Monday, June 23, 2014

Day 180 - Spend some time with the BPS EdTech Team this summer at EdCamp Tuesdays! - Dennis Villano, BPS Director of Technology Integration

This post originally appeared on the BPS EdTech Blog
Spend some time with the BPS EdTech Team this summer!
We are excited to announce our Summer 2014 events. The BPS EdTech Team will host educators from around New England in July and August for our BPS Summer Edcamp Series and Massachusetts Digital Publication Collaborative.
Both events will take part on four Tuesdays and be held at Marshall Simonds Middle School in Burlington. Join us on July 15, 22, 29, and August 5 from 9:00am-1:00pm. Registration is now open through Eventbrite.
BPS Summer Edcamp Series
Join members of the BPS EdTech Team for our unconference sessions. The Summer Edcamp Series provides informal participatory professional development for teachers of all grades and content areas. Attend and lead a topic or just join in the conversation with others. A great opportunity to learn and develop your learning network.
Massachusetts Digital Publication Collaborative
Join members of the BPS EdTech Team for the 2014 Collaborative. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from and share with others while curating and creating digital resources for your classroom during the Collaborative sessions.  This year’s Collaborative will be held in partnership with the BPS Summer Edcamp Series and provide a unique foundation for the development of digital content for your classroom with the support of the BPS EdTech Team and other teachers in your content area.
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Day 178 - Bring Videos To Life With eduCanon - BHS Help Desk

Video in the Classroom
Many teachers incorporate video both in and outside of the classroom for instructional purposes. When integrated effectively, videos can be a powerful instructional tool. Video can also be used to engage and motivate students, promote critical thinking, and spark lively classroom or online discussions. And of course, the integration of video can be used to flip lessons. Teachers can now create screencasts for students to watch outside of class. This allows the classroom to become a more collaborative environment with an increased amount of hands-on activities (as it should be!). If you do flip lessons, whether you create the screencast yourself, or you assign students to watch a video from Khan Academy or another high quality educational video site, it’s important to ensure your students understand the content and concepts taught in the video. With a tool like eduCanon, teachers can monitor student progress towards achieving the learning goals and easily determine what each student needs- individualized or small group instruction or more challenging, independent activities.
An eduCanon Overview
eduCanon is a free, interactive, and easy to learn online platform that increases student engagement by allowing teachers to embed questions with explanations inside videos. It works perfectly on an iPad and could be a useful tool in virtually any content area. As mentioned, if you flip lessons, and use videos as part of your flipped lesson strategy, eduCanon is a no-brainer to add to your technology toolkit. Built by teachers, for teachers, eduCanon allows lessons to be differentiated, is perfect for formative assessments, and prevents students from skipping content. The best part is that this is done all in real-time.
Signing Up and Building Lessons With eduCanon
Educators sign up for eduCanon with either Google or an Edmodo account. Once the account is created, teachers are assigned a unique teacher search code they share with their students. This allows students to access the teacher-created lessons, which can be public or private. After signing up for an account, teachers can start building their lessons. Building a lesson is just as simple as signing up for an account. Teachers give each lesson a title, enter the learning objective, select the grade level, topic, and a subtopic. Next, the teacher simply copies and pastes the URL of a video from YouTube, Vimeo, or Teacher Tube and then selects build question. Teachers can add multiple choice questions and provide students with an explanation for each response. Once the lesson is completed, teachers select assign. The signup process for students is even easier. Here is an excellent tutorial showing students exactly how to signup and access their teacher’s class. My students were signed-up and completing the lessons I had built in less than five minutes. I had copied and pasted a link to my eduCanon lessons on my class blog, but could have also Tweeted a link to the lessons to my students using a unique hashtag. This is an excellent way to incorporate social media into your classroom (if you school allows social media).
Teacher view of questions in eduCanon lesson
Teacher view of questions in eduCanon lesson
Assigning Lessons
Teachers can add up to 8 classes and each class is given a name and a description. I teach two sections of Digital Literacy, but since both sections are completing the same lessons and are relatively small, I decided to create just one class. To assign the lesson, all I had to do was drag and drop the lesson under the appropriate class and selected a due date from the built-in calendar. And that’s all was to it. It was a very simple process and the learning curve for eduCanon is minimal.
Teacher view of lesson "bulbs" in eduCanon
Teacher view of lesson “bulbs” in eduCanon
Monitoring Student Progress
To view student progress on the lesson, the teacher selects monitor. eduCanon provides a question-by-question breakdown and displays each class, lesson, and student progress in that specific lesson. This feature provides a complete picture of student performance and helps teachers identify which concepts may need further review or practice. This is one of the features I liked best about eduCanon because it not only showed me which students had completed the lessons, it helped me determine the difficulty of the lesson and individual questions. eduCanon has an excellent walkthrough on monitoring student progress.
Teacher view of student progress in eduCanon
Teacher view of student progress in eduCanon
eduCanon From the Student Perspective
eduCanon offers students a personalized learning experience. While watching a video, students can control the pace of their learning by pausing and rewinding whenever necessary, however they are unable to fast forward, which is a great feature! Videos from YouTube, Vimeo, or TeacherTube are supported in eduCanon.  I recently introduced eduCanon to my Digital Literacy students and the results were positive. When I asked for their feedback, students said they liked how the video would pause on its own and a question would follow. They also commented that it functioned well on their iPads.
Student view of video lesson in eduCanon
Student view of video lesson in eduCanon
Additional Support and Features
The comprehensive eduCanon FAQ page provides answers to commonly asked questions about building, assigning, monitoring, and managing students. If you try eduCanon and decide you want even more features, such as the ability to ask open-response questions or access to the moren than 10,000 lessons in the public lesson library, an annual eduCanon pro subscription is available for $80.00. Additionally, teachers can download lesson grades in .csv format for easy analysis in Google Sheets or import into current gradebooks. Whether you try the free account, or opt for a pro subscription, I highly recommend integrating this tool into your classroom for the 14-15 school year. eduCanon will have a positive impact on student learning and it is an excellent way to incorporate the iPad into your instruction. I’ve showed this tool to a few teachers here in Burlington and they are very excited to start using it next school year.
Learn More About eduCanon this Summer with the BPS Edtech Team!
Join members of the Burlington Public Schools Edtech Team and educators from across New England for our summer Edcamp Series. Work with your colleagues on building eduCanon lessons that will engage and excite your students!
Don't forget to register!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day 177 - Another Unusual 3D Print - Tim Calvin, BPS Instructional Technology Coach

This post originally appeared on the BPS EdTech Blog

Recently, I was contacted by some high school students (Hammad Sadiq, Harsha Chittoor, Yash Bhalla) about the possibility of me 3d printing something for them. That, in and of itself, is not entirely unusual- when students hear we have a 3d printer they are prone to asking if we can print them a cell phone case/iPad case/random other object. There’s some novelty involved, and that’s pretty normal. This wasn’t that.
When I probed for more information before committing, I found out they were AP Biology Students with Mr. Wood, and were working on a final project for the class. They had already located the 3d file of the object they needed printed, and were more than happy when I told them they should email the file to me and I’d have the part for them in a day or two. Of course I was willing to help with a final project. The questions that followed were not exactly what I expected- questions about if we had access to any cast-able silicone and if I had any experience with that.
It became clear that the part they wanted printed wasn’t actually the part they needed- it was the mold to cast the part they needed. The part in question was to be highly flexable, and as such they were going to use silicone. We didn’t have any of the specific material they needed, so that was ordered, and I set about printing the mold. It was a relatively simple print from a technical perspective, and in an hour or two it was ready. I returned a few days later, and they had cast the part, though it wasn’t ready yet, and I made a note to return in a few days.

The part in question is actually a combination of three parts- the molded part, a top/closing layer, and a seal between the two. When inflated with air (or liquid as well, I presume) the device ariculates and moves, much like a tenticle or sucker on some bizzare marine lifeform. Words begin to fail here, though a short video should explain.
Besides the inherent newness of 3d printing, this project touches upon a wide variety of skills and experience for the students. All of these, it’s worth noting, are well outside and above the scope of what would normally be experienced in a Biology class.
A small selection:
Research into 3d printing file types and restrictions
Manipulation of 3d files
Research into binary castable liquids
Experience in casting binary liquids
Experience with iterating on a hypothesis and testing
I’m very happy to have been able to contribute (in however a small way) to the learning of these students.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Day 176 - From The Rain vs. Down The Drain (Video), BHS AP Environmental Science Class

The video below was created by Ms. McInerney's AP Environmental Science Class as a Public Service Announcement to be shared with the Town of Burlington. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Day 175 - Summer Professional Development Options - Jenn Scheffer, BHS Instructional Technology Specialist

This post originally appeared on the BHS Help Desk Blog
Image Credit - msscheff's Instagram 
With summer just a few weeks away, I wanted to share a broad range of hands-on, high quality professional development opportunities for Burlington teachers, staff, and administrators to explore. Whether you are looking for collaborative, teacher-led formats such as an Edcamp, want time to experiment with technology tools that can engage all learners and solve real instructional challenges, or wish to learn from experts who teach your content area, the options I’ve curated have the unique needs of educators in mind. I also wanted to share professional development options for high school guidance counselors, including resources to become a Bullying Prevention Specialist, as well as Special Education and ELL teachers. Just as our students have unique needs and ways of learning, we as educators do as well. We cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach in the classroom, nor should we when it comes to our own professional development. So read on, see what catches your eye, and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Attend a Summer Edcamp Right Here In Burlington
BPS Summer Edcamp Series
The Summer Edcamp Series provides informal participatory professional development for teachers of all grades and content areas. Attendees can lead a session or just join in the conversation and collaboration with others. This event is a great opportunity to learn and develop your learning network.
Massachusetts Digital Publication Collaborative
Learn from and share with others while curating and creating digital resources for your classroom during the Collaborative sessions.  This year’s Collaborative will be held in partnership with the BPS Summer Edcamp Series and provide a unique foundation for the development of digital content for your classroom with the support of the BPS EdTech Team and other teachers in your content area. Register for FREE for either event by clicking here. BPS Summer Edcamps and the MADPC will be offered Tuesday July 15, 22, 29 and August 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Marshall Simonds Middle School.
Explore DIY Professional Development with Resources from Edutopia
summer-pd-2011tocEdutopia is offering a free, downloadable summer rejuvenation guide filled with tips and ideas on how to get the most out of your summer. Whether you wish to grow your network or are looking for tools and resources for service-based or blended learning opportunities, odds are your professional development needs will be met through one of  Edutopia’s manyvirtual workshops. For new educators, there’s a five-week new teacher boot camp series facilitated by Lisa M. Daabs, founder of the new teacher Twitter chat.
Learn with Educators From Across the World by Attending EdmodoCon Summer 2014
Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 8.22.58 PMEdmodoCon is an 11 hour virtual educator conference taking place Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
The event will be live streamed and participants can come and go as they please. All sessions will be archived for educators to watch at their convenience. Learn about new and creative ways to use Edmodo and integrate technology into your classroom. Prior to registering, be sure to test your device to ensure you’ll be able to participate. Registration is free and you can sign-uphere. To learn more about EdmodoCon, you can check out the recorded sessions from the 2013 event. Additionally, Edmodo has archived webinars from this past school year that you can also watch. Check out Improving Classroom Engagement with iPads and Edmodo from Chicago Public Schools to learn more about leveraging the iPad in your 1:1 classroom.
Participate in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses)
Coursera - Offers an extensive list of free, online courses from some of the world’s most well-respected and recognizable colleges and universities. Courses typically run 4 to 6 weeks and require an average of 4 to 6 hours of work per week. Many of the courses offer official recognition of completion from Coursera and its affiliated universities with a verified certificate. This credential can be added to your CV and shared with your employer through a secure URL. Educators can search for a wide variety of courses by subject area or search through 58 current course offerings on theTeacher Professional Development page. A small sample of some of the courses coming up this summer and early fall include:
Tinkering Fundamentals: A Constructionist Approach to STEM Learning (June 19th)
Tinkering activities provide a powerful way to inspire students’ interest, engagement, and understanding in science. The Tinkering Fundamentals course will help educators and enthusiasts develop a practice of tinkering and making. This course will focus on key design elements of high-quality, science-rich tinkering activities, effective facilitation strategies and environmental organization.”

Applying Principles of Behavior in the K-12 Classroom (University of Houston-June 23rd)
“In this class you will learn how to conduct a functional behavior assessment (FBA) and apply principles of behavior in the public school classroom in order to promote positive classroom behavior and intervene effectively when faced with challenging behavior.”
Copyright for Educators & Librarians (Duke University- July 21st)
“Fear and uncertainty about copyright law often plagues educators and sometimes prevents creative teaching. This course is a professional development opportunity designed to provide a basic introduction to US copyright law and to empower teachers and librarians at all grade levels. Course participants will discover that the law is designed to help educators and librarians.”
Designing for Deeper Learning: How to Develop Performance Tasks for the Common Core (Stanford University- September 8th)
This MOOC is designed for grade 6-12 teachers working in the core disciplines of mathematics, language arts, history/social studies, and science. It is recommended that participants currently teach or have access to a classroom for which they can design a performance assessment and then implement that assessment. Participants will work collaboratively with other educators in their discipline to accomplish course learning goals and assignments.”
Check out this short video to learn more about the power of a MOOC:

Take an Affordable, Self-Paced, Flex-Time Course Through the Professional Development Institute
appleFor educators looking for salary advancement or credential renewal, PDI courses may be an option. PDI offers convenient, flex-time courses for k-12 educators. Courses range from implementing common core writing, literature, and math standards, to character education, and comprehension strategies. A full list of the courses being offered can be accessed here. Each course has five online tests and five written assignments. PDI courses are worth 3 ⅓ semester units (5 quarter units) of graduate credit from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Extension, a WASC accredited university. Credit is available for an additional $184 for the top                                             twelve flex courses (all others only $230). Educators have a year to finish courses after registering online.
Bring Collaboration to the Next Level: Attend An Edcamp (After Attending Edcamp Burlington of course!) 
Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 8.32.47 PMNo matter where your summer travels take you, there is likely to be an Edcamp in your area! Heading to the Cape? Check out Edcamp Cape Cod on August 11th, or you can venture over to The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, CT and experience Edcamp Connecticut. The Granite State’s Antioch University New England, located in Keene, NH is also hosting an Edcamp on August 20th. Visit the Edcamp Wiki for a full list. If you’ve never been to one, an Edcamp is an incredibly unique professional development experience. When I attended Edcamp Boston in 2013 I really didn’t know what to expect. But by the end of the day, I was completely sold on the model and I wish more PD could offer me the same type of personalized experience that an Edcamp provides. The collaborative nature, teacher-driven agenda, and informal yet energizing atmosphere of an Edcamp are just a few of the reasons why every educator should attend at least one and experience it for him or herself. On top of all that, Edcamps allow you to walk away with an arsenal of practical, engaging, and most often free tools and resources that can be integrated into your practice right away. Finally, Edcamps allow you to connect with your colleagues and develop meaningful and lasting relationships. It’s the ideal way to grow your personal learning network. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself what Edcamps are all about.
Explore New Applications & Move the iPad from Content Consumption to Content Creation
Richard Byrne, author of the award-winning, must-bookmark blog Free Technology Tools for Teachers, shares a vast amount of resources for teachers of all grade levels and content areas. In addition to his main site, Richard has a separate iPad Apps for Schools site where he shares resources specific to the iPad. Recently, Richard highlighted iPad apps that teachers may want to explore this coming summer. Be sure to check out:
Additional Virtual PD Opportunities:
Below are direct links to educational webinars covering everything from common core to flipping your classroom. Webinars are free, convenient, and many offer certificates of completion.
Engage in Professional Reading
Summer is the perfect time to catch up with some professional reading. Check out this great list of fiction and nonfiction titles that was curated by educators for educators (and administrators) during a recent Sunday morning Twitter chat. You can also visit the BHS library for a collection of titles that may be of interest to you including Born Digital, It’s Complicated, Smarter Than You Think, The App Generation, and Chris Brogan’s The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth. A special thanks goes to BHS Librarian Susan Disanto (@reddevils_lib) for purchasing these books for the faculty, staff, and administration of Burlington High School.
I hope you will find these resources useful and will further investigate those which you feel will best meet your individual professional development needs. I wish you all a restful and relaxing vacation and here’s to a great summer of learning!
Image Credit - msscheff's Instagram 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Day 174 - Stories Live Winner - Rosemary Nabukeera, Burlington High School Senior

Check out the video below of Rosemary Nabukeera (Class of 2014) presenting the story that earned her first place in this year’s MassMouth story telling competition, for which she won a $1000 prize. Just in time for World Cup!