Ed Tech Pro Tool Belt – Candace Marcotte

 Extremely excited that Candace Marcotte was kind enough to be the feature of my second “Ed Tech Pro Tool Belt” series. I had the pleasure of spending two summers overseas in the MAET program with Candace, and she is an amazing member of the educational technology community. Enjoy! 

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Name: Candace Marcotte

Position: Technology Facilitator/ Glenview 34

Location: Glenview, IL

Twitter Handle:  @canmarcotte

Personal Blog/Website:  candacemarcotte.wordpress.com

Mobile Device: Apple iPhone 5

Tablet: Apple iPad 3rd Generation

Main Computer: Apple Macbook Pro 13″

What apps/tools/software could you not live without?

Jing: Screencasts for student and staff tutorials

-Screenshots and annotating them: Creating user guides and providing help or inside view on how to get the most bang for the buck out of an application or software

Google Drive: Pretty. Much. Everything. Whether I’m collaborating on a Doc with all of the tech facilitators in the district or teachers to create a lesson, using Presentation to collaborate with a colleague to deliver a PD, chatting in G+ Hangouts with fellow EdTechies, tracking expenditures and budgets in Spreadsheets, collecting and sharing student peer evaluations with Forms, or using G Chat to touch base with colleagues, I’m pretty much “all in” and am a Google Gal.

Chrome Extensions: MAKE MY LIFE EASIER! My faves are- ShortenMe (create short links and QR codes with one click), Diigo Web Collector (syncs to your Diigo account and lets you highlight & comment on a site with one click), and Evernote Clearly (helps me focus by taking away distractions, syncs to my Evernote account and let’s me highlight and clip ideas/sites, also let’s me change text size and color of whatever I’m viewing)

Pixlr.com: When creating activities, lessons, or random projects, it’s an easy “jump-in” free photo editor that gets the job done efficiently (I also use it with students as an introduction tool…they create photo representations of themselves…I’ve gotten some pretty cool ones!)

iMovie: Creating book trailers and stop-motion films with students, creating staff videos that give ideas for using tools in the classroom (taking it beyond substitution- SAMR Model)

Apple Support Communities: Even though we have an IT, I still get random technical questions that stump me. One of my best friends this year has been! I’ve learned a lot!

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Apps: Evernote: Lets me keep track of my to do list as I’m running around the building or district meeting with people

Google Maps: With just moving, I don’t know where I’m going 98% of the time

PaperPort Notes: Let’s me doodle/keep notes on PDFs during meetings

CloudOn: Review/revise Microsoft Office files and syncs with Google Drive and Dropbox…did I mention it gives you Ppt, Word, and Excel on your iPad…FOR FREE!

Reflector: Let’s me airplay multiple devices at once so others can view them in real time and I can do screen captures for PD purposes

-Can I say, “The Internet” and a way to access it?! Now that I’ve been exposed to the wonders, I don’t think I could go back to finding information in our family’s set of encyclopedias and be happy with the one answer I got from it. 

What apps/tools/software have you repurposed from its original goal or end product?  Apps: Songify and I am T-Pain: I use these apps with students as a quick formative assessment or an exit slip. By having them summarize ideas from the lesson in a short phrase and go around the room to record, it’s very easy to understand who gets it or not by what they share. They’re super motivated by it because we have a sweet song in less than two minutes. A little auto-tune action goes a long way. We even used it to create Electromagnetic Spectrum songs that we paired with exported PowerPoints to create music videos, because they were so into it. While we still created songs, I’m sure the app creators didn’t plan for this use when they envisioned their product.

I’m really into “mash ups”, but not in the typical sense. I love to put my hacker skills to work by taking tools and re-working them to meet a new goal. For example, below is an infographic I created while serving as the course assistant for CEP 812 with MSU. I used easel.ly for my structure, bitstrips.com for my avatar, ShortenMe for the QR codes, and Pixlr.com to remove the background from my avatar.

Share an Ed Tech tip!  Everyone should know that Command+Return will let you move to the next line within a cell using Google Spreadsheets. It saves a lot of frustration. Also, if you don’t know about Infuse Learning, check it out! Powerful formative assessment options for nearly all devices…and, it converts text and audio to different languages. Talk about meeting students at their level!

What is one app/tool/software you would like to learn more about?  I’m going to dig into coding next, using codecademy.com and code.org. I have basic HTML coding skills, but want more! As educators, how many times have we said, “If I only had a program that…” I want to be able to help my teachers’ visions come to life and to create dynamic learning experiences for students.

Favorite blogs, twitter handles or other resources from your Personal Learning Network:  -Gotta stay up on my free Web 2.0 tools: Free Tech For Teachers  and Larry Ferlazzo’s Website
-Stay up on my EdTech knowledge (some of the resources I use for this): Tech & Learning,  Edutopia and Teaching Like It’s 2999

Best advice you have ever received: I’ve heard variations of this quote, but here’s the gist, 

“It’s not the technology that creates a stellar learning experience, it’s the teacher who has used best practice in designing the implementation of the technology as a resource, to meet the students needs and engage them in active learning.”

 So many times, people refer to the power of technology in education. They often fail to mention/remember that there is a great teacher behind every successful technology integration, who truly makes it come to life.

Is there anything else you would like to add that you think the Ed Tech community would enjoy/find useful? As a 21st Century educator, learn about the TPACK framework and the SAMR Model. Technology integration isn’t just using Word to type a document, there’s a whole lot more to it! Push yourself as an educator and, in turn, it will push your students to synthesize, create, and OWN their learning.

Also, be courageous and try something that is a little outside of your comfort zone with tech in the classroom…guess what…technology will fail! But, you’re an awesome educator and will run with it. It’s ok.

Ed Tech Pro Tool Belt – Guy Larcom

The Ed Tech Pro Tool Belt is a series I am starting with the hopes of sharing the cool tools, tips and apps various Ed Tech pros use on a daily basis. I was inspired to do this after seeing similar series on various sites, such as the Lifehacker “how I work”. I have found it inspirational to read what professionals in various technology related fields use to accomplish their tasks. Not only do these posts offer a chance to learn techniques from colleagues, but can also serve as a archive of the skills that make the Ed Tech community so great. I will be tweaking and improving these posts as I go along, and I am always looking for feedback. If you are ever interested in being the “Ed Tech Pro Tool Belt” subject, please contact me!

The first Ed Tech Pro is not only a long time friend/colleague, but was also very helpful fine tuning this post. Thanks for everything, Guy!

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Name: Guy Larcom

Position: eLearning Designer – Davenport University

Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Twitter Handle:  GuyCLarcom

Personal Blog/Website:  guyclarcom.wordpress.com

Mobile Device: Apple iPhone 4

Tablet: iPad & Kindle Fire

Main Computer: Macbook Pro

What apps/tools/software could you not live without?

Adobe Photoshop

-Google Docs (I use all its features)

-Adobe Media Encoder

Camtasia (Mac & PC)

-iPad

What apps/tools/software have you repurposed from its original goal or end product? iPad, which we use as a teleprompter for creating instructional videos. Also Camtasia,  which I use as a basic video editor and I love it (despite what many pros in video production say).

Share an Ed Tech tip! Learn Photoshop and learn HTML and CSS (the basics).

Favorite blogs, twitter handles or other resources from your Personal Learning Network:  I enjoy reading the graphic (/r/graphic_design) and web design (/r/web_design) forums on Reddit to see what people are doing and using, and also for inspiration in my own work.  Code School and Hack Design are two more resources I have begun to experiment with.  I am hoping to start using  them more for learning about design. Udacity is another great, free learning resource for the basics of computer science.

Best advice you have ever received: Not a specific quote, but I always try to learn something new everyday. I feel that in life we should never stop learning. If you find a passion later in life than others, it does not mean you cannot develop an understanding and even ability in the area. My mentor in college told me to learn Photoshop. It has been a god send and made it so I more easily learn other pieces of software. Photoshop truly is a crucial tool to know how to use (despite its price).

Is there anything else you would like to add that you think the Ed Tech community would enjoy/find useful? I do not think being a “techie” simply means using apps and tools. I think everyone who seeks to use technology as a medium for facilitating learning should try and get at least a basic knowledge of the backend of what they are using (the processes and work that goes into building them, coding, the existence of many programming languages) so that they can further maximize the potential of each tool and see where there are shortfalls. Knowing what you can do with the tool will help to critique its use and make it easier to see where it can be improved or does not fill its role.