Tech Tuesday 2.18.14 – Some things to do over February Break

This post was originally published 4.02.13. I made a few slight updates. Enjoy!

Have some extra time over break? Yeah right. Well, just in case you do, here are some ideas.

Review our Tech Tuesday blog posts:

Watch a TED Talk or two:

Think of ways to change 20%  of what you do in the classroom using concepts from PD Day:

Watch this video: Did You Know? Shift Happens 2013 – 2014 / Higher Education

Have a great Break!

Tech Tuesday – 10.01.13 – Connected Educators Month (CEM)

Sorry, I am publishing this a day early.

October 2013 is Connected Educators Month. It’s a chance for us to start connecting with other educators around the world!

Below are some great places to start if you haven’t already. If you already consider yourself “connected”, make sure you spread the word about how being connected has helped you as an educator!

If you aren’t sure what it means to be a “Connected Educator”, watch this short video for an overview.

CEM – Connected Educators Month – Resources

Pinterest In My PLN

Illustrated by Peter Grundy From Scholastic Instructor

I would consider myself to be a heavy user of social media maybe even excessive at times. I have written a blog post about using it as a PD (professional development) tool and presented on the topic of connected educators. I actively use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. I used Google Reader, now Feedly (a post for a different day) to keep track of blogs I follow. I use a variety of different apps, Zite, FlipBoard, Feedly, Pocket, WordPress, Evernote, HootSuite, and Summly to keep track of my content.

Notice I didn’t mention Pinterest? Pinterest just didn’t seem to fit into my workflow. I didn’t understand at all how I could jam one more social network into a very busy, sometimes messy flow of information. Colleague, Amy Oliveri, a member of my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and high end social media user has been bugging me for at least a year to start using Pinterest. I just didn’t get it. How do pictures of somebody else’s stuff help me? I was somewhat hesitant given the concerns related to image copyright. I want to be an example of appropriate use of copyright and the web (another post for a different day).

Finally, something clicked. Amy and I manage social media for Allendale Columbia School and she sent me a post from Brendan Scheinder’s blog about using Pinterest as virtual viewbook. Amy insisted that we start doing this and she would manage the entire page (click here to see what she has done so far). So, I decided to give Pinterest another look for professional use. I had to be missing something.

I now understand how Pinterest fits in my workflow. I have started using Pinterest as a place to store important information. I don’t use Delicious anymore. I “pin” everything I want to keep, articles, blog posts, inforgaphics, TED Talks, education sites…I keep adding boards as new ideas pop into my head. It’s also an amazing place to find information. There is so much information available from top resources like Edudemic, Edutopia, Richard Byrne, Eric Sheninger…there are too many to list. Unlike Twitter, Pinterest is easy to browse and search. Everything displays in a nice organized format.

As with all social media, you can’t force it on people. I remember back when I first realized how powerful Twitter could be as PD tool, and how wrong I was about it’s use. Pinterest too has it’s place in your PLN.

To read more about Pinterest in education, check out our Tech Tuesday blog post titled, What is Pinterest?

Tech Tuesday 2.12.13

This is the first edition of a weekly newsletter (with a mirrored blog post). This newsletter will provide you with technology tips and tricks. This will be guided by you so please comment and give us feedback.

This week we are focusing on social media. As of November we have taken over the social media coverage of events on campus. It’s important to us to include everyone. We think that what you’re doing in your classroom is special! We want to show you off to parents, grandparents, prospective families, and community members! Here’s how we can continue to do this!

  • If you have information you would like to share, email provide us with
    • a written summary (3-5 sentences)
    • several hi-resolution photos (no more than 10) or a short video
  • If you are sharing on Twitter, use the handle @ACSRochester and we will retweet.
  • If you have an interesting lesson, event, or exciting classroom happening that you need quality photos taken at, email one week in advance and we will do our best to attend. Keep in mind, we select events from “This Week” to cover on a weekly basis.

Next weeks newsletter topic: Are you a blogger? Why use

Amy Oliveri Receives Early Career Award in Art Education

On February 1st, 2013, Allendale Columbia Middle School Art Teacher, Amy Oliveri, was awarded with the Early Career Award by the RIT School of Art for her excellence in teaching.

This is short video of Amy working on a self portrait using colored pencils.

When I was first introduced to Amy, she was described as being techy. And she was! We hit it off right away. However, Amy is far more than just a techy, art teacher. She is an excellent planner, facilitator, teacher and artist. I have seen her teach and interact with students. There is a tremendous amount of mutual respect in her classroom. Her students are engaged and well behaved. Students ask questions and work to push themselves to impress her. Amy is the type of teacher that expects her students to work hard and do well. From my perspective as a colleague, I feel the same way when I work with her.  I want whatever I am working on to be that much better because I know she has such high expectations. I know that I have learned far more from her than she has learned from me. Amy is in her third year at AC and she has an incredibly bright future. The Allendale Columbia School students, faculty and community are very lucky to have Mrs. Oliveri as a teacher, friend and mentor!

To get a better understanding of Amy’s passion for art and education, please check out her social media links.


Making Your Digital Presence Relevant

At a recent meeting with our school’s leadership team, I was asked to share why we need to increase our school’s social media presence. Please understand, I am not a social media expert. I am not a marketing expert. Through the use of social media, I have been exposed to some outstanding resources and I have some very strong opinions about how social media can be an incredible tool for our school to use.

Whether we like it or not, all organizations, Allendale Columbia School included, have a digital presence. While our digital presence is something we can never completely control, there are many steps we can take to help make sure that what is out there is an accurate and authentic representation of AC. A digital presence or footprint is something that an independent school, like a business, needs to be very careful about. If current or prospective families research our school they are very likely going to get information that is controlled by traditional marketing (website, brochures, advertisements). Traditional marketing is needed for independent schools, but it must also be supported and complemented by our social media efforts.

As a school, it is vital for us to publish what we feel is an authentic view of our daily interactions. We want people to see, hear, and feel what our school is all about. This information needs to come directly from the people who experience it. I am referring to parents, students, faculty, and staff.  We know how to market ourselves to the community at large because live it everyday.

If we do not actively participate in social media we will not have any input in our schools digital presence. Essentially, we will be controlled by that those who are sharing digitally. As a team, we need to build up this presence in an authentic way. A few examples of this are by sharing Tina Duver’s sixth grade Mastodon Project Blog, photographing special events using our Instagram feed, and publishing events such as our “College Life Program.” By: Shanghai Web Designers By: Shanghai Web Designers

This is not just about marketing, this is about becoming an educational authority and resource. It is about being a role model for our school community and the world at large. It is about using modern educational tools, like social media appropriately. Being absent in the digital world is not an option. We must connect! 

Allendale Columbia School Facebook

Allendale Columbia School Twitter

Allendale Columbia Instagram

Fun at NYSCATE 2012

Welcome to NYSCATE

I have been fortunate to attend the annual NYSCATE (The New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education) Conference in Rochester, NY for three consecutive years. I am always amazed that Rochester hosts the biggest educational technology conference in New York State. I am also amazed at the number of people that attend from across NY and beyond. NYSCATE hosts a top notch conference, with excellent keynote speakers, outstanding workshops and presentations for teachers by teachers.  This is exactly the type of conference that teachers of all technological experience should attend. There is a little something for everyone.

In my role as Director of Curricular Technology, I love to take in different presentations to see where it might fit into the curriculum at Allendale Columbia School. I would have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to attend a conference like this in my previous position as a kindergarten teacher. This year, I was able to convince a kindergarten teacher to come with me, Erin Eder. We taught kindergarten together for three years. When I worked with Erin, she was a mentor and a friend. Now, the roles are slightly reversed. I am showing her Twitter, Glogster, and helping her with her class website.

After half a day at NYSCATE, Erin and I had a completely different conversation at lunch. The conversation was driven by her and we were immersed in a discussion about how to use technology with her students in new and exciting ways. Several examples we brainstormed were, using Edmodo to flip lessons, digital literacy, internet safety, digital storytelling, embedding interactive media in SMARTNotebook files, and starting a class blog. It’s the type of conversation that every tech person loves to have with teachers. Now she is ready to start implementing these ideas in her classroom. I will happily support her in this endeavor.

Erin also discovered Twitter. This is something that I always expose to teachers as a professional development tool, but in never really clicks until you experience it in the right context. NYSCATE and the conference attendees provided that context for Erin. Special thanks to a few of the folks the the Social Media Kiosk @JimTiffinjr @Ted_Love @ransomtech and @TomWhitby for adding to the conversation!

Used for Speed Dating for Techies

I was able to attend a session that I found truly entertaining and fun. It was very different than the usual sessions that you expect to find at conferences. It was called “Speed Dating for Techies”. It was hosted by two energetic and passionate educators, Katie Regan and Shari Sloane (#ladygeeks), both paid by their districts to teach english but they also volunteer as technology integrators at their respective schools. Interestingly, they work at different schools but collaborate weekly. They use technology to bridge the gap to explore their common interests and passions, with curriculum and technology use. It was inspiring to chat with people and hear their stories. The structure of the session was like speed dating and gave people 3 minutes to chat, network, and share interests. A “dance card” was used to collect basic information from the people you met, name, passions (education related) and contact information (in most cases a Twitter handle). Katie and Shari did a great job!

Overall, NYSCATE gave me some ideas and energy to return to work. I love being a part of the learning that goes on at this conference. Great job to everyone at NYSCATE for hosting a fantastic conference!

Schools and Social Media, Why the Disconnect?

Image from, From the article Policing Social Media in Schools, By Eileen Smith Dallabrida

Why don’t schools feel obligated to take on the issues of social media use by students head on? Why do most schools set up policies that limits access to social media? Is it lack of understanding or lack of confidence in the ability to control it? Why does it seem like we are reactive to student issues related to social media use  rather than be proactive?

The way I look at it, we as educators, MUST tackle social media in the same manner we address all other social issues. We should interact with students using social media and we must model appropriate behavior. This is no different than than what we do at school every single day. Social media and technology has extended our ability to be social, and in the process it has created new teaching opportunities.

So, here is what I propose. Let’s teach kids all the things we learned in kindergarten…again! But let’s do it with social media and technology. Let’s be role models for behavior in all aspects of our lives and our students. Don’t we have more to gain as a society if we teach kids to engage each other appropriately, honestly and with integrity in all aspects of their world? Social media and internet safety are not new concepts, it’s the same stuff we have been teaching FOREVER! The only difference is that the landscape has changed significantly and it can be scary. The more we ignore or put these issues on someone else’s plate the longer it will take for young people to understand just how important this is! Too many people have already made mistakes that have cost them dearly (college admission, job loss…etc).

Let me know what you think.

Great post by Allendale Columbia School art teacher Amy Bonner.


So often I hear other teachers say, “I wish I had more time for that”. What they are referring to is my connectedness to social media. I have spent the last three days using Canvas instructure to add syllabi and course information. It is incredibly time consuming work. I’m not even close to being finished. However I feel that doing the work now and preparing for the classes that I will have this year will save me time once the school year begins. I will have more time to spend with students. I will have more time to make my own artwork. I will have more time to collaborate with other teachers.

So for now I will continue struggling to find prior worksheets and project information using Google Docs, Edmodo, and WordPress. On top of this and updating my curriculum to reflect 21st-century skills. I also feel that teaching the…

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