Archive for Tech Tips

Creativity v Delivery, Sir Ken Robinson

I have attended the ISTE annual conferences for 10 years but 2012 was a special year for me. I had volunteered to work at the conference’s keynotes that year. When I found out that I was assigned to work at the keynote panel moderated by Sir Ken Robinson, I felt like I had won the lottery. My reward for being on the set-up team for the keynote was sitting in the VIP section to see and hear Sir Robinson.

Sir Robinson was the featured keynote that launched the panel discussion with a candid criticism of the culture of the American education system. Sir Robinson argued for greater individualization of education experiences for students by saying that “Sometimes I hear people say ‘we can’t personalize education for everyone because we can’t afford that.’ I say ‘we can’t afford not to.’”

Sir Ken Robinson IISTE 2012

ISTE 2012 Sir Ken Robinson Keynote Panel Moderator

Those words jumped out at me because I use Edmodo, a free and secure K-12 social learning platform where teachers can personalize and differentiate education for their students. Yes, as teachers we have a tool that is available to us.

Educators have much on their plates, but integrating Edmodo into their instructional strategies is not “one more thing”. It is a tool to help educators go beyond the demands of education today and create a collaborative, creative environment in their classroom.

Sir Ken Robinson is a frequent presenter at TED Talks. In his presentation on “Teaching Creativity v Delivery”, he addresses the role of the teacher. He says “Teachers are the life blood of the success of school…” He continues stating that there is not a school in the country that is better than its teachers. Teaching is not a delivery system; it is a creative profession. Teachers are not there just to pass on information, great teachers “…also mentor stimulate, provoke, engage…”. He continues with “In the end, education is about learning…if there is no learning going on, there is no education going on…”

In the end, education and learning are personal and that is where Edmodo becomes the digital tool of choice. Teachers who have integrated Edmodo into their teaching practices have discovered that they can use this tool to engage their students. It allows teachers to set-up a collaborative environment where students become involved in activities where authentic learning takes place.


Edmodo, Where Learning Happens

Edmodo is a one-stop shop for classroom digital needs. Built in tools can aid a teacher in retrieving student’s digital work, polling/quizzing students and assigning work. It brings a social learning environment right to the classroom. Edmodo allows the teacher to provide a personalized learning environment for their students giving them a tool to differentiate instruction, create an environment for group collaboration and be creative. Edmodo can be used to individualize and personalize teaching. Edmodo provides a large selection of apps that can be used by students to learn creatively. My favorite creative apps are GoAnimate! and Pixton.

In addition, Edmodo provides a parent connection. Every student is assigned a parent code so that parents can connect with the teacher on Edmodo, check grades, assignments and posts to the class and their child.

Edmodo offers many more built-in tools, too many to list them all here.  A few of my personal favorites are a digital library, “digital backpack” area for students to store files, a calendar and small group work areas.

Edmodo can be the cornerstone for creative, individualized instruction for the classroom. It allows teachers to be creative in their instructional strategies and go beyond “delivering” information.


Click on photo below to view video “About Edmodo”

About Edmodo

About Edmodo

Additonal Getting Started Videos: 

Welcome to Edmodo

Creating Edmodo Accounts

Group Management and Safety

Questions? Need more information?

Contact Carmella Doty , Twitter #carmellad


Mashups, Social Media & Mobile Devices in the Classroom

I had the opportunity to attend and present at the LI Technology Summit on October 15th. We did a presentation on Mash-ups, that  can be viewed at where you will also find resources. It was a fun time because I got to present with my sister who is an educator in New York. Since we were in Long Island and it is historically know for its ducks, we gave out rubber ducks to the participants.

Rubber Ducks

Long Island Ducks

The keynote speaker was Eric Scheninger. He is a principal at a high school in New Jersey. He is using Social Media as a principal and teachers and students are using personal mobile devices in his school. He gives “shout outs” on Twitter to teachers and students when he observes them doing something good. It has become a “Badge of Honor” to get a “shout out”. He keeps his school community informed and in the “loop”. He has students, parents and community members that follow him on his school Twitter account, his website and Blog. He has written a book about how to use Social Media for the administration, teachers and students.  Take a look at his Twitter, Blog, website and book – interesting. 

Below are links for Eric  
Article from USA Today –
Book –
School twitter account – @NMHS_principal
Website –
News report and video –
Principal Blog –

Apple – I was there teaching with the MAC PLUS

I was leading a webinar this past Wedneday from home and my husband was upstairs in the house when he learned of Steve Jobs passing. He waited till I signed off with my students and ran down the stairs to tell me the news. I went directly to and turned on CNN on the TV. I just had a feeling of lost, like I lost a dear friend. We all knew his time was coming but still felt the loss when it actually happened. People who are dying will wait for the moment to make the journey for various reasons. I think that Steve Jobs waited till the Apple Press Conference and announcements were made on Tuesday to let go on Wednesday.

I  called a friend of mine who is a MAC person and we shared our stories. We were one of the first people to get MacIntosh computers for our classrooms. We were both teaching Computer Arts, him in middle school and me at a high school. We had bonded over our new Mac Plus machines. When the Mac Plus came out, it was a big deal to us because suddenly we could do all these great multimedia things we had not been able to do before. We both had the Mac Plus computers in our classrooms along with the Apple IIGS machines so for 1986 we had the “best” for teaching computer arts. We were out there as tech ed leaders, or at least we thought so at that time.

Cover of BYTE Magaizine with Mac - 1984

Cover of BYTE Magazine Mac 1984

I have been using Macs and all things Apple since those days in the late 1980’s. Steve Jobs has been called a modern day Edison. You have to wonder if he had lived another 30 years, what would have come out of his mind? For what ever reason, it was his time to pass on and leave us wondering what could he have done if he lived a longer life?

He may not have changed the world for everyone but he changed my world. He had the vision to bring Graphic Design to the computer. Other companies created the software but he created the machine. Maybe it was the time he spent at Pixar that helped create his vision.

He knew what we wanted when it wasn’t even in our mind – iPod, iPhone, iPad.  He geared Apple to the consumer, he gave us great designs, reliable products, ease of use and made us happy. Jobs not only geared his equipment to the consumer but he always kept education in his vision. Apple has always been there to promote their products for educational purposes.

I worry about Apple, the company, now that Jobs is gone. Will it still be the same? Will it be as cutting edge? Who will be the next Edison in our lifetime or will there be another? Apple will be okay for at least a few years because Jobs laid out his vision for the coming years. But what comes next?

I found a good history of Apple and Steve Jobs:




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

Extensions For Every Blogger

I came across this Blog post about extensions for Bloggers on WEB DESIGNISH. The posts discusses what a blogger extension is and how to them.  The posting is titled “15 Best Google Chrome Extensions for Every Blogger”. Links are provided to related articles and extensions available on other browsers. If you are a Blogger, don’t miss reading this post.

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.

Ten Web 2.0 Things You Can Do in Ten Minutes

10 Things to doTEN WEB 2.0 THINGS YOU CAN DO IN TEN MINUTES –  the title caught my interest. I came across a video on You Tube that referenced the article and then searched for it. The author, 


The following list was inspired by eLearn Magazine Editor-in-Chief Lisa Neal’s blog post “Ten Things You Can Do in Ten Minutes To Be a More Successful e-learning Professional.” We’d like to offer the “Web 2.0 Edition” of Lisa’s list:

  1. Listen to a conference presentation. When you run across conference presentations while reading your RSS feeds (EDUCAUSE Connect is a prime source, as is OLDaily), save the conference site as a bookmark and revisit it to hear a presentation.
  2. Record a 10-minute presentation about something you are working on or learning about, either as audio (use Odeo) or video (use Ustream), and post it on your blog.
  3. Do a search on the title of your most recent post or on the title of the most recent thing you’ve read or thought about. Don’t just use Google search, use Google Blog Search and Google Image Search, Amazon,, Technorati, Slideshare, or Youtube. Scan the results and if you find something interesting, save it in to read later.
  4. Write a blog post or article describing something you’ve learned recently. It can be something you’ve read or culled from a meeting, conference notes (which you just capture on the fly using a text editor), or a link you’ve posted to The trick here is to keep your writing activity to less than 10 minutes—make a point quickly and then click “submit.”
  5. Tidy your e-portfolio. For example, upload your slides to Slideshare and audio recordings to Odeo and embed the code in your presentation page. Or write a description and link to your latest publication. Or update your project list.
  6. Create a slide on Zoho. Just do one slide at a time; find an image using the Creative Commons licensed content on Flickr and a short bit of text from a source or yourself. Add this to your stick of prepared slides you use for your next talk or class.
  7. Find a blogger you currently read in your RSS reader and go to their website. Follow all the links to other blogs in their blogroll or feedroll, or which are referenced in their posts. Well, maybe not all the links, or it will take hours, not ten minutes.
  8. Write a comment on a blog post, article, or book written by an e-learning researcher or practitioner.
  9. Go to a website like Engadget, Metafilter, Digg, Mixx, Mashable, or Hotlinks and skip through the items. These sites produce much too much content to follow diligently, but are great for browsing and serendipitous discovery. If you find something interesting, write a short blog post about it or at least a comment.
  10. Catch up on one of your online games with a colleague—Scrabulous on Facebook or Backgammon on Yahoo. Or make a Lolcat. Or watch a Youtube video.

About the Author
Stephen Downes works with the E-Learning Research group of NRC’s Institute for Information Technology and is based in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. He spends his time working on learning object and related metadata, blogs, and blogging, RSS and content syndication, and raising cats.