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Intel Teachers Engage

122 Posts authored by: deb_norton

Chat with Deb

Digital Citizenship


Watch this Chat with Deb Video Blog about conversations we should have with our students as well as laws and policies that are helping to protect our students.



Click Here for the presentation that goes with the video.




Do you have certain topics, activities or resources that you use to teach students about digital citizenship?

Please share with us.

Watch this Chat with Deb to hear about the start of our high school makerspace. We are following the design thinking process to implement and improve the makerspace as we go.



Here is the link to my presentation.

Do you have a makerspace in your school or classroom? What advice do you have for us as we move forward with our space?


Teaching Generation Z

Posted by deb_norton Sep 5, 2016

Generation Z were born between 1995 and 2015.  They range from 1 year old to 21 years old.  In other words, the students we teach in school today are Generation Z.  Generation Y, also known as Millennials, range from 21 to 41 years old and represent much of our workforce today.




I know what you're thinking. What will be the next Generation? What comes after Z? I did a little research and found out that the next generation might possibly be called Generation Alpha. I found this information by reading this article and here is a graphic from the site.


Let's take a look at a few facts about Generation Z.


  • They have never known a world without Internet and cell phones and they have little or no tolerance for being without digital resources
  • They are tech savvy and in constant contact with people 24/7 using Facebook or Twitter
  • They want technology that is easy to use and will solve their problems, help coordinate their activities, or provide them with relevant people or information
  • Instead of reading an article, they want to watch a video (YouTube) that summarizes it
  • They may never send an email: [that is “so yesterday”]. Why email when you can text, instant message, tweet or FaceBook

Perhaps Karen McCullough tells it best in one of her Lessons from the Road videos.



So,what does this mean for us as educators?  Well, we can adapt and transform our instructional models to meet the learning styles of this generation.  Here are some ideas.

  • Fast delivery of content with graphics. They are kinesthetic, experiential, hands-on learners who prefer to learn by doing rather than being told what to do or by reading text. Learning is not a spectator sport.
  • Integration of continuous grading, instant feedback, clear goals, rewards, challenges, and positive reinforcement.
  • Task switching (multitasking) has given them a short attention span. They may be hard to teach, easily bored and ready to move into the next thing. Due to this, learning needs to be delivered in smaller “bites.”
  • Flexibility to learn in the way that works best for them. They need options to choose from, so learning can be personalized. This makes them more reflective and independent learners than other generations.


Are you willing to be the change? To take on Gen Z and give them the type of educational environment they will thrive in?


Just for fun, here is a video that encompasses the best (or worst) of Generation Y also known as Millennials.



As a member of Gen X, I feel the importance to relate to, connect with and appreciate the other Generations of Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen Z. As an educator, I know the importance of changing instructional delivery and pedagogy to stay current and teach to the students in today's schools.



Posted by deb_norton Aug 15, 2016

Inspiration for Redesigning Your Learning Space

As I have mentioned many times, I love listening to podcasts when I'm commuting.  Recently I listened to this podcast from The Cool Cat Teacher - "Do Students Learn Better in Chairs or Couches?"  In this podcast, the guest, Oskar Cymerman, talks about how he plans to Starbucks his classroom. Oskar is a Chemistry and Principles of Engineering Teacher at Woodbury High School in the Twin Cities Metro Area, MN.


After listening to the podcast, I went to Oskar's website, and read his blogpost about redesigning his learning space. In the blog post, Oskar mentions checking out the hashtag #StarbucksMyRoom on Twitter. So I went to check it out.

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These teachers and classrooms really jumpstart my desire to bring in flexible seating and create learning spaces for today's students. This is the year to #StarbucksMyRoom!  I don't actually have a classroom, but we do have open spaces in our high school where comfortable, flexible seating can be incorporated. I hope you have the chance to listen to the podcast I mentioned above or to follow Oskar's blog or to check out the hashtag #StarbucksMyRoom. 

Active Learning Spaces

I heard an advertisement for back to school the other day. It suggested that no one is every ready to go back to school because summer is just too short. The message was that even though it's tough to go back to school, you can do it in style. The advertisement then went on to promote a clothing line.



"My goodness", I thought, "Gone are the days when going back to school was a positive and exciting time."  I used to get so excited about going back to school when I was younger. I looked forward to buying school supplies, to seeing my friends, to new learning opportunities and to new experiences.


But, today's students may not feel that same anticipation that I did. I know my own two high school boys don't.  Perhaps we can bring back some of the enjoyment and fun by thinking about designing our classrooms to look different from the traditional classroom and provide our students with an active learning space that fits their learning style.


Watch this Chat with Deb to get some ideas for redesigning your classroom.


I forgot to mention this great tip in my video. Check out how this teacher uses storage towers to keep her sanity.



Do you have ideas on active learning spaces? What have you tried or are willing to try? 


Click here to view the presentation on active learning spaces.

Click here to view other Chat with Deb videos. Thank you to Intel's Teachers Engage for sponsoring this post.

Google Presentations

Boost Your Knowledge with These Great Tips and Tricks


One of the ways that I've been spending some of my precious time lately is creating Google presentations for a graduate class that I will be teaching this Fall as well as for the various trainings that I've been preparing for. Design and graphics have always interested me, so I love looking at ways to spruce up my presentations to add interesting elements that will make a visual impression on the audience.




So, today I have a video tutorial of five tips and tricks for Google Presentations that I think you will find useful and will add visually pleasing elements to your presentation.



With growing interest in Virtual Reality, Google Cardboard, Google Expeditions and Thinglink VR, I've been spending a bit of time exploring 360 degree pictures. I've been able to find images online that have been posted by other people. Even our local newspaper has a link called Virtual Reality where they post 360 degree video stories from USA Today.  I've been really enjoying these amazing stories and views.




Theta 360 degree camera

For the past few weeks I've been trying to figure out a simple way to take 360 degree pictures of my own. I've seen the Theta 360 degree camera demoed and it works really slick, but I don't want to spend $350 for one. I asked my 16 year old son if he has ever taken a 360 degree picture and he said no, but once he looked at the examples I was exploring he went to work to find an app.




The Google Street View App for IOS or Andriod is the one he found. And it works great!!  Leave it to a 16 year old to research, explore and find a solution.


When you first open the app there is a + icon in the bottom right corner.


Once you click on the + sign, you can choose to use the bottom icon which says Camera.



From there you begin lining up a white circle with an orange circle over and over again to capture a lot of photos in a circle around you. You begin with a circle around you, then you begin to take pictures in a circle above you and below you.




Watch this video to see the app in action.


Once the 360 degree image is created, it will be saved to your camera roll. From there I was able to send the image to myself via email to upload where ever I choose. And the image works great with the
Thinglink VR image creator!  One tip I found is that when emailing a 360 degree image it is the clearest if you send it in large size or the original size. The small size comes through quite blurry.


Click here to check out the Thinglink VR image my son and I created. Click on Play and then click and move your cursor around to see the entire 360 degree image. Click on the hot spots to get more information.


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What I'm Learning This Summer

I've always been a life long learner. I crave information and I love to learn and try new things.


With that said, here are some of the ways I've been growing as a learner and gaining valuable knowledge in education and technology.




Click here for the presentation and links



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Chat with Deb

about Learning with Data -

Working with big data is a 21st Century skill that many employers are looking for. Data is all around us, and using big data to determine programs and the future of education is prevalent in education today.

In this video blog, I share several great resources and sites for using with students of all ages to teach them how to find, chart, graph, analyze and interpret large data.  If you are interested in a specific tool or site, look at the timestamp below the video.



0:28 - Knoema- A Data Atlas for finding large data

2:13 - Create a Graph - an awesome tool for entering data to make a graph or chart

3:32 - A New Feature - Insert charts and graphs in Google Docs and Presentations

5:23 - Wolfram Alph - A Computational Search Engine - The search results are interesting and graphically displayed

7:08 - Fusion Chart - Charts made with Java Script

8:17 - Data Stories Podcast- Podcasts are my new jam


Here is the presentation for your viewing:


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Click here for the presentation

Which of these tools or sites would you use to incorporate learning with data in your classroom? Do you have a site you like for incorporating data and graphing to teach big data?

Podcasting - a Growing Community of Listeners



Online Communities = a group of people with common interests who use the Internet to communicate, work together and pursue their interests over time.  They come in many different forms: Social Media, Professional Networks, and if we stretch the definition a bit, Podcasts!!


Podcasts can lend well to people having conversations in an online community because they make for very interesting conversations via social media or even Monday morning at the water cooler.


Podcasts are becoming more and more popular and lately I've been enjoying several different podcasts during my commute to and from work. Watch this Chat with Deb to learn about some great podcasts.  To give you the authentic experience of a podcast, this Chat with Deb was created in a podcast fashion with sound effects and music.



Click here for the online presentation.

Here are links to the Podcasts mentioned in this Chat with Deb:

Stuff You Should Know by Josh and Chuck

Every Classroom Matters by Vicki Davis

Bedley Brothers by Scott and Tim

Radio Lab by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich

Serial by Sarah Koenig

To Share or Not to Share

An Attractive Tool for Creating Digital Worksheets

Lately there is a movement not to promote tools that aren't deep in pedagogy and critical thinking. It seems that as technology integrators we are to share tools and strategies that are strong in the SAMR model or promote the most cutting edge movements in education.  Gone are the days of 60 sites in 60 minutes or Top 10 sites for creating . . .

What I'm going to share today isn't cutting edge. It is at the substitution level of SAMR. I doesn't necessarily involve critical thinking, yet I really like this tool and I'm confident that teachers and students will like it as well.

The site is called and it is used to create a digital worksheet. can also be used for formative assessments. A teacher can create their own worksheet or they can explore the hundreds of already created worksheets and use them. Here is the link to a worksheet I found while browsing on rock cycles.


Here is the link to a worksheet I created on state regions.

What I like about is that


  • it is visually pleasing - there are many design choices
  • it has different options for activities (fill in the blanks, matching etc.)
  • there is a share to Google Classroom option
  • the access to the worksheet can be turned on and off
  • each student worksheet is viewable when completed with an overall score
  • teachers can share their worksheet with colleagues


What do you think? Should I worry about blogging about and sharing sites like just because they aren't advanced and don't lend well to higher order thinking?  When presenting at conferences, I believe it is sites such as that are still the types of technology that teachers are looking for. This tool is simple to use, applicable to any content area or age level, and helpful for assessments.

Unlock the Potential With BreakoutEDU

Incase you haven't heard or experienced this new educational phenomenon, here are the details and an explanation.



What is BreakoutEDU?

BreakoutEDU is a game. It involves students finding and solving clues to be able to unlock locks on a box. Once the locks are all unlocked, the students are rewarded with a prize of some sort in the box. It sounds really simple, right?



Why should you do the BreakoutEDU challenge?


The real prize is that in order to solve the clues, students have to use critical thinking skills and they have to work together to unlock the locks. The best part is there are many BreakoutEDU challenges already created and ready to use in your classroom. 

Where do I get the BreakoutEDU materials?

Everything you need to run a BreakoutEDU challenge in your classroom can be found at The site will guide you through four steps.  The kit, which includes the box, locks, a hasp, a flashdrive, a UV flashlight, and an invisible ink pen can be purchased for $99. There is also the option to purchase the materials on



Additional Resources


  • There is a wonderful Facebook group for BreakoutEDU where people share their knowledge and ideas.
  • The challenges all come with an explanation video which walks you through the challenge step by step to help you prepare and set up each game. 
  • To access the challenges, a person needs to know the password. This is provided to you when you complete the form to sign up on the website.
  • Here is a video:




I hope you consider looking into using BreakoutEDU in your classroom or with your staff. Your students or staff will not be disappointed and you will enjoy the benefits of team building and higher level order thinking.

Moonshot Thinking

Sustainability and Next Generation Innovators

This Chat with Deb is going to help you understand what Moonshot Thinking is and will also show you ways to support Moonshot Thinking in your classroom.

Link to the Thinglink image

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Supporting Resources:


A great example of Genius Hour Projects

Genius Hour Thinglink

Design Thinking blog post

Google Proof Questions blog post

Thinglink VR interactive video

Do you have a resource or tool for supporting Moonshot Thinking in a classroom? I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below.


Do You Need a Pick Me Up?

Posted by deb_norton Mar 22, 2016

A Few New Favorites Things that are Making My Day

It's often the little things that keep me going on a positive vibe throughout my day. Today I'm going to share a few things that I've discovered lately that help to make my day inspiring and also give me just the pick me up that I sometimes need.

Momentum - This is an extension that will replace your new tab page with a personal dashboard featuring a todo list, the weather, an inspirational quote and a beautiful picture from somewhere in the world.  Here are two screen captures of my Momentum from today:





Elle Luna - If you're anything like me, you often have ideas swimming around in your brain. Sometimes I wish I could make those ideas a reality or simply stop whatever I'm doing and follow my heart to dedicate my time to these ideas.

Elle Luna is an artist and self starter who delivered the Keynote at the Alt Summit this past winter. If you have an hour, or even if you don't, please watch this video of Elle's keynote. It will change the way you think about ideas and what you do with them. At least it did for me.


Alt Winter 2016 Closing Keynote with Elle Luna from ALT Summit on Vimeo.


Pocket - This used to be called "Read it Later". This extension and website lets me save things I come across while on the Internet. My day is so much nicer when I can open the app on my phone and view the items I've saved while sitting at an appointment or waiting for a meeting to happen. Remember, it's the little things that can make my day inspiring and purposeful.

Check out this person's view of Pocket:


Can you share something that makes your day a bit brighter or more inspirational?  I'd love to hear about it.

Sit and Get - Lecture and Listen - Information Overload


Today's students are in need of a change when it comes to how teacher's teach and what students actually do during class time.  If we truly are to call ourselves educational professionals, then it is time for us to do what other professionals do in their line of work. Grow in our practice, advance our skills, learn new methodologies and provide our clients (students) with the most effective and up-to-date experiences that we can. 


Today, I am sharing with you one method that can make a change in your teaching and more importantly, make a difference in student learning.

Design Thinking - What is it?

Design Thinking a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients.

The Design Thinking Model can be broken down into 5 steps:




Imagine a classroom lesson where students become aware of a problem or issue that affects others. Students spend time getting to know and understand the people with the problem and empathize with them. Students work together to research and find solutions for the problem. Not just any solution, but creative, sometimes unimaginable solutions for the problem. Students design prototypes and test the solutions to see if they have helped others with the problem.

Resources and Examples

Empathy and ideation are at the heart of Design Thinking. Here are some examples and resources to help explain Design Thinking further.

Powtoon Video Explanation


An article about Design Thinking from Edutopia.

The blog of Dan Ryder, a high school English teacher, who writes about his students using Design Thinking in his class.

Mary Cantwell's Deep Design Thinking website full of resources and information.



A Livebinder by Thomas Riddle


The Teacher's Guild - a place for educators to come together to solve the biggest challenges in education today.

Solve for X - From Google - these are real life examples of Moonshot thinking, some of which fit very well into the concept of Design Thinking.

I challenge each of us teaching students today to give Design Thinking a try. No matter what your discipline or who you teach, every student can be guided to use Design Thinking to solve problems.  And along the way, students will learn how to use their thinking skills, creativity, cooperation, empathy, and determination to solve the problems of the world that they will encounter later in life.

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