Archive for iConnect

Day of Discovery FETC Jan. 27,2013

Day of Discovery

Day of Discovery FETC Jan. 2013


Day of Discovery for FETC conference in Orlando, Florida today was another great networking and learning experience brought to educators by Discovery Education. The event took place at the Wonder Works.

Steve Dembo kicked off the day with his presentation: 22nd Century Skills…Today! Bringing Future Tech into the Classroom. He asked the question “Why is everyone focusing on the 21st century? That skill set is over a decade old. Rather than looking back, we need to look to the future and identify technology trends that educators need to know about.

” Have you  heard the expression “Everyone can have their 15 minutes of fame”? Steve said that it needs to be changed to “Everyone can have their 15 people to share their fame.” You don’t need a large audience on the Internet but you need an audience to share with.

Steve then talked about companies who are looking to hire people that have a positive presence online. People seeking employment need to sell themselves online today and in the future. Ask yourself – when someone looks at your resume, does your voice come through? Have you done a Google search and seen what is online about yourself? What would employees find online about you? What can you do to express your voice when seeking employment? Steve showed websites of people promoting themselves. He showed and discussed Eric Shenringer’s blog. He is a principal in New Jersey that has an Internet presence for himself and his school. Parents, teachers and students follow his blog and comment on it. This has greatly improved community communication at his school. The Internet allows your voice to be heard beyond the resume.

Steve continued to talk about how teachers can work with students to develop a positive digital image of themselves, a personal portfolio. Kids are sharing everything already over the Internet. What is interesting is that what they share has a lot to do with school. Over 30% of their sharing is about school and assignments. Steve shared samples Twitter messages from kids: “If you are in my reading class I need help with the project”, “This is what I listen to when I do Algebra homework”, “Just finished my homework”.

Steve went into Bloom’s Taxonomy Revised pyramid with Creating on the top. He said that it should be Publish on the top. Publishing is sharing what you create. Creating is no longer enough, it needs to go one step further to Publish.

Blooms Taxonomy Revised Pyramid



QR codes were discussed next. You know those square crazy square design you see now in ads, magazine articles and books? They are really URL links to a website, photo, music on the Internet. It takes less than a minute to create a QR code today and have become widely used. An app called AURASMA can turn anything into a QR code. Take a photo of the object using AURASMA and you can link it to the Internet like a QR code.

Steve’s closing words were “You can not predict the future classroom but you can invent it.”

Today’s Edmodo code is zxo1hs. Take a look to see what people have shared. See what the “collective brain” contributed to Edmodo.

Thank you Steve for an inspiring Keynote.

DEN Summer Institute 2011

I had the opportunity to attend the DEN Summer Institute 2011 in San Diego this year. I want to thank Discovery for this wonderful exciting week of learning and networking. I love San Diego and I loved the University of San Diego. A special shout out to Tony for helping to arrange for the DENSI 2011 at this wonderful location. I have never been to such a beautiful campus. If I attended school at University of San Diego, I am not sure that I would have ever graduated and just keep going to school so I didn’t have to leave. When we first arrived and went to the dorm apartment, I could not believe that there was no air-conditioning until I went to sleep the first night with the window open. It was so cool that I had to use a blanket. What a change to the heat back home!! What a treat to have such wonderful weather.

The first night we had a visit from Danny Forster from Discovery Channel show – “Build it Bigger” I had the opportunity to speak with him and ask him questions about his show during dinner. Danny gave a presentation later that evening about his latest projects including the 9/11 memorial in NYC. Check out his website at .

There was so much that went on for the entire week, that it would take a week to write about it in this Blog. We used Edmodo to collect comments, documents and more during the week. I came home and spent time going through Edmodo and collecting resources from the week. I created a wiki to share with others. I did not capture everything, just some of it. The wiki can be found at

Thanks to Porter Palmer for collecting resources in Scoop it

ISTE 2011

Well, I can’t believe it is all over, that is ISTE 2011. It was a great conference and so good to see old friends and meet new ones. I went home with my head full of great ideas and ready to work on new things. Oh! What fun it was.

On the last day of the conference, I attended the closing keynote speaker and then met some friends to catch a bite to eat before we hit the road to drive home. We went across the street to the Reading Market and left the Market around 5:30pm. We walked in front of the Convention Center and saw all the lights out. It was so sad to see it all closed down so quickly and it all became a memory in an instant. Yes, all the excitement was over but not forgotten.

Now I am looking forward to ISTE 2012. I will be saving my dollars to pay for the plane trip across the country to San Diego and searching for a place to stay that will not cost a fortune. In these hard times, our school district has cut out the luxury of helping with travel expenses so you have to go to plan B to attend ISTE. The last ISTE conference that was in San Diego, some of my family members traveled with me. They had such a good time in San Diego that they are already planning on making the trip with me so I hope they are also saving their dollars to join me.

If you did not attend ISTE 2011, don’t miss the next one, it is worth the trip for any educator. If you can only make it to one conference in a year, make it ISTE

Spring Virtual Conference Maryland LIVE!!

Here we are at Walker Mill MS, Capitol Heights, Maryland taking part in the Discovery Spring Virtual Conference Maryland. A small but great group has gathered here to network and learn today. We are in the Media Center where there are brand new computers for everyone to use while watching the streaming WebEx Discovery Events. Renee Henderson arranged for this great LIVE event. Carmella Doty and Selena Ward assisted her. Thanks for all that participated to make this a  successful event.

Watch the PhotoPeach slide show from the event at

Sign In Table

MSET Discovery DEN STARS Dinner April 11,2011



The Discovery Maryland Leadership Council sponsored a DEN STAR activity at the Baltimore Museum of Industry on April 12, 2011 as part of the MSET conference.The DEN STARS had the opportunity to visit the museum  complete a savager hunt, meet DEN STARS and have great food served by Mother’s Federal Hill Grill. The hit of the evening was the Maryland Crab Soup.  Each Den STAR had an opportunity to earn DISCOVERY BUCKS by completing a variety of activities. Each DISCOVERY BUCK became a raffle ticket for the great prizes. Thank you to DISCOVERY Education for sponsoring the Maryland Leadership Council and helping to make the event a success for all the DEN STARS.



Angry Birds in the Classroom



Joe Bower  teaches in Red Deer, Alberta and has successfully used Angry Birds in his classroom. He has two iPads for student use. In his Blog “for the love of  learning” at he tells the story of a seven yer old boy he calls Allan. He describes him as a student that has difficulty staying on-task. Allan got involved in “Angry Birds” and Mr. Bower found out that it “… was a great way for Allan to work on his perseverance, patience, focus and fine motor skills.” The moral of the story is that there is a use for Angry Birds in the classroom. Thanks Mr. Bower!!


21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020

I came across this a few days ago and wanted to share it. It really made me think about how fast technology changes. Here today, gone tomorrow. What happened to the floppy disks, the VCR, the ____? (Fill in the Blank)

Originally Published by The Daily Riff 12/19/10

21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020

by Shelley Blake-Plock

Last night I read and posted the clip on ’21 Things That Became Obsolete in the Last Decade’. Well, just for kicks, I put together my own list of ’21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020′.

1. Desks
The 21st century does not fit neatly into rows. Neither should your students. Allow the network-based concepts of flow, collaboration, and dynamism help you rearrange your room for authentic 21st century learning.

2. Language Labs
Foreign language acquisition is only a smartphone away. Get rid of those clunky desktops and monitors and do something fun with that room.

3. Computers
Ok, so this is a trick answer. More precisely this one should read: ‘Our concept of what a computer is’. Because computing is going mobile and over the next decade we’re going to see the full fury of individualized computing via handhelds come to the fore. Can’t wait.

4. Homework
The 21st century is a 24/7 environment. And the next decade is going to see the traditional temporal boundaries between home and school disappear. And despite whatever Secretary Duncan might say, we don’t need kids to ‘go to school’ more; we need them to ‘learn’ more. And this will be done 24/7 and on the move (see #3).

5. The Role of Standardized Tests in College Admissions
The AP Exam is on its last legs. The SAT isn’t far behind. Over the next ten years, we will see Digital Portfolios replace test scores as the #1 factor in college admissions.

6. Differentiated Instruction as the Sign of a Distinguished Teacher
The 21st century is customizable. In ten years, the teacher who hasn’t yet figured out how to use tech to personalize learning will be the teacher out of a job. Differentiation won’t make you ‘distinguished'; it’ll just be a natural part of your work.

7. Fear of Wikipedia
Wikipedia is the greatest democratizing force in the world right now. If you are afraid of letting your students peruse it, it’s time you get over yourself.

8. Paperbacks
Books were nice. In ten years’ time, all reading will be via digital means. And yes, I know, you like the ‘feel’ of paper. Well, in ten years’ time you’ll hardly tell the difference as ‘paper’ itself becomes digitized.

9. Attendance Offices
Bio scans. ‘Nuff said.

10. Lockers
A coat-check, maybe.

11. IT Departments
Ok, so this is another trick answer. More subtly put: IT Departments as we currently know them. Cloud computing and a decade’s worth of increased wifi and satellite access will make some of the traditional roles of IT — software, security, and connectivity — a thing of the past. What will IT professionals do with all their free time? Innovate. Look to tech departments to instigate real change in the function of schools over the next twenty years.

12. Centralized Institutions
School buildings are going to become ‘homebases’ of learning, not the institutions where all learning happens. Buildings will get smaller and greener, student and teacher schedules will change to allow less people on campus at any one time, and more teachers and students will be going out into their communities to engage in experiential learning.

13. Organization of Educational Services by Grade
Education over the next ten years will become more individualized, leaving the bulk of grade-based learning in the past. Students will form peer groups by interest and these interest groups will petition for specialized learning. The structure of K-12 will be fundamentally altered.

14. Education School Classes that Fail to Integrate Social Technology
This is actually one that could occur over the next five years. Education Schools have to realize that if they are to remain relevant, they are going to have to demand that 21st century tech integration be modeled by the very professors who are supposed to be preparing our teachers.
(Ed. Note: Check out Plock’s 2010 nomination for best blog post: “Why Teachers Should Blog”)

15. Paid/Outsourced Professional Development
No one knows your school as well as you. With the power of a PLN in their backpockets, teachers will rise up to replace peripatetic professional development gurus as the source of schoolwide prof dev programs. This is already happening.

16. Current Curricular Norms
There is no reason why every student needs to take however many credits in the same course of study as every other student. The root of curricular change will be the shift in middle schools to a role as foundational content providers and high schools as places for specialized learning.

17. Parent-Teacher Conference Night
Ongoing parent-teacher relations in virtual reality will make parent-teacher conference nights seem quaint. Over the next ten years, parents and teachers will become closer than ever as a result of virtual communication opportunities. And parents will drive schools to become ever more tech integrated.

18. Typical Cafeteria Food
Nutrition information + handhelds + cost comparison = the end of $3.00 bowls of microwaved mac and cheese. At least, I so hope so.

19. Outsourced Graphic Design and Webmastering
You need a website/brochure/promo/etc.? Well, for goodness sake just let your kids do it. By the end of the decade — in the best of schools — they will be.

20. High School Algebra I
Within the decade, it will either become the norm to teach this course in middle school or we’ll have finally woken up to the fact that there’s no reason to give algebra weight over statistics and IT in high school for non-math majors (and they will have all taken it in middle school anyway).

21. Paper
In ten years’ time, schools will decrease their paper consumption by no less than 90%. And the printing industry and the copier industry and the paper industry itself will either adjust or perish.

Editor’s Note: A “classic” from the Teach Paperless blog and previously published. Shelley Blake-Plock is a self-described “artist and teacher . . . an everyday instigator for progressive art, organization, and education. In addition to his work teaching high school Latin and Art History, Shelly is a member of both the experimental Red Room Collective and Baltimore’s High Zero Foundation . . .” It will be interesting to see how his predictions fare over the next few years . . .

Teaching Podcasting to Teachers

Our training team at Prince George’s County Schools has been teaching Podcasting to teachers who are part of the Sharing Technology with Educators Programs (STEP) This is a year long program where the Instructional Technology Team works with a group of schools throughout the year. Each team has a choice of strands to select. The strand that I am working with is Podcasting. In this posting, I have given you the links to each of the Podcasters. This is the first Podcast that most of them made. They did fake interview and they are really creative. Each entry is only a few minutes. Take a minute to listen and smile.

Intro. to Podcasting at Charles Carroll & B.D.Foulois Schools

Nov.3, 2010, we did a session with the team at Charles Carroll Middle School. The team consists oft Ellen Clark (ESOL), Sarah Beth Hansen (Social Studies), KIirby Jarrell (Language Arts), James Scaringi (Science) and Eric Wood (Principal). We had a great time making podcasts today. This was a great group to work with.

Nov. 4, 2010, we did a session with the team at Benjamin D. Foulois Creative and Performaing Arts Academy. This is a Creative Arts K-8 school. The team is made of Aaron Smith (Technology), Michael Feagans (Band) and Brennan Tanner (Music). The participating administrator is Omar Gobourne (Assistant Principal)

Cougar Podcasters from Charles Carroll MS

James Scaringi

Kirby Jarrell

Ellen Clark

Beth Hansen

Falcon Podcasters from Benjamin D. Foulois

Michel Feagans

Brennan Tanner

Aaron Smith

Election Day 2010

Woman Suffrage Headquarter in Cleveland, Ohio

 Exercise Your Right  to VOTE

Sometimes we need to remind our students, children and grandchildren that not everyone had the right to vote in this country when it was founded.  Originally the right to vote was a privilege given only to white men wealthy enough to own land. Men and women fought for the right to vote for all citizens regardless of race, religion and gender.

Our Grandmothers and/or Great-grandmothers who lived 90 years ago were the first group of woman able to vote. It was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go the polls and vote. Search in Discovery under “Suffrage” and take some time to see how these women fought for all woman to vote. So, refresh my memory, why are not all woman voting this year? Why exactly? Carpool duties? Work? Your vote doesn’t matter? Raining? I hope not.

If you have children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, take at least one of them with you to  model how easy it is to vote and discuss that it is a right for all American citizens. As adults we must model how important it is to go out and vote.

View the Discovery Video “The Almost Painless Guide:Election Process”. You might consider showing a short segment to your students and take a minute to discuss Election Day.




Web 2.0’s top 1,000 List!

Found a great site through Twitter today

Web 2.0’s Top 1,000 List!

The list is broken down by categories i.e. Audio, Animation, Polls etc. A simple but interesting site. You can get lost for hours checking out the links. Happy exploring.