Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Strategic, Effective, Digital Communication Tools

Here's what I've learned on my journey to develop the weekly "Tech Tip" emails for my school district (with the goal that folks will actually read them and learn something).

Auto-Play Witiin Emails
Within email, videos will not play (you must click on the link and open the video in a new tab to watch it).  GIFs (animated images) will play within the email because technically they are images not videos. 

Creating GIFs
I use a paid program called Camtasia to create GIFs and videos. If you search for free GIF creators, you will find oodles of options, but I haven't used any free ones to recommend specifically.  

Email Templates and Responsive Design
You can use third-party tools to find email templates that will automatically adjust to any device (responsive design). For example, if I view the email on my phone, my iPad, and my laptop, it will adapt and look awesome on all three! Here are a couple responsive design email template options:
Graphics, Images, Icons, & Logos
A picture is worth a thousand words... especially a consistent, clear, strategic one! To create your own logos and graphics, my two favorite sites are:
You can filter your Google Images search to only show you images "labeled for reuse," so you avoid violating copyright. To do this, search for your image, then click "Tools" under the search bar. This will expand the drop-down menus, including "Usage Rights."

Google Slides for Newsletters
I LOVE using GOOGLE SLIDES for newsletters.  They are free, unlimited, and easy to involve multiple collaborators. You can  insert photos, videos, and text. You can even set the videos to play automatically when the viewer goes to that slide. (To do this, right-click on the video in the slide, and select "Video Options.")  

When sharing the Slides newsletter, create and send the "Preview" version of the sharing-link, so it feels more like a newsletter than a 'file.'
Here are some slides about tools for sharing stories and newsletters. This is a "preview" link, so you can experience what it could be like if a newsletter were shared in this way.

*Click here to learn from Tony Vincent how to modify your Google file links.

Other Newsletter Tools
  • Adobe Spark is free. You can create videos, posts (social media), and pages (newsletter-ish).
  • smore is popular and embeds directly within email, but you only get a certain amount for free.
  • Piktochart is free and has templates for presentations, infographics, flyers, and more.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Self-Directed PD Choiceboard

Customizable Digital Flyer and Choiceboard


If you find this resource useful and/or if you use the template to create something new, please share in the Comments below!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Googley Add-Ons & Extensions

You work incredibly hard. Let technology help you out!

Click the links to share, give feedback, & vote on your favorites:

Google Drive File Add Ons   ~   Google Chrome Extensions

Click through the slides to learn and access resources:

Tech Tool Shout Outs - Crowd Sourced Ideas

Oklahoma Technology Association Encyclomedia Conference
2017 Session: Tech Tool Shout Outs (Crowd Sourced!)

Contribute to the Padlet:  bit.ly/OKCTTSO

Made with Padlet

Friday, September 29, 2017

Google Slides - 6 New Features

Geek out with me about these six new updates to Google Slides!

  • Keep Notepad: Insert any Google Keep pad/note/list into your slide.
  • Link Slide: Copy-and-paste a slide from one presentation to another. Then, "link slide" so you can make updates in one and have them appear in the other!
  • Insert Diagrams: Just like it sounds... visual diagrams you can insert and customize.
  • Grid View: See all your slides as tiles on the page.
  • Skip Slide: Customize a presentation without having to change your original template.
  • Add Ons: FINALLY! Google Slides now lets you add "Add Ons." Currently there are only a few, but the ball is rolling.)

Thanks to TeachersTech for creating this video! Subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Friday, July 21, 2017

I BELIEVE: to be an educator is to:

Provide Experiences,
Provoke Reflection,
Foster Creativity,

Share Wisdom,
Empower Others

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Google Drive Apps on iPads: "Sign Out" = "Remove" Account

Within the Google Drive apps (Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides) on an iPad, there is technically no "Sign Out" option.  Instead, you must "remove" your account from the app.

If you do not want the hassle of re-adding your account to the Drive apps each time, but you are worried about privacy because you share an iPad, try adding a passcode to your Drive apps instead of removing the account!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Organizational Models & Team Project Management

If your role or passion involves organizational development, culture, and leadership, then it's worth your time to learn and consider Frederic Laloux's research and Agil/SCRUM methodologies.

Laloux Cultural Model (Organizational Models) + Agile

Based on the book Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux.

If this video perked your interest, you will enjoy the reflective article:  "Laloux Cultural Model and Agile Adoption" by Agile leader Peter Green.

Agile & SCRUM

SCRUM is an Agile Framework for complex product development.  Originating in the IT world, SCRUM is now being adapted and implemented by teams and organizations in a variety of sectors.  So, when you hear "product development," just think of projects with a large scope.  You can get the gist of SCRUM plus a 30-second video here!

Typical SCRUM methodologies use a few of my favorite things
(hence my enthusiasm for the process)
  1. Sticky Notes
  2. Strategic Planning
  3. Flexible Roles (I recommend incorporating StrengthsFinder here!)
  4. Choice
  5. Clear,Measurable Goals
  6. Reflection

Connect & Learn More

A few worthy Agile/SCRUM folks to follow and connect with on Twitter:


Based on Laloux's colors, what color is yoru organization?  What color are you?  What color do you want your organization and/or self to shift toward, and why?  

What impact would implementing the SCRUM process have on your team?  ...on your products and projects?  

After reading this post:
What questions do you have  What resources do you need to explore further?  What are your action steps?

Your thoughts and reflections are welcome in the Comments section below.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

PowerPoint is Boring! Present Well

"PowerPoint is boring. Experience is the best teacher."
-Dwight Schrute, The Office

I've been enjoying the 
TEDTalk playlist: Before Public Speaking...

Among many treasured take-aways and growth challenges, I'm borrowing one simple point from this playlist to expand on in this post.  Here it is:

For all the time one spends preparing the content he/she will present,
they rarely give equal weight in time and preparation to how they will present
(voice, body language, pacing, etc.).

With this in mind, here are my challenges to you:

  • Use Google slides only for pacing and/or engagement.
    • Utilize videos, large images, and keywords... never lengthy text.
  • Incorporate compelling but concise stories to help your audience connect.
  • Ask intentional questions.
  • Record yourself doing a run-through before and/or during the live presentation, then reflect, adjust, and grow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Worth Sharing...

A Blog:

  • The Keyword

    Google has a single blog where they pull from all their individual apps' blogs.
A Website:

  • The Learning Scientists
    Use their research-based, free resources to help students study and learn more effectively.
A Phrase:

  • "Constructive Discontent" Is your discontent constructive?  Are you seeking creative solutions to problems (or simply dwelling on their negative impact)?
A Question:
  • How do you light people up?
A Book: