Tip 24 – Math Made Digital!

Until now, writing equations and math expressions on your computer has been slow and laborious.  EquatIO makes math digital, helping teachers and students at all levels create math expressions quickly and easily.  You can tydownload (2).pngpe or handwrite virtually any mathematical expression directly on your keyboard or touchscreen.  There’s no need for any complicated code or programming languages. (1)

Made for today’s tech-focused classrooms, this Chrome browser extension lets you type, handwrite, or dictate equations, formulas and more directly on your computer or Chromebook.  Then add your expression with a click of a button to Google Docs or Forms. (2)

eq-editor-poly3.gifWith intuitive prediction realizing that you mean ‘square root’ when you type ‘sq’…It’s also clever enough to ignore those ‘umms’ and ‘errs’ when you’re dictating a formula aloud.  There’s a huge library of ready-made expressions, from simple formulas to complex functions which will save you time.  Ideal for today’s BYOD and UDL classrooms, EquatIO works on Windows, Mac and Chromebooks and offers tools to suit every learning style. (2)

speech-input-poly.gifThese days, students are more likely to pick up their devices than pen and paper to complete an assignment.  Writing equations and other math expressions on a computer or tablet isn’t easy – even basic fractions like ‘three-quarters’ (¾) are a challenge.  And it’s even tougher adding square root signs, advanced fractions, powers and other mathematical symbols. (2)
Much more than a replacement for pen and paper, EquatIO makes math and STEM subjects more accessible in today’s classrooms. Great for students and teachers at all grade levels, it encourages a more interactive, collaborative approach to exploring math related subjects.  Try EquatIO today and find out for yourself. (2)


  1. “EquatIO – Math made digital – Chrome વેબ દુકાન – Google.” 12 Apr. 2017, https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/equatio-math-made-digital/hjngolefdpdnooamgdldlkjgmdcmcjnc?hl=gu. Accessed 25 Apr. 2017.
  2. “EquatIO Math Writing Software. A Digital Math Tool For … – Texthelp.” https://www.texthelp.com/en-gb/products/equatio/. Accessed 25 Apr. 2017.

Tip 23 – Aww SNAP! Check out AWW App!

While some productivity and team collaboration tools seem to come and go, there are many tried and true examples that we just seem to can’t let go.  The standard blackboard, and more modern online whiteboards have been the go-to methods of brainstorming, planning, drawing, explaining and teaching for as long as many of us can remember. (2)

studentsChalkboardWhile most of our productivity tools have transformed into a digital version, these massive surfaces designed to be used, erased and reused time and time again have held their own as physical props we place around the classroom.  There’s no denying the benefit of a collaborative whiteboard as an effective method for laying out plans, ideas or explanations in a large, visible format – if something pops into your head you can just jot it down quickly, with the space to hold everything at once.  Well, now this space can be a digital one. (2)


Launched and run directly in your web browser, Aww App is a virtual whiteboard for on-the-go and accessing the virtual whiteboard is as simple as directing your browser to the AwwApp.com web page.  Logging in allows you to privatize the board so you can invite others to participate.  The free model allows for access to the online whiteboard, and all participants you invite can freely draw and add – but limits your tools to basic ones only and doesn’t allow for board saving beyond image snapshots.  A solid, basic and easy to use free version with the option to upgrade to a more robust paid plan, or even custom on-premises solution makes for a great contender for both personal and classroom use. (2)

The app is as simplistic as a whiteboard can get.  Users have a choice of 7 colors to use on the whiteboard, three sizes of pencils, a text tool, and an erase option.  Users have a choice of 7 colors to use on the whiteboard, three sizes of pencils, a text tool, and an eraser. (1)


In order to share the whiteboard with others, AWW App provides a link that you can add to websites, forums, chat, and more.  This link will bring the visitor directly to your temporary whiteboard in order to collaborate with you. You could email this link to someone on his or her smartphone and they can join the session and begin sharing almost instantly. (1)

Once you have a finished product, the whiteboard image can be shared as a Tweet, Cv3ET3-WYAAlRIF.jpgFacebook post, or added to Reddit.  This lets you share the ideas and development with others who were not able to join the session. (1)

At any point, you can save the whiteboard images as a .png image file. This allows you to upload, share through email, or post it to sites such as Pinterest. (1)

AWW App could be greatly beneficial to a classroom in order to share the whiteboard with the students. As no registration information is needed, the application is secure and student personal information is never used. (1)

Platforms and synchronization

AWW App can be accessed by nearly any device using the Internet.  Whether you are sharing with PCs, MACs, smartphones, or tablets the real-time interaction is superb. Updates to the whiteboard are in real-time and basic interaction can be accomplished. However, the drawing feature on some tablets and smartphones may be difficult to use as an apparent glitch seems to add extra lines.  There is no known app available for Android or iOS devices. (1)


Compared to similar apps

Aww App is as basic as they come. It lacks file transfers, voice chat, image uploads, and a variety of other tools that many others utilize.  However, this app is 100-percent free to use, requires no registration, and you can be using the whiteboard as soon as you click the “Start drawing” button. (1)

Pricing and license

This app is completely free to use.  Registration is not required in order to use the site. (1)

Bottom Line

AWW App is as basic and simple as you can possibly get.  Because of this simplicity, it’s probably one of the easiest to learn how to use.  The app works well in real-time across various device from the website and the ability to post the information to Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter is a nice touch.  As you are able to save the file as an image, it can be used in a variety of ways.  However, there are far more robust whiteboard systems on the Internet that have greater capabilities that are also free to use.  The fact that images currently cannot be uploaded to the whiteboard may be a detrimental aspect for many users. (1)

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!


  1. “AWW App Review: A Simple Whiteboard to Share | Blinklist.com.” 23 May. 2013, http://blinklist.com/reviews/aww-app. Accessed 11 Apr. 2017.
  2. “The 10 Best Online Whiteboards with Realtime Collaboration | GetVoIP.” 14 Sep. 2016, https://getvoip.com/blog/2016/09/14/online-whiteboard-collaboration/. Accessed 11 Apr. 2017.

Tip 22 – It’s a Feedback Frenzy!

In the business world, feedback is essential in the process as it tells companies whether people are interested in them and their product.  How many people visit your web page and who are they?  What kind of content do they read?  Feedback like this can provide a big step forward.  It is through feedback — or the lack of — and the bad-dog-insufficient-feedbackability to learn from it, that companies are able to grow. (1)

You probably know all those cheesy quotes about failure being a part of the way to success?  Well, they are true.  But only if you are interested in learning from your failures and the feedback you receive.  So how does all this relate to the academic environment?  As a student, you might have experienced that the assignments that you have spent hours on, will end up receiving a rather bland feedback in the form of a grade. (1)

So maybe in the classroom, we shouldn’t only allow for feedback from the teacher.  It might be valuable to allow feedback to come from classmates, friends, and peers.  Any kind of feedback can be valuable and it will definitely be better than no feedback at all. (1)


Peergrade is a platform solely designed for facilitating peer feedback and peer grading within the classroom.  It lets teachers set an assignment and grading criteria, and invite students to upload their completed work to Peergrade, such as in the form of a Google Document or YouTube video.  The platform then distributes those assignments to different students who are charged with actually carrying out the grading and giving feedback. (2)

Check out this VIDEO to learn more.

How it works…

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 11.07.19 AM.png


Maybe Peergrade isn’t for you…and that’s alright.  Check out an excerpt from their article below that provides 5 tips for giving better feedback in your classroom.  Every little bit helps!

1 . Stay Focused0-FuwG_pYGkLRU28F2.jpeg

Have you ever been given feedback along the lines of “Adequate,” “Good,” “Confusing” or “Your sentences start weirdly.” These are all examples of unfocused feedback that are difficult to understand and convert into action.

When giving feedback, you want to provide clear direction through actionable and text-specific comments instead. For instance, “What’s your main point here?”, “If you disagree, put that idea up front and explain,” “Consider integrating these ideas” or “Be more specific. Say where and when.”  You should make sure that you comment on both what is important and what the person receiving the feedback is able to control. (3)

2. Be Timely0-T9qniFcqioyE3uI1.jpeg

There are few things more annoying than being told “You should have done this” or “If you had included this essential point it would have been perfect” once you have already concluded a course or handed in the final assignment. Rather than at the end, feedback given along the journey of learning provides a better understanding of the subject matter when you need it most and enables you to make changes before it is too late. Using tools like peergrade.io can help to make the feedback timely and current.

When it comes to peer feedback it is important to provide it before you and your peer forget the subject matter, before other assignments requires your attention, and before the potential learning outcome becomes obsolete. (3)

3. Create A Positive Experience

I think we can all agree that the goal of feedback is increasing the learning outcome and development of the recipient of feedback. Being clear in your feedback seems obvious, but maintaining a positive experience for the receiver of feedback is easy to overlook and also harder to get right.

It is necessary to understand that the purpose of giving feedback is not to drag anyone down; it is not about pointing out flaws, but rather seeing possibilities of improvement and whether or not you are on the right track. This is not the same as being overly positive and only focusing on good things. But creating a comfortable atmosphere of trust and respect which helps with delivering difficult feedback and also to make sure that the feedback is listened to and accepted. Writing things like “You showed me how well you understand the model when you explained how it helped you structure your data and gain valuable insight,” makes it really clear where you find the ‘good stuff’ and what is so great about it.

Feedback is also a balancing act and can only be effective when it is given in a constructive and encouraging manner. Speaking your mind and claiming statements like “This is absolutely terrible! Have you even put any effort into this?” will not have any beneficial value neither to you nor the person receiving your feedback.
It is important to avoid sarcasm and use simple (understandable) language in your feedback, as the person receiving the feedback is more likely to accept and learn from your comments. (3)

4. Be Specific
— Provide Specific Suggestions About What To Do Next

When giving feedback, it is equally important to present specific suggestions on how the person could continue improving the assignment and subject matter. Think about what steps the person should take to move their work to the next level.  Reviewing someone’s work and providing them with possible solutions to approaching the topic will motivate the person and further their learning experience. (3)

5. Look At Things From Different Angles0-vS_e8yzRLlWxq5NP.jpeg
— Using De Bono’s Thinking Hats

De Bono suggests using the metaphor of colored hats to think from different perspectives, focusing on one perspective, or one hat, at a time. For example, put on the yellow hat and think only about the good things in the peers work. Putting on the green will help you focus on creativity and look for new and different ways your peer can approach the assignment. While the black hat will encourage careful evaluation, taking a hard look at the potential weaknesses to an argument. (3)

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!


  1. “Why you should care about getting feedback – Peergrade – Medium.” 7 Jun. 2016, https://medium.com/peergrade-io/why-you-should-care-about-getting-feedback-61ed1392bbec. Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.
  2. “Peergrade lets students grade each other’s assignments | TechCrunch.” 4 May. 2016, https://techcrunch.com/2016/05/04/peergrade/. Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.
  3. “from Peergrade 5 tips for giving better feedback for … – Medium.” 18 Jul. 2016, https://medium.com/peergrade-io/5-tips-for-giving-better-feedback-7b75ec2b69f4. Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.

Tip 21 – Have no Fear, Nearpod is Here!

nearpod students 1.pngPicture you and your students in class. Every one of you has an iPod or another type of tablet.  You open up a Google Slides presentation and it appears on every student’s tablet, with you controlling the pacing of the slides from your tablet.  So far, it already sounds like a pretty nice way to keep students more focused because they can all see it equally clearly. (3)

But then imagine adding more interactivity: An open-ended question students can respond to right on their tablets.  A poll.  A quiz.  A drawing activity where students sketch or diagram something.  When students respond on their tablets, you see the results on your own. (3)

Welcome to Nearpodnearpodlogo.jpg

Nearpod, is a free app available for iOS and Android, offers teachers an easy-to-use tool for creating interactive lesson plans, which students can then upload to their own device.

Designed with 1:1 or BYOD (Bring your own Device) classrooms in mind, Nearpod allows teachers to create digital lesson plans, share it with students during class, and track individual progress. Lessons are comprised of teacher-created slides that can include text, video, images, websites, questions, quizzes, polls, and assignments. Students are able to follow the lesson on their own devices at their own pace or teachers can lead a synchronized session where students can follow the lesson in real-time.

Nearpod provides a few sample lesson plans that teachers can choose from or they can choose to create their own as well as videos and interactive sessions to help teachers use and navigate the product. Additionally, Nearpod has data analytics embedded into the presentations, which allows teachers to address individual problems on assignments and assess students in real-time. Reports can be accessed for both an individual student and the class as a whole. The platform can also incorporate HTML5 web games or apps, like Vmath or ALEKS, facilitating transitions from lesson plan to online learning games. (2)

Before You Start

Nearpod is a synchronous solution for the use of mobile devices in the classroom. To try Nearpod, you will need one Tablet or PC/MAC and at least one other device (tablets, smartphones, Chrome books, PC/MAC), both running Nearpod. All devices should be connected to the Internet. (1)

To create an account or log in as a teacher you need to download the Nearpod app on a mobile device or go to the website on your laptop.

You can enjoy the SILVER Edition for FREE, or you have the option to upgrade your account to the Nearpod GOLD Edition, which offers the following benefits:

  • more storage space (up to 3GB)
  • Larger file uploads (up to 40MB)
  • More students per session (up to 50)
  • Additional interactive features (add audio slides, add twitter timeline, and insert web pages in your presentation)
  • Student self-paced feature (Nearpod homework)

How it Works

Teachers use Nearpod to share content with their students and to manage the flow of the lecture. Students use Nearpod on their mobile devices to receive multimedia content and to participate in engaging assessment and collaboration activities. (1)

Nearpod.jpgNearpod allows teachers to:

  1. Create Content: – Teachers log in to http://www.nearpod.com to create multimedia presentations with interactive features such as quizzes, videos, polls, drawing tools, and more. They can also access featured presentations from certified publishers and fellow educators.
  2. Engage: – In the classroom, teachers log in to the Nearpod app to share content with their students and manage the flow of the lecture. Students use the Nearpod app on their devices to receive curricular content, participate in activities and submit responses.
  3. Assess: – Teachers can see students’ answers in real time on the Nearpod app. Additionally, teachers can log in to http://www.nearpod.com to access post-session data and obtain detailed activity reports.

Download Nearpod now and sign up for a FREE account to start experiencing the magic of Nearpod!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!


  1. “Nearpod Reviews | edshelf.” https://edshelf.com/tool/nearpod/. Accessed 27 Mar. 2017.
  2. “Nearpod | Product Reviews on EdSurge.” https://www.edsurge.com/product-reviews/nearpod. Accessed 27 Mar. 2017.
  3. “6 Ed Tech Tools to Try in 2017 | Cult of Pedagogy.” 22 Jan. 2017, https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/ed-tech-tools-2017/. Accessed 28 Mar. 2017.

Tip 20 – Tabs & TAbs & TABs & TABS!


Does the image above look familiar?  You’ve just shy of a hundred or so tabs open and running all at the same time because, well, that’s just how y0u roll.  I might have some Google extensions that will help you in your quest to conquer all of the interwebs in one single internet browser window.

Tab Suspender

Automatically suspend, park, hibernate inactive tabs and save up to 80% of memory, reduce load on your device, battery and heat.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 12.25.23 PM.png

If you like to use many open Tabs at once – this extension will help you and automatically accelerate your browser and purge the memory.

Tab suspender hibernates inactive tabs and save up to 80% of memory.  Unloading tabs will free memory and reduce load on the device by saving your battery and putting off less heat.  This extension catches inactive, idle or forgotten tabs and suspend / park them with the freeing 80% memory, device resources and battery life.  When tab became a visible again, it would be automatically restored to initial.

Tab Scissors

This extension splits a window into two at the selected tab.

If you have at least two tabs in the selected Chrome window, it will split that window into two smaller side-by-side windows. All the tabs on the left side of the selected tab will stay in the left window, and the rest will move to the window on the right.

It is especially helpful for those who have lots of tabs opened at a time.

Tab Glue

This extension glues windows together.  unnamed (1)

This simple organization tool puts all of your Chrome tabs together into one window with a single click.  The new window has your tabs arranged in the same order your windows were, and makes the selected tab in your current window be the new selected tab, so you won’t lose track of where your tabs were or what you were doing.

Tab Resize

Split Screen made easy.


Resize the CURRENT tab and tabs to the RIGHT into layouts on separate windows. w/ Multi Monitor Support.

The selected/highlighted tab along with all tabs to the right of it will be considered. Whether you have more or less tabs than are needed the extension will resize only the available tabs.

Undo button will undo the previous layout resize. You can only perform undo once at any time.

In ‘single tab’ mode, only the selected/highlighted tab will considered. Only the current window/tab will change in size, all other tabs to the right will be ignored.

In ’empty tab’ mode, new windows with empty tabs will be created if there are not enough tabs to fill your selected layout.

You can select left or right alignment for your resize

You can create your own custom layouts within reason and reset to default configurations if desired. Layouts are sorted most recently created on top right.

Click and hold on any layout and drag to rearrange order to your liking

Tab Cloud

Save and restore window sessions over time and across multiple computers.

Tab Cloud allows you to save any window session and restore it at a later date or on another computer.  Effectively allowing you to sync open tabs between multiple computers.

To use you simply click the TabCloud icon on the menu, you will then see your current open windows and previously saved windows, you can save open windows, or restore saved ones.  You can also delete previously saved windows.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!

Tip 19 – What is PhET?

PhET provides fun, free, interactive, research-based science and mathematics simulations.  They claim to extensively test and evaluate each simulation to ensure educational effectiveness.  These tests include student interviews and observation of simulation use in classrooms.  The downloadsimulations are written in Java, Flash or HTML5, and can be run online or downloaded to your computer.  All simulations are open source.  Multiple sponsors support the PhET project, enabling these resources to be free to all students and teachers. (1)

To help students engage in science and mathematics through inquiry, PhET simulations are developed using the following design principles: (1)

  • Encourage scientific inquirymasses_springs.v3
  • Provide interactivity
  • Make the invisible visible
  • Show visual mental models
  • Include multiple representations (e.g., object motion, graphs, numbers, etc.)
  • Use real-world connections
  • Give users implicit guidance (e.g., by limiting controls) in productive exploration
  • Create a simulation that can be flexibly used in many educational situations

Several tools in the simulations provide an interactive experience:

  • Click and drag to interact with simulation features
  • Use sliders to increase and decrease parameters
  • Choose between options with radio buttons
  • Make measurements in your experiments with various instruments – rulers, stop-watches, voltmeters, and thermometers. (1)


As users interact with these tools, they get immediate feedback about the effect of the changes they made. This allows them to investigate cause-and-effect relationships and answer scientific questions through exploration of the simulation. (1)


You can search through different simulations by topic, subject, or even grade level.  There ais a broad range of levels of simulations so that most grade levels should be able to implement the simulations in some way.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 10.13.39 AM.png

Best of all, there is no cost.  All the simulations are free for you to use in all your classes.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!


  1. “PhET Interactive Simulations Reviews | edshelf.” https://edshelf.com/tool/phet-interactive-simulations/. Accessed 13 Mar. 2017.

Tip 18 – No Need to Recreate the Wheel

giphy (1).gifDon’t get caught up in that vicious formatting nightmare.  You’re trying to create a document and line up the text with the two images you’ve imported.  You move one thing and the whole document is out of whack, and so on and so forth.  BLAH!!!

Google has tried to help you and your students with these types of issues by providing templates for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms.  They’re super easy to access and implement.

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 12.02.15 PM.png

1. Go to your Googe Drive.
2. At the top left, click New.
3. Next to the type of file you want to create, click the arrow and then click “From a template” as shown to the right.

If you are already in a Doc, Sheet, Slide, or Form you can also access the templates by clicking “File”, “New”, and then “From a Template” as shown below.


Once you’re inside the template gallery, you can choose from many different types of templates in the General gallery as shown below.

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 12.10.04 PM.png

You’ll also notice that there’s an option to click on “Talawanda School District” within the Template Gallery.  This is where you will find templates that were created and shared within our school district.  You can add to this list of templates simply by clicking “Submit Template” on the top right of the screen (see below).  This might be a great way for buildings and departments to share letterhead, data collection sheets, or any other type of template that could be useful to us in our work.

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 12.14.05 PM.png

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!