Welcome to Jennie Magiera's Technology in Education Blog:

Redefining the (digital) Classroom

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hooray! My book is now available for Pre-Sale!

I'm so excited! I got home to a note that my book, Courageous Edventures, is now available for Pre-Sale! Click here to get a copy :)!


Here's what it's about:

"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging.” - J. R. R. Tolkien

The early innovators are out innovating, but what about the many who hope to follow on their own adventure? These educators often feel the pull, but hesitate due to the obstacles along the way. This book charts a course to identify and navigate around those obstacles so everyone can find the courage to journey into the limitless possibilities of the unknown -- and discover their own version of classroom innovation.

Whether you have a device in the hands of every student, nothing but a laptop and projector, or you’re simply looking towards the future, this book is your partner in inspiration and “I can do this” ideas. As a classroom teacher, I rarely found time to sit down and read long professional texts. Keeping this in mind, I’ve filled this book with images, diagrams, real lesson plans and resources that you can download for use immediately. Moreover, the format of the book is set up so you can use it as a quick reference to solve certain problems or follow it as a step-by-step pathway to transform your classroom. As you embark on your expedition towards the great unknown of Innovation Isle, I hope this book will be your atlas and your companion.


This book is organized into four sections: Part 1: “Charting Your Course”, Part 2: “Navigating Your Problems”, Part 3: “Sailing into the Great Beyond” and Part 4: “Reflecting on Your Edventure”. The chapters are organized in a way that chronologically steers each step of your innovation odyssey but it’s also set up so that you can also simply pick it up, find what you need and dig in right away.

Important Features:

  • Acknowledges the hurdles in the pathway of attempting digital transformation and innovation and provides numerous strategies to overcome them

  • Introduces and walks you through establishing a “Teacher IEP” or “Teacher Innovation Exploration Plan” and how to use it to guide you through Problem Based Innovation

  • Breaks down actual classroom problems of practice in the areas of Assessment, Differentiation, Planning and Parent Communication to focus digital transformation in strong classroom instruction and practice.

  • Focuses on strategies over tools, but still provides a companion website for step-by-step tutorials, examples of student work and ready-to-use templates

  • Broken into four sections to scaffold your innovation journey
    • Part 1: “Charting Your Course” helps you prepare for a digital transformation
    • Part 2: “Navigating Your Problems” leads you through Problem Based Innovation to help you first identify and overcome problems through new digital strategies
    • Part 3: “Sailing into the Great Beyond” pushes you further to take bigger risks to transform your practice
    • Part 4: “Reflecting on Your Edventure” helps you reflect and share your journey


Monday, February 29, 2016

Update: You can now sign up for pre-sale notifications!

Update on Courageous Edventures: Wow Corwin is fast! They already created a flyer and have a link for you to sign up to be notified when pre-sales for my book go live!

Click here to sign up.

Thanks for your support, everyone!! :)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Courageous Edventures: I Wrote a Book!

Hi everyone! I'm so sorry it's been FOREVER since I've written a blog post. I have a good reason though... I wrote a book! (I think you probably got that from the title.) After years of blogging here, sharing stories via conferences and a TEDx, Corwin Press gave me the amazing opportunity to compile all of those tales and tips into something a bit more substantial.

Dreaming up a concept, doing the writing and going through hours of revision has been a definite edventure in and of itself. I didn't want to share the news afraid I'd jinx myself. However, today the cover was approved and my editor gave me the green light to begin sharing!

The book is called Courageous Edventures. Below is a brief description of the content. As it goes through peer reviews, revisions and iterations, I hope to begin sharing more here about the process.

The tentative release date is late summer / early fall of this year. Please stay tuned for more updates, as I will publish them here! Thanks for all of your support, friends!



 Courageous Edventures

"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging.” - J. R. R. Tolkien 

The early innovators are out innovating, but what about the many who hope to follow on their own adventure? These educators often feel the pull, but hesitate due to the obstacles along the way. This book charts a course to identify and navigate around those obstacles so everyone can find the courage to journey into the limitless possibilities of the unknown -- and discover their own version of classroom innovation.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Google Expeditions Pioneer Roadshow Launches at Des Plaines District 62!

Perhaps you have seen Google Expeditions on YouTube or experienced it yourself at ISTE. If you haven't you should definitely check it out. Essentially, the program allows students to utilize the power of Google Cardboard to go on virtual field trips to places all over the globe - and beyond!

Expeditions can magically transport your kids to amazing locations like Mars, the Moon, Coral Reefs, the Great Wall of China and more. I'm proud to say that I even helped write one of the field trips, one in which you can take kids to Slovakian caves. My inspiration for selecting this location was my 4th graders' fave read aloud, Gregor the Overlander. They had always asked questions about the setting and had difficulty visualizing it. Photos and videos of caves were helpful but nothing like touring the environment in real life. Now thanks to Expeditions, my kids can have the experience of walking through a cave without ever leaving their seats.


Google Expeditions was announced this summer, but until now, only those piloting the program for the Google engineers were able to try it out. Today Google announced the Expeditions Pioneer Program. During this school year, they will be bringing kits filled with everything you need to go on an Expedition - the smartphones, tablet for the teacher to direct the tour, a router to allow the whole thing to run sans-Internet, and Google Cardboard or Mattel View-Masters.

I'm proud to share that this roadshow kicked off right here in Illinois today - in our school district (Des Plaines District 62) with three of our schools: Terrace, North and Forest Elementaries and at a neighboring high school, East Leyden High (Go #LeydenPride!).

The Expeditions team drove up in a decked out custom Subaru and took our kids to Borneo, on an ocean safari, exploring Gettysburg and even to the Moon! Not surprisingly, our students absolutely loved it. The ooohs and ahhs, laughter and amazement was palpable. We can't wait to see three more of our schools dig in tomorrow!

After spending a few weeks here in Chicagoland, the Expeditions Pioneer tour will continue on throughout the US, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, the U.K. and then followed by more locations as the school year progresses.

If you would like to see your school's name on the list, head over to the Expeditions site and sign on up! For more information, check out the Google blog post.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Finally! Calendar comes to Classroom... and More!

Our teachers have been loving Google Classroom but one of the things we keep asking for is integrating Google Calendar into the platform. Wouldn't it be great if assignments automatically were added to our students' calendars? Well, the team once again has heard our prayers - Calendar integration is coming to Classroom! Hoooray!!!

Screenshot 2015-08-20 at 2.37.46 PM.png

In this update, other fun features will be released, such as:
  • Reusing posts - Created a great assignment? Now you can reuse it later instead of making it again!
  • Question-based assignments - Assign questions and track who responds to the discussion!
  • Bumping posts - I'm actually most excited about this one. One concern I had with using Google Classroom is that when I post something, it gets pushed down to the bottom of the stream by other content. Now we can move a post to the top of the stream so that our students can easily find it! YESSSSS!
  • Due Dates Optional - Rolling assignments with open turn in times are no longer beholden to required due dates in Classroom.
  • Attach a Google Form - We've all been adding Google Forms via links but soon you can actually insert the form into a stream as an assignment!
For more info, GIFs and images of the new features, check out the Classroom release blog here!