November Roundup

Help make ShowMe better!

We’re always looking for ways to improve ShowMe and we’d love your help. As a valuable community member, your input and ideas can help ShowMe grow! We’ve put together a very short survey to gather your thoughts and learn a little bit more about how you are using ShowMe. Take the survey now and let us know what you think!

Filling the blog with resources

We’ve been sending our thoughts and ideas for how to use ShowMe straight to the blog. Its the best place to read about how to use ShowMe and get ideas from other classrooms! We’ll keep you up to date on what’s going on here at ShowMe HQ as well as share the best educational news and inspirational stories. Watch the blog as we feature the lessons we love from the best teachers, you could be next!

Highlights include How-to use ShowMe with your class blog and How-to use ShowMe to add another voice in the classroom. Head on over and check them out! If you have any burning questions you would like us to help solve, send an email to

Awesome classrooms using ShowMe!

  • Students in Zeeland, MI have been totally blown away that the lessons they created have been helping the greater ShowMe community. Teacher Anthony DiLaura reports that the sense of ownship and pride in their work took on a whole new meaning. Keep up the awesome work!
  • Justin Suran at San Domenico School in California used ShowMe with his students to create stellar presentations about Mesopotamia and Ancient civilizations. We were so impressed with these ShowMes and the hard work that the students put into them. Watch them now to get ideas about how to make a great lesson!
  • Kevin Cummins in Victoria, Austrailia is an e-learning coach and runs the excellent Edgalaxy website. It is chock-full of resources for using tech in the classroom, including some great ideas on how to use ShowMe. Head on over to his blog to learn more.
  • Kit Tisdale, Disabilities Studies Scholar, wrote about the value of repetition in watching a ShowMe for some students. She thinks that the best ShowMe lessons involve the learner. Great idea Kit!
Don’t forget to take the survey!

Calling all teachers! Nominations needed for TED 2012

It’s hard to escape the undeniable spell that TED videos cast over viewers. Hearing from the top minds is incredibly inspiring! If you haven’t seen any yet, I suggest you visit the site now or download one of the apps.

I consider myself lucky because in my job, I get to talk to extremely moving and motivating people everyday. Those people are teachers. Day in and day out, they stand-up in front of groups of young people and encourage them to go-forth and change the world. What’s more inspiring than that?

This year, worlds are coming together. TED has put out a call for “the world’s best teachers” to present at TED2012. Teachers who stand at the front of class every day now have the chance to share their message with the world! The description reads

We’re especially keen to include brilliant EXPLANATIONS, meaningful A-HA moments, powerful STORIES, indelible IMAGES.

If you think you’re ready, submit your name now  or nominate a friend. There are only so many hours in the day I can spend submitting names!


How-to: Use ShowMe with Edmodo!

Many teachers have asked how to use ShowMe in conjunction with their Edmodo page–what a great idea! Like I mentioned Ryan was doing, ShowMe is a great way to create a lesson that can help your students when you are not around. Through posting on Edmodo, you can easily communicate with your students. I spoke to one teacher, Sarah Burson, who says she likes to create ShowMes on the fly and submit them through the site whenever students ask for help after school. To do the same for your class or fellow students, follow these easy steps:

  1. Visit ShowMe and copy the embed code of the lesson you would like to share. You can find this by hovering over the video player until the word “embed” appears. Copying the url will also work too.
  2. Login to Edmodo.
  3. Click on “Library” at the top of the screen
  4. Click on “Add to library” in the top left of that screen.
  5. Select “links” and paste in the embed link or the original link for the ShowMe
  6. Title your link and you’re done!
Have questions about how you can use ShowMe? Send me an email at

How-to: Use ShowMe with your class blog

I love blogs. They help to satiate my endless quest for knowledge and I never worry about losing an article or a page because I can track them with my handy Google Reader. I’ve also discovered that blogs are an excellent tool for creating a living portfolio of classroom learning. Instead keeping that info locked away, blogs let your teaching stay current and helps your students exhibit pride in work that is being created for everyone to see.

Many teachers have been using ShowMe on their class blogs in a few different ways,

  • Post a ShowMe lesson of what was taught in class for parents to see and for students to use as a reference when completing homework. Also a great resource for students that are absent from class!
  • Use your blog to help flip parts of your classroom. Create an engaging video that will let students confidently learn something new at home and come to class the next day to apply that knowledge.
  • Blogs are also great for student portfolios. Put ShowMe in the hands of your students for an assignment or to create lessons together. When you’ve uploaded your lessons, embed them on your students’ blogs so they can have an accessible way to view their work that is easily shared. It also won’t go missing over the summer!
So, how do you get ShowMe on your class blog? Well, follow these steps to get you there:
  1. Create your ShowMe! Add images, interesting antecdotes and relevant information. Make it awesome!
  2. Save your ShowMe, title it, and add important tags so it can be categorized on the site. The upload it
  3. Navigate to your ShowMes page and click on “embed” in the top right corner of the video player. Copy this text.
  4. Open the blog post you are writing. There will be a tab in the top right of the text boxt that says HTML. Click that
  5. Paste the link you copied earlier where you want it to appear in your writing.
  6. You’re done!

Weekly Education Roundup 11/6/11

Weekly RoundupIt’s Sunday afternoon, and the last seven days already feel like a distant memory. We invite you to sit down and rifle through some interesting education articles (with a strong focus on education technology) we collected over the past week. Presenting ShowMe’s weekly education roundup!


Apple for the Teachers: iPad Shows Promise in the Classroom
A small survey of ed tech directors found nearly all of them testing or deploying iPads in their schools. Is this trend proof that Apple is delivering on their promise of handheld education?

The Benefit and Danger of Education Technology
There is an inherent lack of fairness in the funding of schools, something that greatly affects the new technologies schools can adopt. However, this also threatens the American ideals of democracy and equality.

Response to NYT article about Waldorf School
We’ve seen some excellent responses to the NYTimes article about the Waldorf Schools, and now Jeff Novich of VocabSushi shares his thoughts. Waldorf schools are private schools that focus on physical activity and learning through hands-on tasks. Technology is not allowed in the classroom. Like most things in life, there is no clear cut answer to the debate.

Educators Evaluate Learning Benefits of iPad
There are stories everyday about another district or school buying iPads. These are surprising statistics considering that K-12 educators are traditionally slower adopters of new technology. However, as Rob Residori puts it, “Is this the best use of our funds, or is it simply a tool to engage and motivate our students?”

Are teachers paid too much?
A new report called “Assessing the Compensation of Public-School Teachers” makes the argument that teachers are overpaid. Are public school teachers really earning more money than people with the same skills in the private sector?

Khan Academy Gets $5 Million to Expand Faculty & Platform & to Build a Physical School
The $5M recently raised from the O’Sullivan Foundation will be used to expand the faculty, create a content management system, and also build a physical brick-and-mortar school. Khan Academy summer camps, anyone?


Friday inspiration!

I try to find at least one inspiring thing a day to fire me up and keep on fighting the good fight to transform education. This week, I’ve been watching two videos on repeat, both from TEDxNYED in March 2010.

The first, by Dan Meyer, is titled Math Curriculum Makeover. It touches on everything that I feel like was flawed in my math education. Very eye opening and inspiring, it really gets at the right questions to ask students to get them excited about learning

The second video is a presentation by Chris Lehmann, who I had the pleasure of seeing at the #140edu conference. Chris discusses demanding change in education and I am fully on board with his message. Schools should be real life, they should be inspiring, they should be about kids and most importantly helping those kids build a better world for the future.


How-to ShowMe: A guest post by Nishi Kumar

This How-to ShowMe was originally published on TFAnet, the internal network for all Teach For America corps members and alumni. This past fall, after a successful partnership with Apple, each of the 9000+ corps members received an iPad for classroom use. Nishi Kumar, a valuable TFA educator and ShowMe community member wrote up her experiences with ShowMe and how it is assisting her in the classroom. Thanks Nishi!

I’m sure every teacher would embrace the ability to clone themselves. How else can you teach a lesson, redirect wayward students, hold high behavior expectations, support strugglers, and push high achievers all at the same time?

Although technology hasn’t come that far (yet), there is an iPad app I have started to use that has vastly increased my effectiveness in the classroom. Others have mentioned it, but I wanted to share how I use ShowMe to run a tighter, cleaner lesson.

ShowMe is a free application that works like an interactive whiteboard—you can record yourself speaking while explaining examples, solving equations, showing pictures or text, or doing a model/think-aloud. I know other teachers have been using ShowMe to record lessons for students to use at home on their own computers, but I have actually been using ShowMe to teach my classes the daily lesson. Every night, I record my intro to new material using ShowMe (I teach math so this usually involves problem-solving, procedures, or examples) and then upload it to the ShowMe website. Then in class, I can play the video I created for my students on the projector while they complete their guided notes tailored to the video.

The cool part is that while I am teaching (via ShowMe), I am also able to walk around the classroom, correct behavior, help some of my lower-level leaners, and monitor class progress. Voila! It’s like having two of me! And if students miss part of the lesson or the class, they can easily access the video on their own and catch-up.

A couple other benefits of ShowMe: since I can record my lessons the night before with my lesson plans in front of me, I never make mistakes or have to correct myself. My lessons aren’t perfect, but they are much better than they used to be. By 6th period, my voice used to be raspy, my brain fuzzy, and I would often forget to say something or have to back-track. ShowMe has made my instruction consistent and error-free.

A couple things to watch out for—you can’t rewind in ShowMe yet, although you can pause, so if you make a mistake while recording you have to delete the video and start over. Also, while my students were initially engaged by the idea that I somehow made the “video person” sound just like me, after a few weeks of ShowMes the initial novelty is beginning to fade. I’ve been trying out new engagement techniques (this week’s was counting how many times they spotted Casper the friendly ghost on the screen during the lesson), but I would be interested to see what creative ideas others have!

I challenge anyone reading this to try doing a lesson using ShowMe and see how they can use it in their own classrooms. Especially for those of us with large classes and many different periods, technology like this really can be the saving grace. At least until personal cloning machines come on the market.


Reevaluation: a characteristic found in great teachers

I read an article recently titled What Makes a Great Teacher, orignally published in The Atlantic about a year ago. It dives deep into the research Teach for America has completed over the past several years in an attempt to highlight the qualities and skills needed to be a great teacher. I highly suggest you read it, not only to think about education but also because I think the characteristics of great teachers are necessary for many other things in life.

The characteristic that stands out the most to me is the one of reevaluation, one where teachers constantly assess their own performance and make an effort to improve. To me this is the umbrella which every other excellent quality falls under. If you don’t believe me, take a look at #edchat on Tuesday and notice how many educators are discussing changing a part of their practice or asking a question about how to improve their pedagogy. So many excellent teachers constantly reevaluate and change their teaching practices not only to stay relevant to the new generation of students they are teaching but also to continue being engaged in their jobs and make them more meaningful.

I’d like to think about what the catalysts for change in the classroom are. There are a few things I’ve been wondering and hoping that our readers can share their knowledge about,

  • Teachers, do you need to wait to get a result on a class quiz or to grade a paper before seeing that a student might not have mastered material?
  • How fast are you able to diagnose the comprehension of a whole classroom full of students?
  • What tools do you use to track student comprehension and diagnose the issue?
  • Parents, how do you keep on top of what your child is learning and making sure he or she is digesting knowledge to the best of his or her ability? What actions do you take when you think help is needed?
Your thoughts are extremely valuable and helpful to us as we are constantly reevaluating ShowMe to ensure that it is an excellent and essential tool for learning. Reply here or send us an @ reply on twitter to @showmeapp.




How-to: Create ShowMes to help your students with homework

I’ve been talking to teachers around the globe about how they use ShowMe in their class. What I’ve discovered is that there are so many awesome and effective ways to use ShowMe as a tool in education. Today I wanted to highlight the way Ryan Halverson, a middle school math and science teacher at Notre Dame Academy Elementary in Los Angeles, CA, is using ShowMe.

Ryan creates his ShowMe lessons normally in his prep time before class and the whole process takes him about 10 minutes, 15 minutes max. Then, he uploads his lesson to his ShowMe page for all of his classes to see. The goal is for students to have a reference when completing homework at home and to digest the concept at their own pace.

I think it is an excellent way for parents to stay up on what is being taught in class and provide support for their children too!

Follow these steps to use ShowMe the same way Ryan does. We’d love to know how it affects your students’ learning!

  1. Think about what your big idea is. What is the one thing you want your students to take away and remember when it is time to apply the lesson to work? As we learned from JR, the best ShowMes are short digestable nuggets of knowledge
  2. Mentally walk through how you would teach your concept. Jot down some notes on key items you want to mention to create a guide of what your lesson will look like
  3. Get started! Hit record and let the magic begin. We’ve found that successful ShowMes are created in one sitting without hitting the pause button. Teach exactly like you would with a whiteboard in your class!
  4. When you are done, tap stop then title and save your ShowMe. When thinking about a title, try something open that can be useful to the whole community, just like Ryan has done. If you are ready to upload right away, make sure you include a short description of your ShowMe and add tags to it can be easily searched by the ShowMe community. Browse our topics so you can get an idea of how to categorize it!
The added bonus of creating your ShowMes before each lesson? Extra practice to make sure you’re all set for the class period that is about to begin!

Something about the NYTimes doesn’t compute

There has been much uproar over the recent series of education articles published by the New York Times, Grading the Digital School. At first I didn’t think much of the articles because I was unaware that it was part of a series aiming to access the benefits of technology in education. However, after this last Sunday’s article, A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute, it became very clear that the NYT has an anti-edtech agenda and the conclusions that it draws are inaccurate, and misinformed. As someone who feels passionately about closing the achievement gap in education, however it should be measured, I firmly believe that technology can help us get there.

To deny public schools the opportunity to have technology in their schools is continuing to exert the existing power dynamic between the haves and the have-nots. The article further drives this issue home by holding schools with underserved student populations to higher testing standards while schools with liberal educated parent populations are apparently free from such restraints of assessment. This is the thing that does not compute. For higher-ups, often over educated with sustainable income, to pass judgement on schools that need to increase their engagement and ignite passion for learning is just not right. That’s like me telling someone who lives halfway across the world what he should eat for breakfast.

While I don’t believe that technology has all of the answers for fixing education, I do think it can solve some problems. When it is used correctly, with proper interest and support. What I am a big supporter of is meeting kids where they are and giving them all the resources they need to be awesome. The question shouldn’t be “do we have technology or not?” but rather what tools and effective teaching practices are going to get us where we need. Whatever students’ interests, learning differences, or background, school should be the place where children learn who they are, how they can change the world and the skills they need to accomplish their goals.

For further reading on this subject, please check out Ira Socol’s blog and Jonathan Martin’s post.