Showing posts from 2017

No More Net Neutrality - What now?

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to reverse a 2015 ruling on Net Neutrality. As a US citizen, I am disappointed. As a member of the computer science community, I am frustrated. As an educator, I cannot stay quiet.

What is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality was a ruling by the FCC in 2015 that helped keep the internet open for all users. They did this by requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all internet traffic equally. This meant that they could not charge you differently based on how you used the internet and that they could not throttle your bandwidth based on what you were accessing online. This provided equal access to the internet as was intended by co-creator of the internet, Vint Cerf.

What happened in 2015?
In 2015, during the Obama administration, the FCC ruled to keep the internet open for everyone. The decision was made by the 5 person FCC panel. As internet usage has increased, so has our need for ISPs to provide us with reliable inter…

5 Easy Ways You Can Do Hour of Code™ This Week!

If you have been around K12 education during the last few years,  you have probably heard of Hour of Code™, an initiative launched by and Computer Science Education Week to introduce students to computer science. This is the 4th year of Hour of Code™and I am thrilled to say we are on our 3rd year at my school. I started organizing while finishing my Masters work at University of Delaware as I realized the importance of exposing students in K12 education to computer science. This year, I am coordinating our activities for PreK-12 and am excited to share with you some of the ways you can run an Hour of Code™this week at your school no matter what devices you have available!

1. Student Choice

At you have access to an incredible amount of games. Provide this link on your LMS or write in on your board and allow students to choose the activity that interests them. My students love the Star Wars, Frozen and Minecraft activities best if you are looking for somewhere …

Why did I become a teacher? Because I was a black belt first.

The more I blog, the more I realize how important it is to reflect at three levels: how we got here, what we are doing, and where we want to go. Today I want to share with you my unique story on why I became a teacher.

When I was 10 years old, I started taking taekwondo classes at ATA Martial Arts in Amherst, NH. I joined because my brother was training and other sports never clicked with me. I am grateful every day that my parents signed me up. Over my adolescent years, I gained confidence and public speaking skills. By the time I was 13, I had earned my black belt and began helping my instructors in classes. 
The ATA Leadership program helped me find my voice and my love of teaching and has been an instrumental part of my life since. By the time I was in high school, I was an instructor, running classes, communicating with parents and learning the importance of always improving yourself if you are going to help others improve themselves. My instructors were some of my first non-fami…

Active Learning and Pear Deck are a Perfect Pair🍐

Last year I attended one of Ed Tech Team's Google Summits and was introduced to Peardeck. I owe a huge thank you to Ed Tech Team for putting on the best PD I have ever attended. I left so motivated and having learned an incredible amount. Check them out if you get a chance @EdTechTeam and

Pear Deck is a web-based tool that allows you to formatively assess your students. You create a slide deck with interactive questions that range from drawing their response to typing answers to dragging a dot to a location on a map. The wide variety of question types is one of my favorite aspects.

This tool is ideal for any 1:1 environment. There are three parts to starting a Pear Deck session.

Launch your slide deck from the device attached to your projector. Use your second device (ideally a tablet/iPad) to run the dashboard and control what is being seen on the projector. Students use their device to login using their Google emails and enter the session code that ap…

How Technology Has Helped Me Become a Teacher Leader

It's about to get self-reflective up in here. 
I've been blogging for a few months now, but realized I have shared very little about my journey. This post will touch a little bit on a lot of things, while focusing on how I became the teacher leader I am today and how technology helped me get there. 
Rewind to June 2012. I was a fresh college grad and was offered a position teaching science at the school I am still at today. I was told that I would be receiving an iPad as part of my contract. To be honest, I was stoked. Not only was I employed (woohoo!) but I also got a new piece of technology to tinker with. I spent that whole first school year trying things out and exploring the iPad.
In the 2013-2014 school year, we launched a 1:1 iPad program in grades 9-12. It was awesome. I decided to flip my class after seeing Aaron Sams and Jon Bergmann speak at NSTA. I was inspired, motivated, and had endless energy. I immediately started collecting data on how my flipped classroom was…

Making Screen Recordings with QuickTime on Mac

I am so excited to share how to create a screen recording in QuickTime on your Mac in just a few easy steps AND include a screen casted tutorial on what to do!

1. Open the site or application you want to screen record.

2. Open QuickTime.

3. Go to File  > New Screen Recording.

4.  A new control bar will appear. Select the red circle to begin recording.

5. You will see a pop-up telling you to click to record your entire screen or drag a box around the portion of your screen you want to record.

6. You can now scroll, click, and navigate while you voice over.

7. To end your recording, there is a stop button located on the top right of your main toolbar. The stop button is a square inside a circle. The recorded video will then open so you can view it.

Happy screencasting!

5 Reasons to use Twitter to Build Your PLN

I started using Twitter to connect with other educators and build my Personal Learning Network (PLN) because a colleague of mine kept talking about how she was learning and connecting with other educators. She got me to Twitter, but here's why I stayed...

Cheer on your awesome moments- It's fun to share the awesome things that you are doing with other educators around the world and get feedback from them. Other educators can learn from what you are doing and it gives you a chance to celebrate your success!Send out an SOS when you need advice- Sometimes teaching can be very lonely, despite how many kids are in our classrooms. It is easy to feel like the only one in using a particular method or activity. Having a network beyond your brick and mortar building allows you to reach out to other educators for assistance when you don't know who to ask.Stay in touch after conferences- I love traveling for conferences and have met some really cool people along the way. When I attend…

Digital Labs using Sheets and Docs

I am so excited to be going digital with my lab books this year. Despite being a "techy teacher", I have always had my students keep a graph paper composition notebook for labs in chemistry.

Provide Lab as a Google Doc Copy
For this lab, my students were provided with a lab handout as a Google Doc that would force them to make a copy. This was done by sharing the link to the doc and changing the word "edit" to "copy". It was my first time doing it and it worked like a charm!

Students Record Data in Doc
Students then used their copy to write their purpose, answer their pre-lab questions, and record their dat while working in lab. My students all have an iPad, so that is the device they were working on.

Create a Class Data Table in Sheets
In a shared folder with my class, I created a class data sheet. Each group typed their data into the sheet and we ended up with a beautiful collaborative data table.

Create Individual Data Tables in Sheets
I wanted each studen…

3 Tech Tools for Immediate Feedback

"Do you get it?""Does that make sense?" "Do you understand?" Since I can't actually get inside my students heads, I find myself constantly asking myself and asking my students these questions. I want to ensure they understand the concept and be able to work in small groups with the students that need additional assistance. When technology was introduced into my classroom, I knew there had to be a better way.
I discovered these three tools and my classroom has never been the same!
Socrative is a great option for getting student feedback right away. Teachers can create quizzes, polls, or activities and launch them from the teacher version. Students join the "Room" and are able to answer the questions. My favorite things about Socrative are the wide variety of question types (MC, FR, TF, etc) and the "See How We Did" button. The button allows you to not only see how many got it right and how many got it wrong, but also how man…

Embedding Google Forms is my favorite!

For the last several years I have maintained a Google Site that functioned as a content storage system for my classes. At the time, my school was working with an older learning management system (LMS) that could not support the size of the files and videos I was trying to post for my students. While working with my Google Site, I learned how to embed items into a webpage. I made a Google Form to serve as a "Contact Me" page and embedded it into a page of the site.

Fast forward 4 years... We are now using Blackbaud's onCampus as our LMS and I am transferring my content to my pages there. (More to come on using onCampus in a future post.) Last year was our first year with this system and I continued to run my Google Site side by side with my course page. This year, I am all in on onCampus! I am setting up pages for each of my classes and will continue to provide a user friendly way for my students to access their content.

This week, I embedded my first form into my onCampu…

Are you excited to go back to school?!?!

First, a disclaimer...
Many and maybe even most things I blog about will relate to technology because I think it is important and I am passionate about it, however I am first and foremost passionate about teaching students. That passion is what inspired today's post.

"Are you excited to go back to school?" If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked that over the years, my classroom would be gold plated. To answer simply, yes. Am I excited to start waking up before 6am again, to walk my dog in the dark each morning, and to edit my syllabus? To answer truthfully, no, none of those things excite. I did not become a teacher because I love mornings. I regularly joke with my husband that I picked the wrong job based on when I like to sleep.

I am excited to go back to school because I love my students. I love that they will come in on the first day and tell me about the internships, vacations, and experiences they had this summer. I love that my seniors will be motivated…

Preparing for Day 1 Digitally

As I prepare to return for a new school year, I am flooded with ideas and excitement. I need to decorate my classroom, prepare my syllabi, and decide what I am making for lunch the first week. I know these thoughts resonate with many other teachers. In two weeks I will have a room full of 21st century learners and as a 21st century teacher, more than my classroom walls and syllabi need to be ready for them.

I am decorating a physical bulletin board in my classroom, but I am also building a digital bulletin board on my course page. Each of my classes will have access to online materials through a learning management system (LMS). I want my classroom to be aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, collaborative, and safe for my students. I want all same things out of the digital learning space that I will provide my students.

Here are a couple of things that I do to ensure my digital learning space is as welcoming and engaging as my physical classroom:

Colorful -  Each of my classes is theme…