Category Archives: iPad

Troubleshooting with 4 A’s

Schools everywhere are acquiring more and more technology with the goal to benefit teaching and learning.  Unfortunately, experiencing technical difficulties from time to time is inevitable. Good things can also come from these, sometimes frustrating technical problems.  Troubleshooting is a skill that in this day and age everyone should be prepared to handle, regardless of their level of expertise.  Teacher and students will become technology independent and more tech savvy, but the greatest benefit is the critical thinking and problem solving skills that the student will acquire.

There are two things to remember about troubleshooting:

  • The goal is not necessarily to”fix” the problem. If you can’t find the solution, that is okay! Sometime even the “expert” wont have a solution.  Instead focus on how you as a teacher, can use this problem solving process to publicly exhibit how your students analyze information, draw conclusions, take action, and evaluate by reflecting on the outcome.
  • Don’t think of troubleshooting as a technical term, think of it as a logical procedure.

Following the  4 A’s below will help guide you and your students through the troubleshooting process.

troubleshooting diagram

  1. ATTITUDE- The most important and most difficult step to when troubleshooting is having a positive attitude.  Your attitude will determine how you control the situation.  Having a positive attitude will also increase your chances of success.
  2. ASK – Stop, think, and ask questions.  Ask yourself and your students what happened and why it happened. The more questions you ask, the more in-depth diagnosis you will generate.
  3. ANSWER – Answer the questions you asked yourself and your students.  Let your student generate assumptions and evaluate the information.  From here, you can proceed with the process of elimination to narrow down the problem.
  4. ACTION – Use your and your students’ intuition to take action(s) to resolve the problem.

If the problem is fixed, you and your students will have saved the day!  If the problem is not fixed, do not get discouraged. Reflect on the outcome , ask more questions, and try again.  If after a few tries, the problem is not fix, don’t panic. Remind yourself and your students that some problems are harder to fix than others.  Effort and what was learned from the process is the most important lesson.  If you need to seek for additional help from tech support, try to stay involved so you collaboratively fix the problem.

The more practice, the more effective and successful you and your students will become. So next time your having technical difficulties, instead of having the “expert” work their “magic” and save the day, let your students be your heroes!


There’s an app for that- Whiteriver Teacher Tool

With the goal of trying to make technology resources easier for teachers to access, I’ve created a web app that can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet.

If you have access to a smartphone or tablet, simply open a browser and find your way to or scan the QR code below.


What’s in the app?

The app consists of 3 parts: Home, Resources, and Get Help.
The Home screen provides quick access to the WUSD Calendar, Your Classroom LMS, and Web Mail as well as an explanation of the purpose of the app.

home        About

On the Resources Screen you will find links to the tech ready team blog, the new STEM units that are currently being created, the curriculum maps,Resources as well as a link to the My Learning Plan website.  On the bottom of the Resources Screen you can swipe across to access the different WUSD Social Media:  WUSD Facebook, Tech Ready Facebook, and the Tech Dog Twitter Page.

Probably the most useful portion of the app is the Get Help page.  This page gives you the option to report a computer or network problem and turn in a ticket to the help desk via an online form.  In addition there is a form for requesting help with technology integration issues which I will receive.  At the bottom of the page is the link to the technology resources page on where you can find answers to your technology questions.


How do I get the app on my device?

It’s very simple to place this app on your device or tablet.  Simply navigate to the site mentioned above  Once you have the app open in your browser you can add this web app to the home screen of your device by finding the “Add to Home Screen” icon.  When you open this app directly from your home screen you will notice that it is no longer running inside a browser, but as a separate app.

Moodle Roundup: A New Version is Coming to WUSD!

Moodle RoundupThe Learn Moodle MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) for teachers has officially started this week, and I’ve been learning lots about the new version of Moodle (2.5) that will be installed in the near future at WUSD.

There are over 7500 teachers from around the globe taking the class right now, including some from such exotic places as Whiteriver, Canyon Day, and Alchesay.  You can still register for the class and participate even though it has officially started.  The forums in the class are a great place to ask questions and get answers quickly (I’ve been taking full advantage.)

  •  I’ve uploaded about 30 new videos and a couple of “books” of information for new teachers from the Learn Moodle Course.  You can access these materials through the Tech Resource Page and at the direct link here.  (Scroll down to find all of the videos).
  •  Did I mention we will be upgrading our Online Classrooms (Moodle) in the near future?  Here are some of the new features you might like about the new version:
    • You can drag and drop files onto your page to simplify the uploading process.
    • It’s a simpler and cleaner interface for beginners with not as much scrolling involved.
    • More types and options for assignments.
    • It works well with the ipad and other tablets.  The page resizes based on the size of the screen you’re using.
    • It includes “badges” with which you can reward students when they’ve accomplished or completed a task.
  • The STEM units the Tech Ready Team is working on are being created in the new version of Moodle. The image below is a screen shot of the 3rd grade Cycles of Life Unit.

    3rd Grade STEM Unit displayed on an iPad.

    3rd Grade STEM Unit displayed on an iPad.

What in the world is LearnZillion?

What is it?
Image LearnZillion is a free website available to you that combines video lessons, assessments, and progress reporting. Each lesson highlights a Common Core standard.
It’s only been around for close to two years but thanks to millions of dollars funding they currently have 2,000 lessons based on Common Core standards. Currently they are employing over 100 teachers to develop screencasts of lessons and assessments. If you’re familiar with Khan Academy, think of it as a kind of Khan Academy structured around the Common Core standards with videos created by master teachers across the country. Below is a screenshot of a LearnZillion lesson:ImageA Little History.
Here’s a quick history of LearnZillion lifted from their website, “We started LearnZillion at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. because we wanted to solve a problem. We knew what lessons our students needed but we didn’t have enough time to teach each student the right lesson. To create more time, and to share best practices across classrooms, E.L. Haynes’ teachers began to capture their expertise on screencasts. We posted them on a homemade website and coupled them with a short quiz to help us track student progress. Soon the idea grew. What if teachers from across the country could contribute to the site? What if new teachers could learn the new Common Core standards from the wisdom of experienced teachers? What if students could get a playlist of lessons that matched their needs? What if, over time, the video lessons got stronger and stronger, as more teachers contributed and the data showed which lessons had the biggest impact? Thanks to funding from the Next Generation Learning Challenge, New Schools Venture Fund, Achievement Network, and others, we are about to find out!” Here’s a link to a Marketplace article if you want to learn more.

Is it Really Free?
That’s the question I had. Yes, it really is free for teachers as well as parents. You do have to set up a username and password and agree to terms and conditions that require you to login every time you use the site. They make money by providing professional development and premium and customized features to school districts. However all of the content is available for free.

How Can I Use It?
LearnZillion has a couple of nice features. One is that you can “assign” a particular lesson. When you click the “Assign” button you get a unique number code. You can then post this code on your LMS page or give it to you student. When they enter the code in any search bar a student version of the video appears for them to watch. These links and codes can easily be embedded in your online classroom. If you find that you really want to use this resource for RTI, you can actually set up an entire class which gives each student their unique code that gives them access to the multiple lessons you’ve assigned them.

I see this as not just another web resource, but a common core resource that will integrate nicely with WUSD’s use of Galileo benchmarks, and the review of those assessments. It can be used in addition to the Galileo Intervention Tools.

Teaching with Moodle: An Introduction

Following-up on Catalina’s post about the many uses of your LMS-


Registration opens today for a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) aimed at teaching teachers how to use the Moodle LMS.

Teaching with Moodle: An Introduction is a the first official class offered by Moodle. The course lasts four weeks from September 1st to October- and is expected to take 2 hours of work per week.
If you would like to learn more about how to teach with your online classroom website this is an excellent opportunity. You will receive official documentation when you complete the course.


I have already registered for the course and will be taking it. If you have questions about assignments or feel uncomfortable taking an online course I will be available to help.

PS- Already this morning there were hundreds of teachers who have registered from all around the world.

Here’s a snapshot of the learning goals:

I hope to see you in the course!

iPad apps for K-2: Toontastic


Toontastic is a digital story telling app that students can use to re-tell stories and also to write their own stories.  I was able to see this app in action this week and am really excited about it now.  Susan and I had a group of first graders, who were struggling with their sight words, come to our office this week.  We read them a story and then asked them to re-tell the story.  They were having a difficult time with this at first.  We gave them a piece of paper and had them make a four square to assist them in re-telling the story.  They still were struggling with this but we continued to offer them support.  We then took out the iPads and their interest suddenly grew.  We helped them get started on the app and then 45 minutes later we realized it was almost time for them to go back to class.  The excitement on their faces as they watched the story they created was overwhelming.  I looked at a group of students who could easily re-tell this story and wished that their time wasn’t up and thought… this should be happening all over the district.

I want to be able to address other apps that you all are interested in!

Encyclopedia of Life


The Encyclopedia of Life ( “is a collaborative effort among scientists and the general public to bring together information about all 1.9 million species on the planet. All information is open source and freely accessible.” Originally created for professional use, this online resource has been redesigned for public use. This amazing resource is absolutely full of information for students and teachers.

Some of the resources the website offers are:

  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Sounds
  • Google Earth tours
  • Teacher Resources

Uses in the classroom: See list above or go here to DISCOVER…Also, students/teachers/normal people can join and create collections of content to share.

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy: understanding, remembering, evaluating