Last year I noticed that several of our teachers were utilizing DE as a “Teacher only” tool for students to watch video. This year, I am teaching multiple sessions to not only share how to create student accounts but how to utilize our DE services in a more personalized way. In addition, I’m hoping that this lays the framework for spreading the DEN love and getting more of our teachers on board.

I made a series of recordings and embedded all of my session resources into a TACKK. Consider this as my way of sharing it with all of you. If you click it, you’ll be transported directly to the resource on TACKK. You can all add more information into the comment stream.

PS, if you have never tried, I have to share that it is one of my favorites for students to create digital posters…other than Board Builder…of course!

See on

Prior to teaching students about finding areas of a sector using the formula, I asked students to research and discuss their ideas about what a sector meant and what it meant to find the area of one. Students were to upload their video and post the link into edmodo. For this particular one, the student used her discovery education account to research her topic. She used snippets from an editable video to create the visual and also used other tools like, daum equation editor and a screenshot from google presentation to add imagery. How the students created their video along with the choice of media was their decision. Since we’ve used many of these tools throughout the year, such as discovery education, many students chose to utilize their discovery accounts for this process.

As a pre-assessment strategy, media created by students can inform the instructional direction taken in the classroom and adding the collaborative aspect of the edmodo discussion gets students communicating about the learning and what it means. This example is from Geometry but can certainly be adapted to other areas.

I will admit that when I became a DEN Star I really had no idea what it meant. I didn’t understand the DEN until I experienced it. I went to DENapalooza and I learned a great deal. I sill didn’t get it…not until I went to DENSI2013.

The DEN Summer institute began with a deeper meaning for me. I applied because Kristy Vincent did and watching her record her video, convinced me to do the same. Even after recording my video, I still carried a sense of guilt because I wasn’t in the classroom and I thought that being there would take away from another teacher who would benefit. That was before I understood what THE DEN was really about.

When I arrived in Vermont, with Kristy in tow…after arguing about the location (I was right…She was wrong), I felt something that I had not felt in a long time…Uncomfortable.

As connected as I thought that I was, I was uncomfortable because I did not feel as connected to everyone as I normally am. That was strange.

I went to ISTE knowing that I would know a gargantuan amount of people because of twitter. At DENsi2013, not everyone was on twitter. I need to rephrase that. Not everyone was ACTIVE on twitter, so I did not feel connected…yet they all did.

I watched as events passed me by as I used “writing” as an excuse to not interact. I let “napchat” keep me from the DEN-mazing race. I allowed opportunities to connect and spend time with my new DEN family come and go because I was uncomfortable.

What I was feeling and experiencing was what almost everyone in that room had experienced at some point in time in their lives. When I did finally allow myself to break through the uncomfortableness, I learned that. I wrote about it here.

I would say that my biggest takeaway from DENSi2013 was that I needed to learn how to jump in and engage even when I am uncomfortable. Being able to push yourself to plateaus that are out of your norm are what enables us to grow.

Being a DEN Star is more than just sharing media resources from Discovery Ed. It’s about sharing yourself with those that are around you….your passions…your creations…your brilliance!

I’m calling it now that I will be there…front and center at DENSI2014. I will NOT miss a single game night, DEN-event, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Every moment spent together as DEN Stars are moments for us to share who we are with each other.



Many of my peers are starting their own blogs this summer! If you’re just getting your feet wet, it can be intimidating. My advice is to take it one day at a time and learn a new trick when you can! Every now and then, I will gladly share what I know and fully intend on learning from you as well! Here’s a quick tip for those of you getting started and are managing multiple blogs.

Use the custom navigation feature to add links from one blog to the other or even to your school website!

This applies to any wordpress platform including edublogs and discovery ed!


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Here is yet another reason that I love twitter! Today I clicked a link that could potentially change the way that we create! Touchcast is an app that allows users to create fully interactive video. We all know and love Explain Everything. What I love about touchcast though is that users can actually do just that…touch and involve themselves in an experience.



It is really meant to be aprofessional recording device. Users have access to …

  • Teleprompter
  • Front/Rear Camera
  • Mic controls
  • Screen Guides
  • Filters
  • Whiteboard



The interactivity itself stems from the vApps which are layers of objects that users can then interact with! Add web pages, images, other video, twitter, facebook, news tickers, stock tickers, quizzes, flickr..etc. Touchcast is even opening up its service for developers to create their own apps which means that even more features could start to appear.

How can we use this with discovery ed?

Students can integrate discovery media without the need of green screen! Create a news cast of their learning incorporating interactive tools that users can then physically manipulate IN THE VIDEO. Need a poll? Users can answer poll questions inside the video itself!

I’m just blown away by the possibilities of what touchcast enables students to do!

Download the app from the itunes store now! FREE


This past week I attended ISTE13 in San Antonio. I had such an amazing time connecting and learning with my friends, while also expanding my PLN. One of the events that I attended was Saturday’s Hack Education unconference as well as the party that followed. At the party, a poster attached to the wall invited users to add their favorite apps to share.

What I loved about it was that people were crafty! There was more personality drawn in marker than we would have seen had this been created digitally only. Yes, padlet could’ve been used as well and would have been brilliant but markers are fun and invite all, even those less tech savvy to add to the conversation!

For me, the fun part was turning this image into an interactive experience using thinglink. I learned of so many new apps while creating this!

Thinglink enables users to “link” anything with a web address to an image. When users hover, they see little “nubs” which are alerts that there is more to the image to explore. It’s as simple as creating an account, uploading an image, searching, linking and saving. You can even allow others to link to your image which serves to make thinglink collaborative.

I taught thinglink to our teachers at school who then used media from discovery to either upload or link!

Below is the poster from the after party where people shared apps that they love!

In the classroom, students can curate their favorite apps the exact same way, then a thinglink can then be created with the image just as we did at the Hack Ed party!

For class projects, a picture can be taken or created in a collage sort of way that links to the actual projects online. Imagine the digital portfolio that students can make using thinglink?!

The possibilities are endless!

Today, I’ve been playing around a bit with the “new kid on the block”, Aurasma. Aurasma is an augmented reality application that turns any object into an interactive experience. Using the Aurasma app, users can “overlay” auras which can be 3d scenes, images or video over any object. When scanned, the end user receives the overlay on their device. Learn more about Aurasma here and download the user guide here.

I am preparing to teach a summer of PD sessions. One of my sessions includes utilizing SMART with devices. Aurasma is perfect for that! Now add discovery media! For this activity, learners use the aurasma app to watch a portion of a story downloaded from discovery streaming. The activity asks that students determine which events could occur and then arrange them in the order that they might happen.

You create followup events based on the media that you pull. Pairs of students at the board, with an assist from the class , make the determinations as to which events are possible based on the video aura. You are facilitating ongoing discussions amongst students. Rich conversations can be had based on the type of options that students are given as well as the choices that they make as to what happens, when and why.

What aurasma does is put the media in the hands of each student, which is important for a more personal learning experience.

I would encourage you to read up on Aurasma and make sure that you understand how it works.

To use Discovery Media as an Aura, you will need to download media to your device. If you are an ipad user and need a video, I would suggest icabmobile. Use the imovie app or some other editing app to edit the movie to the scenes that you need.

Since users will need to hold the device up to continuously view the aura, make it is short and sweet! Also, make sure that students are following your aurasma account or they will not have access to your media.

The example that I used is more opinion based but you can create activities using the activity builder that have specific answers.

Math teachers can even attach “math explanations” for students that might need additional assistance while problems are embedded within Notebook software for students to solve!

Remember, the focus is on the curriculum and student learning!

In the meantime, play around with Aurasma and explore its possibilities in your classroom!

FYI…I’ve created a monster!!!

In my last few days walking the halls of Grand Prairie High School, I’ve spoken the “discovery ed” gospel to any person that has open ears. However, the greatest moment was witnessing our first year math teacher, Ms. Weller, doing the same! Yes, she should be entering her event into “the system” any moment now!

Today after class, she could hardly contain herself with the excitement of what a little “experimental video” did to her class. She literally ran into the room that I just finished teaching and without taking a breath, told me all about the video that she found and the conversations that ensued as a result! Her words were, “These kids have been working problems, worksheets and packets (grrrr) over and over and they are tired of it! I found the neatest video that went through all sorts of real world applications of scale factor! The kids asked questions and we even talked about a project that I did in college and they were excited. It was amazing.”

She then added, “I can only imagine what would have happened had I planned it on purpose and had a better lesson attached!”

So, let me be clear…

She made an “on the fly decision” and found a video. In lieu of empty problems or packets (grrr), she started a conversation with media!!!

Adding to this, she self-evaluated…determined that she needed to plan ahead but was totally okay with the outcome of just DIVING IN!

Discovery Streaming PLUS has crazy insane content along with math explanations that can definitely change the course of a boring lesson. The moral of this story is, if you are looking for where to begin with Discovery Ed, just DIVE IN!

Find a video or an image and start a class of “wonder” with a conversation. You will be surprised where doing that will take you.

Just to be clear, there was a pretty fabulous teacher’s guide attached to the video and yes, she found it.

Yep, I’ve definitely created a monster!

For my first DEN posting, I figured that it is only fitting that I post about my PLN and the DEN is a major part of that! I became an active DEN member after what I can only describe as a life-changing conversation at TCEA.

Years ago, I was at a school that had access to Discovery Education. It was 2005 and I remember it like it was yesterday because it was my first year of teaching in my own classroom and the resources uploaded and shared by all of you helped me get through that year. I was so annoyed with my school for discontinuing our Discovery so that they could host their own limited media. To think that I would not be writing this blog had I not left my old school is eye-opening for many reasons.

For me, the power of Discovery lies not in the media but in the power of the DEN. For that brand new teacher who wants to go “beyond the textbook”, to that seasoned teacher looking for a way to “remix learning”, the ideas, encouragement and support go well beyond anything that any of us could ever imagine!

This year, my school is “re-going” schoolwide with Discovery Education. I am so excited because literally thousands of teachers can potentially be empowered by, not techbook…although techbook is AMAZING….But by this amazing Network!

I went to my first DEN event this year, DENapalooza McKinney, and will attend DENSI2013 this summer. I even won a DENny award, which is still mind boggling to me!!

With that said, the best part of my entire DEN experience has been connecting with all of you! I look forward to collaborating and adding to the plethora of resources so that this “seasoned” educator can maybe inspire some teacher as I was inspired by YOU.