Monday, September 30, 2013

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013

This is a surveyed list. I will try to talk about some of it

Some up coming posts

I hope to talk about the following sites in the future. If any of you have a question ahead of time please nudge me. (some of you use this, I'm curious)

Some of these I have already used while others have been updated or just beginning to understand their uses. Updates soon!

New Year and 50 ideas for your class web page-

I wanted to start the new school year in a number of ways on this blog. Funny how time has flown, assignments need to be graded and other wonderful life moments need to be taken care of. So here I am. I am starting with just a quick hit that I came across this morning. The article is from Tech and learning magazine with 50 Ideas For Your Class Webpage.

Maybe you would suggest something on the list in the comments section?

Friday, August 16, 2013

ED Camp Connecticut

The new year is about to start. Slightly amazing to me. For me I am attending EDCampCT in Simsbury this morning. This the second time in three years I have signed up. It would be more but they have only been around 3 years.  I need to run off to choose a first session!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Games in Education visual

I would like to thank Dawn Leeds for the following visual for "Gamification in Education". This brings in some good questions about what we are doing. Thoughts??

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Board of Education and Social Media - This Tuesday night 6/4

I just read an article about how the Board wants to redefine the relationship teachers have with their students online with, specifically, Social Media sites. There is a discussion  about this tonight and I think we as a school staff need to have our own communication about this. On the other hand this is a bad time time to get any meeting organized. I will try to post what the Board has ruled or when any more meetings about this will be scheduled. Please keep me informed if you hear anything. We need to wrap our minds around what we see as reasonable.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Video (screencast) response to email-

Sometimes a simple e=mail will not do.

I came across a unique way to respond to anyone on the Internet. If you do not want to write a response to an email you can shoot a screen cast of your self. I am not lightning fast at typing. My students and own children would not even raise my pecking to even that level. That said, a screen-cast on Jing could explain many visual ideas that text simply might not cover.  For example: This responds to a student who had a problem with finding information on my web site.

Link for Jing (it is not at

Jing is a free down load. So create a screencast by getting the document/visual you need to work with, then
A. With the cross lines show what you want to screencast.
B. On the menu on the bottom left, choose the video icon.
C. In 3 seconds you start speaking.
D. Stop recording.
E. Hit share
F. The video will come up for you to play, copy the link to you email.

Any image that can be pulled up on your computer can be transmitted to a student, parent, or administrator.

Again, if you have any questions, or need to correct anything I have done, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Nine Characteristics of 21st Century Learning...To Get You thinking About It

9 Characteristics of 21st Century Learning

9 Characteristics Of 21st Century Learning

1. Learner-centered  (AKA Student Centered) 
2. Media-driven (this doesn’t have to mean digital media)
3. Personalized
4. Transfer-by-Design
5. Visibly Relevant
6. Data-Rich
7. Adaptable
8. Interdependent
9. Diverse 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)...It is Already Here...Educators Need to Learn to Leverage It

BYOD: Links to Resources

Click on the Above Link.

NEASC...School Excellence ...Rubrics....Student Centered Learning....21st Century Learning many much little time...

Every student has a smart phone which means they have a computer in their hand, we (teachers) need to figure out how to use it THE RIGHT WAY with your permission and with your classroom IT business rules....this will take us out of our comfort zone, but we need to figure this out. The above link should help somewhat.... 

To remain relevant and ahead of the power curve you have to jump into the "deep end of Education Information Technology pool". In order for our students to learn 21st Century Learning Expectations they will need to be able to use the ever evolving  Educational Information Technologies (EdIT) that supports this. These students will need Teachers who know how and understand how to use many of these EdIT resources...that is why Peter started McMahon Tech blog to help get you started...

Come on in,  the water is fine...Click on some posts and some links I dare you.... 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Key Questions You Should Ask Before You Flip Your Class-

This is from the blog  Flipped Learning

I am preparing to do a workshop with Icelandic Educators this week and I was asked to give them a list of questions to consider as they begin to flip their classes.  As I wrote these I realized that many people could benefit from these questions.  It is no doubt an incomplete list.  If you have more questions that I should include, please comment and I will add them.  

Overall Questions
  • What is the best use of your  face-to-face class time?
  • What is one lesson that you teach that is perfect for flipping?
  • As you start flipping, who will you work with?
  • Are you willing to give up some of the control of your classroom to your students? This is a scary thing for many teachers who like control.
  • If you flip, WHAT will you do in your class now that you are not lecturing?
  • Do you need additional resources since you will now have more time to do in-class higher order thinking and problem solving as a result of the extra time?
  • How will you rearrange your room as you consider flipping your classroom?
  • To what extent will you create vs curate your videos?
  • Will you completely flip your class, or just do selected lessons?
  • How will you learn more about flipped learning (books, the web)?
  • How much time do you have to commit to flipping your classroom?
  • How will your students access your videos?  Do you have any students who will need to access the videos when NOT connected to the internet?
  • If you teach multiple classes:  Which class will you flip first?
  • Have you considered moving to a Flipped-Mastery model?

Technical Questions about Video Creation:
  • What software will you use to make your videos?
  • Do you need any hardware like a better microphone or a tablet to write with?
  • Where will you post your videos? (YouTube? Somewhere else?)
  • How will you link your videos from your Learning Management System?

Classroom Questions
  • How will you monitor if the students watched the video?
  • How will you grade their watching of the videos?
  • How will you build in interactivity into your video lessons?  (A Google form?  Notes on paper? a A question? Something else?)
  • What are you going to do when a student doesn't watch your video?
  • How will you change your assessment as a result of flipping your class?
  • How will you communicate what you are doing with your administration?
  • How will you communicate what you are doing with your students?
  • How will you communicate what you are doing with your parents?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tech question for next school year.

No matter what stage you are in the integration of technology into your classes an important date is coming up. That date is the end of the school year. A lot of teachers can have PLN's or follow people on Twitter or blogs. But the people around you can sometimes be way more helpful. This all leads to the question. What tech are you going to use with your students next year? Who can help you?

For example:

Should I just redo my web site? Do I need to get the heck off of Sharepoint?

Do I keep a web site but use Edmodo to create communication teacher to student and student to student?

Do I use to have students send me there homework? Use the blog feature on it to have an ongoing conversation to what is happening in class?

Do I want students to use presentation software like the new Prezi?

I can throw out quite a few more of these but you get the idea. When you start your classes next year the more seamless the better. If they are used to cloud softwares from the first day of class your "system" will be more readily accepted. You still have to be flexible but dropping a whole different way treating your curriculum on top of students in November might end up inefficient.

So take the time to find out what steps you want to take for next year and then find out what tools might make your life easier, creates better communication or just is more fun for the same objectives. Talk to people in the building about your decisions before you leave for the summer. Most web sites/tools I have used come with a varying learning curve. Most tools are easy but you still have to teach them. Understand how a student will use the tool. I personally set up a fake student account so I see what they see. It allows me to throw out presumptions I'm making.

Make the big desicions with help before June 24th and spend the summer working on the small details.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The other side of Tech

I just wanted to start an open question with myself about the down side of tech for my classes. This is spurred on by last nights homework for Civics. I posted the homework on my web site. This included a link to a pamphlet I scanned onto  ( about Brien McMahon. On a Google Document I also posted 4 questions to answer on McMahon. The answers were to be posted on the student's site.

Now that is three web sites for one assignment. It sure didn't feel like my students would have all sorts of problems, but they did. Most problems were that the slide rocket presentation would not load or took waaaay too much time to load. One person could not get the Google page up and a few could not get into their Mybigcampus page.This was all in my first period. A number of students just wrote out the answers and turned that in.

What do I need to do to make this a better experience for the student? Myself? Let me see what third period does and up date this entry.

Update: My other classes did much better in accessing all the web sites. At the moment there does not seem any specific criteria or pattern as to why. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

ePortfolios using Google apps -larger than you think

I have read some of this site and am encouraged to read more about how not only to create ePortfolios , but how to use them through one network of sites. I would like to meet with others who have done portfolios, just out of curiosity. But for the moment here is the link-

The teacher that is throwing resources on the net and writing about this is Dr. Helen Barrett
Here is her site.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

An updated Bloom's Taxonomy, based on technology in the classroom.

There has been some conversation about updating Bloom's Taxonomy. Here is an example  from the  Med Kharbach's blog Educational Technology and Mobile learning.

In another entry Med lists digital tools that could be used in each of the layers. It is not comprehensive and has a few too many ipad tools but it is a start-

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Flipped Model for Social Studies-- a chart.

At the link below is a a chart that a teacher created that lays out the ground work for the logic behind a flipped class room based on the social studies. Maybe a good discussion starter at some point.

Pinterest site that compiles a number of Educational Visuals-

I came across a a pinterest site that had a number of visual "Posters" that conveyed  many different educational ideas and lists. Even a couple about managing time. Take a look. There a going to be some of the  20 to 30 of them that you will find interesting, . The shorter ones can be printed easily.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A guide to using videos (includes stuff on flipped classes, and publishing).

I came across another resource that contained some things even I had not seen. The pamphlet is called -Mind shift :Teachers’ Guide to Using Videos by Catlin Tucker. It is a 17 page pdf file with working links if you open it on your computer.
Some sections-
5 Awesome sites for instructional videos
Sites that curate educational videos
What makes a good video?
Flip your classroom: extend and engage!
Exercises for flipped classrooms
Create opportunities for publishing

Again, I would love to get any feed back about this resource.



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

50 Education Tech tools---

I have been wanting to discuss a number of tools but have not caught up with other things yet. In the mean time I came across this blog post about 50 Ed Tech sites many of you might be curious about. Try a few or email me and I will make it a priority to review it. Happy Hunting!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Texting- Teacher to Student

In the new rash of software I have discovered and been playing around with, one seems to reach out more than the others for discussion. This is This site allows the teacher to text all the students in a class. The teacher cannot see the student's numbers , nor they the teacher's. This can be used in a a few different forms. You could make an announcement to an after school group,  reassign a homework, or reminding about a test. An interesting feature is that the site also has a widget for your web site (this can keep a record of communications, though why use it if the student's are on your web site already?)

With the snow day communication like Remind 101 can certainly come in handy. If my project is still due on Monday a little reminder might go a long way. When my Model United Nations group needs to communicate I can have my President quickly call off a meeting.
I would love people's feedback about how this would work for them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I wanted to follow up the Colonel with a blog post that just came out.

10 Great Technology Initiatives for Your Library

There are a number of issues and information based solutions that a librarian can use in a school. Take a look and see if there is one that would start a good discussion. I'll take a deeper look into it. Though if you want to go to the source, contact Ms. Andronik (I have already emailed this to her), I'm sure she would be happy to start a dialogue on any of the suggestions. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Digital Literacy

Train the Leaders in digital literacy...Train the Mentors in digital literacy....Literacy has always been dependent upon the available technology (printing press all the way to iPads). Helping kids (and teachers) to "Geek Out".  Developing teachers mentoring teachers, student's mentoring students, students & teachers mentoring each other in digital media...Take a look at what they are doing here (7 minutes) ...

Here is a Podcast (19 minutes) on Defining Digital Literacy and Libraries...

"Thinking Outside of the Box" and leveraging technology to develop 21st century learning expectations...all require new skills and competencies. Old Dogs & New Dogs, learning new tricks. How trainable are you?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Brien McMahon takes a ride on Sliderocket,com

Some of you need an alternative to Power Point. My answer to you is This site is another in a good line of sites that can replace software that some of our students do not have or are hard pressed to get access to.  The criteria is to find sites that are free,  cross platforms and cloud based. Sliderocket works for presentations. I honestly have not tried the presentation software on Google Drive, but I do like the simplicity and color schemes of this site. One of the down sides is that the presentation cannot be down loaded unless you get the upgrade, which is not so free. Below is the link to a presentation I made from a pamphlet on Senator Brien McMahon.

<iframe src="" width="500" height="401" scrolling=no frameBorder="0"></iframe>

Feb 21st: First Meeting of McMahon Tech Folks

Senator Brien McMahon is "channelling through me" as I type...." I am glad to see McMahon teachers finally starting to move into the 21st century by embracing Web 2.0 Educational IT....just as I was viewed as the Atomic shall the faculty be know for their ability to leverage information technology to professionally develop themselves by learning to use it to improve student learning.....we owe it to the kids...."

We kicked off our first meeting in Peter Sommers' room (only challenge is no WiFi at that end of the building). In addition to Pete, attendees were Dan Wagenberg, Cathy Andronik, and Bob Killackey. A few other teachers (Dave Marchetti, Julia Stabach) were interested but there were schedule conflicts.

Here is an overview: 

Pete talked about EDModo and MyBigCampus. He is presently using MyBigCampus and he demonstrated how he used it. He also uses it for student notifications, homework, or prep for tests.  Ability to use for Assessment (grades or comments). Parent access and parental incentive to learn technology themselves.  

Good question: IF parents can see their kids grades, can other parents see others student's grades as well? Not good if they can. Privacy concerns must be factored into the determination of what Ed IT is acceptable for you to use and how to use it properly to ensure privacy (FERPA). 

Small discussion on "What is the best way to interface with students?  Best way to reach them after hours. Can they register to receive a text vice email or a Tweet...?

What Ed IT do you use:
Pete: EdModo, MyBigCampus
Bob: Blogger for Class Blog (Senators Cadets), Google Docs / Drive, YouTube, GMail
Cathy: PB Wiki (creating links for research),  Blogs (Book club,   ), Google Docs, Access to E-Books
Dan:  My own website, 3 websites (Mr. W, mirror), Webly site for videos,  Teacher domain, website with text website for AP, email, primary communication: 3 different websites due to storage and bandwidth.

Biggest Challenge with Ed IT:
Bob: Trying to find an Ed IT System that serves all of my needs. I can't put PowerPoint's in my blog or Word Docs.
Dan: Multi-discreet discussion boards, "so students can continue learning & dialogue when not in class  


1. Need to develop or find curriculum on Digital Citizenry so we teach school community to responsibly use info technology including Social Media. 

2. Imagine developing "quick curriculum" for each grade to complete over the summer including incoming freshmen focus on student Ed IT Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA):

  • BMHS Ed IT 101 (Freshmen)  [For example: Cyberbullying prevention, Search Techniques, etc.}
  • BMHS Ed IT 201 (Sophomores)
  • BMHS Ed IT 301 (Juniors)
  • BMHS Ed IT 401 (Seniors)
3. We need to develop a process for educators (teachers, para-professionals,  to develop 21st century technologies skills if we want our students to develop them in 

It would be an online document on the school website with hyperlinks to tutorials (How To Videos, E-articles, etc.) to the Ed IT KSA we want  inbound grade level student's to be exposed to or master over the summer before school starts. Conduct an inventory test first week of school. 

That is all for now. Off to a good start. We will steal a few minutes during the next faculty meeting. The movement has started...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

RE: Thursday's Edmodo v. My Big Campus meeting, ...

Thanks to all who attended. we had a good discussion about MyBigCampus .Com. We started to get into but we need more time on that subject. The Colonel took notes so we'll see how soon we can get them up here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

For Prezi Users

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meeting Tomorrow for those who want to discuss using one web site to run your class.

Yes, we are still meeting tomorrow. I think it will be in Col. Killackey's room to discuss the web sites Edmodo and Mybigcampus. These sites can be used to run all your class communication and assignments. Please join us after school.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

In my next entry I was going to get to other things, but I saw this and had to add it. It was embedded in a fifth grade teachers blog that made the argument that we need to BLOCK EVERYTHING (his emphasis).

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Here is a visual to thinking about Twitter in the classroom. Post comments below for thoughts and questions.

Meeting about Edmodo and My Big Campus- Thursday of next week

In our Internet world we know education is changing. The point of this blog is to bring up technology in a conversation that improves staff knowledge. The good Colonel  and I have decided to jump start this building communication. So we invite you to come, next Thursday Feb 21st,  have a discussion about two sites that I have used- and Whether you know alot about these sites or are just curious about them, please come by. We want to tap into experience while also discussing the practical potential to help with our classrooms. The point is not get heavily into technical jargon but raise questions and get energized about possibilities. So give us a heads up in the comments on this blog or email either one of us as to your intentions.

Monday, February 11, 2013

McMahon's Tech Blog - a first step

In talking to my good neighbor Colonel Killackey the last few months, we agreed that some form of communication be created to talk about technology for our building educators. Equally important would be the ideas that can go with it. This is our first attempt to see if we can bring our community together. Today, to get things rolling, I will leave you with this...  (JP Sommer)