10-Rep Learning ~ Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology & Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague


Tech BFF: There’s a Form for that: Google Forms

BFF is an acronym for “Best Friend Forever.” These websites and tips are so good that they will become your technology BFFs!

Google Forms are a component of Google Docs. They allow centralized creating of information in a personalized format. For teachers, this is a great avenue on the Information SuperHighway for creating a personalized quiz, survey, or query. My favorite part of the whole Google Suite is the online (cloud) storage and retrieval aspect. It is so convienient, when traveling from classroom to classroom or between home and school to have access points along the way.

Your cloud file directory can serve as your professional portfolio of the resources and teaching tools you create!

Here are a couple of stellar resources to help you begin or continue:

Ten Great Google Forms Every Teacher Should Be Using

To see more of an application of how to use Google Forms for educational purposes, click on these two links for webinar-type tutorials that you can access when it is convenient for you.

Teachers Simple Guide on The Use of Google Forms in The Classroom
The transcript of this video is available HERE.

I love this step-by-step guide: Google Forms: how to create a quiz or a test that automatically grades itself in Google Docs

Great resources to use when creating your own Google Forms!



How to Craft Blog Posts to Optimize Online Reading

Differences abound between hardcopy horizontal and online vertical reading.

Vertical Reading Requires Different Specs

There is no commonality among the digital proletariat. Connection speeds, screen resolutions, hardware variations all have the potential to interfere with your reading audience.

Blog posts with Script font and 200-character screen-width are meandering trails. Most blog readers want a straight 50-yard dash. Unless you are publishing free verse poetry or you received the William Faulkner Prose prize, keep column width to 80 characters and font choices simple (I like Georgia or Garamond).

Editing: It all goes back to cake

Editing posts is similar to mixing a great cake batter: do it and the end blog result is light and springy. Lack of editing leaves holes of redundancy and sloppiness in your blog batter. Punctuation and Spelling errors are the egg shells that give the wrong crunch. Punctuation matters. So does spelling.

Also, consider the global reach of your online posts. Some colloquial slang is cute and lively. Too much, though, results in audience head-tilting. My usage stats show I have only one loyal reader in Oman, so, most likely, it’s safe for me to “Yee-haw” and “Gaw-Dang” my way along, but you probably will have more global appeal so carefully consider slang usage.

Blog Readers Scan

“A website or blog is missing the usual cues that let us know how long an article is,” says Annabel Candy in this post.  “Pick up a book or cast your eye over a newspaper article, and you’ll instantly be able to gauge how long it is and how long it will take to read.”

Blog readers scan posts, looking for key words. Appealing layouts, headlines, and subheads cast a spotlight. Always preview your post since layout may appear wonky (tech term) after publishing.

Sometimes, it’s fun to include a word cloud that highlights what’s included in your post. Here is the word cloud for this post:

word cloud of the blog text

Word Cloud created by Helen Teague using Wordle

Blog Readers May be Commitment-Phobic

My readers may just not be that into me. My rambling posts with long paragraphs and complex sentences taunt and daunt readers who may click off to other posts with longer legs and prettier features, so to speak.

“Even if the headline appeals to them, with no other clues about the content, people will be reluctant to start reading,” says Annabel Candy. Long posts require commitment and winding sentences causes the eye to stumble.

Keep copy between 300- 800 words. Search engines optimize content at 300 words and this is one invite you can extend for a long-term relationship with your blog. For post exceeding 1000 words, consider a series with “Next” and “Previous” linking threads.

Personally I would read any length of post from Alia Indrawan  or Nic Peachey . But generally, keep post concisely written, unless you are writing a white paper or you have a P.Hd. (BTW: this post tops out at 600 words.)

Taglines and By-lines: the Gift that keeps on Giving

Blog post writers are not commitment-phobic. We want a long-term relationship with our audience. So we leave no post untagged. Always tag yourself, give yourself a by-line, and link-cite those that you reference. I have a love-cringe relationship with by-lining myself. I vacillate between humility and scary self-promotion. I also reasoned that that since it was my blog, it was obvious that all posts were mine. However, in the blogosphere, ease and linking reign and it is just easier and more linkable for readers if I get over myself.

Beginning with this post, I am by-lining myself on every post.

With virtual pen and ink,

Helen Teague

Word cloud created from text

Word Cloud created by Helen Teague using Wordle

Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments section below.


Will eLearning Vanquish F2F Universities?

Will the internet kill universities? MICROSOFT co-founder Bill Gates recently described universities as an endangered species. The university’s traditional role as creator, curator and distributor of knowledge is under direct threat from the internet, he said. Very interesting article…http://www.scoop.it/t/thinking-learning-and-laughing/p/2219558279/universities-must-adapt-or-die-in-the-e-learning-world

Do you prefer traditional classroom training or Elearning – Virtual Classrooms?


Revisiting Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated instruction (DI) is a hot term these days, but it’s actually been around for a while.

In its simplest form, Differentiated Instruction is a way to reach every child at his or her own level.

The best teachers do this by conversing with their students and listening to their students and observingby being among their students

There are also technology tools that can help, but nothing replaces the empathetic educator.


Tech BFF: Time Toast


BFF is an acronym for “Best Friend Forever.” These websites and tips are so good that they will become your technology BFFs!

Time Toast is a free web app that easily creates a timeline around any event or set of events. Signup (or login with Facebook), create a new timeline and assign it a title, and then begin entering events and/or time spans.

Each entry requires a title and date. Time Toasters may optionally add text, hyperlinks, and images. When timelines are complete, there is an option to publish the timeline publicly on the site. The source code may be copied and pasted for embedding in blogs and other websites. Works with Moodle coding as well.

I use Time Toast for my online courses and find it is effective, easy to code, and update.

Classroom uses include: chronicling  historical events, biography highlights, life cycle stages, students’ personal events, fundraising timeline, product lifecycles, and school year calendars.


New York Times Bestsellers’ List July 23


Verbs to Explain Bloom’s Taxonomy

Critical Thinking Skills



What does it mean to go post-digital?

What does it mean to go post-digital? by Miguel Guhlin

Post-Digital actually is the end of the beginning. It marks the transition from the era where we’re excited by the shiny new digital toys that we have, and start to become excited by the changes that these shiny not-so-new toys are making in the way we live, in the objects we have around us.

Click here to read more


Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-ipad-usage-2012-7


iPad Case Study Webinar

  • How Schools Are Using iPads to Increase Learning: Three Case Studies Thursday, August 9th at 4pm ET, a free webinar from EdWeb

Join the community to view archived webinars and learn about what’s next. I love EdWeb’s webinars because they are concise, informative, and easily accessible.

Contact EdWeb with any questions at info@edweb.net.


Common Core Planning Sheet

Common Core Planning System, a free download for you



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