Saturday, May 04, 2013

Beyond These Times: Reimaging School

This second event in a two-part series, brings together nationally recognized visionaries for cutting-edge conversations about how advances in technology, increased globalization, and other major forces of change will shape the schools of tomorrow.

Internationally recognized thinker and speaker Tony Wagner, author of the recently released Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, explores what schools must offer to develop students’ capacity to innovate. Wagner will be joined by Constance Yowell, Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation, who is spearheading a unique partnership of thirty-four local organizations to help Chicago youth become tomorrow’s creative innovators and thrive in our digital economy. WBEZ arts and culture journalist Alison Cuddy will moderate.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Navy Pier

Tony Wagner
Constance Yowell

Admission: free

"Beyond These Times" represents a working collaboration between three Chicago landmark nonprofit organizations—the Golden Apple Foundation, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and National Louis University—all committed to improving the educational experience of Chicago's students.

Register online:,2,10,4

The first event in this series was held March 22 and featured educational futurist James Gee and Illinois Math and Science Academy founder Stephanie Pace Marshall:

Monday, March 04, 2013

4 ways to "Build your own PD" with resources from ICE

Last week, the Illinois Computing Educators held their annual "ICE Conference" in St. Charles, IL ( Attending an education conference is great for increasing knowledge, building skills and most importantly, having an opportunity to meet and discuss teaching and learning with fellow educators. However, if you were unable to attend, consider using the ICE online resources to "build your own PD experience!"

1) Tune into the new ICE Eduvision channel,, to watch great keynote addresses by Wes Fryer and Pam Allyn, as well as several breakout sessions hosted by these keynoters and other featured speakers, such as: Scott McLeod, Steve Dembo, Hall Davidson, Ben Rimes, Carol Broos and Joe Brennan.

2) Watch several sessions on the ICE Conference UStream channel:  (look for videos recorded last week).

3) Visit the ICE Wiki for links to presenter info, breakout session slides, handouts and resources from Thursday:

or Friday

4) Finally, search through Twitter using the hashtag #ice13 ( to check out the "Tweets" posted during the conference (also archived at

Happy Learning!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

How are you celebrating International Dot Day?

In case you haven't yet heard, Saturday, Sept. 15 is International Dot Day!

Inspired by Peter H. Reynold's book The Dot, International Dot Day was launched by Iowa teacher Terry Shay when he introduced his classroom to the book on September 15, 2009. (Fun Fact: Terry chose September 15 because the original publishing date of The Dot is September 15, 2003!)

The Dot tells the story of a caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student in a remarkably creative way. The teacher dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.

What started as a story in the pages of a book is transforming classrooms around the world as teachers and students celebrate creativity in the classroom. Even with just a few hours of participation, educators are helping to ensure that every student – whether in pre-school, K-12 or college -- knows that he or she has what it takes to make a mark on the world.

An International Dot Day celebration can be whatever you want it to be – from a 30-minute moment to week-long series of activities or even a year-long theme for you classroom. For ideas, download this free handbook from Fablevision:

Also, be sure to check out this blog post from Karen McMillian, a 7th grade teacher in California, Karen shares great examples of how she is using Dot Day activities to encourage her students creativity and to make a difference in the world!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Start your new year inspired and connected

For those of you either ready to begin your new school year, or perhaps have just begun, here's an opportunity to start off your year inspired and connected!

Be sure to tune into the "Learning 2.0" the World-wide Virtual Conference, held from Aug. 20 to Aug 24, all free and online. There are more than a dozen keynote topics, recorded and ready for your viewing. Learn from notable speakers such as: Julie Evans of Project Tomorrow, "Connecting the Dots with Digital Learning - Speak UP 2011 National Results;" Heidi Hays Jacobs from Curriculum21; Sugatra Mitra of MIT Media Lab; Lee Rainie of Pew Research Center; and Yong Zhao of the University of Oregon, "World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students."

The Learning 2.0 Virtual Conference is presented in conjunction with Connected Educator Month,  a "month long celebration of community, with educators at all levels, from all disciplines, moving towards a fully connected and collaborative profession..."

What are others saying about the conference? Browse the comments posted on twitter using the hashtag #learning20. Remember, you don't need to know how to "tweet" or "be a twitterer" to learn from the comments of others.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mobile devices in education. Which % are you in?

A recent discussion among members in my PLN regarding the necessity of creating targeted professional development when deploying mobile devices, cited the following observations:
  1. 5-10% folks play with it for 10 minutes and can rattle off 10 ways they can incorporate immediately into the classroom
  2. 20-30% folks play with it for a week and then see a couple of apps that might support or replace specific lessons in the current curriculum
  3. 20-25% folks play with it and, over the course of a few weeks, figure out some useful ways for a teacher to streamline processes (attendance, observations, tool for updating classroom website, etc)
  4. 10% folks see the device as a crappy computer without a keyboard - if it can't replace current keyboarding time then it is of no use
  5. 10% put it into their bag and never touch it
Are you part of a mobile device initiative? What PD would be most helpful in moving you out of the bottom 20%?

If you are in the top 5-10%, please leave a comment to rattle off some of your ideas!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Looking to IGNITE some learning this summer?

Then look no futher than these IGNITE presentations featured at the ISTE conference in San Diego, and now viewable online. These sessions were presented on Monday, 6/25/2012 from 8:30 am–9:30 am. IGNITE presenters use 20 slides, rotated automatically and each shown for 15 seconds, giving each speaker a total of 5 minutes to share their passion.
  • Fast Five for Infinite Thinkers -- Chris Walsh, MC and First Ignite Presenter, New Tech Network
  • Publishing Kids’ Creative Podcast Stories Online Using Haiku -- Mary Ann Domanska
  • In Record Time: Disruptive Innovation To Say the Least -- Traci House, Director of Technology, Joplin Schools
  • How Digital Video Changed One Teacher's Life -- Rushton Hurley,
  • What If?: David Jakes
  • The Evolution of Learning: Past, Present, Future -- Vince Leung, Co-founder, MentorMob
  • Jump Off the Testing Train-- Lisa Parisi, Herricks School District—Denton Avenue School
  • Will Free Benefit the Rich? Fighting For Technology Equity -- Justin Reich, Co-Founder, EdTechTeacher
  • 19 Bold Ideas for Change -- Will Richardson, Powerful Learning Practice
  • What is 1,000,000? -- Alfred Solis, Buck Institute for Education
  • Igniting Creativity with Movie Making -- Selena Ward, Technology Integration Teacher

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Indentifying our gaps, planning for the future

The end of another school year is just around the corner. In looking back at the year, I wonder whether we were successful in providing the technology support, encouragement and knowledge necessary for our faculty and students to be successful in this ever-changing landscape of the digital age. We have provided a well-rounded curriculum in our core subjects, we have enriched students experiences by providing a variety of elective courses and co-curricular activities.  I wonder though, will our students who are graduating in a few weeks be knowledgable in the "21st Century" skills that will ensure greater success beyond high school? Did they gain skills in the "4 Cs"-- Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking? And, where did technology play a part, if at all?

At the beginning of the year our teachers brainstormed about our use of technology. The question was asked, "Can you identify any gaps we may have in developing the technology skills of our faculty and/or our students?"

As I read through their answers (posted below*), I see many mentions of time ... lack of, we need more of... etc. and the need for support, whether it's one-to-one, co-teaching, or just providing the permission to try new things, yet, not be held accountable if things don't work out.

How can school districts provide the time necessary to develop skills in technology? For our faculty, we have offered professional development in the form of "lunch and learns," which can raise awareness of a variety of teaching strategies, but not provide the time to develop and explore how to best fit these into a classroom.

How do you do best develop the technology skills of your faculty and students? Do you have tech coaches that work along with teachers? What strategies have proven successful for providing time and support? How do you ensure that all students are provided opportunities to experience learning that is enhanced by technology?

*Responses to the question: Can you identify any gaps we may have in developing the technology skills of our faculty and/or our students? 
  • comfort level for teachers is still an issue . . . . 
  • Multi-media use
  • We could use more professional development and hands on workshops in this area.
  • multimedia.  We need Bob Pinta in all of our divisions to push us to do new things.  
  • "Device for every student. Supportive training with teachers showing how they use an application and then follow-up with release time.  Ex: Tony Reibel with math/science lunch and learn and then we have a follow-up release day on Sept. 15."
  • Time and adequate support with how the teachers want to use the tech. Please make it work for us instead of US having to conform to technology!  This is very frustrating.  Thank you!
  • time is an issue to learn and make mistakes and improve.  Class time is limited.
  • Yes. Many veteran teachers do not use technology as much as the younger teachers.  The assumption is that because kids have grown up with technology, they are able to use it.  However, students' abilities to use technology academically is not always a given. 
  • Work on increasing authentic learning experiences. 
  • Continue to inform the faculty about legal issues and good citizenship behavior.
  • Databases and digital evaluation.  
  • We need to identify where this fits into curr. and improve that.
  • Time.....
  • None known at this time.
  • there's not enough time in the day to learn/do it all
  • We are not given enough time to experiment with technology
  • We want one-on-one training in the classroom.  
  • We need time to deal with technology and not to be taken away from our classwork.  
  • There seems to be a gap between training and implementation.  More teaching in sessions to develop more skills.
  • We can be using the second day of the week to help learn many of these things.
  • Great individuality exists on our staff.
  • "Copyrighting. It's hard getting computers in our classrooms.... make it more accessible."
  • This is not a one-size fits all; we need to think behind the technology to think about what we want to accomplish then work with the tech that will get this done.
  • No, we seem to always be moving forward and progressing in terms of technology.  As a district, we try to incorporate as much tech. as possible to help meet the needs for our students. 
  • We just wondered if there was a relationship between age and the use of technology.
  • We need to make our learning of technology more content specific.  There are many programs that are offered to us but we are unsure if they apply specifically to us.  We could use more time truly being able to use the programs while being guiding to see if they are adequate for our specific classroom needs.
  • "It's always a challenge to find enough time to create and implement new technology and have a back-up plan in case it doesn't cooperate.”
  • TIME.  It is so difficult to give up prep time and teaching time to attend workshops.
  • "Online HWK/quizzes. Infinite Campus bells and whistles."
  • Time... after we get trained on something new, we need time to explore and integrate it appropriately.  There is so much out there but when we're pulled in several directions, we have to pick and choose what meets our students' needs the best.
  • Need to more time to explore and try things. 
  • The technology is not always readily available and unfortunately we often times can try to implement different elements, the technology isn't ready or doesn't work and then it does leave a teacher feeling very defeated when trying to use it in the future.
  • -Just doing a good job of knowing everyone is in a different place with their technology skills.  
  • Time. It's that simple. Frankly, we don't have it for the most part.
  • Time for training!
  • Didn't have time.
  • Time!
  • SHS does a wonderful job educating and supporting teachers with the use of technology.
  • hard to keep out with what is out there, different technology for different classrooms. 
  • Sometimes the technology frustrates teachers more than it helps them.
  • We have to build teacher comfort with specific technology skills so that they don't feel overwhelmed and can then successfully guide our student.
  • Perhaps the training that is offered is to too many people, and there may be a lack of time.  Sometimes, faculty needs more time to explore what is out there and try new things. Is there a "fear" that trying new programs, locks them in and makes people feel like they are committed!
  • Continued support/workshops/ideas with the new iPad technology.
  • Any gaps seem to be due to the increased and constantly increasing demands on our time.
  • We would just like to see the knowledge of new programs/websites to continue to come out (and examples of how other teachers are incorporating the technology into their classes).  
  • It's hard to have PD at the same pace that technology evolves.
  • Resources online students/faculty not aware of. 
  • It seems like we have to start talking about what exactly those student needs are before we can break down the technology and the teacher actions.  
  • incorporating technology into disciplines that are not tech friendly platforms for implementation.
  • There still needs to be more focus on responsibility in the use of technology.
  • web 2.0 elements
  • Perhaps more training/information about technology programs to implement in the classroom.  
  • Probably, but I really do believe we're working on closing those gaps.  It's just a matter of continuing to determine how to best incorporate technology into the classroom, both at the level of learning and teaching.  
  • -More in service needs to be devoted to technology
  • Hard to find time in schedule.
  • Students are learning new technology faster than the teachers.  There are so many more educational technology tools that the teachers don't have access to. And there is a divide between the divisions.
  • Lack of creativity & time to experiment. Teams can be an obstacle.
  • Not enough time
  • No
  • Giving more time for teachers to learn new technology.
  • Although we appreciate all of the technology available, it is important to know that it is like juggling lots of balls at the same time.  It is really hard to do everything well.
  • Workshops on new technology implements.  
  • No. Each division will utilize technology in different ways and different amount of times. We cannot expect PE to utilize technology as much as Science, but when appropriate it is being included by all divisions.
  • We could use more evidence of the effectiveness of technology to enhance learning to better help teachers select what to focus on learning to do.
  • Yes, it depends on the subject and course, as well as student population.
  • How do we even become aware of new technologies?  We are interested once we know them, but they are sometimes hard to find.
  • I think students need more access to computer labs and ipads -- it shouldn't be a struggle to get computers to kids like it is in this school.
  • "time and the shared learning opportunities during school time. use of technology to differentiate instruction, provide formative assessments on a daily or weekly basis and personalize the learning experience for all students! "
  • We have lots of opportunity to grow.  We probably just need more time.
  • Proficiency relies upon need of the resource, as well as our use of it (time dedicated to figuring it out, trial & error, etc...)
  • We to have "tech" people to be in the classroom with teachers as they learn technology.  This would boost their confidence and willingness to take some technological chances.
  • Encourage novice learners one way in which they can work with technology during the year to improve teaching and learning.  Too much can be overwhelming.
  • More recent developments in technology (wikis, blogs, etc.)....teachers seem to need to more initiative to develop skills using these more recently developed technology tools
  • We need more time!!!!!
  • Not at this time.
  • Ipad applications 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

TED-Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing

I've often posted about my admiration for TED (Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world) and have used a number of TED Talks in professional development workshops. I am very excited to learn about TED-Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing which, although is currently in beta, already boasts 62 videos and  1,078 flips. Kudos to the TED-Ed team: Logan Smalley, Jordan Reeves, Stephanie Lo and Bedirhan Cinar. I'll let them explain this exciting tool that provides free resources to promote learning:

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

iPad in the News (no it's not about the new iPad 3)

This is not about iPad 3... but rather some apps that we might consider taking a look at.

The first is "Reflection" ... for $14.99 a single license, or $49.99 for 5 licenses, it allows you to mirror your iPad (and multiple iPads at once TO your computer, which if connected to a projector can be used to share student work, or teach from the iPad. You can download a free trial that will run for only 10 min. This is a hot topic and may be a better solution than the Apple TV.

See Tony Vincent's review at:

Also of interest is Configurator, announced by Apple today.

Apple has released Configurator, a free app for OS X that makes it easy to administer several iOS devices at a time. Nice for schools, businesses or even a big family.

Three simple workflows let you prepare new iOS devices for immediate distribution, supervise devices that need to maintain a standard configuration, and assign devices to users. Quickly update 30 devices at a time to the latest version of iOS, configure settings, and install apps and data for your students, employees, or patrons.

Apple Configurator can be used by larger organizations and businesses to set up new devices, install enterprise apps, and enroll each device with a Mobile Device Management solution for remote management by an IT administrator. It is perfect for the classroom or student lab where devices need to be quickly refreshed and kept up to date with the correct settings, approved policies, apps and data. Apple Configurator can also be used to personalize devices with data and documents for specific users, and an administrator can apply custom text, wallpaper, or the user's picture to a device's Lock screen.

The app is a 15.8 MB download from the Mac app store and requires os X 10.7.2 or later.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Learning Ideas with iBooks and iPad

Did you know...
If you have the most current version of iBooks and iOS, you can now highlight text in iBooks using several different colors. Think about highlighting a main idea in one color, and then highlighting supporting evidence to that idea in another. Or, consider doing this for character development. Then, when you tap on the "Table of Contents" .. you have a great set of study notes!!

Did you also know that it is now possible to select a passage of text and have the iPad read to you? This works on web pages, in iBooks, and anywhere you can select text!! To activate the Speak Text feature on your iPad, tap on Settings > General > ... scroll down to Accessibility, and turn on "Speak Selection." (If you don't have this option, be sure you have updated your iPad ... you will be prompted to update when you sync in iTunes).