Tech KnowledgeE-notes

Margie Rogers is a STAR member of the Discovery Educator Network

Tech KnowledgeE-notes

DENSI..Patiently Waiting! (or TRYING to be Patient!)

March 28th, 2014 · No Comments · DEN, Learning, Professional Development

DENSI-2014-summer-institute-logo-300I now understand how the college kids feel when they are awaiting results of the draft for professional teams–it’s the Friday before DENSI participants are to be announced, and all the DEN members in my PLN are on pins and needles. Rarely will you see a teacher wishing a weekend would pass quickly, but this is one of those times. Will we make the cut? Should we have tweaked that essay or video just a little bit more? How can we make this time pass more quickly? What will we do with that week in July if we don’t get selected?  All these questions and more are running through our heads as we await the invitations for the best Professional Development that many of us have ever had the opportunity to join.

The friendships and learning experienced during this short week in July are something we look forward to all year long. It’s a chance to refresh and renew, to make connections with people we will work with virtually and in person during the rest of the year. That’s why we have gatherings like DENapalooza and the DENaissance Fair to keep in touch. In fact, one of those occasions, the Spring Virtual Conference, is coming up on April 26. Check out this link to learn more:

In the meantime, I’m trying to fill my own calendar as we all await Monday’s announcement!  Have a great weekend!



Register Today for this Saturday, Rock Your Socks off in KC, MO!

November 13th, 2013 · No Comments · DEN, Learning, Professional Development

Join the Kansas City area DEN as we explore and experience the audio side of Discovery Education. We will start the morning with breakfast as we do an online tour of DE’s Media search options with a focus on media you can “listen to”. Following breakfast we will take an onsite tour of the Grammy Experience at the Sprint Center where you will get hands-on experience with creative song-writing and the art & technology of recording.

Be sure to take part in this hands-on event that joins the online access of Discovery Education audio with onsite skills learned at the Grammy Museum Experience!

To learn more about Discovery Education visit
To find out more about the Grammy Experience visit

Agenda for the Day:

Breakfast Buffet & Online Tour of Discovery Education:
Cosentino’s Market – Downtown
10 E 13th St
Kansas City, MO 64105

Time: 9:30am – 10:30am
Cost: Free

Grammy Experience – Sprint Center
1407 Grand Blvd Kansas City, MO 64106

Time: 11:00am – 12:00pm
Cost: $5.00

Click the link below to register for this event. Register by Wednesday, November 13th.

Use this link to register:


Pondering My Own Process…

August 17th, 2012 · No Comments · DEN, K-2, Learning, Professional Development, Uncategorized

Happy New School Year, 2012! I always feel like this, not January, is the new year. New kids, new ideas, new challenges to try.  For the first time in a long time, our renovations are, mostly, completed, and we actually had some slow time to ease into the new school year, to prepare and set up for our kids. This slower pace has allowed for more time to actually think about what I’m doing as I get ready for our little ones’ arrival.

Sometimes people forget that teachers are learners, too.  Heck, even I forget that some days, but one of my goals this year is to really look at myself as a learner so that I can better see how to help my kids as learners.  I’m trying to learn something new each day, no matter how small, and I hope in the process learn a bit more about myself.  What I’m finding so far is that I really need some time set aside to reflect on what I think I have learned each day, whether it be just time in The Thinking Chair, or writing (and rambling sometimes!) to see what I’ve added to my cognitive mix.

Often, we don’t give our kids that time in school either. We are constantly throwing this week’s new topic out, not giving them time to sort out what they did LAST week.  I’m truly excited about this year’s focus on having the kids do more writing, since often through writing, we work out many of our thoughts.  Because my job has changed (slightly) this year, I hope to be able to spend more time with kids and their teachers to help them see the importance allowing thinking and processing time. Some will take longer than others, but if we really want them to LEARN, not just spit it back on the test, the kids need to play with ideas, toss them around, tuck them away, question…  Just like I need to do!

Wishing all a great New Year!


Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

April 3rd, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

DEN and the City March 2012

It all started with a simple online group chat session with 45 of my closest DEN friends as we were talking about the planned Summer Institute to be held in Bozeman. One friend said she wasn’t likely to be able to get there, so I suggested that we all try to do a spring get-together somewhere in between. The next thing I knew, someone had created a Google Doc with a grid to choose the best date and place to meet ( I think it was Trace, but am not certain). We settled on Mar. 30 to gather in Chicago. Gena started researching possible condos to rent (I still daydream about Aqua) but didn’t get a response from any of the condo owners she tried to contact, so she made a just-in-case reservation for two rooms at Springhill Suites on Dearborn. Apparently there was some big convention in town that was taking up much of the hotel space–even our ever-resourceful friend Amy who works parttime at Marriott wasn’t able to get any other good deal for places for us to stay. A few chat sessions later, we were contemplating what to do, and came up with a visit to Second CIty comedy club, so Jan got us the reservations for that. All this happened in a group chat window of Facebook over a period of about 4 weeks. The closer the date came, the more of us got on board until there were over a dozen people involved.

On Friday, Mar. 30, each of us started making our way to Chicago. We came from PA (Jan and Trace), Michigan (Gena, Emma, and Wendy), Missouri (Amy and I), Wisconsin (Peg), and even California (Katie and Genny), and met our friend Liz and who lives in the ‘burbs of Chicago, as well as Jan’s daughter who lives in the city. We came by plane, train, bus, and car. Six states, 12 people, ready to have a grand adventure! (see Peg Hartwig’s post for a more detailed account of our actual weekend’s activities; suffice it to say, we had a great time!)

What does this have to do with teaching and learning and professional development, you might ask? Looking back, none of this would have happened without true collaboration. The Facebook chat window provided the space for us to collaborate in a natural way. (see Liz Charlton’s post describing our networking process.) First we had to have an Idea person to toss out the fodder to get things percolating. Next, we had an Organizer to attend the details of starting the planning process. The Google Doc gave us a tool we could all access to collect data and make decisions. Everyone was involved in the decision-making process, and anyone who wanted to was invited to join in. Those who didn’t choose to be a part dropped out of our ongoing conversation. Others who couldn’t join us, but were just interested in what was going on observed from the background, or offered input as they wished. During our brainstorming sessions on location and dates all ideas were valued and discussed. While we couldn’t accommodate everyone, we did a pretty good job of bringing it all together. Some parts of the process had to be done solo, as we each made our own arrangements for travel. As far as I know, not a single phone call was made between group members until we actually arrived in Chicago; all arrangements were shared to participants and observers alike within the the chat space. A couple of us arrived on the train, five flew in, one came by bus,and three came by car. The best part was, as each of us arrived, we greeted each other with hugs and cheers of “We did it!” It was a terrific feeling of accomplishment just having arrived together.

Isn’t this the very thing that most of us are wanting to accomplish in our classrooms? The whole is ever so much greater than the sum of the parts. Had any one piece of this been missing, it would never have been accomplished; each person’s contribution was important and valuable to the process, and we all used our various strengths to meet our goal. The immense satisfaction we all felt when we arrived was exhilarating, even though we still had more to do once we got there. Celebrating the milestones, such as our arrival, was a very important part of the process. This is what collaboration is all about.

On a personal note, so many times we say “let’s get together” with friends and people we value in our lives, yet the process stalls. One piece of the process is missing and it just never happens. If there is no one to say, “Let’s do it,” or someone to help lay the groundwork, lost opportunities to connect are the only thing that happen. WE did it, not me, not Gena, not Jan, not Trace, not any one of us alone–we were all in it together. And we all grew a little closer this weekend to people whose friendship and opinions matter. We learned together, played together, and had an amazing experience together. Thanks to the DEN for getting us introduced, and creating a spirit of collaboration that has led to some long-lasting relationships with some truly wonderful friends!

The DEN and the City crew headed to visit the Chicago DE office.


Still Learning After All these Years

February 22nd, 2012 · No Comments · DEN, Professional Development

A few days ago, I returned from METC  2012 (Midwest Educational Technology Conference) in lovely St. Charles, Missouri, after having the chance to learn a few new tricks and catch up with some wonderful professional friends.  I am starting to think that a part of professional development should include a mandatory day to process and work on all the tons of information we gather from such events.

I used Evernote extensively at this conference for the first time; I’ve used it before, but not to this extent.  Part of the credit for this goes to the door prize I received at EdCampSTL, just prior to the conference–a free year’s subscription for the full Evernote benefit. Now I have all my notes indexed and accessible from any of my (several) electronic devices. So that is my goal for this year, to get it all in there and be able to pull out what I need when I need it.  In that quest, I’m asking if anyone has any great Evernote ideas or tips that they would like to share. I’m sure there is much that I’m missing, but I am ready to dive in and get as much out of this tool as I can!  


Branson Virtual Conference 2011

November 6th, 2011 · No Comments · DEN, National, Professional Development

Our live event for the MOARKS (Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas) joint virtual conference was held once again at the beautiful Branson West Elementary.  We enjoyed fresh-baked treats for breakfast while watching the online sessions, then reconvened in an adjacent room to hear a presentation by the park ranger and two costumed interpreters from the Wilson’s Creek National Historic Battlefield. We learned a bit about the life of a Civil War soldier, as well as the type of doctoring a soldier of that era might receive.  After a wonderful lunch (oh, the baked potato salad was to die for!), we had a pumpkin carving contest hosted by Joe Diaz, the new Discovery account manager for the Arkansas region, with wonderful prizes for all the entrants.  A couple of the teachers came dressed as Dr. Seuss characters for the costume contest, representing Oh, The Places You Will Go (they have our vote as winners!). All in all, it was a fun day of learning, sharing, and making some new friends!


Summer Learning 2011

August 3rd, 2011 · No Comments · DEN, ISTE, K-2, National, Professional Development

Wow, it’s been a busy summer for learning. I was fortunate enough to travel to ISTE in Philadelphia and was also selected to attend the Discovery Education Summer Institute in San Diego.  (Yes, I was home for an entire 36 hours during that month of traveling!) My brain is still full and I’ll be processing all that I learned over the next few months. Here are a couple of highlights of my summer of learning, but these are by no means all I got out of my learning journey this year!

At ISTE, I walked through yet another workshop on green-screening, and have finally gathered all the materials to set up a green screen area in my labs.  I’m ready to get rolling with this now and share it with my digital storytelling after school group. Using green screening with some stock video of animals, and having our kids video themselves telling about those animals–what a powerful way to show parents all our little darlings are learning!

One new tool I came across will allow me to finally write my own book– –and is even accessibly through my school district’s filters.   One of the requirements of my district paying for me to attend ISTE is that I have to share what I’ve learned through the conference. This little gem is allowing me to journal my experiences, add websites and other links, as well as to process all these ideas I’ve collected through my writing. Then when I’m ready, I can share it with my colleagues at work.  How cool is that? After I’m done with that project, I just might get started on that kids’ book I’ve always been going to write!

What are your favorite things that you learned this summer? Or has your learning journey begun yet? Share!



Snow Day! (or we started a joke…that became something AWEsome!)

August 3rd, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I have just spent some of the most powerful learning hours in recent memory. Here’s the link to the presentation we created from this impromptu project–

It all started as a bit of a joke in the backchannel chat for DEN’s FETC PreCon event.


The Fox is in the DEN (actually the DEN was at Fox!)

November 26th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The Fox is in the DEN (or rather, the DEN is at Fox!)

On the beautiful, sunny Saturday morning of October 30, 2010, about 14 members of the Missouri DEN and area teachers were treated to a 90-minute tour of the facilities at Fox Channel 4 in Kansas City led by on-air weatherman Joe Lauria.  Mr. Lauria introduced himself by telling us that he was only in charge of promotion, not production for our beautiful fall weather.  This outing was originally scheduled for September, but had to be postponed due to upgrades being done at the studio.  We were shown into the brand new HD production room where they are making the transition from analog to high-definition digital video.  A highlight of the day was our time on the newly-opened set of the newscast.  Mr. Lauria explained the process of creating a weather report for a news show, and gave each of us the opportunity to practice our meteorological skills in their green screen set.

We finished our morning with a lovely meal at Panera followed by a presentation on Movie Maker led by Amy Cordova, showing how to use the chromakey tool to bring in images and video from DE Streaming and other resources.  Margie Rogers finished off with a short plug on the new iPad site on DE Streaming that can be accessed at

As always, it was a fun day of learning and exploring with friends—thanks to the MO DEN Events team and Discovery Education for making it happen!Photo of facade of Fox Channel 4 WDAF


Fall Virtual Conference in Branson, MO

October 24th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Greetings! I am writing LIVE from the MOARKS Regional Gathering for Discovery Education’s Fall Virtual Conference 2010 in beautiful Branson, Missouri. A group of about 20 of us met at the lovely campus of Branson’s West Elementary, where we had a large set up of the virtual conference as well as live sessions. We started with a lovely breakfast of fresh fruit, muffins, and cinnamon rolls that give Cinnabon a run for their money. We jumped into the online conference after it had begun (we didn’t want to start at 8 a.m. on a Saturday!) since we are an hour behind our East Coastie friends. We’ll catch that first session when it’s archived!

Since I’m writing as I’m listening, and am pulling resources from the Chat window, I offer my profuse apologies in advance for any missed credits to anyone for resources shared! What follows are my own notes from the day—there was lots to learn, so I recommend reading this in sections (maybe one presenter a week?!) and checking out the archive when it’s posted in the next couple of days at

Our MOARKS group set up a wiki where we’ve posted some resources as well:

DEN Edmodo group (Use #Area51 hashtag) be sure to join the group; our Edmodo page for sharing is

Kim Adair’s Mini presentation about green screening
Kim shared some strategies for setting up green screen editing on both Macs and PC’s. I was thrilled to see just how easy it is to do by just clicking that little Show Advanced Tools button in iMovie’s preferences! I am SO going to try this at home (and at school, and probably here tonight in my hotel room!!!).
Free tool online
Inexpensive download of MovieMaker can be found at:
This one offers blue and green screen options!

Resources for today: #Area 51
Photos from the costume contest can be found at:
Vote this week for your favorite costume! I am personally campaigning to be chosen as “best Halloween use of our new DEN LC shirts” since my vest included the lovely khaki color and looked great with the shirt (thanks, Lance! You rock!)

Virtual Con certificate of Attendance

Porter Palmer—Why Publish Student Work
Here’s the link to her presentation on Livebinder (lovely little tabs!)
from LaQuita Denson to All Participants:

Grades discourage kids’ risktaking to a certain extent, but publishing helps get them to do their best work.

Live Binder is a good way to share info Under Settings, you can password protect info! What a great way to share those videos we just created this past week when Digital Hank came to work with our kids!

from Peggy George

PBL resources

from Jennifer Dorman:
I have lots of PBL resources on my wiki at

Slideshare for sharing PowerPoint!

Glogster may be blocked in your district, but there now is
Traci Blazosky has a great Glogster tutorial at
Also more can be found at

iPadio is a good way to share podcasts and phonecasts
You can copy and paste embed code into posterous or wikispaces or other sharing site.
Great resource for primary kids
3D stories
Comic and Animation Technologies in the Classroom takes text and you can add animations! (some racy stuff, so be careful and check it out)

A request from the Shambles guy— … PLEASE feel free to add comments under the video .

Here’s the Virtual Con Twitter site

Rita Mortenson from Wisconsin shared a list of web 2.0 sites on pdf
Cool idea I’m gonna steal—sharing a new web 2.0 site every two weeks, and challenge teachers to use them! Way cool! She gives prizes to teachers for trying new tools if they show evidence of what they’ve done.
Link to her pdf’s:
Someone suggested meeting live to share—I’m loving this!

Word clouds for K-2

Next up is Whitney who’s at 1 DP presenting Digital Storytelling in a Web 2.0 World
Discovery site for teachers to use to teach digital storytelling—wonderful collection of resources! writing ideas has some storytelling resources as well has digital kits available for free

Whitney just shared Blabberize’s new video download feature and is on to PhotoPeach, a new one for me. I love Animoto, and just got my educator account (it did take me a couple of tries to get it put through, but it’s worth the work!).
Sample video of librarians in the media from Shamblesguru Smith

Lindsay Hopkins’ glog on Poe using DE resources was GREAT! ( I can’t get the link to work…will try to write to Whitney and get a better link)

Cool note—our own Lance Rougeaux is going to be a part of the Polar Bear Expedition! Woo HOO for our DEN leader! link to archive of today

List of upcoming webinars by DE

Erin Misegadis from Kansas shared a video on using DE content in Wiki spaces
She is attempting to go completely paperless in her classroom
Link directly to the wiki –
from Porter Palmer to All Participants:
use this link
from Steve Dembo to All Participants:

Mike B. is not feeling the love—he’s presenting Builders, up against Hall Davidson who’s virtually for the next hour. ; ) Sorry Mike, this is Hall, after all, and we are all groupies!

THE Hall Davidson Hall’s presentation link
Also handouts on Discovery Speakers Bureau site, click on Hall, then go to Handouts link on the right send videos here…
for downloading a segment of a youtube video .. you can specify start and end time

I just tried to send a short video of our conference to Hall. I hope it worked!
Time travel via You Tube
Great idea—put video of assignment instructions so kids can replay!!!!

Jing is good screen capture tool, Screentoaster and screenjelly are also resources that were mentioned, screenflow for mac Note: Jing gives you an auto embed code in your clipboard!

IShowU Hd. It costs about $40. PLUS lots of advice and free offerings to do screencasting

Video format converter at

I sent Hall a video of our MOARKS gathering, which you can find at:

Amy made one, too; hers will be in our MOARKS wiki. f
Upcoming Hall LIVE presentation at:

Blog to check out
Over 1,800 screencasts for educators basically done by one person

Try awesome interface with Google maps
Hall’s Amazing 3×5 Notecard X-Ray Machine (Free!)

Voicethread on Shambles at

LOVE Hall’s advice on how to make a broken camcorder into a WebCam!

Tally from Cali just jumped in to share how to use PhotoStory and DE Streaming

Kyle Schutt’s Wikispaces page

Cindy Lane’s Google Earth presentation via Skype
(I missed the iPad demo in the last virtual con session—will go back and get that later in the archive) I always learn the coolest stuff from Cindy! She showed us how to dive below the ocean’s surface, where to look for cool Google Earth lessons and tools, and how to embed video and overlay pictures into a GE tour.

Our day ended with Doug Mann’s overview of the new Theme section on DE, MediaShare resources, and a chance to play a bit with some of the tools we learned about today. Mike also mentioned that Flash video is available for many of the videos (just have to call Discovery and have them add it to your account), which is great for Smart Notebooks or other whiteboards.

It’s all about the sharing. And the food. The sharing and the food. And the friendships. I always learn so much from and with my techie friends. This is why I love the DEN!!!!