Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We're Back from Camp! (EdcampNJ, that is!)

Hi Everyone,
We're back from camp!

On Saturday, we attended EdcampNJ at Linwood Middle School with well over 400 other educators.

Educators gathered together at Linwood Middle School for the 2014 EdcampNJ Smackdown.
LAURA (@lagnella)
This saturday was Laura's first Edcamp!  She started out the day participating in the live Twitter #satchat.

After #satchat, Laura chose to attend the session about connecting students to the world through mystery location calls using either Skype or Hangouts. She found a lot of great ideas here for using Google hangouts in the classroom including creating live shows to broadcast and connecting with other teachers and students around the world.  She also attended a session on Google Docs and PARCC which shared some ideas for getting the students ready for the upcoming assessments. For her final session, Laura chose to attend a discussion focusing on how to make technology integration more meaningful in the 1:1 classroom setting.

STACEY (@iruntech)
Stacey, a four-time veteran Edcamp-er, volunteered to help manage the session board.  Not yet ready to present in front of a group of complete stranger,  she and a team of other educators started out with a completely blank board and helped find spaces and resources for all of the educators interested in presenting throughout the day.

Stacey helping educators build the session board.
After helping to create the board, Stacey was quick (maybe a little too quick) to make topic selections for the for the first two sessions. Up first was a session with Google Certified Teacher Chris Aviles (@techedupteacher). The room was packed with educators ready to learn about Amazing Things to Do with GAFE. Session highlights  included: tips and tricks for Google presentations (eg split screen slides and jumping to slides), tagging items in Google Drive for easier searching (think-using tags to label standards), using Kaizena to leave written and audio feedback (look for a post from Stacey, coming soon). For all of the other great information Chris shared, check out his Google slides and the back channel doc with participants' notes!

Stacey's second session covered the hot topic...STEAM. Here, Sandra Wozniak (@sanwoz) answered lots of participant questions about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. G&T teachers and teachers from STEAM academies shared ideas about problem based learning, rubrics and project planning. Sandra shared myriad resources via her live journal.

Stacey's second half of the day centered around social media savviness (keeping your private life private in the very public world of social media)  and content creation v. curating. Stacey visited with Superintendent, Jay Eitner (@iSuperEit), during session three to learn how to safe-guard against the many pitfalls of having a social media account (twitter, facebook, instagram, etc) as a teacher. Her favorite quote from the session was tweeted out: "The internet is like toothpaste, once it's out, it's out!" Jay shared anecdotal accounts of social media gone wrong in public education. For more information on how to lock down your accounts check out Jay's presentation and the back channel for more information! You can also check out the back channel to his first session, The Dirty 30: Thirty Apps for Your Classrooms, Schools and Districts.

For the final session of the day, Stacey visited podcaster, Chris Nesi (@mrnesi). During his session Chris held an informal discussion (very Edcamp) about moving from content curation (retweeting, pinning, blog reading, etc) to creation (podcasting and blogging). Chris's message was loud and clear, share your message with the world! He offered practical advice on where to start and offered himself as a resource and guide. I recommend you check out his website and podcast, The House of #Edtech. I will be writing a review of that podcast soon.

The day concluded with a Smackdown where participants shared their favorite apps and web content.

DAN (@Gallagher_Tech) & MELISSA (@mmorriswrite)
Dan and Melissa, also Edcamp veterans, both led sessions.

Dan's session was about using ThingLink in the classroom.  Teachers attending got a basic overview of ThingLink and saw many clever examples of how students are making multi-media projects and presentations.  After the demonstrations, everyone had the opportunity to get started creating their own ThingLinks!

Dan's session "Let's Talk ThingLink" up on the packed session board.

Dan also attended a session titled 'Velcro: Making $@!* Stick' which discussed methods on how to engage students.  Two examples shared, one British Literature high school teacher raps on characters from major works.  A health teacher has students get up and act out the digestive system.  If you've read to this point, you need a "brain break" ( Dan also attended Melissa's inspiring session on...

Melissa's session was a discussion about innovative thinking and practices. Attendees were pushed outside of their comfort zones and challenged to use vocabulary that fosters innovation. Educators shared their reasons for wanting to be more innovative and ways that innovative thinking will help their instruction and professional growth. An example of the magic of innovative thinking was when we were able to turn a paperclip into an umbrella.

Melissa also attended a session about how leadership, mentorships, and professional development are connected. The session was led by Art Laflamme who calls himself an "Army guy, parent, educator but not teacher, asker of questions, driver of fast cars." While most of those in attendance were K-12 educators and administrators, Arts perspectives and experiences -- as well as those from a few in other fields -- fostered a lively discussion. Ideas were shared about helping all involved see the value of these processes and become truly invested.
Later in the day, Melissa attended a session on defining our own professional development realities with school administrators Brad Currie (@bradmcurrie), Stephen P. Santilli (@SPSantilli), and Spike C. Cook (@DrSpikeCook).  

A highlight of the day for Melissa was attending a session led by one of her teammates. Dan's amazing session on ThingLink got participants talking about existing projects and new ones that would allow their students to design and develop multi-media, interactive projects and presentations.  It was exciting to see educators from all grade levels discussing how ThingLink and Dan's examples could work for their individual students.  

Educators getting together on a Saturday morning to share ideas and practices that will strengthen leadership, mentorships, and professional development. 

We had a great time.  We all connected with educators from many different states and districts, including Paula Naugle (@plnaugle) who came to EdcampNJ all the way from Louisiana!

For a complete list of topics and back channels, check out the schedule for the day. We hope you will join us next time!

The fun EdcampNJ photo booth! 

~Technology Resource Team

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TED-Ed in the classroom

We have all seen great TED talks either on TV or during school PD. We know that they are meant to be inspirational and often use them to spark great discussions about education. TED-Ed is a free educational website for teachers and learners where you can find videos to enhance instruction or facilitate discussions. You can:

  • Put a video on your class blog or on Edmodo and ask a question to which students can respond to prepare for the next day's lesson.  
  • Use the videos in class and then take the lesson a step further by using the TED-Ed discussion questions or create your own.  
  • You can also find you own video on YouTube and create a lesson with questions to go with it right on the TED-Ed site.

Watch this video for an introduction.

When you visit the TED-Ed website and choose the "lessons" section of the site, you can search for videos by subject, or grade level. Each video is usually under ten minutes and already has a set of quiz questions and discussion questions ready to go. If you want to create your own lesson, just choose, "Customize this lesson."

Some of the videos that could work with the 4th and 5th grade curriculum might include: How Levers Work

This is a great resource! Enjoy it and let me know if you need or want support with this site. :)

Mindsets vs. Skillsets with Ken Shelton

How are we preparing our students to be future ready?

In this (13 min) video from Ken Shelton's TED Talk, he explores the concepts of mindsets and how when we look at the mindsets that transcend time, we can better recognize the need and use for various skillsets.

Shelton discusses his own journey that resulted in the arrival to this epiphany and how technology and collaboration with colleagues helped him get there.  


In what ways are you helping your students become future ready?  Please share in the comment section below.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sizing Up a Free Friday 'App'etizer

This week, I have two versions of an app for you.  Curious Ruler allows you to select a reference object from their selected list to use to measure another random object with the iPad's camera.  After you take a picture of the two items together, you mark off the sizing so the app can get you a measurement as well as an equivalent measurement.  Below are some screen shots of my measuring.

Curious Ruler is typically $0.99, but in the wwp2 account it is previously downloaded.  If you want to get it for another iTunes account there is a free version, Ruler | A Curious Tool 

Tech Tuesday (November 18th)

(CMS/GMS Update for the Week of 11/17)

Dear CMS and GMS 1:1 Educators,

We have lots of important updates for you this week! 

Board Policies
Updated Board policies regarding social media and electronic communication are now available.  Please make sure to review these policies.  If you have any questions about how the policies may impact resources you'd like to use in your classes, please let us know.  
Electronic Communications Between Staff and Students

New Kahoot! Resource
Several of your colleagues have recently collaborated on this resource document containing tons of helpful tips and tricks for successfully using Kahoot! in the classroom.  Many thanks to Shveta Bhatheja, GMS Science teacher, Marina Ditzel, GMS Special Services teacher, Maricel Martin, GMS Spanish teacher, Dolores McNamara, MRS/GMS Spanish teacher, Pete Shaughnessy, GMS IRLA teacher, Kathy Tepel, GMS Social Studies teacher, and Tina Thomas, GMS Math teacher for working on the resource!

If you have a resouce you'd like to share (or an idea for one) please let us know.

Damaged Chromebooks
Please continue to be vigilant in reminding your students to keep the Chromebooks safe.  We've had a large number of broken screens over the last few weeks; many of these occurrences could have been prevented.

  • Devices should be kept in the sleeves whenever they are not in use.
  • Chargers should be kept at home -- and definitely NOT stored in the sleeves -- because when stored next to the device, they can act as a pressure point on the screen and cause damage.
  • Devices should be carried carefully when walking in the hallways and at locker visits.
Resources from CMS Administration
This week, Guy Tulp and Kyle Shimpf led several sessions on the topic of Assessment.  The thorough and engaging presentation made direct connections between examples using assessments in our classrooms to the Danielson framework.  This presentation, as well as some related assessment resources, are available in the shared Resources Folder on Google.  

If you have not already saved this Resources Folder to your own Drive, please do so now.  

Blog Posts You May Have Missed
Just in case you missed them when they were originally posted, here are a few posts from this blog that you may find helpful:
To receive updates whenever a new post is made on the blog, subscribe by email in the box near the top of this screen.

Finally, Remember that EdcampNJ this Saturday! Hope to see you there.  

Please continue to reach out with us with ideas and questions about how we can work together.

Have a great weekend!
~Allan and Melissa

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Twitter and Pinterest for Professional Developement

Have you been interested in trying out Twitter or Pinterest for professional development?  Both sites are great for making connections with other educators and for gathering ideas you can try in your own classroom.

Check out this resource from our 10/23 unconference for some ideas and examples for using these social media sites to grow your PLN and direct your own professional development.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Using Google Forms to Collect Digital Assignments

submission formTeachers are constantly assessing these days.

Whether it be formative or summative assessments, we are collecting feedback from our students to monitor their engagement, participation, and progress.  Many of these assessments are now digital, and a simple Google Form makes all the difference in the world when managing the collection, review, and scoring of these assessments.

  1. Students submit the assignment through the form. This helps instill a sense of responsibility in the student (as opposed to simply granting a teacher access to the documents).
  2. The forms can be created quickly.  Just few minutes of setup time will save hours searching for and opening assignments.
  3. The forms can be customized.  Each teacher can collect the information in the manner her or she prefers.
  4. The information is collected in a Google Spreadsheet.  This allows the teacher the option to record grades and write notes directly alongside the assignment.  From there, the teacher can sort the sheet by grade or note in order to pull small groups for conferences or to keep track of assessments to use as future student models of work. Also, the spreadsheets can be shared between team and co-teachers.
  5. Any assignment with a URL can be collected this way.  This is great for collecting and keeping track of Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, videos, Symbaloo Webmixes, Padlets, and more!


Later, after several assessments have been collected, the responses collected in the spreadsheet can be sorted by student.  This data can be used during student conferences, and with conferences with the students' parents.  The information can be shared with students so that they can include it in their own portfolios to reflect on their progress.

If you have been using Google Forms to collect assignments, or have any questions or suggestions about using this application, please leave a comment below.


(This post was originally published on TODAY IN SCHOOL.)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Inspiration From a Fellow Colleague Leads to this Week's Free Friday 'App'etizer

    Laura Agnella submitted a post about Graphic Organizers on Thursday which had me thinking about how I like to create these on an iPad.  As mentioned in Laura's post, Popplet Lite works very nicely and I sent out as an 'app'etizer last year, Tools 4 Students.  But my current free favorite graphic organizer/brainstorming/mind mapping app is: iBrainstorm.  Why, you may ask, is this my current favorite?  Well, in terms of features, it's simplistic.  Add a sticky note with a limited number of color choices and type out some text.  Draw with limited color choices and line thicknesses or use the eraser.  That's it!  No shapes or bubbles or images to add; don't get overwhelmed with options or choices.  When finished, save it to your photo library; from there, it could be uploaded to Dropbox or Google Drive.  You could also email it if you wanted.  Now, let the students plan & create!

Here is one I started so you can see what it looks like:

(CMS/GMS) Update for the Week of 11/10/14

Dear 1:1 teachers,

Follow our Twitter Feed!
Notice the Twitter feeds on the right side of our blog? 

The feeds are following our district hashtags, #wwp_pd and #wwp1to1. You can use these hashtags, too, whenever you post something on Twitter that is related to the 1:1 learning initiative or professional development.  

Sharing on Twitter is a great way to showcase student work and inspire colleagues.  If you aren't on Twitter yourself, and you want to call us in to see something going on in your class, we can tweet it out for you!

Flowchart for Reporting Chromebook Issues
The flowchart for Chromebook issues has been updated. Please visit this link: Flowchart to view the changes that have been made. Anytime the flowchart is updated, it will be reflected in the date located in the upper right-hand corner.

Connection Issues
This week, the issues we've been having with wireless connectivity were resolved.  Moving forward, please use a Technology Ticket to report any new issues that you and your students may have.  If you report an issue, please make sure to include as much information as possible.
  • The room  where connectivity is an issue
  • The type(s) of devices involved
  • The user having an issue
  • The frequency or duration of the issue

Resources Folder
There is a Resources Folder available to you in Google Drive. As relevant resources are found or created, they are placed into subfolders. The subfolders are organized by applications, competencies, and subject areas, so you may find one resource located in multiple folders.

If you haven’t already done so, please open this link and then add the folder directly to your own Google Drive so that you have access to all of the resources as they are updated.

We’d love it if you would contribute to the folders as well! If you have a resource that you would like to share (or a suggestion) please let us know so it can be added.

Have a great weekend!

~Allan and Melissa

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Graphic Organizers

As teachers, we all love graphic organizers because they can help students gain a clearer understanding of material using a visual. They can be used for anything from brainstorming to presenting information, for whole class instruction, individually, or within a group. They are also relatively easy to recreate in digital format.

There are apps out there such as Popplet on the iPad where students can create their own graphic organizers, or Lucidchart in the Chrome Web store for teachers. I really love just using Google Docs and/or Google Drawing and then sharing with the students.  Here are some examples of what you can create.  Feel free to make copies and use these organizers as collaborative tools in your classroom.

There are also graphic organizers in the Google Templates Gallery that you can copy.  Make sure you are in the "Public" tab and search for "Graphic Organizers."

Have fun!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

BYOD Professional Development Training Session 2: October 23, 2014

On October 23rd, a half-day of professional development training was given to  the high school American Studies II teachers. The agenda for this training class included the following topics:

Part 1: Getting Organized - Sharing class section folders which allow the teacher to access student work. Sharing a class handouts folder in which students can easily view classroom materials.

Part 2: Google Forms and Flubaroo - Developing assessments, surveys and quizzes along with a helpful, easy-to-use automated grading system.
Part 3: Forwarding Gmail to Outlook Email - Simplify the overall flow and management of teacher email.

Here is the presentation: 

Village PTA Internet Safety Presentation

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tech Talk: Tech Potpourri

BYOD Professional Development Training Session 1: October 14, 2014

BYOD Professional Development Training Session 1 

On October 14th, a half-day of professional development training was given to  the high school social studies teachers that teach American Studies II. The agenda for the training class included an overview of Google Drive, learning about its overall features, navigation, the layout/interface, and understanding collaboration and sharing permissions. Here is the presentation:

Tech Tuesday (November 11th)

Migration of older spreadsheets to the new Google Sheets

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 12:12 PM PST
As recently communicated, the auto-migration of older spreadsheets (those created prior to Dec 2013, including any subsequent copies) to the new version of Google Sheets will start today for Google Apps domains on the Rapid release track.

No action is required as a result of the migration. No data should be affected; however, in rare cases the results of some formulas and some other features may be slightly different. See "What's different in the new Sheets?" in the Help Center article for more detailed information.

You can tell what version your spreadsheet is in by checking to see if there is a green checkmark at the bottom right of your spreadsheet (the checkmark is found on new Sheets only).

Release track:

Rapid release (gradual rollout); migration for Scheduled release domains will start in approximately four weeks (preceded by the notification)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Google Calendar app

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 12:22 PM PST
Today, we’re introducing a brand new Google Calendar app, built to save you time and help you make the most of every day.

Key features of the app include:

· Assists: suggestions that save you time
    • When creating a calendar event, we often have to piece together phone numbers, addresses and attendees from lots of different sources, then add them to our calendars manually. With Assists, Calendar can suggest titles, people and places as you type, as well as adapt to your preferences over time. For example, if you often have lunch with your mentor Kelly, Calendar can quickly suggest this when you type ‘l-u-n.’

· Schedule View: easy to scan and lovely to look at
    • Calendar’s new Schedule view includes photos and maps of the places you’re going, cityscapes of travel destinations, and illustrations of everyday events like dinner, drinks and yoga. These images will bring a little extra beauty to your day, and make it easy to see what’s going on at a glance—perfect for when you’re checking in from your phone or tablet.

The new Google Calendar will work on all Android 4.1+ devices. It’s available today on all devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop, and you’ll be able to download the update from Google Play in the coming weeks. We’re also working hard on a version for iPhone.

Note: The web version of Google Calendar will see some minor terminology changes today ('Reminders' become 'Notifications,' 'Privacy becomes Visibility,' and Privacy level ‘Default’ becomes ‘Calendar Default’).

In addition, once people get the new mobile app, they will be able to set separate Notification defaults for all-day events on web as well as mobile. In the coming weeks, people on web Calendar who haven’t used the app will also see this change. They will be informed the first time they use Calendar after this happens.

Release track:
App available now for both Rapid release and Scheduled release tracks on devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop. Update available for both release tracks on Google Play (for Android 4.1+) in the coming weeks.

Separate Notification defaults for all-day events on web for those who don’t download the app will launch to Rapid domains in two weeks, and to Scheduled release domains two weeks later.

A more modern Gmail app for Android

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 12:46 PM PST
Today, the Gmail app for Android is getting updated with a more modern style, sleeker transitions, and a few other handy improvements.

As part of the new design, there’s now a convenient reply button at the bottom of every message, making it quick and easy to continue a conversation when you’re on the go. And if you access the app on your Android tablet, you’ll notice it’s easier to switch between accounts and the different inbox categories.

The updated Gmail app also now supports all email providers, which means you can set up a separate inbox for, say, your Yahoo Mail or addresses using POP/IMAP.

The new app will support all Android 4.0+ devices. It’s available today on all devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop and will be rolling out on Google Play to everyone else over the next few days.

Release track:

Rapid release and Scheduled release

Monday, November 3, 2014

Notification of migration of Google Forms themes

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 11:14 AM PST
As recently communicated, Google Forms is in the process of upgrading older forms to the new version of Google Forms, followed by the auto-upgrading of legacy themes to allow for customization and a better mobile experience moving forward.

After the theme upgrade, some text and colors from older forms may not show up properly, in which case Forms editors may want to choose new themes for their affected forms.

Starting today, people working with affected forms will see a notification alerting them that their current theme is no longer supported and encouraging them to choose a new theme.

The legacy theme upgrades will happen on a rolling schedule starting in about 2-3 weeks (after the completion of the upgrade to the new Google Forms) and will take several months to complete.

Release track:

Rapid release, with Scheduled release coming in two weeks