Friday, February 24, 2017

Rockstar Stage Presentations - Joey Kovnesky - Gamify Your Classroom to Increase Motivation

Presentations from The Rockstar Stage

The One Conference 2017

The Rockstar Stage has become a favorite element of The One Conference for many as the focal point is on hearing directly from teachers and students regarding tips, tools, and inspirational messages about how they use technology in their classrooms. It is a celebration of our staff and students, giving them a few minutes in the spotlight to share their very best ideas!

Joey Kovnesky
Butler Middle School Teacher

Rockstar Stage Presenter: Joey Kovnesky

Joey Kovnesky is a first-year teacher at Butler Middle School in the School District of Waukesha.

Joey identifies a harsh reality many teachers continually struggle with daily. Regardless of the design of the lesson, some students find it particularly difficult to be engaged by school. While there can be many reasons for this, one he pointedly identifies is that these same students can find the motivation to spend hours playing video games.  Joey has used that observation and turned it into a positive, meaningful way to engage students in his classroom using a strategy called gamification.

Gamification of learning outlines and utilizes some of the same game design principles that real-world game designers utilize to engage players. In his talk, Joey talks about what his version of classroom gamification looks like, how students have responded, and why it is a platform that could be adopted by other teachers to engage their students.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rockstar Stage Presentations - Marlene Figueroa - Incorporating Student Voice Using iBooks Author

Presentations from The Rockstar Stage

The One Conference 2017

The Rockstar Stage has become a favorite element of The One Conference for many as the focal point is on hearing directly from teachers and students regarding tips, tools, and inspirational messages about how they use technology in their classrooms. It is a celebration of our staff and students, giving them a few minutes in the spotlight to share their very best ideas!

Rockstar Stage Presenter: Marlene Figueroa

Marlene Figueroa
Banting Elementary Teacher
Marlene Figueroa is a 3rd grade Dual Language classroom teacher at Banting Elementary in the School District of Waukesha.

In this talk, Marlene shares how she turned the Waukesha history unit and bus tour, something that her students take part in each year, into a tour that featured their voices and research. Student research and writing was featured in the book and students tapped on the location markers in their iBooks as they reached the destinations on the bus tour.

Marlene did this using iBooks Author (available for the Mac) and had students share their research on assigned topics using Google Docs. Once students submitted their work, Marlene compiled all of the work into an iBook and shared it with students on their iPads. Once on the iPad, the iBook could go offline on the bus tour and students could still access the writing of their peers to gain a deeper understanding of Waukesha's unique history.

Book Creator: It's Really That Good!

Talking with high school students about app use, I have noticed a trend. They are not using Book
Creator in class all that often. While many of the teachers working with younger students swear by Book Creator, it still has not caught on at upper grades.

With its flexibility as a tool that can compliment and support teaching and learning, let me make the case for why it is worth your time to explore more deeply.

Purpose for Using Book Creator

The primary use for the Book Creator app is to bring together different elements into a single document. While the app title might indicates it is for "book" creation, think of it more as a tool students (and staff) use to hold and organize a wide variety of digital content in one place.

The ease of use of Book Creator is apparent from the moment you open the app. New users can easily pick up on the primary tools in the app and can develop a quality product quickly. 

However, despite its ease of use there is so much potential for students and staff to create really meaningful products. There are many different elements that can be placed in a Book Creator project. The graphic (at left) shows the wide variety of digital elements that can be added to any Book Creator project.

A quote from a bilingual educator at the high school level, "I have used Book Creator of late with the beginning ESL class, and have to say that I have been loving it!  They are writing, using better and more correct grammar, and then by adding the  sound they are attending more to precision in their speaking too!  And, fun as well when they upload the books as videos that we then play in class!" 

Dynamic Projects

When the items are all placed on the page, an otherwise flat project can come to life. The project becomes dynamic and interactive. Students can share their thinking in a medium that suits their talents and learning styles. You can listen to them as they explain their thinking, and you can see their annotations, drawings, photos, and videos. 

Additionally, students get to make important design choices about how they present what they have learned. From colorful backgrounds to font changes to comic book layouts (pictured at right), there is no shortage of personality and design students can add to their books to give it the look and feel required for the project.

Project Ideas

Teachers from around the world, and from within our own district, have shared some of their best, most creative ideas for using Book Creator. If you are looking for some creative ways to put Book Creator to use, or for some very practical ways, check out some of these ideas.

  • Students Tell a Fictional Story from Five Different Character Viewpoints
  • Persuasive writing using travel brochures encouraging people to visit their location of choice
  • Collaboratively building books - each student contributes a page to the story! (tutorial)
  • Explain core content understandings through a child's eyes (A physics class explained force, motion, and velocity in children's books)
  • Creating mind maps using shapes and overlaying text, recording thinking orally using sound recorder
  • Student created "textbooks," in a high school social studies class, students create a country's "fact book" that contains key research and are shared with classmates
  • Using the embedded video to incorporate sign language within a book
  • Using the sound recorder to have students practice foreign language speaking skills
  • Digital portfolios that include images, videos, reflections (either written or spoken), and personalized to fit the individual student
  • Science Lab Journals-students archive the steps of the lab and thinking throughout the lab
  • Students who are struggling readers can use the "read to me" feature or teacher's pre-record themselves reading the text
  • App smash-bring in images from a green screen app or edited using PicCollage, import video from ChatterPix Kids, iMovie, Explain Everything and other video apps, GarageBand songs can be embedded into Book Creator too!

2017 is going to be a good year - Coming soon!

Book Creator on the web: A major update to Book Creator will allow you to create books on any device. And it will be as fully featured as the iPad version, plus more. Publish and share your books online with the web-based reader, work collaboratively and combine books from multiple authors, and access all your books on any device. This is going to make it even easier to give your students a public audience for their Book Creator creations.

Give Book Creator a try in one of your upcoming lessons and see what it is capable of doing.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Launch Day! Stories from SDW Model Tech Classroom Teachers

Today we want to share with you the journey of some teachers who are investing the time and energy to become Model Tech Classrooms in Waukesha as they tell their own stories in their own words.

Using technology to shift how students learn, collaborate, create, and demonstrate what they know is not something that just magically happens. Teachers have to invest time and energy, take risks, and empower students to make tech use a meaningful part of the classroom.

Over a year ago, SDW Instructional Coach Lisa Lawrenz asked an essential question: "Why can't we have model classrooms for tech use, much like we have anchor classrooms for literacy and math?"

Sprouting from that idea has been the rise of the SDW Model Tech Classroom framework.  Over the past year teachers have been recommended to join the ranks of the Model Tech Classroom (MTC) to engage in work that is just beginning.

One commitment these teachers make as a part of the MTC is to blog about their journey. These blogs, all hosted here on the Journeys to Modification blog, are written when the teachers feel they have something they wish to share. They will continue to write blogs and share as a part of their supported journey with their coaches. The goals is to track their learning, their successes and struggles, and their overall journey to learning to use tech meaningfully in their classrooms.

We invite you to subscribe to the blog and follow along as new stories are posted as we work with our teachers aiming to becoming labeled as Model Tech Classrooms.

Follow the Stories by Teacher

One way to follow the stories posted on the Journeys to Modification blog are tagged by teacher.  If you'd like to follow posts from specific teachers, this can be a great way to track their posts over time.

Click the links below to see what each teacher has posted so far. More will come as these teachers work with their coaches and experience new ways to adopt technology within their classrooms.

Are You Missing Out on SDW Tech Inspiration and Support Videos? Subscribe!

We often hear staff members say, "How would I know this was possible with tech?", or "How would I know how to do that to solve the tech problem I'm having?"  

While Waukesha is a large district, there are many resources available that allow staff to receive anytime, anywhere tech support, tips, and use ideas delivered right to an email inbox!

Did you know:
  • In the last month the Instructional Technologies Coordinator team has uploaded seven new videos focused on tech tips, instructional technology support, and inspirational ideas for using tech in your classroom.
  • We have 441 videos focused on Waukesha specific tech tools, all available for review on our YouTube channel. These videos are regularly viewed by our 342 subscribers
  • In the last month, our videos have been viewed almost 4,500 times by people around the world for a total viewing time equivalent to 6 days and 18 hours (9,732 minutes viewed). (Apparently we have some consistent fans in Canada, Australia, and Malaysia.)

Wouldn't it be great if you were the first to know when we posted a new video to this channel? Think of the luxury of viewing a supportive or inspiring video that just appeared in your email inbox? 

All of the videos we post are generally created to answer questions, offer ideas, or inspire the use of tools staff and students already have access to in our district.

It can be that easy!

Subscribe to our SDWTechIntegration YouTube Channel by clicking the link and then clicking the red "Subscribe" button.

Click the "Subscribe" button to join the club and have
emails sent directly to you when we post new videos to the channel.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Help! Kids Cannot See My YouTube Video!

Many teachers have turned to YouTube to offer instructional lessons and videos to support student learning.  It is a great resource for content from others, and it is a great place to put instructional videos that you have created and want students to have easy access to view.

Approving Videos for Student Viewing

Restricted Access

About a year ago, YouTube offered new tools to allow districts to permit instructionally focused videos to be viewed by students while blocking some of the inappropriate or offensive content users post to the site.  In YouTube language, this is called Restricted Access.

Restricted Access allows our district to restrict access to inappropriate content (as deemed by YouTube) to the Google accounts we provide to our students.

Student and Staff Google Domains

Pay attention to this section! This is the source of much confusion surrounding YouTube video approval.

By now you have noticed that our students have a different email address than our staff does (  vs.  This was done to give students and staff different privileges with Google accounts.

When it comes to YouTube videos, this means that students and staff will be able to see different videos.  A video that is approved for the teacher domain ( is not automatically approved for student viewing ( The only way to know for sure is to have a student domain account, or have a student log in and try to view the video on their device.

If a student is using a personal Gmail account at school, they will NOT be able to view approved videos in district. They must use their school assigned Google account within the student domain (

Restricted and Approved Videos

We don't always know why videos are labeled "Restricted" by YouTube. This is a closely guarded secret at YouTube, and for obvious reason. However, YouTube allows us to override their filters and "Approve" videos and channels that we feel have instructional value to our students.

In our district, approving apps for student viewing in the STUDENT domain can be done in two different ways.

1. Submit Video and Channel URLs for Approval

Teachers can submit links from YouTube video and entire YouTube channels in this form to have them approved for student viewing in the STUDENT domain. It is the responsibility of the staff member submitting the link to be sure this content would be appropriate for our students K-12 prior to submitting the link.

(If you are using a playlist, you will need to be sure all videos in a playlist are approved. Submitting a playlist URL does not guarantee that all videos on that playlist are approved. If you use playlists, you may want to consider requesting a student domain account, outlined below.)

2. Request a Student Domain Account to Approve Videos

If you use a lot of YouTube videos, you may want to request another Google account so you can approve videos for student viewing in the STUDENT domain (this account will end with

This is actually another account that you will need to log into, visit the YouTube video from, and then approve. This is another step and it cannot be done with your assigned Google account ending in

To request a Google account in the STUDENT domain for approval of YouTube videos, contact the SDW Help Desk at x1073.

Viewing Approved YouTube Videos on Student iPads

Once the video has been approved, teachers sometimes experience issues with students viewing those videos. There can be a variety of reasons why this might be happening, but following a couple of steps can help troubleshoot frustrating situations.

Best Viewed in Browser

There are many apps and ways of viewing YouTube videos. However, the most consistent experience is to encourage students to view the videos in a web browser on their iPad -- either Safari or Chrome. Both work and both will offer a similar experience.

Sign Into YouTube

Once in the browser, students will need to sign into the YouTube to view videos that were restricted but have been approved.

If students are not signed in, this is likely what will display on the screen, whether in Chrome or Safari.  This is the YouTube's restricted video filters at work. YouTube will not allow a restricted video to play until they know the viewer is a student and the video has been approved for student viewing.

Clicking the grey "person" icon on the screen will lead students to the screen at right.  Then click on "Sign In" and have the student enter their district email address and password to sign in.

Once you have signed in, an approved video should play for students on the iPad. While this may seem to be a cumbersome process, it does allow us to protect students from content that may not be appropriate.

Clear iPad Browser Cache

If you have done all of this, and a student is still not able to view a YouTube video, a tip from Margaret Ottenad, Library Media Specialist at Butler, may be the solution you need.  

Clear the iPad browser's cache on the student device. 

This worked for several sections of students who were having spotty results with approved videos.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Rockstar Stage Presentations: Lisa Bence - Students Visualizing Data with Numbers

Presentations from The Rockstar Stage

The One Conference 2017

The Rockstar Stage has become a favorite element of The One Conference for many as the focal point is on hearing directly from teachers and students regarding tips, tools, and inspirational messages about how they use technology in their classrooms. It is a celebration of our staff and students, giving them a few minutes in the spotlight to share their very best ideas!

Lisa Bence - Banting Elementary Teacher

Rockstar Stage Presenter: Lisa Bence

Lisa Bence is a 3rd grade Dual Language classroom teacher at Banting Elementary in the School District of Waukesha.

In this talk Lisa shares how her students used the iPad app, Numbers (available on the iPad and on the Mac), to visualize data that they collected as they worked through a science experiment. Use of the visualized data in the app allowed students to make meaning out of data, and to visualize and predict for future trials within the experiment.

Lisa created a "template" in Numbers for students prior to beginning the experiments. The template included areas where students could enter trial information, as well as places that students could synthesize the data to make predictions. Lisa connected a graph to each table so students could see a visual representation of the data. This allowed students to spend time focusing on analyzing data, the intended learning outcome for this lesson, not on constructing graphs.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Reset the Preset: iPad as a Doc Camera

In the keynote at The One Conference, Tony Vincent shared with us the concept of resetting the presets to make technology work better for us. In this spirit, I am sharing one way that teachers can re-purpose their iPad to serve as a document camera in any location. Tony mentioned this in his keynote address, so we are building off of that concept here.

Building a Doc Camera Stand

For the purpose of this demonstration, I need to say thank you to Jordan Leider at South. She provided me with a wire cooling rack that I used to hack together this VERY temporary (and unstable) document camera stand.

For my stand pictured, two paper box tops and a wire rack was all I needed to create a stand in five minutes or less. Look around your room. What is available to use to build a quick stand to give this quick hacked together tip a shot?

There are certainly professional versions of this tool you can buy to get started. Tony Vincent has an entire blog post on some of the tools that are available for this purpose. Maybe you can encourage the engineering souls in your classroom to build the best doc camera stand they can out of whatever supplies they find. Here are some inspirations in PVC or in wood.

If you get adventurous and try to make an iPad Doc Camera stand in your classroom, share the photos with us. We would love to see your (or your students') creations.

iPad Doc Camera Apps

Tony shared a very simple app that comes pre-loaded on every iPad - the camera app.  But there are others out there that are built with even more features that teachers could use to enhance their iPad Doc Camera experience.

iPevo Whiteboard App

This is a free app that is intended to be used with a separate doc camera, but it actually can serve as it's own doc camera app. You can get the app here. Use this app to write on a blank whiteboard, or use the on-board camera of your iPad to draw over what the camera sees, measure angles and lengths, or just use the digital pointer. Check out their tutorial video.

Board Cam App

For 1.99, you can get yourself an even better app! Board Cam is a great app for using your iPad as a document camera.  With the ability to point, have multiple touch points, draw, record, and switch between varying inputs (start by writing over a photo on your camera roll, then switch to live video for the objects under your iPad), this is such a versatile app.

Check out this quick tutorial video of Board Cam.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Rockstar Stage Presentations: See Real-Time Student Work and Offer Feedback with ClassKick

Presentations from The Rockstar Stage

The One Conference 2017

The Rockstar Stage has become a favorite element of The One Conference for many as the focal point is on hearing directly from teachers and students regarding tips, tools, and inspirational messages about how they use technology in their classrooms. It is a celebration of our staff and students, giving them a few minutes in the spotlight to share their very best ideas!

Those Rockstar Stage presentations were filmed this year to allow others who did not attend The Rockstar Stage during the conference to hear these messages. Over the upcoming months we will be sharing the presentations so we can all benefit from the expertise and wisdom of our rockstars!
Angela Wick - eAchieve Teacher

Rockstar Stage Presenter: Angela Wick

Angela Wick is a teacher in her third year in the School District of Waukesha. She taught high school mathematics at West High School and now teaches math at eAchieve, Waukesha's online school for elementary, middle and high school students.

In this talk Angela shares how she is able to see the work of all students in real-time using a tool called ClassKick. She shares her enthusiasm for this tool and shares how this has supported her online teaching, and could impact face-to-face classrooms as well.

Thank You One Conference Presenters!

When the concept of what is now The One Conference was first conceived, the team had one question:  Would enough of our talented, thoughtful, creative staff members be willing to step forward to openly share their practice with their colleagues?

The answer to that first question has been a deafening, humbling, wonderful YES!

230 of our staff members stepped forward to lead sessions at The One Conference. Another 23 were featured speakers on The Rockstar Stage. Others facilitated learning in the Hands-on Learning Area along with a team of students from Blair and Waukesha Transitions Academy.

Openly sharing your practice, your story, your ideas with others can be overwhelming and intimidating! Each of the people that shared at The One Conference put aside their own fears and insecurities to present for the benefit of their colleagues.

That kind of dedication to each other, to the growth of other educators across our system, is something we acknowledge and greatly appreciate. It is something that is becoming a hallmark of being an educator in the School District of Waukesha, and we are all better for it!

So, thank you!

Thank you to all of you that made The One Conference the special and powerful event that it is. We could not do it without you, and honestly, we would not want to. You teach and inspire us.

The Instructional Technology Coordinator Team
Mollie Heilberger, Wendy Liska, and Brian Yearling