Coggle It!

Coggle is a really neat tool for graphic organizing, mind-mapping, or creating diagrams.

A user begins with a blank screen. By double-clicking anywhere on the screen, boxes come up that can be filled with text and/or an image. These boxes are then connected in a variety of ways to create a flowchart, mind-map, or virtually any diagram.

Coggle can address many Design Qualities including Novelty and Variety, Organization of Knowledge, and Clear & Compelling Product Standards. Here is a sample Coggle.

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Coggle gives users three free diagrams before requiring a move to paid status. We tested this by making and deleting over five diagrams. As long as the user keeps three or fewer diagrams in the dashboard, it can be used for free.

The platform is easy and intuitive to use. Everything needed to get going is in the video below.

To use Coggle, students or teachers will need to create an account with either their Google or Microsoft password. There is no independent user name - password function. Coggle states they do this to avoid security issues for them and their users. When you log in with Google, you are getting all the Google security measures you would get when you use your Google account.

A Coggle Introduction.

Flipgrid Away!

Flipgrid Away!

Allowing students the opportunity to express their knowledge verbally has always been a powerful motivator for some students. Creating opportunities for students to express themselves is important. Practically, the technique can be time consuming. Just imagine yourself watching thirty students stand and deliver. Consider a music teacher, who needs to listen to 60-70 students play a passage for assessment. Consider a trades or science teacher who wants a classroom of students to demonstrate safety techniques before working in the lab on a project. Consider an ELA teacher who would like to have students read a poem or prose passage dramatically.

Teachers can expand opportunities for verbal expression with a digital tool called Flipgrid. At its core, Flipgrid allows students to record video content responses on virtually any device. Chromebook and laptop users can rely on a built in video recorder. Tablet and phone users can record and post with iPads and phones.

Flipgrid is so much more than its core capability of gathering video responses. Entire lessons can be built into the grid with links and video resources. Student responses can be shared or kept private. Feedback from teachers or peers is easily created.

Microsoft bought Flipgrid recently, unlocked the previous paid professional features, and has given the entire platform to teachers and students - for free.

Multiple Design Qualities can be addressed through Flipgrid including Organization of Knowledge, Affirmation, Novelty & Variety, and Clear & Compelling Product Standards.

The following video is a great tutorial on using Flipgrid. We enjoyed viewing the video on a separate device (iPhone) as we built our first Flipgrid on a laptop.

Taylor-Made Learning

Taylor-Made Learning

Our blog today is contributed by guest blogger, Dr. Jim Arnold. Enjoy this great account of one districts determination to create community based accountability.

Book Creator for Chrome

Book Creator for Chrome

iPad users have long been familiar with the Book Creator app. With the proliferation of Chromebooks in schools, the app has now come to Chrome.

Chrome Music Lab

Chrome Music Lab

Chrome Music Lab is a wonderful introduction to digital music for young people.



Transformational Change: A how-to guide for educators

"Transformational change." It has a great ring to it, doesn’t it? While multiple definitions exist, they seem to share similar phrases, such as holisticprofound, and over time. Many feel that the process of transformational change needs to mirror what it seeks to create, which might lead us to this oft quoted remark, “We must be the change we want to see happen in the world.”

Unsplash Your Photos!

Unsplash is a photo repository where anyone can go and use any of the gorgeous photos you see for free.  Really! There are no gimmicks we can see.

Welcome to The Charge Blog

The Schlechty Center is proud to announce that the Engagement Connection, our blog site for the past two years, has moved to our new website and is now called The Charge Blog. You can access The Charge Blog from our home page by clicking the link in the upper right-hand corner.

Many of you access our blogs repeatedly because they provide a great place to study the correlation of digital tools with engagement. To accommodate this, we have moved ALL the blogs from the Engagement Connection into our new site.  You can still scroll through the old blogs for help with digital tools.

Thank you for following our blogs and you can look forward to many more in the years ahead.

The Engagement People

The Power of Social Motivation

Erin Pierson found herself contemplating a very specific social need: she wanted a new, modern radio for her car, and she was driven by a sense of satisfaction she would feel by installing the radio herself [Affirmation].

Phil Schlechty often wrote that learning begins with a product, performance, or exhibition about which the student cares. Erin chose a meaningful product, a new radio in her car [Product Focus]. She also set a very high standard for achieving her goal. When she was finished, she sought a professional grade installation that included looking and performing like a factory installed radio [Clear and Compelling Product Standards].

Erin had to learn a lot to bring the goal to fruition. She had never installed a car radio before and had no idea where to begin. She did not choose traditional learning methods like reading an instructional manual or attending a lecture at a local tech school. Instead, she chose to create her own learning platform. She curated appropriate video tutorials on YouTube. She also consulted local experts for advice and necessary content. In this learning platform she went down a few uncharted roads as her learning took her towards a variety of new content that she did not even know she would need at first,  like how to solder wires together and the electrical concepts of how radios work [Organization of Knowledge].

What did she achieve?  She mastered the motor skills required to remove and install the new radio [use tools, solder wires, estimate fit, etc.]. She learned about electricity as she mastered concepts of which wires go where and why.

When she was finished, Erin sought more affirmation from significant others – namely her friends. She blogged about her experience on Facebook, and in doing so received a lot of positive feedback from friends and family.

“Tonight, I installed a new car stereo in my car, for me, all by my freaking self. Yes, there were lots of curse words and a last-minute trip to Fred Meyer. Thank-you nice salesman who didn't make me feel like a fool when I said I needed a "smoldering" tool instead of "soldering," and then helped me find the solder I needed when I had no idea you even needed that to go with the tool. I didn't even know if I was supposed to solder the wires together, and took a wild guess. The moment I turned it on and it actually worked, I almost cried. I did it. Me with no electrical experience, some YouTube videos, and my stubborn woman spirit said I'm tired of paying men to do stuff for me. I'm trying this myself.”

In completing her project, Erin demonstrated a textbook example of profound learning occurring through engagement by way of Phil Schlechty’s Design Qualities in action.

The story is a powerful metaphor for how students engage in learning. Students often seek the affirmation of meeting a challenge. They tell us this repeatedly in student interviews. Twenty first century students are showing an inclination away from traditional learning strategies like the lecture and toward self-directed learning platforms like curation and primary sources. The importance of the affirmation of friends, family, and peers is evident in their use of social media. The rise of the Maker Movement is a testament to the power of Product Focus.

When teachers harness the power of social motivation, they can go a long way towards engaging their students in learning.