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Friday, December 28, 2012

6th Grade Update- December in Review

6th graders spent the month of December creating Jeopardy games in PowerPoint using internal links to create a non-linear presentation.  Each student created a game about their history slavery unit as a way to study for their most recent unit test.

4th Grade Update- December in Review

In December 4th graders got an introduction to Excel, creating graphs from data they collected in P.E.  At both the beginning and end of their soccer unit, students recorded how many goals they scored in ten attempts.  In the technology lab they entered their data and created graphs comparing the two sets of data.  All graphs were printed and are currently on display in the Lower School gymnasium.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

6th Grade Update- November in Review

6th Graders have spent November learning how to create a Jeopardy game in Microsoft PowerPoint.  Unlike the traditional, linear PowerPoint slideshow presentation, the Jeopardy format uses internal links to create a non-linear presentation.  Students are currently creating a game about themselves to practice creating and using links within PowerPoint.  In December, they will create a Jeopardy game for history as a way to review material and study for their final unit test of 2012.

4th Grade Update- November in Review

4th Graders have spent the last month in technology class continuing their touch-typing practice.  By the first week in December, every 4th grader should have completed "Type to Learn 4" lessons 1-11.  More than half-way through the program!  They also learned to how insert tables into Microsoft Word to create their own logic problems.  

5th Grade Update- November in Review

5th graders have spent the month of November finishing their Explorers PowerPoint presentations.  They have also completed an Internet Safety unit using Common Sense Media’s new program called “digital passports.”  The program includes five lessons on the following topics: communication, privacy, cyberbullying, searching online, and giving creative credit.  Coming up in December- creating a Plimouth Plantation virtual field trip using photographs, GarageBand recordings, and iPods!

Friday, November 16, 2012

5th Grade Internet Safety- Search Shark

5th graders have now completed their 5th and final Internet Safety online lesson called "Search Shark" where students learned how to choose effective keywords for online searches.  Students practiced selecting relevant keywords after being given a search prompt, and through an online game and class discussion they learned how better to narrow their search results.  Please visit this page for related parent tips.

5th Grade Internet Safety- Privacy

Today during technology class all 5th grade students are discussing the Internet Safety topic of privacy. We are using Common Sense Media's "digital passport" program.  If you are interested in some parent tips, please visit this site.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

5th Grade Update- October in Review

5th graders are in the process of finishing up their Explorers PowerPoint presentations, as their oral presentations start next week.  It has been quite a whirlwind of a project with the Plimoth Plantation field trip and the parent-teacher conference day both happening this past week and resulting in a couple of cancelled technology classes.  This class really picked up PowerPoint rather quickly, allowing us to spend three classes on Internet Safety before beginning work on the Explorers presentations.  I am very proud of how much work they got done in relatively few classes- good job, 5th graders!

Friday, November 2, 2012

4th Grade Update- October in Review

The focus of the last month or so has been word processing-  4th Graders have spent the last month working on their touch-typing skills and should now be working on lesson 10 in "Type to learn 4" due next week.  We are about half-way through our typing lessons!  They have also typed up their hopes and dreams and a list of five things I don't know about them in Microsoft Word.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

6th Grade- "If You Really Knew Me..." Project Update

Because of Hurricane Sandy, the deadline for the Language Arts Scratch "If You Really Knew Me" project was moved to today.  All final projects will be posted on my Scratch gallery by the end of the day today.  Check them out!

Fablevision's North Star App

Peter Reynold's company, Fablevision Learning, has released a new app called "The North Star Smart Stars Survey."  The app is designed to help kids understand their own unique "constellation" or strengths.  The app is a quick, child-friendly survey based on Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences, and it asks questions about the child's interests, hobbies, talents, and strengths to increase their self-awareness.

5th Grade Digital Passport Parent Materials

All 5th graders have now completed two Internet Safety lessons- one on cell phone use and another on cyberbullying.  The next lesson will be on copyright law.

The digital passport site has the following resources available for parents:

Communication: Twalkers (proper cell phone use, multitasking, and distraction)
Cyberbullying: Evolve (cyberbullying, targets, upstanders, bystanders, and bullies)
Creative Credit: Mix-N-Mash (copyright law, plagiarism, and giving credit)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New CommonSense Media app

Common Sense Media released a new, free Kids Media app for parents, featuring Common Sense's age-based rating and reviews of media for kids.  The app covers movies, TV shows, music, books, websites, video games, and apps.  Click here for the press release.  Click here to view it on Apple iTunes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

6th Grade- "If you Really Knew Me..." Project

6th graders are starting their Scratch "If You Really Knew Me" projects this week.  After finishing their "The View from Saturday" discussions in Language Arts class, they had a challenge day where they shared  stories about themselves as a way to get to know each other better and build community.  As a follow-up to their class discussions, students are now creating Scratch projects about themselves in Technology class.  The projects include a background, a narrative which will be recorded, and an avatar, a virtual version of themselves.  The final projects will be posted on one of my scratch website galleries so students can view each other's projects before departing for Hulbert.

5th Grade Internet Safety

This week 5th grade students started using Common Sense Media's new Internet Safety program called Digital Passport.  Digital passport is a web-based program designed to teach students about digital citizenship, with topics including online safety and security, privacy, cyberbullying, copyright and creation, and finding information online.  The program uses videos, games, and classroom activities and discussions to prepare students for using online and mobile technologies.  It's a perfect introduction to the topics that we will discuss more in depth next year as a part of the 6th grade technology curriculum.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Is Your Child Interested in Programming?

If your child is interested in programming, check out this book I just bought: Super Scratch Programming Adventure!  The comic book is a great way to introduce kids to programming, as it teaches them fundamental programming concepts while they create their own games.  The book takes kids on an adventure, teaching them Scratch programming along the way.  The website for the book also includes downloadable resources such as sample Scratch projects that the kids can play.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Video as a medium of expression

Video is an engaging medium which can tell a story, illustrate a concept, or enrich instruction. Videos can be included in class websites or as evidence of learning.  Here are some examples of teachers and students experimenting with the use of video at BB&N...

As a celebration of Spanish language, and leading up to the Hispanic Heritage Dinner, Upper School teacher Profesora Sánchez-Gómez created a video asking students and faculty members of Hispanic origin about their favorite Spanish word.

Here is an example of a video some students threw together in advance of homecoming...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Last night we attended a professional development conference "Shaping Our Digital World: You Have the Power" hosted by Common Sense Media and The Good Play Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education, with the Brookline Parent Education Network.  The evening's discussion was centered around tackling the opportunities and challenges of media and technology.  One panel included Howard Gardner (Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Co-Director, The Good Play Project, Harvard project Zero), Karen Campbell (a member of the Brookline Parent Education Network), and Elon Fischer (a Brookline High School teacher and parent), while the second panel was comprised of five Brookline High School juniors and seniors.

Panelists discussed the pros and cons of technology in education, and an important take-away for parents was to stay connected with their teens and keep the dialog open.  Gardner pointed out that one of the benefits of technology is the ability to individualize education, yet he acknowledged that one of the pitfalls is the assumption that everything can and should be "technologized."  A theme that emerged through the panels was the desire for a balance between face-to-face and online communication.  Gardner referenced a study in which students rated face-to-face interaction as their preferred form of communication, reserved for close friends.  Texting, which they claimed to use for organizing their lives, came next, with FaceBook surprisingly lower in the ranks.

Towards the end of the evening, when addressing the topic of social change, Gardner also commented, "You'd be nuts not to use social media, but you'd be nuts to think digital media itself can make the change."

-Jen Lavenberg and Megan Haddadi

6th Grade Scratch in the Classroom

6th Grade students are starting to use MIT's programming environment called Scratch.  Their first assignment will begin when they finish reading and discussing "The View From Saturday" in Language Arts class.  They are learning how to use the software by completing the Scratch Cards and several mini projects.

4th Grade- Tech RUP

Fourth graders are currently discussing BB&N's Technology Responsible Use Policy (p. 17 of the handbook) and my computer lab rules while they continue their touch-typing homework assignments.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

5th Grade Update- September in Review

5th graders started their year in technology organizing their network folders on our school server for storing electronic schoolwork such as PowerPoint presentations and Word documents as well as getting acquainted with their brand new BB&N GMail accounts.  Their first technology project of the year, PowerPoint presentations on explorers, will be a coordinated effort between the homeroom teachers, Heather Lee the librarian, and myself, Megan Haddadi the technology teacher.  Over the last week or so, students have started learning about PowerPoint by creating a presentation about themselves.

Please ask your child to tell you about SmartMoves, a "body puzzles for the mind" program I am trying out with all of my students this year for transitioning into the classroom and improving focus.  "SmartMoves is an award-winning cognitive fitness program that combines music and movement to transform the classroom and change the way students learn."  (  

Friday, September 28, 2012

6th Grade Update- September in Review

6th graders started their year in technology organizing their network folders on our school server for storing electronic schoolwork such as PowerPoint presentations and Word documents as well as getting acquainted with their brand new BB&N GMail accounts.  Earlier this week students set up blogger accounts for both history and language arts blogs.

Please ask your child to tell you about SmartMoves, a "body puzzles for the mind" program I am trying out with the students this year for transitioning into the classroom and improving focus.  "SmartMoves is an award-winning cognitive fitness program that combines music and movement to transform the classroom and change the way students learn."  (  

4th Grade Update- September in Review

4th graders started their year in technology learning about their new computer accounts and accompanying network folders for storing electronic schoolwork such as Word documents.  During the month of September we also began the touch-typing curriculum which includes homework twice per week.

Please ask your child to tell you about SmartMoves, a "body puzzles for the mind" program I am trying out with my students this year for transitioning into the classroom and improving focus.  "SmartMoves is an award-winning cognitive fitness program that combines music and movement to transform the classroom and change the way students learn."  (  

Monday, June 11, 2012

5th Grade Math Students Pilot "The Lure of the Labyrinth"

This year, fifth graders in my math group piloted "The Lure of the Labyrinth," an interactive website at The site is designed to provide practice with essential math skills for students in the middle grades. The premise of the game is simple: after students have created a cartoon character for themselves, complete with monster costume and pet, they are informed, through a sequence of comic strips, that their pet has just been kidnapped by monsters. Their mission is to rescue their pet -- by traversing a labyrinth of rooms, each of which contains a puzzle centered around a particular math skill. One unique characteristic of the site is that the instructor, in the process of creating an account, sets up an educator account, which gives them access to data revealing how much each student has played, which puzzles they have mastered, and how far they have advanced into the Labyrinth. It is therefore possible to monitor, assign, and assess learning through the website.

Perhaps the greatest strength of the game, however, is that the practice, though it targets important fourth and fifth grade math skills, is not drill-based. Each puzzle presents an interesting problem that requires creative thinking to solve. For example, students use the notion of common multiples to select portions for monsters' lunch trays in the cafeteria, or solve algebraic equations in many variables as they pore over hieroglyphs in an underground cave. So, while they are never asked, "What is the least common multiple of 25 and 5?", they have a rich experience that leaves them with a greater depth of understanding of that question's underlying meaning. The result is a meaningful exploration of central skills... that's a lot more fun than worksheets!

-Ellie Cowen
5th and 6th Grade Math

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Peer-to-Peer Networking

As the school year winds quickly down it was truly a pleasure to hear some of our "launch grant" recipients reports to their colleagues at recent faculty meetings. At the upper school meeting we heard from three of this year's participants. Paul Ruhlmann spoke about his work with creating videos of common woodworking techniques, Rosario Sanchez-Gomez spoke about her development of SmartBoard instructional lessons, and Leah Cataldo spoke about her comparison of Google Sites and Haiku Learning Management software. This peer-to-peer sharing was one of the highlights of my year. Perhaps it is the fact that their experience resonates with colleagues, or perhaps it is the result of the active collaboration which these grants foster, but whatever the case, it is clear that peer-to-peer sharing is an extremely valuable part of our professional development efforts. We had similar results from the recent google apps training, in which several teachers at each campus were involved in delivering training to their peers on this new collaborative platform. The future of technology at BB&N is bright because we continue to build on the experience and expertise of our faculty.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

KNBC revamped MS Clubs and Organization webpage

KNBC, Knights Broadcasting Club, a student media club, meets weekly during the school day. Projects from the 2010-2011 school year included Cambridge's contribution to the collaborative documentary project, Mapping Main Street ( and an exploration of new media including Meez, Flipbook, iMovie, ComicLife, GarageBand, iPhoto; in the second half of the year, students put their skills into practice as they developed and ran several seminars on BBN Arts Day in March and produced a variety of short films for the final assembly in June.

In addition to building on these initiatives, members of KNBC 2011-2012 worked on a few longer term projects including photoshop and original short animated films. KNBC meets during study hall on Tuesdays, with the occasional off-campus field trip to locations such as the WGBH studios, Museum of Science and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA).

KNBC's latest project was revamping the Middle School Cubs and Organization page. Students worked in groups using a variety of media to create content for KNBC, Chorus, Science, Community Service, The Spark, Jazz Band, Affinity Lunch, Chamber, D-Squared, Literary Group and BB&N Players. In addition they created this fun video to capture their work.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

US 2012 Launch Grant Recipients Reflecting on Haiku

For me the Haiku platform has been a great choice for all my class websites. It is very user friendly for both me and my students. I am not a lover of textbooks and Haiku allows me to have all my documents, videos, links, and audios organized under one umbrella. It is also great to be able to use the Discussion tab as a blog and the Wikisites for class projects. I also ask students to turn in a lot of his assignments in the Dropbox. As we work on a possible Spanish Department Exchange Program for next year, I can see that having a website for the trip will be very useful. I am now taking an online course about creating your own online class and it uses the Haiku platform as well, so it has been very easy for me to start working on all my assignments and see it from the perspective of a student.

- Dr. Rosario Sánchez Gómez

Haiku was a useful platform for each of my courses as a central (and green) location for readings, syllabi, assignments, and language arts exercises. It was also a terrific tool when school was unexpectedly cancelled, everyone had done a key reading, and we all wanted to keep momentum going with an online discussion before school resumed. (In that event I'd just add a new page named for the reading, post some questions, and let the kids take the discussion from there.)

By far the best aspect of Haiku, though, was the way it allowed students to communicate in my senior writing workshop, True Stories and the Personal Essay. I designed an easily navigable Feedback Forum where every student had his own page. There five student writers each week would post their work for peer review and commentary before the live writing workshop during long block. This kind of at-home connecting made in-person discussions so much more thoughtful and efficient, and it got the students talking exponentially more to each other rather than through me. Haiku also allowed me to post timely polls that were useful to me for course redesign (e.g. What was the most enjoyable reading in this unit?) and to the students for contest submissions (e.g. Which of Carly's six essays would you rate the best?). We even used Haiku for brainstorming. One week the theme of the essay assignment was "pettiness," and the students had fun gearing up for it by consulting a class-constructed Haiku list of "Hateful Things."

I had an equally awesome time revising and augmenting my wiki ( for my senior Speechwriting and Public Speaking elective. On that site I have built a master page I covet and often direct the kids to called "Worthwhile Links," with professional examples of contemporary and historic speeches from live political events and arts ceremonies and commencement addresses to standout film clips and TED talks and Ignite presentations I've encountered over the years. I also made a page for each of the nine speech genres assigned (Storytelling Speeches, Call to Action Speeches, Speeches to Inform, Tributes, etc.), and on each genre page I embedded YouTube widgets featuring the seniors delivering that kind of original work live, on a Speech Day we'd held during the weekly long blocks. Using the wiki, peers would revisit the speech (and speakers would self-evaluate) before clicking over to comment on a Haiku Feedback Forum set up much the same way as the True Stories Feedback Forum worked. For the speechwriting elective, though, I ran Haiku polls that tended to follow up on the speech content (e.g. How many of you have cooked with kale since Alicia's speech?). For some reason my Haiku page for the Speechwriting class appears to have vaporized, though, so unless you can help me solve that mystery (?help!), you won't be getting a screenshot of that.

-Allison Kornet

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Remember the days of dial up internet? 

Here's a pretty cool infographic comparing the internet of today to when it was first invented. Take a trip down memory lane! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Next Wednesday, May 9th, at 5pm, BB&N will host the next MEMSET meeting.  MEMSET is a group of Massachusetts Elementary and Middle School Educational Technologists who meet every couple of months to discuss technology in schools.

If you are free and would like to join in our discussion, please contact your campus ATS to let them know that you would like to attend the event.  In addition, you are more than welcome to join us when we meet at other schools in our area.

At this month's meeting we will discuss curriculum and benchmarks, such as the ISTE NETS and the Massachusetts standards.  After dinner several teachers will present on a variety of topics including the BeeBot, LEGO WeDO and Scratch, SAM animation, iPad apps in science and art, Internet Safety, a science "electric quilt" using e-textiles, voicethread, Museumbox, and bitstrips.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Tech Help Request System

The BB&N tech department is pleased to unveil our new help request system this week. It is a system which puts each tech request into a database that allows us to have better accountability, communication, and history of all the requests that we handle. The beauty of it from the customer's point of view [this means you] is that all you need to do is send us an email at "tech help" or and it will flow right into the system and create a new "ticket" for us to address. Any email responses to a particular ticket will get added to its history in the database. When we add a note to a ticket, you will get an automatic email with the info. On the back-end of the database we triage the requests, set priority levels, and get reminded if a ticket lingers too long without action. You can see the history and status of all your tickets by logging into the system at when you are at school. This is the new system that is replacing the FirstClass technology conferences.

Monday, April 2, 2012

6th Grade Glogster and QR Code project

Glogster is a tool that allows your students to make interactive online posters by mixing images, text, music and video.

This year the 6th grade French and Spanish students are using Glogster to complete their MFA ACTion (Arts, Culture, and Technology) projects. All students visit the MFA, and in art class they choose a painter and a painting for a master study.  In French and Spanish classes the students research their painters and paintings to create interactive online posters. Using Glogster, students are able to embed video clips and insert images of their artists and their paintings as well as audio clips of music from the artists' time periods.  Lastly, students can use Glogster to record their own voices in their target languages.  Each glog results its own unique URL.  During technology class, students will turn their URLs into QR codes, and on Sunday, May 13th, the student paintings will be hung on the MFA walls along with the QR codes linking the students' physical artwork to their interactive glogster posters, accessible online via iPads and smartphones.

Below are a few examples of student projects:

If you are interested in learning more about Glogster in the classroom, check out Glogopedia to see sample projects to get ideas on how Glogster could be useful to your students.

For more information on QR codes in the classroom, please see:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Personal Learning Networks (part 2)

Following up on my post about PLN tools from last month, I wrote a long description about "making the most of personal learning networks" for my presentation on this topic at the 2012 NAIS conference that took place in Seattle at the end of February. The NAIS conference attendees are primarily school leaders, so I framed the discussion for this audience, describing what PLNs are, why they are important, and how to grow one's own.

 I encouraged participants to take the following steps to start, and to grow, their networks:
  1. Get on a list-serv.
  2. Start blogging.
  3. Try using twitter.
  4. Use Google Docs.
  5. Start using social bookmarking.
The full post has a lot more info on each of these, as well as the description and rationale.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Leading Change in Changing Times

This past Saturday Megan, Svetlana and I attended the EdTechTeacher Winter Conference at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge. The focus of the conference was "Leading Change in Changing Times" and the sessions attempted to answer the following questions:
Why change?

How change? What systems need to be in place?

Did we change? What are the impacts of technology investments we've made?

The tone of the keynote address and the morning sessions I attended was, as one presenter stated, that "learning is not in the computer" and that our focus should be on
"educating for the unknown. We should be teaching with the goal of developing wisdom, knowledge, critical thinking - the higher-order skills which students will need."

The presenters I heard outlined different educational frameworks designed to meet these goals. Chris Dede, the keynote speaker from Harvard University, talked about Blended Contextualized Learning Environments and showed us an example called EcoMUVE, a biology unit that uses technology to meet those goals. Martha Stone Wiske, also from Harvard, talked about TfU (Teaching for Understanding) and her co-presenter, Katherine Gaudet, showed us how TfU had transformed the educational experience for students at Friends Academy and for the teachers. The final presenter I saw in the morning sessions was Annamaria Shrimpf, from Winchester Public Schools, and she outlined LOTI (Levels of Teaching Innovation) and she talked about a rubric for assessing teachers and lessons that would help students achieve. There were four parts to the rubric:
Higher Order Thinking, Engaged Learning, Authenticity, and Technology.

While the frameworks each presenter outlined were different the themes that stuck with me were constant:
1. Our focus as teachers should be on providing an environment where students are engaged, actively learning and developing higher-order thinking skills
2. All participants (teachers, students, parents, administrators) need a common language to describe the learning process and the goals and the everyday language used in the classrooms, whether there is a particular framework adopted or the school develops its own language.
3. Technology can make achieving these goals possible. It is not required in every lesson, but technology has an important role in the classroom/school.
4. Achieving these goals requires all participants to put into action the words "lifelong learner", to learn and to work together.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Geocaching- fun for the whole family

As I mentioned in my previous post about Twitter, I am currently taking my last class towards my masters in Technology in Education at Lesley University.  One of our assignments recently involved tagging and geotagging.  We explored social bookmarking through Diigo and geotagging through Flickr.  For extra credit, we encouraged to go geocaching.  I had heard of geocaching before, but I had yet to try it.  The basic idea behind geocaching is that someone has hidden something, and your main clue to finding it is its GPS coordinates.

I started my geocaching journey by exploring the site  People who have hidden items all over the world post their listing(s) on this site.  I began by entering my zip code so I could find a cache hidden near BB&N or my house.  I found the perfect geocache to try to located- located in Davis Square on my way home from work, and, even more importantly, it was labeled as "easy."  I don't want to give away too much information in case someone else wants to try to find it, but I will say that it took a good 20 minutes to locate the cache, as it was so much smaller than I had anticipated.  Another thing about geocaching is that you're supposed to take something from the cache and leave something behind, as well as sign the log.  The problem was that the cache was so small that nothing I had brought with me would fit inside it.  I ended up taking a guitar pick and leaving a mini pterodactyl from a barrel full of dinosaurs (think "barrel full of monkeys," just not monkeys.)  Inside the cache was a bunch of small things including some Chinese money and a plastic fish with a GPS locator inside it, also known as a travel bug.  I have read articles about schools who placed travel bugs in geocaches so they can track their coordinates as they travel from cache to cache, making their way across the US, and even ending up in a dogsled race in Alaska!

If geocaching sounds interesting to you, give it a try.  And if you find the cache on Brattle, please let me know, because I can't find it!  And if you think geocaching sounds like a blast, check out letterboxing too!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Connecting to a "Personal Learning Network"

Are you connected? Do you have a network of colleagues that you can easily turn to with questions and to improve your professional practice? One of the things I most appreciate about the internet is that it allows me to personally connect with various individuals or groups of educators locally, nationally, and even internationally. My top digital tools that enable this communication include the following:
  1. email list-servs or google groups
  2. diigo
  3. twitter
  4. google docs
  5. ning networks
  6. facebook groups and linked-in
  7. skype or google video chat
  8. blogs
  9. RSS feeds
Here is a brief description of each tool, it's collaborative power, and ways to try them out...

1. Do you belong to an email list-serv or a google group? If not, there is undoubtedly one in existence for your area of interest. NAIS has lists for many administrators; AP has lists for each subject, and various organizations have other lists for subject area teachers. If you're not on a list-serve or google group for some topic, I'd encourage you to try this out. It is a great way to dip your toe into PLNs. Here are a few links to some list-servs.

2. Diigo is an amazing social bookmarking tool. The more I use it, the more I like it. Read why here and see these instructions if you're interested in setting up an account.

3. Twitter is like a constant stream of interesting little tidbits from people you follow. You can dip your toe in whenever the mood strikes, or jump in and swim every day. Here is a page on how to start twittering if you are interested.

4. Google docs is another thing like diigo that just keeps growing on me. My latest favorite is the use of shared "collections." A collection is like a folder, but the cool thing is you can "share" a folder with another group of people and then [here's the really cool part], any additional google docs that you add to that folder are also shared to all the people who have access to that folder.

5. If you haven't checked out the Independent School Educators ning network, please do. It's another easy way to connect to colleagues at other schools and join in discussions or ask questions.

6. I rarely do professional networking on facebook but recently found a group which is fun to be part of. Linked-in has also impressed recently with it's weekly email of "trending" news topics. This is a nice example of the power of the crowd. When thousands (or millions?) of people are sharing  a link to something, it tends to be interesting. My favorite article from the past weeks is Culture Trumps Strategy. By the way, if you're wondering how I was able to find this website again several weeks later it's because I'd bookmarked in my diigo account (see #2 above).

7. Video chat is reaching mainstream adoption. I predict that before long we will have an easy way to send "video email" that may help with the well-known problem that email has no tone and can so easily be misinterpreted. There have already been companies in this space (most notably "seesmic") that never caught on, but I wouldn't be surprised to see google or facebook come out with some nifty video-messaging feature in the next few years. Meanwhile we'll have to work with synchronous video chat.

8. Blogs (like this one) continue to be a valuable tool in diving deeper into keeping up with colleagues' more in-depth thinking. With a 3 year old running around at home I don't have nearly enough time to read blogs, but continue to enjoy it on those rare occasions when it's possible.

9. RSS tools are a great way of letting content come to you. Google Reader is a great one. On it, you "subscribe" to feeds that interest you. Two other cool RSS readers I like are Scoop-it and Pulse [on the iPad.] Scoop-it is kind of a cool magazine-style format on the computer that allows you to either "curate" your own topics or read the curations of others [example]. Pulse is for reading feeds on the iPad.

So how do you connect to your Personal Learning Network?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

KNBC - web page design

The Middle School KNBC club is redesigning the official MS Clubs and Organizations page. Students are creating individual content pages for the Middle School Chorus, Jazz, D-Squared, Community Service, Spark, Affinity Lunch and Science Club. Joseph Clifford, Director of Communications, talked to the kids about the web page design and gave us some tips and tricks for the new webpage.

We are building a new Cool Media resource site - it's a collection of all kinds of interesting media tools. If you have recently discovered a new tool, please let me know - I'd be happy to add it to our growing collection.

And please stay tuned for the launch of the new clubs and organizations page coming SOON before the spring break.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I did it. This month I jumped on the twitter bandwagon. And I am thrilled with the experience thus far!

In the past, I had only used twitter at educational technology conferences as a supplement to a keynote speaker. As I took notes on the speech, I would leave my twitter page open so I could see what all of the attendees were tweeting about the speech to the rest of the room and those who were unable to attend. I copied important quotations and links from the twitter page into my notes. I found it incredibly useful for furthering my understanding. For those who are not familiar, twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets".” (Wikipedia)

On the path to pursue my Masters of Technology in Education, I am currently taking an online course titled “Web 2.0 for Education,” and for this course, I couldn’t just take the back seat and read other people’s tweets. I had to create my own twitter account and tweet myself. The results have been surprisingly great. I am now following many leaders in the educational technology world, so every day I come across great articles and resources to share with colleagues. I even participated in a twitter chat called #ATchat, where I contributed to a live conversation with other educators on the topic of UDL implementation in the classroom. I can’t possibly follow the hundreds and thousands of great websites and blogs out there on the Internet, but following other technology specialists on twitter, I get constant updates on important articles, blog postings, software, websites, etc.

As I type this blog post I can go to twitter and search for the hash tag #FETC to see what is happening at the annual Florida Educational Technology Conference since I am unable to attend. Even though I am not there right now, I know that Michael Wesch is talking about empathy, and one of the attendees just shared the following link: 50 Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom.

I think the best way for educators to use twitter is to network with other educators for their own professional development. It’s a great way for teachers to connect with other, as our collective intelligence is that much stronger, and to stay current in their field. If you are interested in educational technology, follow me! Join twitter today! @meganhaddadi