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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Reflecting on Professional Development

What did you think of our speaker on executive function last week? I've posted my thoughts here, and would love to hear yours!

I also want to send a shout-out to our ATSs who were at a conference last week and used Google docs to take notes. The cool thing about it was the ability to share the notes collaboratively. I was stuck back in the office but felt like I had a picture into what was being discussed at this conference. This method of storing notes means that multiple people can access the notes, and they create a record of the professional development, with the possibility of returning to them at a later date or building upon them. It often seems like our schools have limited follow-through from people attending conferences, so this use of Google docs is a nice example of trying to get more impact from these professional development experiences.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A rationale for instructional web presence

Recently I've wanted to articulate why teachers should have a web presence. please see my recent blog post about this on ISEnet.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Using Technology in the Classroom - the Mobile Experience

Making class a little more fun can be easy with technology. To further expand, "making class easier" can seem a lot like making class harder for the teacher. Now with access to everything from "Angry Birds" to Educational Apps on iPad, to blogs and webcomics on the internet, classes have become inundated with technology to try. In some ways it may seem more difficult to pick through the tangle. If we look at something more specific, say the iPad, then we see it has been geared toward education, but has it been geared toward teaching? Perhaps it is, but not necessarily the way of teaching as experienced previously.
In a recent conversation, the need to adapt teaching styles to new technology arose. One of the participants in the discussion noted that it was good to instigate integration of technology into the classroom, but without understanding how to utilize the technology in new ways it would be useless. Nobody likes to be told they are "behind the times", as seen in the post in the "Bright Ideas" blog titled 17 Signs your classroom is behind the times, but as life gets more and more mobile, noted in the article over at eSchool News, there is an increasing need to familiarize with the mobile technology available not only in life, but also in the classroom (which is purported as the preparation for life).
As a demonstration of the more common way to teach, in a recent article posted at iLearn Technology blog, the author mentions using webcomics to enliven a class*. The webcomic they refer to is "Brown Sharpie" (a mathmatics webcomic**). By using iPad applications and webcomics, the teacher integrated technology into the classroom in a manner similar to the old way where maybe a clipping would be brought in and discussed. Furthermore, the judging of resources for research are eased with Apps from the app list mentioned by Apps in Education in an article on iPad Apps used to research projects.

In a more modern approach, the student is given the power wherein they must utilize the search and collate functions important to life outside the classroom. In an article by Michele O'Dell, two approaches to the iPad in conjunction with curriculum are approached. The Apps in Education blog also has a comprehensive list of strategies posted recently as Mobile Learning and Tablets in Education RoundUp!. If each student has access to an iPad, then learning how to individualize the learning experience through projects like creating an eBook on the iPad might be considered.

Whatever the method of integrating technology into the classroom, hopefully this post assisted in pointing out some resources to assist the process.

*Although these are educational comics, it is always recommended that one checks that the specific comic of the day is up to standard for the age group the viewing thereof is geared toward.

**[In this mathematical and science vein, some other fun math comics are "Spiked Math" (although it is for a slightly more college-aged readership at times), "Peebles Lab" (Apologies to English grammarians for there is no apostrophe - it is a science based comic), "xkcd" (the golden standard of stick-figure geek comics), and "(x, why?)" (a math comic - tends toward puns). Some of the fun of using webcomics is not only in the connection, but also in updating how one interacts with technology. Some of the webcomics (Brown Sharpie) also include apps.]

Thursday, June 30, 2011

iPad review

For the last year, I used an iPad as part of my work at school. In the end, I actually think it is the iPad 2, and any future upgraded versions, that will actually be able to be of use in the classroom.

The most significant issue with the use of the original iPad in the classroom is its inability to mirror the display, a problem that it should be of note that Apple has fixed with the iPad 2. This lack of mirroring meant that that many of the interesting educational apps that were produced for the iPad over the past few years were far less useful than they would have been had I been able to actually to use them in class by projecting them through the SmartBoard. The ability to mirror on the newer generations of the iPad will greatly expand the usefulness of the device in the classroom.

The other issue of note with the iPad is its lack of Adobe Flash capabilities. An increasing number of publishers are making much less expensive electronic versions of their textbooks, but some of those textbooks require flash. Steve Jobs has said on more than one occasion that he has no plan to ever put Flash on the iPad, so there will continue to be both websites and textbooks that cannot be used on the device

A clear benefit of the iPad is the ability for both teachers and students to greatly reduce the number of textbooks needing to be carried on a daily basis. I was able to put all of my textbooks, as well as supplementary texts, onto my iPad through the purchase of eBooks from publishers and/or the Kindle or iBook apps. The only exception was my US History textbook that necessitated the use of Flash [see aforementioned Flash issue]. Some publishers are also making a free copy of an electronic textbook available with each purchase of the paper text. One could also certainly argue that it is a lot harder to ever forget your book for class if all of your books are just one device that you have to grab.

A drawback to use the use of eBooks, however, is the inability to make margin notes; most of the books allowed for highlighting, but not writing in the text. Additionally, there are sometimes differences in pagination between electronic and paper texts, and so if both versions are being used in classroom, page numbers to use as reference points may not match.

The feature of the iPad that I found the most useful was the ability to save handwritten notes. I greatly prefer to handwrite my notes to typing them, and using the Evernote application, I was able to take notes in meetings that would be automatically saved and dated for easy access later. For students [or adults!] struggling with organization, note-taking applications could be of great use.

The iPad is fun, nearly effortless to transport, and makes both carrying and organizing notes and textbooks easy. An interesting idea for the future might be to have an entire classroom pilot the use of the iPad to fully test its usefulness as an educational device. For me, the iPad certainly saved me time, money and effort in a myriad of ways, but I cannot quite support Apple’s early claims that it is the educational wave of the future.

By Nia Hays

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Exercise your brain this summer with AGoogleADay

Every day Google posts AGoogleADay- a daily puzzle for you to solve using your creativity and search skills using Google search, images, calculator, maps, etc. The problems usually involve 2-4 steps and can be solved within minutes. There is no right way to solve them, but there is always only 1 correct answer. Take a few minutes and exercise your brain this summer, or use the puzzles as fun, quick challenges in your classroom next fall.

Why not try one today? A Google A Day keeps the summer boredom away...

Google has also created "Deja Google," a wormhole-inspired time machine that searches the Internet as it existed before the puzzle was posted online. This way, your search for the answer won't result in anyone else's blog post containing their answer or how they discovered it, spoiling all your fun.

P.S. Thanks to Svetlana for finding this fun game to keep us entertained!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beginning to Understand Technology

While it is fantastic to innovate the classroom via technology with new gadgets, sometimes it is also good to re-establish roots and understanding of all the technology already available.

In this vein of thought, the Diigo Education Group focused on the article: Technology 101 by ProfHacker, a website under the purview of The Chronicle of Higher Education. First, they mention ThatCamp (link here: This is an "unconference" which is held every year at the Center for History and New Media from 2008 through to the present. The topic of this year's conference contained a theme of "back to basics".

This return to understanding the basics of technology includes such gems as Google's Teach Parents Tech Form (one can only send 12 videos at a time; however, the videos are available on the site) and focus on the importance of building a foundation to facilitate utilizing technology with greater ease. The ability to use technology is important not only for the ability to actually use one's phone, but it is important for teachers in order to better integrate technology with the classroom.

Items that some people take for granted, such as copy/paste may seem too "beginner" for some, but it is important to know. Are there keyboard commands to do copy and paste? (The answer is "yes".) What about passwords? Is your password secure? (If the password is a sequential string of numbers like "12345678" probably not.) A password is important because even if your security software that protects all internet interactions is top-notch, if your lock is the equivalent of a piece of yarn then it negates the security. Can you search the internet? (If the only bookmarks in the browser are links that a friend sent, the answer is probably "no".) How do you turn off that annoying spell check? (The alternative question is how to turn it back on after one too many homophones slip by.) How do I know a link goes to the same place the face of it tells me? (Hint: hover your mouse over the link, but do not click! You can read the address of the place it is attempting to send you.)

Hopefully, the link to Technology 101 article (posted again here for your convenience: ) will help answer these questions and help give a solid foundation in the basics to all who read it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

6th graders create Internet Safety games for 4th graders

Over the course of the past year our 6th graders have been discussing Internet Safety topics including private identity information, chatting online, copyright law, email etiquette, cyberbullying, and digital footprints. They recently shared some of their knowledge with our current 4th graders through movies, PowerPoint presentations and jeopardy games, and scratch projects. Their final scratch projects, as well as some practice ones they created earlier this year, are posted online in a virtual gallery. Check them out!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

1st Grade Pen Pals Project

Looking to connect to students in another part of the world? 1st graders at BB&N are doing just that using During their study of Mexico 1st graders are doing a pen pal project with two schools in Mexico, one in Tijuana and one in Saltillo. Each BB&N student is paired with a student from one of the schools. The students write letters to each other, take pictures of themselves and important places around their schools and then the teachers send them back and forth. The students are really enjoying learning about their buddies, their schools and daily life in Mexico and with the speed of e-mail the students are getting responses to their letters/questions quickly. has been a great tool in this project. There are thousands of teachers/classes from around the world on We found many in Mexico that fit our criteria. We are doing a simple e-mail exchange but epals also connects classes that want to focus on a particular project. The site also offers curriculum guides for those teachers/classes that help framing their pen pal exchange.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What is a PLN?

Have you ever heard of a PLN? It seems to be quite a buzzword these days. A PLN, or Personal Learning Network, is a network of people from whom one gathers information as well as interacts with, though that does not have to be face-to-face. While the acronym is relatively new, the idea behind a PLN is not. Teachers have always shared with and learned from each other. Some ways you can use a PLN:

1. I belong to a group of Massachusetts educators (MEMSET- Massachusetts Elementary and Middle School Educational Technologists) that just started meeting together and collaborating this past year. We have been gathering every month or so, using an email list for questions and for posting news, and using Google Aps to share our curriculum.

2. You can find a ning related to your interests:

After a technology conference with Tom Daccord of EdTechTeacher, I joined his ning for the National Council for Social Studies.

I am also a member of the Classroom 2.0 ning which often sends out announcements about live and interactive webinars.

Lastly, I am a member of the Independent School Educators Network ning and a couple of its subgroups, including “Schools of the Future.”

3. You can use social networking, such as Diigo:

I am a member of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch Users group to get updates about using handheld devices in the classroom.

BB&N’s technology department members have created a group in Diigo so we can share articles with each other, and all of the pages we bookmark get posted on our technology department blog for the whole school.

4. You can follow members in your field through their blogs and tweets. Though I’m quite busy these days, I try to follow leaders in Educational Technology. I went to a presentation at BLC a few summers ago where Liz Davis and Lisa Thumann presented “25 Ed Tech Leaders to follow.”

How are you using your PLN? Please share your ideas below. Not sure where to start? Take a look at, the personal learning network for educators.

Quick Math Information: iTunes Applications

This may be old news, and the offer will expire quickly, but from now until May 6th the "Everyday Math Apps" sponsored by the McGraw-Hill School Education Group are free to download for teacher appreciation week.

The link to the iTunes page is here:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird Blog

For the past several years, and thanks to the inspiration of Eric Hudson’s idea, my class creates a blog as we read To Kill a Mockingbird. The book is great fun study with eighth graders both because of their eagerness to practice their new skills in literary analysis as well as their passionate responses to the events in the book. The blog provides a perfect venue for them to share insights into the novel and to create a communal, public record of the evolution of their ideas. They post about symbols they identify in the novel. They post about their moral outrage as they read about the verdict. They comment on each other’s posts in order to agree, disagree, or refine their classmates’ ideas.

Students are required to write polished paragraphs and to support their ideas with evidence from the text. Because they know how public and lasting their writing is, and that its purpose is to build a communal resource, they are invested in contributing their best work. Each student writes frequently and receives immediate feedback from their classmates as well as me. This blog has become an exciting and invaluable component of teaching this novel. By the last chapter, the students have worked together to create something for themselves and each other of genuine intellectual achievement.

Besty Canaday, MS English Department Head

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Web Browsers: Further Exploration

While downloading Google Chrome (a web browser like Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox), I came across a good beginners guide to web browsers and the internet. If anyone is interested in the basics of web browsers and internet usage, then this link: has a handy starting guide.

From the charming format that imitates a book to helpful information regarding cloud computing and a thorough explanation of cookies this handy guide of "20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web" is a good primer to understanding more about the internet and browsers.

One of the chapters of the book that might be especially helpful for projects is the "Using Web Addresses to Stay Safe" section. (Found here: Although not directly related to school projects the chapter addresses discerning how to tell what sites are legitimate and which are not.

Hopefully, starting with the site "20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web" will lead to learning more than 20 things about the internet and web browsers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

6th Grade ACTion Project at the MFA

This past Sunday, April 19th, at the annual BB&N at the Museum of Fine Arts day, all 6th grade students had their impressionistic artwork on display. In addition, there were laptops available at the MFA for visitors to view the students' recent technology projects incorporating their art pieces with French and Spanish recordings about their painters. This project has been called the MFA ACTion project for Arts, Culture, and Technology.

All 6th graders completed a master study in their art classes with Sharen Bowden then researched their painters and paintings in their Spanish and French classes with Senora Cristina Carrion Murphy and Madame Soizick Munir. In technology class the students then scanned their artwork and recorded their Spanish and French scripts. All elements of the project were pulled together by the students using MIT's scratch programming environment where some students also chose to animate their paintings. All projects have been posted online in a gallery.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Poetry Project in the English Classroom

For the last two weeks, eight graders were working on composing a series of creative interpretations of the selected poet’s work. Today in class they were presenting and explaining their multimedia piece to the entire class. There were 4 required components to the project:
  1. Create a Visual Interpretation of a poem into a comic strip
  2. Create a Multimedia interpretation of a single poem: compose the film so that the images enrich the tone, sound and meaning of the poem
  3. Write a Biographical Poem that pays tribute to the poet by imagining, in detail, a key event from the poet’s life, using real facts and details garnered from the research.
  4. Write an Explication describing the process and the choices that helped make the comic/video/poem.

The videos are made private on our 8th grade youtube Poetry Channel. You must be signed in to view the videos. Please ask Svetlana, Paige, Betsy, Ethan or an 8th grader for a password.

Here are a few examples of student's creative intepretations:

Dr. Rosario Sánchez Gómez Comments on Her Smartboard

Dr. Rosario Sánchez Gómez (Upper School Spanish) commenting on her experience with SmartBoard technology in the classroom says that she admires the quality of the screen and speakers, and that it makes watching movies and videos more enjoyable. The tactile experience and projector enable “a far more interactive experience by opening any program with the tap of a finger and knowing that I still have the students full attention.” She says the experience has enhanced classroom learning, to the point where the class often works on literature review on the spot in the classroom, but she would like more time to explore some of the unique functions of the SmartBoard, such as the Notebook software.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eric Whitacre: A virtual choir 2,000 voices strong

In a moving and madly viral video last year, composer Eric Whitacre led a virtual choir of singers from around the world. He talks through the creative challenges of making music powered by YouTube, and unveils the first 2 minutes of his new work, "Sleep," with a video choir of 2,052. The full piece premieres April 7 (yes, on YouTube!).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Reflecting on B-12 English Department Meeting

At our recent B-12 cross-divisional faculty meeting the English Department shared a variety of technology-related projects. From the Lower School we heard about Dibels reading assessment software, Lexia software for students' self-paced reading instruction, and Scratch programming projects for developing facility with oral and multimedia expression. From the middle school we watched several student-produced videos that demonstrated a high level of engagement with their novel study and great use of video-editing as a publishing format. From the upper school we heard about the advantages of class blogs and FirstClass conferences for communication and passing of electronic documents.

We also heard about Ms. Kornet's "ning" project for her class's study of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. [A ning is a social media platform on which participants have a profile page, blog, and discussion threads, as well as a feed of all activity on the site, not unlike Facebook.] In Ms. Kornet's project each student assumes the role of one of the characters from the novel and participates on the ning in the manner of that character. Students don't learn the assumed identities of their classmates until the end of the project. Here is a screenshot from the ning site (click on it to enlarge and read the content.) What a wonderful way to build engagement with this novel!

What struck me about this meeting of the English Department was not only the great number of innovative "tech" projects going on (and great teachers!), but also that our basic curricula around reading, writing, and oral expression has in many respects adopted digital tools that we take for granted. For instance, the use of word-processing, keyboarding, and reading online didn't come up as a topic at this particular meeting. I think this is because these tools are embedded on a daily basis we don't necessarily think of them as "tech," and certainly not as innovative. Part of my role is to articulate our vision of what we ask ourselves and our students to do with technology, and I think we are well-positioned to consider next steps in our basic expectations for routine use of digital tools for all students. For example, all students should learn to produce compelling written text published digitally that has embedded hyperlinks and multimedia elements that model current best practices of publishing on the web. Students should gain fluency and independence communicating and writing collaboratively using free tools like Google Docs and personal blogs. Students should routinely use digital tools for brainstorming, bookmarking, and citing sources. Students should gain experience and support with non-linear but focused patterns (and habits of mind) of reading online. I think we have several shining examples of these technologies in our classrooms, but I'd encourage us to move from conceptualizing them as "tech" and move towards the day when these will be the tools we take for granted, embedded across the curriculum. 

Lastly, in relation to our English curriculum I'd echo nearly every library mission statement I've ever read which is encouraging a lifelong love of reading. We want our students to truly enjoy reading and writing in all its forms. This is a good topic for a future meeting, and when we work together, teachers, librarians, and technologists we are the better for it. I welcome your comments and reactions, and encourage your participation in this digital text forum by use of the "comments" feature below.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vocab Grabber: an Amazing Online Text Analysis Tool

Try VocabGrabber today! -


VocabGrabber analyzes any text you're interested in, generating lists of the most useful vocabulary words and showing you how those words are used in context. Just copy text from a document and paste it into the box, and then click on the "Grab Vocabulary!" button. VocabGrabber will automatically create a list of vocabulary from your text, which you can then sort, filter, and save... read more and try it now now!

I grabbed some text from today's CNN headlines, pasted into VocabGrabber and Voila! CLICK on the image above to see the results OR Try VocabGrabber with one of sites samples:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3rd Grade Africa Research

During the winter 3rd grade studied Africa. As part of this unit students worked in partners to learn about one African country in detail. They did the research using tools they learned about during Information Science/Technology class including GoogleEarth, the BB&N Lower School library catalog and
After gathering their facts the students then choose how they wanted to present their information. Each group was allowed to choose their own style of presentation and this year projects included Powerpoint presentations, Jeopardy games, movies, posters and Scratch animations. The students did amazing work and this week they are presenting their projects to their classes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What is Blended Learning?

Q: What is Bended Learning?

A: Blended Learning refers to a mixing of different learning environments. The phrase has many specific meanings based upon the context in which it is used. Blended learning gives learners and teachers a potential environment to learn and teach more effectively.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted by Mike Gwaltney on November 9, 2010

Watch these 2 videos from Carpe Diem and Millis High to start to imagine the possibilities of what blended-learning schools do in helping their students achieve stellar results with models that increase productivity and personalize learning

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Is school the place where students get information?

Diana Laufenberg teaches 11th-grade American History at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. In this TED talk video she shares 3 surprising things she has learned about teaching -- including a key insight about learning from mistakes.

What do you think? Please leave a comment!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

iPad 2

You may have heard a bit about the iPad 2 which will be available March 11th. But if you want to learn more then visit and watch the video. There are some significant new features on the iPad. In addition to the 2 cameras, there is iMovie and Garageband, which almost completes the iLife suite of software available on other Macs.

Arts Day Festival at the Middle School - Friday, March 11th

The Middle School Arts Festival is on Friday, March 11th. As part of the KNBC curriculum for the year, the members of KNBC will be taking a lead role in the Arts Day Festival/Celebration. Kids in KNBC club will run a 85-90 minutes workshops for their peers. To prepare for the workshop they were asked to create an attractive flyer that gives an overview of their workshop, a sample lesson plan, a How-to handout and a video example to be presented during this week's morning assembly. Below are a few examples created by the kids:

Xtranormal Workshop:

Animation Workshop:

Below is the list of workshops offered March 11th; all were chosen by the kids based on their interest and technical expertise:
  • Make Your Dream Trailer
  • Satirical Shorts with iMovie
  • Music Videos
  • Animation Cartoons
  • Stories with XTRANORMAL
  • Fun with Photoshop

A Day of Community Building and Networking for Educators at the Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave, Boston, MA - MARCH 24th, 2011

RYMAEC events are designed to present and inform innovative middle school and high school web and art classroom strategies. This year RYMAEC is hosting two events on the same day. You must sign up for each event separately and in advance. Both events take place at the Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave, Boston, MA

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tech in the Classroom with Eric Hudson

The idea to use a blog in my English courses came out of a feeling of frustration: my students’ definition of “doing the reading” each night was far too passive. I had heard too many stories of students who skimmed the reading and then shoved the text into their backpacks, forgotten, or, exhausted from doing their other homework, collapsed in bed at the end of the night and struggled, half-asleep, through an English assignment. I wanted students to spend a few minutes reflecting on the reading and preparing useful insights for the next day’s discussion.

I have been using blogs off and on since I taught at the Middle School (and Blogger is still, for me, the easiest, most intuitive platform), but it was at the beginning of this year, my second at the Upper School, that I decided to make a bigger leap: the blog would be a yearlong course activity and resource run completely by the students. I gave them a rubric for posting and commenting, but the topics of their posts were up to them. Resistance from the students was immediate: You mean we have to write on top of the reading? We have to read the book and our classmates’ thoughts? And then comment? After a few weeks, however, as the blog became part of the rhythm of the course, I noticed a dialogue forming between the blog and my classroom; students were taking ideas raised by others in class and talking about them on the blog and vice versa. I was getting two classes worth of discussion for each “live class” I taught.

Especially with my sophomore courses, where students in two different sections could interact via the blog, I found the students taking initiative beyond what I required: one student, for example, noticed that the actress who played Lady Macbeth in the recent PBS version of the play also had a role in the “Harry Potter” films. That student posted a few stills from both movies on the blog, which set the class abuzz.

This is the ultimate goal of a blog: connections students make in their own minds on their own time can be shared immediately and in real time. It can be an outlet for those students who might be shy, or might not be able to get in that key idea during class discussion, or need to write their thoughts out in advance to feel confident enough to say something in front of a group.

The side effect I never anticipated? The writing on the blog is excellent, sometimes even better than what I get in essays. It seems that when you’re writing something you know fifteen of your peers will be reading, you’re more motivated to put your best writing forward.

- Eric Hudson
US English Teacher

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Conference "Take-Aways"

NAIS 2011 Conference
Professional development is part of the mission of the BB&N Technology Department. As such, we decided that any time a member of our department goes to a conference we would report back to the team on what we learned by posting a blog entry. I recently attended the 2011 NAIS annual conference and afterwards spent some time thinking about the experience... My conference "take-aways" are fully described in my blog on ISEnet, but here is the list in brief:

1) We need to help improve public education.
2) YouTube has some pretty amazing analytic tools. (see video below)
3) North Carolina Association of Independent Schools is leading an online learning program.
4) Cloud computing offers a wealth of free online software.
5) Google's iCal feeds are pretty cool.

Friday, February 25, 2011

"What's Your Story?" Video Contest

Maybe you’ve seen the headlines. Maybe you’ve seen it for yourself. But you’re probably aware it’s more important than ever to use the Internet safely and responsibly. Whether it’s about cyberbullying, hackers, or privacy, there’s probably a story you can share that could help others be safe and responsible online.

That’s why you’re invited to join the contest. Submit and share a short video and you could win $10,000, or other cash prizes.

What's the deal?

Prizes: One $10,000USD grand prize; six $500USD category prizes (three awarded to schools per category and three awarded to individuals per category). Prizes are in US Dollars or equivalent in British Pound Sterling or Canadian Dollars at contest closing date.

Deadline: Upload by 11:59:59 PM US Pacific Time on April 5, 2011

Content: Your video must address one of three

Being A Good Online Citizen

Using A Mobile Phone Wisely

Maintaining Your Privacy Online

Eligibility: All residents of Canada (excluding Quebec), the UK and the US, 13 years of age and older.

For more information and to see last years winners:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Doodle 4 Google K-12 contest

Doodle 4 Google is a competition where Google invites K-12 students to use their artistic talents to think big and redesign Google’s homepage logo for millions to see. At Google, they believe that dreaming about future possibilities leads to tomorrow’s leaders and inventors, so this year they're inviting U.S. kids to exercise their creative imaginations around the theme, "What I’d like to do someday…"

Whether students want to find a cure for cancer or take a trip to the moon, it all starts with art supplies and some 8.5" x 11" paper. And, one lucky student artist will take home a $15,000 college scholarship and $25,000 technology grant for their school, among many other prizes.

Registration closes at 11:59:59 p.m. Pacific Time (PT) on March 2, 2011, and entries must be postmarked by March 16, 2011 11:59:59 p.m. Pacific Time (PT). The winning doodle will be featured on's homepage on May 20, 2011.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remix Culture, Fair Use and Online Tools for Capturing Audio and Video Content From the Internet

Q: What is Remix Culture?
A: Making new stuff from the existing stuff

Center for Social Media resources:

This video explains why the Code for Fair-Use in Online Video got created, and how the Code can help you create online videos that employ fair use of copyrighted material.

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creativity. Creative Commons can help you find photos, music, text, books and educational materials.

Tools for Capturing Video and Audio Content From the Internet

Media Converter converts your audio and video files from your hard disk, by url/stream (http,ftp, mms,rtsp) or directly from websites like Facebook or Youtube

Listen to youtube your best source for converting YouTube to MP3. You can convert unlimited YouTubevideos to MP3 for FREE.

Video2Mp3 allows you to convert and download YouTube videos to MP3 file online.

Screencast-O-Matic is the original online screen recorder for one-click recording from your browser on Windows, Mac, or Linux with no install for FREE!

Sketchcasting allows you to record a sketch with or without voice, explain something, have fun, or create art. Then embed the sketch player in your blog or point people to your sketch channel.

Singaporean Schools to Utilize iPads in the Classroom

"A high school in Singapore has recently spent a lot of cash ($103,430 to be approximate) for 150 iPads from Apple. Part of a pilot project to determine how useful iPads can be in the classroom, the iPads have been given out to children to take notes, make worksheets, and look up additional information on their current subject. The dean of the curriculum wants this project to give children more freedom in the classroom, to depend less on their teachers and traditional ways of teaching. With an iPad, children aren’t limited to sitting down at a desk, since they don’t need a table to write with anymore, but how effective this project will be is yet to be known. This means that teachers now have to spend extra time teaching kids how to operate iPads (not all of them might know how to use one). Though the use of the iPad in a classroom would have some significant benefits – kids no longer need to lug heavy school books with them to class, no more money needs to be spent on paper and stationary. If the experiment is successful, the Singaporean government plans to implement iPads into the education system throughout the whole country. "  link to the original source for this post

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kindergarten Photo Editing Project

Following Winter Break the students in kindergarten spent some time reviewing class rules in order to help them transition back into school routines. In order to demonstrate their understanding of the rules pairs of students took pictures of each other either following one of these rules or breaking it!
The pictures the students took were then uploaded to their computers and they accessed them through KidPix. In KidPix the students could edit, decorate and add interesting decorations to the pictures. When they were finished editing their pictures the students typed in the rule the picture was showing. Then we printed and hung them in the hall for all students to see.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Green Globs in the 8th Grade Math Classroom

Green Globs is a game in which 13 green globs are randomly placed on the grid. Students earn points by entering equations that pass through as many green globs as possible. After learning about coordinate graphs and equations in math class, students in eight grade came to the middle school tech lab to put their knowledge to work by playing the "Green Globs". Here's how the game was played: If student's correctly entered an equation, they hit a green glob target. After becoming more proficient at the game, the eighth graders can advance to the higher level - challenged by "blockers" that force them to find alternative equations to hit the targets.

Eighth Grade Current Event History Blog

Read the latest posts and comments to the 8th Grade Current Event History Blog. All the leading questions are selected by students:

1. Is WikiLeaks a good thing or bad thing for a democracy? Why?
2. What is the "best" leak? the "worst"? (you define)
3. Should news outlets be prevented from publishing them?
4. Is the phenomenon - that this happened - surprising.
5. Should Assange be prosecuted for WikiLeaks?

Rogers History Blog Post: No Guns, No Pity
1. Do you think that there is need for more restrictions on guns? Why?
2. Why do you think lawmakers aren't creating any new restrictions for gun control? Why
3. If you were given a chance to make a restriction on gun control what would it be? Why
4. Do you think that shooting in Arizona is a reason for creating more regulations on people's guns? Why?
5. Do you think that by making it harder to have access to guns, it would reduce the gun violence? Why?

Francis History Blog Post: Current Events in Egypt
1. Should Mubarak be immediately removed, making it possible for the riots and protests to simmer down? Or should he serve out the rest of his term and allow to ElBaradei’s movement to identify a candidate to replace Mubarak?

Latin American Website Project

Seventh Graders have recently finished creating individual websites as part of the Latin American History Country Project. This is the third year of the websites, which replaced individual poster projects as a far more interactive way for students to learn and teach about their countries.The websites allow students to complete a number of skills tasks within a creative framework.

Requirements include scanning in hand-drawn maps and flags, writing several explanatory pieces, listing social and economic facts, finding pictures and captions, imbedding video and audio clips, imbedding a google map, imbedding “hot spots”, creating bibliographies, and providing links to other sites and games that teach about the country. Students have a great deal of latitude with design and presentation, and each chooses his/her own hotspots, pictures, games, and “your choice” topic.

The project takes just over two weeks to complete, and students have both a self evaluation checklist and evaluate three assigned classmates’ websites. Students understand that part of their evaluation is both how independently they work, and how they help and seek help from other students. Students often have excellent problem-solving suggestions for each other, and equally good suggestions for us in their project evaluations. This year, for instance, some suggestions were that we start the scanning in the first week, present the bibliography requirements earlier, do more of the tech instruction at once, and incorporate

Almost universally, students appreciated learning how to construct a website, and all appreciated the wide variety of design and information from which they could choose. We feel that the project is a superb teaching tool which can only get better as we all learn more. Miles Billings and Svetlana Grinshpan spearheaded the original websites, and the projects from the last two years are viewable on Knightline, (username and password: knightline, knights74) under Middle School History. As well as research, essays, artwork, and timelines, students will also undertake and present individual virtual trips at the end of the year to complete their individual country studies.

Bill Rogers, MS Department Head, History