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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

3 Valuable Robots That Will Make Your Classroom Awesome

As a White Bear Lake Area Schools teacher, you have access to a few powerful pieces of technology you can use to help you reach more students and reflect on your practice. They are the Double Robot and the Swivl.

Double Robot

The Double Robot is a device you can check out from the District Center Technology Department. It is essentially an iPad on wheels that you or a student can control remotely from another location. You can use it to enable a guest expert to speak to your class, maneuvering from table to table to speak with students. Homebound students can continue to attend classes. You can even take an educational trip and stay connected with your students while you show them your exciting adventures!

The Double Robot comes with an iPad, can be controlled remotely via Google Chrome, and the battery lasts about eight hours on a single charge.

If you'd like to learn more about how it's used, you can contact your DLS. If you'd like to book it, you can sign up for full-day sessions here.


The Swivl is an observation assistance tool that enables teachers to record themselves in their classrooms from a variety of perspectives. You can set up a Swivl to automatically track you throughout your classroom, recording your voice and your actions for later review. You can even use this tool in conjunction with your peer coach or administrator observations to get a more holistic view of your classroom environment.

The Swivl automatically moves to record you in your classroom, tracking a device and microphone you keep on your person. This allows you to review the words you use, student interactions you have, and your proximity in the classroom. It's an incredibly powerful tool for increasing intelligent self-reflection and helping you gather data on the goals you've set for yourself.

If you'd like to learn more about the Swivl, make an appointment with your DLS. You can book full-day appointments with the Swivl here.


If you're looking for a friendly, accessible way to get your students to think like a programmer, LightBot is a great introductory tool. LightBot has an app version, but there's a limited browser edition put together by the folks behind Hour of Code. LightBot introduces students to concepts like functions, programs (groups of functions), and automation. No coding experience required for you or your students! Students can even print an Hour of Code certificate that they can take home and proudly display.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Google Certified Educators of White Bear Lake

Congratulations to these WBL teachers who are now Google Certified Educators!

Christine Balgord - Central
Phil Wacker - South Campus
Erin Stumo - North Campus

Heather Kay - North Campus
Jill Osborne - North Campus
Josh Lehr - North Campus

Karin Hogen - Central
Kim Lacasse - Central
Carla Jerry - Central

Ariana Lowther - Otter Lake
Hui Xu - North, South, Birch Lake
Sarah Atkins - South Campus

File:Who is it.png - Wikimedia Commons
Kendra Herder - Central

This could be you!

Are you interested in joining this amazing group of educators? Watch for details and registration information for the next boot camp which will be coming soon.

What is the Google Educator Certification? The Google Educator Certification is designed for educators and classroom teachers who wish to demonstrate proficiency in using Google for Education tools. The Level 1 status indicates that an educator is able to successfully implement G Suite for Education into their teaching practice in order to enhance teaching and learning. The Level 2 status indicates that an educator is able to successfully integrate a wider range of Google for Education tools and other technologies in order to transform their teaching practice.

Why certify?
  • The learning is practical and centered on classroom integration.
  • The examination is situation based and assesses your ability to authentically utilize Google Applications in classroom settings.
  • The Google Certified Educator badges validate learning.

Monday, October 2, 2017

District Policy: Digital Presence/ Communication + Google Slides Updates

What is the district policy on your digital presence and communication?

Frequent, convenient and scheduled communication, along with a consistently updated calendar, remain the essential elements of our digital presence and communication. We will continue to collaboratively review digital presence standards as we evaluate the strengths of Google Classroom, Schoology, Skyward, email updates, and new tools such as Illuminate, Seesaw, and Flipgrid.

Google Slides Updates

Google has added a bunch of new features to Slides for G Suite customers like drag & drop integration between Keep and Slides, insert ready-made diagrams, link slides between slide decks to mirror updates, skip slides during your presentation without deleting them, and reorganize the order of your slides in grid view. The biggest update is the addition of add-ons, like Pear Deck and Unsplash, that allows users to build better presentations.

Insert Diagrams or ready-to-use visualizations. 

The diagram will get added to the slide and is ready to get edited to the needs of the user. This is great for when you need to effectively share timelines, processes or hierarchies. (Click here to read more)

Link Slides

Making sure data is up to date, repeatedly copying slides from one presentation to another is a major time-sink. Now, you can link and sync slides from multiple presentations with a click. This way, you can maintain a single source of truth and easily update linked slides to match the source.

Skip Slides

Tailor presentations to different audiences with the Skip slide feature. You can now choose to skip select slides without fully deleting them when you present from your phone or laptop.

Grid view

Select Grid view to view all your slides at once as thumbnails. This helps you easily reorder or change formats of multiple slides.

Drag-and-drop integration between Keep and Slides.

What this means is that you can now just drag notes from Google Keep into your presentation, so there’s no need to type in the data manually anymore. (Click here to read more)

Google Slides Supports Add-Ons.

Pear Deck + Google Slides

In the past, you hopped between Google Slides to design your presentation and Pear Deck to add the magic of interactive questions (Pear DeckMore informationHow to). It worked, but it wasn’t optimal. The developer teams from Pear Deck and Google collaborated to create an add-on for Google Slides. You will love the 100% participation and student engagement you get with Pear Deck and the freedom to make your slides to look just so.

Image result for pear deck and google slides

Unsplash + Google Slides

Unsplash (link to add) is a vibrant community of creatives curating a resource of beautiful high-quality free images and photos you can download and use for any project. No attribution required. As of last week, the entire Unsplash library of high-resolution photos is now available directly in Google Slides for free use in your presentations.

Image result for unsplash google slides

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New Slides Video Options + Flippity

New Video Options in Google Slides

1. Insert videos from Drive: You can now insert videos in Slides directly from your Google Drive!
  • Click "Insert" and select "Video."
  •  Click "Google Drive."
  • Choose a video from your Drive.
2. Select start and stop times: You can now choose when to start and stop videos inserted in slides!
  • Choose "Video Options" by clicking on the video and then clicking "Video Options" from the menu along the top.
  • or choose "Video Options" by right clicking on the video and then clicking "Video Options" from the menu that displays.  
  • Use the options on the right to select start and stop times. 

This app works with Google Sheets and allows teachers to create classroom activities such as Jeopardy-style games, memory games, bingo games, and more.

Visit and click on "Demo, "Instructions," or "Template" to get started.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Badgewall is Back + InsertLearning

WBL EdTech Badge Wall

The Badge Wall is back!  Impress your colleagues and students by becoming proficient with ed tech tools such as the Google Suite, YouTube, and Twitter. You also will earn a snazzy looking certificate to display proudly in your classroom to demonstrate your awesomeness!

15 PD hours will be given upon completion of the entire wall, but you must sign-up in PD Express. If you don't sign up, you will not receive credit.
If you started last year your progress is saved. Now is the time for you to finish up.

Join the Google Classroom to get going with this self-paced PD. Directions are below.

  1. Join Google Classroom using the code 27v8eib
  2. Click “Open” on the White Bear Lake EdTech Badge Wall assignment to get your own copy of the digital badge wall.
  3. Click on one of the tools along the bottom of the digital badge wall. Work through the challenges at your own pace. There are links to videos that will explain how to do each task. When you complete a task, put an “X” in the “Check off with an X” column to earn your badge. If you already know how to do a task, skip the tutorials and mark it with an “X”.
  4. Click the “Turn In” button when you have completed each challenge by.

Free InsertLearning Subscription

InsertLearning is a Google Chrome extension that lets you turn websites into interactive lessons. Once installed it gives students a toolbar that allows students to highlight and annotate, but also allows teachers to embed multiple choice and discussion questions right into any website.

It was started three years ago by a couple of teachers at a small ALC next to Jethros Char-House in Mahtomedi. This year (and next year) they are giving a free subscription to ALL White Bear Lake educators.

Once you sign up, you’ll automatically be upgraded from the free trial to a full subscription.

Check out their help center, and YouTube channel to learn more

Please contact your Digital Learning Specialist if you would like additional information on anything mentioned above.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Classlink, Google Expedition Kit


Classlink is a single sign-on tool. It allows teachers, students, parents, and staff the ability to sign into the Classlink portal and have access to all district digital tools without having to use other usernames and passwords.

Sign in
  • Go to any web browser and go to:
    • There are are also Classlink mobile apps for iPhones or Android phones
    • QR code sign ons are available for our K-1 students.  Your DLS will be distributing the badges for single sign on this week.
    • Introduction to Classlink Video.

  • Change your Google password before using Classlink because if anyone has your current password they will have access to EVERYTHING on Classlink; including Skyward student & your employment data!  
  • Students- You must close your chromebook when you walk away.  If left open and unattended, others could get into all of your school apps..  Keep your information safe, never share your passwords with other students.  
  • Teachers- You must lock your desktop, laptop or Chromebook to sleep to initiate password security whenever you step away from your teaching device.  With the advantages of Classlink also comes the possibility of somebody being able to access ALL of your information in one spot. Be mindful of this whenever you leave a device unattended.
How to lock your devices

  • Desktop- Ctrl+Alt+Delete
  • Laptop - close cover
  • Chromebook- close cover

Parent Classlink

  • Classlink for Parents will be sent home in the next week.  Parents will be able to access Skyward, FeePay, etc. with one log in.  

Bring your class on a virtual field trip with Google Expeditions

We have exciting news! Our district owns a classroom set of Google Expeditions devices and viewers. This kit includes 36 viewers, 36 mobile devices, a router, and an Android tablet for the teacher to lead the Expedition.
Expeditions .jpeg

What is a Google Expedition? It is a virtual reality teaching tool that lets you lead immersive virtual trips all over the world — get up close with historical landmarks, dive underwater with sharks, even visit outer space! Click here to see the list of over 600 expeditions available.

A Google calendar has been created dividing up the year by buildings. Please note when the Kit will be at your building and contact your digital learning specialist to reserve a specific time during that week.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Summer Tech Camp Information

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This year’s Summer Tech Camp will be hosted on Wednesday, August 23rd from 8:00 AM-4:00 PM at District Center.

Choose from one of our Google Certified Educator Bootcamps or classes to zero in on implementing the 4 C’s within your teaching. There are 4 options in all, and free childcare is available.

Details of the different options and the link to register can be found by clicking here.  The deadline to register is August 1st. We hope to see you there!

WBL EdTech PD Badge Wall

We will be re-opening up the badge wall this summer from June 12th-August 25th for anyone who would like to get started and for those of you who have already begun. Join the Google Classroom to get going with this self-paced PD.

Revisit this blog post for more information about this opportunity.

For those of you who are just starting: We will not be offering "partial credit" for this summer's badge wall meaning you will need to complete the entire wall to earn hours. You can sign up for the 15 hours in PD Express.

If you want CEUs you must sign-up in PD Express. If you don't sign up, you will not receive credit.

Please contact your Digital Learning Specialist if you would like additional information on anything mentioned above.