19 Podcasts for 2019

I have become an avid podcast listener over the last several months.  This new immersion of media began as my new job position came with a much longer commute that begged for some form of entertainment.  As I entered into my new position, I was looking to gain fresh, new ideas to share with the teachers that I would be training in the areas of instructional technology and good teaching practices.  Starting with my own professional research, browsing the vast podcast library and suggestions from various friends and colleagues has led to an assortment of podcast options. I now have a collection of shows on my podcast catcher that covers many of my interests from my day-to-day job, my involvement in production ministry for my church, and my immersion into the world of Food Network.

This post will cover 19 of my current favorite podcasts.  The description that accompanies each one is taken directly from the official site as published on Overcast. Take a listen to some of these and hopefully you will find one or two that spark your interest.  I have found these podcasts to be a great way for me to study and improve myself both professionally and spiritually. Oh, and they also help pass the time of those boring commutes!!

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  ~2 Timothy 2:15

EdTech

Google Teacher Tribe Podcast - The Google Teacher Tribe Podcast is a weekly podcast designed to give K-12 educators practical ideas for using G Suite and other Google tools hosted by Matt Miller (Ditch That Textbook) and Kasey Bell (Shakeup Learning).

House of #EdTech - House of #EdTech, hosted by Christopher J. Nesi, explores how technology is changing the way teachers teach and the impact that technology is having in education.  Whether you use it or not, technology is changing the way we teach and how our students learn.

Ask the Tech Coach - Join the Educational Technology Coach Jeff Bradbury as he helps educators learn how to best use edtech in the classroom.

The EdTech Take Out - The edtech podcast that serves up a buffet of bite-sized technology tips for teachers.

Shukes and Giff The Podcast - Shukes and Giff The Podcast is a weekly podcast by Canadian educators Kim Pollishuke (@KimPollishuke) and Jen Giffen (@VirtualGiff). The podcast aims to share EdTech treasures with the audience in hopes of creating an AHA moment and encouraging listeners to take those AHAs and give it a go.

General Teaching

The 10 Minute Teacher Podcast - The 10-Minute Teacher Podcast is a 5-day a week podcast for busy teachers.  Featuring top teachers from around the world, you will learn about the trends, techniques, and technologies that remarkable teachers are using.  Full-time classroom teacher, Vicki Davis author of the award-winning Cool Cat Teacher Blog, puts the spotlight on remarkable teaching everywhere.

Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers - The podcast designed to speak life, encouragement, and truth into the minds and hearts of educators and get you energized for the week ahead.

The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast - Teaching strategies, classroom management, education reform, educational technology — if it has something to do with teaching, we’re talking about it. Jennifer Gonzalez interviews educators, students, administrators and parents about the psychological and social dynamics of school, trade secrets, and other juicy things you’ll never learn in a textbook.

The Partial Credit Podcast - Partial Credit is the podcast that brings together education, pop-culture, and shenanigans!  Your hosts, Jeffery Heil, Donnie Piercey, and Jesse Lubinsky span 3 generations and they have you covered coast to coast.  Sit back, relax, and earn your partial credit.

Podcast PD - Anytime, anywhere learning for educators. Hosted by Stacey Lindes, AJ Bianco, and Christopher J. Nesi, each episode covers a topic and area of growth for educators and also shares the power of podcasts in education.  This podcast will provide you with the PD you don’t get in your faculty meetings or at educational conferences.

Student Centered

Brains On! Science Podcast for Kids - Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us.

Forever Ago - Forever Ago is a history show for the whole family. Every episode explores the origin of one thing – like sandwiches, video games and clocks – while teaching listeners to think critically about the past. Produced by APM and Brains On.

Inspirational / Spiritual

Quick Daily Devotion with Josh Clark - A 3 minute Daily Devotion Podcast for a quick fill of inspiration and encouragement straight from the scriptures.

Worship Leader Probs - Christ Follower, Worship Leader & Production Guy | Our Life, Ministry & Problems

Lifestyle

Work Life with Adam Grant - Organizational psychologist Adam Grant takes you inside some of the world’s most unusual workplaces to discover the keys to better work.

Beyond the To Do List - Join your host, Erik Fisher, as he talks to successful friends and influencers about how they manage their time, prioritize their tasks, and take steps to avoid burnout.

Lifelong Learning - On Lifelong Learning, host Kate Nesi, frugal wife, mother, runner, and librarian, shares her experiences in the continuous pursuit of lifelong learning. Topics include frugal personal finance, family, marriage, making and creating, health and fitness, running, and continuing the growth mindset throughout life.

Outside Interests / For Fun

Starving For Attention with Richard Blais - Get an entertaining, behind-the-scenes look at the world of food with chef, television personality and author Richard Blais. Hear from anyone and everyone in the culinary industry, including restaurateurs, television hosts, famous chefs, producers of your favorite cooking and competition shows and more. They'll join Blais for spontaneous, back-of-house conversation about what it takes to make it in different parts of the food business, global trends and where the industry overlaps with entertainment. Plus, play along with their games, trivia and other wacky moments.

Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! - NPR's weekly current events quiz. Have a laugh and test your news knowledge while figuring out what's real and what we've made up.

Podcasts are just another technology medium with loads of information and entertainment.  Hope you enjoy these suggestions. These are just a handful of awesome podcasts that are out there.   

Did you listen or subscribe to any of these?  If so, comment below and let me know which ones you liked or add your own suggestion.  

Happy Podcasting!

~Susan


Working With Your Google Drive

In the last post, we examined several tips and shortcuts to save you time and keep you organized as you use Google Drive for your own productivity. Now that you have gotten all organized, let’s take a look at some tools within Google Drive to help make your workflow run more smoothly and efficiently.  Using these tools will help you save time and allow you to access needed information in a more efficient manner.

Scripture reminds us in I Corinthians 14:40 to “Let all things be done decently and in order.”  This especially applies to our work and responsibilities, but can and should apply to the rest of our day-to-day life beyond the classroom. Organization and efficiency can give us peace-of-mind and allow us to enjoy life rather than stress over the little things.

Tip #1: Sorting

Why: When navigating through files and folders, sorting by certain criteria helps finding what you need much more quickly.

How: In the top right corner of the folder, click on the sorting option and select your preference. The arrow beside the sort option will toggle between ascending and descending order.

Note: Sort options include Name and Modified options.

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Tip #2: Grid View vs. List View

Why: How you view information is as important as what you view. Grid view allows for larger icons if each filer/folder for better previewing of the information they contain.  List view allows for a larger view of files/folders contained within the folder you are in.

How: Click on Grid/List view icon in top right corner to toggle between views.

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Note: Folders with a larger quantity of files may be easier in List view while folders with fewer files may be easier in Grid view.  It is all a matter of preference and what is easier for YOU.

Tip #3:  Previewing Documents

Why: What is that file? What’s in that file?  A quick way to preview what a file consists of is….Preview.  (Who would have guessed??)

How: Click on a file, then click on the Preview button in top right corner. (See a pattern?  All your main tools are right in that top right corner.)

Note: The Preview function is for viewing only.  It does not allow direct editing. You must open the file to work with it.

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Tip #4: View Details

Why: When was this file created?  When was this file modified? Who touched my file?  These are just a few questions answered by the Details view.  View Details displays a file’s history log.

How: A: Right-Click on a file, and select “View Details”  or Click on Info button in top right corner.

Note: The Details view includes two tabs.  The Details view consisting of file info. The Activity view is the file’s history log.

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Tip #5: Search Tools

Why: Where did I put that file?  How many pictures do I have in my Drive? Search is Google’s forte’.  Take advantage of Drive’s search function rather than sifting through all…..those….files.

How: Click in the Search bar right on top.  You can type in the criteria you are looking for, or you can click on a popular file type already listed, or you can click on “More Search Tools” for even more search criteria.

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Note: Search criteria include, but not limited to: Name, File type, Date modified, or File Owner.

These are some more of the tips and tricks that have helped me efficiently access information in Google. These are excerpts from a full conference presentation I have done on this topic. A link to this slideshow for your reference can be found HERE.  Happy Googling!   ~Susan


Organizing Your Google Drive

Is your Google Drive a virtual rats’ nest?  Does it take you longer to find the file you need than the attention span of your students? Is organization really possible with your Google Drive Files? Does the chaos of your files and folders relate to the image below, or make you dream of “Dial-Up Mode” described in this Video?  If so, it’s time to slow down and take time to organize.

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In this post, we will examine several tips and shortcuts to save you time and keep you organized as you use Google Drive for your own productivity as well as with your students.  Let’s organize our Google Drive file structure and leave the chaos at recess on the playground.

Remember as teachers and people, we tend to be happier and at peace when things are in order. Don’t let yourself become unproductive and inefficient with a cluttered file stream. Keep yourself organized which will ultimately have a lasting effect and be an example to our students.  “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” I Corinthians 14:33

Tip #1:  Creating Folders & Subfolders

Why: The primary method of file organization is creating folders and subfolders.  Folders and subfolders allow for logical organization of files.

How: Select “New” and “Folder” to create folders as needed.  This can also be done within folders to create subfolders.  You can Drag & Drop to move files and folders as desired.

Note: The below graphic shows an example of using folders and subfolders for a logical organization of files for a 1st grade teacher.

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Tip #2: Color Coding

Why: Having a complex folder system is greatly simplified by visualization. Color is a great way to easily distinguish different categories of files.

How: Right click on a folder and select “Change Color” to choose a color.  

Note: Category options: type of file, topic, class period, timeframe, etc.  Below is an example of folders set to colors for easier visibility and file organization

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Tip #3:  Symbols - Copy/Paste Character Site

Why: What you name your folders is as important as how you organize them.  Using numbers or even symbols can easily prioritize and identify certain folders for quick access.

How: Choose an icon from the link above.  Right-click on the symbol and “Copy”.  In Google Drive, right-click on the folder, and “Rename”. Right-click within the name field, and “Paste” into the folder name. Below are some folders using symbols to help identify their contents.

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Tip #4: Add Files to Multiple Folders

Why: Oftentimes, a file fits into multiple folder locations or categories.  

How: Click on the desired file and press “Shift-Z”.  Navigate to additional desired folder within the “Add-To” window, and click “Add”.  The file will appear in both folders.

Note: The file will be editable in either location and updated in both locations.

Tip #5: Add to Drive from Shared

Why: Files that have been shared To you should fit into your organizational system so you always know where that folder is.  The “Shared With Me” “folder” is a filter for finding files that have been shared. It is not actually a folder.

How:

  • A: Simply drag and drop the file into your preferred folder location in your “My Drive”.

  • B: Right click on the file and select “Add to My Drive” OR

  • C: If the file is open, click the “Add to Drive” icon located near the file name to move it.

Note: Using the “Organize” option will allow you to place the file in your preferred location.  Moving a “Shared with Me” file does not change or remove the sharing criteria.

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These are some of the tips and tricks that have helped me keep organized. Over the years, I have developed a full conference presentation with these tips and more in a slideshow format which you can reference HERE.  Happy Organizing!   ~Susan


Top Tips for Tech Coaching

Tech Coach, Technology Integration Specialist, Digital Learning Coach, co-worker, teammate, etc. These are just a few of the titles of people a teacher will go to for technology support or training. Just as in every other field of occupation, there are people at varying technological skill levels in the teaching field.  This usually occurs due to either: 1) Lack of training; or 2) Lack of confidence. Our job as a Tech Coach is not to emphasize this deficiency, but to educate and to encourage. As we lend the support they are calling on us for, we must build up their confidence as well as their skills.  

Although these principles apply to most all “customer service” fields, we will focus on why these are so important in the TIS role.  As a Technology Integration Specialist within the instructional environment, we are, in fact, holding a leadership role, whether administrative or just support. Here are three important tips to remember as we serve our teachers and staff.

INTRODUCTION

First and foremost, it is important to introduce yourself to the staff with which you work. Initially, that can be just an email introducing yourself with the basics of Who, What(position and duties), and How(contact info). This should not be the extent of your contact with your new staff. It is important that you establish that personal contact by visiting them in person, probably at a staff meeting and introducing yourself. Be sure to let them know your qualifications. You want to make the staff feel at ease with you and comfortable in asking for help.  If they haven’t seen your face or even heard your voice they will hesitate to contact you if they think you are an invisible entity sitting in an office. Make it known that you are available to them and want to be in their classrooms as needed.

LISTEN

When a teacher or staff member comes to you, listen to them.  Hear them out. Just as with any life situation, we all want to be heard when we are experiencing an issue that we are requesting help for. As well as for their comfort of asking for help, we must also listen so that we fully understand the issue they are experiencing.  We all know how assumptions work! Listening is critical for both sides of the experience. After you have heard them out, then you can start looking into the issue and offer solutions. If the problem is too big for you to handle, explain to “the customer” that you are going to work hard to find them an answer in a timely manner.  Be persistent using all resources available including co-workers, the IT department, or even tech supports via online chat or telephone...(Wahoo). Oh yeah, and there’s always Google.

FOLLOW-UP

Follow-up is another important aspect of “customer service”.   If you are working on an issue for a teacher/staff, make sure you follow up with updates and resolution in a timely manner.  This assures them that they haven’t been forgotten, even if resolutions don’t come quickly. If you are assisting a teacher in implementing technology into their lesson plan, be sure to check-up on them periodically.  This assures that they keep on track with the plan, and they don’t retreat to former ways. You’ll realize certain teachers/staff members need more encouragement with newer technologies than others do. Do not give up on them.  We all have our areas of expertise, and areas of not-so-much. Follow-up also allows for opportunities to go deeper into new concepts where some may just get comfortable with staying in the shallow end. If you don’t follow up, they may soon give up and lose excitement that they initially held.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind.  Customer service is a huge aspect of being a technology support specialist, coach, TIS, etc. Providing GREAT customer service is an awesome responsibility! Remember, we are all part of the same team: EDUCATORS.  We are each using our gifts and expertise to support and encourage each other for one common goal: molding our students in a successful direction. As I conclude this post, I am reminded of Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 12.

15 “For the body is not one member, but many.”

20 “But now are they many members, yet but one body.”

21 “And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

27 “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Susan

Technology? Christian Education? Does it all Mesh?

New opportunities and new beginnings have definitely been the theme of my summer.  As stated in previous posts, I have recently moved from a Technology Integration Specialist position from a public school district over to the same position in a Christian School System.  My first opportunity to meet with newly hired teachers happened this week as my coworker and I introduced them to many of the technology tools and opportunities that are available to them.  Keeping God at the forefront, I was honored to be able to present the morning devotional to begin the technology training. I would like to share that devotional with you and pray that it is an encouragement to Christian educators out there whether you teach in a Christian campus or a secular campus.  A huge shout out to my good ministerial friends who helped give me some guidance and references. Thank you James Witmyer and Shaun McCubbin.

Exodus 31:1-5

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.

This is one of the first instances in scripture where we hear of God referring to someone being filled with the Spirit, which guides us in our daily life.  In this example, God empowered those men with the gifts of construction with various materials and tools of the time, to build that which He was commanding them to do.  Remember, one definition of technology is this - the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization. (Dictionary.com)

As the Holy Spirit guides us to be Spiritual and Holy, God also empowers us with the gifts, resources, and the opportunities to Glorify Him.  Each of us are Gifted to be Teachers. We are Provided with the resources needed. And the Classrooms are full of Opportunities. The tagline in the email signatures and on on our school website states that we provide - “education with a Higher purpose.”  That higher purpose is to glorify God and empower our students. Our school’s mission statement is taken from Luke 2:52, “to develop students with a heart for God, who grow as Jesus did in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man.”

In the role that I serve, technology is that tool that we are here to use to our fullest extent and encourage the teachers to use to their fullest potential in order to help our students be successful in the classroom whether that be through digital curriculum, ways to work more efficiently, or through God honoring research and multimedia activities and projects.

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So, how do we use technology to glorify God and to grow in wisdom, stature, and favor?  With anything our culture uses, we can either receive it, reject it, or redeem it.  With technology, we must see how powerful a tool it is and that power can be used for good or evil.  Therefore, as servants of Christ, to empower our students, we should as Matthew 10:16 states be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves when we use technology.   

With this being said, we should not legalistically reject technology simply because of its potential for evil, nor should we blindly receive technology because of its potential for good.

The primary way we should use technology is by WISELY redeeming technology for Christ - ultimately bringing glory to God.  We can do this in a variety of ways, but one way is that we grab a student’s attention to keep them engaged in our lessons both in academic content and spiritual training.  Technology has so much potential as a method in sharing the message of Christ whether you be in a public or a private school situation.

My encouragement to you is:

  1. Don’t be afraid of technology. Allow your colleagues or tech integration staff to work with you to make yourself comfortable with it.  Ask for help and be willing to step out of your comfort zone. Try new ideas that are shared with you.

  2. Pray about ways you can bring lessons to life using the tools at hand much like those workers in Exodus did with the materials they were given through the leading of the Spirit.

Continue enjoying the rest of your summer and my prayers are with you as you begin preparing your heart for your upcoming group of students in the coming weeks.  God bless. May He bless you with “tech imaginations” beyond your expectations!

Susan - @sv314dws

Susan’s Summer Top 3 Tech Tools

Summer is well underway, finally, for many of you.  I know this past school year seemed very long especially here in Kentucky with seemingly every weather phenomenon and miscellaneous delays such as special elections and the threat of teacher strikes.  I hope you are now enjoying time with your family, vacations, and just some much needed relaxation time. As for me, I enjoyed an awesome vacation out to California and Disneyland with my family. But now I am getting acclimated to my new position after almost completing the first week.  I am excited to get back to this blog after my vacation time and begin sharing some great stuff with you.

I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight my top 3 tools to learn about during your summer break.  As you begin to organize and prepare for the new school year, take a look at these tools and find a way to use them either in your classroom with your students or just to make your work time more efficient.  Remember: instructional technology not only includes tools for the classroom, but also making our teaching lives more productive and efficient for a better quality life outside the classroom.

Insert Learning

  • Insert Learning allows you to add instructional content onto any webpage by:

1. Add annotations to an online article.  

2. Add questions for students to answer or discuss.

3. Add other links or video clips that might pertain to the content on that page.

Insert Learning can be used through the Google Chrome Browser.  Just install the extension from the website or from the Chrome Web Store and your ready to start Inserting. It is a great way to encourage “close reading” skills and make sure students are truly understanding what they are reading.  Click HERE to view an example I made from an article on Abraham Lincoln from Biography.com.   

Boomerang

  • Boomerang is an extension that works inside of your Gmail in order to accomplish time-oriented tasks.  Many school districts are beginning to migrate from Microsoft Outlook over to Gmail. As teachers and staff get acclimated to the using Gmail, they are finding certain limitations within the features of Gmail.  One option they are missing in Gmail is the ability to set an email to automatically send at a later time. Adding the Boomerang extension to your browser will give you that option. When composing or replying to an email, you can set it to send at a later time.  You also get the ability to “snooze” your inbox. When you are in an important meeting or in the middle of an important lesson with your students, you can “snooze” your inbox to prevent email messages from popping up during a set timeframe.

FlipGrid

  • FlipGrid is a tool for adding students’ verbal voice responses to an assignment that you create for them. You can create a written or video assignment  for your students to respond. FlipGrid is a great tool for formative assessment to gage understanding of the items taught that day or even for a pre-assessment to see how much they really know about a topic.  It is also great for assessing foreign language skills, assessing music performance, and even assessing scripture memorization. The best thing about FlipGrid for this summer is that it is now totally FREE! Microsoft has recently purchased FlipGrid and all of the formerly premium paid content is now free for all teachers to take advantage of.  This means you have unlimited possibilities in creating assignments for your students. Take a look at a sample FlipGrid HERE and respond!  If asked for a password just enter:  Imagination1

Enjoy your summer and stay tuned for the next tech idea here at TECH Imaginations!

Renewed Passion, Ideas that Make Sense, Learning FIRST: Shake Up Learning Book Review

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I have been a follower of Kasey Bell and Shake Up Learning for a few years now and have always been inspired by Kasey's blog, podcast, and seeing her speak at conferences. With her new book, containing so many dynamic ideas, comes a renewed passion.

Through reading her book, Shake Up Learning: Practical Ideas to Move Learning from Static to Dynamic, I was able to get to know Kasey's backstory. She reveals how she got started as a teacher including where her passion and her "why" truly comes from.

Although I have been a technology integration specialist in my current school district for over 10 years, the ideas in this book about true learning really have made me think about our true purpose as teachers.  I've always known it wasn't JUST about the technology tool, but as I approach the beginning of a new journey with a new school system, I am motivated to remember this myself.  I realize I must focus on this aspect as I am working with my teachers and continue to encourage them to find the RIGHT tool for the RIGHT task or concept they are teaching!

From Kasey, "Learning how to learn is one of the most important skills students can acquire in today's world!" That quote speaks volumes! The last chapter is a great metaphor for not only everyday life but our lives as teachers and learning/digital coaches.  She quotes from scripture, "If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done." Ecclesiastes 11:4 (TLB). This is clearly evident within human nature, and even in educators. So many of our teachers are nervous to use technology with students because they do not feel comfortable with it themselves. We are never going to feel comfortable and be experts with any NEW tool or topic.  Therefore, waiting for the perfect condition is not a viable excuse. As teachers, we are there as a guide and to create the conditions for students to learn. I stand behind Kasey's ideas in Shake Up Learning, and highly recommend this book for individual teachers or an entire staff as they continue to move forward to inspire students to LEARN!

Get a kick start in motivating YOURSELF to learn more through Kasey’s awesome course offerings including the “Dynamic Learning” course that goes right along with her book.  She also offers courses to help guide you in becoming Google Certified at Levels 1 and 2 and as a Trainer. Follow this link to explore and sign up for her courses: https://shakeuplearning.teachable.com/?affcode=40199_agxg4zp6.  

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking on them, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

 

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TECH Imaginations - Let the Blogging Begin

So, here you are, landed at another EdTech Blog.  Welcome to Tech Imaginations where the focus is creating innovators for tomorrow as we expose and teach our students with the technology at our fingertips in today’s world.  Education is shifting and being “Shaken Up” thanks to Kasey Bell, one of my mentors in the EdTech World and the owner of the Shake Up Learning Blog. There is so much out there for our students to learn; more than we can ever imagine as you read in my site title. Imagine the possibilities when we, as educators, think outside the box of mundane protocols, and use our creativity to explore new worlds and beyond.

That’s what we will explore throughout this blog and today is only the beginning.  

The name Tech Imaginations is two-fold, a nod to preparing our students for their world in the future as I stated above, but also a throwback to the past and my family’s heritage.  My husband and I both grew up in rural Kentucky where his father runs a woodworking business called “Wood Imaginations.” I find it amazing and inspiring to see what my father-in-law creates with his hands whether it be cabinetry, furniture, or even a clock or a custom toy.  All of this is done using…...Technology, not digital age technology, but tools and machinery that are definitely a modern form of technology that enhances the skills to new heights creating new products today. So as I continue on with my family’s “Imagination” theme, let’s explore the creative possibilities  as we utilize TECH IMAGINATIONS for our students and teachers whom we try to reach everyday.

Feel free to share the link to this site out to your friends and colleagues who might benefit from ideas shared here.  As we grow and move forward we will discuss innovative tools, gadgets, best practices, PD opportunities, and much more.  We hope to provide video tutorials and training opportunities right here online as we establish our presence known as TECH Imaginations.