EdTECH in 2017

So here we are! 2016 has passed – with all of its ups and downs. From El Chapo getting arrested to a new president that will undoubtedly shake up politics as usual. From a 1.5 billion dollar Powerball to the deaths of many many media figures, police officers, and civilians alike. We saw the effects of cyber hacking as well as the proliferation of autonomous vehicles and other scientific breakthroughs.

And what about education? Edutopia recently curated a list of research on education topics for 2016 that included topics such as laptops to improve student scores and that the majority of parents believe that computer science is just as important as math, science, and English. We learned that students (and adults) have a difficult time telling real new from fake news. We also learned that kindergarten students (and probably all grade levels) are not spending enough time on art, music, and play. Continue reading “EdTECH in 2017”

Kids Should Code!

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 1.13.45 PMOur students have the opportunity to change the world, and there are many many ways they’ll be able to do that. From building skyscrapers to figuring out our pollution problems. From curing cancer to developing the next social media platform. We don’t even know what jobs will be available for our students when they graduate. Who would have thought you could be hired to be a Digital Marketing Specialist, Blogger, SEO Expert, or Cloud Service Specialist 10 years ago? No one! They didn’t exist! Continue reading “Kids Should Code!”

Nebraska ELA Draft Standards – Word/Phrase Frequency


As ESU 10 and consortium schools embark on a new endeavor of working with the new English Language Arts standards, I thought it would be interesting to see what they would look like from a different perspective. What are the most frequently used words or phrases in this new draft document? Let’s see!

From the downloaded PDF at the NDE website, I converted the file to a text document so I could copy and paste the contents to a frequency counter. Word indicated there were 15,465 words in the document. I did clean it up and modify the text to remove some common words such as: and, to, of, in, a, or, etc.

I then copied the text of the document to the clipboard and pasted it into the website WriteWords. This is where I thought it got interesting. As I read it, the top words were: text, information, appropriate, use, apply, and writing. The next significant five are:  students, mastered, digital, variety, and multiple.


I’m not sure what this means but as an EdTech advocate, I can see where my focus needs to be – appropriate use of information as students read text and apply writing techniques to share their mastery of digital knowledge in a variety of ways. Obviously this is over-simplistic but it may be a starting point.

I then churned out a couple of phrase frequency reports. Here is a two word frequency chart:


Lastly, I used the old tried and true Wordle2014-06-06_10-12-34

What do you take from this?

Evernote: My Second Brain

I love productivity apps and software to help me get things done. Whether that be at home or at the office, I’ll try just about any new utility that claims to help one be more productive. But I have never found one with as much flexibility and that works like this. Welcome to my second brain: Evernote. It’s with me pretty much all the time. Whether I am sitting at my computer, doodling on my iPad, or running errands around town. It’s that app that is on my computers, in the cloud, and on all my devices. 
So what do I use Evernote for? Here are a few of the top things I use it for:

  • Random thoughts and ideas. I keep my ideas, blog posts, writing prompts, and just about anything that comes to mind in an Evernote notebook.
  • Meeting Notes. I sit through a lot of meetings. Way too many! Although I use Google Docs more when real-time collaborating, I use Evernote for my personal notes. It’s just like my paper notebook, only electronic. And great to be able to tag and organize all these meeting notes in an intuitive way.
  • To Do lists and Checklists. Being able to easily create lists is a bonus for me. And an added perk is being able to set reminders and due dates!
  • Weekend Planner. There is always something to do around the house. Evernote keeps my projects at home organized and at the ready.
  • Travel Planner. Whether I am going to a conference across the country or a NETA meeting in Omaha, Evernote helps me keep my confirmation numbers, directions, reservations, interesting sessions, and anything else I need at the ready. And I always know where to find it!
  • Bookmarks. With the help of the Evernote Web Clipper, this is my bookmark manager. It works in my workflow. I store bookmarks as ideas for certain projects I’m working on so keeping them organized with tags or in a project folder works well for me.
  • Paperless Office. At home and at work, every piece of paper I have (bills, letters, drawings, paper notes, etc.) goes through my ScanSnap scanner and into Evernote. When I am away from my scanner, I take photos of documents, business cards, Post-its, and whatever ever else I may need. These are then searchable documents that I can go back to where ever I am in the world. 
  • Collaboration/Communications. I not only share certain notes with folks but also use a shared folder with my son. Either of us can add, remove or edit notes but its a great way for me to share his chore list or projects that he is working on.
  • Reading List. I like to think of this as the electronic version of the basket of reading material next to my Lazyboy at home. It’s that place I can store PDFs or websites I want to go back to and read more about. 
  • Email Important messages. If I need to deal with an email message, I forward it to my To Do folder in Evernote. Evernote really becomes not a part of my workflow, but THE workflow.
Tips to make Evernote more useful:
  • Use it on all your devices: computer, web, tablet, phone. Evernote automatically syncs with all of them.
  • Install the browser plugins: Evernote Web Clipper, Clearly.
  • Save your Evernote email address as a contact in your phone.
  • Be consistent – use it regularly and make it your workflow.
  • Use Notebooks and Tags to help your organize your notes and ideas.
  • Turn on location tracking – more useful than you think!
  • Use other apps like Penultimate and Skitch that integrate with Evernote.
  • Take pictures of documents, business cards, Post-it’s, and hand written notes.
  • Share notes and notebooks with friends, colleagues, and family. 
Evernote can be so much more than just your electronic notebook. Planning a conference? A trip? Collecting ideas?What will you make Evernote do for you?

Blue Zones Tips

Blue Zones LogoI have always loved what Dan Buettner has had to say ever since the opportunity I had to see him speak at NETA in 2006. At the time, I wasn’t sure how his message fit of longevity and healthy lifestyles fit into a conversation of education and technology… until I realized: it’s really all about living a happy and healthy life! We all have different goals and focuses but the one common denominator is that we should all strive to be happy and healthy and promote that for our friends and family.

With that said, Dan has shared 4 Blue Zones Tips to March You into Spring! Enjoy!

1) Invest in others:

One of the best bits of relationship advice I ever received came from Ed Diener, a revered happiness expert. He used to winter in Illinois, and many mornings, ice covered both he and his wife’s car windows. I remember he told me, “When I wake up in the morning, I want to scrape off her windows before my own.” His message: find the partner, or develop the mindset, wherein you get more joy out of doing something nice for them, than for yourself.

2) Eat your fruit:

Odds are, you need more fiber, folate, potassium and Vitamins A and C in your diet. To get these nutrients, stock up on grapes, apricots, berries, peaches, cranberries, pineapple, watermelon, bananas, raisins, pears, oranges, and clementines. If eaten daily, the many antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes in these healthy treats prevent disease and promote longevity.

3) Sleep:

If you slept fewer than 6 hours last night, you were 30% less happy than you could be today. Note to self: The longest-lived, happiest people sleep between 7-8.5 hours per night. How much do you normally sleep? Is it enough?

4) Take a walk:

I recently met a 50-year-old executive who was earning mid-six figures at his job. But he hated it. Finally, he mustered the courage to quit. Shortly after, he began to walk every day. “I used to do it occasionally, but it was always a rushed workout,” he said. “Now, it’s my daily routine and I’ve never been happier.”

Make Your Day Great!

Inspiration from Kelly Croy, Chalk Artist

Make your day great by:

  • Surrounding yourself with positive people.
  • Smiling.
  • Having an attitude of gratitude.
  • Looking for and expecting the best in others.
  • Just looking in the newspaper if you think YOU have it bad.
  • Not just having a great day, but MAKING it a great day.
  • Planing something each day to make it great – Exercise, read a book, call your brother, walk the dog.

Be the King…

In a fun series of article I ran across on “The Art of Manliness”, I found some very good advice. The article, The Four Archetypes of the Mature Masculine: The King, describes the great attributes of being a king. Near the end, a list of how to bless the lives of others seems quite helpful:

Mo Bro Health

More Movember Tips

Spread the word! 

I am wrapping up my last week as a Mo Bro. Come evening of November 30th, the razor comes out and all facial hair is back to normal. As I round out my last week, I would like to share the sentiments of the Mo Bro community in looking out for your health in 4 ways.

Don’t Smoke
If you do smoke… Stop! Compared to non-smokers, men who smoke are about 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths.

Be Physically Active
If you aren’t already physically active, start small and work up to a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.

Maintain a Healthy Diet
Fill up with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, and look for foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.

Stay at a Healthy Weight
Balance calories from foods and beverages with calories you burn off by physical activities.

In looking at these, I have accomplished much but still have some work to do also. I quit smoking at 28. I have loved that Nebraska has now gone smoke free. I try to be active when I can. I love the Body Pump workouts at the Y. If you are interested, I’ll take you along! The healthy diet is one I need work on. Chips and dip after work probably isn’t the best for my health. So will need to do something about that hiccup! And staying at a healthy weight. Well last year at this time, I was in the “over-weight” BMI category but am proud to say, have been in the lower range of my “healthy” BMI range since about February. As with anything, it takes attention. Get on the scale every day!

Well – if this little activity gets just a few men thinking about their health, it was worth the scratchy extra hair and all the razzing I received this month. So, in closing, look out after yourselves, bros!

Mo Bro Check up

Movember Tip #1

Get an annual check up and know your family history! 


From Movember.com: Find a doctor and make an appointment for a health check up. Getting annual physicals significantly increases your chances for early detection of illness and disease.

Also, knowing your family history can help you reduce your risk developing many health problems, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. {Besides, it’s a good reason to call and catch up with the family!}



Health Checks: So what should you talk to your doctor about? Depends on your age.

Check out the Movember Men’s Health Poster for more details.

20’s: Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Dental health, Eye health, Immunizations, Sexually transmitted diseases, Skin cancer, Testicular cancer

30’s: Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Dental health, Eye health, Heart health, Immunizations, Sexually transmitted diseases, Skin Cancer, Testicular Cancer

40’s: Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Dental health, Diabetes, Eye health, Heart health, Immunizations, Prostate cancer (baseline PSA), Skin cancer

50’s: Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Colorectal cancer, Dental health, Diabetes, Eye health, Heart health, Immunizations, Osteoporosis, Prostate cancer, Skin cancer

60’s: Abdominal ultrasound, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Colorectal cancer, Dental health, Diabetes, Eye health, Hearing, Heart health, Immunizations, Osteoporosis, Prostate cancer, Skin cancer

70’s: Abdominal ultrasound, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Colorectal cancer, Dental health, Diabetes, Eye health, Hearing, Heart health, Immunizations, Osteoporosis, Prostate cancer, Skin cancer

Mo Bro

It’s Movember!


For thirty days, I will be a walking billboard to help change the face of men’s health. As such, I will be growing facial hair on my upper lip to raise awareness for prostate cancer and other male related cancer and health initiatives. It’s a small act to support a great cause. I will not actively solicit donations but if you would like to make a financial contribution to my plight, please do! The funds go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, LiveStrong, and the Movember Foundation. What I _would_ like is for you to take a look at the issues surrounding men’s health. Click on the poster below to find out more.

Men's Health Poster

Would you like to join as a Mo Bro? Would you like to support us as a Mo Sista?
Come on over to www.Movember.com and register!

Followup Posts:

Simple Truths

Sick PiggyI have thought about this for a long time. There are some simple truths that hold true no matter what political agendas we hear, what commercials we see  or how much time we have. 

  • Achieve Financial Health – Don’t spend more than you make.
  • Achieve Physical Health –  Take responsibility for what you put in your mouth and how active you are. Don’t take in more calories than you burn.
  • Eliminate Clutter – Get rid of things you don’t need/use and organize the rest. Love it, Lend it, Leave it, or Lose it.


Do more with less. Simplicity is clarity. 


Baby Care Drive

Baby Care Drive

Join the Community Care Case Manager Group on:

October 8th, 10 am – 5 pm
at the
Kearney Area Children’s Museum


Free Admission for every item donated on Oct. 8th!

If you know of a family in need of baby toiletries,
(Baby Shampoo, Baby Lotion, Baby Detergent, Etc.)

Please refer them to:
The Salvation Army Office
1719 Central Ave., or call 308.234.9998 

This drive will assist families in need of baby toiletries.


Steve Jobs has left an indelible mark on me. His legacy for me is in his unrelenting eye for design and simplicity – aesthetic, functional and otherwise.

Mr. Jobs,

     “Here’s to the crazy ones…”


Steve Jobs

First Transatlantic Telegraph Cable Completed

From the History Channel at history.com:

Aug 5, 1858:
First transatlantic telegraph cable completed

After several unsuccessful attempts, the first telegraph line across the Atlantic Ocean is completed, a feat accomplished largely through the efforts of American merchant Cyrus West Field.

Click for the whole article.

Ponder this for a minute. We now have wired (and wireless) connections accessible in every conceivable corner and crevasse of this our mothership we call Earth. Wow! What does that mean for our future? What will the next 150 years bring? It boggles the mind they were able to do this that long ago… and what will those after us say about our technological advances? We live in incredible times!

My iPad Apps

Here is a list of the iPad Apps I use regularly. Starred are my favorites.


  • Safari*
  • iBooks*
  • Camera
  • Mail*
  • Calendar*
  • Videos

Apple Paid:

  • iMovie*
  • Garageband*
  • Pages*
  • Keynote*


  • Kindle*
  • Safari To Go
  • Pandora*
  • Calculator Pro
  • Adobe Ideas
  • PS Express
  • Chess.com
  • Dropbox
  • Evernote*
  • Diigo

Free News Apps:

  • NPR
  • ABC News
  • CBSNews
  • TWC MAX+
  • CNN


  • Nightstand
  • SketchBook*
  • GoodReader*
  • Bento

Apple iLife – Teaching and Learning Outside the Box

Inspire creativity. Open possibilities. Expand opportunities of expression.

Apple iLife Logo

iLife is that special suite of software applications that lets you express yourself differently. It¹s the software suite that lets you build what¹s in your mind. It let¹s you do amazing projects with music, video, images and more. Spanning the multiple intelligences, you will find something that suites your creative abilities. And with iLife¹s new version you will find it even easier and more feature rich. With iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, iWeb and iDVD, you have a portable studio where ever you go!


iPhoto LogoThis application lets you organize, edit and publish your images. Organizing is a snap with photo albums, events, face recognition, location awareness and more. Organized photos are usable with a host of other applications on the mac in a very intuitive way. Students and teachers alike can create great projects right within iPhoto using their pictures also. It¹s very simple to create a slideshow using a variety of transitions and music from your iTunes library. You can also create real books with a wide choice of layouts with your images. The latest version also lets you create cards with many templates to choose from. Lastly,  you¹ll want to share your images.

You are able to share on websites, Facebook or with other applications.


iMovie IconThis powerful tool is for the budding cinematographer. Choosing from themes, you can create fun movie trailers, news broadcasts and other fun projects.

The new version brings back the timeline and other familiar features to make editing video projects a joy. Creating digital stories, PSA¹s (Public Service Announcements), commercials and news broadcasts is a great use of iMovie. You can use it with any age and with any curriculum. Build better writing skills using scripts or stronger organizational ability with storyboarding. Share your video on your website, Facebook, YouTube, burn a DVD or send it to CNN iReporter! There is something for everyone with iMovie.


Garageband IconThis is one powerful application! Musicians, composers and podcasters alike will fall in love with GarageBand. Learning the guitar or piano? Want to build your own virtual band with many genres to choose from?  How about creating background music for your slideshows or digital stories? There is a host of ways to teach patterns, timing, pitch and more using GarageBand.

Then you get into podcasting and creating your own ³radio² shows. Recording classroom news or information about your town has never been easier! Drop a few jingle and effects in the timeline and you have a professional recording ready for prime time. Share your projects on the web or in iTunes for all the world to hear.


This powerful, template driven web authoring software makes it easy to create your web site in style. It¹s the publishing platform for your thoughts, photo galleries, slideshows, videos and anything else you want to share with the world. All the content you create in other iLife applications can be shared through iWeb. Your school server, ESU hosted account, or dot Mac account is your gateway to getting your site shared with your audience.


Create compelling DVDs for end of the year portfolio¹s or classroom memories. Every parent will love a digital history of the creative projects your students create throughout the year. Create a veteran¹s day DVD to share with local veterans. Share school events and activities. All your projects created with iMovie, iPhoto or GarageBand will be treasured as long as DVD players are around!

If you are an ³Apple Shop² and have not looked at the iLife suite, I urge you to do so. Look at what other teachers are doing with iLife and other Apple products at http://www.apple.com/education/mac/

Top Tech Tools for Teachers

This is a list I compiled for my wife and her new job as a learning coach. I also ran across this “Web 2.0 Resources for Teachers” that is quite useful.

New URL Shortner

I am trying out a new URL shortner from YOURLS.org. It was easy to set up and configure. I like the idea of using it for workshop material, mobile phone links I use a lot, and more.

For example, I am working on a presentation for Animation-ish tomorrow and so created the link http://JasonE.me/animation. Or how about some mobile phone addresses: http://JasonE.me/m for my mail and http://JasonE.me/w for Kearney weather. It also has a handy little WordPress plug-in that allows you to publish a short URL to posts to Twitter.

I can’t wait to find new and fun ways to use this new tool.

Search Stories

“Every search is a quest. Every quest is a story.” ~YouTube Seachstories Channel

Check out Seachstories on YouTube. Look at what others are doing with their searches and create your own! Here is an example that I created for our Animal Assisted Programs through Good Samaritan Health Systems in Kearney, Nebraska.

Google Docs Improvements

Google has announced several improvements to Google Docs. The editor has been rebuilt for Docs, Spreadsheets and the now standalone version of Drawing. Google is also claiming better upload fidelity so what you import from your MS documents should transfer better.

Document Improvements

  • Tab Stops
  • Ruler
  • Better Image Control
  • Improved Comments
  • Real-time collaboration with user labels
  • Chat

Spreadsheet Improvements

  • Edit cells from the formula bar
  • Autofill
  • Drag and drop columns
  • Improvements to collaborative features

Stand-Alone Drawing

  • Charts, diagrams and more
  • Chat

Garage Project #1426

I love woodworking! My latest project is derived from a little remodel project we did this summer. (Yes, this summer! And I am just NOW finishing.) As we were tearing out some built-in cabinets, we discovered a HUGE hole in the drywall to the back of our fireplace. Disaster to say the least. Not what were were expecting! I guess you never know what to expect in a remodel project. Well, as we thought about it, we decided to see if the space was suitable for storage of some sort. There is really quite a bit of room that is wasted back there and it really would be a nice place to keep game, ironing board, etc. So, instead of closing up the hole with drywall, we decided to put a door there. I know I could have purchased a door but I thought it would be cheaper (yes, I am a cheapskate) to just build on myself. And the door you see in this picture is the result. I’ll have to post a picture when it is actually hanging!