Friday, July 03, 2009

Overall Reflections on National Educational Computing Conference

National conferences are behemoth by nature and when it comes to technology -- much like waking up on a Christmas morning with way too many gifts to comprehend. This year's NECC did not disappoint. Besides the massive exhibition hall with over 500 vendors shouting about their newest and greatest, there were literally hundreds and hundreds of sessions, round tables, poster tables, and more to view. Steve, Donetta, and I spoke about the long time it took for each of us to just narrow down the field to the sessions that we felt would be best for the district. To review the program in detail, check out - I have written separately about most of the sessions I attended in this blog, so I won't go over those again, but I will share some goodies that I think are worth further investigation this year:
  1. Thinkfinity from Verizon (Free) - - excellent interactive activities and lesson plans for teachers to use in the classroom. Very dynamic, searchable, and connected to standards.
  2. Google Apps for Schools (Free) - - allows the district to base email and other apps for staff off of the Google tools -- for free. Allows each staff member to have 2 GB of space online, enhanced web-based email, and collaborative documents.
  3. Clicker 5 (Cost) - - is a cross-platform program that helps pre-rereading / pre-writing students to put together ideas and words to write stories. This looks exciting for our PreK and Kindergarten classes to replace some of the older programs that no longer are being supported. Can also be used with more sophisticated content. To find out more, check out -
  4. Library of Congress' Website (Free) - - one of the best experiences from the conference was a free pass to visit the Library of Congress for a closed evening event. We were treated like royalty with free drinks and desserts as well as free access to the main reading room at the Thomas Jefferson Building. This room is only available to the public about twice a year so we truly were treated as honored guests. There are so many resources available for students and educators at the Library of Congress and even if you have checked out the site in the past, you should take another look.
Here is a picture from the Main Reading Room:

For more pictures from Washington, DC, check out my photo website at

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

21st-Century Learning: The New Visionary Administrator Speaks Up!

The CEO of Project Tomorrow (the non-profit organization that runs the national survey of students, teachers, parents, and admininstrators called "Speak UP!") shared the responses of the Fall 2008 survey with a focus on responses of visionary leaders. From the 2008 Fall survey, Project Tomorrow discovered from the data that there is a growing cadre of visionary leaders whose technology skills and goals are more closely aligned with their students than with their teachers. To view the report, click this link - My beliefs about student, teacher, and admininstrator's responses to the survey seemed to be along the same lines. Hopefully, we too can participate in this survey this coming fall.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Microsoft Support for Educators

Innovative Teachers Network - free resources for teachers -

NECC SIGAdmin Forum

Don Kinezek, CEO of ISTE, discussed the importance of leadership support for sustainable positive change in education. Knowledgeable and persistent leadership is key for success and the new national educational technology standards for administrators (NETS-A) details the characteristics necessary. The new ISTE NETS-A sections are (ISTE, 2009):

1. Visionary Leadership
2. Digital Age Learning Culture
3. Excellence in Professional Practice
4. Systemic Improvement
5. Digital Citizenship

The first standard focuses on leadership that nutures effective and positive change. Leaders who cannot affect change positively will not survive. Digital Age Learning Culture (Standard 2), focuses on leaders' ability to model, promote, and support "rigorous, relevant, and engaging education for all students" (ISTE, 2009).

  • ISTE. (2009). National Educational Technology Standards. From, on June 30, 2009.

Just a piece of NECC's Exhibition Hall

This picture shows just a piece of the NECC 2009's Exhibition Hall -- it was massive, with over 290 asiles of vendors. Literally, this seemed to just go on and on...

Wordle - Create Beautiful Word Clouds

Wordle has got to be one of the coolest free tools out there to see your writing in graphical form. Here is one using the words from Robert Frost's poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Kathy Scrock's Winning Strategies for Information Overload

Kathy used her easy-going manner to share ways to help manage the extensive amount of information that floods all of us. You can check out details at Besides giving details about how to filter email and setting up ways to access your email with IMAP, Kathy also gave details about the "must have" hardware which can make life easier to manage information. She recommended 1G 8.9" netbooks for the best bang for your buck. Secondly, she recommended the use of "very smart" phone. She also discussed blogging, microblogging with Twitter, sharing Google Docs with her whole district.

Teaching Elementary Students with Scratch Programming

Christopher Michaud, Nebo Elementary
Tuesday, 6/30/2009, 11:00am–12:00pm WWCC 150 B

Christopher used his expertise with working with elementary students to help us digital immigrants how to use the free open source program called SCRATCH that allows students to create games, simulations, and tell stories through computer science and programming. The main information for this presentation is located at

Check out Chris' link at which has the directions for creating a shape painter program in SCRATCH.

This is such an amazing and "tangible" way to teach math, logic and technological fluency! I think this activity alone could incorporate so many of the NJ State Standards.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Web 2.0 Exploration Presentation

Web 2.0 New Tools, New Schools
Monday, June 29, 2009 - 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

"Technology is the support for learning." - Adam Garry, Presenter

I agree with this 100%! So often, as a technology director, so much of the time is gobbled up with the details of supporting the technology equipment, providing professional development, and dealing with mandates / requirements. Although these leeches are essential aspects of leading educational technology, the focus needs to be on finding ways to nurture student AND teacher learning.

Chris O'Neal, one of the presenters, recommended that it is best to find a tangible task and bring it back to motivate a change. Perhaps find a way to have your building administrators actually give technology trainings to their staff.

eToolKit - - Web 2.0 tools and resources are on this website.

The toolkit has resources on data gathering and information such as surveys and data collection assessments. information also includes Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) is the overlay of technology, content, and pedagogy. Additionally, there are many tips on how to get policymakers behind your vision. Overall, this website provides constantly-updated resources to support movement towards the new / updated version of school. ISTE provided a copy of Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum's (2007) book entitled, Web 2.0 New Tools, New Schools.

Tammy's Tech Tools

Bright and early, Steve Chard, Donetta Marconi, and I arrived for our first real session. Her handout can be found at...

Tammy's session was very practical and a great way to get started. She started out by sharing the gem called - which allows you to set up an impromptu chat room for free using a web browser.

Highlights from session:

Tammy's Tech Tools

  1. Check out the link for the handout with all of the links -,_Tricks,_%26_Tools/Web_Tools.html.
  2. Jamstudio - - allows students to use web to create music with various software instruments and then they can download and used in PowerPoint or other location.
  3. Vocaroo - - allows you to freely create recordings that can be embedded into web pages. Great use for posting to a class blog -- have students come up individually each day and record what happened during class that day.
  4. Jing - and Skitch (best for Mac) - download the program to then capture screen shots, but instead of just sitting in the clipboard, you can annotate and do so much more. Additionally, this will record your voice and mouse movement. You can also move to Screencast which allows you to embed your video /image or download.
  5. Similar Keepvid - - which allows you to harvest YouTube videos, KickYouTube helps teachers to download videos to bring into school. When you find the YouTube video on YouTube, in the address bar, just add "kick" before the word "youtube." Then you will be able to download it various formats. This is a huge advancement in working around streaming issues. No downloading, no fees, no extra links.
  6. CoolTools - - has a Random Name generator that pulls up invidual names one by one for students to answer a question... You can use this when you are asking students to review facts as well if you enter the facts in the text box and then "pull the lever" to see which fact comes up for the student to answer. Another option is that you can embed this tool into your blog.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I have been having freezing and hanging problems on Interent Explorer on my PC. I downloaded Firefox (go to Much better...


Diigo - social annotation and social bookmarking

Monday, August 01, 2005

Entourage - Outlook Export and Import Script

Moving data from PC to Mac can be a bit tricky when using Outlook and Entourage. However, I found this script online at .

I need to install and review.