Linoit – 3 Minute Tech

April 20, 2012 Leave a comment

In today’s 3 Minute Tech I discuss Linoit, which is one of my all time favorite websites! It allows easy and simple classroom collaboration and feedback. It can be used by students without requiring them to register, which can be a plus for those elementary teachers. It is basically a corkboard where yourself or students can post ideas, pictures, videos, links, and more. The ‘canvasses’ can then be shared via a url or embedded into a website. I have also done two previous blog entries about using Linoit, Using Linoit for Class Discussion, and Zoo via Minecraft.

Linoit – 3 Minute Tech

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Google Trek – 3 Minute Tech

April 17, 2012 Leave a comment

I was recently re-introduced to the idea of Google Treks by a fellow educator. Previously for some unknown reason, I thought they were useless. Luckily, I have seen the errors of my way and couldn’t wait to show everyone else in my district the awesomeness of Google Treks! These are really super easy to make and even easier to share. The lesson plan possibilities based off these are endless! To help introduce my fellow teachers about Google Treks, I created a brand new 3 Minute Tech video. If you have yet to try making one of these, go to Dr. Alice Christie’s  Google Trek website for outstanding tutorials and examples.

On a side note, if you are someone getting married this summer, or the parent of one of these lucky newlyweds, think how awesome it would be to share a Google Trek with your wedding guests! You could show family and friends neat places in your town, location of the wedding and/or reception, and so much more! If you create a neat Google Trek, please share the link. I would love to see your creations.

3 Minute Tech

April 17, 2012 Leave a comment

3 minutes will be all I ask of teachers and staff in my school district. I recently started a new tech training titled, “3 Minute Tech.” As the name implies, the training will take no longer then three minutes. These training’s will be brief YouTube videos highlighting useful websites for students, teachers, and staff. You can view the first video in the series here, The End of Picnik. If you enjoy the video or the idea of 3 Minute Tech, I would love to hear your ideas for future topics! Please send me your ideas via this blog or find my contact information on my official homepage,

Getting Cloudy

April 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Below is a copy of a recent artice I wrote titled, “Getting Cloudy.” This article was printed in the Florence Mining News on April 11, 2012. It is discussing how technology is having a big impact on both students and teachers at the Florence County School District.

If you were to walk through the classrooms in the high school and middle school you would find it to be “cloudy.” Of course there isn’t a fog settling in the rooms, but we are talking about the tech buzz term known as “Cloud Computing.” Cloud Computing allows students and staff to access their programs and files no matter where they are or what type of computer/smartphone they are using. This past summer the school district implemented a cloud computing program referred to as the FSD Cloud. Students and staff are able to log in to this single website and gain access to their files, grades, email, calendar, and more!

Students have been able to access this cloud by using netbooks provided by the school district, through the 1:1 initiative. Another buzz term, 1:1 means every student, in grades 7-12, have access to a netbook for classroom use. This puts students in a position where they can take direct control of their education and teachers in a position where their lessons can be interactive and student driven. In a recent survey a student stated, “(the netbooks) help make understanding in classes better and helps people focus on what’s being taught, and just makes classes better.” Also, the 1:1 initiative has allowed teachers and students to access material and information that otherwise would have been inaccessible. Students are now able to access up-to-date information on the fly and staff are able to provide students with relevant meaningful material.


It is truly the interaction of these two programs that have made a big impact on the school district. In the words of a teacher, the FSD Cloud and the 1:1 initiative “Expands lesson possibilities and can make learning more engaging and motivating.” These programs also prepare students for a world that has technology integrated into everyday life. The school district looks forward to further expanding these programs with the use of Google Apps (a cloud based productivity suite), our new interactive website (currently in development), and further training in Web2.0 websites for all staff and students!

Orginally publication:
Getting Cloudy, Florence Mining News, 4-11-12.

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Get More Out of Google Inforgraphic

April 11, 2012 Leave a comment

I am a sucker for neat infographics and couldn’t help but share this one, This infographic gives some awesome tips on better ways to find information using Google.

Hopefully you find a useful nugget of learning 🙂

Looking for some other awesome infographics? Check out the handy links below:

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My First Newspaper Article

March 28, 2012 Leave a comment

On March 28, 2012, my article titled “Teaching the Teacher” was featured in the Florence Mining News!


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Teaching the Teacher

March 22, 2012 Leave a comment


Teaching the Teacher

By Justin Cowen

Florence County School District IT Technician

At Florence County School District, not only are the students learning, but so are the teachers and staff! With the recent technology implementations, it became clear that the school district needed to create a training program. Now, about twice a month, a tech training is offered to all district staff. The trainings are a time for staff to learn about websites and resources that available to both themselves and students. They have focused mostly on free “cloud” based websites. These cloud based sites allow students to access their projects and materials anywhere they have a internet connection.

Teachers have used websites like which is a great PowerPoint alternative and, which allows students to create engaging and exciting video slideshows. Staff has also learned how to use Google Apps to allow online collaboration between teachers and students.  

Using these new websites have allowed students to create projects that previously would have been impossible. Instead of just creating a poster about WWII to tape on a wall, students in Amy Johnson’s 8th grade History created interactive posters using Glogster.  Theses “glogs” allowed students to share information, images, videos, and resources online within their classroom. In addition, recently Terri Koehn’s Biology class students created music videos to demonstrate their understanding of assigned topics. Students utilized a collaborative cloud based video editor called WeVideo. The website allowed each student to be on their own netbook, yet still work together as a group. One teacher, Mike Jones, even got rid of book reports all together for a project and had students create a Animoto video to show their comprehension of the material. Students were then able to show theses video off to the class and create excitement about reading!

With all the new technology available to students and staff, learning has taken on a new exciting approach at the Florence County School District.  Staff challenge the students to tackle new ideas while the students challenge the staff to implement new methods of teaching.  As we move forward, the district is excited to see the awesome possibilities made possible with the ever changing technology!

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