instructional tech, Training, Uncategorized

Five Awesome Tools to Better Your Trainings

Many of us have sat through boring trainings witnessing the trainer attempting to encourage participants to speak up or ask questions. There is usually one or two people who will raise their hand and ask a question or two. Or worse, you get the person who just can’t help but to talk too much and input their opinions or stories. You can feel it when the room starts to get annoyed with those individuals who just do not know when to stop interrupting with their own agendas. Or, you feel bad for the trainer in front of you who cannot, for the life of them, get their audience engaged.

Luckily, there are many other ways to control the audience and limit disruptions while increasing engagement of all the participants.

Here are five great tools that not only increase their participations, but also encourages collaboration.

  1.  Padlet is an interactive blackboard that provides a space where multiple users can post content. It’s basically a digital sticky note collection.  Use Padlet as a place for questions, examples, thoughts, and reflections before, during and after your training.  Be sure to monitor the ideas as they go up in order to provide accurate feedback to the group.
  2. Google Presentations.  Using Google Presentations during a training session is a great way to crowd source and organize content. You can create a template prior to the session and share it to your audience. Use grouping strategies to assign certain parts of the slides to certain groups. This can be used as a collaborative activity that crowd sources ideas and example centered around a topic. The beauty of Google is its share-ability and collaborative aspects. Use this as a closing exercise or a brainstorming exercise at the beginning of your training.
  3. Twitter. Create a particular hashtag for the training day and set aside specific tweeting times. Have your audience members tweet out questions, thoughts, ideas, and links to deepen the comprehension of the training topics. To take this even further as a trainer, let some of your PLN know that you will be hosting a session and tweet to them. They will in turn tweet back making the session more interesting.
  4. is an alternative to Twitter if, for example, your audience members are not tweeters. Its a secure back channeling website that is exclusive to your audience. Simply create your account and share the link to your participants. Once they join your room, they will be able to post to the discussion board. Use helpful cues such as Q for question to prompt discussions.  It is also helpful to have questions already created in order to maximize the effectiveness of this tool.
  5. iTunesU now has a discussion feature embedded in its software. This works well if you are running your training session out of an iTunesU classroom environment. This is also secure only to the members of your session.  This feature is great for discussions and reflections. All of the members of the session will see everyone else’s post just like the previously mentioned tools.our individual responses will be all the stronger for working together and sharing the load. Queen Elizabeth II

Whether you are putting together an hour of training or two days of training, these tools are a must for active participation. They are easy to set up and truly make a difference in the quality of your sessions. Do you have a favorite tool you use for audience participation? Leave me a comment and let me know the tool and what you like about it!


instructional tech, Training

Build Your Best Training Session Ever!

In my years as an educator, I’ve been an Instructional Technology Coach, Instructional Technology Trainer, Computer Lab teacher, and classroom teacher. I’m now an online instructor and the Director of Training at Score Publishing. Like many educators, I’ve sat through endless PD sessions, created hundreds of sessions myself, and attended numerous conferences. I’ve heard some amazing speakers and learned a lot from smarter people than myself on platforms like Twitter. Along the way, I’ve picked up a few tricks that I use in my teaching and training today. The Haiku Deck below is an overview of each philosophy I try to incorporate into every training I deliver.

So often, companies enter a room with a prepared PowerPoint, stand and deliver, then leave. These types of trainings are a waste of time. Dont do this! Instead, create an environment for your learners that direct them to collaborative spaces like Google docs. Bring in an expert on the topic via video, have learners share ideas and reflections on spaces like Padlet or Twitter. There are so many ways to take a training session to the next level by leveraging technology tools.

Educators need to have trainings that understand their needs. They need to have access to the trainers after a session. They need to leave the room excited and empowered.

I want to share my current training philosophy with you. I’m passionate about delivering engaging and transforming training sessions despite the topic. If I’ve left something off that you feel is necessary, please leave me a comment. I must also add that I have had some amazing team members to work with like @annfeldmann1, @mrsjcarlson, and @catlett1. These people helped me shape my ideas on what makes a great training session. As @annfeldmann1 says, “we are better together,” and I have to agree with her.
Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

ibooks author, Uncategorized

Take Your iBook from Good to Great!

iBooks Author comes with its own set of widgets you can embed inside your book. But, to make your book even better check out third party widget creators! They will take your book from good to great! Some third party widget builders are free, some cost a small fee, and some are free for a short time before charging you. If you are going to be writing a lot of books, I say go for the paid version. My three favorite widget creators online are,, and Tumult Hype. At these sites you can create online quizzes, embed webpages, create word puzzles, interactive images, games and more.

Here is how and works:

  1. Create an account at or
  2. Search through widgets and select one you like.
  3. Add your own content into the widget.
  4. Download said widget.
  5. Drag and drop it from downloads to your book page.

It is that simple. The user will see the interactive widget when they go through your book. Remember, you can preview your book either on your iPad or your Mac to see how your new widget looks in real time. Keep in mind devices must be connected to the internet to be fully functional.

Tumult Hype is an HTLM5 animation creation tool. It is a separate software package that you can download for a cost. Educators do get a discount. This program is useful if you want to create your own interactive content. Let’s say you have a graphic, like a flow chart or a diagram and you want it to become interactive. Hype can do that for you. You import your graphic and add content layered on top to create the interactivity. Next you export it out as an iBooks Author widget and drop it on your page.

Like any piece of software, Hype takes time to learn. Tumult has an extensive YouTube channel full of easy to follow tutorials. Remember, widgets need to serve a purpose. Refrain from spending hours creating amazing graphics if they don’t support student learning and outcomes. This is a graphic that I created in Hype. I used basic shapes, changed opacity, added text boxes and created an interactive path. Because Hype can export files as a videos you could create your intro media as well. These are just two useful ways to utilize Tumult’s Hype 3 program.

third party widget graphic gif