Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bringing Out My Inner Artist

Anyone that has ever been my student would tell you the only thing I am able to draw is a square. Everything I draw is a square: moon landing - square, Civil War - square, mountains even turn out to be a square! Students would laugh as I would begin to describe some event in history and walk to the board with marker in hand. I am always ready to assist their understanding of the topic with a visual, only to reproduce the event as a square.

This school year, however, I have found my inner artist. I have been using Doceri for years to control my computer wirelessly, add content to my lessons on the fly, and make custom presentations and "My Recordings" to flip classroom content. Over a year ago, my friend and colleague, Jason Bretzmann, gave me a 53 Pencil stylus as a gift. Jason knew I appreciate a quality writing utensil, and was looking for a better stylus for my iPad. This is where the 53 Pencil helped me to further develop my artistic skills. There was only one problem.....the 53 Pencil did not work with my iPad2. The 53 Pencil sat in its box until this school year, when my school bought me an iPad Air 2.

If you have been using Doceri or have viewed the tutorial videos, you see the powerful abilities Doceri has in the hands of skillful artists. While I am not a skillful artist, I always want to push myself and find ways to grow and improve as a professional. With my iPad Air 2, my 53 Pencil and Doceri, I have been able to stop drawing squares....most of the time.

I moderate a Twitter chat every Tuesday night, 8PM CST, called #personalizedPD. In the chat we focus on the book that I co-authored, "Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development."

I was looking for a visual to help promote the ideas I discuss in my chapter: the ABCCs of PersonalizedPD: Attendance, Balance, Choice, Communication.  I had a few ideas in mind, when I decided I wanted to use a soup can. I used my iPad and found an image online. I then took the image and pasted it into the background of a Doceri project. Next, I used my 53 Pencil and began to remove the images and text I didn't want in order to create my custom look. 
I used the image from my book above and placed it in the center of the can, adding a black circle to help focus the eye on the book. After I added more text to the can, I cropped out the rest of the iPad screen and saved the picture to my camera roll. From there, I uploaded the final picture of a promotional image for my book via my Twitter account. 

Final picture upload to Twitter

I continued to experiment with using Doceri to make custom artwork to promote my work. I teach graduate classes and one of our offerings is called Patio PD (Professional Development). During Patio PD, teachers meet at an educator's house and discuss various topics and ideas they would like to implement in their classrooms. Our biggest Patio PD event is coming up on July 14th, International #PatioPD day. To help promote this day I used a famous WWI propaganda poster and made some adjustments.

The boy in the foreground is playing with army/military toys meaning that even he, a young boy likes war and wants to be a part of it. The daughter is on her father's lap with her history book asking about WWI and what he did during this historic event. The father's face shows concern because he did not fight in the war and doesn't know what to say. The point being that each of us should do something during WWI so we can hold our heads high in the future. I took this poster and made artistic adjustments to fit my needs.

I used the ability of Doceri to add layers of pictures and then easily draw over them to replace the toy soldiers on the ground with a patio. I took our International #PatioPD sign and added it close to his head so that is appears his is thinking about it. I used the same general question that was asked but I changed the premise to be about our International #PatioPD day.

As I worked on both projects, I learned the valuable lesson of zooming in on an image when coloring it within Doceri. At first, I was trying to color in images from the standard viewing distance and struggled to accurately remove the sections I desired. After zooming in I was able to correct fine details much more easily. 

Recently, my students have been interested in Tykes and trying to create their own custom Tyke. Once again, Doceri and the customization art options made this simple. I found some Tykes online and built a character that looks close to my teacher image. I was able to use Doceri's features and color over and add other aspects to the Tyke to make it look more like me. I found the images I needed: a basketball court, a ball, a business suit person, and a head that was similar to mine, and I was set.

I placed the images into a Doceri project and then used the 53 Pencil to color over the images I wanted to remove and cut. Then I layered the other images on top. I zoomed in on the head while working in Doceri to change the hair and eye color to better match my own. 

I added my own signature and then I took a screen shot of the work on my iPad, cropped the image and finalized my work.

While I am not an artist, and my work is far from perfect, I have found a way to use Doceri's artistic capabilities to strengthen an area of weakness. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Educators Embracing Doceri

I have been  using Doceri for the past four years to transform my classroom by freeing me from being tethered to my computer or SMARTboard, providing creative freedom to create content on the fly, and creating flipclass videos to make the best use of class time with my students. Over the past three years my students have been able to contribute to lessons through the use of our iPad, but this year I wanted to find a way to get my students more involved in the creative options that Doceri provides. That idea led to my previous post. Since that time, I have been focused on not only providing my students more opportunities to be creative using Doceri, but also more proactively promoting Doceri in my school to other teachers and my administrators. 
I have a great administrative team that promotes the use of technology in the classroom and has taken a strong interest in my uses of Doceri. Our administrators have provided opportunities during professional development days for teachers to learn more about Doceri and how they and their students could incorporate Doceri into their classroom. 

About two months ago I led a group of teacher through the opportunities with Doceri. Below are the comments from Becca Hirtz regarding the advantages of Doceri: 

"During graduate school, I focused my action research project on cooperative learning. After researching the elements of creating an environment that encourages students and teacher to work together toward learning, I realized I struggled with being able to be a facilitator that roams all areas of the classroom. After seven years of struggling with this problem, Doceri has come to the rescue. Although my Smartboard/Projector is not utilized for interactive activities they may have intended, I have better interactions with my students and the lessons we cover through custom Doceri presentations that are available for all to see.  
The main problem I had with my SMARTboard was that I have always felt constricted to my computer space located at the front of the room. After learning how to use Doceri, I have found myself roaming to help students, teaching from the back of the room so that I can see the SMARTboard from the students' perspective, and next year, I will finally be able to arrange my room in a way that frees me from my SMARTboard. Thanks Doceri!" 
--Becca Hirtz, English Teacher, Muskego HS 

The greatest impact of Doecri in the field of education is in its flexibility to be used in any discipline. Kim Nordlie is a middle school teacher in our district and this is what she had to say about Doceri in her classroom. 

As a math teacher, my students are constantly using the Smart Board to model their mathematical thinking and the various strategies they use to solve problems. For a long time, my students and I were confined to the front of the room to model problems, working them out on the Smart Board. Doceri has provided me the opportunity to engage students by literally bringing the Smart Board to them. My students love being able to participate and share their math understanding from the comfort of their small group. Students are able to work together and learn from each other in a much more efficient and interactive way thanks to Doceri, not to mention they love seeing their work on the iPad appear on our Smart Board. 
--Kim Nordlie, Math Teacher, Bay Lane Middle School

A new associate principal in our building, Mr. Andrew Bavlnka, was impressed by the numerous ways Doceri could have an impact on a classroom: 

"I had never heard of Doceri before this fall.  My first introduction to it was when I observed Kenny Bosch use it to lead a simulation lesson on the Industrial Revolution.  Mr. Bosch was able to deliver a captivating multi-media experience for his students that was rich in content and challenged them to think critically about the material. Doceri allowed Mr. Bosch to link sound, images, and brief animations to make the lesson an EXPERIENCE.  The seamless transitions in the lesson added to the hurried effect he was trying to create in the lesson.  Simply put, the lesson was an awesome learning moment.  Another application of Doceri is the voice-over feature.  Mr. Bosch uses it to deliver flipped lessons in his history classes to allow students to access material at home. His flipped Doceri lessons allow him to ensure all his students have access to lessons (even twice if needed!) and helps him to use his valuable class time to check for understanding, create engaging activities, and differentiate his instruction as needed.  Powerful stuff. Outside of the classroom I have even seen Mr. Bosch use Doceri to improve his coaching..." 
--Associate Principal Andrew Bavlnka, Muskego HS 

Throughout this school year my students have been making Doceri videos as a way to express their learning. Now as more staff members are learning about the unlimited uses for Doceri to create unique lessons and free them from their computer desks, our SMARTboards are having less of an impact.  After witnessing firsthand the power of Doceri as a presentation tool they have asked me to teach them more about it so that they can utilize it for our staff meetings.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Student-Created Video Projects Using Doceri

In my flipped classroom, students are in the driver’s seat of their learning and their experiences with the content.  In each chapter students are able to choose an area of focus or their passion within the content. What I love about this format is that I never know what I am going to see from my students and the topics are rarely the same. Over the years my classes have found and used numerous Edtech tools to creatively present what they have learned in their projects. I have encouraged my students to make some type of video presentation as a project option but in the past four years, only one student has a made a video. While I do not believe in making all of my student do the same project, I decided that I need to force a video project on them to get them started.
As we finished one unit and were ready to start the next unit is when I decided to have my students create a video project called “Timeline of My Life,” or “Travel Diary.” See video here.

I realized that in this case, if I did not force my students to make a video project, they might never make one. I also believed that once they made one video they would be more likely to make another one. My students still had numerous options and choices as they were able to pick which topic they were interested in, Timeline or Travel Diary, as well as the content they chose to include, and most importantly, they were able to decide if they wanted to actually be in the video, have green screen pictures of themselves in the video, or if they felt most comfortable having only pictures and their voice in the video.  I quickly explained some video options for them (TouchCast for making videos, using the TouchCast green screen) as well as other recording tools such as Screencastomatic,  Screenr, and Screencastify for their Chromebooks.

While we had a multitude of tech tools available, my students have seen me use Doceri numerous times and many wanted to try it out for themselves.  They enjoyed the flexibility with Doceri to add pictures to their projects as well as use the capture feature to write directly on the project. Some students that were shy to be in their video were happy that Doceri could use their photos and record their voice without having to be in the video itself. 

*Owen M.  My Travel Diary project.  Click here to view.

*Johnny D. –Travel Diary Project   Click here to view.

Other students felt comfortable enough to use their own personal pictures as well as researched pictures and put both of them into a Doceri project to share. 
*Leah H.- Timeline of My Life Project    Click here to view.

Using the green screen in my classroom or the larger one in our school library, some students researched locations they would like to travel to and placed themselves in the photo and then used Doceri to record their “Travel Diary.”

*Sydney B. –Travel Diary project using green screen and Doceri. Click here to watch Sydney’s video.

Now that the students have completed their videos I am excited to see how many more of them will be willing to make a video project in the future.  There is something powerful about seeing someone in the video or to have the ability to hear their voice. In both cases, you feel more connected to the project as  a viewer  and I found myself even more interested than I would if it was not a video. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Flipped Parent-Teacher Conferences

Flipped Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-teacher conferences are an exciting time to build relationships with parents, learn more about their child from their perspective, and communicate what I have seen in their child up to that point. One of the drawbacks to conferences is the lack of time to have these conversations. Many teachers are limited to conferences lasting for about five minutes. In five minutes I could not describe my class and the expectations while still being able to listen to parental concerns and advice about how to best meet the needs of their child and that is why a few years ago I began to flip my parent-teacher conferences.

Click here to watch the full video.

I decided to flip parent-teacher conferences so that I could (hopefully) eliminate the classroom procedural portion of the conversation and focus on the discussion of the student. I used Doceri on my iPad and took screenshots of the various content I wanted parents to know about prior to our meeting: our weekly assignment board, Edmodo page, grading categories and scale, and how they would view those two in our grading system, Infinite Campus.
*Using my iPad and green screen in my classroom to make a flipped parent-teacher conference video. Video is finalized using TouchCast.

*I used the camera on my iPad to take a photo of my classroom whiteboard to add to my video.

*Using Doceri on iPad, Doceri is in capture mode. I used the pen feature to black out students names and then took a screenshot to use in the final production of my video.

*I brought up Infinite Campus on my computer, which was mirrored on my iPad. Doceri is in capture mode and then I used the pen to black out student names and the class section.

What I love about Doceri is how easily I am able to make screencasts. I search the web for photos to add into the background and import them into my projects, or I bring up the screenshot I want on my computer and it is mirrored on my iPad. Then, using Doceri’s capture feature, I make notes on the image and take a screenshot of what is on my iPad at that moment to become the custom picture I want to display. When I had all of my screenshots ready I loaded them into another program, TouchCast so that I could make a video using my green screen and school photo as a background. I posted the video to my YouTube channel and sent the link to parents through Infinite Campus messenger.

At conferences, parents told me they enjoyed being able to get a student-view of what was taking place in our classroom. Instead of me telling them in person that it was important for students to post course work and comments on Edmodo, they could see an actual Edmodo page. As I was explaining in the video how grades were calculated and entered, they could see an actual example from Infinite Campus and these examples helped free up our conference for what really mattered-the progress and development of their child.

With the amount of parents that attend conferences, I knew that there would most likely be a line of people waiting to have our conference. I wanted to give parents the opportunity to watch the flipped parent-conference video if they had not already done so. I posted a sign instructing parents to watch the video that I had cued on my iPad and encouraged them to pass it on to the next group as they waited. Using Doceri, my iPad and TouchCast gave me more time in each conference to focus on the student and not the procedural workings of my classroom.

Click here to read my "Teacher Feature" on the Doceri blog. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Hello Speed Dating- A Flipclass Version of a Get-to-Know-You Activity Using Doceri

The beginning of every school year presents unique challenges and this year was no different. Each year I try to think of creative ways to have my students get to know each other. For the first time in my career I found myself teaching a semester course called American Issues. Due to the fact that I was teaching these students for only a semester, I wanted to expedite this process and help me and my students get to know each other faster. Inspiration came from a pirate, a colleague and Doceri.

To start off the school year our district brought in the author, the Pirate himself, Dave Burgess. Dave started off his presentation with a "taboo" topic pictured on the screen to get the audience interested in what might be discussed during the presentation and create some excitement and nervous tension in the room. I decided to use a similar idea for my students. I have been lucky to work with a dedicated, creative and collaborative colleague, Jason Bretzmann, for the past 13 years. Jason shared an idea with me about how he was going to have his class participate in a quick get-to-know-you activity. As I listened to Jason's idea, it helped me to create my own activity by combining the "taboo topic" idea from Dave and the idea of a speedy introduction from Jason.

Doceri is my all-time favorite tech tool and it is the one I cannot teach without. I decided to start off each class period with this on the SMART Board:

I created a brief Doceri recording of instructions for my students to listen to at the start of class on day two. As students walked into the classroom and saw the screen, they were unsure what was going to take place in class that day. That was exactly what I wanted. I love how easily Doceri allows me to create custom presentations. I quickly and easily found the pictures I wanted from the Internet and added a picture of my classroom that I took directly from my iPad. Using my iPad, I can easily record what I want to say over the slides. I am also able use Doceri to control my laptop and access all of my files, including a Google document that I created specifically for this introduction activity, and have it all work together seamlessly.  

Doceri makes it easy to replay your recording throughout the day as well as upload your recording to, for example, your own YouTube channel or Edmodo account for future use. With Doceri, your presentations are limited only by your creativity.

To watch the full version, click here. Hello Speed Dating
Speed Dating------Speed Getting to Know You 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development

Over a year ago, I began another journey as a Project Coordinator and co-author for my most recent book, "Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development." I am very excited to share all of the great ideas by our authors: Jason Bretzmann, myself, Dr. Brad Gustafson, Brad Currie, Kristin Daniels, Laura Conley and Ben Wilkoff. Personalized PD describes the changing landscape of education and professional development and how to best meet the needs of professional educators.

My chapter, Personalized PD: A Teacher's Perspective, focuses on the ABCCs: A- Attendance, B-Balance, C-Choice, and C-Communication to guide administrators' decisions for professional development.

Please read below to learn more about Personalized PD.

What should professional development look like? Can all teachers get exactly what they need? How do we energize every individual to realize their full potential?

Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development helps answer these questions and more. Seven authors from throughout the United States start from the accurate premise that teachers are learners. Like all learners, teachers learn at different paces and start in different places. Personalized PD meets all educators where they are and seeks to help each individual move forward at their own pace and toward self-determined goals. It’s how teachers can get what they individually need so they can be even better for their students.

The authors take you through their experiences while giving you their best “pro tips” and most useful technology tools. They’ll save you time and research by pointing you in the right direction right now. Each chapter gives you a window into how these practicing educators execute their plan to get every teacher what they need and move each individual toward their own plan of learning. Plus, short vignettes expand on and go deeper into the most useful tools and techniques.

Come join the conversation, and be part of the fundamental change in professional development we call CHOICE (Constant progress, Honoring professionals, Ongoing learning, Individualized focus, Collaborative learning, Energizing experiences).

Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development will help you get there!
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Personalized PD

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We will ship your book as soon as soon as the order is processed. Contact me directly at with questions.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Flipping 2.0 Book Order

Thank you for your interest in my book!

"Flipping 2.0 --Practical Applications for Flipping Your Class"

If you've decided to flip your class, you probably have new questions: How do I do this? What will it look like? What will students do in class? How will I create learning experiences for students outside of class? What have other teachers done? Flipping 2.0:Practical Strategies for Flipping Your Class seeks to answer your questions. And it opens the dialogue for us to continue to learn together. In this book, you will follow practicing classroom teachers as they walk you through their flipped classroom journey; why and how they made the change, what obstacles they overcame, the technology they used, and where they are heading next. As a flipped learning teacher, you need time to check out workable solutions that other teachers have created. Look inside their classrooms and learn from their experiences. Watch flipped teachers at work. Pick the brains of those who ve been there, and join the conversation. You ll find something useful in every chapter. And there is a chapter just for you in this book. With a chapter on mastery learning by Brian Bennett, two chapters on English by Cheryl Morris/Andrew Thomasson and Kate Baker, two chapters on social studies by Jason Bretzmann and Karl Lindgren-Streicher, two chapters on math by Audrey McLarenand John Stevens, two chapters on science by Marc Seigel and David Prindle, Google tools for flipping by Troy Cockrum, two chapters on technology by Cory Peppler and Tom Driscoll/Brian Germain, part-time flipping by Kenny Bosch, elementary school flipping by Todd Nesloney, middle school flipping by Nichole Carter, world languages flipping by Heather Witten, tech ed flipping by James Michlig, co-flipping by Cheryl Morris/Andrew Thomasson and even flipping your professional development by Kristin Daniels. Read Flipping 2.0 today and make your decision to flip a reality.
The cost of this amazing book is $24.95 plus $3.00 shipping. 
*Please use the PayPal link above to order. 

I am excited to share my thoughts on flipping the traditional classroom in this great book along with so many other great contributors that includes authors from around the country and Canada.


-Orders placed to Canada have a $6 shipping fee.
-Orders placed outside of the main U.S. and Canada  have a $14 shipping fee.
We will ship your book as soon as soon as the order is processed. Contact me directly at with questions.