Sunday, March 29, 2015

Teaching Diversity (for NYIT 610 Course, in particular)

One approach to consider when organizing, planning, and reflecting on instruction that embraces student diversity is to make Diversity, itself, a focus of learning. Below are a good number of links to materials that reflect different facets of this approach. Care to add to this list? Either leave a comment in the blog or email Professor Gura your suggestion to be included in the list.

  • Teaching Diversity: A Place to Begin


Using Childrens’ Literature to Teach Diversity

Creating Culturally Responsive Communities




·         (print book) Art from Many Hands (this one gave me endless amounts of inspiration when I was a classroom teacher!)


Saturday, March 28, 2015

ISTE Librarian Professional Learning Network - Webinar

I had the pleasure of sharing some professional thoughts and knowledge with the ISTE Librarina Professional Learning Network via their monthly webinar...

By the way, this Network uses Google Hangouts as a communications tool - something you may want to investigate. In some respects it is similar to ZOOM - one advantage is that you can adjust the settings to upload the video recording directly to YouTube.

Here's a little of the background on this webinar... below is a screen shot of the way the webinar was announced in the Librarian PLN's "Community" area of the ISTE website. I'd describe this very much as a Social Networking Blog.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Technology prompts changes in role of educators

Technology prompts changes in role of educators
Technology -- from crowdsourcing sites for lessons plans to online videos -- has changed the role of today's educators, English teacher Michael Godsey writes in this commentary. Technology has replaced the need for teachers to be "the local expert," he writes. "These days, teachers are expected to concentrate on the 'facilitation' of factual knowledge that is suddenly widely accessible." The Atlantic online (3/25)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Teacher Blogs

Blogs are free, easy to use resources with great potential for instruction and for PD and Support.

1) General Theme of Teacher Blogs: 

2) Tech Teacher Blogs

Top 50 School Technology Blogs

A Day in the Life of an Elementary Computer Teacher/ Technology Integration Specialist


3) Teacher "VENTING: blogs: Blogging can be a great tool for teachers to use for a variety of purposes (e.g. class blogs to 'host' and organize student projects, class blogs as a way to 'publish' student work, teacher blogs to inform parents about class happenings and requirments, etc.) However, a very interesting phenomena appeared after blogging  became common among the general populace; teachers started blogs to vent. Below are some examples (many others to be found on the web) - Professor Gura does not endorse any particular example of these blogs or their posts, however suggests that there are aspects of this that can be tapped for Professional Development and Support, including for Technology Use in the schools. These blogs represent a fascinating window into the realities, attitudes, and culture of teaching.

- Diary of a Public School Teacher (scroll down to #6! :(

- A 21st Century Cynic~ Rants of a Frustrated Teacher 

- Mr. Teachbad's Blog of Teacher Disgruntlement

- Chaz's School Daze
I have survived the Bloomberg pogrom. However, our union is allowing the DOE a second chance to punish me.
Fallout? See: "How One Teacher's Angry Blog Sparked a Viral Classroom Debate",8599,2052123,00.html

Also See: What Teachers Reveal When They Blog

Some new tech items to make teaching and learning more interesting and effective

    1) Flipgrid

Flipgrid in Top 5 Apps for Project-Based Learning on Edutopia
Teachers create grids of questions
Students respond with video
Everyone views and shares

Flip For Flipgrid--Student Video Responses To Questions
2) Rocketbook: Cloud-Integrated Microwavable Notebook

Sunday, March 22, 2015

One-to-One Initiatives Prepare Today's Students for the 21st Century World (or so this publisher says)

From my In box:

Executive Summary:

One-to-One Initiatives Prepare Today's Students for the 21st Century World

T|H|E Journal Resources

Dear Mark,

Mastering reading, writing and arithmetic is no longer enough to ensure the success of today's student. Prepare all of your students for their future by providing an enriched individualized education experience that gives students and instructors access to high quality resources at their fingertips.

This Executive Summary on the impact one-to-one initiatives have on student success is filled with examples of real results districts are experiencing since implementing their programs.

Read more about outcomes your school can achieve with a 1:1 program, including:
  • More collaborative, project-based learning activities
  • Creative multimedia projects
  • Develop digital literacy skills
  • Reach students with special needs
  • Deepen learning by providing access to educational resources

What makes a good game?

Technology in the Classroom

Commentary: What makes a good game?
Various organizations are using gamification, including those in education, health care and business, writes Kevin Werbach, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania and an author of a book on the topic. But what makes a good game? "In a good game, the points and the leaderboards aren't what really matter; the true reward is the journey," he writes. The Conversation (U.S.) (3/19)


Core values: How do you build a meaningful vision of education for school

The Science Leadership Academy (SLA) in Philadelphia has gained a national reputation for being a model of inquiry-driven, project-based learning. Since SLA opened its doors in 2006 as a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute, founding Principal Chris Lehmann has seen the school thrive. More than 95% of its graduates pursue some form of post-secondary education, and SLA has won many awards and honors. The two SLA campuses, one in center city Philadelphia and one in northeast Philadelphia, serve a total of 750 students, each of whom is issued a Dell Chromebook 11 for a 1:1 digital learning environment. Admission is by holistic evaluation that includes an interview conducted by teacher-student teams.

This whitepaper series presents the nuts and bolts of SLA’s vision, and describes why their commitment to their core values is so important to the success of their school. The goal of this whitepaper series is to provide the details needed to help other schools scale SLA’s success.

The first whitepaper in this series, A New Model for Teaching and Learning, reviewed how SLA’s core values of inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation, and reflection are emphasized in all classes through student-centered, project-based, and backward-designed curriculum. This second whitepaper details how these core values inform the vision of the school, and how a model of distributed leadership is a key component to realizing these goals.


Founding Principal Chris Lehmann, who recently won the Harold W. McGraw Prize in Education, says any school or district looking to define their vision needs to start with one question: What do you actually believe as a community?

"People don’t always know how to answer that question," Lehmann says. "We say we believe in ‘lifelong learning’ and ‘developing the whole child’ and these kinds of fluffy statements. Of course we believe in lifelong learning, and we believe in educating the whole child. But you have to ask the next question: What does that mean? What does that look like? And what needs to happen to realize this vision?"

He identified the following ways to begin the conversation of building a meaningful vision of education for schools:

• Focus on your school or district’s core values. What values will serve as the framework for your vision? What do you hope school will be for your children? What do you hope school will become? "Everything you do should reflect these core values," says Lehmann.

• Identify and involve your stakeholders and get their buy-in. Invite parents, teachers, students, and staff to meet as a community. When you meet, break into groups and discuss: what will this vision look like in practice?

• Define a common school or district language. This common language is used in everything you do. At SLA, the use of a common vocabulary serves two purposes. First, it helps everyone understand exactly what the school is about, and two, it binds everyone together and to a shared purpose.

• Create a culture of distributed leadership: To build a sustainable, meaningful vision that reflects a school’s core values, school administrators must embrace a shared leadership model that encourages a culture of trust and shared responsibility. SLA’s vision could not work in a top-down decision making culture.

Get the rest of this WhitePaper @:

Core values: How do you build a meaningful vision of education for school?

School Websites of NOTE

Maker Spaces, Etc.

The use of makerspaces will grow during the next several years, reaching nearly a quarter of classrooms, estimates the New Media Consortium. The group recently previewed findings from its annual report on emerging technologies in K-12 education. Other trends to watch include wearable technology and drones.
EdTech magazine online (3/18)

How one district makes personal learning work for PD
"Professional development" may not be the best term to describe continuous learning among educators, Fred Ende, assistant director of curriculum and instructional services for the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES in New York, writes in this blog post. He suggests a personal-learning model instead and shares how his regional council makes it work. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (3/19)

Systems Management
Conn. district shares secrets to ed-tech success
A Connecticut school district has successfully launched education-technology initiatives in part because of its focus on providing personalized and differentiated learning for teachers. The district also has made the transition from printed textbooks to online resources and allowed students to bring their own devices to school. eSchool News (free registration) (3/20

Flipped Classroom

Survey: Digital curriculum materials gain popularity in place of print
A promotional image for Apple's new digital textbook service called iBooks 2. REUTERS/Apple
The market for digital curriculum materials in K-12 education continues to grow, while print is declining, according to a recent survey of publishers. Education Market Research's survey found that "online/digital" delivery was the most common medium cited by publishers and manufacturers for delivering supplemental products, at 82%, while print trailed at 65%. T.H.E. Journal (3

NY TIMES on Teacher Quality

TREND: Moving to Digital Content (digital textbooks or textbook replacements)

Personalized Learning

How one district makes personal learning work for PD
"Professional development" may not be the best term to describe continuous learning among educators, Fred Ende, assistant director of curriculum and instructional services for the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES in New York, writes in this blog post. He suggests a personal-learning model instead and shares how his regional council makes it work. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (3/19)

 From my In Box:

On 03/19/15, THE Journal Resources<> wrote:

Personalized Learning with Google Tools Prepare Students for College and Careers

Dear Mark,
Join us on March 31st to find out how ReNEW Schools, operating five schools in New Orleans, has more than doubled their number of students on-track to attend college with personalized learning.
During our special presentation, you'll hear Brandon Phenix, ReNEW's Director of Personalized Learning, share how Google tools are essential for keeping students on track and getting them ready for their future.
Attend this complimentary webcast to:
» Get an overview of the Google for Education solution which includes Chromebooks, tablets with Google Play for Education, and Google Apps for Education

» Learn how this solution can be used to improve student learning, collaboration, and engagement

» Hear first hand experience from a district using Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks

» Ask your Google for Education questions to our knowledgeable presenters
Get the tips and tricks your school can use to foster a blended and personalized learning environment!
Sponsored by: Google for Education

How do special education students benefit from technology?

Mileposts Intervention Engine

Silverback Mileposts helps teachers get back to teaching. One product that houses all the information teachers need to succeed in their classrooms: RtI, progress monitoring, behavior tracking, curriculum in partnership with @Gooru, assessments from Edify. It's all here. Listen to our educators.

Data Driven Instruction and Analytics Links

From: "Campus Technology Resources"
Date: Mar 20, 2015 9:01:27 AM
Subject: How Analytics are Improving the College Learning Experience
To: <>

Academic Analytics: Business Intelligence For Higher Education

Campus Technology Whitepaper
Dear Mark,
How can the same analytics tools that has benefited corporate America for more than a quarter century help your institution achieve important educational and institutional goals? Download our informative whitepaper to find out.
This informative resource explores how academic analytics is being used in higher education to recruit and retain the best students, as well as improve the overall learning experience.
Academic Analytics: Business Intelligence For Higher Education Get your copy today for a look at how your institution can use analytics to transform instruction, including:
Tips to overcome barriers to implementing analytics in higher-learning institutions

How to get the most from analytic tools in administrative and instructional functions

How analytics are being used to improve the learning experience
Sponsored by: Dell Software

Professional Development Links

D.C. schools pilot personalized PD Ten schools in Washington, D.C., are participating in a personalized professional-development program in which teachers can choose from different options to meet their needs. Options include virtual coaching and online learning. EdSurge (2/17

Social Media Links

Should schools access students' social media accounts? States and school districts continue to grapple with how to best balance students' privacy with the desire to protect them from cyberbullying and other issues on social media. "There are 50 states and 50 ways to screw [this issue] up," said Luke Stedrak, an assistant professor of education at Seton Hall University. "There is no consensus, and the inconsistencies create problems for practitioners." Education Week (tiered subscription model) (2/18)

On 02/28/15, Mark Gura<> wrote:

Remember the old joke about the guy who goes to the doctor and says, "It hurts when I do this?" Yeah, don’t do this: This teacher was suspended over a Facebook post he wrote defending co-workers accused of sex with students on Los Angeles beach; This Pennsylvania district is considering new policies after possible inappropriate communications between teacher and student were brought to light; and this Connecticut teacher was arrested for inappropriate selfies. I could go either way with these sorts of stories. Has the technology created the opportunity for bad behavior or does bad behavior get exposed more easily because of the technology?–Kevin Hogan, Content Director
On 02/28/15, Mark Gura<> wrote:
Educator shares 20 top teaching ideas from Pinterest

Pinterest can be a powerful tool to use in schools and classrooms, according to Vicki Davis, an educator in Georgia. In this blog post, she offers 20 tips to help teachers make the most of the site, including making group and private boards, organizing videos, and sharing boards through other media. Media blog (2/23)

The Social Media Revolution 2015: Video

Teacher Leadership and Tech Advocacy Links

- Teach to Lead helps drive push for teacher leadership
Teacher-leadership programs are taking off in the U.S., among them the Teach to Lead initiative, led in part by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. "What separates [Teach to Lead] is, if you have the backing of the U.S. Department of Education, which has connections and ties to different districts and states, that gives it some authority," said Genevieve DeBose, a National Board Certified Teacher in New York City who helped develop Teach to Lead. Education Week (tiered subscription model) (2/18)
- Write your U.S. senators to support a stand-alone digital learning program.

The U.S. Senate is moving quickly to revamp the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), known as the No Child Left Behind Act for the past 13 years. Unfortunately, as drafted, the current Senate bill does not include language for a dedicated digital learning program. We strongly encourage you to write to your senators before Feb. 2 to help them better understand the importance of reinstating a dedicated program for learning with technology.

ISTE believes that all students should have an opportunity to learn in a connected classroom. If we hope to achieve this vision, we must make bold investments and take decisive action to address the growing needs of educators as they transition to digital age learning. Overlooking the importance of a program focused on advancing digital learning for all would be a major misstep for the next iteration of our nation’s K-12 law.

When No Child Left Behind was enacted 13 years ago, it contained a stand-alone ed tech component — the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program. Until 2010, when funding was eliminated, EETT provided states, districts and schools with funding for technology professional learning, digital tools and content, and technology leadership capacity.

ISTE believes it is critical that the federal government invest in digital learning, as schools cannot afford to make these significant investments alone. A separate ed tech program will ensure that the federal government prioritizes support for digital education and that all of our nation’s students, regardless of where they live, are engaged in digital age learning.

ISTE has drafted a letter that you can personalize and send to your two U.S. senators with the click of a button. We have less than one week to share with Sen. Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate education committee, your thoughts about how a separate ed tech program will help meet the needs of students. Don’t delay, please write your senators today! Together, our voices carry!

Send letter