Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Professional Development Courses at Marlboro

Marlboro College is offering some great graduate courses around technology.

This looks particularly interesting:

MAT622 - Tranforming Learning with Mobile Devices 
3 credits
Tablets, smartphones, readers and other mobile devices are rapidly becoming part of the learning landscape. This course will explore and evaluate features and resources to leverage when integrating mobile devices in instructional design and curriculum. Course topics will include apps, multimedia, and multimodal resources such as ibooks, ebooks, iTunes U and Open University. There will be a heavy focus on moving beyond consumption into creation and collaboration with mobile devices, using text, audio, images, and video. Personalized learning, accessibility, and other pedagogical considerations will be explored as we pursue a creative inquiry into what type of transformation is possible with mobile devices. This course is fully online and asynchronous; two synchronous online meetings will be arranged once the course starts. A tablet or mobile device with the ability to capture and edit images, videos, and audio, and up to a $50 budget for purchasing apps will be required. This course will focus on iPads/ipod touch/iphone. Other mobile devices may be used instead of Apple devices with permission of the instructor. Please confer with the instructor about using non-Apple devices prior to enrollment.

Check out the full list here: http://gradschool.marlboro.edu/academics/edtech/courses/

Podcasting Tips

Some tips on podcasting.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Google Drive & the Common Core Webinar

Check out this opportunity offered by Richard Byrne. Google Drive and Common Core Flyer 2

Class QR Codes

We are doing a QR Code Activity today in class.  We have posted QR Codes of teacher blogs and class sites (the ones below) on their class doors.  Check our some of our teacher's blogs and sites.

Dec-Jan Tech Integration Course Plans and Assignments

For those of you that are interested in what our technology integration course is up to, here is our plan for class today and assignments for this month (modified somewhat for public posting).

December-January Course Plans and Assignments

This month we are going to focus on how we can use technology to make connections with others in our district.  A frequent comment from teachers is how much they learn from their colleagues in other buildings when they actually have time to sit down and talk with them.  I am challenging you to continue making those connections for your students.  We are going to start our discussion about some tools that will foster those connections, and brainstorm ways we can bring this experience to our classroom.

I really enjoyed reading your blog postings and the work you have all been putting into your websites.  I find that writing on my blog is a great place for me to reflect on what is working and areas that I may need to concentrate more effort.  Your blogs and websites are allowing your students, parents, and the larger community to be involved in understanding and shaping your class.  Thank you for the time and effort you are paying to this resource.  

Friday, December 7, 2012


I just stumbled across Ted-Ed. Ted-Ed is a service that utilizes featured Ted Talks and has created animations, and other academic materials like lessons, questions, and further resources. These features alone are great tools for teachers to use with their classes either for direct instructional material, or as supplemental resources. But, as promised in the intro video to Ted-Ed, this service allows you to edit these lessons and questions and share them with your students to track their understanding of the content, AND, you can now apply these features to any YouTube video, meaning ones you find, or ones you have created. This is a tool that now allows teachers to take the videos they would like to use from YouTube, construct lessons around them, embed questions, and share directly with their students. What a great way to expose your students to new content, or allow them to dive deeper into areas of interest or areas where they might need more support.

I can't wait to check this out in more detail with my teachers.

Check it out: http://ed.ted.com/

Tech the Halls

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

G Class Folders--this will change your life

G Class Folders is a script created by Bjorn Behrendt that organizes your Google Drive folders for you and your students.  Gone are the days when students had to share each and every document with you and your email box was bombarded with reminders of these docs invading your Drive.  Now, you can run this script (in a spreadsheet template) and the folders will automatically be created in your and and your students' Drives.  It's amazing.

I ran a 30 minute session yesterday to introduce this to my teachers and help them set it up.  We were able to get all of them set up in 30 minutes.  When was the last time you were able to run a workshop and complete an activity in 30 minutes?

Below is my Google Doc from our session.  Bjorn was great to agree to be on the backchannel which helped us answer a few questions.

A helpful tip we discovered yesterday:
Make sure all of the student emails are correct.  If one is incorrect, that folder will not be created correctly.  You will know this because it will say that there is an error on that line.  Don't fix it and run the script again, go back to your Drive, trash your new class folder and then go back to the script and run it again once it's been corrected.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Setting up GClass Folders

OQS has had the most people sign up for our first 30 minute tech session so I will be hosting the first session at OQS in the lab on Wednesday.  Congrats!

This workshop will show you how to set up your Google Docs folders to easily share and manage your own documents and your students' work.

The information session will run from 3:30-4:00.

If you would like to stay from 4:00-4:30, you will have time to start setting up your classroom and/or folders.  If you are staying for the work session from 4-4:30, please come with access to your class list(s), and/or topics for folders you would like to set up.

During our session I will have a back channel running through Today's Meet set up for questions and/or comments.  The purpose of this will be to allow for questions and comments during the session while also making sure we stick to our purpose of learning new information in a timely manner.  If you are not familiar with Today's Meet, please check it out.  I will go over in more detail how this will work on Wednesday.  Can't wait to see you there!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thing Link to Create Annotated Images

Thing Link is an easy to use tool that allows you to annotate images and share them with others.  You simply upload an image and then create tags to links of information you would like to share.  This is a great tool for having students organize information about a topic or concept.

Some easy ways to use this:
1) Have students create an annotated version of a process, like how photosynthesis works.
2) Use an historical image and have students explain the key points or people.
3) Use a picture to construct an outline for a story.
4) Share student work

Check out this Thing Link I created to share some of the work our students have done this Fall.

Move your mouse over the image to discover links.

We Won!

and other comments overheard from 1st graders using iPads for math.

Today our first graders used their iPads in pairs to study their math facts.  We used the basic (free!) app called Math Drills Lite, which allows the students to be drilled on math, subtraction, multiplication and division, and has some handy setting controls so students and/or teachers can set the program for certain facts, or numbers, and turn on or off the helps like a number line.  After a quick demo our students jumped in.  It was exciting to see their enthusiasm for studying their basic math facts, a task that is not always so thrilling.  This was a great way to engage the students and provide extra practice on concepts that are important for the students to be learning.  When students are this engaged, we all win.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blogging for Professional Reflection

One of my professional goals this year was to post more regularly on my blog.  I use my blog for a variety of purposes: sharing things that are happening in tech around our district, introducing or sharing resources to our staff, and as a way to reflect on lessons and other professional experiences.  I strongly believe in accountability and reflection as tools for learning and self-growth, and I have found that my blog has been the tool that has helped me facilitate to these practices.  I admit that it is difficult to find the time to write my blog posts, and I always find myself saying, I could be doing something else rather than spending the time to reflect and write these posts.  But I have decided to make it a priority to find the time, and the teachers and administrators in my district are doing some really great things and they deserve to be recognized for their enthusiasm about technology and willingness to try to new things that are often outside of their comfort zone.

I strongly encourage all teachers and administrators to take to their blogs and make it a priority to share that good and the challenging.  I promise you will find it will help you make connections with others who want to see you succeed and you will learn much from taking the time to reflect on all that you do.

Three 30 Minute Tech Sessions for December

I know this time of the year is crazy, but it's also the perfect time to
take a minute and learn something new to share with your students. I am
offering three 30 minute tech workshops in December at Hartford.

The location of the workshop will be determined by the school that has the most participants sign up.  All workshops will last 30 minutes, with an option to stay for a full hour for guided help and question and answer.

If anyone outside of HSD is interested in joining these virtually, I am able to set up a videoconference and will have a backchannel (most likely on Today's Meet) open for questions.  Just email me or contact me on Twitter if you're not at HSD and are interested in 'attending'.

The topics are:
1) Setting up your Google classroom (12/15)
2) Setting up a class site or blog (12/13)
3) Podcasting with students (12/19)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stop Motion HD and Food Chains

Our 5th grade classes were learning about Food Chains and decided to show their understanding of these natural relationships by creating stop motion animation videos using the Stop Motion HD (free app) on their iPads. The students worked in groups to create the characters needed for their videos and then coordinated filming and constructing the movie. This was a simple project that allowed the students to creatively display explain their understandings of food chains. Check out their work below.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trying Out iBooks Author

I have been playing around with iBooks Author.  When it first came out earlier this year I was psyched at the implications for teachers creating multi-media books for their courses and students.  I couldn't wait to test it out, but just recently set aside the time to really play with it.  A few of my administrators and teachers have asked for more information about the technology expectations embedded in the new Common Core State Standards, and I thought, what better way to share the information than through an iBook (all of our admins have iPads).  Not only will this make the information easier to access and interactive, but it can also demonstrate some of the potential for creating our own iBooks in our district.

As I previously posted I attended Matt Henchen's iBooks Author workshop at VT Fest.  He shared some great tips and resources, which you can find on his blog: http://www.vermonteducator.com/ibooks/

After that workshop I was more equipped to embed more versatile gadgets that allowed me to embed YouTube videos and browser links (Thanks, Matt!).  I also realized it might work better if I broke my book into sections or chapters and published them in a smaller file size to make distribution and downloading easier for all involved.  So after playing a little more over vacation, I finished the first section of my first iBook, ELA Writing CCSS and Technology (catchy title, huh).  If you are interested in checking it out, I am embedding the PDF in this post.  The links should work fine, but the video clips will not work.  If you would like the iBook, just contact me by email: paquettea@hartfordschools.net or Twitter: @HartK8 and I'll send it to you.

ELA Writing CCSS and Tech Book

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

VT Fest 2012

Last Thursday I attended the VT Fest Tech Conference in Killington, VT. I want to highlight two sessions in particular.

The first was presented by Susan Hennessy and Audrey Homan from UVM's Tarrant Institute. The presented about the online game platform, ARIS.

Here are some of my notes from the session.

ARIS: Augmented Reality Interactive Storytelling (iOS)
  • Open source platform, runs through web browsers
  • Plaques pop up through landscape
  • Assigning players quests
  • Characters can give quizzes
  • If Then logic script
  • Free App
  • Support robotics integration--can create physical tasks through programming
  • Notebook feature--players can record reactions to game as they’re playing
  • Teachers can collect notes in a webpage (keep track of student progression through game and interactions)
  • Game design to tell local VT history and uncover truths/mysteries about local history
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Incorporate skill and content (flesh out these ideas)
  • Drag On Tape (youtube cutter)--check out later
  • Use QR Codes for scanning
  • Map overlay: Use for fictional locations in books
  • Connect directly to content with specific items as prizes/badges from text
  • They are building V. 3.0 and looking for student developers with teachers
  • Students have to create an account, but don’t need a valid email address (teachers can create accounts for students)
  • How is notebook share to teacher: linked to Game Developer tab (sent to developer)
  • Only works wirelessly-not 3G yet
  • Can be created on Mac or PC, only played on iOS

The other great session was iBooks Author by Matt Henchen.

Matt's session led us through the basics of using iBooks author to create textbooks and other media sources for students. Matt's presentation materials are located here: http://www.vermonteducator.com/ibooks/

iBook Author is an excited new tool to create materials for our classrooms that include a variety of media sources like videos, interactives, images, text, and websites. This tool can really be a game changer in the way we present and facilitate interactions with information in our classes. Just think, now you can combine information from a variety of sources into one book for your students.

There are a few drawbacks to using iBooks author, namely that you can only create an iBook on a Mac, and that students then need access to a device to read the book. While this is an initial investment, in my opinion, it will pay off in engagement and savings from purchasing textbooks, and other print media.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Civic Engagement using Technology

Some of our 5th graders traveled to the polls today (located at our high school), to ask voters, "Why is it important to vote"?  They took along their iPads to capture their interviews.  These students have been studying government and the Presidential Election.  Together with their teachers, they decided what better way to learn about the value of voting, than to ask real voters.

The students were fortunate to also be interviewed themselves by reporters from The Valley News and WCAX Channel 3 News.  Not only were they interviewing voters, but they were able to share what they were learning with others.

Back at school students will complete a writing response about the information they collected.

Check out some of our students in action. WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Friday, November 2, 2012

Moon VoiceThread from 1st Grade

As I previously posted, the first grade at White River was studying the moon.  They have finished their unit, and we have compiled their notes into a VoiceThread that they chose to narrate.

Check out their Moon VoiceThread, and leave them comments if you have something to add.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Phases and Faces of the Moon in 1st Grade

In first grade we have been working a science unit centered around faces and phases of the moon.  Students have been reading the stories, Phases of the Moon by Gilla M. Olson, and Faces of the Moon by Bob Crelin. As they learn about the moon they have been taking notes in their science notebooks, and creating visuals to represent the different moon phases.  During this process we have been working on creating a class VoiceThread to show our understanding of the different phases and faces of the moon, as well as playing around with the app, Stop Motion HD.  One of the student assessments will be for the students to show the different phases in the correct order, and we thought it would be fun to turn these into stop motion movies to play back for the kids.  Today, Suzan (1st grade teacher) and I played around with how this might work (check out our amateur video below).  Check back next week to see our completed VoiceThread and student made Stop Motion videos demonstrating the different phases and faces of the moon.

This project challenges students to gather information from a variety of sources: teacher notes, readings from the two stories, and visuals and movies played in class.  Students then take that information back to record in their science notebooks.  These students are first graders, so there are developmentally appropriate supports in place, like reading the story multiple times, and giving students sentence starters for their notes.  Students are also asked to demonstrate their understanding of the different phases of the moon through their written work and in constructing an accurate representation of the moon phases.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WallWisher, Nat Geo, Google Docs, and Earth's Changing Surface

Yesterday at one of our elementary schools, we kicked off our study of Earth's Changing Surface, by exploring this interactive map from National Geographic.  

We started the class by visiting our class WallWisher Wall to answer the question: share one assumption about how forces below effect the land.  In pairs, students posted their thought to our WallWisher board where the whole class was able to read each other's ideas.

Then we opened up our Google Doc that contained the directions for the assignment, and learned how to use the interactive map.  After a few minutes of directions, the students were able to choose the questions they wanted to explore using the map.

After answering their questions, they revisited their WallWisher Wall and added something they learned about how forces below effect the land.  

It was really interesting to watch the students learn how to navigate the different layers like earthquakes and tectonic plates, and to measure how far Vermont is from the nearest volcanic eruption.  Students were able to independently (in pairs) explore the maps and choose areas from our class questions on which to focus their research.  Each student was engaged and able to confirm their previous assumption about how forces below shape the land, or learned something new about how these elements like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions might be connected. 

Check out our walls from both classes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Google Custom Search

Technology is great and has made our job as educators easier in so many ways, but even I have to acknowledge that sometimes it makes it more complicated.  Now there is always a better way to do things, and faster.  While it is my job to push teachers and students to try new ways to use technology, sometimes there are tools that you just need to use. Now.  One of these tools is Google Custom Search Engines.

Google Custom Search Engines let you create a search engine that only pulls content from sites that you have allowed.  Clearly, this is a great tool for teachers.  We can now build search engines around specific topics, like the 5th grade at DBS did for their study of Government, or you can just keep adding sites throughout the year for your class or school.  I cannot stress how easy it is to create a search engine and then share with your students, or better yet, embed on your blog like this.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Clea.nr extension for your browser

Clea.nr is a browser extension that you can quickly and easily install to literally clean up the content displayed on your browser.  If you are tired of showing videos in class and worrying about the ads and the inappropriate videos that show on the side, Clea.nr will fix this for you.

Quite simply, it turns this:

into this...

So check it out and install it on your favorite browser: http://clea.nr/install/

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tech Integration Free Course

Yesterday we kicked off our first class of the year for our Technology Integration Course at the Hartford School District.  This class will be run through a blended learning model where we have some in person meetings, and other times when teachers are responsible for accessing content through our Edmodo site, conducting independent research and work, and engaging in conversation through an online medium.

And while I know that I will be providing a level of support and learning opportunities that cannot be matched through a course run solely online, I am still intrigued by the model of offering free learning to a greater audience.

Free, online continuing Education has seen a dramatic increase in the last few years with such big name institutions as MIT and Stanford offering self-directed courses.  These courses offer students the chance to access content from renowned institutions and professors either for free or for a small fee.  Check out this article from the New York Times about the appeal of online education.

As someone who loves to try new things, and finds value in self-guided learning, I am excited about the increased popularity of these type of learning experiences for myself, and also for our students.  In an effort to increase awareness and engagement in these models, I am offering our Technology Integration Course* to you, for free.  This free, online course will differ in some real ways from the course the participants at the Hartford School District are taking.

3 Ways Your Course Will Differ:
1) You will not be able to access our Edmodo site, instead I will make all material available through Bitly Bundles and Google Docs.  Here, you can add your comments or notes to each resource to share with others in our class.

2) I will not be providing you with feedback.

3) You will not be receiving a grade or credit.  You are engaging in this opportunity solely for the purpose of learning new content.

This is my first time opening up a course to the general public, and it's both exciting and nerve wracking.  It will be a learning experience for me to see if I am offering content in a way that is accessible to those that would like to take this modified version of our class.

If you are interested, please join us.  Check out our first month's assignments through this Bitly Bundle, October Tech Integration Course Plans.  Start each month by reading the Google Doc titled (month) Tech Course Plan.  This document will start with a narrative about our direction for the month, how and which resources to access and explore, and what assignments you should complete.

Information about our course
Course Description:  Teachers will participate in year long technology integration course where they will learn how to effectively integrate mobile technology, construct project based learning opportunities, construct units that address Common Core Standards, collaborate, and co-teach with the technology integrationist.  Throughout the year teachers will participate in bi-weekly planning sessions with the integrationist and team members, bi-weekly co-teaching opportunities, and monthly classes to further support their technology integration skills.
  • Teachers will develop best practices of technology integration, including project based learning opportunities
  • Teachers will employ and model effective co-teaching and learning strategies
  • Teachers will develop lessons and units that teach Common Core Standards and use effective technology integration
  • Teachers will become technology leaders in their school
Content Outline:
  • Develop Digital Citizenship Curriculum
  • Develop Units that teach Common Core Standards
  • Develop Units that incorporate technology and project based learning opportunities
  • Develop a presentation for staff or conference about technology integration
  • Develop a blog or website

Please drop me a note @HartK8 with comments and/or suggestions.

*Technology Course is modified for online, free model.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tech Integration, a Model that is Work(ing)

This year, some ambitious and adventurous teachers embarked on a mixed mobile tech integration project with me.  They agreed to meet with me twice a month to plan, and twice a month to co-teach, and in return they get a classroom set of mixed mobile devices (most classrooms opted for a mix of laptops and iPads).  There were a few motivating factors behind choosing this model:

1) Students need to be comfortable with a variety of devices and platforms to access information and demonstrate understanding.  What they are using today is most likely not what they are going to be using in a few years, so it is important that they are flexible learners, especially when it comes to technology.
2) Students need to understand when technology is necessary, and which tool best serves their purpose.
3) Technology integration should change the way our students are learning and how our classes are structured.  There have been many instances of classes that have had an influx of technology, only to have it replace a task that could just have easily been done without it.  With mixed devices, differentiation is already built into the model and pushes teachers to think in different ways about how to structure their class time and lessons.

We have started our year slowly by:
  • Introducing our students to the new devices, and how to care for them properly
  • Discussed our school AUP, and in some cases begun more in-depth conversations about how to be a good digital citizen (thank you Common Sense Media!)
  • Started (taken off) with our Google Apps for Education accounts
  • Taken class videos
  • Created voice recordings for reading fluency
  • Creating Glogs from Glogster (in process)
I am incredibly excited for and proud of the teachers that have taken on this project.  They are committing to changing their instruction and embracing taking risks with and in front of their students.  There have definitely been bumps in the road already, namely that our wireless network is not yet quite in place, and Glogster would only run on Chrome.

If you're interested in this project, check back here for updates.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Flipping PD

Next week I will be helping to lead a half-day in-service around the ELA CCSS for writing for K-5 teachers.  I will have about 40 minutes with each group before they move on to another session.  I have decided to shake things up a little and flip my session.  If you are not familiar with term flipping as it applies to education, keep reading.

"It started with a simple observation: Students need their teachers present to answer questions or to provide help if they get stuck on an assignment; they don’t need their teachers present to listen to a lecture or review content.From there, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams began the flipped classroom: Students watched recorded lectures for homework and completed their assignments, labs, and tests in class with their teacher available. What Bergmann and Sams found was that their students demonstrated a deeper understanding of the material than ever before."
From iste.org

There are many ways you can employ this method, and you can find examples below.  For my purpose, I am going to have teachers visit my blog where I will have posted sites, videos, and articles around how to use technology to teach the Writing Common Core Standards.  Teachers will be charged with choosing a few to explore on their own, and to come to class with questions and/or things they would like to share.  During our time together, we will have a conversation about what resources people have explored, what they liked, how they envision using the tool with their students.  After our conversation, I will allow more time for exploration and problem-solving.

Visit this blog after next week to see how it went.
Five Ways to Flip Your Classroom With The New York Times

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why I Think You Should Be On Twitter.

I love Twitter.  I was a late convert and didn't really see why I should get on Twitter.  I was a connected educator, I read blogs, I was on a listserv.  And then I joined Twitter.  And it was just as dramatic as the previous sentence implies.

At first I started slowly by finding organizations and people in the tech world that I wanted to follow.  Then I found tons of great resources, noticed people that I enjoyed reading their posts, and slowly started making connections with other educators around Vermont.  I soon found that not only did I enjoy reading what they have to share, but that I have things to share, and questions to ask.  Twitter became my go-to for tech integration ideas and support.  The wealth of information and ability to receive feedback from others around our state and beyond is a resource all teachers, and really your students must have. While it is 'one more thing' that gets added to our list of things to check and contribute to, I would argue that it should become your first thing, and will probably replace your other things.  

Two easy ways to start:
1) Set up an account for your own professional purposes.  Start following organizations that you already enjoy like Edutopia, Sir Ken Robinson, PBS, Ted Talks, your favorite person from NPR, trust me, they're all on there.  You'll find information that is interesting, and that you will want to bring back to your classroom.

2) Set up a class account.  Use your Twitter account to follow professionals in areas of interest for your class/students.  Share the posts from scientists, authors, historians, etc.  Engage your students in the real conversation that is happening around these topics, and allow them an opportunity to share their thoughts. 

Try it.  You know you want to.

Friday, September 28, 2012

paper.li, your own online newspaper

I have spent some time this week playing with paper.li, a personal online newspaper creator.  This tool is easy to create.  All you do is create an account, and then pick the the sources you would like to use to compile your newspaper.  You can choose to pull content from Twitter, Facebook, RSS Feeds of your favorite websites or blogs, pretty much anything you would like to read.  I chose to create an online newspaper from my tweets, my blog posts, and RSS feeds and Twitter feeds that I particularly enjoy reading.  Once your newspaper is created you can have it updated daily or weekly.  I have chosen to have my newspaper compile each week to share with teachers that might enjoy reading articles about education and technology.  I think this is a great tool for busy teachers who don't have time to sift through their Twitter feed never mind check their favorite blogs.  This newspaper will do the work for you.  Another great way to use this tool is to create a newspaper of materials and topics that would be of interest to your students, and share the newspaper with them on a daily or weekly basis.  Check out my paper.li newspaper.

Link to my newspaper: http://bit.ly/SK6xNu

Technology Integration PD through Edmodo

Starting next month, I will be facilitating a new course for teachers centered around Technology Integration.  If you are a loyal reader of my blog, thanks Mom, then you know that the blended learning course I offered this summer ran through Moodle.  I chose to switch this course to Edmodo for a few reasons:
1) I wanted to introduce my teachers to another Course Management Tool.
2) Edmodo is FREE.
3) Edmodo is easy to use for teachers and for elementary students.
4) Integration with Google Docs

Here you can see my Edmodo Home page.  It reads like a social networking site with simple controls for uploading files, creating assignments, and sharing assignments and ideas.

Below is my library where I upload files and links that I would like to share with my class.  You will notice on the left side of the image that I have created files to easily organize materials to share with my class.

We will begin our venture into using Edmodo for our class starting in October.  Check back here to see how it goes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Add Questions to YouTube Videos

YouTube has enabled the Video Questions Editor (currently in Beta testing).  This means you can now have students watch a video with questions directly embedded into the video.  This feature can be used on videos you pull from YouTube, and ones that you have created and uploaded.  You can also ask students to find add questions to videos they are using in their research or are related to a topic you are studying.  This exercise is a great way to have students evaluate the content of the video and demonstrate their understanding of the important points to understand in the video.  If you're interested, check out the steps below.

2) Go to your YouTube account and click on Video Manager.  Choose a video to add questions.

3) Click on Questions

Then just add questions and save.  When viewers watch the video the questions will be embedded.  When your viewers have watched the video and answered the questions, you will be able to go back through the analytics page to see how your viewers answered the questions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Google Maps for Storytelling

Mr. Burns' 5th grade class has started using Google Maps to trace the journey of a character in their book.  Using place markers, images and video, students have identified elements of the setting, events in the character's life, and details about her character.  They are also starting to add trails to their maps that show how these places and events are connected.  What a great way to encourage your students to analyze important elements in a story and make connections.

When talking to these students, I was the most impressed that when I asked them a question, they picked up their text to refer to elements in the story.  As a former English teacher, I was ecstatic that they were already understanding how important it is to refer back to the text to illustrate a point.  When talking to me about this project, Mr. Burns commented that he was excited to see how comfortable students were sharing and explaining their maps.  As we start shifting to the Common Core Standards and Speaking and Listening Standards become an emphasized focus, projects like this one, where we empower our students to create their own representations of their learning, provide our students with avenues to practice and polish these skills, and maybe have a little fun, too.

Check out these students at work.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Want Desktop Icons for Gmail, Calendar, Docs?

If you would like to install Desktop Icons for faster access to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs, then follow this link to directions on how to install the shortcuts.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Find Aegom Smart Notebook Lessons (K-5)

If you would like to access the Aegom Smart Notebook Lessons, please follow these directions.  They no longer live in your Smart Notebook Gallery.  They are now housed on our network staff drive.

  1. Logon to your account at school
  2. Go to My Computer
  3. Choose DBS Staff Drive

4. Choose Aegom folder

5. Choose ELA, Math or Science

6. Choose the last file to view the Sequencing file. 
 If you know which file you want, just choose it.  These files are only read only.  If you would like to make changes, please go to File>save as>save to your network folder.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Helping Students Become Citizen Scientists

Engage your students in the world around them, literally, by challenging them to take part in real-life research.  The Vermont Center for Ecostudies, encourages everyone to take part as a volunteer in their on-going research projects.  Sounds cool, right?  It is, check them out at: http://www.vtecostudies.org/citsci.html

Here is a list of their current projects to start exploring with your students.

Vermont and Hispaniola eBird
Report and explore bird sightings with this online checklist
Kent McFarland
Beginner to expert
Mountain Birdwatch
Adopt a mountain and survey Bicknell's Thrush and other mountain songbirds.
Judith Scarl
Beginner to expert. Hiking required.
Participate in the annual one day census of Vermont's breeding loons and help create a snapshopt of Vermont loon populations.
Eric Hanson
Beginner to expert
Vermont Loon Recovery Project
Help monitor nests and lakes.
Eric Hanson
spring - summer
Beginner to expert
Forest Bird Monitoring Program
Help track long-term changes in populations of interior forest songbirds.
Steve Faccio
Ability to identify forest birds by sight and sound. Hiking required.
Vermont Breeding Bird Survey
Help track long-term changes in populations of interior forest songbirds.
Steve Faccio
Ability to identify all birds by sight and sound.
Vermont Vernal Pool Mapping Project
Help map vernal pool locations statewide by conducting field visits to potential pools.
Steve Faccio
Primarily Spring, also Summer and Fall
Beginner to expert

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blended Learning PD

This summer I offered a technology integration course, TechSploration, to the staff at our schools in Hartford.  This 1 credit course proposed to touch upon Common Core and Technology, Google Apps, Web 2.0, and Social Media in Education.  This course was offered predominantly online over the summer through the course management system, Moodle.  

We kicked off the course by meeting in person to introduce everyone to Moodle, and to review the outline of assignments, communication and expectations for participation.  I asked participants to post their goal for the course on our WallWisher, which I posted on the front page of our Moodle site, to serve as a reminder for them throughout the course.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Google Reader

Google Reader is an application within your Google account that allows you to subscribe or follow blogs and websites.  Simply put, that means you can choose your favorite blogs and websites and have their content sent to you as soon as it is updated, rather than having to keep visiting the site to see what is new.  Think of it like your own personalized newspaper or magazine.  New content delivered to you, instantly.

Subscribe to blogs and websites that you want to share with your students, or if they are old enough, help them set up their own Reader account so they can start exploring topics of interest on their own.

Some suggestions for subscriptions:
Nat Geo Wild
Free Technology for Teachers 
The Learning Network (New York Times)
Science Friday

Take Technology Outside

I feel fortunate to enjoy the balance of loving and promoting technology use, as well as enjoying and engaging in the outdoors. I am often engaged in discussion with people that are resistant to using technology, or allowing children access to technology because they believe it will take away their curiosity and passion for being active and playing outside. I disagree. Technology, as I will say over and over in this blog, is a tool that can further enhance many experiences.

LeafSnap. Try the free app, LeafSnap. This app created by (add). Take your device outside and snap pictures of leaves, and then watch as the app helps you identify them. Not only does this app serve as a field guide, it also provides gorgeous, detailed photos of the cycle from the blossom to the leaf. Next time you take a walk, take along this app and see what you can find. Or better yet, create a scavenger hunt using LeafSnap.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting Started With YouTube EDU

Here is a short introduction I put together to show you some of the features of your YouTube for Schools account and the content in YouTube EDU.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vita Learn's Tech Conferences and Workshops Fall 2012

Do you have a one-to-one program in your school? Do you have questions? Do you have answers? Are you planning for one-to-one, in the throes of starting one, moving it to school-wide, or struggling with sustainability? Come meet with other teachers and administrators and share information on starting, running, and maintaining a successful one-to-one computing initiative. 

Welcome to Vermont Fest 2012
VITA-Learn, the state’s leading Educational Technology Association, is pleased to offer three days of wonderful educational technology professional development opportunities for Vermont educators.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bitly, That Handy Little Tool

Bitly.  I first started using bitly when I wanted to send or post a link to a website, but didn't want to paste long links.  It was great.  But lately bitly has gotten even better.  Now bitly is turning into a social bookmarking site akin to diigo or delicious.

Bitly not only shortens your links, but allows you to create bundles where you can group links into groups based on topics.  For example, I can link all my shortened links to my blog posts in a bundle titled, Blog Posts.  Handy.  You can also share these bundles with others so they can view and/or add to your bundles, making collaborating and group projects even easier.

YouTube for Schools

Soon we will be moving to YouTube for Schools. Yay!

What this means for you:
1) Students will now be directed to YouTube EDU where content is filtered for educational purposes.
2) You can now create playlists of videos to share with your students.
3) You can upload class videos to our secure domain. These videos can be shared with specific users or made public.
4) You can still pull videos from public YouTube, but students will only be directed to YouTube EDU.
5) Thinking about flipping? You can create instructional videos for students to watch on their own.

So make the switch and start searching. There are great resources available like Ted Talks and Discovery.

Check out this article in The New York Times about YouTube for Schools.
YouTube Subtracts Racy and Raucous to Add a Teaching Tool

If you would like help setting up your account, just let me know.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Why I Still Love Evernote

I started using Evernote at least three years ago, and I admit, I strayed during that time. But with all good things, I found myself back once again.

Evernote is an electronic notebook where I take, organize, and share notes that include images, audio, and much more.  Like other cloud based programs, my information can by synced easily across all of my mobile devices.  What I really LOVE about Evernote is all of the other seamless functions it brings to my life.  Like Pinterest, Evernote has a web clipper where I can, with one click, save an image, website, or text, back to my notebook.  Evernote also works with some of my favorite iPad apps like Skitch and Penultimate.  Evernote also added Evernote Peek for use on the iPad, where you can create study cards that work with the iPad and the smart cover.  What a great way for students to use their notes to create study materials.  Like Google Docs, Evernote allows you to share notes with others and to collaborate on notebooks.

If you haven't ever used Evernote, check it out.  If, like me, you've strayed, maybe give it another look.


Infographics are just what they sound like, information graphics.  They are a visual way to represent data and connections amongst content and/or concepts.  There are so many ways to use this form of representation with our students, especially those that are visual learners.  Check out Autoblog's fascinating infographic on The Science Behind Traffic Jams: http://aol.it/Nbc5yr.  This example is amazing and will give you an idea of what a really great infographic looks like.  

I also like this infographic by Microsoft Education, titled, Education by the Numbers

Think about all of the possibilities for your students to convey what they are learning, or for you to create visual representations of information and make connections for your students.  

For some fun browsing go to: http://visual.ly/ or http://infogr.am/

Friday, June 15, 2012

Twitter @HSD

Slowly we have been making our way into the Twittersphere.  Check out these teachers and administrators who have taken the plunge.


and of course me @HartK8