Step Up the SAMR Ladder with Google Apps

One framework we use for technology integration is the SAMR model by Reuben Puentedura found at This is a framework for technology integration that states as lessons move up the SAMR model, lessons move from enhancing to transforming lessons with technology. The four levels of technology integration in the SAMR model are Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.  

  • Google Docs

Take writing from substitution to modification by simply adding collaborators to the doc.  

IDEA:  Provide feedback AS students write.  Have every student’s doc open on your computer.  Move from tab to tab and watch them write.  Provide feedback as they write using the comment feature.  Open up each student’s paper in a new tab. Move from tab to tab and provide feedback as they write.  Timely feedback doesn’t get more immediate than writing with your students!

  • Google Slides

Move away from just using Slides as a presentation too to collaborative slideshows.   The collaborative work moves the task from substitution to modification.

IDEA:  Create and share one slideshow.  Set the share settings so anyone in your domain can edit. Each student is responsible for contributing a slide (or two) in the slide show.  Use the comment feature to provide feedback.  This is a great ice breaker activity and can be used in any curriculum area.    

  • Google Drawing

Use Google Drawings to create collaborative review games. Share and play these games with students across the globe and move from substitution to redefinition.

IDEA:  Students use Google drawing and create a review game.  To play the game, share the Google Drawing as view only to a shared Google Drive folder.  Students make a copy and “play” one another’s activity.  Share this activity with classrooms around the world.  Students are on the same doc reviewing together.

  • Google Sheets

Crowd sourcing data with Google Spreadsheet moves right up the SAMR ladder.  Share and receive feedback from validators around the world and you have redefined a learning activity.

IDEA: Great a Google Spreadsheet and share the link wither several classrooms. Collect and record data on a shared Google Spreadsheet.  From this data, students create graphs interpreting the data and publish the results to the world.

Challenge yourself to move one of your lessons up the ladder. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.

Ann Feldmann

Workflow Shortcuts for Apple and Google: Part 1


Mac Book

Want a quick way to switch between open programs?  Hold down Command and Tab a the same time. Up pops all of your open programs.  Combine this short with another favorite, Command Q and quickly close programs.  

Command Tab – Displays all Open Programs

Command Q – Quit and Open Program. Works slick with Command Tab


Google Docs:

Have a great font, color and size going in your doc?  Want to make more text the same?

  1. Click on the format painter.
  2. Drag across the text you love and copy the formatting magically as you paint across the text.
  3. Drag across the text selection you want to change.  And voila! All of the formatting (color, size, font) is magically painted on this new text as you drag your cursor across the selection.


In order to get full access to all of the great Gmail shortcuts you will need first turn on the keyboard shortcuts in Settings.

  1. Click on Settings
  2. Under the General tab find Keyboard Shortcuts
  3. Click Keyboard shortcuts on  

C – compose new message

R – reply

A – reply all  

F – forward

Personalized Professional Development Starts with Communication

Communication is at the heart of personalized professional development.  Establishing an effective collaborative workflow is key to capturing ideas and continuing critical conversations that may start in person.  Great ideas often occur hours after a conversation takes place when people have had time to reflect. Having a workflow in place to capture these ideas and continue the conversations has many benefits.

When I was at NETA 2014, I heard @angelamaiers keynote where she said  “BRAVE is the new 21st Century Skill along w/ wonder, expect, think deeply, adapt, struggle, risk, grapple, & fail!  At the same NETA conference, I heard about the Voxer app.  Curious, I downloaded it and over the past year have used it as a place to wonder, expect, think deeply, adapt, struggle, risk, grapple, & fail with a group of educators that push my thinking every day.  

Voxer is an app available for both Android and iPhone that allows you to send text messages, images, videos, and voice to individuals and groups.  The game changer for workflow are the walkie-talkie / voice and the group chat.features.

Everyone you want in the group chat needs to download and create an account on Voxer.  Then, one person creates the group chat and adds everyone to the group.

What is Voxer?

A walkie-talkie app

Why use Voxer?

  1. Connect with colleagues in a jiffy.  
  2. Share ideas as images, voice, text, and in real-time as a walkie talkie.  
  3. Speedy!  Talking is so much faster than texting!


  1. Easy access to people in your Voxer group.
  2. Exchange information quickly and in real-time.  
  3. As people share ideas and information, other ideas previously unimaginable begin to develop.

How powerful would it be to use this tool to connect your grade levels, coaches, administrators, instructional teams, instructional coaches, the sky’s the limit?  Share a few ways you are using or plan to use Voxer in your educational setting.

Written By Ann Feldmann

Five Creative Ways to Reflect with Tech

One of the most beneficial things we can do to grow is reflect. Reflection is important in all aspects of our lives. As educators, students, mothers, fathers, employees, managers, and friends, we can all become better through reflection. Yet, reflection is one of the hardest things for people to do. Along with revisiting things that went well, sometimes it’s hard to reflect because it means looking at things that didn’t go well and that can be a difficult task. But, that is where reflection can help us grow. Mentally we all reflect, to some extent, before, during and after a lesson, presentation or meeting. Putting some of these thoughts down in a more concrete place will help your reflection become more powerful.

It is important to remember that there isn’t one method of reflection that will work for everyone. Many times we feel that reflections need to be lengthy one to two page documents, yet some of the most powerful reflections are short and to the point. Sometimes the struggle is where to reflect and how to reflect. Here are a few questions and suggestions to help guide you and your students as you begin reflecting.

  1. What went well?
  2. What surprised you?
  3. What made you most proud?
  4. What would you do differently?
  5. What new goals do you have or what new things do you want to try?

How do you do this? What does it look like? Here are five suggestions:

  1. Blog (Edublogs, Blogger, WordPress, Weebly)

Blogs are your more typical way of reflecting. Today there are multiple options out there for you to choose from. The great thing about blogs is that you can make them private or share them out.

  1. Video/Voice Reflection (QuickTime, Phone Camera, Notability)

Many times it is easier to say what you are thinking instead of trying to write it down. Try using Quicktime or even your camera or voice recorder on your smartphone. Another idea is to use Notability or Explain Everything where you can record your voice and jot a few things down.

  1. Survey students (Google form, Socrative, Survey Monkey)

What about reflecting by finding out what your student think or thought about a lesson or unit. Use some of the tools above to gauge how things went. Then, take the results and set some action goals on what you might do differently next time.

  1. Quick response system (Padlet, TodaysMeet, Lino, Popplet)

Using an online bulletin board or sticky note system might work well for you. These can be used to quickly throw down an idea or thought and then arranged at a later date. Think of these as “in the moment” types of reflection where you quickly jot down what is working and what might need to be changed.

  1. Reflecting with Images (Notability, Explain Everything, Doceri)

Use a drawing app sketch your reflection. These can be used to summarize a topic or take a pulse on how learners are feeling about the day. Turn on some quiet music and watch the drawings take shape.

As you being reflecting, remember not to place too much pressure on yourself about what or how you are reflecting. Try and focus on a few of the questions above to see how they benefit you. Don’t forget to revisit your reflections from time to time to help you set your action goals and if you are feeling adventurous….share them out.

Jeanette Carlson