Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Doodle with Google for Valentine’s Day


If you’re looking for another super cool Valentine’s Day activity for your students (the first being  Valentine’s Day Magnetic Poetry, which can be found here), then a must-see is the ‘Create your own Google Logo’ activity developed for students to design and code their own Valentine Doodle using the programming language Scratch.

This edtech gem is a standalone activity that can be completed in just one hour. It can be used in a classroom setting, at a conference or at an event. Anyone can teach the concepts to students as no computer science experience is required to do so.

Check out a variety of teacher resources including lessons plans, informational flyers, certificates, sticker badges and more located here or explore the activity yourself here.

Classroom Connection:

Help students code a Google logo about something or someone they care about this Valentine’s Day!

What is a Google logo or doodle? They are special logos that appear on the Google homepage. They celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists. Check out more info about Google Doodles here.

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Why We Should All Learn Coding


Need some additional rationale for exposing your students to computer programming during the official Hour of Code—and beyond? Then be sure to check out The Why We Should All Learn Coding Infographic generated by

In case you aren’t sure, code is the stuff that makes most of the technology we use every day work. You obviously don’t really need to know how to reprogram your computer to operate it, but understanding how it works will help you imagine how programs can change to better serve you. So, if you’re among those of us who’ve always thought programming was impossibly hard or reserved for the tech-minded, that’s no longer accurate. There are plenty of free web resources and apps that individuals of all ages can utilize to become more savvy in this area.

That said, consider expanding your knowledge base—and that of your students—by becoming more familiar with code. As the interest of learning programming languages continues to rise, there’s never been a better (or more supportive) time to get ahead of the curve.

Why We Should All Learn Coding Infographic

Classroom Connection:

The info contained within the graphic makes a compelling case as to why students should learn a programming language. One of them could be the next software engineer that tech giants such as Google and Facebook hire for $1M—seriously!

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Get Your Hour of Code On!


Did you know that computer science is a top paying college degree and computer programming jobs are growing at two times the national average? Yep, it has been projected that by the year 2020 there will 1,000,000 more jobs than there are students to fill them!

And that’s because although we live in a world surrounded by technology, only a small fraction of us learn computer science, the basics of how computers work, or how to create software, apps or web sites. Computer Science provides a foundation for virtually any career and everybody can benefit from learning the basics.

So, as an educator, what can you do to help address this issue? For starters, you can join the Hour of Code—an initiative supported by that encourages schools and teachers across the globe to help introduce students of all ages to computer programming during Computer Science Education Week, December 4-10, 2017. This event is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities. This grassroots campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide.

Need some resources to make the Hour of Code happen in your space? Besides, the following sites are also curriculum providers for the Hour of Code: Tynker, Khan AcademyCodecademy and Code Avengers.

Another noteworthy place to snag some really nifty resources is Let’s Start Coding. This company has developed a series of kits and toys that teach students to code via hands-on examples and step-by-step guides. My Tech Club students have been experimenting with one of the base kits throughout this school year, and they love, love it!

Let’s Start Coding joins other organizations who have created free introductory coding activities that have been approved by the Hour of Code staff. Their totally cool Code Car Simulator allows students in Grades 4-12 to type real C++ code that controls the lights and buttons of a car-shaped circuit board via following seven guided lessons. The lessons allow students to blink lights and manipulate buttons on an on-screen circuit board. It’s a must-see so be sure to check it out!

This super cool activity—and so much more await you and your students right here, right now! There’s seriously more info than you’ll even know what to do with! #ForReal

Classroom Connection:

The founders of Google, Microsoft and Facebook all started their journeys with just one line of code. Like these successful entrepreneurs, our students should have the opportunity to create the technology of the future, not just use it! That said, join millions of students in 33,000 classrooms across 167 countries as they venture into the language of coding by participating in the Hour of Code.

Not only does coding help students learn problem solving and creative thinking skills, it teaches them to be risk-takers, persistent and to persevere in the face of frustration—skills that are relevant in all sorts of other activities in both school and the “real world”.

I realize that coding sounds intimidating to some, but the activities on the site require no computer programming skills at all. If your students can type, they can code! And you can learn, too!

And by the way—Although the official Hour of Code takes place during the first week of December each year, you can host an Hour of Code all year round. #winning

Here’s to your coding adventure! #kidsdeserveit

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

Be sure to add this awesome tool to your tech-box!

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