Saturday, March 16, 2013

Google Hackathon at Kean University 2013

Attended Hackathon, NJ 2013
Attended a Google Hackathon at Kean University with programmers and educators from different areas of the East Coast. The event brought together Google coders and educators work on projects that could educators would like resolved using the Google format. For weeks educators have posted in a Google doc what they would like to have done and then submitted it to the Hackathon organizers. They then went through the proposed projects and would send feedback regarding the different projects and whether it could have been done in the time allotted for the event. Through organizers such as Daniel Scibienski, Lisa Thumann, Dave Zirkle, Diane Potts, and others, the event was done in Kean Hall at Kean University. Several of my Professional Learning Network were present and it was great to see friends participating in the program. Interestingly enough many of the proposed projects were discussed first and then in break out sessions, the programmers began working on the projects. I attended a session with
Andrew Stillman and TeacherCast
Andrew Stillman where he spoke and demonstrated some of the scripting that could be done in Google. He mentioned one of the scripts he developed called Doctorpus. He talked about what the program did and how he was using it in his school in NY. He demonstrated that the use of scripting can customize many of the Google apps and docs that are used by everyday.  One great item was how he was able to insert his rubric within his assignment that he gave to his students. This was an awesome session.

Arun Nagarajan was assisting everyone with their projects and was very helpful in helping me begin to looking at the project that Bill Krakower and I submitted. Our project was to have Google Maps embedded into Google Hangout so that when lessons were done with students, they would know where everyone was located on a map. Arun understood what we were asking and mentioned it would require using a Google Hangout API. After he guided me in the setup, Bill and I were unable to finish but Arun will be assisting us in the future in completing this proposed project.
Andrew Carle

Then after lunch, Andrew Cantrell, had a session on basic scripting using Google Spreadsheet on doing a mail merge for addresses. From one of his own documents, he demonstrated how to do the coding for the project. He explained the different syntax within the script and how the different syntax affects the compiling of the program. Many of the teachers that were present had no programming experience but Andrew's presentation was very through and easy to understand.

At the end, all the projects were presented and winners were announced. The winners were given Google Nexus devices and some won Google Bags. Great time had by all. This was a great way to spend a Saturday learning new things.

Monday, February 25, 2013

PETE & C 2013:-Innovate, Collaborate, Educate

PETE and C conference 2013

 Innovate, Collaborate, Educate 

 On Tuesday February 11th, I drove the Hershey, Pennsylvania to attend the annual PETE & C conference. This regional conference attract many educators from the state to present and learn about the educational trends in educational/instructional technology. This is my third year attending the conference and just I anticipated, the conference had many cutting edge educational practices that would be could be coming to my school district.

On Tuesday the keynote speaker was Aaron Sams, teacher and author of the Flipped Classroom. Aaron spoke about how and why he decided to flip his science classes. Even though the Flipped Classroom does not resolve the all recent educational issues, still this methodology is one of many that have successful in the classroom to provide more instructional time for learning. The main idea behind the flipped classroom is the value of face-to-face time with students. He explained how he began to create instructional videos for his class with Jon Bergmann, one of his colleagues. Flipped Learning does not expand the digital divide because there is always some form of technology that can be used in viewing the videos of the lessons such as USB keys, DVDs, there are ways of finding a solution to this issue. Flipping your lessons creates less homework and is a form of blended learning but is less blended because there is less structure. Aaron suggested that the lessons should focus on the beginning of Blooms Taxonomy of remembering and understanding then the students will move up the system.

It took six years for Aaron and Jon to go through this process/implementation and at present the Flipped Learning Network is gathering data to demonstrate the effectiveness of this instructional model.

After the keynote I attended a question and discussion session with Aaron regarding Flipped Learning. During the session, I sent an email to my technology teacher is Sayreville and then twitted out that I would ask questions for anyone on Twitter. Interestingly enough, I heard from both my technology teacher and received a twit from a teacher in the UK asking about flipping lessons at the elementary level. This gave me an opportunity to get answers for these teachers while attending this session.

Many of session could be found on the PETE and C website. There were so many session to attend that it was difficult to choose. Much of the presentations were focused on the use of technology in the classroom but there were a few that focused on the infrastructure of technology within a school/district. Also present was representation of CoSN from the Pennsylvania Chapter. Being a member of CoSN, I was invited to attend a luncheon sponsored by Schooldude. At the luncheon, we discussed the new CETL certification for district CTOs/Directors of Technology, expanding the membership of CoSN in Pennsylvania and the development of a chapter in New Jersey.

The next session I attended was developing about the Comprehensive Planning Process and the Tech Plan. This year there are different requirements for a district/ schools technology due to changed made in Erate from the federal government. The filing requirements of the 470s forms should have already been done and that schools should be receiving proposals from different vendors. The presenter mentioned about the differences between Priority One versus Priority Two. Very few districts apply for Priority One due to the number of free and reduce stunts attending their schools. The presentation was informative and provided me with information for Sayreville Technology Plan. Before the end of the session I attended a session on Mobile Apps and spoke to the presenters about students suggesting apps to teachers rather than it being teacher focused. The presenters believed that if the apps were more from students than from the teacher, then students would want to be involved in the learning process. I suggested as a BYOD district that if they sent me their information from the presentation, then I would pass it onto a couple of teachers that I believe that would adopt this process in their classrooms.  The presentation can be found here at

In the afternoon, I visited the SNL-Social Networking Lounge to charge my laptop and cell phone. This gave me an opportunity to spend time with old friends from PAECT. I have developed a professional relationship and friendship that has transcended states and time using different modes of social media. Through Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. I have kept in touch with them over the past couple of years. They renew my resolve in the belief that technology should be integrated throughout the instructional process. The use of technology in the classroom should be apart of the natural of process because students today don't consider technology a separate matter to their lives but an intricate part of who they are as an individual. These educators believe that education should be student-centered and that technology enhances the learning process. The educators in the PAECT organization are innovative, creative, award-winning individual that passionately believe that technology can revolutionize the educational process.

The session on 60 in 60 App Attack was filled and very few seats were available. The apps were awesome and many of the attendees were hurried writing down the name of the apps and how they could be applied in their classrooms. Microsoft Office 365 Deployment Tips for IT Professionals was very interested especially due to the district possibly changing to 365 from the hosted Outlook now hosted in the district.

On Wednesday morning I presented on the Connected Educator versus the Connected Generation. How is the present generation connected? What does it mean to be a Connected Educator? How is your community connected? Why is it necessary to be a connected educator? If you want to be a connected educator, how do I start? In this workshop we will be exploring how teachers and students are connecting and radically changing education today. These were some of the topics that were explored during the session. There were several attendees including some of my friends from the PAETC. Some of the attendees were already connected educators but many had no idea of even why being connected makes a better educator. I mentioned that I only use Twitter professionally and the being connected allowed for me to answer questions from non-attendees of Aaron Sams regarding the flipped learning. The presentation was great and many mentions from the twits and the number of visits to blog seem to indicate that the attendees thought the presentation went well. Then I went to iBooks Author: Creating Original Content, Microsoft DPM - Backup Without Tape, and at the end of the conference I attended the luncheon with a keynote by Randy Wilheim from Knovation.

Overall the conference was fantastic and I believe that the connections as well as the information I learnt at the conference will be invaluable to my career and work in Instructional Technology for the coming school year. I always envisioned this conference to be my national conference whenever I can't attend ISTE. The PETE and C conference is just as dynamic, innovative and creative as the National ISTE conference and it just happens to be next door to my state.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

NJASA Techspo 2013

Jeff Bradbury from TeacherCast
Dr. Matthew Peterson - Keynote at Techspo 2013
On January 31st and February 1st, I attended and present the annual NJASA Techspo 2013 (#techspo2013)  in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I presented "The Connected Educator leading a Connected Generation with the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Edward Aguiles (@EdAguiles). Besides school administrators attending there were several education technology teachers and administrators in attendance. The keynote of the conference was done by  Dr. Matthew Peterson from the Mind Institute. In his presentation, he discussed his personal struggles in school having Dyslexia. He explained that the motive behind him trying to develop an environment where students would learn math has three keys. Interactivity, Informative Feedback and Intrinsic motivation. He spoke about the need to have an action one needs to own the action. He also spoke about the Hawthorne Effect. Wikipedia describes the Hawthorne Effect is that changes in participants' behavior during the course of a study may be "related only to the special social situation and social treatment they received."  The Mind Institute has developed a software that teaches math to students without the need of words. As the student continues to succeed by answering one question, the program builds upon what was previously learnt to a more advance question. Dr. Peterson's perseverance and tenacity in developing this software was amazing and he kept expanding his own personal knowledge in order to understand what students would need to understand math. 

 I then attended a presentation done on 2015 PARCC Testing - Are you Ready? The presenter asked "What drives technology in your district? Who designs your infrastructure? Which comes first the technology or the budget?" He mentioned the technology requirements that can be found on the NJ PARCC website. Not only the hardware needs but also the student technology literacy skills they would need such as 3rd graders would need to type a full page in 40 minutes while 5th graders would need to type two full pages in 60 minutes and would need to know how to log into the system. There were many question and very few answers to what to actually expect for the test coming in 2015. "We can plan to fail to fail to plan" for this inevitable online testing.  He suggested that the technology team, technicians, be available for the test and we, the attendees, should begin to introduce students to online assessments as well as install laptops in the individual classrooms so that students could begin to practice for the PARCC exams.

Maximizing Human Capital by Enhancing Teacher Capacity was presented by Teachscape and Steve Engravalle (@iSchoolLeader). They talked the new New Jersey Teacher Evaluation EE4NJ and how would the 15% of the teacher evaluation regarding associating student test scores with teacher evaluations. Teachscape Reflect, through technology, has developed how school districts can perform this process.  

Following the Edcamp rule of "two feet", I also visited a couple of other presentations by my friends, Jeff Bradbury - TeacherCastTeacherCast:  A Place for Teachers to Help Other Teachers (@Teachcast), Bill Krakower - Embedding Standard-Based Digital Resources into the Classroom (@wkrawker). To check out some of the attendees and presentations of Techspo 2013 on TeacherCast.

On Friday, I attended the keynote by David Pogue from the New York Times, technology session. His presentation was engaging and funny. David presented about several new technologies that are coming in the future. He talked about augmented reality, pocket CPU, and Web 2.0. As always I found his presentation to be exciting, informative, interesting, and with his great sense of humor, David's presentation was great. After the keynote, I attended several presentation regarding the use of mobile technology for school safety, Twitter and You, Great Apps and Sites for School Leaders, Edmodo a Free Powerful Web 2.0 School Tool, and Interstate Collaboration Through Web 2.0 Tools. These presentations were done by colleagues and friends that I have come to appreciate and admire in the field of education technology in the state of New Jersey. 

Overall the experience was one of the best I have had at Techspo over the past several years. As the field of technology continue to be innovative in the process of instruction and learning, I suspect that in the coming years for Techspo will be dynamic, creative and be constantly changing as our society continues to change in the 21st century. Kudos go out to Thomas Murray from Pa, Edward Aguiles, Bill Krakower, Samantha Morra, Diana Potts, Steve Engravalle, Erica Hartman, Jeff Bradbury, Dana Sirotiak, Elissa Malespina, and Melissa Butler. 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Edscape 2012

Edscape 2012

Vickie Davis and myself at ISTE 2012

Edscape 2012 Conference was hosted at the New Milford High School, NJ. Principal Eric Sheninger, @nhms_principal on Saturday October 13, 2012, had several fantastic presenters. Before the keynote, Vickie Davis-@coolcatteacher, began, I was apart of a live broadcast of #satchat with hosts Scott Rocco, Bill Krakower, Jeff Bradbury and Brad Currie. The video can be seen on YouTube. After this broadcast, Vickie Davis presentation was inspirational, motivational and made me realized that the only thing I can change in my school district is ME. "Expectation and Attitude matter", "leaders, you can remove the obstacle or be the obstacle" were a couple of the her points in her presentation. I over the years I have followed @coolcatteacher and encouraged the Sayreville technology teachers and school librarians to subscribe to her posts. Her presentation can be found on her website.

After her presentation, I then attended Patrick Larkin's presentation on Choosing Your Century. Patrick is from Burlington High School in Burlington, Mass. He discussed the need for educators to embrace digital tools in order to create more collaborative school environments for educators and students. Also the need to evolve from teacher-led environments to being learner-led. he included examples of how he was able to implement this in his high school. One item that really struck me was how he moved his office into the hallways of his high school. After lunch I presented twice on how does BYOD look like in your classroom and bringing your own device in your school/district.My presentations can be found on SlideShare.

This was my second time attending a conference at New Milford High School organized by the principal Eric Scheninger. Previously I attended the TSETC conference and was influenced to make sure I kept in contact with Eric to see when the 2012 conference would take place. The connections that I made at Edscape have continued until now. I have found that my Professional Learning Network (PLN) from the Edscape conference has taught me:

  • on how to be in a leader/administrator in education, 
  • the need to collaborate with other professionals,  
  • the need to be innovative and
  • to be visionary in the implementation of technology in the classroom.

Due to the above reasons I will be attending the next Edscape 2013 Conference on Saturday October 19, 2013. I hope you plan to be there. 

2012: My Year In Review

2012 : My Year In  Review

State of Now #140 conference 2012

Lisa Thumann at Edcamp Leadership NJPSA

Marc Seigel at Edcamp Philly 2012

This year has been a great year for my Professional Learning Network (PLN-#njed, #satchat, #teachercast), but difficult in other instances.  My year began with me presenting at the NJASA Techspo conference in January 2012 with the Sayreville Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Edward Aguiles (@eaguiles), on Using Available Technology Resources in Your School District. I have been a member of Twitter for years but did not participate but "lurked" to see what other were twitting in my social network. After the NJASA conference, I began to be more involved in my social network due to the contacts I had made from the previous year and at the conference. In February I had the honor of presenting at the PETE and C conference in Hershey, Pa. I  caught up with friends from the previous year's conference and hung out with friends and colleagues from PAECT. It is always an honor to represent NJAET at this conference, and the board members of PAECT are very much involved in the use of technology within education. This conference includes workshops, panel discussions and presentations on both infrastructure, coaching and curriculum aspects of technology within academia. After researching BYOD for over two years and proposing BYOD to the Sayreville School District, I presented at the NJECC 2012 Annual conference at Montclair State University my process. It was great to meet up with great education technologists, Lisa Thumann-@lthumann, Samatha Morra-@sammorra, Barry Haines-@barryhaines, Sue Sullivan, etc. at the conference. The contacts, presentations, etc. at the conference inspired me to continue with pushing forward, with what I believe, is cutting edge of technology in my own school district.

As year continued, I participated in Tabcamp, Edcamp Harrisburg, Edcamp Philly, #140 Conference in NY: The State of Now, Edcamp Leadership, the first West Essex Tech Symposium, Edscape 2012, and at NJASL 2012 Fall Conference. I also attended many webinars by on Ed Leadership 2.0: Essential Skills for Innovative Principals, BYOD, 1 to 1, Emerging Tech for School Librarians, etc. Each conference and community was innovative, inventive, inspiring, enthusiastic, and gave me a boost in my passion for technology. In the beginning of the year, I began doing my Ph.D. in Education Technology at Walden University but due to the demands of work and family, I stopped. Then I signed up for CIO certification done at Rutgers University and this opened my understanding on many of the technology infrastructure needs of the Sayreville School District and that without the infrastructure, many of the technologies used in the district would not function correctly or provide necessary advanced technology for the classroom.

My PLN has really grown over the year and the professionals I have meet and become friends with have really impacted my belief that technology will change how instruction and learning will be done now and in the future. K-12 education has to change and how students learn today is different from when I went to school. Being in the classroom observing teachers and students, I realize that using technology as a tool allows for all students to achieve their maximum ability and provide them the ability to be inventive and innovative.

The 2013 year is one of amazing/wonderful possibilities. I am looking forward the contacts, conversations, discussions, innovations and what will happen in the coming year.