Wednesday, September 14, 2011

QR Codes are THAT easy... Who needs a business card?


Wow - where have I been? I know, I am a total geek and things excite me that others could care less about, but this is cool!! In less than 2 minutes I created a QR code I can use anywhere that I want to promote myself. I can print it, copy the file, or embed into a website. This code will take hand-held mobile device users on a quick journey to a website that I determine, instantly and painlessly. Go ahead, use your reader to scan my code... see for yourself.

I am a social media addict, so I have active accounts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogger and many others. By creating a QR Code that links to my Google profile I can instantly share all of the links to my personal spaces with one click. Now, I realize this sounds a little narcissistic, but the implications are endless.

Here are some great links and resources in case you are as excited and inspired as I am:

Create your own QR Code

QR Codes, Explained by Common Craft

What Business Card? Just Scan My QR Code.

Of course, as a teacher I am starting to think of the possibilities for school use, so here are some ideas:

10 Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom

QR Codes in the Classroom - THE Journal

Using QR Codes in the Classroom - Edutopia

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Literacy Foundations, Digital Portfolios and a Not-So-Boring Board Meeting

Wow – last night’s Board of Ed meeting was exciting…
I know that sounds strange -- usually that is NOT the case, but great things are happening in my town. I attended this particular meeting wearing the hat of the high school technology teacher with a specific mission in mind, but I couldn’t help but sit quietly holding my parent and IT Leader hat in my lap as well.

The meeting began with public comments regarding the cutting of all elementary school computer para-professionals due to budget concerns, and the floor was flooded. Students, parents, teachers and para-professionals all stood up to tout the importance of technology in our schools! YES - This is what I’ve been waiting for! It’s what I’ve been fighting for since I began teaching 8 years ago. I left this district, just as I received tenure, in order to work in a place that embraced technology and seemed to be moving in the right direction. I had tried, and failed, to have any influence here. As a parent in the same town, I continued to advocate, but as a teacher I wanted to learn and grow with technology integration, so I had to leave. This was a big step.

The real reason for my attendance at this meeting is the big news…
I am now back teaching in my home town at the high school and I have been extremely fortunate to be working with a great team of teachers and staff -- specifically, the media specialists and teachers who have passion for what they do and the desire to do more for their students. A literacy team was formed and they began developing the idea for a new foundation course for all freshman. This course will teach a variety of literacy skills that will set these students up for success throughout their lives. Along with study skills, non-fiction reading strategies, literature circles and the research process, the students will learn important technology skills while creating a digital portfolio using Google Apps. This will allow them to reflect on and share their work throughout their high school career while learning important 21st Century skills such as collaboration, communication, creation and reflection. When I was asked to be on the team I was thrilled. I am energized by the fact that the team was interested in integrating technology and wanted me to help write the curriculum with that in mind. NOW we are getting somewhere!!

After many hours of meeting, curriculum writing and fighting for the ideals of the course, the team was successful at persuading the Board of Ed to vote the course into the curriculum. I will help to write the technology lesson components and co-teach with the literacy teachers that are involved. I can’t wait!

Here are some resources that I will be using to help with the planning and implementation:


Cyber Citizenship:

Digital Portfolios:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

iPads in Education?

We are going on snow day #8 since early January (I guess this one should be called an ice day) and I keep thinking that I should be able to bang out a blog post with all of this time on my hands. Until now, though, I have been so lazy that nothing has inspired me. I am finding that the less I have to do, the more I just want to climb under a blanket and sleep. I guess that's what hibernation is all about...

Then I checked my school email and was delivered the jumpstart that I needed.
I received a note from our Director of Curriculum. She had gotten an email from our Apple contact (I didn't even know we had an Apple contact - now I'm excited!) asking if anyone in the Technology Department is interested in getting more information about iPads in Education. Boy, do I?? I quickly responded "Yes!" and began researching, tweeting, texting and Facebooking about iPads.

Of course, being the ultimate gadget geek chick, I have had an iPad since the day they were made available. I use it every day, and in many different ways. I truly believe that this type of device is what students in schools will ultimately be using. I would love to be able to pilot some kind of program in our schools and see how it goes.

Due to my high level of excitement on the topic I didn't find any time (or desire) to read about the negative aspects. I know there are many points to consider that have to do with the downside of using iPads with students. If you have anything to share, please comment below.

Here are some of the the things I found during my snow day research:

Apple's iPad in Education site (there is a great video on this page that is definitely worth watching):

With apologies to all of my friends who are English teachers, I went to Cliff and found this article about why an iPad is right for education:,articleId-176085.html

This is a great Ning that I joined:

My Twitter PLN is always coming up with great resources. This one was tweeted and looks great!
(By the way, Livebinders is a great Web 2.0 tool for teachers!)

Free Textbooks that can be used with the iPad:

New York Time Article "Math that Moves: Schools Embrace the iPad"

News Article about how students benefit from iPads in the classroom:

The image above came from this website, which is another great article about a New Jersey school:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Days and Inspiration

Here in Connecticut we are homebound once again with our 4th snow day in less than two weeks. Our roof has taken on at least 3 feet of snow, and the windows are leaking from ice dams. The icicles, while quite beautiful when contemplating nature's miracles in the slow dripping, refreezing and growing, could easily be substituted for deadly weapons should the need arise.

Needless to say, I'm getting a little restless...

So, I've been watching a lot of videos. Some inspirational, some educational and some... not so much. Here are a few of my favorites. Feel to free to leave suggestions to add to the list!