ShowMe on the Tightwad Teacher podcast!

Last week I had the pleasure of recording a podcast with John Mikulski, a teacher who uses ShowMe in his classroom, and Shawn Kibel, a technology integrator in a Texas school. I am very grateful to have been included and given the opportunity to share what ShowMe is all about! I’m happy to announce that you can now listen to the podcast over at Element Opie, the interview starts at around 11 minutes. Its really invigorating to discuss our philosophy and mission for the future, it fuels my fire for being passionate about changing education. Thanks again John and Shawn!

Listen to: The Tightwad Teacher podcast, Episode #15  featuring ShowMe

As mentioned in the podcast, we’re looking for evangelists to help us decide what the best version of ShowMe could be so don’t hesitate to get in contact with your ideas. Shawn suggested that we would be a great addition to any career day chat, which of course we would love to contribute to. Send me an email at if you are interested in either of these!


Featured User #6 – Meet Ixchell

Featured User - IxchellMeet Ixchell, an outstanding ESL teacher hailing from southern California. Her English tutorials are inspired by her ESL students and we are proud to have her work showcased here at ShowMe.

Visit Ixchell’s awesome ShowMe portfolio:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I currently teach English as a second language for students getting their master’s degree. Both my parents were university professors so I was constantly surrounded by academia. Having studied several languages as a child, I was always interested in how words played a part in sentences and wanted to teach a language when I grew up.

How has ShowMe played a role in your classroom?
The ShowMes I create are based on a certain English textbook, so anyone using that textbook can following along. Since a lot of fellow teachers don’t have iPads, I try to set a certain standard for my ShowMes so other teachers can use them as well. It’s especially exciting when I realize that my students are watching my ShowMes without me even having to assign them for homework!

What are some things your students have taught you?
Definitely cultural awareness, especially since these students come from all around the world. For example, body language is very important to students from Saudi Arabia.

What are your future plans for ShowMe?
I definitely plan on using ShowMe more in the classroom and creating more grammar tutorials. Students constantly ask if I will continue making them. The lessons are especially helpful since ESL learners need concrete, physical examples and they eliminate the need for me to repeat lectures.


App Store Volume Purchase Program Tips

Education Apps

Are you an educator looking to buy apps for your school’s new iPads? With all the awesome education apps out there, prices can quickly add up in your shopping cart. We learned some great tips from Gina at #EdCampNYC on how to best utilize the App Store Volume Purchase Program (ASVPP) to get special pricing on bulk purchases and maximize your school’s tech budget!

App Store Volume VoucherIn order to participate in the purchase program, you or someone else from your school should enroll as a Program Manager. The Program Manager can use the management tools provided by Apple to buy app codes and distribute them to the end users. End users can be students, teachers, or administrators, anyone who will be using the iPads. Program Managers can also set up Program Facilitator accounts to help distribute apps to the end user.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • If you purchase 20 or more of the same app, the app becomes discounted (50% of the original purchase price!). It actually costs the same to buy 20 copies of the app as it does to buy 10. Don’t have that many iPads for the apps right now? We recommend saving the extra codes for future expansion. There’s no expiration on Volume Vouchers!
  • Apps can be purchased with voucher credits or directly with a credit card or PCard. Volume Vouchers are physical cards in denominations of $100, $500, $1000, $5000, and $10,000 that are shipped to your school. They must be used at the ASVPP portal and cannot be used to buy apps directly from the App Store.
  • Once you are set up as a Program Manager, you can establish your list of Program Facilitators. Facilitators need to provide Apple with valid email addresses that aren’t currently used as Apple IDs.
  • You will not be charged sales tax if your institution is tax exempt

For additional details on the program, check out Apple’s education section, program FAQ, and App Store Volume Purchase Program webinar. Happy app shopping!


Skype + ShowMe in the classroom!

Today I had the great pleasure of Skyping with Josh Rosenberg’s classroom in Shelby, NC. It was totally awesome! To give you some background, Josh is a High School Biology teacher and blogs on his site StudyDesigned. We met via the interwebs when he wrote a great post about how his 10th graders are using ShowMe!

Talking to educators like Josh and his students is what really fires me up as the Community Manager at ShowMe because it reminds me of the real reason ShowMe is here: to make a difference in education every day. Talking to the class today reminded me that there is still TONS I can learn from classrooms and about what drives student inquiry. However, one thing that is constantly emphasized to me is that learning something new from another person is inspiring and it drives change. I’ve travelled to North Carolina once in my life so I admittedly don’t know much, however through the magic of Skype I was able to connect briefly with a classroom of great people and gain an understanding of life somewhere else. Hopefully, the students at Shelby High School feel the same way! Having an experience like I did today definitely influences our ideas as we continue to build ShowMe.

So, students and teachers, ShowMe wants to hear from you. We want to Skype your classroom and get feedback one what kind of learning works for you. We’ve got tons of questions for you but also want to answer yours as well! They can be about anything– about us, NYC, startups or technology, we’re open to everything and here to help.



Featured user #5: Meet Mark Herring

Meet Mark Herring, one of our favourite educators from New Zealand! Mark has been a big fan of ShowMe from the start and is adding it to his tool box so he can continue doing innovative things in this classroom. Way to go Mark!

Visit Mark’s excellent ShowMe portfolio, complete with examples of student work!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m the Assistant Principal at Myross Bush School in Invercargill.  We’re a fantastic rural school with 170 students and an incredibly supportive community.  I’m also a classroom teacher of 27 10 and 11 year olds.  That’s Year 5/6 in New Zealand terms.  I’ve been teaching for 6 years and at the start of the year I was an ICT Facilitator for a local cluster of schools, here in Southland. 

I’m also a big outdoors fan.  I’m into running, mountain biking and have I’ve just reignited a love for skiing which is a bonus of living down here in the south.

How do you use ShowMe?

I’ve been using ShowMe to create videos by students and myself.  At the moment it’s mostly been to consolidate some learning that has occured or to help students grasp a concept when I’m not around.  I’ve been looking into ways I can encourage students to take more responsibility for their learning  – seeking the skills and answers they for themselves without relying on the learning being ‘spoon-fed’ to them.   ShowMe has allowed me to create a teachable moment for them whereever and whenever.  Even at home if they are that motivated and lots of them are.  I’m also looking into how I can use ShowMe to record student reflection on their learning, especially because the videos are so easy to embed into their student blogs.

What’s the coolest ShowMe you’ve seen (aside from your own)?

The best ShowMe I remember was one created by a student here in New Zealand in a classroom run by Stephen Baker (@palmyteacher).  He put me onto ShowMe.  I saw the power of student voice and using that tried and true method of having someone teach someone else something to make sure they have really understood the concept.

What advice do you for someone new to creating a ShowMe lesson?

Just have a go and don’t be embarrased to put yourself out there.  Teachers can be quite shy about having their colleagues see them teaching and a showme vid can be seen by lots of them.  Also, I’ve been amazed at how quick the students pick it up.  They’re a lot faster at mastering a new technology so I’d just let them at it!

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges for teachers?

I’m concerned a the political meddleing that is happening world wide.  I think there are lots of politicians who are listening to some ‘experts’ about how schools should be run and, in the process, missing the rea; essence of what a rounded / holistic education is all about.  I hope that we, as a profession will continue to have the courage to stand up for our convictions and always put our students first in our decision making.

Where do you see education technology headed?

I’m excited where technology is taking us.  I’ve been passionate about personalised learning for sometime and have see the power and potential for our students.  It’s amazing to see them grow in confidence and enthusiasm for being in control of their learning.  I had a student tell me last week that our class doesn’t feel like school anymore!  That’s really encouraging to me cause when I was at school I was pretty bored most of the time.  Any technology that empowers us, inspires us and gives us the flexibility to create our own learning journey is a great thing – just like ShowMe.  I’m looking ahead to seeing what we know as traditional school continuing to break us out of the four walls mentality that we’ve had since the industrial revolution!  I think the change has only just started.  I hope we’re bracing ourselves!


#Edcampnyc and what I learned

This past weekend I attended my very first EdCamp right here in NYC. The event, held at The School at Columbia University, was put on as an alternative and innovative professional development unconference for educators. It was refreshing to attend an event organized by teachers, to help teachers, also, that there are no rules at an unconference except to learn as much as possible!

Photo by SpecialKRB via Flickr

I attended three sessions: iPads in elementary education; Facebook “friends” and face-to-face learning; and iPads, iPhones, and iPods in special education. Although the conversations in each of these sessions was very different, the same message came through in each discussion. To all of these innovative educators, if we are consistently meeting students where they are (mentally, socially, emotionally, physically) and continue to challenge them while thinking of their needs and capabilities, we can ensure that we are effectively teaching our students and preparing them for the world. This is also to say that we should be learning from our students as well! Teachers and students have the responsibility to play both roles.

I attended the conference as a passionate educator who hopes to make a difference and to investigate how ShowMe can play a role in the innovative classroom. Already there are so many ways it is helping students; from being used in assessments, to homework help exchanges on Edmodo, to being a tool to flip a classroom, to helping a student who was absent catch up in class. At EdCamp, I was exposed to even more ways ShowMe can be used as a tool and inspired to investigate more features we could implement as well as more possible ideas for us to be an effective learning opportunity.

EdCampNYC reinforced the idea that educators are well on their way to changing education and making a difference in students’ lives but there is still a long road ahead. It was an event that reinvigorated our spirits to go forth and make a difference where we can and commit to supporting educators 100% however possible.


Exciting updates at ShowMe!

Major changes have arrived for the ShowMe website this week! Take a moment to check out these new features:

  • New buttons on ShowMe lessons — Really love what you’re watching? Send some applause so the creator knows! If their ShowMe needs a little improvement, clicking Needs work will let them know.
  • Topic pages — We’ve grouped the most popular topics in one place for easy discovery. Start by browsing and then follow topics to make sure you never miss out on the new lessons being uploaded.
  • Updated news feed — We’ve expanded your news feed to let the ShowMes sit front and center. Make sure you follow teachers that inspire you so you can watch ShowMes as they’re created!
These are just a few of the updates we’ll have rolling out over the next few weeks so stay tuned!

Let’s thank our Teachers

Looking back, I know that I have more than a few teachers who guided me to where I am today. Their knowledge, kindness, and ability to challenge me built a foundation for the way I learn. So, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to thank them! Years have gone by and I’ve lost touch, but TBD has set up a site to show teachers just how valuable they are to their students. It’s called Thanks for Teaching Us and anyone can write a letter to a teacher which will then be posted on the site. If you browse through it and see a teacher you know, you can send the letter their way.

How awesome!? Teachers deserve appreciation, no matter how much time has passed.


How should we be bringing technology into the classroom?

Technology has come a long way since I was in school taking touch typing classes every two weeks. While I did hone my keyboard skills relatively fast for a 5th grader, children now have technology ingrained in them before they even enter school. Which keeps on bringing us back to the question, how should we be teaching technology in school?

Technology shouldn’t be a separate subject that needs to be taught, it should be integrated, the same way it is in everyday life. Using ShowMe to have a student work through a problem in math; Having students use Brain Scape to create flashcards to study for a History test; Collecting notes and ideas for writers workshop with Evernote; there are so many possibilities for adapting clunky traditional ways of operating the classroom.

I spoke to an educator in New Zealand recently who told me that every year, educators at a school must complete a teacher inquiry of effective pedagogy. Instead of turning this inquiry into one that looked at where students were failing and not meeting the mark, the school turned this into an appreciative inquiry that investigated questions like: What do our students love doing? What projects and subjects are they really excelling at? The school found to no surprise that students really loved using apps and devices in their learning. They enjoyed making videos to explain their learning and websites to broadcast their work to the world. This small school in New Zealand did something awesome, they listened and learned from their students. They haven’t changed the content of their curriculum but rather adapted it for a new generation.

This all said, technology isn’t the future of education. It’s just going to make lives easier and allow us to take our learning everywhere. It will aid us immensely because to students of a certain age (myself included) technology is magical and exciting, also it generates inquiry which is wonderful. Like at the school in New Zealand, if students are more engaged in learning when they are having fun, I say we should let them have it.


Featured User #4: Meet JR Ginex-Orinion

JR Ginex-OrinionMeet JR Ginex-Orinion, one of our original beta testers who has created numerous outstanding chemistry ShowMes. He’s been very busy lately with a happy new addition to his family, so it was great to finally sit down and catch up over Skype!

Visit JR’s awesome ShowMe Portfolio:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I currently teach chemistry at my alma mater in Orange County, California. It was a bit strange at first when I started teaching though since I taught alongside the same teachers who had taught me in high school!

What are some tips you can share with other ShowMe teachers?
Avoid creating ShowMes that are too long – I recommend sticking to 2-4 minutes per lesson. People usually go online to search for specific topics, and you need to maintain the audiences’ attention and segment information so the main message is clear and direct. This is especially true for instructional videos.

Prep the brain by writing the ShowMe topic on the video screen from the start so people know what to expect. Remind the viewer why he or she is watching the lesson.

When you’re recording, make sure you’re in a room that has sound dampeners (ex: curtains). This will greatly affect the quality of the sound recorded.

What are some other cool tech products being used in the classroom right now?
We actually use Google applications quite a bit with the students. It’s an easy way to communicate outside of the classroom and disseminate worksheets and assignments. Doceri is also a great classroom tool, which automatically projects what’s on the iPad onto a large whiteboard screen.

What are your future plans for ShowMe?
I found Showme to be particularly helpful last year during the end-of-year review process, and I will definitely continue using it as a review tool this year. As I continue to move in the direction of flipping the classroom, I hope to eventually implement a 50/50 hybrid instruction curriculum using a combination of instructional videos and on-site teaching.

Right now I’m still brainstorming some new lesson ideas. I might create some ShowMes that help other people produce showMes. I look forward to working with other people to help produce better lessons!

Any closing remarks?
I really hope technology changes the face of education. The tech is out there, and people are finally starting to use it.