Issuu on Google+

innovative learning

Fall 2009

What is innovation? We asked this question in a survey of the Special Interest Group Innovative Learning Technologies (SIGilt ) and this is what we heard from you. “Something that is new, different, and hasn't been done in exactly the same way in the past.” “ I define "innovative" as a new way of doing something that is extremely different than the common norms at hand.” “Either new technology,or technology that is being used in new ways.” “Finding new ways to solve problems or improve the learning environment. “ “I tend to look to technological solutions (because I'm a bit of a geek) that have positive impact on learning.” “Using a technology not because it's there but because it best suits the educational purpose of your content/curriculum.” “Anything that thinks outside of the box!” “My definition would include but not limited to: Foward-thinking ~ paradigm shift.” “A fresh approach to something that already exists or is already being done” These are just a few of the many responses we received when we asked that question in our survey, but the running theme here is that innovation doesn’t necessarily lie in new technology, but in using what we already have in new and creative ways. I like the term “paradigm shift” because that is what it takes for innovation to occur. We have to think differently about what we are doing and find newer and creative ways and then those things become part of the norm. Here is some demographic data about this SIG. We currently have the largest membership base of the ISTE SIG’s with nearly 6,500 members. Nearly one third of the membership base described themselves as PK-12 teachers. At the annual meeting held during NECC 2009, we told our members that our vision for this SIG was to become a repository where people with ideas come to share those ideas with others who are interesting in learning new things and new ways to use technology. We have established several communications channels by which members can share information. There is a Ning page ( which has some discussion forums placed that members can use to post ideas and information. We also have a Twitter page (SIGilt). If you use Delicious, we hope that if you tag something that might be of interest to other members of this SIG, that you use the SIGilt tag. In this way, we can spread more information and ideas about innovative ways to use technology. I hope you all had an opportunity to write a proposal for presentation at next year’s ISTE conference. This SIG will be sponsoring a poster session showcasing innovative uses of technology so that our members can see some great ideas put into practice. As previously stated, we are the largest SIG, let’s make it the SIG everyone wants to join. I am looking forward to a great term in office as your leader. I hope the articles we chose to present in this newsletter will be of interest to you and give you great ideas. Please be sure to share it with your friends.

Jean Kiekel SIGilt Chair

CONTENTS Netbooks and Open Source: Rethinking Laptops and Learning


Education in Motion: From iPod to iPhone


Using VoiceThread to Collaborate with Animal Specialists


Cell Phones in the Secondary History Classroom


Transitioning from a LMS to an Open Source Social Network to Support Graduate Students


Virtually Open Source


innovative learning Editor Lisa Sjogren _______________________ Can you believe this newsletter is a collection of ideas from over 100 people? There are six excellent articles focusing on Collaboration, Open Source, and Cell Phones. We have had individuals submit pictures and share their ideas about innovation. So with all of the submissions I present to you the fall issue of SIGilt’s quarterly newsletter innovative learning. However, can I ask our members to do one thing for me? Share this newsletter with your colleagues. Click forward on the email, print out a copy to share, and have a discussion about innovation. If you would like to write for innovative learning the call for articles for our Winter issue will begin on December 1st.

Lisa Sjogren SIGilt Communications Officer

SIGilt Board Jean Kiekel, Lisa Sjogren, Katie Christo, Adam Wendt _______________________ Contributing Writers Jim Klein, Cory Schmitt, Laura Lowder, Greg Kulowiec, Stacie Cassat Green, Vicki Davis _______________________ Contributing Photographers Katie Christo, Lisa Sjogren, Pam Homsher, Susie Thompson, Judy Shasek, Barbara Vincent, Donna Peduto, Kay Conners, Nancy Pratt, Terra Graves, Donna Sorensen innovative learning • page 3

Netbooks and Open Source: Rethinking Laptops and Learning Submitted by Jim Klein, Saugus Union School District

Ask any progressive educator the following question: "If you were to select just one tool to give to each student - one that you believe would have the greatest impact on their learning - what would it be?" Nine times out of ten the answer will be "a laptop." Sounds simple, right? And yet it's not. Why? Because, while we all recognize the potential of the technology to transform the learning environment, the implementation of individual student devices is fraught with complexity and impracticality. Those that have tried have been met with high costs, massive support requirements, and fragile hardware, all of which combine to create a toxic mix that, at best severely limits the technology's effectiveness in the classroom and, at worst leads to epic program failures that have been widely reported in the media. This, of course, is not intentional. When educators consider giving laptops to students at any scale, they generally do so only after careful consideration and planning. These plans typically boil down to two primary areas of

focus: systems "management" and staff development. Solid staff development is key to the success of any learning initiative, but I believe our approach to "management" to be the root of the problems that plague broad deployment of individual student technology solutions. So what would it take to escape the viscous "management" cycle? What if it were possible to offer students a device that was reliable enough that it didn't have to be "managed" at all, allowing us instead to focus on learning objectives? I believe it is, but only if we have what I would call a "cell phone" or "device" approach to technology deployment. To understand where I'm coming from, consider the number one technology used by students today: the cell phone. Why? Because they are inexpensive enough that all can have one, have the battery life to make it through an entire day, and are easy to use, doing just what they need, when they need it. They are always on, always connected, and rarely (if ever) fail. And best of all,

no student needs to be trained to figure out how to use one. So, if we could just recreate those key cell phone characteristics in a device that is a bit more capable of content production and requires just as much "management" (i.e. none), would we not have an ideal solution? Impossible? Not when you combine netbooks with opensource software. Netbooks are essentially minilaptops that combine the physical characteristics of a cell phone with the capabilities of a traditional laptop, overcoming nearly all of the hardware obstacles to continuous student technology use in the classroom. They are low cost, provide incredible battery life, and are ready to be used at a moment's notice, with no complex systems of spare batteries to get in the way. They are also extremely durable, especially if one chooses a flash-based model which has no moving parts. Cell phone durability and battery life can make the difference between seamless use and constant disruption in the classroom. continued on page 5

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? ALASKA Linda Hardin from Ketchikan Gateway Borough Schools (Ketchikan) has initiated a virtual school named Fast Track, K-12 in the district and are continuing with the 1 to 1 initiative at the middle school. Both programs utilize the integration of technology into every facet of educational opportunities. Linda may be contacted at ARIZONA Angela Barrus from Arizona State University (Tempe) is creating online learning that is more interactive and easier for students to access.

Leveraging tools like YouTube and video presentations to share with our classmates. As an instructor, she likes to be more innovative with the types of games and activities used in her classes to help reinforce learning. Angela may be contacted at Katherine Burdick from Learning A-Z (Tucson) shares , "to meet the need for educational content for new technologies, we are in the process of adding leveled reader e-books and student centric portals to all of our websites. This winter we are launching our leveled readers through the iTunes store as apps for the

iPod Touch and iPhone." Katherine may be contacted at Karl Ochsner from Blessed Pope John XXIII Catholic School (Scottsdale) is working on my doctorate in leadership and innovation at Arizona State University. re I am working on my dissertation on the effects of narrative movie making on 21st Century Learning Skills and middle school science content. I believe that there is a gap between making movies and digital storytelling with teaching curriculum. Communication tools can miss the point in education which uses the tool only to tell

innovative learning • page 4

But hardware is only half of the picture. Open-source software is the answer to achieving cell phone reliability and ease of use on a device. With Linux and open-source software on netbooks, all the complexities of typical proprietary operating systems can be stripped away, leaving elegant, cell-phone like interfaces of simple icons, with reliable and secure underpinnings that are not prone to failure, malware, or general instability. All the tools you would expect are there, along with dozens more that you wouldn't. Quick restore features can be used to empower users to reset their systems in seconds, should something go awry, leaving devices no longer needing to be "managed" to "save users from themselves." In short, you achieve interfaces that do not

impede the use of the system, rather they enable it by empowering users through simplicity of design and freedom to explore without risk.

open-source fashion on the SUSD SWATTEC web site. Six school districts in four states (that we know of) are doing it now, with great success.

Add it all up, and you create an environment that takes the "scary" out of one-to-one in the classroom for teachers and students. Does it work? Absolutely yes, we've seen tremendous success in our district through the SUSD SWATTEC program. We've done nearly zero training on the laptops themselves, yet students are using them for amazing things on a daily basis, and teachers have embraced them to the degree that they are regularly used all day, every day in the learning environment. Is it replicable? Absolutely. All the software and every detail is available in true

I hope that you too will consider rethinking your approach individual student devices through the use of netbooks and open-source. With realistic goals, the right mindset, and the right technology, there's no limit to the learning opportunities available to students and teachers in the 21st century classroom. ________________________ Jim Klein is the Director of Information Services and Technology at the Saugus Union School District in Santa Clarita, CA, USA. He may be contacted at

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? stories. As in any good book or movie, story is a key element, however in schools, we need that tool to teach standards along with that story. Using narrative to framework curriculum may help students learn content, while accomplishing 21st century learning skills. Karl may be contacted at Jan Wolfgramm from Tempe Elementary (Tempe) is engaging in 21st Century Field trips: Students are working in groups of four and use GPS receivers to find the selected destination point at the field trip site, iPods and recorders to record audio sounds and descriptions, and digital cameras and Flip video cameras to record visual images; they then make a podcast of their experience. Jan may be contact at

Contributor Nancy Pratt Nancy Pratt from Cave Creek Unified School District (Cave Creek) states that, "Time for teachers to learn and collaborate is a limited commodity, so our administrators have created MOODLE environments for virtual staff meetings to collect and disseminate

information." This frees up the time during the regularly scheduled "staff meetings" for collaboration and learning. This has been very well received by everyone! Nancy may be contacted at CALIFORNIA Ernest Llynn Lotecka of APAL, Inc. (San Diego) is developing an online guide for personalsocial skill practice of techniques for awareness of feelings, communicating, focusing, relaxing, goal-setting, decision– making and more. More information may be found at People Skills | For further information Ernest Llynn may be contacted at Steven McGriff from The Krause Center of Innovation at Foothill College (Los Altos Hills) created a teacher professional development program focused on educational technology integration. MERIT, Making Education Relevant and Interactive Through Technology, is a yearlong program that starts with an intensive 10-day institute in July. For more information, access or through email at Suz Antink from Palo Alto High School (Palo Alto) We have been using the Brainology program in our high school geometry classes to support and supplement discussions about ability versus effort, and efficient study methods. Students have adopted a “can-do” attitude about their own success. They implement practical study methods that have sound scientific studies explaining why they

work. Suz may be contacted at Corey Gin from Technology for Learning Partnership (San Jose) and his team are developing in-person and online training and resources to support K12 teachers in their online credit recovery and credit accrual courses. Teachers will have access to selfpaced modules, as well as synchronous and asynchronous orientation sessions. Contact Corey at Robert J. Gravina from Poway Unified Schools (Poway) is building a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) that will provide full access to parents, teachers, students and staff to all applications and data that is pertinent to them. The SOA basically pulls data from disparate applications and presents it out to the end user in a user friendly, intuitive manner. Any info, or application that has webparts can be displayed. It also allows the end user to change the data and provides for routing. The portal will also eventually allow for online collaboration between teachers, students and parents. Robert may be contacted at Lori Hébert from The Urban School of San Francisco (San Francisco) has been able to work on a Directed Study project to develop interactive language learning web sites. Her first prototype series focuses on making poetry interactive with karaoke style line-by-line highlighting timed with the sound file and interactive mini-lessons for phonetics, vocabulary, and grammar. Her French 1

innovative learning • page 5

Education in Motion: From iPod to iPhone Submitted by Cory Schmitt, Drexel University's Goodwin College

The advent of interactive mobile communication technology, including Mobile and LocationBased Learning, brings new possibilities, challenges, and questions to the field of Education. Drexel University’s School of Education is capitalizing on these technologies to enhance curriculum, increase mobility, and build community among its students. In conjunction with the School’s iPods in Education Initiative, which began in 2005, the School recently launched an iPhone Mobile Learning Initiative. This initiative will enable the School to begin a body of research around two emerging fields of study: Mobile Learning and LocationBased Learning. Background In January 2009, students enrolled in the Higher Education Program at the Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento received an iPhone to collaborate with their fellow students, access online coursework, and communicate with faculty and staff. Their online counterparts have been receiving iPods and utilizing them for their coursework for the past 4 years. In conjunction with the iPhone distribution, the Higher

Education Mobile Resource Portal, an iPhone web application, was developed for the students to access pertinent, program-related information at their fingertips. PHASE 1: Logistical Planning The development team for the Higher Education Mobile Resource Portal consisted of the Program Director, Academic Advisor, Instructional Designers, and Web Specialists. Brainstorming sessions were initially held to discuss what types of content students should have access to via their iPhones. The Higher Education Program already had in existence an online Resource Portal populated with content that students utilize regularly for supplemental course content and industry-specific information. The team decided to provide a more slimmed-down version of the online resource portal for the mobile version. The key content areas that were identified are as follows: News, Course Information, Contact Info, Job Board, Calendar, Media, and Technical Support.

PHASE 2: Technical Planning The launch of the iPhone web application would be accessed through the Safari browser and housed on a dedicated server for iPhone applications and utilities. The intention was that this would be a pilot, and could be replicated quickly and easily for other programs within the School of Education to develop additional mobile resource portals. Therefore, an online Admin Utility Page was created for scalability and distributed updates. The utility allows any member of the team to add additional content through this page. A thorough review of the continued on page 7

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? students have already worked with one poem in this fashion and have provided feedback for improving the content and interface design. She will also work on a series of vocabulary/ grammar prototypes this fall. Eventually all of these modules will be published to (Tour de Français Langue Étrangère) so that teachers and students beyond the Urban School can access them.

Laura Spencer who is a Coordinator of Instructional Technology (Santee) shares that, "Opportunities to collaborate are usually restricted to certain days and times. To combat this, we have created an online forum. Teachers can log in anytime and post questions, share successes, or seek advice. This 24/7 access to each other has resulted in rich dialogues and creative teaching approaches." Laura may be contacted at

Brian Dvorak from FUSD (Fresno) is moving users from face-to-face training to online, selfpaced training. Providing professional development and meetings via free, cloudbased, video streaming tools. Brian may be contacted at Steve Taffee from Castilleja School (Palo Alto) are using a new product for our test calendar that allows us to better track the academic

innovative learning • page 6

mobile portal, additional testing, and bug reports occurred at every phase of development. Bug reports were released on a weekly basis as a new version. PHASE 3: Implementation As the application was launched in conjunction with the first cohort of students and the opening of the Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento, it was necessary to instruct the students on how to access this content. There would be many technical concerns, and it was necessary to mitigate these issues prior to introducing the students to the application. Therefore, tutorials were developed and uploaded to the students’ Tech Resources online website. In addition, a face-to-face demonstration and introduction to these new tools took place during the third week of courses in conjunction with the distribution of the students’ iPhones. Detailed instructions and technical support were provided via phone, Internet, and email.

the beginning of their second term, the development team created a new blog site whereby students, faculty, and administrative staff could have personalized blogs to create their own discussion threads as well as upload videos and photos to share with others. Using WordPress open source software and a Macintosh OSX sever, the blog allows students to collaborate on group projects, faculty to pose discussion topics, and administration staff to communicate with the students.

PHASE 4: Further Development After the launch of the Higher Education Mobile Resource Portal, students were surveyed and requested a means of collaboration via the iPhone. At

Beginning in September 2009, all students enrolled in the M.S. Higher Education, M.S. Human Resource Development, and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

and Management programs at the Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento will be issued an iPod Touch. Each academic program will apply the technology in a unique way, and students are continually challenged to think of new uses for the technology to enhance their learning. Conclusion Drexel University’s School of Education understands that there is much more to be understood about mobile and location-based learning. The School of Education is continually taking steps to implement better standards and practices around these emerging fields. While doing so, the School of Education is conducting research studies about the implementation of these technologies to collect data in the form of surveys and questionnaires from faculty and students alike. This data will be used to create best practice procedures with an aim of fostering better learning through mobile communication technology. ______________________ Cory Schmitt is an Associate Director of Learning Technologies at Drexel University's Goodwin College in Philadelphia, PA USA. He may be contacted via email at

Connect With Others! SIGilt Wiki: SIGilt on ISTE: SIGilt on Facebook: Search ‘SIGilt’ SIGilt on ISTE ’10 Ning:

Follow Us On Twitter:

ISTE Blog: ISTE ning:

innovative learning • page 7

what is innovative? stress load on students. Rjenda feeds to individual student calendars. And provides teachers, advisors, and deans with insight into class and course assessment calendars, too. Steve may be contacted at Eduardo Briceno from Brainology (San Carlos) reports that, "This Fall we launched an online course for middle school and high school students to develop confidence, self-efficacy and motivation to learn, based on Dr. Carol Dweck's growth mindset research. It's been exciting implementing it throughout the country and abroad." Check it out at Eduardo may be contacted at

Contributor Pam Homsher COLORADO Kelley Randall from Meridian Elementary (Broomfield) Some staff members took on the task of streaming our morning announcements to classroom TVs so students could watch and see the announcements in program format. It has been wildly successful with my third graders! In my personal classroom I have created a website for students and families to keep them updated about classroom events. We are also working on using podcasts to "show off" our learning at the end of units so they may be posted on our classroom website. As a school we are also using netbooks, document cameras, and projectors to enhance learning. Kelley may be contacted at Karen Voll from Meridian Elementary (Denver) uses the Star cart - document camera/notebook/projector every day for sharing student work, demonstrating games, going over homework etc. We have written grants for adaptors to make our white boards into smart boards. We are in the process of adopting a nearby open space and lake to care for and use as an outdoor science lab. Karen may be contacted at Margaret Granat from FCE (Highlands Ranch) has been working around critical thinking. Talking to kids about what it looks like and sounds like and what difference it makes in our learning. We have been practicing thinking routines that help make our thinking visible.

Using VoiceThread to Collaborate with Animal Specialists Submitted by Laura Lowder, Rockwell Elementary School

Fourth graders in rural North Carolina are learning to implement inquiry circles based on the model described in Comprehension and Collaboration written by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels. In the past, trade books, Internet and library research have been the basis for student exploration of animal behavior and adaptations (NCSCOS Goal 1). Using a combination of email and web-based tools, such as, students ages 8-11 are able to create presentations for use in virtual meetings with experts and specialists from around the globe. Stage One: Local Expert Inspires Inquiry Circles Students are formally introduced to the topic of animal behavior and adaptations by a biology instructor from a local community college. Our local scientist is an expert in jumping spider behavior and adaptations. Concrete examples of spider behaviors and adaptations are shared with the class. Our resident scientist provides aid to students in the formalization of appropriate questions, and provides the students with a link to the world of professional scientists relating to each inquiry group’s focus taxon (e.g., mammals, amphibians, etc.). Stage Two: Students Identify Specific Animals to Study As students familiarize themselves with their chosen topic (e.g., bird adaptations for flight), they pose questions in their inquiry notebooks. These questions are utilized as learning guides as they search for answers within their inquiry groups, as well as through collaboration with

animal specialists from a variety of museums and universities who have agreed to share their knowledge with the class and to respond to student questions. Stage Three: Animal Specialists Support Student Discovery Utilizing, each of our animal experts record a brief message in which they introduce themselves, describe what type of animals they study, and provide examples of the interesting adaptations that these animals possess. Students consider how each expert could be utilized to further their knowledge of animal behaviors or adaptations by recording additional questions in their inquiry notebooks. These questions are refined with the assistance of other students, the teacher and the local expert. Once finalized, students utilize to pose their questions to the most appropriate animal expert. These experts respond to student questions within a previously agreed upon timeframe, and students publish their work in the form of a research report, a component of their state writing assessment. This innovative approach to learning will allow students to discover a wealth of information that stretches far beyond the textbook, and even beyond the seemingly limitless sources available through the World Wide Web. The learning network that these students are developing is providing them with a real-world context for learning, a unique perspective about how their discoveries fit into the continued on page 9

innovative learning • page 8

scientific world, specific and elaborate details in response to their questions, as well as a support system that they can continue to access for years to come. Corresponding Author: Mrs. Laura Lowder 1, 2 1 Rockwell Elementary School, 1131 Link St., Rockwell, NC 28138, 2 College of Education, The University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, References: Harvey, S. & Daniels, H. (2009). Comprehension and collaboration: Inquiry circles in action. Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann. ______________________ Laura Lowder is a fourth grade teacher at Rockwell Elementary School (Rockwell, North Carolina). She may be contacted at

Your SIGilt Board Jean Kiekel Chair University of Houston Lisa Sjogren Communications Officer Osseo Area Schools Katie Christo Member-at-Large American International School Adam Wendt Member-at-Large IRIS Media, inc.

what is innovative? what is innovative?

Contributor Susie Thompson Karen Stanfield form Pine Grove Elementary (Parker) shares, "The teachers are embracing technology as never before. Grants have been written and awarded for SMART boards, and document cameras. We are beginning to explore Web 2.0 applications and their potential to impact student learning and engagement." Karen may be contacted at Mandy Hill from Douglas County School District (Castle Rock) is using clickers as a summative assessment. Many may be contacted at Donna Novac from Redstone Elementary (Highlands Ranch) has encouraged teachers to attend technology trainings by allowing them to wear jeans that day. This has allowed teachers 30 minutes of hands on training once a week to try things they don't usually have time for. This year we are exploring ePals, Wikis, Voice Thread, blogging and using Skype for video conferencing. CONNECTICUT Beth Ritter-Guth from The Hotchkiss School (Lakeville) kicked off the 2009 school year with the The Hotchkiss Method to Technology Integration. Fifteen faculty members were selected to design, implement, and assess technology projects that focus on student learning. They work intensely with the Educational Communication and Technology Facilitator to design projects that reach beyond rudimentary uses of educational technology. Projects include creating Google Lit Trips, authoring children's literature books in French using Mixbook, utilizing Teen Second Life, creating a repository of video podcasts with SMARTboard technologies, and geocaching with portable GPS devices. Beth may be contacted at

FLORIDA Jennifer Womble from Lawton Chiles High School (Tallahassee) has full day pull out training for each curriculum department to work on our school-wide initiatives and train on software. We discuss data from Snapshot about student performance and design ways to correct gaps in knowledge with technology enhanced lesson plans that are engaging and extend the learning day by requiring reading assignments outside of class. Much of the student assignments are online reading, quizzes and research that intensify student's technological literacy. The PLC groups meets 6 times throughout the year and develops unit plans, discuss student work and to strategize on best practices to implement in the classroom. Jennifer may be contacted at GEORGIA Maria Shaheen from Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw) is currently an elementary/early childhood literacy instructor at Kennesaw State University. Though most of her students are in their 20's and very familiar with technology, has found they are not able to successfully weave it into the curriculum in meaningful, thought-provoking ways. Students become engaged in a "literacy autobiography" project using Voicethread (or other comparable programs) which requires them to critically reflect upon their past literacy learning via images, text, and audio. Maria may be contacted at IDAHO Carol Scholz from Idaho State Department of Education (Bosie) has implemented an online portfolio assessment system, I-PASS (Idaho Portfolio Artifact Submission System). This system was adapted from Caring Technologies in Boise. It will provide the alternate assessment for the most severely cognitively disabled students. I-PASS holds such digital data as lessons, student work and videos which can be used for future training. Carol can be contacted at Carol Scholz from Idaho State Department of Education (Bosie). Idaho is piloting Caring Technologies BICapture, a video capture

system (including a camera to mount on the classroom computer that allows for behavior monitoring. It allows teachers to "capture" a behavior that can then be analyzed in an effort to help students with behavioral issues. Idaho is piloting 120 sites throughout the state. Carol can be contacted at ILLINOIS John McLaughlin from Gemini JHS (Niles) has increased installation and use of Promethean Boards in L.A, Math, and Enrichment Classes. John may be contacted at Randy Hansen form NationalLouis University (Chicago) shares, "National-Louis University’s Technology in Education Program (TIE) has begun a series of professional development sessions in Second Life to build community between current students and graduates practicing in the field. These informal discussions on educational technology and integration help solidify program concepts with practical applications in the classroom." Randy may be contacted at Liz Whaley from Riverside Public Schools (Riverside) shares that the district adopted a one to one laptop program involving all of our fifth grade students this fall. These students are now involved in Web 2.0 tools like wikis and Mindmeister. They are also using utility type tools like iCal. Having their own laptops has changed the way students learn. Liz may be contacted at INDIANA Theresa Shafer from Rochester Community School Corporation (Rochester) We have created a district wide NING for teachers to share ideas, resources and successes. We have groups for every building, technology, even Weight Watchers and a fitness group. Staff have added photos, can message each other and get a real vision of why social networking is so important to our students. Theresa may be contacted at KENTUCKY Elaine Harrison Lane from Kentucky Department of

innovative learning • page 9

Cell Phones in the Secondary History Classroom Submitted by Greg Kulowiec, Plymouth South High School

Access is wide spread, costs have decreased and they have become a staple of our student’s lives. Educators now have the opportunity to channel the power of cell phones and turn them into tools that facilitate learning. With a little imagination, educators can harness the varied features of cell phones to increase engagement, relevance of content, participation and excitement in the classroom. Application #1 - Connecting Content to the Real World The concept is straightforward; once a unit of study is complete and students have demonstrated their understanding of the content, allow them to authentically reflect on their learning by comparing their knowledge to the outside world. Place students into groups of four or five and give them a list of questions that need to be answered. The catch, the group uses one cell phone to call out to the world to find someone who can also answer the question. This application may seem simple, but when used it transforms learning into an authentic, active process. Watch as students energetically discuss the answers to questions, extend the scope of knowledge beyond the classroom and high five when

a family member or friend on the other end of the call knows the answer. This application reinforces learning because students are genuinely excited to find a match and remember their answers at a deeper level because the excitement they experienced during the activity. Application #2 – Cell Phones as Classroom Clickers Utilize text messaging to engage students in class discussion, check for understanding, or check the class pulse on an issue. First, create a free Poll Everywhere account ( Poll Everywhere turns student cell phones into classroom response systems where students can respond to multiple choice or open-ended questions by sending a text message. Once a question has been created, display the poll with an LCD projector and watch as the results appear in real time. By turning student cell phones into classroom clickers, educators can create a classroom environment where all students can anonymously participate in discussion. Once the results are recorded, students are willing to argue their vote because of the visual confirmation that other students share the same

perspective. Sample Video: http:// Application #3 – Animoto Nearly all cell phones on the market have built in cameras and this too can be harnessed for classroom use. First, create a freed Animoto account for educators ( Then, create a free account on Evernote ( The Evernote account will provide an email address that can be distributed to students while on a field trip. Direct students to take pictures with their cell phones of pertinent images and have them text message the pictures to your Evernote email address. The images will appear in the Evernote account and can then be saved and uploaded to Animoto. Once the pictures have been uploaded to Animoto, a movie quality slide show with professional image transitions, background music and text will turn the field trip into a presentation that can be published and shared with faculty and parents. Sample Animoto: http:// wdJpGKCrhBZm2XQGgIhg8w# continued on page 11

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? Education (Frankfort) The Kentucky Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) has a state wide event called the State Championship. At this event students from across the state (3,500) come together to demonstrate what they know and can do in technology. An awards program follows. Google STLP Elaine may be contacted at

LOUISIANA Virginia Lloyd from Natchitoches Magnet School (Natchitoches) is utilizing video conferencing equipment in many ways. One daily use is the Algebra I class that connects with another school in Natchitoches for their daily instruction. The librarian keeps teachers updated on possible video connections through CAPSpace such as pen pal programs, science experiments, and sharing books. Virginia may be contact at

Paula Naugle from Bissonet Plaza (New Orleans) has her fourth grade students being quizzed on their multiplication facts by Crista Anderson's fifth graders in Montana via Skype calls each day. Mrs. Anderson's students have been encouraging and supportive. This online experience has been a positive way to encourage them to learn their facts. Paula may be contacted at MARYLAND Laura Webber from Roland Park Country School (Baltimore) has been engaging in a real push this year to utilize all the tablet's

innovative learning • page 10

Application #4 – Evernote Research This application also takes advantage of the built in cameras in cell phones. First, have students create free Evernote accounts ( From there, the concept is a modern twist on traditional research. Instead of transcribing notes on index cards while researching through books, primary source documents, newspapers and magazines, when students find important information needed for their research they simply snap a picture with their cell phone. They then text message the image to their evernote email address and the image will appear in their account. Students can then tag the image with necessary

information to organize their images. Once the research is complete, students can then search through Evernote by the tags they created, or by typing in search terms. The related images will have the search term highlighted on the image taken with the cell phone. Imagine, no notes to lose while conducting research. This method can also be used by a teacher to snap pictures of a blackboard / whiteboard to record information from a lesson. The image can then be saved, or uploaded to a website / blog for reference. Application #5 - Google Voice Turn your cell phone it a podcast creator by requesting a Google Voice account. Once the account has been created

teachers or students can create podcasts at any time in any location by simply calling their Google Voice phone number. When the call is complete, login to the account and embed the message in a blog or website, essentially creating a podcast on the go. While on a field trip, during a lab, or as an oral assessment, the Google Voice number can be distributed to students and they can leave messages as assignments. _______________________ Gregory Kulowiec is a history teacher at Plymouth South High School, Plymouth, MA. He may be contacted at

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? capabilities. There has been a number of teachers who have implemented shared OneNote notebooks with students to synchronize the distribution of class notes and monitor student homework and learning journals electronically. The math department, in particular, has been able to set up shared OneNote notebooks that allow them to see the students' homework--almost instantaneously-as it is completed at home. This has allowed our teachers to immediately see where students are struggling and better prepare for class the next day. Laura may be reached at

Contributor Barbara Vincent MASSACHUSETTS Barbara Vincent from The Meadowbrook School of Weston (Weston) shares that, "The Meadowbrook School is a JK - 8 independent school We have a 1 to 1 tablet notebook program for grades 6 - 8 that has cascaded into grades 4 and 5. We pushed the robotics program into grades JK - 8. We have become a 2 platform school - windows and Apple."

Barbara may be contacted Linda Robinson from Gann Academy (Waltham) posts assignments on FirstClass course conference calendars. These are punched through on student personal calendars and also made available to parents through student. FirstClass websites. This enables students with executive function and other learning challenges and their parent to see all assignments electronically in one location, rather than having to look in each course conference. Linda may be contacted at MICHIGAN Dan Vos from Holland Christian School (Holland) is a 7th grade science teacher and her class collaborated with another 7th science teacher and his class on a crime investigation project. They used a wiki to share response journals, gather evidence, and share conclusions. Skype was also used to communicate. The same 7th grade science teacher has created an online science textbook in a wiki to use with her students. Dan may be contacted at Dr. Robert Leneway from Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) has been working with EditU a consortium developed in partnership with the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, ARPCT, Skillsoft Inc. and Western Michigan University to provide

free online career post-secondary training to people with disabilities and the professionals that serve them. This year over 4,700 users from 67 post-secondary institutions were enrolled. MINNESOTA Lisa Sjogren from Osseo Area Schools (Maple Grove) has been working on a team to develop an online and on demand training module for district teachers. These courses provided by Moodle are designed to provide an hour overview, skills for implementation, and integration into the classroom. Each class is designed around a software, web 2.0, or hardware solution. Lisa may be contacted for further information at

Contributor Judy Shasek Sue Zapf from Lakeville Area Learning Center (Lakeville) believes students become empowered when they learn about the brain, by using an on-line program entitled Brainology. In the four-session program, students learn what happens to their brains

innovative learning • page 11

Transitioning from an LMS to an Open Source Social Network to Support Graduate Students Submitted by Stacie Cassat Green, Harvard Extension School

Last year, after ten years of teaching in the Technology in Education program at Harvard Extension School, Harvard University’s school for continuing education, my co-teacher and I switched our courses from a learning management system (LMS) to a social network and ended up transforming our teaching practice to better match our learning goals for our students. The students in our program are professionals who are already in the field of education—ranging from early childhood to adult—or seeking a second career in the field. We engage in a variety of projects, covering learning theories and methodologies, curriculum development, and the best practices around technology integration. Our goal is to help our students develop not only the habits of mind to become fluent users of technology, but to move beyond that to become, as Sherry

Turkle says, “fluent thinkers” of technology. To accomplish this, our main pedagogical tools are reflection, peer learning, and modeling the behaviors we want our students to learn. The introductory course is taught using a hybrid format; we meet every other Saturday and until two years ago, used the asynchronous discussion board during off weeks to engage in discussions around pointed questions. As part of their coursework we ask our students to start an electronic portfolio that they can maintain throughout their time in the program, revisiting it in the final capstone course to reflect again upon their learning. The purpose of the portfolio is to promote reflection and allow students to learn from each other. We believe that the process of reexamining and reflecting on their prior learnings is vitally

important to synthesizing their program experiences into a meaningful gestalt, and Bielaczyc and Collins found in their research around learning communities that “students learn to practice learning when they see others they admire doing the same.” While our pedagogy behind the portfolio was strong, our instructional design had flaws. It was tedious for our students to copy and paste their work from the LMS to the portfolio, and the students usually excluded all but the professors from their portfolios because the tool lacked the capability to assign simple, granular, access controls. We searched for a better tool to support portfolios and were drawn to Elgg, an open source social networking platform, because it had a portfolio plug-in that specifically encouraged reflection. We used Elgg to build The Yard, named after the famous continued on page 13

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? when they learn. When a student remarked, "I grew dendrites!" after a math lesson, I knew the information had made a difference. Sue may be contacted at

coordinators, administrators and teacher leaders in the area of technology integration. Bill may be contacted at

Dawn Nelson from Osseo Area Schools (Maple Grove) is working with Project Copernicus - a project that allows students to bring their own equipment such as laptops, cell phones, and iPods among other things. The teachers create learning experiences which allow the students to use their own technology. Students in grade 4-6 and a high school are involved. Dawn may be contacted at

MONTANA Debra Franciosi from Project CRISS (Kalispell) is developing online collaborative tools and resources (wikis, a facebook page, etc), online professional learning community meeting space, and online professional development for CRISS-trained teachers nationwide. Debra may be contacted at

MISSOURI Bill Bass from Parkway School District (St. Louis, Missouri, USA) is in the process of developing on demand leadership development videos and classes for district

NEBRASKA Lou Anne Miller from Lincoln Public Schools (Lincoln) is working with K- 5 Teachers who have limited technology skills to use online video instruction and the document camera to provide "hands-on" learning for students. Lou Anne may be contacted at

Tanya Windham from Adams Middle School (North Platte) uses homework drop boxes, email, and online worksheets/spreadsheets. Students submit work, it is graded, and returned with comments. A news article is posted weekly on a blog that students must read and comment on. Students keep an online journal containing reflections of their learning. We are currently working on an online science fair. In addition to oral assessments, hands-on activities, and projects, students use online formative assessments and game activities. Tanya may be contacted at NEVADA Joe Elcano from Washoe County School District (Reno) have created a consortium to spend the Federal ARRA dollars. These funds will be used to create a state-wide, technology-rich, middle school classroom

innovative learning • page 12

Harvard Yard that serves as a center for the learning community of traditional students, hoping that this would become the center of our learning community. While we were initially drawn to the portfolios, we found the affordances of a system organized around the student rather than the course to be quite compelling, especially with regards to social and academic networking. To take advantage of these affordances, we restructured our curriculum so that students blog every week instead of participating in online discussions. Working in assigned blogging groups of four, we ask them to engage in a meaning making process around the readings and other course content, reading the other blogs in their group as part of their required reading. We have found the blogs to be more reflective than the conversations in the discussion board, and group participation,

while it looks different in the blog, is at the same level. We have also seen evidence that some of our students are using their learning space in ways we had not anticipated. They are reading the blogs of students in other classes and commenting on them, blogging between semesters, adding coursework from other degrees and schools to their portfolios, and bookmarking in The Yard so that their resources become part of the tag cloud for the community. The tools available in The Yard— blogs, portfolios, bookmarking, microblogging, and file storage— are attached to the students’ profiles so their “stuff” stays with them throughout the program. Reflection is most valuable when it happens over time and learning management systems are architected around the course, not the student, making it very difficult to facilitate this ongoing reflection. The student takes the course, participates in online

discussions, and accesses information; when the course is over, the activity stops. Students no longer have a virtual space to easily connect to each other, and their “stuff”—online discussions, blog, profile, and anything else they create in the system—will not follow them to their next class and in some cases may not even be archived. By using the social network to support our class, rather than the LMS, our tools finally support our pedagogy of reflection, peer learning, and modeling. The work we do to maintain and improve The Yard models the role of the instructional technologist and becomes part of the content we are teaching. ________________________ Stacie Cassat Green is an instructor at Harvard Extension School. Stacie may be contacted at

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? model (computers and iPods) with a strong professional development component. Administrator professional development will be used to support the classroom teacher. Joe may be contacted at

Contributor Terra Graves NEW JERSEY Anne Dudley from the School District of the Chathams (Chatham) is working with I-Cubed Instruction, Integration, Imagination which is a professional learning community of eight teachers in Grades 2-4. These teachers are working together to apply research-based best practices that will engage students in interdisciplinary 21st-century learning

incorporating technology. Students are challenged to develop and communicate solutions to real-world problems. Anne may be contacted at Samantha Morra from Glenfield Middle School (Montclair) We have a very exciting and successful Digital Authoring Initiative focusing on students as creators of content for the web not just consumers. You can find their work here ( WebPage.aspx?Id=647 ) and on iTunesU K12 (itmss:// Core.woa/Browse/ ) We also received a grant for a classroom set of iPod Touches and teachers are beginning to use them, Finally, we are in the process of creating a Technology Learning Commons. Originally designed as a "classroom of the future," this room will be a technology rich learning environment focusing on 21st century skills. All classes will have access to this amazing new learning space. This room will be finished in November. Samantha may be contacted at Sandra Wozniak from Tregoe Education Forum (Princeton) has developed an innovative tool called SCAN on the

website. Teachers select a scenario and set up a class. Students read a scenario and discuss the issues through role -playing online. A great way for kids to learn critical thinking using historical and current events! Sandra may be contacted at NEW MEXICO Michael Stanton from nex+gen Academy, a New Tech Network School (Albuquerque) uses Google Apps to share calendars and documents with his design and planning team of teachers and assistant in the year before we open a new small high school. Each user can look at the other's calendar to set appointments and work together on meetings. In addition, we share documents as we work collaboratively on admissions policies, plans for advisories, curriculum design, and our master plan. Finally, we use Sites on Google Apps to create a blog that our partners and community members interested in learning more about our unique school can go to and read from the perspective of the principal, outreach specialist, and teacher leader. Michael may be contacted at

innovative learning • page 13

Virtually Open Source

Submitted by Vicki Davis, Westwood Schools Co Authors Trent H. and Tyler R., Students and Co-Estate Managers Digiteen Island and the F.L.A.T.S.

From Vicki Davis, Teacher Moving My Class Into a Virtual World: Driven By Students to Innovate When my 2008 Freshman class was brainstorming their ideas for an action project on digital citizenship, they kept coming back to virtual worlds. As part of Digiteen, (http:// they had to teach another student group about digital citizenship in a project of their choosing and design. As the teacher, I advise the student groups and help them find tools that we can use at school to accomplish their task. When looking at the profile of students that needed digital citizenship education, they kept coming back to the virtual generation (we finally called them Generation "V" for virtual last fall and since then, the Gartner group has also begun calling them Generation V http:// id=545108). To reach these students we needed a virtual

experience, my ninth graders said. So, we went down two paths with one group choosing Woogi World (http:// to teach fourth graders about digital citizenship and another using Google Lively to allow virtual interactive experiences for middle schoolers. They chose Google Lively because of the cost (it was free) and also because of how easy it was to get on (you launched a web browser.) The Google Lively group embarked on an amazing experience, partially because they designed so many very robust rooms so very quickly and secondly because after one month and some elaborately orchestrated "performances" in Lively, Google announced they were shutting the world down. After helping my students express their opinions by creating a blog (http:// and hosting a Lively in-world protest (during which 3 minutes

before a griefer came in and deleted half of the room and thus my students have a great concern for Gridizenship) my students could not let go of virtual worlds. Trevor Meister from Canada read the students' blog and offered some space on ReactionGrid ( for them to build their Digiteen Island. (ReactionGrid is a commercial site offering PG noncommercial world using OpenSim with islands running about $25 a month. As full disclosure, they were an in-kind sponsor for the NetGenEd Project awards show this past spring.) The student vision was to construct a virtual world that would teach digital citizenship without a person having to be present through the use of smart objects. Smart Objects are objects placed in the world that have action and objects that teach. For example, they put boxes in Camelot in Atlantis (a castle with an underwater lake in the center) that would hand continued on page 15

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? NEW YORK Hetlena Johnson from eChalk Inc. (New York City) is a member of ISTE, and performing as a former teacher and current teacher trainer for my New York based company, eChalk Inc., she has seen a significance difference in educators appreciate of how blogs and online classrooms can work well and efficiently not only generally, but in the lower-level classrooms as well. Many of our elementary schools are taking advantage of their district product, eChalk, to use for maximum school-to-home communication. Hetlena may be contacted at Gerald Ardito from Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School (Croton on Hudson) has obtained XO Laptops and its Sugar educational software for all of its 150 5th graders and their

teachers. The students and teachers are working on redesigning what a 5th grade learning environment means. Gerald may be contacted at

We built it to attract ELA teachers and create an environment for teachers that were resisting open blogging tools. Lynette may be contacted at

Lynette Guastaferro from Teaching Matters (New York City) has developed a writing curriculum that tightly integrates with Moodle and Drupal tools. We have positive research results that the curriculum supports improvements in struggling learners. We created this program for urban schools recognizing that in such environments it is critical to have a strong coherent curriculum, but we wanted one that integrated with new technologies. We also built a free website... for classrooms to publish the writing in private or public spaces... its now spread to over forty states.

Lyudmila Smirnova, Ph. D from Mount Saint Mary College (Newburgh) shares, "The Academic Technology Advisory Committee was transformed from ad hoc to standing and the word "Advisory" was replaced by ADVANCEMENT. The first event that this committee sponsored was a Professional Development Day with the Web 2.0 video discussions, a Clickers' Demo, and the workshops promoting the new technologies and innovative pedagogies." Lyudmila may be contacted at

innovative learning • page 14

objects to teach students about copyright using a script on the box. From Trent H - Teaching in a Virtual World and Gridizenship There are two huge benefits to teaching in virtual worlds. One, people are more attentive to something when they are interacting with it. The second, there are so many ways you can make it interesting. For example, as you read a book in your literature class, you can be building the scenes as you read them. Not only does it make reading the book more interesting, but also it deepens your understanding of the book itself. Another great example would be how you can use virtual worlds in a math class. In a virtual world, to build something you must have the correct x, y, and z coordinates. This is to make everything more seem much more realistic. Gridizenship is how you should act toward other people and the things that they have made. Gridizenship is extremely important if you want to help other people. For example, would you rather be tought by someone who is completely closed to your thoughts, or someone who is not only willing to hear your thoughts

but also tries to help you put them into action? The answer is clear. We have had more than one experience when people have come in and demolished what we have done. One, as Mrs. Davis mentioned, was in google lively. In Lively we were just about to hold a protest when someone, still unknown who, came in and deleted most of the features that we had added to the room. Although this proved to be a giant dilemma, it did nothing but arouse the entire classes morale and within a matter of minutes we had the entire room looking better than it had before. The last thing that I have to say has something to do with humanity. When you have been in a virtual world for a few days you should have obtained somewhat of an extensive knowledge of how to move and act. The first thing that will pop into your mind when you see someone that has just started (you will be able to tell because the program starts everyone out with the same avatar) is," What can I teach this person that will enable them to bypass the troubles that I had?" So, when you first start you will more than likely be extremely excited about the simple things that you find out how to do and want to try it in different locations, so don't overload the person. Simply try to find out when the person will be back and

possibly set up classes when you can teach the person how to use the there newfound knowledge. Tyler R- Smart objects and Avatar friendly environments Now, smart objects are things that give people information. When you put a smart object into you sim you will do two things. One, you will make your grid seem much more inviting because you have something that tells the person where they are and what they can do. Secondly, you can potentially slow down your actions. This means that your moves may be slowed, or even stopped. (To help prevent this I suggest to try and befriend some of the administrators, they can bring your grid back up if it crashes.) I was the person who constructed large 3D objects and found that the best objects were avatar friendly. Avatar friendly means that whatever the thing is, it doesn't hinder your avatar in any way. For example, when you are building a house, make the doors taller than normal and wide enough that you can get through with ease. Also in a grid like Opensim, you can fly. So to help you out with flying, make you building without a roof so you can fly straight up for a quick adjustment of scenery. continued on page 16

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? Noel from Bronx Academy of Health Careers (Bronx) has integrated technology into the classroom is to create documentaries, create public service announcement around problems that affect the student body and have students write, direct and record a short play. We then use Movie Maker for final cut. Noel may be contacted at NORTH CAROLINA Laura Lowder from Rowan-Salisbury Schools (Salisbury) fourth graders have been working

on developing a class website where students are creating their own web pages to showcase the content that they are learning in class. Student-created podcasts and digital storybooks are among the digital products that will be showcased. Learners are excited to have a mechanism for sharing what is going on in the classroom with their parents and others through this collaborative, content-based web site. Laura may be contacted at

Maryanne Maisano an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of North CarolinaPembroke (Aberdeen) shares that, "Our graduate and undergraduate students are immersed in Second Life, building a virtual classroom to develop a culturally responsive curriculum by having contact with students from other countries and cultures each contributing their knowledge. Simultaneous translations provided by Second Life allow for an amazing interchange on a host of different

innovative learning • page 15

Vicki Davis, A Teacher's Quick Tricks for Teaching in a Virtual World To teach in a virtual world you have to understand the dynamics of the world. Three practices helped me considerably: 1. Feedback Boxes - I designed a box that I placed in all of the primary work areas that had "Cool Cat Teacher" and a picture of my avatar on the box and "Click here for feedback." Then, I had a script that would hand a notecard to the student when they clicked on it. When I went into a virtual world area to assess the work of students, I would type my feedback on a notecard and include landmarks (coordinates that would allow students to go there) and sometimes even stray objects in the notecard and put it in the feedback box and then I would edit the script to change the color of the text floating over the box. When students went into their area to work, they would be responsible to go to the feedback box first and receive my feedback. This streamlined things greatly. 2. Students Hand in Weekly Activity Notecard Reports - At least once a week (but often twice a week), the students would turn in a notecard to me to include: 1) Landmarks of anything they had made so I could go see it along with a description, objectives, and any issues or questions they had, 2) A copy of the objects that they created in the notecard so I could have a copy, 3) their working objectives for the next week, 4) the new things that they

wished to learn and 5) Other avatars that they encountered that week that showed good gridizenship. Eventually I created a notecard template so they could just fill in these items. We finally learned that we did not have to be in the same place for them to hand me the notecard but could just hand it to me through chat. So, during the last ten minutes of class, I would go to a blank area, sit still, and ask them to hand me their notecards so I could save them in a folder in my invetory. 3. Have Folders for Everything I had folders for working groups, weekly activity reports, objects, inventory items, and scripts. This made it easy for me to teach and work with students without looking for things and also made it easy to teleport. 4. Sandboxing - When we had many scripts on the island we started having problems, so we have a sandbox area where all scripting is done and limited building happens. This is the location for my office. Students have to test their scripts in the "Cool Cat Teacher's Scratchpost" first before moving them onto the grid. (We didn't call it a sandbox for obvious reasons. ;-)) 5. Self-Teaching Office - I constructed an Office in the Scratchpost with four lessons including ones on scripting, building and other topics. These lessons were designed to be self teaching and used URL's. These are in the sandbox so a student could walk up to a lesson box, click the box, and then walk into a grassy area with no objects and learn the skills. I cleaned up the

scratchpost frequently to keep it response and ready for students to "play." These self-teaching boxes also handed students resources, scripts, and modeled the types of things I'd like to see them do. Truly, I am still totally a beginner and giants like Peggy Sheehy, Bernajean Porter, Marianne Malmstrom, Kevin Jarrett, and Kyle and Robin Gomboy from ReactionGrid mentor me but the results are powerful and I've learned enough this past year to allow me to jump into virtual worlds without the significant learning curve I had the first time. However, as my students and I learned together, I saw real leaders like Trent and Tyler emerge to teach and mentor me as well. Virtual worlds have incredible potential but we have to continue to share our best practices to help those who are teaching learn more about how to do virtual worlds efficiently. I look forward to the day when I can build an area and give it to another teacher and vice versa as we create legacy projects that can be inherited and built upon to allow students to immerse themselves in deep learning that we can barely imagine now. _____________________________ Vicki Davis is a teacher at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia and blogs at the Cool Cat Teacher blog. She and her students were recently named OpenSim Pioneers - http:// 12745.

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? educational topics and concepts." Maryanne may be contacted at

OHIO Sue Ann Miller from Berea City Schools (Berea) had teachers this summer participate in a 10 week online Moodle course and upon successful completion of the 10 modules, the

teachers earned technology incentives; iPod touch, or iPod Nano with video camera, FLIP video camera and a microphone or flash drive. The online discussions this summer in Moodle have generated ideas for innovative practices in the classroom this fall. Sue Ann may be contacted at

Dr. Cheryl L. Ward from University of Akron (Akron) has been researching the impact of technology on "exponential learning." Exponential learning is characterized by growth on a J curve versus a traditional linear type of academic progress. We are looking at exponential learning scenarios for three generations of learners-baby boomers,

innovative learning • page 16

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? generation X, and millennials and how technology provides the support for this innovative way of learning. Cheryl may be contacted at Kyle Menchhofer from St. Marys City Schools (St. Marys) district is implementing over 550+ smart phones and 85+ PDA's in the classrooms in grades 3rd through 6th. The students have WiFi/broadband service to access the Internet. The students are using the devices in all subject areas. The district has created an anywhere, any time learning atmosphere. Kyle may be contacted at

Terry Murphy from Monarch Teaching Technologies (Shaker Heights) team has been working to harness the efficiencies of web 2.0 technology and apply them to the problems faced by public school districts educating students with special needs like autism. We have translated a visual language educational approach into web-based software that allows easy sharing of engaging and effective content at Terry may be contacted at OREGON Judy Shasek from Redmond School District (Redmond) uses exergames and FootPOWR computer peripherals to add physical activity and balance to computer time, software and learning games via ExerLearning. Judy may be contacted at PENNSYLVANIA Denise Decheck from Allegheny Intermediate Unit (Pittsburgh) is leading local superintendents through the coordination of a buffet of digital curricula and technology tools for use county-wide, which has been huge for our region. Districts are now discussing the sharing of content, courses, teachers, and students, breaking geographical boundaries and meeting student's needs on an individual basis. Denise may be contacted at Cory Schmitt from Drexel University School of Education (Philadelphia) Goodwin College has developed the Pocono 500 Raceway and Women's U.S. Open Golf Championship, Spectator iPod Research Projects. Hospitality and Sport Management students utilized iPod Touches to conduct the surveys via the iPod Touch. Once analyses on both are completed, the studies will provide the organizations with valuable marketing data. Cory may be contacted at Lori Sheldon from Wayne Highlands School District (Honesdale) and with the help of some third grade teachers, they launched a project called "GeoFrog." GeoFrog is a stuffed frog that travels from school to school, and comes with a wiki centered on the geography theme. To learn more, visit http:// Lori may be contacted at Denise Decheck from e-CADEMY, Allegheny Intermediate Unit (Pittsburgh) is working with the e-CADEMY program and collaborating

with regional school districts to provide online courses for students so that they may experience a cyber environment without withdrawing from the current district and enrolling in a cyber school. The tuition through e-CADEMY is approximately 75% less than cyber school tuition. Denise may be contacted at

Contributor Judy Shasek Dr. Stephanie Edel-Malizia from Penn State University, World Campus (State College) has been working to develop activities for a film studies course which will enable students to respond to the instructor and classmates regarding a specific topic via voice, video, image, text and drawing through the use of Voicethread. This course will be offered in both an online and blended format. She may be contacted for further information at Rich Kiker from Palisades (Kintnersville) as a creativity/knowledge expansion project, he has a Tech Seminar class building a surfacecomputing, multi-touch input device that is made up of some custom software, a box and a webcam. The device uses the webcam to read the shadows of up to 10 points (fingertips). It s a great multimedia application! Rich may be contacted at Robin Martin from Charles F. Patton Middle School (Kennett Square) knows the use of wikis is not brand new, but out principal is having our staff use wikis in several ways. We have faculty meetings on Mondays and work in small groups. Each group will have a wiki page to keep notes of meetings and progress. During our Wednesday grade level meetings we break into subjects and they will also be keeping notes on the wikis. Robin may be contacted at Cory Schmitt from Drexel University School of Education (Philadelphia) shares that, "Drexel's School of Education produced the 'Oval Office' iPod tour for the National Constitution Center. The tour was developed for elementary school students to learn the history of executive power. Agents receive clues from an animated contact at mission headquarters. Answers to their questions enable them to complete their mission. Cory may be contacted at Martin Weiss from Susan P. Byrnes Health Education Center (York) shares, "The Susan P. Byrnes Health Education Center has developed free online health activities for grade K-12. At students can work through the lessons individually or in groups with interactive video supplemented by paper based activities. This year we added mental

health kits and an enhanced health log. " Martin may be contacted at Cory Schmitt from Drexel University School of Education (Philadelphia) shares, "Drexel’s School of Education produced 'Signing the Constitution' a Live Virtual Field Trip from the National Constitution Center. Ninety-five schools and home-schools from over 16 states participated virtually. The 30-minute program also connected Constitution High School students for Q&A, broadcast to online participants who were able to participate via chat." Cory may be contacted at TENNESSEE Scott Merrick from the University School of Nashville (Nashville) would like to share that Tandberg International Education Market Manager Jan Zanetis has awarded a $14,000 Tandberg Edge95 System loaner unit to University School of Nashville’s Scott Merrick in exchange for Tandberg Connections Professional Development program offerings over the coming academic school year. These sessions will be promoted soon through CILC at Scott may be contacted at

Contributor Kay Conners TEXAS Jean Kiekel from University of Houston (Houston) is using instant messaging with online high school students as a way to hold virtual office hours, communicate with students, and tutor. Instant messaging has worked for students who need that teacherstudent interaction. It allows instructors to answer questions in real time when the students are working on their course work rather than have them post a question and wait for an answer. It can be used in a classroom setting as well. Shy students can submit questions via IM during a lecture and the teacher can address those questions without revealing who asked the question or embarrassing the student. Jean may be contacted at Raylene Truxton from Aldine ISD (Houston) Students at our 9th grade campus are coming to after school tutorials using Moodle, Dimdim and a digital tablet while at home. Many of our students have to go home right after school in order to take care of younger brothers and sisters. After they get home, they join the Dimdim meeting where they get synchronous Algebra tutorials from their teacher. Students say they feel very connected to the classroom as everyone can see their responses. After the session is over, students log into their Moodle course and may continue working on their own. The level of participation is miraculous!

innovative learning • page 17

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? Raylene may be contacted at

difference" in science, math and social studies. Bob may be contacted at

Marty Daniel from Houston ISD (Houston) woudl like to share that the district is using wikis as a collaborative tool within our curriculum department and among teachers of different content areas. It has been exciting to see different groups develop this tool as a support for innovative teaching practices. Our Goal is to support teachers to increase student engagement and achievement. Marty may be contacted at

Kenneth Smead from Larkspur Middle School (Virginia Beach) will be incorporating 3D animated video into some Language Arts classes. Kenneth may be contacted at

Lisa Volle from Central Texas College (Killeen) is using google maps to create mapping teams for our cultural anthropology textbook. This has created almost a 3D view of each chapters and students feel that the course "comes alive" in front of them. It's reading, exploring and expanding basic concepts that goes beyond the basics. Lisa may be contacted at Krista Scott from Frenship High School (Wolfforth) has launched a podcasting academy. A group of teachers are working together to podcast on a variety of topics for their classes and initiating student podcasts. The teachers are receiving professional development and have access to a variety of information through a wiki. Krista may be contacted at UTAH Carl Lyman from Utah State Office of Education (Salt Lake City) is in the process of a major effort to introduce teachers to iTunes U and to help teachers get the training to create quality podcasts to use in their classrooms and to upload to iTunes U. Training materials for "Creating an AAC Podcast on a PC" are available at: Carl may be contacted at VERMONT Ellen Matthews from Shelburne Community School (Shelburne) is using Google Apps for Ed, Google Sites for portfolios and the new Schoolwires website. Ellen may be contacted at Thad Gembczynski from Enosburgh Town Schools (Enosburg Falls) 42 6th graders were "given" ASUS EEE running Linux for 1:1 computing. We are beginning to use Google Apps for Education as collaborative go-to (Gmail, docs, sites) Unfortunately Google Gears is not an option in Apps for Education...yet. Thad may be contacted at

Jas Maxlow from Newport News Public Schools (Newport News) is using Polycom video-conferencing units at all schools to reduce professional development costs and to establish collegial connections. Instructional coaches and specialists at one site can train up to five other sites at the same time through live video and audio feeds over a district-wide fiber-optic network. This eliminates travel costs, eliminates repeating the training sessions, and allows teachers to learn from each other across the district. Jas may be contacted at Mark Nichols from Loudoun County Public Schools (Ashburn) team has developed an interactive multimedia Strategy-A-Day calendar accessible on our district's Intranet site and available to all staff. Each day of the calendar highlights a different technology resource(website, strategy, tool, method, etc.) available within the district to support the needs of diverse learners with technology integration. Mark may be contacted at Pamela Holley from Mills Godwin High School (Henrico) has been working with a team of math teachers to implement how logic methods and math skills are used in today's world. The course is designed to integrate student communication between the two curricula of programming and math. The programming classes demonstrate not only their programming skills but also communication skills using web 2.0 skills such as Jing, Audacity, Blogs, Cover It Live and Podcast. Pamela may be contacted at Kay Conners from Auburn Middle School (Warrenton) is using Voice Thread, digital stories, Animoto, and now google docs, and is now part of a "Tech Team" that promotes 21st century learning. We have a wiki where we share information and have a tech "theme" each month to highlight how to incorporate technology into learning. Kay may be contacted at

VIRGINIA Bonnie Sutton from Emaginous (Haymarket) is creating a customized education in a starter school in Tracey, California that we hope will be a pilot to the future of schools. No textbooks! Bonnie may be contacted at Bob Kolvoord from James Madison University (Harrisonburg) is exploring different ways to bring geospatial technologies (GIS, GPS and remote sensing) to K-12 teachers and students and build their spatial thinking and problem solving skills. They are trying to "map a

Contributor Donna Sorensen WASHINGTON Donna Sorensen from Washington School for the Deaf (Vancouver) is setting up an

interactive videoconferencing studio to be able to read to Deaf and Hard of Hearing students across the state of Washington. Students call using videophones, webcams, or Polycoms from their schools and watch as the story appears behind the Deaf person signing the story (like the weatherman). In this way, Deaf students in rural areas have a Deaf role model and learn more ASL and English! Donna may be contacted at WEST VIRGINIA Suzanne Thompson from George Ward Elementary (Mill Creek) school has gone from one LCD projector for the entire school to a presentation station in every classroom. We have a document camera at each grade level and two sets of clickers school-wide. We have had lots of professional development and in a little over a year have transformed our classrooms and teaching skills to greet the 21st Century. As a result,our students are creating PowerPoints, PhotoStories, and writing and publishing their own presentations implementing these 21st Century tools. Suzanne may be contacted at

Contributor Donna Peduto Donna Peduto from the West Virginia Department of Education (Charleston) would like to share that West Virginia has passed a bill through our legislature and a policy through our West Virginia State Board of Education titled "Innovation Zones". This designation provides schools or groups of schools with the support and flexibility to collaboratively implement innovations which may currently be restrained by policy or code. We are in the process now of accepting applications for funding for educators to plan for these innovations. These ideas could include a range of topics from how to restructure time, configure staff, and modify school-wide programs to more specific ideas that may relate to a particular grade or content level. Donna my be contacted at Kathy Boone from the West Virginia Department of Education (Charleston) oversaw a statewide implementation of techSteps. This digital content engages students deeply with core content knowledge while promoting technology, information, and personal learning skills. The 100,000 performance assessments completed provide evidence of student understanding and systemic growth of transformative classroom practices. Kathy may be contacted at

innovative learning • page 18

what is innovative? what is innovative? what is innovative? WISCONSIN Louis Loeffler from Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee) is using Web 2.0 technologies as an instructional platform delivering an entire masters program online focusing on 21st century skills for teaching, training and learning. Louis may be contacted at Dave Brandvold from Merrill High School (Merrill) his school has just moved to a modular schedule that has given us an opportunity to allow for 21st century skills to be at the fore front of student learning. Along with greater access to technology, web 2.0, blended curriculum, and independent learning has become a reality. We have incorporated S.M.A.R.T. technology for students to have automated attendance in our large group and resource areas. Dave may be contact at INTERNATIONAL Katie Christo from the American International School Chennai (Chennai, India) has teachers doing some innovative projects. My Algebra teacher used Voicethread to have a conversation on the Origins of Algebra. By the end of the project there were 278 comments in the thread. My 8th Grade Humanities teachers have created a Virtual Renaissance Fair in Voicethread. Students were assigned a tent and found artifacts to go in their tents. I also have a Spanish teacher creating podcasts of weekly vocabulary terms that parents can subscribe to in iTunes. Katie may be contacted at Julie Lindsay from Beijing (BISS) International School (Beijing, China) shares that “teachers and students are working on virtual learning strategies that include using a learning management system in conjunction with Web 2.0 tools. The aim is to be able to continue normal school learning and interaction if the school is closed due to H1N1 or other

reasons. A recent V-BISS (virtual BISS) day was very successful where synchronous and asynchronous activities online supported K-12 learning objectives for communication, collaboration and creation.” Julie may be contacted at Jeremy Friedberg from Toronto, Ontario, (Canada) shares about the Genomics Digital Lab ( which is an online, interactive, educational tool for biology. Through games, animations, and simulations, students journey through the story of biological energy. Beginning with saving a dying plant, GDL games flow from the needs of the organism to the cell biology, allowing students to play the biology. Jermey may be contacted at Gail Miller and Kim Pericles from Belmore South Primary School (Australia) are integrating console games across the curriculum promoting intellectual quality and collaborative skills. Teachers work together developing activities and mapping them on a Bloom's Taxonomy / Multiple Intelligences matrix. Games include Wii Music, Sports and Endless Oceans, DS Lites Dr Kawashima's Brain Trainer, Zoo Tycoon and Nintendogs, PS 2 Itoy, PS3 Little Big Planet. Gail may be contacted at Mark Dilworth from the Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) has implemented a 1-to-1 Tablet program in grades 6-12. All students and teachers have a Lenovo X-61 tablet. The campus has wireless access and classrooms are equipped with Smart Interactive Whiteboards. Collaborative learning is supported through the use of Moodle, Wordpress and Google Docs. Mark may be contacted at Kym Coleman from Ipswich Girls' Grammar School (Queensland, Australia) shares about a series of

online training in the use of Interactive Whiteboards. Which was created with a room full of teachers following the presenters' (who were located in other states) instructions. The technology used was bridgit software (free for users to view the presentation) and a telephone on speaker so we could also hear the instructions. These sessions are recorded by the presenters and uploaded on the http:// website for teachers to access if they want to. Kym may be contacted at

November 4, 2009 Housing reservations open March 31, 2010 Super Early-Bird Registration closes May 1, 2010 Early-Bird Registration closes

Contributor Pam Homsher OTHER Steve Gorski from The Source for Learning ( is co-sponsoring a competition for U.S. educators (levels Pre-K through 16) to highlight the value 4G wireless broadband is now providing to education and learning at your school – or – what it could do once 4G wireless broadband is available in your community. The competition will be held in two phases. Phase One will require information in narrative form only. In Phase Two, up to thirteen finalists will be selected from among these initial submissions. Grand Prize Winners of the competition will be invited to present their proposals at the Annual Convention of NEBSA ( in Henderson, Nevada (February 22-24, 2010) Full competition information can be found at: www. Phase One entries are due no later than 6:00 pm (Eastern Time) on Sunday, November 1, 2009. Contact: Candy Shively (

Acknowledgments Thank you to the 103 of you who submitted your ideas of innovation to share with others. For our next newsletter we will offer another chance to share your best practices. We look forward to serving you.

June 18, 2010 Web, phone, and fax registration closes June 21, 2010 Deadline for cancellations (accepted in writing)

Winter Issue Topics Diversity Web 2.0 Moodle/Drupal iPod Education Call for Articles December 1 Paragraphs Due December 11 Authors Contacted December 17 Final Article Due January 19 Publication Date January 28

innovative learning • page 19

SIGilt Newsletter Fall 2009