Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In light of this latest GMail phishing scam...

With this new email phishing scam rearing it's ugly head it's always a good time to pause and think about how these things happen and how we can prevent them.

How do they happen? Usually because we are so accustomed to interacting with email from people we know that clicking on a "Open in Docs" button from a colleague doesn't even faze us.

So what happened and what do you do...?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Portable sound booths: audio cubes

In an effort to provide students with a better way to record audition (for movie narration, video reflections, screencasts, and so forth) I have experiments with a few ideas.

Let me preface this by saying I have no illusions about the audiophile quality of these experiments, they are by no means perfect. What they are, instead, is a way to lesson the din of a classroom, and improve sound quality, when recording audio. My sound booth solutions will win no acoustic awards but they do a surprisingly good job in a few areas:

  • limiting background noise
  • providing more depth/richness to the student's voice since it forces them to be closer to the iPad/laptop microphone
  • make everyone else in the room more aware of recording happening
    • it was surprising to see how quiet the rest of the room got when everyone noticed the cubes being used
Here's what I did...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

On the eve of Spirit Day...

Today I left work, as an educator.

I drove home.

I then went to my daughter's school, as a parent, for Family Night.

I left Family Night feeling disheartened, angry, and sad. But I also left hopeful.

Tomorrow I go to work, as an educator, on Spirit Day. And it makes me thankful and hopeful...


Monday, September 5, 2016

Gearing up for Day 1

Tomorrow is the first day of the 2016-2017 school year.

My 14th first day of school as a teacher.

I'm excited. These last few years I've been re-energized about the profession and my place in it.

My students and colleagues have pushed me a lot these past two years. I hope I've pushed them too.

I've been thinking a lot about the why and how of what I do lately. I want my students to think about their why too. To not just do. But to understand the purpose, the why of what they do.

I think I'm going to make this a poster in my lab this year...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

CapCon! 2016 - 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 ends with a tri-fold board...

This year our school decided to turn it on it's head.

No more tri-folds.

We created CapCon! a capstone learning conference. The vision was to create a professional learning conference experience driven by students, their research, and their work.

We spoke a lot about Ignite talks, TED Talks, professional quality documentaries (we used 60 Minutes and Real Sports as reference points). We created flyers, posters, and all the traditional marketing material associated with conferences like ISTE, ASCD, FETC. We wanted our students to create professional-quality research projects, so we treated them as professionals. Professional learners, creators, makers, and presenters.

And the students were amazing!

Here's how we did it...

Monday, August 8, 2016

Thinking about my why: I am a purveyor of geekery

I am not a computer teacher.

I am not a technology teacher.

I am not an integrator, facilitator, technician, or guru.

I am a purveyor of geekery.

Why?

I am a purveyor of geekery because I am more than any of those first items listed. I am more than a pigeonhole of knowledge or experience. I am a teacher, a techie, a learner, a nerd, a student, a person with a passion. It is that passion, for the geeky side of life, for the things that aren't limited to electronics but still wave the geek flag with pride, that makes me a purveyor of geekery.

I've been reading Simon Sinek's Start with Why and it has really opened up my thinking and my approach to what I do.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

School Technology Summit 2016 presentation - #NYCSchoolsTech

Welcome to my portion of the School Technology Summit 2016, presented by the New York City Department of Education.

This is the fourth year for the Tech Summit. And just like the previous events, it was a great day of learning and connecting. It was also day of great conversations, and a reflection will be forthcoming, but the purpose of this post is simply to share the resources I used during my sessions...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Twitter Startup Guides

Twitter is an amazing tool and very simple to use. However, simple doesn't always mean easy or intuitive. Overall, Twitter is one of the easier platforms to use but with anything there is always a learning curve. 

I created these 3 infographics to help guide new users as well as serve as a refresher to current tweeters.

I hope folks find them useful...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cultural Comics with Google Slides: a 3rd grade experiment

It was the beginning of June and my colleague Ms. Conklin and I met to talk about a final project. A project the students could have a lot of fun with through the last month, but also a project that would also incorporate their cultural universal unit of study.

We decided to take their research on a location and turn it into a comic book style travel guide. A comic book they create from the ground up and build collaboratively.

We decided to use Google Drawing and Google Slides to make comic books...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Pushing the limits of presentations with 5th graders

Toward the end of every school year the 5th graders embark on their Capstone Projects. They choose an area of interest, develop a main inquiry question and related sub-questions, seek out experts in their field of interest, conduct interviews, go on site visits, and do a ton of traditional book and web-based research.

It is an awesome undertaking and the students are immensely engaged. It is a project that they drive, based on an area of their interest. It's part traditional research project, part passion project, and an epic culminating activity.

In the past all their hard work resulted in traditional tri-fold board. Printed pictures, printed slides with questions and answers, and students waiting for people to come around ask them about their project during a parent open house...