Harmonize Discussions & STEM at Chaffey College

This afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting a group of teachers from Chaffey College to share the capabilities of Harmonize Discussions and annotation tools. With rich media posts, interactive topics, and the power of both image and video annotation online discussions can take on a completely new role in your courses. The engaging power of media combined with the annotations provides students with an active learning tool.

Thank you Professor Shannon Jessen of Chaffey for hosting the webinar!
Click on this ZOOM LINK to see the entire presentation.

And embedded below is a short tutorial video on how to use the Image and Video Annotation Tools in a Harmonize Discussion. For more info check out the Harmonize Support Guides.

UPDATE – “Mobilize Learning with the Canvas Mobile App” Now A Screencast

Couldn’t have timed it better?  I hate to say it, but it’s true.  In the days before the UCET 2020, where this presentation was shared, there was a lot of debate as to whether or not the conference would go on.  Thankfully it did, but unfortunately the COVID-19 virus continued to spread and our state closed all schools for what has now become the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

As a result, more students than ever are accessing Canvas courses and content from their phones and tablets.  Therefore, to support teachers making the shift to remote learning, the “Mobilize Learning with Canvas Mobile Apps” presentation has been produced as a screencast.  In this video you’ll learn:

  • How to modify and adjust Canvas pages to look best on a small screen
  • Create discussions that leverage multimedia
  • Set up assignments that utilize the devices phone to capture student work
  • Build quizzes (Classic and New) that will function best in the Canvas apps
  • Use modules to organize and chunk activities for simpler navigation

So breath, watch, reflect, and contact us at uen.org/development if you need further support or training on using the Canvas Student, Teacher, and Parent Apps.


UCET PRESENTATION, March 10th, 10:15 AM
Ballroom C

As of last week 107,646 students at seventeen Utah High Ed Institutions, and 72,279 K-12 students across the 100 LEA’s in the state of Utah are accessing their online learning materials through the Canvas Mobile App.

But how many educators are designing their course content in Canvas to work well in the mobile environment?  My guess is a very low percentage.  This is based simply on the fact that many of the teachers I work with didn’t know that there was a Canvas Application available to their learners.

In this presentation you’ll see six tips for making your Canvas Content more “Mobile Friendly” along with some tips and tricks for meeting your learners on their phones and tablets.

The slideshow above can also be accessed through this Google Drive Folder along with all of the images and videos included.  Please make a copy of this content and use it as you need to in your schools and learning communities.  You can also request this training for your school via our UEN website – https://www.uen.org/development/request.php


Canvas + Google Docs = Cloud Assignment Success

Google Docs has long been an amazing tool for collecting student writing, fostering collaboration, and teaching authentic efficiency through cloud computing.  During the COVID-19 “Soft School Closures” here in Utah this tool has taken on a new role.  Google Docs is the new paper for teachers and students separated by a fear of Coronavirus germs.

With students and parents struggling to make sense of remote learning classroom solutions the last thing educators want to do is put content and assignments in yet another place online.  For educators using Canvas, it’s easy to add your Google Docs assignments right into your course, collect work from students in one place, and provide feedback (grades).

In this short video screencast I’ll walk you through the process for creating a “Google Docs Cloud Assignment” in Canvas.

Need more help?  The Canvas Guides provide step-by-step instructions with up to date screen-captures and examples.  Click here for more!

UEN PDTV: Computer Science & AR/VR Tools

Teaching the UEN Course “Mixed Reality In Education” has helped expose many Utah teachers to the benefits of using AR and VR tools in the classroom.  One participant, Alison Ence, took the course content to a completely new level.  Rather than simply provide Augmented and Virtual Reality resources for her students, she has taught her students how to create their own mixed reality content.  Using a variety of tools like CoSpaces, Merge Cubes, Classroom VR, Oculus, and much more, Ms. Ence has provided authentic experiences in computer science to entire class at Green Canyon High School.

Check it out and see what students can create in this short 12 minute UEN PDTV video.  And to register for this course keep your eye on uen.org/register.  New courses for the summer semesters will be posted on April 1st, 2020.

Fight Fake News!

“Fake News” has become more than a catchphrase for politicians to use in an attempt to discredit media that is unfavorable to their image or campaign.  Today “Fake News” threatens our democracy, compromises our access to content, and most importantly, “Fake News” maliciously manipulates how our students interpret themselves and the world around them.  Misinformation, propaganda, and click bait is being weaponized to influence the way we vote, spend money, and accept members of our community who are different from ourselves.

In the book Fact vs. Fiction: Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Age of Fake News, Jennifer Lagarde and Darren Hudgins lay out an effective curriculum for teaching the critical thinking and media literacy skills that our students desperately need today.  How do we teach students to recognize valid resources from fake news?  Differentiate facts from opinions? Identify biased reporting?

Using information from this book, along with some tools available to Utah Educators from Utah’s Online Library, the following poster was displayed at both the UELMA and UCET Conferences in March, 2020.


All of the information on this poster board can be accessed and printed form the following Google Slide Show – “Fight Fake News with Utah’s Online Library” which is also embedded below.  Please take this information and share it with everyone in your classrooms, libraries, and schools.


UEN PDTV: Computer Science In Juab School District

Educators and students may shy away in fright at the prospect of teaching or taking computer science classes.  Coding can be scary!  Especially when you see those super smart heroes hammering away on keyboards with super fast typing skills trying to save the world through a computer screen.  How is an educator expected to become an expert in computer science so quickly?  Well you don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be willing to take a few risks.

The brave teachers in the Juab School District’s Innovation Center have found some amazing ways to incorporate coding and computer science into multiple grade levels.  In this video you’ll meet Heather Westering, and Krystle Bassett to find out how they’ve integrated coding, design thinking, and computer science skills into the curriculum.

Sevier School District PD Day – 2020!

There is no better way to start a new year than going to Richfield, Utah and working with excellent educators from the Sevier School District.  These people know how to return to school after a nice winter break… with a day of Professional Development!


Thank you Brandon Harrison of CUES for inviting us down to share with you.  Today I had the pleasure of leading three breakout sessions.  All of the content from each one is available in the links below.  And if you have questions that aren’t answered there, please email me at michael@uen.org    Happy New Year!

Nearpod 101: An Introduction to Nearpod
In this hands-on session we will cover the basics of using Nearpod. What is it? How does it transform learning? What kind of content is included? After a short demo of a simple lesson demonstrating the differences between running a “Live Lesson” in Nearpod and running a “Student Paced” version, teachers will also practice signing into the Nearpod.com website, looking through the Nearpod Lesson Library, and adding lessons to use with your students.

If you missed this session, check out the self-paced lesson linked here.
The code for this lesson is TFRCG

And if you want to learn more about Nearpod, be sure to sign up for the UEN “MOOC” here at uen.org/register

Neaten Your Nearpod Lessons with Google Slides
In 2019 Nearpod introduced a new way to build your own lessons with Google Slides. In this session you will learn how to turn on the Nearpod Add-On in your Google Slides and turn on some cool new ways to create engaging learning activities that look great.

This lesson is available not in Nearpod, but in Google Slides linked here.

Video Editing Made Easy with Adobe Rush
Adobe Rush makes it easy to go straight from shooting video to publishing on the web. This easy to use app works across multiple platforms. Powerful tools like graphic overlays and editing resources are simple to access. Publishing is also a snap with direct uploads to YouTube, Facebook, and more.  In this session we will go over the basics of getting started with Adobe Rush so you can easily use it with your students.

View the PowerPoint from this session here.

Or, just watch this amazing episode of UEN PDTV where Jami Gardner and I talk about how easy it is to use Adobe Rush…

Collateral Change Slides from Nevada DGS

Hello everyone from Nev-A-da Digital Government Summit!
Just making sure I pronounced that correctly.

Thank you for coming to the “Collateral Change” keynote presentation this morning.  I really enjoyed sharing with you, and meeting everyone who stopped by afterwards to talk about how you’re balancing technology in your life.  As promised, here is a link to all of the slides you saw in PDF Format. Collateral Change at Nevada DGS 2019

Finally – check out the results from the last question of my survey.  In reflection, is a smartphone really that important?  Best of luck finding balance in this age of rapid change, disruption, and an all new “attention economy.”

Nevada DGS Forgotten Smartphone