Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Teaching SCRATCH

Teaching MIT's SCRATCH at the Active Computational Thinking Middle Schooler's camp at CSUSM. Fun! This video was created as a brief intro:

The link: VIDEO LESSON (9 Minutes)

The web site to try Scratch:  scratch.mit.edu  Highly recommended!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Here is a new sharing approach that might be useful to teachers... It allows you a quick collaboration without any of the overhead. Very interesting and quick:

I can imagine teams can use this effectively...

The link:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

ISTE keynote speaker Tuesday 6/25/2013

Steve Johnson

Author of Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation We live in a connected world – he argues that very few good ideas come from an “Eureka!” moment but rather it is the product of reflection, time, and network interactions. He gave as examples the invention of the Internet by Tim Berners-Lee  (Brit) while working at CERN. He called the process the “Slow Hunch”, alluding to the fermentation of ideas across time.  Another example related Darwin’s Natural Selection hypothesis did not spontaneously come to his mind, rather it again took time and much reading and interacting with other people on a variety of topics.

He also brought another tool used in the past was what is called the COMMONPLACE book which is a way to compile knowledge – a common technique in the past. This helped keep information as ideas were  brewing.

He mentioned that a tool in today’s world is DEVONTHINK a German company that electronically does what the COMMONPLACE book would do and a lot more.  [Note: ASKSAM in the PC platform did the same type of thing – a free form data base]

He also alluded to networking that works and is “fertile” are social interactions in the “Liquid Network” such as coffee houses, etc.  He noted also that the diversity of coffee house customers added to the richness of the ideas being generated. 

For students he suggested building conceptual bridges – something that teachers can do to foster using real-life situations.  He also commented that the game “Dawn of Discovery” was very useful to foster responsibility, interconnectedness, and responsibility as players build their fortunes and are successful/failures in performing and running their enterprises.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Flipped Classroom

Jarod Borman Tweet:
@jbormann3: Here is the google doc that guided the Flipped Classroom session if you were interested and couldn't make it: http://t.co/Sy2m8K43qk #TIC13

Supplemental material for your use! LINK

Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer transition time...!

As summer starts we have some exciting changes happening at VUSD.  Finally a domain that will serve teachers and students supported by our Information Systems department! Bravo to Dewayne Cossey for his leadership.  Thank you to all the VUSD CHAMPIONS! You know who you are!

Google Apps will serve as our primary mail domain (July timeframe), a teacher led in-service expected in August with all students ready for the start of the semester. The precursors domains served us well to smooth this transition to vistausd.org

We are also getting an upgrade in the infrastructure as well as a new learning management system: My Big Campus.

Hectic but very promising.

Next stop: ISTE San Antonio...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Teaching Teachers how to "flip"

Our Rancho in-service was awesome as we learned from one another. Here is the presentation on "Flipping the Classroom"  The reference web site with all the material can be found at the link:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

VUSD and the new Google Apps

vistausd.org will be the domain name for our new VUSD Google Apps set-up. The whole district is  transitioning from Microsoft Outlook to G-mail.  Here is the link to the information page which includes a milestone project plan:


More information will be forthcoming.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

30 Innovative Ways To Use Google In Education

FROM:  http://www.teachthought.com/technology/30-innovative-ways-to-use-google-in-education/ 
To build search literacy in 21st century learners, consider having students:
  1. Locate 3 sources of information that support an idea, and rank them in terms of their credibility.
  2. Find the original source of an “old” idea.
  3. Identify experts who can function as sources of data.
  4. Search related keywords, names, dates, and other curiosities while reading fiction and non-fiction text to contextualize reading.
  5. Search and locate multiple filetypes (filetype:______) that address the same or similar topic, then defend which one is most compelling and why.
  6. Provide 4 groups of students a query, then have them find and defend the most credible source of information on that topic.
  7. Have students record immediate but brief think-alouds for why they choose to click on certain search results while skipping others.
  8. Explain the single most important way Google is and is not like a library.
  9. Find an information search result that is non-optimal for one search objective, then explain what kind of search that result would’ve been optimal for.
  10. Defend or attack the using “out of data” search results.
  11. Identify publishing needs by searching posts “within the last 7 days” and analyzing the quality of only recently published information.
  12. Use search by voice in mobile learning situations.
  13. Use the Advanced Search function to filter results by reading level.
  14. Identify experts who can inform both the online and offline search process.
  15. Find collections of information that contextualize a topic before or after searching (i.e., Learnist, Pinterest, etc.).
  16. Use Google search results and the QFT strategy to narrow a topic from open-ended abstraction to concrete and retrievable data.
  17. Imagine what Google will look like in 2023 using Moore’s law and trends from 2003 to 2013.
  18. Begin managing their own online brand by measuring search results against professional goals and personal beliefs, and understand how Google generates those “non-optimal” results.
  19. Use Google Trends and Search Filtering by date to describe the ebb and flow of quality information.
  20. Search social media sites for sources of information and media trends (rather than information itself).
  21. Defend or critique the Google Trend “Forecast” using both existing search data as well as existing cultural trends.
  22. Use Scholar Search to find and use the “Works Cited” page of credible academic journals, then curate these sources for use in future searches.
  23. Experiment with key word search variations, then analyze the relationship between phrasing and search credibility.
  24. Defend or critique the process of Googleing entire questions (versus simply Googleing key words and phrases).
  25. Use “Define:_____” to find the definition of a word rather than wasting time on dictionary sites.
  26. Use “exact phrase” searching to find different ways a line, quote, or other text is used differently across the internet—and which sites cite sources and which do not.
  27. Predict the impact of Search Engine Optimization on the quality of search results.
  28. Redesign (via a quick sketch) the Google results page to provide a more visual way to display search data on various size screens.
  29. Guess the impact autocomplete has had on search results using specific examples (i.e., how it can support or distract the search process).
  30. At the end of a research project, have students artistically explain the difference between search and research.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Google Docs - Rich!

Found this great resource and wanted to share with all our Champions. Highly recommended.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My Big Campus

Along with other teachers we are exploring this new tool for our district - looks very promising.  Here is my screen set-up created in a few minutes:

This would be the learning management system that would give us many advantages over Moodle and would nicely integrated with Google Apps.  It is being evaluated for potential release to all teachers in the Fall.

Here are some further resources courtesy of Dewayne Cossey:


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Google Twist on Vocabulary

Students are using Google Sites, Google Docs, and Blogger to create visual dictionaries for geometry vocabulary.  Although the initial process of getting every student access to their Google accounts was cumbersome, the students are now off and running.  The students are exploring technology while reinforcing vocabulary- win, win!   

Check out student work, including:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Celebrating our Own” Winter buy Back Day was a probably the best and most successful Professional Development day at Vista Unified. The sessions that I attended were excellent with passionate professional presenters. Kudos to ALL those that made this possible for teachers.

There were scores of presentations - here is a summary of the key links for the 3 sessions that I attended:

Darlene Painter, Teacher and Educational Coach
Web link: Teach Coach Love

Tamara Marks & Traves O’neill, Teachers, Technology Leads
Web link: Google Apps for Education

Gabriele Calvin-Shannon & Debi Wheelock, Teachers, Technology Leads
Web link: Google Your First Days with Google Apps
Google Apps for Education Overview

More key links will be added from the rest of our awesome presenters... Stay tuned.