Thursday, June 21, 2018

CapCon! 2018 - a capstone learning conference

Every year the 5th graders of Scarsdale participate in Capstone. Capstone is the last two months of school, post-standardized testing. Students choose a topic, research it, and create a final product. It is designed to be a self-directed, passion/interest based assignment. And it used to end with a tri-fold board... But not any more...

Once again the 5th graders were amazing and rocked the CapCon! Capstone event.   

CapCon! a capstone learning conference is our yearly 5th grade culminating activity. For years it was a traditional tri-fold museum, but we just wrapped up the 3rd year of the switch from tri-fold Capstone to CapCon! which is all about student voice and presentations; TED and Ignite style...

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Screencasting - a quick tutorial

Screencasting is the act of recording your computer screen. This is done for many purposes. My students mainly use it to explain their learning or the purpose of a project/file they are working on, or they use it to record virtual interviews to refer back to later.

This is a quick tutorial/resource document I created for them to reference anytime the want or need to screencast...

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Inspired Learning Convention

Today was a great day.

I spent the day in Upton, MA at the Inspired Learning Convention.

The incomparable Beth Holland kicked off the day with an awesome keynote address. Rebellions start with rebels...

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Every project is a story...

Every project is a story

Lately I've been coalescing my thinking and teaching around this single notion. That every project is a story. Students are telling stories about their learning. Some are written stories; poems, reflections, personal narratives and so on. Some are media based; presentations, videos, music. Regardless of the medium and regardless of the expectations and rubric, any good project a student creates, that truly demonstrates their leaning ,is one in which they tell a story. They tell their story of their learning.

And with any story, start with the why. Why am I telling it? Why am I making the choices I'm making? Why is this the way I telling it?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hello, 2018! Here's what we've got to do...

Happy New Year!

Albeit a few days late. Historically I've never been the most prolific nor timely blogger, so I suppose I'm being consistent if nothing else...

It's a new year and everyone is always posting resolutions, goals to hit, mountains to climb (sometimes, literally and for very good reasons) and in general, things to put out there to the world.

I've never been good about a) making resolutions nor b) keeping the ones I do make. So I'm going to try a different tack in 2018. I'm making a list. A simply to-do list. This post is that list. I am going to keep adding to it and when I do things on the list I'll cross them off (and, when possible, link to the item).

So here it is, my personal to-do list for 2018...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Setting Chrome as your default browser (macOS)

Why do we set Google's Chrome as the default browser on the Macs? Why not use Safari?

Here are a few of the key reasons

  • Chrome is Google’s browser
  • Integrates seamlessly with Google Suite
    • Drive
    • Calendar
    • Sites
  • Facilitates easy single sign-on
    • The “Log in with Google” button most web services offer
  • Automatic updates

Below is a step by step tutorial for ensuring Chrome is your default browser, as well as a few workarounds for when the macOS refuses to change from Safari on the first attempt...

Monday, November 6, 2017

Chrome and Flash: getting finicky sites to run...


This post and tutorial originally appeared on my lab blog @HeathcoteTechblogs.scarsdaleschools.org/heathcotetech

Flash is one of the first pieces of web-based software for running media. Originally Flash was how you got animations and video on the internet. YouTube dropped Flash as it's video format in 2015.

Flash is notoriously susceptible to virus and malware attacks. In addition, it is a technology that requires it to be continuously running, meaning it takes a lot of processing power from your computer and can slow down your browser's responsiveness. The limitations of Flash, from a power and processing consumption standpoint but also as a security risk, are why Steve Jobs refused to allow the iPhone and iPad to run Flash.

Adobe, who created and maintains Flash, has announced it will no longer support Flash as of 2020.

In the meantime there are still a few educational website that require Flash. Sites like Wixie and OneMoreStory. If you are having difficulty running Flash-enabled sites check out this tutorial for solving Flash issues in Chrome...


Monday, October 30, 2017

Google and iOS 11 images (HEIC files)

This post and tutorial originally appeared on my lab blog @HeathcoteTech: blogs.scarsdaleschools.org/heathcotetech

The new operating system for the iPhone and iPad, iOS 11, has caused some quirks. The biggest quirk is iOS 11 saves photos as .HEIC files, not a .jpeg/.jpg files. Google can see .HEIC files but can't add them through the usual Insert-> Image process as you normally would when working in a Doc, Slides, or Drawing file. There are solutions, however. And the solutions are fairly simple. I have outlined a few simple solutions to the Google HEIC conflict in this tutorial:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Digital Book Clubs: Padlet, blogs and the writing process

Mixing the digital and analog when it comes to reading and writing is always a tricky process. How much is too much? Where should the paper end and the digital begin? How do we differentiate?

Last year we played around with these ideas, a lot. As a district we purchased a license for Seesaw to begin making digital connections in the lower grades. For the upper grades we licensed Campus Press.

But at the end of the day not everything can be paid for, we still ned to leverage free tools. And we also need to make direct connections to traditional media. The actual pen is still pretty mighty.

So, here's one thing we did...

Monday, September 18, 2017

My toughest day as a teacher - part 2

A few years ago I wrote about my toughest day as a teacher. The first day of school. The first day of my daughter going to Kindergarten. The original post is here.

September 5th 2017 was the second toughest day. My son started Kindergarten. Big day for him. Big day for my daughter too, she started 2nd grade. We have moved out of Brooklyn to be closer to where I teach. One of the biggest benefits is my kids can attend school in the district where I teach. It's an awesome district and I am grateful for the opportunity for my kids to experience it.

It means my son starts Kindergarten and my daughter starts 2nd grade. New house, new town, new school. Lots of new things...