to go up one page.

5)When the font on a website is too small to see, use the CNTRL +- feature to make the font larger or smaller.

6) When using smart devices don’t worry about punctuation. Simply hit the space key twice and a period and a capital letter will be inserted for you.

7) If you don’t want to have to listen to voice mail instructions, use a voicemail bypass code. * for Verizon, 1 for Sprint, # for AT&T and # for T-Mobile

8) When presenting try using the letter B to blackout your screen W to white it out. This trick will work in Powerpoint an Prezi. I am presenting via my blog, which doesn’t offer that feature, but I can likely use the remote for the same effect.

9)Learn the top key commands to boost productivity





10. Don’t be afraid to use plants in your classroom. Having confederates (whether colleagues or students) ask questions or make comments is a great way to get others to ask questions or make comments.

In a Student’s Lifetime

I also shared the Rules for Innovation after 35 by  Douglas Adams

Death by Powerpoint


Guided Research

At this point in the presentation, rather than teaching you, I let you teach yourselves and asked you “Who are Sugata Mitra and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi?”



FlowFiero and Naches

Fun theory

Takeaway Breakaway

During our break, I would like to ask you to think of creative ways to use fun theory on your own campuses to nudge student behaviors. Click here to get back to Sli.do where you can ask me questions about the first part of the workshop or share with the rest of the group some of your ideas for Fun Theory on Campus. At this time, I will also ask you to start thinking about your favorite takeaways from the first part of our session. Prepare yourselves, the Machine Gun Sharecase is next 🙂

Machine Gun Sharecase

What follows are some of my favorite Brick & Click Teacher Tricks that every teacher should know.

Kooshing the Envelope – A koosh ball can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom. This handout gives you some suggestions.

prEmails – Send students an email (preferably with video) prior to the start of a class. This can also be done prior to tests, and prior to other key events during the semester.

Entrance & Exit Tickets

Classroom Clickers – I wish we had more time in the session to play with these, but programs like SocrativePolleverywhereSli.Do, & Infuse LearningGuided Research and JIT Learning (Remember Sugata & Mihaly?) You don’t have to teach content for students to learn about it. If you want them to actively learn about a topic, ask them guiding questions and mentor them as they search.

Google Power Searching – Are you a google power searcher? Test your knowledge of these teacher tricks.

Google Picture Searching for Vocabulary and for Connect 4 type activities – Don’t forget that Google allows students to search by images as well as by text. This can be a considerable asset when teaching key vocabulary (Obsequious PEMDAS). Google pictures can also be combined with Pecha Kucha as part of a presentation.

Infographics and Pixlr

Going Walkabout – Get students up and moving

Youtube for Curation & Creation

Amara.org for ADA Compliance

IDKY – I Don’t Know Yet!

Cold Calling with No Opt Out

Plants in the Classroom

Common Placing

Learning in the CloudGoogle Drive, One Drive, iCloud

Using QR Codes – QR Codes are a great way to share handouts, links, websites, books, information and more

Feeding your PLN – Read Write Think,  SophiaIdea channelTEDVsaucesmarter every day,  edudemicmashabletechcrunchreadwritewebwiredtwitter, lifehacker21st century learningiTunes Uedutopiaclassroom 2.0iLearn TechnologyEdTechTalkinfinite Thinking MachineDangerously IrrelevantCirclesofinnovation.org, etc.

Comic Strips as Cognitive Sparks – Have students create comic strip chapter summaries

Four Corners Walk (aka Stand Where You Stand)

TED in the Classroom

First Five Apptivities –  Camfind – Fact or Fiction – Famous Quotes – 7 Degrees

“The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine” –  Abraham Lincoln


Post It Notes

Fist of Five (hold up 1 to 5 digits to gauge level of understanding).

Wait Time – studies show the time you wait for an answer is much shorter than you think; force yourself to count the seconds, and most of the time, the braver students will finally make a stab at it.

Pecha Kucha This is a presentation format – 20 slides with 20 seconds per slide. But who says you have to be exact? Why not bring in 10 pictures and have students link the 10 pictures with 10 seconds per slide with a 10 second introduction and a 10 second conclusion for 2 minutes of summary presentation. Any variation can work, and you can even have students look up their slides on their smart phones.

Screencasting – MovenoteScreencastomatic and Jing are FREE, easy-to-use screencasting technologies that you and your students can use to record videos of anything you, or they, can do or make on a computer’s screen. It is called a screencast because you record and broadcast your voice and the images directly from your computer’s screen.


Here I will share a quick preview of Jing and Screencastomatic. Then I will demonstrate Movenote and asked you to download it to your devices.

Connect 4 Assignment

This is another hands on portion of the workshop. I am asking you to use Movenote to make and share a one minute video screencast of four takeaways from the day’s session. Once completed, I will ask you to share your favorite ideas with four of your friends. Essentially, you are connecting your four favorite ideas with your favorite colleagues. I will also ask you to share your links with the rest of the group via our Sli.Do backchannel. For those of you who like instructions, read the six steps below. Also, if you have any questions, just raise your hand or give me a nod and a wink and I will come over to help out you or your team.

Step 1 – Download and install Movenote on your smart device or go to Movenote.com on your computer and create a free account

Step 2 – Identify your four favorite takeaways from the day’s session

Step 3 – Use Google or your device’s camera to identify an introduction slide, 4 images that will represent your four takeaways, and a conclusion slide

Step 4 – Create a Movenote with the 6 images using the modified Pecha Kucha of 10 seconds minimum per slide.

Step 5 – Save and share the link to your Movenote via the backchannel

Step 6 – Connect your four ideas with four of your colleagues – (i.e. share your Movenote link with four of your colleagues)

Q & A

Will add to this, following the presentation

Possible Extras

Possible new perspectives on emotion, cognition, and attention

Don’t Be the Lid!