Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday - Applying and Adapting

As mentioned before I do enjoy my weekends outside of work. But some weekends work spills into my
weekends and my weekends spill into my work. This was one such weekend. I attended the
Discovery Educator Network Westchester Day of Discovery. Whitney Milhoulides and the DEN Team
put together a wonderful day of professional development for local educators. As if I wasn't
already surrounded by EdTech greatness this week. The keynote on Saturday was Hall Davidson,

Mr. Davidson's sense of humor is infectious. I have had the pleasure of meeting him a few times
through my interactions in the DEN. He asked me before he began if I would laugh in all the
right spots and help him out. That request for support is never needed when Mr. Davidson speaks.
Not only is he elloquent but engaging and dynamic. Again, I watched as the sparks of "oh
really?" and "oh, yes, we need to do this" go off in my head. We have the tools. Let's use
them. Unintentional cognition. We can get students to think positively about their own learning.
To begin to feel ownership of their own knowledge. Talk about differentiated learning at its

Session 2 - Ten Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Video – and Two You Did - Hall Davidson
I love that Hall makes his resources available on the Discovery Education speakers Bureau page.
But the wonderful thing (well one of the wonderful things) about seeing him live is he deviates
from his script and listens to his audience. Each presentation is customized to the needs of the
group. Be it a MAC or PC the playingfield is there to explore. Movie Maker, Jing, Camtasia,
Photobooth, etc. The right tool exists the search is part of the fun. The creation is the
product of the fun experience.

Session 3 - Content Creation with Web 2.0 Tools and Discovery Education -Cindy Lane
Creation seemed to be a theme the last few days. In another informal moment at TLI my neighbor
in the audience and I discussed teaching integrity and responsibility to use web tools properly.
Ms. Lane demonstrated how to use a few such tools. Animoto, Glogster, and Stixy can help our
students create, publish, add meaning to content, and express themselves when available. These
tools have been seen before but it is always good to see new examples of what others have managed
to create. The difference between a pencil and paper (simple tools) and the sketch by Leonardo
of a flying machine is an analogy which can be drawn between the simple tool of these websites
and student and teacher creativity. Wow!

Session 4 - Countdown to Student Engagement: 10 Ways in 10 Minutes - Max Brooks
This summer I was graced to meet Max Brooks just as he was joining the DEN Team. He encourages
collaboration, tells it like it is, and thinks ahead to how it should/could be.
I learned about a feature in Discovery Education Streaming. Did you know there are BCRs? First did you know what BCRs are? I didn't! But now, thanks to Max, I do. BCRs stand for "Brief Constructed Responses". Discovery offers many assets and elements behind your login screen. Apparently there are BCRs all ready for us to implement with students. At school we have been discussing how students need assistance with replying to questions and using evidence from the text. Again, Discovery hold a tool to help our students achieve.

Session 5 - Sharing Discovery Education with Your Students -Max Brooks
During the Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute this July, I learned about the possibility
of having individual student accounts on the network. Teachers will be able to differentiate
learning once this is implemented. I worked this Fall with a teacher to create student accounts
in Discovery Education Streaming. What a wealth of curriculum discovery awaits! Permission
slips need to be approved and signed before this project can move forward. But now after
watching/listening to Max demonstrate the simplicity of the Classroom Management portal inside
Discovery Education, I see how easy it really can be. The teacher I am working with will
definitely be able to handle managing her own class after a little initial support is provided.
Thanks, Max, for preparing me for this next phase in student engagement about to happen at our

Phew did all this really just happen in only 2 days! Technology moves at the speed of light.
Finally NY State is coming on board. They are beginning to work with Discovery Education to
create a customized Tech Book for NY State students. I can't wait. The question remains, are we
ready to grab the comet and share it across the room, down the hall, across down, and around the
globe? As someone on Friday said, "I have drunk the Kool-aid, and it is GOOD!" I hope to continue
drinking the proverbial Kool-aid of various flavors...

Friday - Engage me. Engage them.

The second speaker during the TLI Kickoff was Wes Fryer. Recently, he also was featured during
the Discovery Educator Network Fall Virtual Conference on October 23rd. The audio at our in-
person event wasn't great during his portion of the day's virtual program at our location. It is
great that the session was archived. ( I was excited
to hear him on the DEN Fall Virtual Conference (a disembodied voice on a screen). I was even
more thrilled to find out that I would be able to attend TLI Kickoff and witness him in-person.

Listening to him truly energized me again towards changing the education process. Shifting from
media consumer to media producer. As he stated with today's technology advances is there any
reason that students and teachers are not creating their own ebooks? How amazing technology is!
Not only is he absolutely right, we should be creating with free/inexpensive tools. But we can
save, document, archive, portfolio compile, etc. In fact, he amazingly posted not only his
resources and slides. But also the audio from the day. All available at

The more I listened the more engaged I became. The more engaged I became the more I discovered
that I had to bring back to my staff and students. As a member of the assembled audience I am
thinking to myself:
  • We have to connect with Mr. Fryer.
  • We have so much to learn from him.

Apparently, he had been kindly informed about our school district's FCC grant program that is
launching. I have been involved in some of the research and design of this project. So it was
great when he mentions that he would like to connect with the school district involved with the
grant. It was a pleasure to represent my district and state "I am here from there." I should be
seeking Mr. Fryer out. How wonderful that he was as equally willing to connect with our
district! I definitely plan to help build the bridge between this man, steering a well built
technology integration ship and my director of technology, helping to prepare students for
whatever ship comes their way in the future. Many moments in life during my work day are
memorable ones. Those aha moments when the spark of knowledge acceptance comes across in a
visible way. But I must say, this moment will be remembered as a favorite. To paraphraze it is
a big deal to upload thoughts from our brains to a trusted spot on the web. I was thoroughly
engaged and nodding in agreement of how powerful the cloud is becoming. How distance no longer
separates our learning. Case in point. This respected technology integrator is willing to
collaborate from afar with our district. Digital contact information was shared so that we can
"meet in the cloud." Before meeting in the cloud, we met over a lovely lunch at the Edith Macy
Conference Center. Another gentleman from the audience joined the informal conversation around
the table over our salad and entree. These are the moments I love in Edtech. Twitter, panoramic
software, Evernote, Classroom Blogmeister, Comments for kids and more were touched upon. This
reminds me of some of the greatest take-away moments I have from the Discovery Summer Institute.

I have so many ideas swimming in my head for digital portfolios, digital creation, the need to
share, and more. I love my weekends but Monday through Friday becomes more appealing with an
internal excitement such as this. Mr. Fryer challenged us to share like this. And then share
some more. We are no longer islands in our classroom. Ready to set sail?

Friday - Absorbing and Reassessing

I was granted the opportunity to attend the LHRIC Technology Leadership Institute (TLI) Kickoff.
The featured speakers were Lisa Johnson, Kentucky and Wesley Fryer, Oklahoma.

Lisa Johnson described previous projects that she was involved with at her school district. She
discussed their strengths and their struggles. And explained a desire to chart yet another
course in technology integration with a focus on student centered instruction.

A fascinating web tool was employed. ( is described as "Wiffiti
was designed for the "Lean Back" experience of viewing user-generated content from a distance (at
a bar, a public location or a conference) as well as the "Lean Forward" experience online or via
text messaging.

New Wiffiti messages are instantly displayed center screen and are easily viewable from a
distance. Older messages then fade back and move as an animated cloud, providing enough ambient
activity to continually stimulate audience attention and encourage engagement.

Interactivity is multi-modal - it can happen at the location via mobile phones, or online via
easily embeddable website widgets. Incoming content streams and web and mobile messages update
across all instances of the addressed Wiffiti screen automatically."

The audience was challenged to think and reflective on several conversation starters and then
text responses anonymously to the large display screen in the front of the meeting space. A cool
little tool that randomly displays results into focus and sends others to the background. This
facilitates discussion by the group in an unsual way compared to other text your answer sites.

The difference between creation and point and click instructional practices were explored. The
following screen made me wonder though, although teachers and students need these skills should
this be the focus of instruction. Or should we be more content focused? I see the value in "I
can insert, resize, and position graphics". But perhaps the question should really be "How
should I display this to bring digital meaning to the thought behind the image?"

I had the pleasure of having lunch with Ms. Johnson. Her kind heart comes through in her
suggestions for how to help students embrace their learning and create meaning. Listening to her
speak has me looking at our curriculum with a fresh eye. Perhaps there are ways to empower our
students and teachers into finding ownership and becoming "digital content writers".   

Thursday - The Need to Share

Thursday, I had several discussions with staff members in our district about the need to share
knowledge.  Knowledge is said to be power.  We need to make each other more powerful.  We need to
share! Began thinking about new things to bring to my blog.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DENSI Update Day 4

Day 4 of #DENSI started this morning on such high notes (literally). A group of us #DENSI members gathered together to take a walk along the beach this morning. Tally (@TalzBee) and I decided to try geocaching along the way together. At first technology was a hindrance. Apps didn't want to work. Maps weren't precise. But finally it all clicked. A woman walked by us singing a good morning (not sure if it was more to her self or as a greeting to us). Either way it made me smile. Working collaboratively to navigate in the right direction, Tally finally found the microcache under a fence point joint by a beach house along the boardwalk. Still impressed with how quickly she did that. It was a wonderful feeling that surrounded me as I went about my morning after that coup. I had been out twice before unsuccessfully. This was amazing to participate in so early in the morning.

We came back and prepared for the conference to officially begin. Off to hear the opening session.

Steve Hargadon from classroom 2.0 addressed the assembled members of the DEN during the opening session today. He fired up the cloud and helped several discover their worth, find their voice, and renew their passion. I took prolific notes this morning. And yes, I resorted to the old fashioned method of note taking as the technology around me rebelled today. Was Mercury in retrograde or something and I didn't get the memo.

From today's opening session:
We were challenged with “Why is what's happening now different?”
A website was shared To me this is a cluttered site with a wealth of information only a click away. Mr. Hargadon quoted John Taylor Gatto in saying the factory model of education and schooling is broken. Perhaps the change that is coming can be precieved as more of a tidal wave approaching. I loved that he joked that Steve Dembo is Hanging 10 and tweeting from the crest of the wave.

Education will be shifting to an exploration and design from the bottom up instead of from the top down. Teacher, parent, and student are going to be given a greater voice in the educational narrative (of today? Of tomorrow?) The value is students are going to need it to participate in the 21st century skill world. Can they be a part of the conversation?

Structured reform: reform narrative testing and tasking
Freedom reform: freedom of flexibility engagement and individualize. We as educators are the new superheroes. But over-tiredness is this superhero's kryptonite. I took several photos during the session. I hope to turn them into a meaningful product here to share out. But that will have to wait for tomorrow as there was more to the day to be shared out. Yes, Mr. Hargadon inspired me to renew my desire to share information via my blog. I have renewed purpose and have reclaimed my voice. I hope you will utilize your voice and leave comments on my blog posts.

Session 1 – Jennifer Wagner
In recent days I have had several conversations with a distinguished woman named Jennifer Wagner, @JenWagner. I had the privilege of attending her session today entitled Show Off Your Stuff, A perfect segway from Mr. Hargadon inspiring us to find our voice. Jennifer offered simple solutions for how to share our voices (or that of our students) in a nonthreatening approach.

Suggestion 1:
You can take pictures of student drawings and upload into Flickr. Simple yet effective. This can then be shared home or abroad.
Suggestion 2:
Wordle based on data collected from a Google Form. As our district begins to slowly implement Google Apps for Education, I found this concept very encouraging. During larger collaborative projects the data collected can become unmanageable and rather ugly to focus upon. But turning it into a graphical representation makes it much more informational at a glance.

[insert pause here... I have found my voice. But I need to find my bed for tonight] My notes are in my Google Docs and I promise to share out the rest soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

DENSI Update Day 3

Another great DEN day! Thanks for all the fun everyone. I love collaborating and sharing with the stars. What a galaxy of talented DEN stars we have! And my how brightly the stars shine.

Today was a long day with 5 interesting PD sessions. I took many notes but they aren't all finalized yet. If you would like a copy of my notes, please let me know and I will gladly share out after I make them a bit more universally readable.

But here are a few brief summaries of today's proceedings:

Main session summary:
The DENdy 500 race was begun. Jannita Damian discussed how the challenges on the road to leading with technology shouldn't be left as a hindrance. In conversation later with some friends from Maine, we discussed how our negative opinions of the way things HAVE been should be put into the Pit. They don't need to be discarded. They need to be modified, overhauled, and fine-tuned.

First breakout session:
Jeremy Davis presented an informative session on using self-assessment for evaluation. Two great nuggets I received during this session:
  • The classroom management system has been updated recently. Classes can be created globally by a school district to pre-load student information into the Discovery Education system.
  • In Discovery Education you can use the Advanced Search feature to find quizzes that others have created and tweak them for use with your students and/or staff.

Second breakout session:
Joe Diaz presented a stimulating session which demonstrated some ways to motivate students with digital content. He offered some suggestions as starting points. And then challenged us to dream up our own possibilities.

Some of his suggestions include:
  • Using wordles to help draw focus to a topic's content before revealing the topic heading.
  • Displaying ½ of a graphic for students and asking them to predict what the other half might be before revealing
  • Playing a video without sound paired with 3 transcripts. Have students identify the correct video transcripts.

Third breakout session:
Clare Devine discussed exploration and reflection/rethinking. How do you equip students with the ability to attain the objectives that you set out in the motivation/opening of your lesson? What experiential learning will help students explore the big ideas and questions to achieve desired understandings?
Among the many samples Clare gave she sparked renewed interest in Discovery Education Skillbuilders. These gems have much to offer. You can search for them in the advanced search feature. It was great to get to rethink about this oft forgotten section of DE streaming. What wonderful nuggets for introduction or review await under the skillbuilder category.

Fourth breakout session:
Sarah Johangiry shared ideas for tailoring instruction for individual students. Differentiated instruction is meeting kids where they learn.

Differentiated instruction is flexible and fluid (groups can change based on progress and assessment). She also pointed out the existence of a site that hosts lyrics and worksheets to accompany several of the RockBot songs that are contained in Discovery Education. These can be found at Definitely worth exploring for future use in the classroom.

Jannita Damian gave us a glimpse into the activities of the Discovery Education professional development teams recent interactions.  An adorable video was played to refocus us on "Who are you? and Where are you going?" 

During the wrap-up session this evening, the lovely Renee Henderson stood and shared her excellent viewpoint with us. Many agreed she spoke with eloquence.

Social experiments:
The evening was completed with some great DEN mingling. An ice cream social was hosted. DEN members gathered for cool refreshments on a beautiful patio. Conversation was both fun, fun-hearted, and productive all at the same time. I just love that combo. 

 Then the DENmazing Race took place. Congratulations to all the winners. It was great entertainment watching our colleagues scurry about completing tasks. The pronouncement of the winners were overseen by the DEN royal court of Lance and Martha Rougeux. And the official proclamation was decreed by Princess Porter.

After the winners were announced DEN members continued to socialize, network and strategize into the night. Good conversation, good people and good weather... good times and good memories!

Over the last few months Steve Dembo started an intriguing idea that caught on. He hosted the Fit42 challenge. Members of his online PLN participated in networking and sharing focused on the theme of becoming more physically fit, active, healthier and possibly losing weight. Thrilled to say I have lost 13 pounds since that experiment began. And the great ideas continue flowing. Tomorrow morning we will rise early for a walk to the beach before the sessions dawn on Day 4 of #DENSI. Obviously it is time for me to sign off or I won't be able to participate in the Fit42 activity. I can't wait to see what the DEN has in store for us tomorrow...

Monday, July 11, 2011

DENSI Update

I promise I will organize my notes and share soon from the third day of ISTE.  But in the meantime I am a participant at #DENSI from Discovery Education.  So it is time to blog out a bit from this event too.  I don't want to fall into bad habits of not being a good digital citizen and connected educator.

Day 1 of DENSI summary:
A great day of connecting will old friends, new friends, and virtual friends.  The best of all words bringing your expanded personal learning network to life.  After some trials and tribulations traveling here, I arrived.  Found a lovely group of ladies who were kind enough to include me in their local excursion.  Target, pronounced /Tar-jay/ if you want to be a bit more dignified then us, provided much amusement and amazement.  Many items available for procurement and an automated cart lift that astounded onlookers seeing it for the first time (not one of the first time viewers).

We had a lovely barbeque on a terrace overlooking a beautiful site of the valley.  Then we were graced with a presentation from Danny Forster,, host of Build it Bigger.  He entranced and engaged us tired #DENSI members with stories of the how and why behind several buildings around the globe.  Wish he was being recorded so my tired brain could redigest this information another day.  He graciously signed autographs and mingled with the DENSI guests.  How very kind of him to extend his stay in such a meaningful way to be with us.

Checked in with the roommates for a quick catchup reconnecting with some and meeting a kind new face.  Then off to sleep to refresh for Day 2.

Day 2 of DENSI Summary:
Awoke bright and early.  I must have been anticipating something great... Oh right I was, day 2 of #DENSI and an excursion to SeaWorld.  What an amazing day.  Everywhere my dear friend @plnaugle and I turned there was another DENSI shirt clad member of the DEN.  What a good feeling running into so many familiar friendly faces!  I love the DEN and the key is the people in it that make all the difference.

Patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait... but in the moment when asked to wait, I can get rather unhappy.  Waiting for the line to move for the Blue Horizon show at Sea World was almost my undoing.  But we were offered amazing seats.  I couldn't have had better if I requested the best seat to film from.  I stayed dry and had a great vantage point in the center of the "stage".  I will share my videos soon. I will upload them somewhere and share out shortly just not tonight.

Tonight was topped off by a casual and informal room party.  Thanks to the educators who gathered to share refreshments and refresh our interest in technology tools.  It is amazing how much sharing can happen so quickly when the right group gathers and collaborates.  Thanks to all that were part of it!

Okay off to get ready for tomorrow and recharge tech gadgets and myself for round 3 tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ISTE11 Day Three Recap

Okay ISTE world.  I'm a very tired girl tonight.  I spent most of the day in the Exhibitors Hall.  But I promise I will blog out my notes soon... if anyone cares.

But this evening we had a blast with Young Educator Network colleagues.  Thanks for throwing a great party.

Then we moved onto the Edtech Karaoke tonight.  Another great time.  Loved singing along (quietly under the Pub's noisy din) from the comfort of the great table that Dawn found us.

Okay off to hang out with the girls for the night.  Hope everyone is enjoying their evening.

ISTE11 Day Two Recap

Wow, what a world-wind of a day.  Here goes the not so brief - brief summary:

I. Started early with a very informative session on using TPACK.  Judi Harris summarized the theories eloquently.  She shared her professional development website where many more resources are available, It is so true that teachers need a combined approach including Technological Knowledge, Pedagogy and Curriculum Content.

This session sparked an idea for engaging students during the "down time" involved with reaching their desktop.  The time between hitting enter and the computer being ready for use can lose many students of the fast paced digital generation.  I plan to redirect that focus for a quick review or introduction to a topic in a low tech but engaging manner.  Then we can move on to the higher tech skills and yet cover many aspects we otherwise would not be able to waiting for technology to catch-up to us.

II. Next, we visited the vendor floor in the Exhibit Hall for awhile.  Amazing how quickly the time goes.  Luckily there will be more time for that tomorrow.  In dialogue with a vendor, who had a unique method of offering prizes to potential #ISTE11 participants, I realized the idea could be extrapolated in an inexpensive yet engaging way to share a Technology idea or concept with teachers and/or a curriculum integration idea.  Thus increasing their learning borrowing the TPACK model.

III. We then branched off in different directions.  One of my favorite things about the ISTE Conference is that there is a little something for everyone.  My second session was on the ISTE Learning Community,  ISTE has launched a collaborative collegiate space for professional development aligned to the NETS.  Some areas are free, yay! Some require a reasonable fee.  There is The Commons, offering free resources to help you build your PLN.  There is Coaching Center, offering free resources for those that help provide development to others.  There are Learning Labs, offering self directed 6hour learning experiences on a single topic with a reflective subscription service. There will be The Cafe, offering collaboration with educators from around the world over current edtech topics.  The final result will be an educational artifact which will then be hosted in the Commons for others to utilize.  There will be ISTE U, offering a more traditional approach with faculty led instruction in an online environment.

I look forward to exploring these resources and hopefully implementing a few with teachers in my district.

Phew... I needed a break.  So it was a stop over in the Social Butterfly Lounge.  Power Up devices.  Power Down Neene lol ;) I ran into several DEN friends and other colleagues along the way.  I was overjoyed to see an administrator from the high school that I attended.  Nice to briefly reconnect with @plnaugle, @teryl_magee, @yoyosciteach, @Lparisi, and two former teachers from our school district.

IV. After a break over note-taking, phone charging, lunching, and tweeting, it was time to learn some more.  My next stop was the SIGML: Mobile Learning Tutorial.  This was hosted by Elliott Soloway, Cathie Norris, and Helen Crompton.  They displayed a great resource that is in the works,  How did they share this? With a QR code to a tinyurl.  Isn't that a bit redundant.  Will text speak for "the" become "t" soon? But the concept was great.  Why type a long website's url when you can snap a "picture" of a graphic symbol and be teleported directly to the link.

They discussed the "Dawning of the Age of Mobilism".  It is true.  Sharing messages and information sure has come a long way from the days of the Pony Express and the Telegraph.  The panel challenged us, "You are mobilists.  Go forth and mobilize!" Love that! I believe I will...

While sitting in the session I tweeted out "Ready for ISTE session with SIGML".  A DEN friend tweeted a reply "@neene I wanted 2 b in the SIGML #ISTE11".  I was able to tweet back "@nsharoff taking notes will blog them tonight".   Delivered as promised, Nancy!

Instead of swapping like tools for like i.e. computers for newer computers, explore newer and better ideas i.e. itouch/ipad2/droid/etc. Some examples of mobile tools were given including:

  • Google Earth
  • Google Sky
  • Star Walk
  • Podcasts using Audacity
  • Polleverywhere
As this was a SIG ML event we were then challenged to share a tool of our own.

Lee Bond, @leebond1 from Australia shared:

I missed the next woman's name but she shared an idea for including booktrailer urls in QR codes inside the jackets of library books.  Great idea!

Renee Henderson, @msreneescience (fellow DEN member... yay, Renee!) shared:
Renee recorded video tutorials for students reminding them the steps in labs. Now they have a great resource to refer to whenever they forget a step.

Claude shared:
Sonicpics, for apple

Chris Smith shared:
Evernote for Android, Blackberry and more which syncs notes to the cloud with multimedia resources embedded

Mark Young shared:
That he uses the record feature on his phone to have students self record them dictating their written work.  Playback offers a way to listen to their own fluency and self-evaluate.  He has also recorded samples of fluency errors to help students compare.  Great idea, Mark!

Scott Nucome, @Snewco shared:
His resource  He has compiled many tools on using mobile learning into one location and made it public.  Thanks so much!

Tinashe Blancet shared:, where she has posted a moodle forum Tech Tuesdays@Ehret.  An interesting site to visit.

Carrie Jeffrey shared:
For All Rubrics (I believe this was an app.)

Abigail Johnson shared:
Logo Draw for the ipad, a throwback to the Logo programming days with an update for the iPad

James shared:
That he has students create a video introduction using photos with voice over.  Simple and effective - terrific!

I shared:
Google Apps for Education offers a safe secure location for students to connect in a mobile format.  And these Google Tools are available on most mobile devices. I merely placed my card with my QR Code for my blog and discussed.  I knew others were waiting to discuss their suggested Mobile Learning apps and the session was drawing to a close.  But I promised to post the image that I discussed and contact information here on my blog this evening in PDF.  Your files go with you where-ever you go.

Someone shared:, offering app review for educational applications

That was just amazing.  All those resources made available in an hour!  Thanks everyone.

V. Breaktime.  Meetup with colleagues from my school district that were also attending #ISTE11.  Thank you to the Young Educators Network and the other sponsors that provided refreshments at this Treatup.

VI. Oh, the ISTE day didn't end there.  I attended a session on Free Mobile Participation Tools.  It was nice to see them suggest Google Moderator.  I learned of this tool last summer from Whitney Milhoulides, Discovery Education.  It allows you to host threaded discussions in Google.  Did I mention this will be available in our Google Cloud behind the safety of our login? The resources from this session are available at

I was beginning to get winded by this part of the day.  Did I mention the session began at 4:15?

VII. I took a breather on a bench while I waited for my colleague to finish the session she was attending.  I began chatting with the woman on the other side of the bench.  As I looked down I noticed her name tag, Elizabeth Beagle.  Seriously, did I read that correctly? On the ISTE Ning Elizabeth and I had begun a connection regarding e-portolios.  We had agreed to meetup somewhere along the way and talk among ourselves.  How ironic to wind up sitting next to each other randomly! My mother always quoted St. Thomas Aquinas' "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." If you are interested in viewing Elizabeth's work you can find her at  Thanks for a great conversation.

VIII.  A vendor from whom we utilize several products hosted a great evening of dinner and conversation.  Love networking with people we know that help bring us the tools to facilitate student learning.

And now I am off to bed to rest-up before we do it all again tomorrow...

Monday, June 27, 2011

ISTE11 Day One Recap

Well today officially began the ISTE2011 conference.  Guess it was the sense of excitement.  We woke earlier than expected.  Got dressed faster than expected.  Had a lovely walk to the conference center (when you know where you are going it is amazing how much faster you get there...)

So we had time to organize our thoughts and schedules before things got under way.  The official kickoff began with an interesting accapella group, Broad Street Line.  An inspiring video was played,

Several ISTE awards were presented and distinguished educators were honored.  NYDEN friends were among those honored.  Adam Bellow received the Outstanding Young Educator Network Award.  Both Adam and Peggy Sheehy addressed the assembled educators.  Peggy suggested perhaps the unconventional has now become the conventional (love that) and that perhaps education needs an overhaul from within the system.  During one of the slides that flashed we recognized the NYDENLC's own Lisa Parisi and Christine Southard.

Amazingly the Kickoff was archived so we can revisit it and review later.  You can view the video on Youtube at posted by Istevideos.

I learned about some new resources to explore when I return.  These include, Jason Project (remember this from the past but need to revisit),, and, and an application called Doodle.  I can't wait to experiment.

Recently, back at school, I received some hits on my Where's George? Project (  I can't wait to share this information next year with our students and continue plotting our monetary adventures.  Think I may need to put a few into circulation here in Philadelphia and see what happens over the summer.  Naturally, while touring the Liberty Bell I had to ask to have this photograph taken for use in September with our students.

We spent the afternoon connecting, reflecting, and exploring in Philadelphia.  After much deliberation on a location for dinner we located an adorable French Cheese-shop/restaurant.  Loved this place!  What a perfect ending to a great day! ;)

Goodnight, everyone! Rest up for Day Two of #ISTE11...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

ISTE Arrival

So after taking several scenic tours to arrive here, we are at the ISTE conference.  The hotel where we are staying is lovely.  Thank goodness for technology.  A few mouse clicks and here we are in a great hotel sight-unseen that caters to business types that need extended stays in the city.  You enter the elevator in the lobby and the pink lighting hits you with a reminiscent glow of Sex in the City.

Gathered this evening for good conversation and an enjoyable meal with colleagues at the Hard Rock Cafe.  One of the great things about ISTE is the ability to socialize as well as network and learn.

We have our Google calendars all synced.  We have our Google Docs already to go for note-taking and sharing. Phone is charging.  ISTE mobile app installed.  Weeded through all the vendor promotions and invitations.  Ready for tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not the Pink Bunny Today

A colleague confided in me yesterday, "I feel like I am back in college cramming.  So much to get done and no time to do it." I have always been a multi-tasker.  But lately, even I have been staggered by the amount of balls I have been keeping in the air.  Video editing, data analysis, report card assistance, summer preparation, inventories, supply orders, and more.  I am sure many of you can relate.  It seems an epidemic these days:

  • Humans just don't come equipped with enough hands.  
  • The clock doesn't come equipped with enough hours.
  • The calendar doesn't come equipped with enough days.
As I glance at my calendar, I can't believe we are almost ready to head to ISTE2011.  My mailbox certainly knows it is time to prepare for ISTE.  All the invitations, flyers, coupons, visit our booth procrastination and more.  I've setup a Google doc to keep track of all the things that seem interesting.  I've setup a Google calendar to cross reference all the possible invitations and commitments I would like to keep. I am energized by all the Twitter, Facebook, Blog, and Email correspondence that people are sending regarding this phase of anticipation. 

But today, I am able to blog because although I usually am the little pink bunny that goes, and goes.  Today, I am done.  I'm a firm believer in avoiding TMI so I will just succinctly say... I ate the wrong thing somewhere along the way and am on a sick day today.  The little pink bunny can no longer run on battery today.  She needs to be plugged into the A/C outlet to recharge a little. 

Surely, tomorrow I will be back at it.  Reading the ISTE community pages (, sorting through the emails and mailers, connecting with my PLN, and preparing for the upcoming summer fun.  But today...not feeling like that little pink bunny.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Celebration of Teaching and Learning

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend The Celebration of Teaching and Learning in New York City today.  Thank you Discovery and WNET!  The day started off slowly for me.  Frustrations mounted (found out it is a perigee moon out there).  Cell phone never charged last night.  2 brand new pens, straight of the box wouldn’t write. Any wonder I shop at the dollar stores.  Pay full price… doesn’t work… Pay only a dollar… love them!  Tried to take photographs from the event.  Bad lighting for my camera.  Everything came out all shaky. Attended a session that addressed interactivity but presented static black text on a white background research.  Teach what you preach and preach what you teach!
But the day finally picked up speed for me after lunch.  I attended a great session on using visual news articles for education.  Made some great connections on the exhibitor’s floor.  Skype possibilities opened up.  Great tools to bring back to my colleagues.  Then a wonderful panel discussion hosted by a moderator who seemed to make strategic pointed comments that support teachers and challenged the current frictions we experience in the media.
Despite some earlier frustrations the day was a wonderful experience for me.
Here are just some of the tools I walked away with adding to my personal teacher trainer kit:
Today’s Wonderful Resources:
  • Arkive – Archive of conservation for endangered species (videos, photos, and factual information) Copyright cleared for use in educational projects. (Free)
  • Thinkfinity Community – Take thinkfinity resources and pair them with a forum that can be created (for free) to discuss Thinkfinity Lessons and application. We can set up our own group for teachers in our districts
This is a sample of a group created for New York ( But similar forums can be setup for other groups using the free hosted corner on the Thinkfinity Portal.
  • The.News – Online news articles, videos, and transcripts from MacNeil / Lehrer Productions hosted in the cloud. Created for Middle and High School. But as discussed definite application in 5th grade. (Free)

  • Larry Bell’s 12 Powerful Words – Interesting PD concept. Larry Bell identified 12 powerful words that appear in standardized testing questions. If we implement these now in class instruction students will be better prepared for future standardized test reading.

  • Brainpop For Educators – Join with other teachers using Brainpop resources to collaborate and share ideas. Lesson plans, graphic organizers, quizzes, and more. (Free) Each teacher can sign up for their own account.

I hope they will be issuing archives later of some of these sessions.  Today was just fabulous.  Very tired.  Very inspired.  Very excited for tomorrow (The Celebration of Teaching and Learning Day 2) and tomorrow (our near future in education).