Interactive Student Review with Better Flashcards: Pear Deck Flashcard Factory

Every year, I go to a technology conference here in Georgia that has about 4,000 attendees. It’s no ISTE, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either. There always a ton of new ideas, and I never can get to everything I want to see. Especially when I’m nervous about presenting.
However, there are some years when I feel like I don’t learn much that is totally revolutionary. This year was that way. My one standout was learning about Flashcard Factory. It wasn’t even its own session but really just an ear-catching moment in another session. But it’s stuck with me because I thought the concept was so cool.

Discover this Cool Tool!

If you’ve heard of Pear Deck, which integrates with Google products, you may not know that they just came out with Flashcard Factory as well. The teacher generates a list of vocabulary words and correct definitions for students. Just that fact makes all the difference. If you’ve ever had your students look up words in the dictionary, you know that, without fail, they find a definition that has nothing to do with what you wanted them to learn. Not so with Flashcard Factory. Using your provided information, they are assigned to a day shift or night shift team in the factory. They sit together in small groups and come up with illustrations and examples for the words and definitions. You then are the quality control to accept or reject definitions that later go into a master set. Intrigued? I was. Watch the video below to see how some real teachers helped me practice this process that you will love using with your students.

Want more cool tools? This video was part of the Twelve Days of Tech-mas, originally hosted at my Facebook Fan Page. Go follow and like it now so you can be in the live audience every Tuesday when my newest tip goes live. But don’t worry if you missed a few. They’re all linked right here:

Day 1: Digital Writing and Drawing

Day 2: Creating Custom Breakout Edu Games

Day 3: New Ideas for Using QR Codes in the Classroom

Day 4: Pretty Up Your Online Life with Colors and Emojis

Day 5: Favorite Chrome Extensions for Teacher Productivity

Day 6: The Best Six Podcasts for Teachers and Teacherpreneurs

Day 7: Creating Your Own Free Embed Code

Day 8: Interactive Student Review with Better Flashcards: Pear Deck Flashcard Factory YOU ARE HERE! 🗺️ 🌍

Day 9: Recognize Incremental Learning and Increase Motivation with Badging

Day 10: Create Recipe Lists and Auto-Populated Emails with Office Quick Parts

Day 11: Automate Your Life by Connecting Favorite Online Tools with IFTTT

Day 12: Organize URLs and Enhance Productivity using Excel Spreadsheets and OneDrive

Creating Custom Breakout Edu Games

My husband and his friends paid to get locked in a room a couple years ago…and they didn’t escape…and well, look below:

I still call Twitter the ultimate PLN, and you know why? It’s because of things like Breakout Edu that I discovered there. I always explain the game this way: we can’t lock students in a room, so instead, they break into a box. Classroom content is key, and with so many games available, it’s highly likely that the game you’re looking for is already available.

Custom Breakout Games

With that being said, I like to give creative gifts, and I also like to help teachers to be creative in their classrooms, especially with gamified lessons. So, I have had a need several times to build my own game. I’ve built at least three for friends’ birthdays and hangouts, and there couldn’t be a more exciting gift, in my opinion. With the advent of the new Breakout Edu Platform Digital Game creation tool, I’m not going to get too technical on how to build the games themselves, but I would like to share a couple games with you. When you push play on the video below, you’ll hear about the Clue-themed game I made for my brother’s birthday and a couple other fun ideas.

Here are the resources I mention in the video as well:

Happy watching!

One more thing! I would love to send you my tipsheet for my top ten favorite Breakout Edu puzzle ideas. Want to grab it? Click here!

Tech Tuesday #2: Creating and Using a Habit Tracker to Reach Our Goals
Hey Friends,
I’m so glad that we’re together again for another Tech Tuesday. This is, in fact, the second Tech Tuesday. I hope you were able to tune into Facebook Live this week, but if not, you might have missed the fact that last week we talked about how we could make our goals visual and more compelling, so would be we would be more likely to do them. We used a free tool called Sway. I walked you through the process for creating a Sway and adding great visual content automatically. So if you did miss that, I invite you to go back and check it out.
But onward and upward as they say! This week, I want to break down the process for creating and embedding a habit tracker into your Sway. By having the tracker alongside your goals, you can see if you’re actually meeting them. Now I know it’s you holding yourself accountable, but there’s something about seeing and writing our goals that helps us to be a little more motivated.
In that vein, let’s talk about four reasons why you might want to track your habits:
Number one: I don’t know about you, but I’m still a sticker girl. Yes, I mean literal stickers like you got when you were a child. The “gold star” method, you might say. For some reason, stickers motivate me. As a matter of fact, last time I was trying to meet my exercise goals, I was in love with them. Every time I did physical activity for thirty minutes, I would give myself a sticker. It’s always fun to see if we have a streak going, and stickers make that streak more colorful and exciting.
Reason number two. We don’t know what we don’t track. I know that in the education world, people say that testing students is overdone, and I’m sure that’s the case. However, measurement also helps us to know what we know. If we write down and track what we’ve accomplished, we have a record of it so that we know it now and we know it later.
Reason number 3 is that there’s a problem if there’s a habit we never do. First of all, I guess we really couldn’t call it a habit at that point, right? But if there’s something on our tracker that is never getting done, we need one of two things: we need either an intervention or we need to move on. We might need someone to step alongside us and help us do that habit, especially if it’s one that’s important to our health and well-being. Or, the “undone-ness” might be a wake-up call that we have been a little unrealistic with ourselves and need to abandon that habit in favor of one we might actually do. Looking at a blank box we never attend to is going to just lead to discouragement anyway, so we might as well re-frame what we’re doing.
The fourth and best reason that we need to track our habits is to get results. Maybe we’ve been using stickers or an online tracker as a dangling carrot, but if we think about it, the completion of the list is not the result. The new habit and the better lifestyle are the results. So if we really want to meet our goals, we definitely need to track them.
My Habits
Let me give you a few of the habits I plan to track this year. If nothing else, they will at least make you laugh about how your habits are so much more serious than mine 🙂 I have a sweet tea addiction. The problem is that every time I drink it, I start to feel anxious and I get a headache. But it’s so good. It’s the South’s version of the nectar of the gods, you might say. So every time I know I shouldn’t have it (especially if the meal includes a free drink, hello!), I still struggle and have it anyway. So that’s why one of my habits I want to develop this year is avoiding sweet tea.
Along with that, I want to avoid desserts and potatoes. I could eat a potato any way you make it, except sweet. (Isn’t that ironic but I like sweet tea and desserts but not sweet potatoes? Probably because they’re too healthy for me.) Anyway, I was not a dessert person until I met my husband, but now I feel like I have to have a little something sweet every time I have something salty. You see the issue. Thus…two more habits.
I definitely need to move more because of all this food that I love, so I’m making a small goal for myself in hopes that I will keep walking longer. I wrote it down as walking 10 minutes a day. My thought is that once I get halfway around the block in that ten minutes, I won’t just sit down in the road, but I will continue walking, ha ha.
Next, I want to drink enough water every day. My currently-chapped lips are just one sign of the fact that I live perpetually dehydrated. As a matter of fact, my husband Dusty once said he would call the cops on me for attempted suicide by dehydration. I replied that many teachers don’t get to drink water because they never have time to…well, you know.
Finally, I really need to buckle down and make sure I’m spending time with the Lord every day. That includes reading my Bible and praying, but I’m an intense kind of person when it matters. I don’t just want the little check off that I read five minutes. Or I threw some words God’s way. I want to really encounter Him every day. And if it takes me writing that down on the list to do it, I’m going to do what I have to do.
Creating Your Habit Tracker
So what about you? Do you have certain goals you’d like to track? Well if you do, I have good news. If you will watch my video below, you will learn how Excel online, a free tool, can be your perfect accountability partner. We will use conditional formatting, which is just a fancy way of saying that we will turn some of the cells green when we do them, and optionally, you can turn the ones red that you don’t do. The process is really easy, and you can have the whole sheet set up in ten minutes or less. What a great, quick accomplishment! So if you’d like to know how to do that, how to access your habit tracker on your phone, and even embed this habit tracker into a visual goal sheet on Sway, just click to play below.
 As always, I want to hear from you. It gets kind of lonely on the blog when I don’t know if anyone’s reading what I write. And the writing is kind of witty if I do say so myself 🙂 So do me a favor–leave a comment below if you’ve created and used the habit tracker. Even better, why don’t you share a link to yours so I can brag on you and be proud?
With Tech and Twang,
Suzy Signature Pink

Gamification Twitter Chat July 2017

Interested in Gamification?

Check out this chat from Saturday’s EdChange Global #ecggamify hashtag! #ecg2017

  1. Q1. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification

    Q1. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification
  2. Hi! Dianne 5th T from Simi, Ca. Gamifying is something I’ve been wanting to try but struggling with #ecggamify
  3. Q2. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification

    Q2. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification
  4. Hi I’m Laura and my male students particularly like a gamified classroom 🙂 #ecggamify
  5. A2: Used badges for tech knowledge, like shareing a google doc or creating a Slideshow #ecggamify
  6. Q2. In my first Unit of every year for MS Ss we focus on Time Mgt. I’d badge that. #ecggamify #gamification
  7. @MViTDiTeach Tech trainer like me I guess 🙂 love it and would be happy to share some resources if you’re interested. #ecggamify
  8. Anything that rewards going beyond completion. Maybe tie into a #PBL unit #ecggamify
  9. @TweetMeego Awesome! I recommend @credly for badges. #ecggamify
  10. @cwilcoxKSU Yes! Look into mastery paths option in @CanvasLMS#ecggamify
  11. A2 also a badge for mastery. Like teaching the content to others #ecggamify …
  12. Clearly def makes it easy to create and use Also to keep track of them in your class too #ecggamify …
  13. Q3. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification
  14. @TweetMeego @cwilcoxKSU Just the fact that kids desire to persist until they succeed is amazing. #ecggamify
  15. #ecg2017 still going strong! Into #gamification? Jump in and share your ideas…#ecggamify @reeder_cassie @JaimeDonally
  16. Yes. Getting to those higher Bloom’s levels of creation rather than just completion for a grade #ecggamify …
  17. @cwilcoxKSU @suzylolley #ecggamify When you create badges that can be “skipped” and go to the next level does this offer differentiation?
  18. Be prepared for it and plan tho. Maybe the Stu could create the badge even! 2 #ecggamify …
  19. Q4. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification

    Q4. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification
  20. @cwilcoxKSU Planning is key…Ss creating their own badges. Could offer peer mentoring/reinforcement if others can earn. #ecggamify …
  21. A4: I gamify my entire class. Give 1 mission for each essential Q in unit to demo learning in creative way. #ecggamify
  22. A4 cont. ex. Create an iMovie video explaining the cake methods. I teach culinary. #ecggamify
  23. A3 don’t look at gamification as a path for bad design – it won’t make the content better! #ecggamify 😉 …
  24. What about other activities or tools? Using Kahoot, Socrative, Quizlet, Learning apps, Edmodo for example? Other suggestions? #ecggamify
  25. A3. #ecggamify Some of my Ss struggle with interpreting maps, esp. historic. (MS #SocialStudies)
  26. @suzylolley A2: I use give badges for best product quality in Culinary. Teams with best overall taste, texture, & app get badge holding XP. #ecggamify
  27. I love going in to watch Ts @cbarchers12 engage Ss using @quizlet live suddenly Gen. Bio is exciting! #ecggamify
  28. @tishrich Yes, that’s more my approach. #ecggamify
  29. Q5. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification

    Q5. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification
  30. Julie joining in late! Culinary teacher who has been inspired by @tishrich #ecggamify
  31. Hi! Sorry for jumping in late! Tisha HS Culinary Tr from OR. Passionate about gamifying! #ecggamify
  32. I co-moderate #XPLAP chat on Tues 7PST with author of Explore Like a Pirate @mrmatera ! AMAZING book on gamification! #ecggamify
  33. A5 I am at the campus level so it might be badges for mastery of tech components- G-Suite, Email, EdTech tools, etc. #ecggamify …
  34. A5: master chef as a overall theme but do lots of different cooking show challenges. #ecggamify
  35. @TweetMeego @credly Ha! No I make on iOS pages and laminate. Ss love tangible badges. Keep in baseball card sleeves #ecggamify
  36. A5. I will be specializing in PK-12 curriculum around our new radio station. So, you are getting me started. #ecggamify @suzylolley
  37. @rice_julie An amazing crew is what makes it so great! #XPLAPcommunity is MIND BLOWING! Never cease to amaze me! #ecggamify
  38. @tishrich Very true. Tangibles matter. Baseball card sleeves preserve and honor. Nice 🙂 #ecggamify …
  39. A5: going on 3rd year gamifying. Masterchef in Culinary 2 and great food Truck Race in culinary 3! Ss love it! #ecggamify
  40. Q6. Join our #ecggamify chat if you're interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification

    Q6. Join our #ecggamify chat if you’re interested in making your class more engaging! #gamification
  41. A6: Ss on mission to earn Masterchef status. 1000xp=3×5 card on test, 2000xp=page notes, 4000xp=MC status. Exempt from test #ecggamify
  42. @suzylolley Assign low points baseline tasks, increase points with task complexity, need points to level up, so Ss motivated to do #ecggamify#tlap
  43. A6: Ss earn privileges as they level up. Could be in the lab or in the classroom. Again all inspired or “stolen” from @tishrich #ecggamify
  44. @tishrich I would love to see your game. Posted somewhere? #ecggamify
  45. A6: MC status earns free cook day and Michelin star. 3 Michelin stars in semester & name goes on legacy wall & personalized apron #ecggamify
  46. A6. Kids love to “beat the game” “move to the next level” Need to harness that sense of accomplishment in school. #ecggamify
  47. A6: added a “beat the teacher” component which was fun! #ecggamify
  48. A6. I have taught History. I now think the archaeology dig we created needs to be a game. And my Santa Economics unit. #ecggamify
  49. A6: Ss can earn mystery badges & chance cards too to give special incentives and privileges. #ecggamify
  50. Been in/out of tweet meets #satchatwc #tlap #edugladiators#ecggamify; time to get ready for wedding of colleague T, thanks, everyone!
  51. Join @mrmatera and I on #XPLAP TUES 7PST to chat #gamification! Amazing community of passionate educators! #ecggamify
  52. @MDSAJohnson Hey my friend 🙂 I still want to see your OneNote badge solution.#ecggamify
  53. Thanks for letting me jump in chat #ecggamify! Always love to chat #gamification!
  54. @MViTDiTeach Hi Dianne. Ive been gamifying gong on 5 years. Been blogging for a year at  if your interested. #ecggamify
  55. @TweetMeego @cwilcoxKSU Yes, I think some reqd and some optional is a cool thought. Pls share if you try. #ecggamify

My Gamification Passion! Avatars

I transitioned from classroom teacher to Instructional Technology Specialist for my district about three years ago. While I love my new-ish job, my heart will always be in the classroom, specifically with the stresses current teachers deal with.  One of the biggest stresses for me, and what drew me to the concept of gamification, was student motivation.
Teachers are regularly held accountable for what their students do and do not do, as well as the grades that result from such choices.  Gamification, or the concept of turning a teacher’s class into a game, has been show to increase work ethic tremendously.  My online friend, Beth Box, has proven it with her civics class, and you can check out her “gamified” class here.
How can gamification help you?  That’s what I’m going to spend some time talking about on this blog.  With each entry in this extended series, I’ll share a trick for making your class more engaging.  Ready to get started?Let’s start with the basics.  If you’re going to restructure your whole class as a game, I’ve broken apart several of the components for you.  This video starts with the concept of avatars.

Are you using avatars in your classroom?  Do you have questions or want to make other points?  Leave a comment below.  I would love to hear from you!

Your Virtual Tech Mentor,


Recognize Incremental Learning and Increase Motivation with Badging

Let’s face it.  Most students will find a subject that, no matter how hard they try, they just won’t get an A in.  And while grades are a measure of what students know, and an important measure at that, for students who struggle, they seem unattainable, at least for certain subjects.

Enter badges, or as some call them, micro-credentials.  Every student, regardless of final grade, learns skills in a unit that add up to skills in a class.  Why not recognize those skills?  For example, in my previous days of teaching ninth grade literature, Romeo and Juliet was a major unit in the Spring.  During that unit, they learned drama terms, iambic pentameter, and the complex language and hidden meanings of the bard.

Had I known about badges then, I could have awarded one for each of those skills.  And I don’t just believe in fluff!  They would have had to complete a related assignment to prove their knowledge of that skill.  Imagine how empowering that would be for a student–to know that they could learn parts of the whole and work toward the whole, but that their efforts wouldn’t have resulted in disappointment at the end of the unit.  In the words of Cher, “If I could turn back time.”

In addition to Shakespearean language, which might not have as many practical applications as some other ideas, badges can be awarded for job skills in career-related classes in our high schools.  I have one brother in graphic design and another on the programming side of the computer science field.  My goal is to possibly connect some design/comp sci students with someone in the “real world” who could review their employable skills and award micro-credentials that would hold weight when they apply for jobs and internships after school ends. Badges aren’t just for fluff.  They are for the latent skills not often rewarded by the traditional school experience.

Have I piqued your interest on badging? Check out this video on the basics.  I would love to help you begin badging in your classroom, so leave a comment.  Also, this post is the second in a series.  Check out this post about my gamification passion and integrating avatars into the classroom.

With Tech and Twang,

Suzy Signature Pink