Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dr. Helen Barrett's EPortfolio Academy Online

You can pay for a faciliated course and credit or participate for FREE independently/selfpaced. This begins the first week of January. Below is information provided by Dr. Helen Barrett:

The course content of the first course of the E-Portfolio Academy is online as both a self-paced and facilitated course:
Introduction to E-Portfolios in K-12 Schools

The facilitated course is open for registration through Paypal or school purchase order:
(Send me an email for the mailing address to send a school purchase order for group registrations... or attach PDF version to email.)

The content of the two versions of the class is the same. There are three differences between the self-paced and facilitated classes:
1. The facilitated class has a cohort of students who go through the content together and carry on a facilitated asynchronous discussion.
2. I will be directly involved in the private discussions and will lead the cohort through the content, including live events.
3. The self-paced class is free; there is a charge for the facilitated class.

The discussion schedule will be provided only to members of the facilitated class through the Edmodo group. The discussion will be asynchronous, so there are no specific times to be online, but I will be scheduling some Google+ hangouts which will be synchronous (live), but not during the first couple of weeks.

The course interaction will be facilitated through an Edmodo group (private educational social network), Google+ Hangouts, and email group. Be sure to sign up for Google + and an Edmodo (teacher) account. Right after the New Year, I will also send invitations for the private groups to all registrants. The first facilitated course cohort will begin between January 2 and January 16. The next cohort is scheduled to begin in early April.

There are also supplemental courses:

  • Implement Electronic Portfolios with K-12 Students using Google Apps
    Specific focus will be on the use of GoogleApps for Education. This course is for teachers who have already decided to adopt GoogleApps for Education. The content of this course includes the content of the Introduction course, with additional in-depth focus on using GoogleDocs, Google Sites, Blogger, YouTube, Picasa, Digication, Teacher Dashboard.
  • Implement Electronic Portfolios with K-12 Students using Mobile Devices
    Specific focus of this module will be on the use of iOS or Android Mobile Devices.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Seven Practices for Effective Learning

Seven Practices for Effective Learning

7 Practices for Effective Learning.docx

McTighe, J, & O'Connor, K. (2005). Seven practies for effective learning. Assessment to Promote Learning, 63(3), 10-17.


This particular article hits right in my area of key interest. As a learner and teacher I have identified how having clear targets and sound assessment practices improves student motivation, satisfaction and ultimately success! In This article first identifies three categories of assessment: Summative (what has been learned?), Diagnostic (pre-assessment), and Formative (concur within instruction to guide teaching to improve learning).

Highlights of the 7 Practices:

1. Using Summative to frame the goals! Wow, that's a great idea! Creating the summative assessment and presenting to the class at the beginning of the course as a means of explaining the learning targets is brilliant! Simple but makes so much sense! "By knowing what the culminating assessments will be, students are bettter able to focus on what the teachers expect them to learn!" The example given suggests having a knowledge based assessment as well as a performance based assessment. - Let the students know what knowledge you will be testing them on and what they need to "create/perform" to demonstrate that they know how to apply that knowledge!

2. Show criteria and models in advance. Another simple and effective strategy! Show the students examples of finished work that meets the criteria, exceeds the criteria and show them what doesn't cut it. Use the rubric as you show these examples and have them identify where they fall in the rubric and why. Then, while the student is completing the work they have a much clearer picture on what they should be doing!

3. Assess before teaching...find out what students know by giving a formal or informal diagnostic assessment. This way you know where to begin!

4. Give choice. Students embrace choice and everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. By providing choice in output options you give students an opportunity to demonstrate competency using their strengths. This is motivating for the student. Make sure the choices reflect the target!

5. Provide feedback! Yes, students need to hear if they are on or off track. Encourage them when you can as this is very motivating.

6. Encourage self-assessment and goal setting. One thing I liked to do is conference with each student during a project while others were working. This way we could look at where they were at, what their personal goals were for the assignment and assessment and see if they needed any additional support to get there. It was a great way for me to see - who could slip through the cracks if they didn't get more attention and who was flying on their own.

7. I LOVE #7! "Allow new evidence of achievement to replace old evidence of achievement." I just had an issue with my son's teacher who gave him a ZERO because he couldn't get his fingers on the assignment he completed when asked. Turns out it was in his binder all along. He completed all the math problems and she gave him NO credit! My other son's math teacher gives him partial credit when he replaces evidence of learning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gabe Zichermann - Gamification in School

Why is it that the kids can sustain attention to video games for hours on end? Why can they learn things from scratch, fail and try again until they succeed without any adult pressure?

Fluid intelligence helps us problem solve - 5 things people do to improve this: 1. Seek novelty 2. challenge yourself 3. think creatively 4. do things the hard way 5. network -- hmm.... Do Video Games Make Us Smarter????

Friday, December 9, 2011

This is a first run of a "visual rubric" I created for a graphing assignment. Feel free to give advice, critique... It is another way to accommodate visual learners.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Haiku Webinar on July 4th

Haiku is a Learning Management System that integrates with the Google Apps for Edu domain. The users in your domain automatically are available in Haiku when you register for the product. You can get a free trial at: http://www.haikulear

It is a very easy interface to use with many options. You can change the layouts of your pages and move items around by drag and drop. You can embed text, google docs, files, powerpoints, web embed code - insert glogs, youtube videos, surveys, etc... in seconds so it is very easy to get rich content into your pages.

Haiku makes it very easy to apply Universal Design for Learning principles (learn more about UDL)

Transfer content to other classes - you can easily make a content area in one class and then move it or copy it to another one of your courses. You can share a page or the entire class... you can literally tweet it, facebook it, etc...when you send them the link it the person clicks on it and it will prompt them to login to Haiku and then they will be able to pull the content into their own class as long as they have Haiku. Crazy good.

There is a portfolio is a very simple interface that works the same way that the course building works. Schools can create a template to give to students to start with. Students can share a portfolio by sending a link to their portfolio - that won't require an account. You can also EXPORT the portfolio as an entire html file. It is no longer editable but it gives you a copy.

More to follow...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 4 ISTE Conference 2011

8:30am Morning began with Helen Barrett, using Google sites as portfolios.

Helen Barrett, Electronic

Helen is all about creating a comprehensive student-centered system supporting all three levels of ePortfolio development with Google Apps.

She suggest that students/teachers - create/collaborate/store/share artifacts in Google Docs, use blogging for reflection and feedback and presentation websites with Google Sites.

Helen is the GURU of eportfolio and she say after all these years, Google Apps for Edu is the best for the digital portfolio "process..."

Highlights of Helen's presentation (quoted directly from Helen...)

Developmental levels of ePortfolio development:
Level 1. portfolio as storage (collection of artifacts)
Level 2. portfolio as workspace (collection plus reflection/metacognition, organized chronologically)
Level 3. portfolio as showcase (selection, summative reflection and presentation, organized thematically--by outcomes/goals/standards)

GoogleApps can be used at different levels:
Level 1. GoogleDocs & Picasa for storage
Level 2. Blogger for reflection and feedback (formative assessment) (or Google Sites Announcements Page type) - I like this option!
Level 3. Google Sites for showcase/summative assessment

Primary URL resource for Helen's Presentation:

Coming soon!!!! Hapara Teacher’s Dashboard is a set of extensions for Google Apps that makes the digital classroom environment safer, easier to set up and easier to use for students, parents and teachers, and easier to manage for school administrators. More info on this and more at:

9:30 - Student Showcases and Posters

About Blogging:
"Although blogging in schools is still in its infancy, anecdotal evidence suggests that students' interest in, and quantity of, writing increases when their work is published online and -- perhaps even more importantly -- when it is subject to reader comments." Web article:

10:15 - Exhibit HAll

There are so many interactive white boards and devices it is simply overwhelming. ... also loads of online curriculum. What do yo choose, how do you determine whether or not you are missing the boat? You just need to know these things exist and as time goes by and needs to develop, maybe the exposure will help you make those connections to help find a good match in your school. I don't know... It is almost CRAZY! All I know is that I BETTER WIN SOMETHING! Like a trip to ISTE next year... that would work! :)

11:00 - Technology Robotics Playground... We have got to get a fundraiser going for this robot.

11:45 Google AppS

G21 - 21st Century Learning ... Tech Times Live Podcast... search for Googchland in Itunes...

Google's mission is to organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Overview of Google Offerings - Google Maps, Squared...blah - I utilized the time, listening but updating the resources here. Snooze - run over to another session...

GO HERE! 60 Web 2.0 Tools in 60 Minutes:

1:45 - 2:45:
Creating Student Projects on the iPad
Very good BYOL... Story robe is a great app, make a digit story instantly. This is exactly what will work great for ell - but they need the new ipod touch to make it happen and then they are all set! They could take pictures of things around the school and at home - things for common english practice and then create and share stories...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 3 ISTE Conference 2011

Yesterday was packed and today will be the same. Some things on today's list - Google Forms for Teachers & Administrators - it better be good; Engaging Digital Age Learners (good); UDL Posters (A++ Excellent); Multimedia Authoring (BAD); Alan November Students as Creators (Excellent)....then Posters & IPad/IPOD discussion...

9am - UDL Playground
Can we please do more professional development for Universal Design for Learning??? Can we build all of our curriculum around it??? If we do our students will SOAR and they will LOVE School! I spoke with Whitney Hoffman who co-authored, "Differentiated Instruction Book of Lists" - it will be available in August. She mentioned a few good tools... For the IPAD, Audionote & Homework App. She mentions that the Livescribe pen can be incredible helpful to the ADHD llearner. And also, make sure they have a coach at school for help and checking in.

LiveScribe Pen- Watch the Videos.


Maybe we can start a book study:

Create your own book!

Let's offer these PD courses online to teachers for PD credit:

UDL Activities
I could do UDL all day long - please comment below if you have any experience, feedback or ideas on how we can implement more UDL principals in our schools!

10:30am Google Forms for Teachers and Admins

Parent / Student Data - Create a google form to collect data from parents - name, address, phone, who should I call about blah, blah, blah, any other special considerations... Parents will LOVE that you are interested and you will love having that information!

Homework Reflection - students do the homework and then they go to the form and answer the questions - what did you choose, put the names in for them so you can sort by name.

This is for newbs...I need to look at the program and see what else to run to so I don't miss something good. This audience is WOW because you can save the form as an excel spreadsheet. What am I doing here?

Here's Rushton's site:

11:00 - I RAN across the hall to the Grandballroom A to listen to the 2nd half of The Global Learning Imperative, Help Empower Our Students to Take Learning Global...

Alan November recommends we read the CIPA - the ONLY Federal regulation.... you do need to protect children, but TEACHERS DO NOT NEED TO BE BLOCKED!!! CIPA is written so teachers can use their own judgement to get through a filter to determine and decide about what they think is appropriate and valuable for a teachable moment.

The top two - FACEBOOK and TWITTER - how parents choose to get information from the school.

Key ideas behind the GCF is there are two groups on two continents can teach and learn together.
The engineering teacher in England teaches the students in US engineering and the US teacher teaches the English students "Global Diversity." Students use screenshare and skype to share conversations and models of learni1ng.

Student presenter says - they don't need a teacher in the room while doing this because it is "engaging..."

Random: Ask your students to get a List of Students in England that Study the American Revolution - Alan November tells me not one student in the US cannot find it - because they cannot search globally... on Google - hash tags for egypt, kids are incompetent in making the connections - the global connections... We need to teach them the basic literacy of being global students. try this site:sch:uk"american revolution" - if you change "american revolution" it will look for universities...

12:15pm - Peter Scott, Presenter ( Brain Based Teaching Topic...Cengage Learning - Largest Aggregator of Information... Gale Virtual Reference Library.

"Kids today are far more visual ..." Peter discussions the parts of the brain and what they do... neocortex, etc.

Brain Based Learning Presentation will address ...

  • Stimulating, varied input
  • Active, meaningful learning,
  • Accurate, timely feedback,
  • Safe- non-threatening environment

Compelling, relevant tasks and goal setting - closely related to video games... read "how video games can make you smarter cnn article" ..."require extensive problem solving, teamwork and dynamic decision-making skills." ... encourages fans to fall on their face and then pick them selves up and try again without ridicule or embarrassment..."

Video Games are structured - go through the game and learn things and then you get to the ultimate battle where you have to use the skills you learn to win the battle... isn't that what we want in school? We could learn from the gaming industry... using concepts/ideas to establish a ground for learning.

Kids are generally not laughing and joking when playing video games - they are working...actually working and they are serious about doing well.

Q2L-curriculum based on gaming - Check out:

Book - Brain Based Teaching, Teaching with the Brain in Mind, Jensen, Eric. 2005. Buy on Amazon

Check out the Freedom Writers -

1:15 - FIND Food - every place is packed in the Terminal Marketplace so I found a WAWA and grabbed a couple of wraps for Cam and I and we sat in the ISTE Central Lounge. Cam stays and I go...

2pm - Multimedia Authoring Tools - Well, I ran over here so I could here about PowerPoint. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I'm outta here....

2:15 -
Coaching Best Practices...Coaches have been providing support and opportunity for technology growth in schools across Pennsylvania. In this session, school leaders share best practices in coaching from various perspectives.Maybe I can pull some ideas from here, on how to improve "coaching" in our district. email contact

Instructional Technology person speaks about how she spent all of her time fixing things, but when classrooms of the future (pa listserv) started it changed her experience. .... TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR LISTSERVS!

We need to do PD on UDL and Project Based Learning.

This is great - confirmation of how much time it takes to be a tech coach. If you agree to help a teacher with a project, you need to make sure you have the HOURS of time available to prep and work on that project... Other coaches speak to the importance of reading, research and own PD - so you can be able to help when people ask!

She says, "she answers questions almost 24/7" - I know that is important. People don't need help just during the school day - Much of my job is done at night and on the weekends. It is very rare that I "check out...." Glad I am not alone.

| | Job Description of Coach in PA |

There needs to be a shared vision - Superintendent, Assist. Superintendent, Principals, SPED, and teachers...

3pm - Time for a Quick stop at the Student Posters and then off to the Alan November presentation

3:45 - Where the heck is Cam - eating up bandwith somewhere on my iPAd...
Digital Learning Farm: Students as Contributors PACC Grand Ballroom B

Student shows Jing as a way to make math tutorials....and make things for "mathdream" app...

Kudos to Stephanie Karabaic - with your summer reading program - the online book club! Alan November highlights how students are motivated when you create a learning environment that they can reflect in and that is open and voluntary. They will out perform your expectations, they will outperform others in regards to their engagement in summer reading. Yahoo, 21st century learning... Do you think you can get the author to join you on a Skype session or book chat? Ask!!!!

Primary Pad for young children - similar to Google Docs for little ones...?

Math instruction - different students taking notes on a WIKI or BLOG so you can share and contribute...authentic learning.

Alan repeated a lot of information from previous sessions, somewhat dissapointing.

Exhibit Hall - A visit to a few vendors...

5:00-6:15 - Birds of a Feather IPAD IPOD IPHONE APPS - a great session with excellent resources...

It has been quite a day... lots of running. We stopped at some additional posters sessions but mostly got handouts, posters are very crowded it is difficult to engage. If you are there first you can get the presentation but it is hard to walk into the middle of it. I recommend if you are going to do a Poster, to plan it well... make sure you have everything clearly defined in attractive posters behind you, that you have a computer display set up to show examples, handouts, with contact information and websites, etc. Make it easy for people to take a snapshot, a video, or simply grab a handout...and don't forget the

Quick dinner and then to bed. One more day...where does the time go? I already cannot wait for the next ISTE conference!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 2 ISTE Conference 2011 6/27

This morning started out with a visit to the Student Showcases. It is always packed and full of chaos. It's difficult to focus on one particular project so it is better to go with a destination in mind. I was looking for the Universal Design for Learning Using Data Analysis- 7th Grade presentation...that was my main focus and I was not disappointed!

Implementing New Curricular Learning with Universally Designed Experiences....

Perth Amboy Home Page and Link to Grant -

ISTE Presentation:

Align Center

Next, Cameron and I hit the EXPO center and hit a lot of presenters - got our Tshirts and freebies, but learned a lot! For example, we can request that the CSPAN bus visit our school....AND...what Google is "presenting" we already know and our doing in our LebApps already....AND later I will post a video presentation from GenYes - and yes, I will be looking for someone who would like to be a GenYes advisor!

Yikes, it's almost 11am already and I've got to get to the BYOL session "Technology for Improving Staff Morale.." You don't want to miss BYOL because you have to register in advance for these babies and you are only allowed 1 per day.

11:00am Staff Morale Rushton Hurley, Next Vista for Learning - focused on being creative and finding creative approaches to pd - for kids and teachers. Keep 'em motivated! Ok the biggest value is the link to his website: - he believes in sharing so get those ideas and use them.

12:15pm - Great Discovery @ the Games and Simulation Playground. We were introduced to! Wow~ Apps for IPAD to help with math facts and more! Cannot wait to share with Judy Ross - we were just discussing this last week! These programs are free and I can envision putting IPOD TOUCH in the classrooms that kids can use during rotation times, etc... just another way to engage! I will post a video on this later as well!

Quick get to Google to the MAX!

12:45 - and

Check out the links above for more info on Howie's presentation. I left his presentation early to get to the exhibit all because it was just one slide after another of things you can do with google- like book lit trips, etc. Not really engaging or stimulating for specific ideas so I took down the links and scrammed where the action is in the Exhibit Hall!

Collaboration Fluency: Creating a Learning Environment for the Digital Age Classroom Ian Jukes, 21st Century Fluency Project with Lee Crockett Collaboration isn't a digital age skill, it's a digital age essential. This session examines fluency and how to teach it in a problem-based learning environment. Watch the recorded session

1-2:30 - Exhibit Hall - Toshiba, Vex,

2:30 - Collaborative Communities with Google Sites..
We are doing it in Lebanon already! But we can do more - here are some of my notes from the session.

Collaborative Documents - to build projects/plan itineraries together; student writing, dynamic seating chart (google presentation)
Forms - Formative and Summative Assessments - Pre Assessment, - Formative - Modify your instruction as you go along; Student Surveys - HS has already done this!
Groups is a Google version of a listserv; Use it for class discussions...; Embed the group into your classroom site; Easily send out emails to students and have them send them out as well; Teach students how to use email for productivity!

The bigggest FREE online course is starting now. If you are interested in blended and online learning I suggest you look at this course.... a FREE course... has the most members ever... if you are interested in online learning.

  • Both teachers and students create a portfolio
  • Students be required to create a portfolio to demonstrate their projects, competencies, extracurricular, job shadowing, elo etc
Check out this video on how students have become the IT trainers for Google Apps for Edu!

3:30 - Exhibit Hall - I never did find Haiku but we were inspired with Robotics and programming:

Brainpop has
new "games" added to the mix and special pricing for "districts" - we should find out what we are paying for Brainpop and see if we can pull it into at least a K-8 license. Also, I would trade Atomic Learning for Brainpop in a heartbeat - it is CHOCK full of things for teachers, students and even parents! Here's a little video presentation from the Brainpop booth:

Did I mention that "Blended and Online" Learning are all over the place? Blackboard, Edline -
there's which has content built into just makes me crazy with all of these options!

Check this out: www.worldleadershipschoolcom

Funding Factory!
I signed up the district for - non-profit, fundraising through recycling program... cartridges, cell phones get you tech equipment, sporting goods, other stuff...Each school should make a "club" or get PTA to organize...

Special Ed still looking for IEP writing resource? Check out

There were tons of resources for math - online based programs K-12. Education City was kind enough to give us a video demo TBP

Take aways & Quotes from Day One, Sunday 6/26

Moving into day two, I can't stop thinking about how exciting it is to hear so much research being shared about the brain. There is a lot of focus on student centered learning, Universal Design for Learning and most importantly - that each learner learns in their own unique way!

Based on my experience in educational technology, this is the reason technology is such a vital part of the learning process. Not only are we providing skills students will need or need now, but we are now capable of giving students choice in how they "receive" and how they "demonstrate" learning. We are able to work in harmony with their digital brains.

The president of ISTE said in her introduction last evening, "Many teachers teach the way they were taught...we need to change that..." I believe in many classrooms across America, we have. But we still have a long way to go. "We need to tap into the interests of students..."

In regards to how do we get there, she points out that in her experience the Professional Development Coach has been the most valuable - providing just in time job training. This could be a technology facilitator, technology integrator - someone who works with teachers to help them develop their expertise...

"Great success comes in schools with strong leader groups whose vision and passion make it happen...creating student environments to unlock their potential and thrive in a complex and ever changing world."

Per Dr. John Medina, "Every brain is wired differently from every other brain and learns in ways unique to that wiring..." How's that for a teaching challenge! :0)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Iste Conference 2011 Sunday 6/26 Keynote

Dr. John Medina Keynote Speaker

Brilliant performance by Dr. John, who addressed how each brain is unique and that we are all equipped to learn in our own individual ways.

Watch it recorded on the ISTE Website

Everyone should read about Brain Rules before raising children or teaching! It is never too late. Check it out! http:http:

Welcome to Brain Rules from Pear Press on Vimeo.

Approaching Grantgivers, How to write and how to sell it!

Presenter: Sheryl r. Abshire (

Key points:
  • Did you lose out on a grant? Ask to see all the ones that were funded. Look at the comments from reviewers on your grant.
  • Want to develop winning edge? Volunteer to read grants!
  • Research & background information - Go online and learn about funding for your topic, history of your topic, other issues related to your topic...
  • Follow the RFP - grantors pay attention to whether you can "follow directions..."
  • Have your grant "proofed" by an outsider
  • Align with District/Board/School Improvement Goals
  • Don't overpromise - keep it realistic.
  • Create a compelling argument
  • Focus on outcomes when writing your goal
  • Your objectives are what you will do to achieve your goal
  • Even if they don't require it, offer to present to their board or create an electronic presentation...
  • What other venues will you present at?
  • Hot topics: critical thinking, higher order thinking, problem solving, STEM, math and science, bilingual, social science, sped, career, and parent involvment/adult literacy.
Use marketing skills, ideas, and techniques to gain a competitive edge.

Don't give up!

An idea generated:
Goal: Increase student participation in Universal Design for Learning by implementing a laptop "checkout" program through the library so students can "take home" the computer with wireless access and view the multiple means of representation, participate in multiple means of engagement, and having choice in multiple means of demonstration of understanding. .... this needs work but the idea can be "modified" ... bridging the digital divide, student centered, teaching teacher about UDL....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

SCHOOL CIO: The New One-to-One

SCHOOL CIO: The New One-to-One

It is so important that schools get the support they need to expand and improve wireless access for all so everyone can maximize their efficiency with digital resources - hardware, apps, tools, etc.