Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tech Conferences

I am currently attending the California League of Middle Schools /Computer Using Educators conference in Monterey, CA. I've attended a number of fascinating sessions from data-driven decision making to converting a Wii remote to an interactive whiteboard. (Can't wait to try the last one out!)
Of course, the available technology was not nearly as advanced as the sessions and while wireless was sometimes available, it was down more than it was up and not available at all in over half of my sessions. I find this VERY frustrating when I'm at a technology conference, and I couldn't help but find a parallel to how our kids feel in our school settings. They are wired constantly via phone, iPod, and portable game devices, so why are we keeping them from using these resources. People have told me at many different conferences that they have turned the wireless access off because they want us to listen to the presenter. I'm not wired to just sit and listen. I need to synthesize what I'm learning and post to Twitter or my blog or take notes for myself in Google Docs. Why squeeze me into a four walled box when I'm just not wired that way? Well, the real problem is we're doing the same thing with kids - and considering that our "technology" savvy events aren't technologically enlightened, how can we expect it to trickle down into our schools?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wiki Updates

We've been working diligently on updating our wiki. We have added a number of video tutorials (created by Kim Ellis of AHS) on Aeries ABI and Jeanne's been adding lots of FAQs on the elementary report cards and teacher web pages. We are also adding to the links portion of the site, but I'm not sure it's a very user-friendly layout. Any suggestions on ways to organize great online resources?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Aeries Resources

I have created an introduction video on setting up your Aeries Gradebook. You can view it below. We've also found another school district that has posted Aeries ABI tutorial videos. You can find those videos here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wrong Again

Ok, so I attended another meeting regarding the grant and I was wrong again. It looks like the focus of the grant will be on the Language Arts teachers. However, the equipment will also be available to teachers who are interested, but not initially. Sorry for the confusion and false hope.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Clearing up the Grant

The grant we received includes the training of 150 teachers, but only those who teacher 4-8 grades. The standards that we are critiqued by the state are only the Language Arts and Social Science standards, but we do plan to train all interested teachers. We will also be looking for tech leads at each school. Anybody interested?

Saturday, October 4, 2008


We have received $1.3 million dollars in grant funds through the EETTC grant. The grant covers grades 4 - 8 so we will be working with that subgroup from our district. The grant includes funding for wireless laptop carts to be located at each school. By my calculations each elementary will be receiving 40 laptops via 2 carts and the middle schools will be receiving 80 laptops via 4 carts. Teachers must attend training in order to have access to these carts, but I think it will be a great opportunity for both our staff members and our students. Now we just need to work out the details. :-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


We're working on ways to better communicate with the teachers in the district. Please check out our new training wiki. You can even search for information on specific topics by using the search box on the left.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Creating technology stations

We've redecorated our room, and have a little more space to move around. We even have some space around the room to make technology stations. Now we have to decide what to place in those stations. We have a "podcasting" corner, and I think we'll put some sort of scanner system at another one. That way teachers with old documents/photos can scan them to upload into Moodle. Any suggestions for other stations? We can probably have 1 to 2 more.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Setting up your Aeries Gradebook

This tutorial walks you through the basic set-up of your Aeries Gradebook. We will continue to create additional tutorials to give you more information on using Aeries.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Additional Resources are available here. Just scroll down to find the Aeries material.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Aeries Training

What's the buzz about Aeries? Well as our student management system it does make some things much easier. For example - you will no longer need to input your students into your gradebook program. With a push of a button your students are enrolled in your class and any change in Aeries is modified in your gradebook too.

Also, at "Grade Reporting" time you will no longer have to input grades for each student using the those pesky drop down menus. All you need to do is click on the "Import from Gradebook" link and presto-chango your grades are all there.

We will be putting together another video tutorial on setting up your Aeries gradebook by the end of this week. You can also attend one of our Aeries classes offered September 10 and 17 at the DO.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Video Tutorials

Welcome to Techies Teaching. I will be posting a blog on current trends in technology and resources available for teachers in the LVUSD district and the world!

Check out our tutorial on the teacher website builder found on YouTube.

This is Part 1 of the series and is a demo from Agoura High School. If you are a teacher in the district at another school, the demo will be applicable as soon as you are logged-in to your webpage.

Additional videos including part 2 can be found at

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Digital Cameras

I just returned from a seventh grade field trip to Costa Rica. We traveled with three adults and 14 students for a week. It was a great trip, but what was amazing to me was how beneficial the digital cameras were for the learning processes. The kids would go and explore a section of the rain forest and then come back to our guide and ask questions about the plants and animals they had identified. It made the educational experience much more personal for them because they were the ones bringing the questions to the adults. My colleagues and I were talking about all of the possibilities these cameras could provide. While we were walking we developed a Rain Forest Scavenger hunt that we had the kids do on the next hike. It was fabulous. Next time I'll bring my laptop so we can then put their pictures together for a slide show.

With the implementation of new technology, the way we teach will be changed dramatically. We're now trying to give parents constant feedback by posting grades online and listing homework as well as creating much more interactive environments in which to teach our kids. wonder we're always tired.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I've often asked myself what am I going to be when I grow up and I always have an answer. I changed my major 11 times in college and each time it just felt "right" and I knew it was my true calling. Now, I'm trying to figure out what my next option might be and I'm leaning on the idea of teaching online. I've researched and applied to a couple of different online high schools, and I've looked at some of the online universities and I'm just not sure that I am all that qualified. My undergraduate degree is in English Education with a minor in Educational Technology, and now I'm completing my Master's in Educational Technology at SDSU. Do I need to get a Master's in English to teach online? What are others doing? How did they get their online teaching jobs? What are their qualifications? Is this a career for a much later time in my life? Can anybody shed some light on this future career choice for me?

Addendum: Ok, so I have teaching certificates in Iowa and California. Time to get a National Certification I guess. It is so hard to plan for "anytime" "anywhere".

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Museums and Ed Tech

Last November I traveled to Washington DC. I spent many hours wandering around the Smithsonian and other museums. After visiting the National Portrait Gallery I wrote on a comment card that I wished there were options to download audio commentary on to my iPod. A month or so later, I heard back from the director of public relations that they were working to design podcasts - some are already available via iTunes and requested that I take a survey on technology and the museum.

I just returned from London where I again visited a plethora of museums. Many major museums now offer headsets with audio commentary available for certain items within their museums. I also searched podcasts on iTunes before I left. There were quite a few from the National Art Gallery in London, but they were mostly monthly, news reports on upcoming exhibits or special events. There were also additional "interactive" portions at most tourist spots with hands-on activities, videos, and interactive Flash-like videos. For example, in the British Library there was an interactive version of the Magna Carta where the user could zoom in on a picture of the document and view a translation in a pop-up window.

Museums are updating to meet the needs of their audience. The staid placards are no longer sufficient in the education of the museum's patrons. As I wandered around the British Museum - which is fabulous- I kept reading the different artifact descriptions thinking....they need an educational technologist to revamp this encyclopedia-like information dump. A couple of years ago I had found a job posting for the British Museum looking for people to help with online content design for school-aged users. With our global community, museums are now required to provide information and artifacts digitally as well as statically. What a wonderful field to be involved with and to observe as it emerges!

Friday, January 25, 2008


As a TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) I'm always on the lookout for ways to make teacher's lives easier. A couple of weeks ago I found this little application called Tooble. Tooble was designed by high school kids in Connecticut for YouTube users to be able to download videos directly to their computers.

That brings up my "future" discussion: copyright laws. If you've spent any time on YouTube you have been assailed by edited movies, music, news broadcasts, and a plethora of copyrighted material mishmashed together. Now that we can download those videos down to our computers and further edit them and then repost them to the Internet where does it end? As a former computer teacher, I told my students that they could create these collage projects for my classes, but that I could not post them on the Internet because that would constitute "publishing". Now the line is even more blurry.

Check out this video from TED entitled: "How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law". The video discusses old laws that originally gave property owners the rights to the sky above their land, and once airplanes started violating those laws they had to be rewritten. It seems that through new technology we've transversed into another new dimension and now our laws need to play catch up. I'm very interested to see where those laws will take us. Thoughts?