Archive for April, 2011

Have Tech, Will Travel

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment


On Thursday last week I was given the opportunity to present a Technology In-Service at South Beloit High School, in South Beloit, IL.  This was the first time I had been hired by a school district to lead an in-service, and boy was I nervous.  My nervousness proved somewhat well founded when that morning I learned that their servers power supply died and the network was down.  I ended up presenting for the first hour with my Droid X and a Doc Cam!  I didn’t even know that a Prezi would load on a Droid X, but I found out it works great on it.

After the minor technically difficulty, everything went smoothly.  The teachers at the school were amazing!  They eagerly soaked up the many websites and examples I showed them and by the end of the day each teacher had created four lesson plans they could use in their classrooms.  Every teacher there understood the necessity for technology and how it could help students achieve their best.  I was more impressed today when I received this message from a teacher named Dee, “Hey Justin, I actually used something you showed us on Friday! Thanks!” 

It was great to see teachers fired up and excited about technology, and it was even better to have had the chance to work with them!  So thank you everyone at SBHS for allowing me to come down and work with you.  Hopefully I get the opportunity to see you all again soon.  Also, thank you for the kind comments!

  • You did a great job, Justin. Best SIP day ever.
  • Good job, Justin. Everyone thought you were great.
  • Relaxing after a fun night with @jepc71 and he got me to use #edmodo for my classes next year, which I’m pumped about.
  • @jepc71 ……did an amazing job with our in service tech. training today! Thanks Justin!
  • We just had one of our best SIP days in 5 years at SBHS thx to Justin Cowen!! @jepc71


If you are a school district looking for someone to provide an in-service on Web 2.0 or Technology, please feel free to contact me at  



Categories: Uncategorized

Zoo via Minecraft

April 14, 2011 1 comment


For the past couple of years I have done a project where 7th grade students design a tri-fold brochure in Microsoft Publisher for a zoo of their own creation.  It has always been a pretty popular assignment and shows the students creativity.  This year I changed it up a little bit and introduced students to Minecraft.  If you have never played Minecraft, it is like a big Lego land.  It allows you to build and destroy blocks and create an entire world.  I gave students the task of creating a representation of their zoo in Minecraft.  I was unsure if it would be popular or not, but holy smokes did it take off!   

Normally I have maybe a handful of students during my computer resource at the end of the day.  But this past week I have filled all thirty computers during that hour and have a waiting list!  Also Minecraft fever has spread throughout the entire middle school.  6th and 8th grade students who are not doing the project have asked if they can come in during lunch or after school to do the project!  The 7th graders are not done yet, but I can share their brag boards.  Today I had students take screen shots of something they built and post them on Linoit.  Feel free to explore their images.  I will have an update to this post Thursday (April 14) with two additional links.  


4th Hour:

5th Hour:

7th Hour:

Zoo Tri-fold Instructions for Publisher:


Categories: Uncategorized