Dr. Monica Burns, EdTech and Tools for Educators


Welcome back to Connect FCS Ed, thank you so much for listening and being a part of the many adventures as we navigate going into COVID school year 2021. Today, I have an amazing guest with us, she is not only an author, she’s a podcaster, she’s also a doctor, and she writes blogs, she does keynote speaking, seminars, workshops, all sorts of amazing things. Her name is Dr. Monica Burns of ClassTechTips.com.

Dr. Burns has worked with educators on three continents, spoke at events like ISTE, SXSWedu, and EdTechXEurope, and has reached thousands of readers through her books, her website ClassTechTips.com, her podcast, and her social media accounts. She says, ‘It’s been an exciting ride for sure, and I’m so lucky to spend most of my time with teachers and kids in classrooms, connecting with educators at conferences, and writing about EdTech.’

I invite you to listen in…


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•    Now they’re realizing that maybe they want to explore some other digital tools and resources or platforms. If their students are going to continue learning on a distance, or they’re anticipating that might be on the schedule at some point this fall. Yes, well, we’re all trying to figure out how to pivot from the face-to-face setting to that virtual setting and then possibly go into that hybrid setting. And then order to get into that face-to-face setting, there are so many different transitional pieces. All educators right now are really trying to pick up and move, just to be able to interact with their students, it’s really a very challenging time period right now. (5:18)

•    And then I’ll name the three tools. You could do this in CS, you can do this in teams, you could do this in your pod, don’t get caught up on that. This is what we really want to do here. But we need to have something in our tool belt to make it happen, and so just like you asked, how do I keep up? Well, early on, it was really a searching situation where I was going out searching through the App Store, what’s new today? What’s that? And then it kind of has evolved for me into a balance of… So, that still happens, right? I’m still mindful of what people talking about, what is all this energy around flip grid that was happening a couple of years ago? Or, everyone’s really excited about Wake, let’s take a closer look at what is jumping out for them. (9:12)

•    I often am sharing the term open-ended creation tool, and this idea, that if you have this great tool that you can use it to make book trailers, math tutorials. If you can give kids a tool that becomes a blank canvas for them, that they can use in lots of different ways, that’s also a really good way to support them at a distance and doesn’t need to limit their creativity. That is great. I personally will be putting a lot of that information into my backpack because yeah, we’re… For my district in particular, we don’t have an LMS, we were strictly using just Microsoft in the team’s platform, which I think it’s a great platform, but it does have a pickup, so that’s where I’m struggling, and I know the district is saying, Hey, we need you guys to… We wanna make it easier for our students and our parents and our community members with gaining that access, please do not share another system. Let’s stick with what we have, and I believe in that. (13:45)

•    What would happen if I was a senior citizen or I was someone who wasn’t used to being in these spaces or didn’t speak English as a first language? And so I think about that a lot, just navigating the world and how tough things can be. And it’s definitely true when we look at these spaces, and I’m not excusing anyone’s frustration or the not so nice Facebook post, or all the things that I think are happening right now. We’ve all seen come across where people are feeling like they just want things to go back to normal or they just want everyone back in school and all those things. I do understand that it’s been a very tough time for family’s. And that part of our reflection includes streamlining, communication, lining platforms, coming out ahead of anything that we anticipate as being challenges, as well as making sure that those supports are there as much as possible. I think that is something that will make everyone’s life a lot easier and therefore save us the time and energy to get to what it is we want to get to, which is really supporting students no matter where they are. (18:48)

•    The other option that I love, and I love the Adobe Spark tools, I do some work with their team, I’ve got books about Spark activities, so definitely a spark focus and they’re free too, which is great. Mark Page and Spark page are single landing pages, you could connect them if you want to. But it’s really, it’s not like a Google site, where you might have a hierarchy of things. It’s really about that single collection or single landing page, and so that is one where you can pull together a whole series of links, you can embed YouTube videos or Vimeo videos if you wanted to, you can make buttons, you can write a paragraph that says, ‘This is why this resource might be good for you’, and then put the link right below it. So, I like that also for building a single website or page, you don’t need to have any sort of coding or HTML. (25:45)


August 26, 2020

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