Simple K12 Edtech Guest Blog

Check out my guest blog post on Concrete Classroom.  This post is the first in a series on a Augmented Reality experiment that is going to take place in my classroom over the last few weeks of school.  The object of this series is to look at the use of smart phones in the classroom to create Augmented Reality learning environments.

Click here to check out Concrete Classroom

30 Smart Phones and 5 Weeks: An Augmented Reality Classroom Experiment

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How to Create Online Games with KODU a Free Course!

Kodu Game LabStarting March 1st Kodu is offering a free five week course to teach people how to use Kodu to create fun interactive games for kids.  “Kodu is a visual programming language made specifically for creating games.  It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone.”    If you are interested in creating games in an online environment this seems like an incredible opportunity.  How much you participate is up to you and all of the materials are free.  You can download the program at this link: .  The only thing that they do not provide is a computer to run the actual program.  To find out more information aboout this class check out this link:  You can find an overview of the course at this link: and decide for yourself if it is worthwhile.

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How to: Turn any Webpage into a PDF in one Click!

This is an online tool that has become very useful in my classes. Located at this tool will simply convert any website into a PDF file with one click. This will allow you to print sites for your students to read and it maintains all of the margins and formats. All you need to do is copy and paste the URL in the address bar on the webpage and click the icon at the end of the address bar and you are done. Great tool!

Web address to this site is

How to: Sign up forPDFescape “A Free Online PDF Creator”

“PDFescape is a free, online PDF reader, editor, form filler, & form designer.”

Over the past few weeks, I have begun to use this service and think that it is a great resource to create  PDF files for free. To begin using this service, follow the simple instructions below, and you will be able to create PDF files and forms for your students and parents in no time.

  1. Go to PDFescape home page at:
  2. Click on “Register Now” in the upper right corner of the page.
  3. You can register for a free account using your Google ID or create a separate log in.
  4. Fill in the required information and click on “Create Account”.
  5. Once you have created your account, you will see your account page.   (See the image to the the right.)
  6. From your account page, you may then begin creating PDf files, view PDF files, publish documents, and edit your profile.

I have found this to be a great resource to use in the classroom to create forms for students and parents, but, best of all, it is a free resource!

Give it a try at:

Education World ® Technology Center: Podcast for Free on a PC

Education World ® Technology Center: Podcast for Free on a PC.

This is a great article about how to begin podcasting.  I have found podcasting to be a great way to incorporate technology into the classroom and introduce or expand on topics for your class.  My students currently listen to a podcast for a topic, then blog about that topic over the next week.  They are also required to respond to other students in class about their posts as well.  This practice has led to some great conversations among students.  If you are interested in creating podcasts, take a look at two of my previous posts:

  1. Podcasting in 10 Minutes (Part One Setup)

  2. How to: Podcasting In Ten Minutes With Audacity: Part Two: “Install”

The latest installment of this topic will be coming out next week on how to template your podcast, so you can create podcasts in ten minutes or less.

Podcasting in 10 Minutes (Part One Setup)

To create podcasts for your class does not take alot of time. This is the first video in a series that discusses and shows you how to create podcasts in under 10 minutes for your classroom. Please provide feedback and any questions.

How to: Podcasting In Ten Minutes With Audacity: Part Two: “Install”

Creating podcasts for kids is an engaging and fun way to get information across to students.  However, most times teachers feel that they do not have the time or the ability to create this type of engaging media, when in fact it is quite easy. I have found that the easiest software to use is a free application called Audacity. Yes that’s right, FREE!  That alone will peak some teachers curiosity.  I have found it to have the simplest learning curve. Everyone that I have shown this to from students, to parents, to fellow teachers have been up and running with this software in under 30 minutes.

So the first thing that we have to do is locate this software on the web. A simple Google search will locate it for you or just click here. Once you have located Audacity simply click on the link shown in step one of the image to the left.

Second click on the link that states “Download Audacity 1.2.6” or the most current stable version list here on their website. See Step number two to the left.

Steps Three and Four

Next make sure that your operating system is highlighted to ensure that you are at the right location.

Now move to step three and click on the installer link located on the web page. See step three on the image to the right. Download this to a predetermined location on your computer.

Once that is downloaded, click on the “LAME MP3 Encoder” and download it to the same location you downloaded Audacity to your computer. Follow the links to the encoder that match you operating system. See step number four in the image to the right.

Now open the folder containing your downloads and install both programs to your computer. That is all you have to do to install Audacity to your computer for FREE! Do note however, that due to proprietary laws you will have to point Audacity to the LAME encoder the first time that you create an MP3 file. Once you have pointed to the encoder, the program will remember that location.  I will cover that more in an upcoming post called “Podcasting With Audacity: Part Two: “Basics”.

Podcasting an engaging tool

Wow, time can get away for you once the school year begins. So this year I was trying to incorporate a new technology that would promote the use of technology and not require a ton of time on my part to create. I also wanted it to be some thing that the kids would enjoy want to participate in. So I settled on a Pod cast.

As it turned out they loved it and I have had some good success with it. I currently use it as a way to introduce a topic or individual in my lessons. Each week I describe a person, place or thing that will be discussed in class. I post the podcast on Monday and they have until Friday to post their answer to a forum on our website or email me the answer. I know full well that they will get the answer in class before the due date.

What I found out about podcasts amazed me. One, students love to listen to them and they do get their attention and keep it. Two, the podcast must not be longer than a commercial break 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Three, include something at the beginning that will engage them such as a question, riddle or joke. I used the joke and even though my jokes are bad they talk each week about what the dumb joke will be and actually look forward to hearing them.  Four, give them some type of activity to do after they are done listening. My typical podcast layout goes as follows:

  1. Introduction on me with music.
  2. Overview of the topic of the pod cast
  3. Musical break
  4. Joke
  5. Musical Break
  6. Main content of pod cast and assignment
  7. Ending music

Once I created the template for my podcast each week I just change the joke and the main content and publish. I am able to complete these pod casts in less than 10 minutes. I found them to be a great way to introduce technology in the classroom.

Podcasting 101 Good Free Software

Wow, what a crazy couple of weeks. School started and it has been a frenzy trying to get all the technology up in our building and get everything up and running. But, finally we have gained the upper hand and hope to keep it for the duration of the year.

So I am back and as the year has begun I have started to again use the podcast to prep students for class or cover material that I do not have time to cover in class. In this blog I wanted to discuss a great tool to create podcasts. That tool is Audacity.

This is a free program that is simple to use and more than powerful enough to create any type of podcast. You can download this program at .

Windows users be sure to download the LAME MP3 encoder – this allows Audacity to export to an MP3 file. Follow the following link to locate the LAME MP3 encoder.

This program has a low learning curve, and you can be making audio files fairly quickly. There is a great support section located at . This site provides tutorials, frequently asked questions, tips to using the program and the original documentation for the software itself.

There are other programs out there that will allow you to make podcasts and some are even easier to use than Audacity, but hey, as a teacher it is always great to find programs that are FREE! In a time of decreasing budgets and lack of funds, free is sometimes the only option. So take a look and let me know what you think!

YouTube for Educators: Part Four: Searching and Playlists

This is the fourth video in our series on YouTube. This video again, was designed for the Clarkston School District to assist teachers in becoming familiar with YouTube.  This tutorial covers how to create a playlists and conduct searches in YouTube.