Year: 2018

Challenge 5 – Sketchnoting


It may be cooling down, but #SketchnoteFever is just warming up. For November’s #KyGoPlay challenge we’re exploring the creative synthesis power of sketchnoting. Skethnoting is an amazing and versatile way to show what you know through images and notes. They are highly personal to the sketchnoter, and help them to generate meaning of information.

To create a sketchnote, you can use anything from old-school paper and markers, to the newest Rocketbook and Fusion pen, to any number of amazing digital tools – some that even allow you to create time-lapse videos like Keynote and Procreate.

Right now you can ignite your learning daily with Sylvia Duckworth’s challenges.  Check them out here, and check out some of the amazing work she does and continues to inspire.


There are tons of digital tools available for you to use to create amazing sketchnotes.

One way to create animated sketchnotes on the iPad is to use drawing and animation features in Keynote. Get a quick how-to below.


One of my favorite ways to sketchnote is with the iPad app, Procreate. It has over 100 brushes, layer options, and it will also allow you to export your drawing as a time-lapse video. 

Some sketchnotes are created live and on the spot, like this one I sketched at ISTE this year in Chicago. That is not a rule though. Sketchnoting can also be planned out and serve as a visual representation of our understandings. 

This template gave me the ability to organize the sketch on the spot.


Be sure to share what you’re doing and learning using #KyGoPlay and #SketchnoteFever!

Challenge 4: Google Drawings


I’m not sure how it is October already, but it is… Time for a new monthly KyGoPlay challenge. This month we are taking a closer look at an oft-overlooked Google tool, Google Drawings. I had this idea all worked up and then I saw this tweet by Kevin Brookhouser. Dang it. (that was my reply to the Tweet) tweet screenshotAlthough it does seem that G Drawings doesn’t have much to offer, it does offer a scaled down interface compared to Slides. Students can collaborate on one single image. You can also provide directions outside of the canvas area. Anyway…


Ok. Now that we have decided not to abandon G Drawings forever; let’s give it a go. There are some tools and features that are hidden beneath some menus. Take some time to check out the possibilities. So much can be done with transparency and line options. Here is a great video by Matt Miller that may spark some ideas for you and your students.


So here is the challenge. Create something cool in Google Drawings and post it to the Twitter and tag @KyGoPlay. I created this using (almost) only G Drawings. I also used the YouTube “hack” that was in Matt’s video. My favorite “kind-of” Creative Commons photo-sharing site, Unsplash, was also used. Check that site out if you haven’t yet. People there share some incredible artful photography for you to use with your students. Here is a link to copy this drawing to your own Drive. It may help you to explore it and see the edits made to the lines and shapes.

Google Drawing

Bonus: One of my favorite friends, @mrpiercEy, does this cool thing with Drawings for his students. He shares this Drawing to his students in Google Classroom. Awesome idea!

google drawing screenshot

Good luck in your Google Drawing explorations and play. Don’t forget to share it with us!


Challenge 3: Green Screen


September is in full swing, and it’s time for our 3rd #KyGoPlay challenge. This month, try your hand at a little time with a green screen.


There are so many incredible tools out there that you can use to create some seriously epic videos in a matter of minutes. For the video above, I used a combination of Superhero HD, a free download from a Creative Commons site, and Green Screen by Do Ink.

Some tools to get you started:

Green Screen by Do Ink – this is a paid app for iPhone and iPad. They have a nice selection of How-To Videos av

ailable on YouTube.

iMovie – check out the support guide from Apple that shows you how to use the green-screen or blue-screen effect. Need to see it in action?  Check out a good how-to tutorial here. You’ll see how to overlay, crop and “clean up” the footage.

Stikbot – this is a free download for creating stop action movies and has the option to use a green/blue screen feature built in. This video will give you an idea of how it works.

WeVideo – check out their blog for how to use this tool



Take some time to play with the green screen effect in a software of your choice.

You might get really creative and try playing with Creative Common Licensed work.

You can find stock video, as well as photos, to use in your green screen stories. You might look for different kinds of weather, animals, or pretty landscapes. I would strongly recommend that you assist students in locating this material.

For stock video, in particular, it would be safest and most appropriate for the teacher to locate and download a creative commons video for students to use.  You will find a list of sites to get free stock video in the video section of Makerbook. To ensure good digital citizenship and ethical use of material, make sure you model appropriate use for students. We don’t want our students creating screen recordings of any old video on YouTube and using that in their productions. That’s a violation of copyright, even if they are students and it’s for educational use.

I have had success with Videvo. That might be a good place to start. It does usually return paid “featured” videos first in search results, but if you keep scrolling you will see a place where you can download.

For images, students typically just do a quick Google search with no thought to copyright. Model good digital citizenship by encouraging students to use services like Britannica Image Quest or Photos for Class. You might also check out Makerbook’s Photography collection of resources. If you choose to use these resources, make sure you preview them or collect what students need, in case the images aren’t being monitored for younger age groups.


Share what you’ve made or what you learned using #KyGoPlay on Twitter.

We’d love to hear your tips and tricks, your favorite tools and about your experience with the green screen in the classroom!

Challenge 2: Google Tour Creator


It’s time for our second monthly play challenge! Make some time this August to play with Tour Creator from Google. With Tour Creator you and your students can create YOUR OWN VR tours (similar to Google Expeditions) using Google Street View images, or your own 360 photos. Add points of interest, audio narration, and view the finished product in VR! Here is a quick introductory video to Tour Creator.


As you PLAY with Tour Creator think about how your students can use this tool to tell their own stories. Which places will you visit and share with others?


Don’t forget to SHARE what your tour and/or insights into the process. Share this tool with your friends and if you Tweet, please add #KyGoPlay, so we can check out your creation! For my Northern Hemisphere friends, I hope you have a great start to the school year!


Challenge 1: Adobe Spark

July is the perfect time to get acquainted with Adobe Spark. With the recent changes they have made to their Education policy, now even students under the age of 13 are able to share their learning in powerful ways. The Spark Education page is a great place to start, and you for sure want to check out the PD Kit if you’re in charge of training other people.


If your curiosity about this tool isn’t already IGNITED, check out this quick overview of how to get started with Adobe Spark.



Now it’s time to PLAY!

Set aside some time for yourself this week to PLAY with Adobe Spark. Try a Post, Page or Video – or all three! As you’re playing to learn these new tools consider how you might use them in your instruction to engage learners or to share your message with your school community. How might you model ethical and safe use? How might you introduce these tools to students to use


Don’t forget to SHARE what you’ve made and/or your insights into the process. You might share with a friend, post to a larger audience with the #KyGoPlay hashtag or even make an explainer video that you can use with students this school year. Don’t keep your thoughts and your discoveries to yourself!

Ignite, Play, Share


How often have you caught sight of a new tool on Twitter or heard a friend gushing about their favorite application for increasing engagement in the classroom? We are often inundated with video, articles and conversations expounding on the latest and greatest tools to use with our students, but we are often drowning in information as we try to guzzle from the waterfall.

I was once advised to “sip” from the fountain of ideas that are presented, and therein lies the challenge. It is hard to sort through the number of ideas out there to distinguish which of those is most worth your time and energy. One thing I find helpful is to look for those ideas that IGNITE my curiosity and spend time PLAYING to learn.

When it comes to professional development, using IGNITE, PLAY, SHARE as a model for PD is a great way to lead a session for a new tool or strategy. Igniting learner interest with a video or a quick demo is an excellent way to engage and inspire the audience to try something new.

Providing people with time to PLAY with a new skill, strategy, or technology tool or application is a form of active learning, which is emerging as a best practice for professional development. In the Teach Thought article “5 Strategies for Better Teacher Professional Development“, the article advocates strategies that provide teachers with opportunities for active learning. By giving teachers active time in a session to play with a new tool, we increase the likelihood that they will understand how to use the tool and eventually use it in practice. Likewise in Blended Learning in Action: A Practical Guide Toward Sustainable Change by Caitlin R, Tucker, Tiffany Wycoff and Jason T. Green, they point to research conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Education which advocates for “simulation of practice” where teachers have a chance to practice application of learning. Tucker, Wycoff and Green also advocate for a CHOMP framework of PD that encourages “Collaboration, Hands-on learning, Ongoing experiences, Mindset shifts, and Personalization.” Hands-on play with an intention to learn a new skill, especially when the experience is shared with other, like-minded people can be an invigorating and rewarding experience.

Once you have learned something new through active learning and playing the last step is to share. If working with a group, leave time to let participants SHARE what they have discovered so that others might benefit. Encourage teachers to try the skill, strategy or technology tool with students, and share back feedback. You can also benefit from sharing your learning and observation in a more global way using social media and the #KyGoPlay hashtag.Sharing could be something as simple as a gallery walk or a tweet with a hashtag, to something more involved in the form of a How-To Video or blog postAs George Couros points out in the Innovator’s Mindset “When we view ‘sharing’ as something that both supports and pushes us to be better, the big winner will always be our students”. Through sharing you not only help to solidify your learning by becoming the teacher, but you also help to open up discussion so that others might share their own learning back.

As you try to navigate the steady stream of skills, strategies and technology ideas that surround us, remember to look for those things that really IGNITE your curiosity and passion for learning, make time to PLAY to learn and don’t forget to SHARE using #KyGolay