The Book Shelf – 2012

As 2012 comes to an end I am going to take a look back at the books I read during the year. In 2011 I ended up reading 11 books outside of books related to work or school. In 2012 the number only reached 4. The books I read are listed below:
Diary of a Player – Brad Paisley
Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World
Hockeytown Doc: A Half-Century of Red Wings Stories from Howe to Yzerman
Howlling Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What It Means for America
Oh and I almost forgot this book that I picked up at Hockeytown Authentics in Troy, MI
The ABC’s of Detroit Red Wings Hockey
Looking ahead I already have 2 books waiting to be read and they are quite different in subject.
11/22/63 – Stephen King
This book is quite interesting as it takes a look at the events surrounding the ATTEMPTED assination of John F. Kennedy as the actual event was disrupted by time travellers…if I remember the description correctly. At 866 pages for the Kindle edition…it will be a long read but appears to be very interesting.
The 20% Doctrine – Ryan Tate

I wrote on the coffee table in dry erase marker…don’t tell mom!

As with any good idea in the world…it is started by observing something that someone else has done. In this instace I blame Evernote Education Ambassador Nicholas Provenzano of The Nerdy Teacher. Specifically it was the post by Nicholas from November 19th 2012 titled: This is Why I Would Prefer Ideapaint Over an IWB in my Classroom.
If you have never heard of Evernote, where have you been the last few years? Evernote is a program that has a presence on the Internet, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, WebOS, Chrome, FireFox and Safari that let’s you as their motto states “Remember Everything”. I use Evernote in a variety of ways but it was the blog post from Nicholas that inspired me to use it a different way.
I am currently a student at Bowling Green State University in the Master of Education in Classroom Technology and preparing for my final year in the program. My research project is going to examine the use of Evernote in an educational setting and also it’s use as a eportfolio system (I hope!). I had heard of Ideapaint prior to the post by Nicholas but it reminded me of it again. After checking my wallet and seeing I was a few dollars short to purchase the paint (plus my apartment lease prohibits me from painting) I had to move on to plan B and figure out how I could still make this a reality. We have a glass window seperating two areas at work and one day we started writing on it and then it all came together.
My coffee table at home has a glass top and until a few days ago was being used as a place to hold random items (aka the junk table). Organization, glass cleaner, paper towels and a set of dry erase markers later it had become my surface that I could use similar to Ideapaint. My wallet was only impacted $10 and my lease was still in tact…crisis adverted.
I am tying this into my project because I started using it to write down areas that I thought I may want to touch on in my research to make my project complete. I started writing away and when finished used my camera and took a picture. I found that the carpet under the coffee table did not provide a stable background and thus used some green construction paper I had used in a previous class to create a solid background. I have taken the pictures I took and put them into the Evernote notebook I created for my project. You can see my completed thoughts below. I plan to use this coffee table to jot down more ideas, notes, and other items in my day to day life.

Quick PD: The 5 Minute Version

In our EDTL 6340 class at Bowling Green State Univeristy, we have to create online professional development resources. After exploring different options I finally settled on a 4 part video series covering 4 different programs. The programs selected were Evernote, Skitch, Penultimate and Evernote Peek.
I feel that a challenge for educators who are interested in integrating technology within the classroom is not having a clear understanding of not only what the software does but how does it fit into my workflow or my classroom. Each video will aim to be 3 – 5 minutes in length and ask the three simple questions: Who, What and Why. We realize that not every piece of software we review will not fit for all users (teachers, administration, parents and students) but if it can make life easier for one for those groups we will explore it. In future videos, we will take a more in-depth look at the software and cover how it is currently being used in the classroom.
Evernote Video
Skitch Video
Penultimate Video
Evernote Peek Video
All videos shown within the screencast I created are available for viewing on

Evernote and Beyond it really July 31st? The calendar says it is and I am left to wonder where the summer has gone. In my EDTL 6330 class at Bowling Green State University we had an assignment where we had to review and demonstrate a Web 2.0 program and use screen recording software to present it.
I reviewed Evernote but went a step further and reviewed Evernote Hello, Skitch and Penultimate. You can find view my presentation by clicking here.
You can also view my Evernote Notebook I created for this project by clicking here.

The Flipped Presentation

Earlier today I listened in and observed a discussion amongst technology and administrative leaders from within Ohio and eTech Ohio. It was interesting to see that 35 or so respones generated through 3 questions had a common theme emerge amongst them. Considering that there are 613 districts and 353 charter schools within Ohio and the group represented other agencies throughout the state the results may not have been the most accurate to represent the state of Ohio.
The discussion centered around the following themes that emerged through the survey:

Blended Learning
Bring Your Own Technology(Device)/Mobile Technology
Internet Safety
Free Resources
Social Media
Statewide Pricing

The title for this presentation came about based on a discussion centered around the 2013 State Technology Conference in February. John Schinker who was part of the team responsible for bringing about Edcamp Cleveland brought up practicing what we preach to our teachers and that is changing the way we teach. Moving the classroom from the state of where the teacher stands in front of the classroom and the desks are lined up in nice neat rows.
This led me to think about a presentation I am giving at a conference in October. While still trying to narrow down mt topic and focus I asked my self how I could change my presentation so that it is not a presentation where I stand in front of the room looking out at a sea of nodding heads. As of now I think my topic will focus on Information Technology vs Technology Integration, exploring how these two titles are very different roles within a school. Flipping this presentation will not be easy because it will make those in attendance uneasy because it bucks the trend they are comfortable with.
As of now I am working on ways to flip my presentation and make it more than just me standing in front of a room of nodding heads. A follow up post will be made once I figure this out.

2012 CATIIE Conference

The audio recording of the presentation did not turn out the way I intended. I plan to try and save the recording through Audacity but not 100% sure it will improve the quality to an acceptable level.
I am providing you with the resources I used to create my presentation and also an Evernote fact sheet. You can access these resources here.
If you have any questions about my presentation or want to know more about using Evernote as a digital portfolio please feel free to contact me at at neergbob . com

21st Century Learning – Wordle

In EDTL 6360 at BGSU we were required to utilize Wordle ( and produce a digital artifact that contained words about education and technology. We were further instructed to use words related to our content area and grade level. I am currently not in the classroom as a teacher so I chose to focus on words that were related to 21st century learning and technology.

The Book Shelf – Post 1 (2011)

This post was originally posted on April 16th, 2012.

I had set a goal in 2011 to read a total of 12 books but fell short of the goal by three books. While it is always disappointing not to reach a goal, the nine books that I did read were good and I enjoyed them. I feel as though all the books helped me on a professional level to improve my work. All the books I read were through the Amazon Kindle App.
The 4 Hour Work Week: Expanded and Updated by Tim Ferriss
Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds
Tough Guy: My Life on the Edge by Bob Probert, Dani Probert and Kristie McLellan Day with a foreword by Steve Yzerman.
Rework by Jason Friedman and David Heinemeier Hansson
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School by John Medina
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley and Ron Powers
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
A later post will have a list of books that I want to read this year. Again my goal will be 12 books this year.


In my experiences programmers are known to be a bit odd and tend to think in terms of their preferred programming language structure. One common element amongst languages is they have ability to do similar things…but may go about it in different ways or call it something different. A common task for programmers is to evaluate an input and then decide what to do based on the input and either do a task or do something else. This is called an If Then Else Statement. This logic way of thinking has moved to the Internet in a service called (If This Then That).
One thing I want to do is collect all of the e-mails that are related to a project I am working on that contain a certain label and then send them into an Evernote Notebook. The challenge is I am working with multiple people from different organizations so establishing a filter within Gmail would prove challenging. There could be e-mails that have no relation to to the project at hand so do a blanket filter of any e-mail from their domain would not work. Here is my workflow:

Locate e-mail within my account and assign a label to the message.
When a new e-mail comes in that matches that label it should trigger a response and send the e-mail automatically to the correct Evernote notebook.
This will allow me to have all communication within Evernote and easily searchable.

IFTTT is currently a free service that is in beta that operates through a point and click creation of recipes (programs). You have two options when deciding how you will create a task. You can create the task from scratch or edit an existing recipe. The first step in creating a task is to select the trigger channel. I first looked through the existing recipes and found one that fit my needs so I edited the recipe.
The recipe I have selected states the following:
If an e-mail within GMAIL is labeled EVERNOTE then create a note in Evernote with the following conditions:

Subject and Received Date
The body of the message will contain the following information:
From Address, Subject, Received At and the body of the message.

The created note is placed into a defined notebook that I placed in the recipe. I then created tags to more easily identify the message when searching.
The group of schools I am working with right now is a total of four so the email messages could be regarding all four schools or one particular school. Once I examine the contents of the message, I can adjust the tagging system and apply the tags necessary to the contents of that e-mail for improved search results based on tags.
How can we use IFTTT in a school setting to simplify tasks? I have been thinking about this and know there is a use for this program but I am coming up empty on a good example to provide. Usually when I come up with an idea it is to resolve an issue that I am faced with so I think that is part of the block that is making it hard for me to figure out this answer. I am going to think about this longer and will hopefully come up with solutions.