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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Students Tackle Haters and Trolls in #DigCit

#DigCit class this year tackled the topic of Hater and Trolls with help from Common Sense Media, to figure out what exactly a Hater and Troll really is. Once they watched the introduction video all the students posted on a Padlet; explaining something they learned, a takeaway they had, and what stuck with them the most from the video. You can look at the responses here--> Padlet . They continued their learning by watching and answering a corresponding question that paired with the video they watched. Their answers were put on a Google Slide and presented to the class. It was during these presentations that their peers evaluated each other based on the following criteria:

To see the peer evaluation form, click here--> Google Form

These presentations and their Padlet acted as a springboard for the next project. The project allows for anything that they wanted to learn more about based off of the presentations/Padlet completed by their peers. Per usual, the students had to choose a different platform they had not used before. During these presentations the students evaluated each other again (using this Google Form)  and gave shoutouts to their peers, that were completely student generated.  I compiled the shoutouts and then read them to the class the next day.  Each student had at least one shoutout. Within the peer review they got to choose whether or not their peer showed mastery of the new platform they choose, and if 90% of their peers agreed they did, they would receive a techspert badge. The students voted on the 90% threshold earlier in the year and they are the sole determiners of whether a techspert badge is awarded.  They then are the expert in the room with that platform.  They serve as a resource for both the class and me as we dive into new platforms for our digital work.

The students were assessed on how well they followed the following criteria:

You can check out some of the projects here:

Project Links:

If you would like it leave some comments for the students, I will share with them. Feel free to use the students' work as a resource when teaching/learning about haters and trolls.


My 3 Favorite Extensions: Update!

Since I last posted my favorite extensions, I have found a few more that I use on a daily basis now!

Google Keep

This has literally changed the way I do things both in school and for personal use.  Google Keep is an app that allows you to create a post it note, which you can change into an active checklist.  You can color code them and pin them.  All of this is SO handy!  However, the best two features are that you can share them and archive them.  Imagine yourself grocery shopping with a spouse or friend and you have to divide up to find things or are in a hurry.  Share the Keep and both of you can access the list and delete the items!  I have also used this for to do logistical event lists.  Typically, there is more than just me organizing an event and instead of texting back and forth or emailing what you have and have not done, each of the organizers can click an item to delete it or add an item.  The even better part is that for annual events, you can access this year's to do list next year!  So much better than hanging onto a piece of paper or searching for a document! 


Bitmoji's are a way for you to merge the emjois with your avatar.  This is a fun way to communicate, but also a way to add some fun and engagement on your feedback.  I use them not only on my feedback for written work, but also on my student created shout outs (they give each other a shout out through Google Form when doing peer evaluations and then I compile them and read them out loud in class the next day.   Fun way to jazz up your feedback!

Tab Suspender
I don't know about you, but my tabs typically look like this on my Chromebook

Needless to say, my battery life isn't all that great simply because I am making my Chromebook work harder with all of those tabs open.  Tab suspender will leave your tabs open, but suspend them from eating up valuable resources in memory and battery.  When you need that tab again, you simply click on it and then hover over the blue and white refresh arrow (see right pane below) and it comes back to life!  Speaking of life, since it works automatically, and I don't have to remember to enable it, my battery thanks me daily for using tab suspender.  

Monday, November 28, 2016

Have 3 minutes to help my students?

As I write this blog post, I am excited for the opportunities my students have in our Entrepreneurship course.  We are participating in a regional competition called the Greater Binghamton Scholastic Challenge sponsored by Modern Marketing Concepts.  At this competition over 50 student groups from 20+ school districts bring product/service ideas to fruition through much hard work.  The past couple of years, the winners have received funding to actually start a business. Last year, partly due to your input, we won 2 of the 3 events!!  Every aspect of it is real-world and we need YOUR help! Below are the surveys each group put together.  IF you have time to complete a couple, they could really use your feedback.  None of them will take you more than 90 seconds to fill out.  Remember, this is a learning experience for all of them, so if you have any feedback for them, please feel free to comment on this blog or tweet me at @MrsMurat.  Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Feel free to skip around on the list!

Tomorrow's Eden  

Luxury Weight Training 

Shoe Cycle

Incentive Service

Better Braces

Color Shifters

No Worries


Shark Detection


Sneakerhead App

Cop Radar Detectors

LZ Farm

Part and Labor Product

Three Bowl: Microwavable Dish

Quick Shopper

Key Tracker

Nite Light

ShortStop Shop


Sleep Soundly Speaker Pillow

Heat Feet

Sunday, November 13, 2016

App Smackdown, Periscope and #DigCit!

In #digcit class this week, we concluded our unit on digital literacy by engaging in an app smackdown.  It is housed in a Google Slides.  They signed up via a Google Doc and off we went!

Here is the set up of the project:

Students had to choose a Chrome app/extension that none of their classmates chose for the app/extension blog review we did the previous week and could not duplicate one for the smackdown. The rubric they had was this:

They chose apps/extensions that even I learned from, which is a pretty big feat since I have over 250 apps and extensions!!  This year not only did we have our classmates, two teachers, our district PR person, our district IT person and our building principal and assistant principal in as guest judges we also did a live Periscope broadcast where we had over 100 views and guest judges through Periscope.  This Google Form: was used as the evaluation and feedback form.

Coupons at Checkout was the unanimous winner even though there were so many useful apps and extensions in this smackdown!

I hope you are able to pick up a few new apps/extensions!

Providing an Authentic Audience

This post is to show a colleague the power of getting her student's work out in front of an authentic audience. If you have a minute and could leave a quick comment about the student's projects or about the power of being a connected educator, I think we can get her connected!

Our business teacher first approached me about how to do a pamphlet about credit cards.  I asked her what her end goal was.  She said she wanted her students to not only show what they know, but to share that information with their classmates.  I asked how she would share them.  She said put them on the table in the back for others to look at.  I asked her if she would consider having the students do them in a virtual platform so that they could be shared beyond the four walls of her classroom.  At first she was hesitant because she didn't exactly know what that meant, but she has a growth mindset and is always looking for ways to provide a better learning experience for her students.

Here is a very brief overview of her lesson and the student's projects.

In the weeks leading up to the project, students learned what debt/credit was, how it can be helpful/useful and how it can be harmful. We defined and discussed terms associated with both revolving loans (credit cards) and installment loans (car loans, mortgages…) Students learned about how interest rates impact debt and what happens if debt isn’t paid off before the grace period and debt snowballs.  Also learned what credit score is, how it is established, and the advantages of having a good score.  Students then used the knowledge that they acquired to teach other teens about credit in an online platform of their choice.

Resources that were used: 
NEFE booklets

Student's Projects
Projects Class 1
Projects Class 2
Projects Class 3

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Do YOU have a Social Brand?

Do you have a social brand? Don't know what that is?  My #DigCit students are here to help! Beyond my description and reflection of the unit, you will find the student's projects.  Feel free to use them in your classes!

We began the year Googling ourselves and then went on to explore what a digital tattoo is and what ours currently is.  You can read about that in this Blog post.

Overview of the unit:
We brainstormed what we thought a social brand was, specifically related to our online presence.  We then came up with a useable definition for our purposes in class.  Next, they had some time to Google it as well as look at the resources I provided them: Resource 1 and Resource 2.

After they felt they had a good grasp on the concept, I gave them all of my usernames for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  I wanted them to determine what my social brand was or what I was consciously choosing my online life to say about me.  They really thought they were going to find out the dirt on me, but soon discovered that my social media reflects my school spirit, desire to learn and share as well as a place to give shout outs.  To say the least, some of them were really disappointed they didn't find anything that wasn't school appropriate.  We talked about how that was by design.  I am the author of my story.  I reminded them that if they don't author their story, someone else will and it might not be the story you want out there.

Next they had to choose a platform from this list, knowing that they cannot use the same platform they have previously used, unless they did not earn a Techspert Badge.  A Techspert Badge means that 90% or more of your classmates feel you are an expert on that platform.  You then are our go to person for questions related to that platform.

The students were able to create a project that would not only inform people about social branding, but give them tips on how to assess and fix their social brands.  Here is a link to all of the Projects.

During the presentations (which could have been standing in front going through the project or pushing play), the students were evaluating each other through a Google Form: This enabled me to collect data, feedback as well as give the class a vote in who becomes a Techspert.  We also did a shout out at the end.  If they felt like someone earned a shout out, they included it in the Google Form.  I then handed them out the next day.  You can see them here in this Google Draw.

All in all, I would say that not only are they more aware of a what a social brand is, they are not more cognizant of their posts as they continue to build their social brand.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the unit/lessons/projects.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Discovering What Our Digital Tattoo Is

In my semester long Digital Citizenship course, we start off by analyzing our presence online.   This is an overview of our Digital Tattoo unit:

To begin this unit, I have the students start their blog off with what they think they will find when I have them Google every username and email they have used online as well as searching Google Images to see how they are portrayed online.  This is then followed by 35 minutes of gasping and laughing as they discover what is out there and what others have been putting online while tagging them.  They then have to finish that same blogpost with what they found and their thoughts on it.  You can read some of their blogs here:


Next we had the opportunity to have a webinar with @HSSocialMedia and Coach Bouffard
about what colleges are expecting out of college applicants, college students and those who are on or are applying for a scholarship.  You can read more about it here: Digital Tattoo .  They were so helpful in pointing out how students who receive scholarships or are athletes are held to a higher standard.   They also provided us with some ways that social media can serve as a conduit for positive interactions: Link

Next, a former student of mine, Tucker Sholtes, came in to talk about social media usage in the business world and what HR is looking for when hiring and how businesses will regulate your usage of a personal cellphone if you are checking email on that device.  He also reminded us that not everything that happens in your life needs to be on social media. He cautioned us not to compare our real lives to people's highlight reel on social media.  Lastly, he taught us about LinkedIn and how we can use it to highlight our accomplishments and start to build our professional online presence.

Next, Betsy Kane and Alyssa Estus, both Admission Counselors at SUNY Plattsburgh, shared what they are looking for when they examine college applications.  They also talked about when they find fake accounts, deleted accounts or a total lack of a social media presence. Additionally, they told us about how social media is often used on campus to get out the message and can be used to spread the positivity around campus.

Lastly, Deputy Stapleton, our School Resource Officer, came in to talk about how criminals can use your social media accounts to hack into your life and what information they can glean from your accounts.  He also spoke to us about geotagging and how to make sure you are not exposing too much information in your pictures.  He reinforced that not everything you do in life has to wind up on social media, especially if it would give the wrong first impression to someone just meeting you.

After hearing all of this information, the students had to create a way to pay forward their learning.  They could choose from this list of platforms but if they had another one they wanted to use, they could add it to the list and dive into it.  They had to come up with a dynamic way to share 12 pieces of information they learned that they thought others should know and would be interested in learning.  See some examples here:

Stephanie, Alicia, Sarina, Theresa

The students in class then evaluated their peers based on some of the criteria that is also on the rubric.  You'll notice the last question on the peer evaluation is what percentage of peers must determine that you are an expert to receive your Techspert badge.  As you can see, the class voted that you must have at least a 90% peer approval rating to receive the badge.  The goal is to make experts out of each member of the class so they can help each other throughout the semester and then transfer those skills (both with the platforms and teaching others to use digital platforms) to other classes and experiences in life.
The students then have a choice if they do not receive a 90%+  approval rating.  They can try that platform again to try and earn their badge or they can move on to another platform.  Generally, the expectation in class is that you cannot use the same platform more than once so that we are continually adding to our digital platform skills and also so that we can get used to hitting hurdles and challenges and persevering. However, I emphasize a growth mindset with the students and usually they choose to try again so they can earn their badge and show their additional skills.

We then reflected on the process by answering these questions: 
1. I learned...
2. Next time I do a project I'll...
3. I think I
 did a great job...
4. An area of improvement could be that next time..

Here is an example of a student's reflection

1. I learned that I would enjoy using piktochart in the future
2. Next time I do a project I'll make a Powtoon
3. I think I did a great job on making it eye catching
4. An area of improvement could be that next time I use more of my creative abilities in sharing information

I would love your thoughts and feedback on this project because we are better together!

Thank you!

Paying Forward My Learning from #GAFESummit

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend #GAFESummit in Connecticut.  Yes, you read that right. I had the opportunity to drive 4.5 hours each way and spend the weekend at a conference.  I value my learning because when I didn't, it almost caused me to give up my career (read about that here: blog).  I want to pay forward all of my learning so it doesn't die with me.  Here is a quick recap of the weekend of learning and rediscovering techniques, tools and resources:

Saturday started off with a keynote from Chris Craft (@crafty184) that not only made us laugh and think, but challenged us to engage and inspire our students to give back to those that need us the most.  If you can engage "students to help someone else build their masterpiece, they can then begin to see the value in building their own."  This really resonated with me and is something I will carry with me as I go back to work on Monday.  If you have an opportunity to see or hear him speak, don't miss it.  You won't regret it.

I then went to my first session wondering what all I would be learning about and before the session even started, I rediscovered Let Me Google That For You .  I came across this before, but never really understood just how useful it would be in my part time gig as Tech Integrator.  For example, anyone ever ask you how to make something public on the web and you type out the directions and then 10 more people ask you?  How about using and here are now step by step instructions that you can either send a link to or print out for someone.  How about making a Google Sheet or Smore or Google Newsletter and housing all of those resources and then they are at your fingertips (and maybe the finger tips of those people asking you 123 times how to do that?)

The first session started and before Jeff Heil (@jheil65)  even introduced himself, he handed out three tips, one of which, I wound up using the rest of the weekend.  Pinning a tab is something I knew about, but forgot about and considering I currently have 37 (not an exaggeration) tabs open, it came in handy big time! Pinning a tab makes it so that you can't accidentally close the tab while you are working on other tabs. Definitely helps when you are multitasking.  Anyway, back to our presenter, Jeff, it would turn out I would go to all 6 of his sessions because he really is THAT good!  I could sit and learn from him as a full time job!  I linked his resources to his name at the beginning of this paragraph and I cannot understate just how many nuggets are in each of the links on his Summit page (linked above).  He has everything from My Maps (which by the way might be my new favorite thing after the quiz feature in Forms), to Forms, to deep dive tricks in Google Docs, to apps, to Genius Hour and sooooo many more.  I am so thankful that I was able to learn from (and not be accused of stalking) him this weekend! :)

I left Saturday exhausted and with a learning concussion for sure!

Our day started off by hearing from Kern Kelley (@kernkelley) and he made me think about our use of technology and the student's perspective when they use technology in the classroom.  He also made us laugh a lot when thinking about how much technology has changed in our lives.  He talked about his Tech Sherpas (student tech team) and it made me double down on my efforts to make this work at our school again this year.  I started one at our school last year and we were small but mighty.  This year, I would like to make it more usable for the student body as well as for teachers.   His book The Google Apps Guidebook (which he wrote with this Tech Sherpas) is already on my Kindle and half read.  I can't wait to put some of the ideas into play in my classroom.

I then went to a Forms session with @jheil65 again and it really got me thinking about how I use Forms and how, although I am using it everyday and using the data from it everyday, I am not even scratching the surface of what I can be using it for.  I typically leave bell ringers up for the students to use as a review technique, but why not turn on the quiz feature and then allow them to use it as an actual review where they get feedback if they are answering it correctly, without me having to micromanage it.  I am now going to use it every day in Quiz format so they get feedback.   I am also going to go back to Flubaroo (an add on in Sheets) to not just grade the information but to send the students an email with their results.  I am also going to have my students put their Inquiry answers to the evidence questions in a Google Form so that, after I have added Autocrat as an add on, will create a Google Doc for the students so they can see how their evidence can easily be made into an essay type response to the compelling Inquiry question.  I will probably only do this once or twice since I want them crafting it themselves, but it shows them how important their answers to the guiding questions are and how well constructed evidence collection can basically write your response for you.

Other resources you might want to check out:
Assessing with Forms and Flubaroo by Don Vallera (@mrvallera).
Googlifying Your Classroom by Jay Salerno (@jaysal7)
Designing Lessons with GAFE by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Game of Forms by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Forms 101 by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Haaaaaave You Met My Maps? by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Earthcast where you can look at live stream from the ISS.  Thank you to @kernkelley for this resource
Primarily Google by Susan Stewart (resources on how to use Google in primary classrooms)
Getting Geeky with Google by Chris Craft (@crafty184)

As you can see, this weekend was unbelievable!  I challenge you to seek out an opportunity to attend a #GAFEsummit.  You will not regret it!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Have 2 minutes to help my students?

This past month, we were given the opportunity to create the spring marketing campaign for GHS Federal Credit Union (  Each student in class was allowed to work as a team or as an individual to create a marketing campaign to target 25 - 45 year olds.  We started with 22 presentations, the students narrowed it down to 10 after the first round of presentations and then after another round of presentations, narrowed it down to 3.  If you could please watch these and then click on the link below to vote, the winner will actually get to have their ad be the ad for GHSFCU for the spring and summer!!!

Thank you!

Choice A:

Choice B: 

Choice C:

Vote here!

Thank you for helping out our Entrepreneurship class!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

STUDENT App/Extension Reviews

These past two weeks we have been focusing on digital literacy in our Digital Citizenship class.  We tested our knowledge by completing four modules on this site: and then had to show our improvement if we incorrectly answered more than two items.  This proved challenging, but we worked hard and our newly acquired skills will prove helpful as we move through the rest of the course work.  There are two culminating activities in this unit and we have finished the first one, which was a blog post that served as an app/extension review.  We used the rubric below to analyze our chosen app/extension.  No two students could review the same app/extension, so we learned about 26 apps and extensions! (FTW: I even learned more about several of these apps/extensions!)   This exercise provides the students with real world skills of analyzing, critiquing and formulating a review.  In the digital world, people write reviews all the time.  Learning how to write them in a useful manner can help us become digital leaders.  Here are the student app/extension reviews;

Hannah reviews: PushBullet:

Lexi reviews Memrise

Ally reviews Calmly Letter: 

Brenden reviews Explee:

Gulia reviews Animoto: 

Shane reviews Tweetdeck:

YuNing reviews Instagram: 

Jenna reviews DuoLingo:

Jil reviews StumbleUpon:

Corey reviews PowToon:

Brandi reviews Memo Notepad 

Dan reviews Tick Tick 

Cherish reviews Eduzzle: 

Brian reviews GroupMe:

Kylie reviews Moovly:

Griffin reviews Vine:

Bri reviews Emaze:

Travis reviews Pinterest 

Hannah reviews Readability:

Val reviews Sticky Notes:

Kara reviews Quizlet:

Meaghan reviews PowToon:

Ashley reviews The Homework App:

Meghan reviews Bitmoji:

Lexi reviews YouTube: 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

2016 STUDENT App Smackdown

In #digcit class this week, we concluded our unit on digital literacy by engaging in an app smackdown.  Although I normally require students to use a platform that they have not used before and I don't have them all on the same platform, for this project, it made the most sense.  Here is the set up of the project:

Students had to choose an app/extension for mobile devices, iOS or Chrome that none of their classmates chose for the app/extension blog review we did the previous week and could not duplicate one for the smackdown. The rubric they had was this

They chose apps/extensions that even I learned from!!  I did challenge them that if their classmates picked them as the winner using this Google Form:  and it was an app/extension I did not have (not an easy feat since I have 250+ already) and I would use it, they got a $30 gift card to Dunkin Donuts instead of just the $25 that went to the winner.  The winner from this smackdown was Forest, a time management app.

I hope you are able to pick up a few new apps/extensions to improve work flow or help with a work hack!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Students Spread Happiness to Combat Haters and Trolls

This year in #DigCit class, we dove into our study of Haters and Trolls a little differently.  Thanks to CommonSense Media, ( we watched a short video explaining what haters and trolls are.  We then discussed something specific we learned about haters and trolls from the video, sharing any experiences we had with them.  Next, the students were given either video A or B and a specific question for the assigned video.  They were to then make a graphic representation in our collective Google Slides: present to the class about their answer to the question.  All of that was meant to get them thinking critically about haters and trolls and the impact they can have, as well as how they can combat them.

Here is the introduction to the project, written by the students:
In our Digital Citizenship (#digcit) class we are learning about haters and trolls. Mrs. Murat places an emphasis on #stuvoice in her classroom through the use of social media and sharing our work on her blog. Mrs Murat allowed Hannah and me(Val) and to use her blog to share out our ideas about haters and trolls. Haters are people who post negative things on social media to get something out of it. Trolls are people who go on social media looking for certain things like a family who just lost a loved one. Once they find what they are looking for they will post rude or hurtful comments to upset the family and friends.  In this project our class watched two different videos on haters and trolls  (scroll down to the bottom, hover over generation, choose haters and trolls, then scroll down to the bottom and click continue, then click either video) then answered various questions on them. Here are some tips on how to avoid haters and trolls : 1. Don’t respond to them. Ignore the comments 2. Report any negative or hurtful comments on your page 3. Have a trusted adult monitor your social media page so they can get rid of it before you see it Use the 30% rule (30% will love, 30% will hate it, 30% will not care. Only think about the 30% who will love it) 

While diving into haters and trolls, I came across this campaign on Twitter and we de
cided that this would be a great way to flood the internet with positive messages on how they use social media to solve problems instead of create them!

Here are some of the tweets

Next, the students had to choose between the following tasks. or they could propose one to me.  The only limitation was that they could not use a platform that they had previously used. 

Choice 2

Some of their projects are linked below and I think most of them will be using these as evidence of how they are transitioning to digital leaders! 

Project Links:

Lastly, they scheduled out tweets for #IDOH (International Day of Happiness) for Sunday, March 20th.  Here are some of their tweets to spread the happiness!

Spread the happiness and combat the trolls and haters!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Student Surveys Please Help!

My Entrepreneurship class has been given the opportunity to design an advertising campaign for GHS Federal Credit Union's Spring Campaign.  They have been tasked with designing something that will reach a new target market and the sky is the limit for them!  If you could take a couple minutes and answer a couple surveys, we would greatly appreciate your input!  Thank you!