EdTech Isn’t the Lone Savior

posted Oct 7, 2016, 10:49 AM by Patrick Hausammann   [ updated Oct 17, 2016, 9:42 AM ]

EdTech Isn’t the Lone Savior

Well into my sixth year as an instructional technology resource teacher (ITRT) I have come to realize many things about what technology integration (not simply an add-on) truly means and that educational technology (edtech) isn’t the savior of education.  I have seen more edtech tools and software come along than I can remember that have promised to revolutionize education and elevate students to new found levels of achievement and success.  This has most recently been evidenced by an overdue clean out of my school email marked by deletion of nearly 100 emails thanking me for subscribing to the next greatest thing.  While technology has it’s place, and it is a truly powerful one, there are other aspects of education that must be firmly in place before widespread success can occur in a school building or division.


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Many mistakes in integrating technology are made by being lost in the shininess of a new tool or technology and when it is used without the proper foundation.  As with any structure, lack of a sound foundation will always lead to eventual failure.  One of the first things that must change is the mindset of administration and teachers.  Not only is a mindset shift from fixed to growth immensely beneficial, but colinear shift must occur in the way edtech & pedagogy are viewed.  Edtech isn’t a savior that will elevate poor teaching or outdated to ground breaking levels, instead it is an enhancer of the great teaching that already occurs in a classroom.  Examples can be found everywhere including these examples from a talented 4th grade teacher, Justin Birckbichler.  Edtech is used in an ongoing and ubiquitous way that opens the world to students and staff.  It is not just elevating a worksheet to the SMART board or adding in a project when less snow days than expected came (yes, I know many are already wishing for white flakes to come) .  

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Admins. and teachers alike should focus on solidifying sound pedagogy/student centered learning and then aim to truly integrate technology that can truly transform education when coupled with other sound foundation pieces.

Another key area where a shift needs to occur is within professional development.  Too often (and I have been guilty of this) professional development focuses on specific tools and simply how to use the tool.  Granted it is important to know how to learn the ins and outs of a new tools, but it is exceedingly important to transcend this to show successful integrations of the technology throughout a year.  Beyond a great project, how can the technology change the way students have learned in the past?  What greater audience are they reaching?  Not every technology can have such an impact but all lessons and integrations should be planned in such a way.  Plan (SAMR, TPACK) first and foremost with a growth mindset founded in sound pedagogy, then establish your learning target or goal, and finally look to technology to make it possible, easier, more engaging, and/or more innovative.  

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Never try to change everything at once, start with just one thing and build on success while learning from failures. 

Many may read this post and think, yes!, but wait, I can’t (and shouldn’t have to) to do this alone!  This couldn’t be more correct.  Shifts such as this should start from the top level of a school division and be supported at every other level.  However, a shining star can help start such a shift and show the creativity, innovation, and genuinely amazing work that can come from well founded edtech integration.  To be that leader you never have to go it alone.  Social media, blogs, websites, Google Hangouts, YouTube Live, etc. are all there to support you!  Not only myself, but others like @EdTechTom, @Mr_B_Teacher, @MrSchoenbart, @MsVenturino, @ericcurts, and many others are not only willing but happy to help you.  More blogs that can help can be found here or here, as well as educational Twitter chats & hashtags.  Don’t be afraid to #failforward (1, 2) through #inspiredcreativity and lead the charge to true #edtech integration nor fear asking for a helping hand in collaboration, you may well amaze yourself on your way to being awed by your students.

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Patrick B. Hausammann, M.S. Ed.

Emerging perpetual optimist, uncle, and #lifelonglearner... @GoogleforEducation Certified Trainer (#GoogleET), @Google Certified Admin, teacher, & ed. tech. Professional.  

Website: www.epedtech.com

Twitter: @PHausTech

Not a Guide on the Side but A Coach in the Middle

posted Sep 10, 2016, 4:32 AM by Patrick Hausammann   [ updated Oct 17, 2016, 10:12 AM ]

Not Guide on the Side but Coach in the Middle

In reading Mike Anderson’s book on giving students choice, Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn: The Key to Student Motivation and Achievement, a line recently resonated very strongly.  “There is nothing ‘on the side’ about facilitating student-centered learning.  In fact, a better term might be ‘coach in the middle’ (pp.110).”  Many of us have heard the adage that teachers need to move away from being the “sage on the stage” and the all-knowing lecturer of the classroom in favor of being a “guide on the side” allowing students to take control of their learning.  No one would argue that students taking the lead with their learning to spur creativity and innovation is a great thing, however, simply guiding this from the sidelines isn’t going to go far.  Students need the teacher down in the trenches with them carefully observing to spot the exact moments to give the just right amount of directed questioning to ignite the light bulb moments.  

Even before the observations come to prime importance, the teacher must set the stage for student centered/driven learning to successfully take place.  Some places to start with this are relationship building, student lead classroom routines (self sign-out for bathroom, automated lunch counts, class jobs, etc.), practicing centers or multi-part lessons with student lead transition, peer collaboration, peer reflection/evaluations, working with constructive criticism, designing instruction for student choice, growth mindset, and many more.  Great examples of these and more can be found in Anderson’s book, Matt Miller’s DITCH That Textbook and blog, Dave Burgess’s Teach Like a Pirate book and blog, other blogs and books, Twitter/Twitter chats, and even through technology tools (2) like Class Dojo.  Class Dojo is popular for its cartoon game-like characters that can help teachers track classroom management but has added many new features including a class news feed (Class Story) and growth mindset videos (Big Ideas).  The technology and resources are far too numerous to list, however, rest assured that they are out there and, more importantly, their are many people out there like myself that would find it a privilege to help you.


Observing students for moments where just a little bit of prodding is needed is an art in itself.  Teachers must carefully build relationships with students for this to be successful.  Knowing students’ small tells or hints of frustration can make all the difference in timing assistance just right.  Being too soon to help can tell students you don’t know them well, you don’t trust them to guide their own learning, or worse, you think they need more help than they do.  Being too late to help can be just as bad as students may have already shut down or be frustrated past the point of thinking clearly.  The Goldilocks moment of guidance needs to be timed just right to blend seamlessly into the student's work.  Students should be able to take the guidance, best in the form of open-ended questions, and keep running forward with their work.  In some cases teachers may well be able to build a climate of collaborative help within their rooms enabling students to be these whispers of assistance.

As with anything a teacher or student tries in the classroom, it is critically important to reflect on the learning that has taken place on a regular basis.  Many teachers make this a regular part of their instruction reflecting on what parts of a lesson went well, what parts didn’t go as well, and what parts should be expanded or supplemented.  Much less often do teachers remember to plan time for students to reflect on their learning on a given day and the parts of the process that resonated the most with them.  Depending on grade level and student experience teachers may need to teach and help guide meaningful reflection extending through the concept of a growth mindset and of failure simply being a step on the way to breakthroughs.  



A student centered room is not one where the teacher simply props their feet up on their desk and grades papers (as some not in education may think).  Instead, it is one where careful planning, collaborative instruction (student/teacher), student choice, strong relationships, and Goldilocks moments of guidance all come together in creative, innovative, and student centered learning.

Patrick B. Hausammann, M.S. Ed.

Emerging perpetual optimist, uncle, and #lifelonglearner... @GoogleforEducation Certified Trainer (#GoogleET), @Google Certified Admin, teacher, & ed. tech. Professional.  

Website: www.epedtech.com

Twitter: @PHausTech

Synergyse Training for FREE!

posted May 3, 2016, 9:59 AM by Patrick Hausammann   [ updated Sep 10, 2016, 4:29 AM ]

Update: Synergyse Training for Google Apps is now "Training for Google Apps"

Word has begun spreading that Google has acquired Synergyse, a great training aid in the world of Google Apps.  Synergyse provides step-by-step in app training in nearly every Google Apps currently available (Features and Benefits).  If you are unfamiliar with Synergyse, please check out this YouTube Video and/or continue reading below.

    Synergyse is an add-on found in the Chrome Web Store that seamlessly integrates training in each of the Google Apps.  It can be acquired here.  For information on how to add a Chrome Web Store add-on to Google Chrome check out this video or this tutorial.

Once installed into your Chrome Browser you begin by simply by navigating to a Google Apps that currently has lessons within Synergyse.  These include all those pictured below:


Image from: https://www.synergyse.com/features/

You will notice near your username in the Google Apps a Synergyse icon,      Synergyse Icon.PNG            .  

Selecting this icon will open up a side bar within the screen you’re currently in within Google Apps.


Selecting any of the play buttons will start that lesson (note: each triangle drop-down menu contains even more lessons).  Each lesson walks the participant through the selected feature asking them to participate at each step so that actively learning is taking place instead of sit-and-get style training.

All of this top-level training is now completely free thanks to Google and Synergyse.  I encourage all Google Apps users to expand their knowledge with this resource.  Be sure to show your students as well as their knowledge base can be grown exponentially with such training.  Teachers will also see a great time savings in the classroom by letting Synergyse “flip” their instruction of Google Apps.  They can now focus on the actual lesson and product the students are to produce.

Thank you to Synergyse for all of the great and consistently up-to-date content and to Google for making it FREE to all.


Patrick B. Hausammann, M.S. Ed.

Emerging perpetual optimist, uncle, and #lifelonglearner... @GoogleforEducation Certified Trainer (#GoogleET), @Google Certified Admin, teacher, & ed. tech. Professional.  

Website: www.epedtech.com

Twitter: @PHausTech


posted Apr 19, 2016, 6:22 AM by Patrick Hausammann   [ updated Apr 19, 2016, 6:23 AM ]


There are many moments throughout a person’s life when failure arises and often at the moments it is least expected.  I can clearly remember a time in elementary school when I simply couldn’t master the art of covertly making a record breaking paper airplane.  Try as I might my efforts were normally discovered before the full plan could come to fruition or some part of the design ended flights prematurely.  One day the skies parted and our teacher embraced the aeronautical passion her students and built a contest into school.  I was determined that this moment was mine to shine and set to work upgrading my plans and innovating my previous covert concepts.  Finally, it was time to test the final design out on the playground.  It was a clear sunny day with a crisp spring breeze when I step to the launch line.  I practiced my form and let my masterpiece fly…  After roughly 5 feet my plane plunged to the right and crashed alongside my hopes.

After a moment to mourn my loss, the following one saw a light bulb moment come fully into focus.  I needed something in my design to help the plane stay straight and true.  I chose to fold up the tips of the wings to help cut through the wind and stay straight.  I stepped to the line a second time with pride and no remnants of the past failed attempt.  The flight was underway with a carefully practiced toss and the “SS Stealth” glided incredibly above the blacktop finally coming to rest many feet passed the furthest flight of my classmates.  I had no idea at the time that this was a growth mindset nor that my teacher had thought outside of the box to help us master concepts through creativity and creation versus textbooks and worksheets.  Helping your students to believe in themselves and accept failure as a stepping stone to greatness is incredibly powerful.

I wish I could have thanked her more at the time.  However, now is as good a time as ever.  Throughout my scholastic career as well as my professional one I have learned many things and failed in many ways.  Remembering instances such as the SS Stealth have helped me in many of those cases to persevere with innovation leading to success.  I call upon fellow educators, administrators, and professionals to celebrate not only these moments for their students but also to reflect on their own experiences.  Using the hashtag #inspiredcreativity, help me to share the moments with the entire world when failure lit the spark of imagination to create the amazing.

Patrick B. Hausammann, M.S. Ed.

Emerging perpetual optimist, uncle, and #lifelonglearner... @GoogleforEducation Certified Trainer (#GoogleET), @Google Certified Admin, teacher, & ed. tech. Professional.  

Website: www.epedtech.com

Twitter: @PHausTech

VA EdTech Team Summit: Third Time's a Charm

posted Apr 4, 2016, 10:56 AM by Patrick Hausammann   [ updated Apr 7, 2016, 9:10 AM by Patrick Hausammann ]

It has been nearly one month since I attended the Virginia EdTech Team Summit featuring Google Apps for Education for the third year in a row.  Every year has proved rewarding in different ways with an incredible amount of information taken away.  Choosing a session during the summit is always a challenge when you know that everyone there to present is Google certified and a practicing education professional.  This year, 2016, marked a special moment for me personally when I was selected to present at the summit.  Knowing the quality of presenters and the caliber of EdTech Team as a whole, the privilege to present was not one I took lightly.  

Saturday morning, the first day of the summit, I arrived early to assist during registration, bright and early, around 7:00 a.m.  Meeting various members of the EdTech Team including Ben Friesen, Tim Lee, Sean Beaverson, and Amy Fadeji was worth every minute of weekend sleep lost.  After registration, it was off to the great keynote, Chasing Unicorns, delivered by James Sanders.  An inspirational keynote that truly uplifts (& wakes up the audience given the summit was a Saturday morning) is a must to set the tone for the weekend of learning and to give the attendees a glimpse at what is possible.  Mr. Sanders definitely didn’t disappoint and everyone left analyzing their recent experiences for their proper placement on the poop to unicorn emoji continuum.

Feeling energized after the keynote, I set out to find my presentation room in the large and impressive Charlottesville High School.  Luckily, I had checked on my way from the keynote to see that the location had changed.  Unluckily, it had changed to a room in a location that eluded me.  Thinking back to registration I knew that Tim Lee of Amplified IT would be near the tables at the entrance.  After finding Tim, I was given directions to the Sigma Center where I was to present.  With all of my racing around the large room had plenty of time to fill up and was overflowing by the time I arrived.  After clearing the last couple hurdles of positioning people where they could see the projection and, with the help of Jeff Faust, getting the presentation & projection actually working via Google Hangouts, I was ready to present.

I opened all of my many tabs to preset from via bookmarks in a Google Chrome folder and launched the first slide of my Google Slides slide deck.  Just as in previous presentations this is one of usually 3 slides that get shown during the presentation as we quickly went to Google Classroom to spend 95% of the presentation time in the actual tool itself.  The session, Google Classroom: Beginning the Paperless Classroom,  went very well judging by the visible head nods throughout along with the applause and evaluations at the end.

With a successful session under my belt, it was time to dive into sessions and continue the incredibly informational weekend.  After the first day concluded with a Demo Slam of new and very interesting Google tools it was time to plan for the 8 sessions to come on Sunday.  Sunday began early with David Jakes inspiring with Learning at the Speed of Technology and proved to be one of great learning as well.  As with many of the other attendees, my head was swimming with all of the many ideas that had begun to form and all of the technology tools that could bring them to life in a classroom.  The main thing to remember, as I began to leave Charlottesville, was to run with at least one of these ideas, not to try and juggle them all to fruition at the same time.

I ultimately decided to test my resolve and attempt to juggle 3 things right away.  First of these was to cultivate, nurture, and expand the professional learning network that had taken great steps forward at the summit.  Learning and attempting new things is something we never have to do alone.  Help and collaboration are always just a tweet or email away.  Second of these was to improve and augment my web presence and knowledge.  Lifelong learning is not just something good educators say, but something they practice every day.  I have since reworked parts of my website, added a blog entry, tweeted more, built upon my PLN with great EdTech collaborators, and even passed another Google exam to become a Google Apps Certified Administrator.  Finally, the third and final item being juggled was to use my session notes and presentations to truly drive meaningful technology integration at my division as an instructional technology resource teacher.  I have already planned out training for next school year’s work week, run a great student project with video, slide voice overs, and other great student creations, and secured two free technology training on new and exciting tools.

I have realized throughout all of these reflections and steps forward, that taking on new challenges.  Failure has traditionally been a figurative “four-letter-word” but this is truly not the case.  Some of the most profound breakthroughs and impactful learning comes from seeds grown in the gray area of failure, something I like to call inspired creativity.  So, in the end, I charge you with one challenge as summit attendees and/or lifelong learners; implement one powerful thing you’ve seen or learned that could aid your students as soon as possible and resolve to see failure as the stepping stone to inspired creativity.

Wizer: Blending Worksheets. Together.

posted Mar 7, 2016, 8:19 AM by Patrick Hausammann

Wizer: Blending Worksheets. Together.

Wizer.me is a website designed to create and share online worksheets.  These aren’t just regular worksheets though, but, instead, are completely online with many different types of embed-able tasks and media (Image 1).

Image 1

Not only can you embed the above tasks but you can also insert many different types of files and media from images to PDFs to YouTube videos.  The group at Wizer.me is also working on the below features that are reported to be coming soon (Image 2).

Wizer - New Features.pngImage 2

Check out the homepage at http://app.wizer.me/ to see many different examples of the great things that can be made.  Also, below are a selection of how-to YouTube videos on various features.

Flipping the Classroom or PD with EdPuzzle

posted Sep 23, 2014, 9:02 AM by Patrick Hausammann   [ updated Sep 29, 2014, 7:55 AM ]

EdPuzzle is an awesome tool to use to flip the classroom or to provide additional support to students.  It can be used in the classroom or even in the training realm with great professional development videos that have attendees answer questions to ensure understanding as they proceed through the material.  Below are instructions/comments through a page-by-page tutorial on how to get up and running.  Be sure to see the full-page PDF from EdPuzzle at the end of the blog and visit these pages to sign-up, view examples and create your own!

1.  Start at https://edpuzzle.com

2. Use the green sign up button or the blue log-in button to create or access your account.  Be sure to note that students do not need an email address to have accounts, teachers can reset passwords and Google accounts can be used to log-in.  Students will also join your class via a class code, making it even easier on the teacher who doesn't have to upload accounts for all!

3.  You will have 3 main options for creating your flipped videos; cropping, overlay and video notes.  See next 3 steps for explanations of these features.

4.  Use the "Crop" feature to select only the precise part of the video you wish you use with your class.  Do this by dragging the markers at the beginning and at the end to precise time points.

5. Does the video not say exactly what you'd like or say it the way you teach it?  Use the "Overlay" feature to record your own voice over the video!  The students get the great visual you chose along with the exact wording you choose!

6.  Maybe you like the video's audio but need to add a bit more explanation...  If so, use the "Audio Notes" option to pause the video and add audio notes anywhere you need!

7. At any point in the video you've selected you can add multiple choice questions to "check student understanding."

8. Assignments are another great feature of EdPuzzle. See the next few slides to learn how to have students join your class and how to create/assign assignments.

9. Teachers need to create a class by accessing the "My Classes" drop link on the top menu of EdPuzzle.  Then select the +Add Class button to create and name the class.  You then need to share the class code with your students as this is the only way that they have access to the content you create! Note: "Any video assigned to this class, will be assigned to every student."

10. Be sure to have created your videos before creating any assignment as one of your first steps will be to attach a video or videos to your assignment.  You will then select the class or classes you wish to share it with.  Be sure to save your assignments after you create and assign then!

11. You also have the ability to assign students to complete a project instead of viewing a video.  In this case, you actually have your students create a flipped video!  As the teacher you will receive all videos and be able to provide feedback!  

12.  See slide 13 for the great data you will receive!

13. All data returned to the teacher is in "real time" making using EdPuzzle during class a great option as well.  The teacher can see instantly who has watched the video and how well they did answering the embedded assessments!  

The PDF version of the above tutorial can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/x9o5w3pwmhm2wge/Workshop_English.pdf.


Embedding a Twitter Feed in Google Sites

posted Sep 19, 2014, 10:35 AM by Patrick Hausammann

Adding a Twitter feed to a Google site is super simple for a instructional technology professional, right?  Not 100% the case!  Google doesn't have a direct gadget that can be used nor can you simply use an HTML box to add in your custom created Twitter feed widget.  What does one do when they don't know the answer of how to make something work?  Of course!  You Google it!  With luck and some digging through results (and a solved glitch), a working Twitter feed is now embedding on my Endless Promise EdTech site!  Below I will walk you through the results I found and what worked for me!

  • This video posted by +Chantelle L Leavitt was a huge help to get the process started.  It does an excellent job of showing how to create a custom Twitter feed widget via your Twitter account.
  • I was presented with an error when I finished all of the steps to embed it into my Google site, "Unsupported feature: org.apache.shindig.common.xml.XmlException: The element type "meta" must be terminated by the matching end-tag "</meta>". At: (8,5)"
  • Alas, it was back to the Google Search for a fix and site 2 from Hanover Norwich Schools.

  • This site's step by step directions walked me through the process of embedding the widget on my Google site (Widget creation in Twitter wasn't covered well, above video is reccomended for this) and also provides the need code for easy copy and pasting.  After creating your widget by using the YouTube video, start with Step 2 of these directions to get the code and needed .xml file saved.  Follow step 3 (uploading code as attachment to Google Site), step 4 (adding gagdet for custom feed to apecific area of Google site) and finally steps 5-6 to finish and customize the appearance of the widget.  Note: if you have issues with this on your business or Edu Google domain, use steps 7-11.
Another great site to check out for adding a custom Twitter feed to your Google site is http://monkeyraptor.johanpaul.net/2013/04/google-sites-embedding-twitter-timeline.html

With these two sites, success was achieved and it is my hope they can also help you with you custom Twitter feed widget endeavors with Google Sites!


New PowerSchool Grade Book Launch

posted Sep 15, 2014, 8:08 AM by Patrick Hausammann   [ updated Sep 15, 2014, 8:19 AM ]

New Grade Book Launcher Tutorial

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