Virtual K-5 Teacher, UC Irvine Extension Virtual Teacher Certificate program instructor, Collector of Virtual Instruction Tools
CindyCarbajal has written 18 posts for Virtual Teacher Bullet Points

Special Guests in Online Lessons

A colleague of mine (high school social studies teacher) likes to invite special guests to synchronous virtual lessons, and I’m incorporating this into my teaching as well. In the past, he has invited state senators and legislators to attend his sessions, allowing students to learn from an expert and allowing the legislator to learn more about our school.

Benefits of special guests in a virtual lesson are:Image

  • motivating the student
  • providing an expert or second opinion
  • students can prepare questions in advance
  • the session can be recorded and replayed for those who missed it

I am putting a spin on having a special guest in my LiveLesson session tomorrow.  I teach a gifted science course to 4th and 5th graders, and in the second semester we have a long-term science project that ends with a student presentation in a virtual session.  Tomorrow’s lesson shows students what is required in the final presentation, and special guest, former student and current 6th grader, will join me to present parts of his project along with the instructions I provide. He will also be available to answer questions from the students. I hope this motivates the students and helps them realize they can do it!  🙂


iPad As…. Different Apps for Different Activities – All in a Chart

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EdTechTeacher provides professional development services to teachers, schools, districts, and administrators.

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How to Create Your Own Online Course: 100 Tools, Guides, and Resources

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Very Pinteresting!: The hot social network is taking educators by storm — The Digital Shift

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Writing with Google Docs: Foster Collaboration & Creation (While Addressing Common Core)

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At ISTE, I had the pleasure of presenting in the Google theatre on Writing with Google Docs. It was a short presentation aimed at demonstrating how educators can use Google Docs to foster writing in its various stages.

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Top 50 Free Education Apps | iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch App Store App Reviews

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Below is the top 50 free applications in the Education category(data is pulled from iTunes). We also have a list of the best paid education iPhone apps.

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Teaching With Technology – Ice-Breaker Ideas

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Whether you are in a traditional classroom setting, or an online learning community, ice-breakers play a vital role in developing a sense of community in a learning environment.


Here’s a wiki with many resources on ice-breaking and online community development.

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6 Tips for the Successful Online Teacher — THE Journal

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After two decades in online teaching in both the corporate world and higher education, I regret to report that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the network connection.

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Making Mistakes

During my Tier 1 Administrative Credential course module on Culture, I picked up on some ideas about making mistakes.  I realized that making mistakes is a good thing as a teacher and a leader.

Here are some bullet points on lessons I’ve learned about making mistakes:

  • Don’t be afraid to take risks, which may lead to mistakes.
  • Mistakes are learning experiences.
  • Making new mistakes comes from trying new things, and can lead to achieving new things.
  • Playing with techniques and trying new things adds variety to a routine and makes the process more engaging for everyone.
  • As a leader, acknowledging and sharing mistakes helps others feel comfortable and free to experiment too.

Thomas Hoerr’s MNM Philosophy, Make New Mistakes, recognizes that mistakes are opportunities to learn.  He stated that old mistakes entail repeating errors and not learning from experiences.  No mistakes mean we continue to use the same approach, perhaps we are error-free, but little learning takes place, and this sounds boring.  Making new mistakes though, means we try new ideas and strategies and learn from our experiences.

When I was a beginning online teacher, I tried new things and continually sought feedback from my students, their parents, and other teachers.  After seven years though, I found I had gotten stuck in my routine that I found worked, and was boring myself.  I started trying some new things and experimenting with my teaching though.  My lessons are not as streamlined and clean as before, but I am having more fun and my students are enjoying the variety too.

This also happened just in time for the mid-year reviews I conducted, and I was able to share my ruts and experimentation to dig my way out with the teachers I support.  I hope my example and our discussion helps them feel free to take risk and enjoy experimenting too.

Thomas Hoerr mentioned the “wonderfully liberating message” it gives to teachers when the leader shares a learning experience and celebrates the new mistakes he or she learns, and I would agree from the experiences I’ve had from my leaders.

Additional Resources:

The Art of School Leadership by Thomas Hoerr

5 Mistakes Everyone Should Make by Real Simple

Only Let Yourself Make New Mistakes by Peter Winick

Mistakes that Worked by Charlotte Jones

5 Cool Things About Online Education > Virtual Learning Connections

5 Cool Things About Online Education > Virtual Learning Connections

Click the link above to be taken to a post written for the Virtual Learning Connections Blog based on my keynote panel points from iNACOL VSS 2011 in Indianapolis.