Friday, December 21, 2012

Tech Sherpas 12-18-12

We had some technical difficulties with this week's recording, so we reshot the answers that were covered in the live session.

This weeks hosts are Sidney, Megan and Brittany.

The Questions covered: 

We will have the next two Tuesday's off for break, 
but will be back Tuesday, January 8th at 3:00 EST

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reflection on the Mountain View GTA - One Week Later

There's just something about the Googleplex, - maybe it's all those primary colors that generally evokes wonder or what Patrick Pichette said was one of core missions of Google having that 'university lab' feeling.  It reminds me how much learning environments matter. Anyway, I had a list of take away's from the Google Teacher Academy in Mountain View last week. The first was a simple truth shared by Dan Russell's, anything that can be Googled - should be. And the time spent together (think in the classroom) should be adding value to knowledge that is easily found. 

Another take away was from Jamie Casap's and his comparison of the first movies then and now. It reminded me how, when original "talkies" were filmed they mimicked live stage plays, just with a camera rolling. It wasn't until directors the realization of what this new medium allowed where you can do things with the technology that you never could on stage, rather than a prettier, more convenient version of the old way.  

Sound familiar? When the gloss of technology is layered upon existing practices, you have prettier stage plays. A Web 2.0 Flipped Customized Pedagogical Constructivist  Digital worksheet - is still a worksheet, and until our educational systems have embraced the medium, we're still making talkies.

So, what possibilities does the medium offer? In my mind, Transparency and Transferred Control

Transparency at a level never seen before in education. With cameras and devices more prevalent than ever, there's more reason to collect student work digitally, or better yet, have them do it. In fact, it can only work if students are an active part of the solution. Having students digitize and manage their work cannot be an additional step but rather the way they are asked to do business. This brings us to Control. Who owns the work? Who owns the process? Who is it for? When the teacher is the gateway, kids come to define Education as what you hand in, rather than what you do all the time. 

Total Transparency and Student Control: Two of the scariest concepts in education.  I mean, what if  _______   (I'll let you fill in the blank there, because we all have our own what if's and even if we don't, our peers, administrators and parents do.)  So here's the good news, generally speaking, the kids are already there. They're already asking Google the answer to their questions, scouring YouTube for tutorials or the latest music video and networking with their friends. 
They may have the basic mechanics of search, but are they vetting the info they find? Probably not, are we?  Are we consistently putting them in 'unGoogle-able' situations? Taking their knowledge and having them do something with it that's ultimately larger than themselves? Encouraging un-testable understanding? 

I hope so, one of my proudest moments of the GTA was having two of my students virtually present to the group. They talked about how they started  their own 'Action Plan' offering tech support to others who need it using the tools at hand. Now, these kids are awesome, but they're not unique. We all have students who can do amazing things, and if we're not asking it of them, why not? 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tech Sherpas - November 20th

The Tech Sherpas this week are Chandler and Gavin.  We are joined by educators who will be joining us at the Google Teacher Academy in Mountain View.

  • Advanced formatting with Google Docs. 
  • Making a Brochure with Google Presentation.
  • Sharing Docs with multiple accounts using Google Groups.
  • Combine Data from Separate Google Forms into a single spreadsheet.

Please join us, Tuesday 3:00 EST at

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tech Sherpas 10-6

The Tech Sherpas this week are Kris and Chandler and we are joined by the Superintendent of R.S.U. #19, Greg Potter.

  • How to manage digital portfolios using Google Tools.

Please join us, Tuesday 3:00 EST at

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tech Sherpa Show 10-23

The Tech Sherpas this week are Jacob and Jared and they answer a couple questions from last week:

  • How to use the concatenate function to join spreadsheet data columns together.
  • How to take full names collected into a single column, split them and re-sort them by just the last name.
  • An easy way to create an image map using Google Drawing and Sites.

Next week we'll be covering self-correcting quizzes and more!

Please join us, Tuesday 3:00 EST at

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


The second week of the Show covered how to collect and manage data using Google Forms and how to easily filter that data. Here's the example spreadsheet:
We also discussed Google Cloud Print, Chrome Remote Desktop and 3D Printing.

The show has certainly been a work in progress and we hope to continue to improve how we are getting information out there. We've now included show notes for each week with the questions and links from that weeks show. You can find the show notes here:

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Technology is Trust"

The Maine state ACTEM conference is always one of the highlights of autumn. I get to re-connect with old friends, learn from new ones and overall have a great time.

This year I had the privilege of watching one of my students present on his own. His session was, Students as Tech Support and he had about 40 educators from around the state join him to discuss the benefits of having students provide technical support to teachers and the school.

I was particularly glad that the audience took him seriously. I've been in situations before where the adults in the room couldn't bring themselves to challenge the students presenters or ask them hard questions, but this crowd was invested in learning from him. They wanted to know specifics of how they could implement something similar.

One questioner was Ed Brazee who wanted to know how students supported each other as well as working with their teachers. I think one of the most notable exchanges came from Markus Ford who asked Kris, "What about those students who use this as an opportunity to abuse the situation?" (I'm paraphrasing) Kris responded with something that I think encompasses a lot of how I feel about technology in education, "You have to trust the kids."  I know there are times when that trust will be broken, and you deal with those situations accordingly, but if you start from a place of mistrust - you're going to get what you give. If the assumption is that we're all going to work on this together, students and teachers, than it's ultimately a matter of trust.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


Looking for help on Google Apps or other technology topics? 

Kern Kelley's High School students will answer your questions in a Hangout On Air. 
To ask your question about using Google Tools in the classroom, complete the form below or join the
Live Video Hangout on Tuesday, 3:00 EST.

For more information, visit 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

N.Y. Google Teacher Academy

We had a fantastic time at the Google Teacher Academy in New York today! I was fortunate enough to bring three students to present, participate and generally help out.

The kids spoke to an amazing group of educators from around the world about some of the tools we use in every day. They covered the way we manage digital portfolios and one of the students shared a form they created in a Demo Slam, the Mileage Tracker Template allows teachers to track their mileage and auto calculates the distances using the Maps API.

It was a great day and don't forget, they're taking applications for the next GTA in Mountain View, California in December :)

(Go Team Swan!)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Maine Google Summit

We had a fantastic time at the Maine Google Summit this week. Around 250 educators from Maine and beyond talking about education, technology and how they can work together best.

Governor King had the opportunity to chat with my students about  ways they're realizing his educational vision and expanding it in ways he never thought of. They are taking these tools, and running with them. 

One of the highlights of the event for me was the chance my students had to pick the brain of +Jamie Casap one of the Googlers at the event. If you haven't had an opportunity to read about Jamie's personal story check it out and he has one of the coolest job titles: 
Google's Education Evangelist

If you missed this event but don't want to miss the next one, check out the worldwide list for a Summit near you:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

QR Code Generator

Last week I had the opportunity to work with some tremendous educators from across New Hampshire at EdTechTeam's -  NH Google Bootcamp.  I had a ton of fun working with Richard Byrne, Alice Barr and Allison Mollica throughout the week.

One of the tips that Richard shared was using the URL shortner One of the handy features of that service is that it automatically creates a QR Code for the site

This got me thinking about other ways to accomplish this and how to easily generate QR Codes that others can use.  So I put together a Google Form QR Code Generator.  

You can copy and paste addresses into the form, refresh the page and see the results below. The QR image can then be downloaded and shared.

You can check out an example of what it would look like embedded into a site here:

If you are looking for more specific info on how to work with Google's Chart tools here:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Technology Institute '12

I've had a fantastic time this week at University of Maine's Summer Technology Institute. Working with about one hundred educators from around the state.  

There were a number of highlights this week and one of them was having Channel 5 visit and interview my students who have helped support the teachers.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The State of Tech "PD in your PJ's" - Managing Google Docs in the Classroom

I'm looking forward to hosting a Google Hangout for The State of Tech on "Managing Google Docs in the Classroom." 

Please join me Saturday, June 16th 1:00 EST live in a Google Hangout or by watching the recorded stream.

The video of the session:

Link to supporting resources:

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Example of Google Docs in Action.

Mr. Hanish uses Google Docs to handle group work with his class.

This example of work together on an essay and seeing how it benefits all the students. Not only does it show how the legwork falls upon the student. That way they are learning how to digitize analog (if I can call it that) work, and are responsible for owning their portfolios.

For an outline of all the videos in the context of a larger educational framework, please visit:

Monday, May 07, 2012

On Air Educational Hangouts

Here are the videos for the Google Education On Air event. One of the options that's being rolled out is the ability to broadcast a hangout. You are able to have up to 10 people in the conference and broadcast to the rest. This will be unquestionably valuable when it is enabled for everyone. I can see online courses using this tool to store class discussions and share it with others.

Using Google Apps for Education to Manage Digital Portfolios

These resources are referenced in the hangout, as well as the the slideshow and additional videos:

Using Google App for Education to Create Online Courses.

These resources are referenced in the hangout, as well as the the slideshow and additional videos:

Thursday, May 03, 2012

More than a sum of its parts . . .

How important is it to push our students beyond their academic comfort zone? Beyond the usual set of rules played out in the 'game of school.'  Personally I believe pushing our students is a crucial aspect of our charge as educators.

I recently worked with a Language Arts class on a project that took an individual Winslow Homer illustration, courtesy of the Portland Museum of Art, and create a video that took the viewer through the  stylistic elements that Homer conveyed in the image. Copyright concerns were addressed and the students create videos that included an image, narration, some sound effects and a music track. We talked a lot about the difference between being a cook and being a chef. Getting the same ingredients as everyone else in the class, and seeing what you could do with them.

          1 image, courtesy of the Portland Museum of Art.  
          About 10 paragraphs of narration about elements in the image   (lightly salted.)
          A pinch of sound effects.
          A thin layer of royalty free music.

         Cut, mix, and burn these pieces into a final presentation steeped in creativity.

It's not easy.

I knew we were on to something worthwhile when some of the 'best' students (think Hermione) felt this project was too hard. These are the students who willingly repeat back whatever their teacher has told them and to expect this level of creativity was something foreign to them.

Here's an example.

The Image.

The Text. 

The Music.

Dvorak's Second Movement in F

The Result.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Using Google Tools to Create and Manage Online Courses

Using Google Tools to Create and Manage Online Courses

On May 2nd at 2:00 Eastern I will be hosting a Google + Hangout discussing the steps we use to create, collect and manage digital portfolios. You can add this event to your calendar and find more details with specific information.

This session will focus on the work I'm doing with the Maine Virtual Learning Consortium. This session will cover some of the technical aspects of managing online courses as well as the pedagogical implications that online education brings.

If you'd like to join, visit the Google Education On Air site and connect with my Google+ account. I will  include as many people who would like to join the conversation as I can.

Managing Digital Portfolios with Google Tools

Managing Digital Portfolios with Google Tools

On May 2nd at 12:00 Eastern I will be hosting a Google + Hangout discussing the steps we use to create, collect and manage digital portfolios. You can add this event to your calendar and find more details with specific information.

I've covered many of the steps of this process that I use in my district from digitizing student work, managing the collected work and publishing the final product throughout by blog. This session will walk through the steps from beginning to end answering questions along the way.

If you'd like to join, visit the Google Education On Air site and connect with my Google+ account. I will  include as many people who would like to join the conversation as I can.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Google's Think Education Panel

I had great time today on Google's Think Education panel with Sal Khan, Esther Wojicki and Mike Hathorn talking about empowering the students of today.

All of us emphasized how important is for students being asked to teach as a method for learning.  This can occur formally in the typical class structure or informally with students collaborating on a problem.

Personally I would add that technology instruction provides one of the best ways to start those conversations with students and  teachers. This is something we've worked on extensively in my district, when a student can teach the teacher, everyone wins.  

Monday, April 09, 2012

Collecting Video Assessments

This week I had the opportunity to work with one of our Pre-Kindergarten teachers who records students and shares those videos with their parents. I've always felt that seeing a student explain their learning trumps any score that we as educators may place upon the work. This setup has the additional bonus of creating an academic history automatically for them. How powerful will it be to give parents a stream of videos of their children learning as a 1st graders, 5th graders, 7th graders and so on.

The biggest limitation to this idea is teachers not having the time to make it happen. Once again we go to the kids to take ownership of their work and manage the process. There are very different  technological expectations depending on the age level, so I cover three possible scenarios: 

Pre-Kindergarten to 3rd Grade 
(or students who are not able to operate a camera)

   STEP 1) Teacher sets up the camera 
              (or when appropriate has an older student help out.)
   STEP 2) Uploads the video into the child's Google Docs.
   STEP 3) Puts the video into a Collection shared with the teacher.

    A couple notes here, we are using a Kodak Zi8 camera similar to the popular Flip camera. Alternatively, you can get an Eye-Fi SD-Card which automatically uploads the video or picture to your own account. The teacher then has to share the video with the student for their parents to see.

4th Grade to 6th Grade 
(or students that are capable of uploading videos, but do not have a one to one device with a camera)

   STEP 1) Student records video with a camera or iPod Touch.
   STEP 2) Student sends the video or picture to their own Picasa Web Album.
The album is shared with their teacher, this only has to be done once.

7th Grade to 12th Grade
(or students who can record and upload on their own.)

   STEP 1) Student records them self with their webcam.
   STEP 2) Student uploads the video to their Google Docs.
   STEP 3) Student slides video into Collection shared with their teacher.

This is a terrific way to capture quick reflections by the students. The video adds an element to the conversation by essentially formalizing an informal assessment. It's something you might just ask generally in the class, but with the video you get to see each students reaction singularly without the distractions of the classroom.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Managing Google Docs in the Classroom

Saturday was a terrific day at EdCampMe. It was a great chance to hang with some friends and chat about meaningful ways to educate children.  One of the questions that came up in a session I was in is something that I get asked a lot.
 "How do I manage my Google Docs with so many  documents coming in from so many students?" 
Teachers love how easy it is to collaborate with their students, not having to worry about losing the file  and all the other bonuses that using Docs brings, but tracking down assignments can be a nightmare.  I've covered this before from the teachers perspective and the students perspective here, but I'll run through  how I do it step by step.

Step 1) Students create a new Collection for the class and title it: Subject - Name
For example: Science - Johnny

Step 2) Students then share the Collection with the teacher.

Step 3) You make a new Collection called Period 2 or Science or whatever makes sense. Finds the student Collections (in the lower left under Collections shared with me.) Drag them to your newly created Collection.

Step 4) Click here to copy the Assessment Collector Google Spreadsheet. (You must be logged into your Google Account.)

Step 5)  Embed the form into your website. Don't have a website? Think about using a student as a webmaster.

Step 6)  Once you edit the names of the assignments and students have entered the links to their assignments, you can filter by period and assignment.

Then use the built-in Viewer tab.

This allows you to view, comment or edit the Google Doc, Spreadsheet or Presentation 'handed in' without ever having to leave the window. You can then click NEXT through all the collected  assignments.

An important aspect of this process is that the students are sharing work in a way that teachers can edit while simultaneously building their own collection of assessments.

Step 7) One limitation of the viewer is that it only reads URLs that begin with http not https. So, you use the Find and Replace feature built into spreadsheets, or if you're a little adventurous set it up to do it automatically.  The script to do this is already included, you just have to turn on the Form Submit trigger.

Step 7a) Select Tools > Script editor
Step 7b) Select Resources > Current script's triggers...

Step 7b) Click  No triggers set up. Click here to add one now.
                      Change On open to On form submit and click Save

Step 7c) Click Authorize > Click Close and Exit that tab.

This means whenever a student copy and pastes a URL that starts with https it will replace it with http.

Why can't it just be turned on when you take the copy you ask? 
Because of the possibility of nefarious users sharing malicious code with you.
This way you have to authorize the use of the script.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Maine Virtual Learning Consortium

     I  am extremely excited to announce the launch of a Maine-based online learning consortium that will offer high quality, customized, and affordable online learning opportunities for Maine high school students starting in September 2012. The idea of creating this consortium was supported by numerous Maine schools and districts at a meeting hosted by the Maine International Center for Digital Learning (MICDL) in October. After exploring various approaches, the Maine Virtual Learning Consortium was created in January.

I hope Maine schools and districts will look into becoming one of the initial Partner Schools that will offer courses during the 2012-2013 school year. Alternatively, they may simply want to learn how your students can take courses without joining the Consortium as a full member. While Consortium courses will be comparable in many ways to the courses offered by current providers, I think Consortium courses will offer superior value due to an emphasis on the following 

Five Key Features:

1. Frequent opportunities for high levels of Interactivity between and among students and teachers,  
such as small-group real-time video discussions.

2. Strong connections to Community (the online learning community created for each course, each 
student’s local community, and the broader global community.)
3. Continuous development of a Digital Portfolio for each student.
4. Extensive use of familiar open education resources (OER), such as the Google tool set.
5. A curriculum-embedded approach to teaching Media Literacy (reading, writing, speaking, 
listening, info graphics, audio/video, Internet research, media analysis, and media ethics).

For more information, please visit or contact me if you're interested or have questions.

Kern Kelley

Monday, March 19, 2012

Assessment in Physical Education

One of the benefits of each student having their own laptop is that it means they each have their own camera to use as an educational tool. This can save time for the teacher and involve the students in an important part of their own learning.

Here are students using their cameras to record themselves doing an archery assessment in phys ed, then store their work, scoring themselves on a rubric that the teacher can then score themselves later. The time commitment for the teacher is very little, the students do all the legwork of collecting the assessment. The phys ed teacher simply watches the videos later and scores them accordingly, as the students build their own portfolio.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

South by South West Edu Conference

Two of my students presented virtually to 150 educators at the SXSW Educational Conference in Austin Texas this week. 
Thanks to Googler Tia Lendo for  inviting the kids and to Alice Barr's  kids talking about their amazing Arab Spring Project.
Students presenting to educators at SXSW Conference in Texas

The title of the event was: Using Free Google Tools to Make Learning Magical

I think it's so important for students to be a part of educational workshops and conferences. For teachers to see understand the capabilities of their students and for the students to become comfortable in professional settings presenting to groups of people.

You can find the Resources Spreadsheet here where the participants were able to add their own links to online resources they use, here are the sites that were shared:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Science Biome Project

Each year one of the topics the sixth graders in my district study are Biomes.  They select a biome and collect data, write a report, make diagrams and 3D representations of the area. Present and publish their work. Here's a conversation I had with a couple students about their project.

You can see a mock up example of what it might look like here:

Friday, February 03, 2012

On Varieties of Electronic Portfolios

Portfolios in education have been around for some time, and I think the term has developed a number of meanings depending on the educators or students purpose. In this video, one of my students talks about three varieties of digital portfolios and because of how we have implemented their collection,  how a student can move easily from one form to the next. The three types discussed are:  

1) The portfolio as "Catch-All" where all the students work is collected.
2) The Educational portfolio that emphasizes pieces of work the teachers is looking for.
3) The Showcase portfolio where students can manage and select examples of their best work.

For more information about how we've digitzed some of our work check out these posts.

Handing in math work with Google forms
Using an iPod Touch to update student Portfolios
How students hand in their digital portfolios

And for more resources about electronic portfolios Dr. Helen Barrett has done some fantastic work collecting useful information on her site:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Managing the Science Fair Digitally

It's Science Fair time again. This is how our students and teachers are creating, organizing and collecting their science fair projects. The students collect templates that are given to them digitally and use them to complete their own projects. Then digitize their work and hand it back to the teacher digitally as well. Building their portfolio as they complete their work.

For an outline of all the videos in the context of a larger educational framework, please visit:

Using Google Books to Keep Track of a Book List.

One standard that my district has worked on for some time is called 25 Books or Quantity, Quality, Range and Depth.  The standard is meant to expose students to a variety of genres, styles and authors and most of all get them reading!  Throughout the year, they keep a running list of the books they have read and how they showed the teachers they have read them. (Depending on the grade level, teachers keep track of this list.)  The aspect of this that has always concerned me is that at the end of the year, all that work simply gets tossed out and any information that the students have accumulated goes with it.

This video covers how our students use Google Books to keep track of their book list and share that with their teacher.  While the teacher is getting the record they need, the students are building a search-able database of almost every book they've read from the 5th grade on.  This is a resource that they can take with them and I know I would love to have a search-able database of all the books I've read since 5th grade.

For an outline of all the videos in the context of a larger educational framework, please visit: