Welcome to the ODL Newsletter

This monthly news blog is brought to you by the staff of BCPS’s Office of Digital Learning.  We collaboratively curate the latest system and industry news to bring informative and thought-provoking content to interested BCPS staff members.  You are welcome to share with us any content that you believe might be of interest to the library media specialists, S.T.A.T. teachers, and technology liaisons of Baltimore County Public Schools.  Please use the contact form for feedback and suggestions.

Monthly updates are edited by Jennifer Weaver, ODL Resource Teacher.  Content contributors and writers include ODL Staff Chimère Neal, Amanda Lanza, Justin Hennaut, Kelly Ray, Valerie Schaffer, and Alex Wolf.
BCPS does not guarantee the accuracy or quality of information located on the technology networks. We have made every reasonable attempt to ensure that our school system’s Web sites are educationally sound and do not contain links to any questionable material or anything that can be deemed in violation of the BCPS technology acceptable use policy. The linked sites are not under the control of the BCPS Web sites but are provided as a convenience and do not imply an endorsement of the linked Web site.

June 2017

June Edition at a Glance 

  • Are you ready for summer break?  Find some different ways that you can professionally recharge while relaxing.
  • How well did you pay attention to the ODL Digest this year?  Download and complete our digital Breakout to find out!  The deadline is Monday, June 12 at midnight!

Inside BCPS

Baltimore County Public Schools named National School Library Program of the Year

Baltimore County Public Schools has been named the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) 2017 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award recipient.

Sponsored by Follett, the NSLPY Award annually recognizes a single school or district-wide school library program that meets the needs of the changing school and library environment and is fully integrated into the school’s curriculum. As the award winner, BCPS will receive an obelisk – the symbol of school library excellence – and $10,000 toward its school library program. Read more

Looking Back and Moving Forward with Digital Learning University Digital Learning University

The 2016-2017 DLU offerings are officially closed! Congratulations to the over 350 active participants!

100+  CPD Credits Earned

189  Workshops Modules Offered

Thank you to our amazing instructors for making all of this possible.

Keishauna Banks Stacy Barry Deb Boyd
Michelle Brown Laura Burkhardt Erika Conn
Tara Corona Katie Cox Christina Cumberland
Melissa Daniels Jennifer Dingle Gwen Gilliam-Price
Karyn Ginesi Jodi Grosser Kristine Harrison
Kathleen Harmon Justin Hennaut Teresa Iacarino
Cheryl Johnson William Lancaster Amanda Lanza
Alison Lederer Erin Ledford Jessica Linne
Shannon McCutchen Gina McDonald Linda Miller
Chimere Neal Andrea Palmisano Kazimiera Patterson
Kelly Ray Kristina Redmer Valerie Schaffer
Nick Schiner Jill Snell Laura Thurston
Lisa Venker Jennifer Weaver Lou Wikes
Amanda Wiseman

Interested in becoming a DLU Instructor for Fall 2017?  Complete the survey to indicate your interest.

The fun doesn’t stop now. Check out the Digital Learning University: Digital Tools to Support the Teaching & Learning Framework- 2017-2018 School Year offering in the Online Registration System. There are over 45 DLU Workshop topics offered this summer. Join Oswald in the fun and learning!

Fifth Grade Student Password Reminders!

  • Rising fifth grade passwords will be converted to strong passwords on September 4th. This is the last day of summer break.
  • Rising fifth graders will use the same “simple” password all summer long.
  • Liaisons will be able to generate password labels for students during the first week teachers come back in August 2017.
  • A grade5password column will appear in the exported file for ALL students. The column will only contain information for rising fifth graders. The field will be blank for all other grades. After the first day of school it will be blank for all grades.
  • Homeroom teachers should distribute passwords to fifth graders on the first day of school and help them get connected.

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Save Documents to the Cloud

OneDrive allows you to save all of your files to the cloud giving you 24/7 everywhere access; even at the beach this summer!

To upload files to your OneDrive visit http://www.bcps.org/onedrive and log in using your BCPS credentials.  Be sure to select “Organizational Account” when logging in.  Select “upload” and begin uploading your files.

Professional Learning throughout the Summer

Summer is a perfect time to engage in professional learning!  In addition to the workshops offered as part of Digital Learning University, there are plenty of additional opportunities available online.  Check out the following sites for high quality professional learning throughout the summer.

Expand your Toolbox

With thousands of digital tools available to teachers everyday; it can be overwhelming deciding which ones best fit into your instruction.  There are sites and blogs designed to help make this task easier.  Take some time to expand your toolbox by exploring the sites below.  Remember to review the approval flow chart to decide if the tool is compliant with BCPS policy.  If you find a great tool you think other teachers would find beneficial, email it to us at ODLMail@bcps.org

Food for Thought

Upcoming Events:

(check the Online Registration System for registration information and availability)

Digital Learning University Summer Offerings:

Library Media Specialist Professional Learning:

  • June 19:
    • Secondary Library Media Specialists Professional Development, 8:30 a.m. -3:30 p.m. @Pikesville High School
  • July 25:
    • Curate Like a Pirate, 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 21
    • Curate Like a Pirate, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 21
  • July 26:
    • Curate Like a Pirate, 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 21
    • Curate Like a Pirate, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 21
  • August 15:
    • Curate Like a Pirate, 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 21
    • Curate Like a Pirate, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 21
  • August 16:
    • Curate Like a Pirate, 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 21
    • Curate Like a Pirate, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 21

BCPL Summer Reading Program:

April / May 2017

April / May Edition at a Glance

  • Recap of Edcamp BCPS
  • School Library Month is in full swing!
  • Food for Thought on Equity and Libraries
  • A new resource for Discovery Education
  • Book recommendations
  • Plus upcoming professional learning opportunities!

Inside BCPS


On Saturday, April 1, 2017 the Office of Digital Learning hosted over 80 teachers, leaders and staff from around Baltimore County for the second annual EdcampBCPS.  These TeamBCPS members gave up a Saturday morning to participate in this unique professional learning experience.  Participants proposed and facilitated learning in 28 different sessions with topics ranging from “behavior and discipline in the classroom” to “online, real-time collaboration.”  Participants ended the day with a Smackdown where they could share their biggest takeaway from the day.

So what did participants think about their experience?  Check out this feedback!Edcamp Banner

  • “I loved the freedom you gave us to explore topics that would be beneficial to us.”
  • “This was a very cool experience. What better way to have meaningful PD than to allow the learner to be responsible for his/her own learning.”
  • “Sharing ideas was fantastic!”
  • “I was motivated to start a maker movement at my school.”
  • “I was able to collaborate with other teachers to learn meaningful technology and skills that I was able to use in the classroom right away.”

If you were not able to attend and are interested in learning from your colleagues, check out the crowd-sourced notes taken during the event and participant Tweets curated just for you!

Because School Libraries Empower Students

BCPS is in the middle of celebrating School Library Month; the American Association of School Librarians’ celebration of school librarians and their programs. Every April school librarians are encouraged to host activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in transforming learning.  This year’s theme is “Because School Libraries Empower Students.”  On the BCPS website, library media specialists Timothy Thomas, Lauren Magnuson, and Lashon Moseley were interviewed and spotlighted.  The Office of Digital Learning has also been hosting a School Library Month Twitter Challenge.  By using the hashtag #bcpslms and the official National School Library month hashtag #slm17, library media specialists are showcasing their work with students and highlighting the quality of our school library program.  You can check out their tweets to see how they are doing with the challenge!

National Recognition for Commitment to Student Data Privacy and Security

Baltimore County Public Schools has been awarded the prestigious national Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) Seal by the CoSN (Consortium for School Networking).

The TLE Seal, awarded on April 4 to five school systems, is a mark of distinction for school systems that demonstrate a strong commitment to student data privacy and security by meeting a rigorous set of standards. BCPS was part of the second group of school systems to earn the national TLE Seal, raising the total to 12 districts nationwide. BCPS is the only TLE Seal recipient in the State of Maryland. The honor was presented at the CoSN 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.  Read More

Food for Thought

These articles continue our district conversation about diversity in libraries & literature and our ongoing work on developing school library collections, curriculum, & programs through an equity lens.

  • Comfort Zone (SLJ, March 22, 2017) “An early lesson in empathy inspired Gene Luen Yang. In this original comic for School Library Journal, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature depicts the inspiration for his Reading Without Walls program, which challenges readers to read beyond their comfort zone.”
  • New Crop of Young Adult Novels Explores Race and Police Brutality (New York Times, March 19, 2017) *For secondary LMS.
    “Teachers and librarians across the country have embraced the new body of children’s literature dealing with racial bias and injustice. Some educators see fiction as a particularly potent tool for engaging with volatile topics and instilling empathy in young readers.”
  • “Rock Star” Librarians Article Hits Sour Note (SLJ, March 20, 2017) “An article entitled “The ‘Rock Star’ Librarians Who Choose What Your Kids Read” published in the Wall Street Journal on March 5, 2017, caused some school librarians to question how the general public perceives our profession. The fact that diverse voices weren’t heard, valued, or represented in the WSJ article made us look more closely at the people we look to as leaders, the authors and role models we invite to our schools, the books we choose to read, review, and purchase. We need to do more, and we need to be better. If we want our students to see themselves on our bookshelves and in our programming, we need to actively work toward that goal. How can we expect the world (or the Wall Street Journal) to see school libraries as places where diversity is honored and celebrated if we are not working to make them that way?”

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Spotlight on Discovery Education

Teachers love using Discovery Education to find streaming media to integrate into lessons. Students enjoy using Board Builder to demonstrate their knowledge on a topic. Did you know that Discovery Education has resources to support lesson planning? The Office of Digital Learning has curated additional resources and strategies on our new Discovery Education Wiki Page. Currently, this page has resources for: Discovery Education Streaming, Board Builder, Lesson Resources, Events & Experiences, and Techbook Support.

This month we are focusing on Virtual Field Trips. Take your students beyond the classroom walls and into some of the world’s most iconic locations for rich and immersive learning experiences — no permission slips required. Tour the National Archives, see how an egg farm works, explore NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, or hear from the President of the United States. Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips are fun, educational, and free! Particpate in a Virtual Field Trip live or access the archive. For a complete list of Virtual Field Trips coming up, check out the Discovery Education Events Calendar.

Upcoming Virtual Field Trip

Discovery Education is sponsoring Careers that Count: A Virtual Field Trip with the NBA on Thursday, May 4 at 1 p.m. ET. Not everyone will be an NBA player, but anyone with a passion for sports and math can pursue a career in professional athletics. Don’t miss this special opportunity to open your students’ minds to viable and exciting STEM careers. Register your classroom today for this free 30-minute virtual field trip, brought to you by Discovery Education Math Techbook and Jr. NBA. Find out more information and register at http://www.discoveryeducation.com/CareersThatCount/.

Build your Professional Library

BCPL’s Summer Reading pre-registration begins on May 8.  Why not get a head start on building YOUR summer reading list?  Here are some titles to consider (the links below take you to the book’s Amazon page so you can read the full description):

  1. The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier
  2. Better Conversations by Jim Knight
  3. Teach Like a Champion 2.0 by Doug Lemov
  4. The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros
  5. Launch by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani
  6. Integrating Technology in the Classroom by Boni Hamilton and ISTE
  7. Kids Deserve It! by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome

Professional Learning Opportunities

Preventing the Summer Slide with Audiobooks (edWeb.net Webinar): May 8, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Listening to professionally narrated audiobooks is a great way to prevent the “summer slide.” Children in low-income households fall behind an average of two months in reading during the summer, and summer learning loss accounts for two-thirds of the ninth grade achievement gap in reading between students from low-income households and their higher-income peers. Mary Ann Scheuer, Teacher Librarian at Berkeley USD, CA, will discuss key research findings from a 2016 study looking at the effect of adding a listening component to literacy instruction in school and at home, and share the benefits, excitement and engagement of students listening to high-interest audiobooks that she has experienced first-hand. With new digital technologies, it’s never been easier to support year-round student reading and learning. This live, interactive session is designed for PreK-12 librarians as well as reading coaches, ELL specialists/teachers, Title I teachers and administrators, district librarians, and classroom teachers.

Designing Interactive Library Spaces on Limited Budgets (DEMCO Webinar): May 11, 2:00 p.m.

The success of libraries in the future will be determined by their ability to create stories and engage their communities in new and exciting ways. One way to accomplish this is by putting technology, people and spaces together so that patrons can become creators and innovators. Join Brian Pichman from the Evolve Project as he covers tips for success when designing interactive library spaces and experiences on a limited budget. Brian will offer ideas for your library, from programming for all ages to display tips to makerspaces, that will help you engage your community without spending thousands of dollars. You’ll learn about furniture and design concepts, which maker technology to include, and how to find additional funding to turn your dream into reality.

Summer Reading 501; Helping Generation App Read This Summer (edWeb.net Webinar): May 24, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

As we release our K-12ers for the summer, are we adequately psyching Generation App up for…wait for it…READING? Oh sure, there’s a list. You know the list, right? The summer reading list? Is this really the most effective way to promote independent reading for Generation Next? Is it the most effective way to improve reading skills? Research indicates that attention spans are waning for learners of all ages. In this session, facilitators will highlight strategies to engage school-aged learners with summer reading. This webinar will benefit K-12 librarians.

Common Ground 2017: May 4 – 5 @Ocean City, Maryland

Grow.  Share.  Join approximately 1,200 education colleagues from across the state and surrounding areas for the fifth annual Common Ground, Maryland’s top professional development event of the year. Thought-provoking speakers, hundreds of inspiring sessions, and demonstrations of the latest products and services will provide you the 21st century know-how you need.  It’s not too late to register!  If you’re attending, check out these BCPS-led sessions:

Thursday, May 4:

  • 8:20 – 9:20
    • Room 205: Mystery Skype in the Classroom, Katie Cox and Lauren Caplen
    • Room 208: Lead. Make. Repeat., Doug Elmendorf
    • Room 215A: Targeted Small-Group Instruction for Secondary Schools, Christine Roberts, Niamh McQuillan, Maggie Cummings
  • 9:30 – 10:15
    • Round Table: Do you want to be a “tagteam-teacher”?,  Byron Rouse
    • Round Table: Designing a Teacher-Centered Professional Development Program, Gail Klaben
    • Round Table: How is flex blended learning supporting your at-promise students in recognizing and accessing their potential?, Stacy Bryan
  • 12:45 – 1:45
    • Room 207: Stop Ubering Your Way to Professional Development and Get Into the Driver’s Seat with Micro-credentials, Jill Snell, Angela de Guzman (MSDE)
    • Room 215A: Enriching the Math Class Through the Use of Technology, Florence Falatko
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: Creating 21st Century Learners through Authentic Learning
      Experience, David Robb, Christina Cumberland
  • 2:20 – 3:30
    • Room 214: Reaching the Unreachable: Relationships and the At Risk Student, Natasha Wilson
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: Making is Science: It’s About Thinking and Not About Stuff, Eric Cromwell
    • Conference Room Level 1: Collaboration in a Statewide Organization, James Corns
  • 3:30 – 4:30
    • Room 204: Restorative Practices: Positive Culture through the Power of Circles, Jennifer Pilarski, Michael Gorecki
    • Room 208: Hacking #EdTech: Tools to Survive & Thrive the Digital Revolution, Joquetta Johnson
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: “Making” Student Research Meaningful, Justin Hennaut, Valerie Schaffer

Friday, May 5:

  • 8:30 – 9:30
    • Room 201: Spanning the Digital Divide- Inquiry in the Mathematics Classroom, Matthew Doty
    • Room 208: ELLs in the Digital Age: Integrating Technology to Enrich Instruction, Stephanie Harkins, Andrea Parrish (TU)
    • Room 209: Book Buffet: A Tasting Menu of PD Books to Wet Your Palate, Kim Culbertson, Leah Wolfe, Leah Warble
    • Room 212: Balancing Access, Safety, Security, and Innovation, James Corns
    • Room 215A: M.A.T.H. Program for the Learner-Centered Environment, Shannon Pope, Megan Haberkam
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: Redefining Technology Integration: Curriculum and Coding is a Natural Fit, Michele Delaney, Anne McManus,  Rachael McLaren, Flo Falatko, Jill Dunham Wright
  • 9:50 – 10:20
    • Round Table: What challenges do you and your students face in providing IEP accommodations and
      modifications in flex blended programs and
      how are you overcoming those challenges? Stacy Bryan
  • 10:30 – 11:30
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: Incorporating Meaningful Maker Lessons into ELA Instruction, Diane Christadore, Melissa Forester
    • Featured Speaker PAC: Now Is the Perfect Time for Future Ready Libraries! Fran Glick
  • 12:45 – 1:45
    • Room 202: Explore and Create-The First Steps in Creating a STEM Themed Makerspace in the Library Media Center, Dana Novotny
    • Room 209: Breakout EDU: Escape the Ordinary, Justin Hennaut, Valerie Schaffer, Jennifer Weaver, Amanda Lanza
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: Windows and Mirrors: Building Equitable School Library Collections, Fran Glick, Chimere Neal
  • 2:20 – 3:10
    • Room 202: Student Research Gets Personal: The Independent Research Seminar, Kelly Ray, Joquetta Johnson
    • Room 209: Maker Space 101: The What, Why and How, Rachel Pfister, Karen Harris

Upcoming Events:

(check the Online Registration System for registration information and availability)

  • (Ongoing) Digital Learning University Workshops
  • April 26: Deadline for BCPS LMS to submit completed MSDE Annual School Library Media Center Reports
  • May 2: Showing of Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age, 6:30 p.m. @Catonsville HS, Towson HS, and Dundalk/Sollers HS
  • May 4 – 5: Common Ground MD Conference @Ocean City
  • May 8: BCPL Summer Reading pre-registration begins. Stay tuned for more details, coming soon!
  • May 9:
    • HSA May Refresher Webinar, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. @online
    • Liaison Hangout, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. @online
  • May 16:
    • Elementary LMS Professional Learning, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Elementary LMS Professional Learning, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
  • May 17:
    • Elementary LMS Professional Learning, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Elementary LMS Professional Learning, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
  • May 18:
    • 5th Annual Student Independent Research Symposium, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. @ Pikesville HS Library
  • May 24:
    • High School LMS Professional Learning, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Middle School LMS Professional Learning, 12:00 – 2:30 p.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • End of the Year Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 @ Perry Hall Middle School

March 2017

March Edition at a Glance



  • Twenty-nine Days Until Edcamp BCPS!
  • A Few Tricks for Video Integration
  • Professional Learning Opportunities


Inside BCPS

This is no April Fools’ Joke…  Edcamp BCPS Is Coming!BCPSedcamp_03

Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 1, from 8:30 – 1:00.  The second annual Edcamp BCPS hosted by the Office of Digital Learning will be held at Cockeysville Middle School.  Registration is now open so start planning for this unique professional learning opportunity.

What is an edcamp?  Edcamp is an unconference; where sessions are developed by the participants the day of the event.   It is an organic, participant-driven professional learning experience that is completely free of charge.  Everyone is welcome to propose and lead a session where conversation and collaboration are paramount.

For more information and to stay informed, visit http://tinyurl.com/edcampbcps17

Superintendent Dance Named 2017 Maryland Outstanding Leader Using Technology

TOWSON, MD — Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance has been named the 2017 Maryland Outstanding Leader Using Technology by the Maryland Society for Educational Technology (MSET)… Read more

BCPS Student Filmmakers Win Awards in National Competition

Student teams from Eastern Technical High School and Parkville High School have received awards in the Digital Promise Global 360 Filmmakers Challenge. Through the national competition, Digital Promise Global and partner Oculus (which creates virtual reality products) challenged high school students to use virtual reality and 360° video to promote social change… Read more

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

A Simple Way to Make Fun Videos

Have you ever wanted to make a fun “explainer” videos like this one?  Well now there is an easy way to do it.  Introducing MySimpleShow.  MySimpleShow is a web tool available for teachers to create quick explanation videos that can be used as a resource for flipped learning, meaningful independent work, or as advertisement for a school event.  Visit MySimpleShow to sign up for a free account.

Students View and React to Video!

Showing a video and asking students to react can be a powerful instructional activity.  With the amount high quality content available on YouTube, teachers have been looking for a way to safely integrate YouTube videos into their instruction.  Now we can!  VoiceThread is an application in BCPS One which allows you to place images, videos, documents, and presentations at the center of an audio conversation. These conversations are not live; they take place whenever and wherever it’s convenient for people to participate.  Use VoiceThread as a content delivery tool to encourage discussion and collaboration.  Visit the ODL Resource Wiki for directions for using VoiceThread.

**Important note: All YouTube videos used in VoiceThread MUST be licensed under Creative Commons!  See these directions to ensure you comply with copyright and terms of service**


Professional Learning Opportunities

Students Take the Mic (TL Virtual Café Webinar/ #TLchat Twitter Chat) – March 6, 8:00 p.m.

Students tell how sharing their innovations in the library has changed them. The power or student voice!

Information Literacy in the Age of Fake News (SLJ Webcast) – March 16, 3:00 p.m. 

Critical thinking is more important than ever. Our panelists will cover how to vet information and establish best practices for students to manage the digital firehose, and consider perspective and bias.  Moderator:  Joyce Valenza, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Rutgers University School of Communication & Information. Panelists: Frank Baker, Founder, The Media Literacy Clearinghouse; Gary Price, Editor, Infodocket; Mike Ribble, Educator, Founder, digitalcitizenship.org; Damaso Reyes, New York City Program Manager, News Literacy Project.

Teaching Digital Literacy (edWeb.net Webinar) – March 22, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

This webinar will focus on instructional strategies that help students increase their digital literacy. Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair, New Canaan High School, CT, will outline distinctions between media literacy and digital literacy, and highlight how each can be addressed in the classroom and through the library program. The Webinar will also focus on digital collection development and how using library resources can promote critical thinking, improve reading skills, and help learners better understand the research process. This webinar will benefit librarians, and is a follow-up to edWeb.net Emerging Tech’s session, Media Literacy: A Crash Course in 60 Minutes.

News and Media Literacy: Building Critical Consumers and Creators (edWeb.net Webinar) – March 29, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

More and more, young people (and adults) are getting their news online and from social media. There is also the increasingly problematic issue of fake news and determining credible news sources online. In an age of pervasive, fast, and on-demand information, there is a need for educators and parents to teach news and media literacy to kids.  In this webinar, Kelly Mendoza, Director of Learning and Engagement for Common Sense Education, will lead us on an exploration of news and media literacy, including:

  • Why news and media literacy is more important than ever
  • Latest research on kids and news
  • What is “fake news” and how to spot it
  • Ways teachers can integrate news and media literacy into their curriculum
  • Rubrics you can use to assess students’ understanding of news literacy

Kelly also will debut the new News and Media Literacy Toolkit by Common Sense Education, with resources for educators to help build students’ skills to be critical media consumers and creators. This webinar is designed for middle and high school teachers, librarians, and tech coordinators.

Panel Discussion: New Graphic Novels for Your Library (Booklist Webinar) – March 14, 2:00 p.m.

Get the scoop on the latest youth and adult graphic novels and comics in this free, hour-long webinar. Representatives from DC, Macmillan, and IPG share upcoming titles from their catalogs, perfect for refreshing this high-circulating section. Moderated by Booklist Graphic Novels Editor, Sarah Hunter.


Upcoming Events:

(check the Online Registration System for registration information and availability)

  • (Ongoing) Digital Learning University Workshops
  • March 7: BCPS Library Advisory Council, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Greenwood, Board Room A
  • March 8: Liaison Hangout, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. @online
  • March 28:
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Catonsville High School Library
  • March 29:
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. @Loch Raven Academy Library
  • March 30:
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Perry Hall Middle School Library
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. @online
  • April 1: EdCamp BCPS, 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. @Cockeysville Middle School Open Space

January / February 2017

January / February Edition at a Glance


  • New BCPS resources available
  • 😊 Emojis for learning?! 😲
  • Meet Oswald D’Learn
  • Teaching, learning, and media literacy in a world of “Fake News”
  • It’s coming…


Inside BCPS

Mobile Innovation Lab

The Department of Innovative Learning has officially launched the BCPS Mobile Innovation Lab, a converted school bus that serves as an innovation hub and makerspace for the district’s stakeholders. The Mobile Innovation Lab will be visiting elementary schools as part of its residency program and is also available for school events at any academic level. While the Lab’s schedule is full for the remainder of the 2016-17 school year, the 2017-18 request form will go live in August.

mil_1  mil_2

New Video Production Resources!

Please check out the new Video Production Guide published on the ODL Wiki.  This can be accessed through the Toolbox page for future reference.

The material in this new section was curated by a team of experienced BCPS teachers who have worked with video production both in and out of studio settings.  The guide is designed to help classroom teachers explore ways to use video projects with their existing curriculum, and allow students to create video projects along with their learning.

We look forward to seeing many great student and teacher created videos come from this work!  If you have an exemplar video that you would be willing to share with others, please contact Alex Wolf (awolf@bcps.org) to arrange to have that posted.

Have you Met Oswald?

This is no April Fools’ Joke…

Edcamp BCPS Is Coming!

BCPSedcamp_03Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 1, from 8:30 – 1:00.  The second annual Edcamp BCPS hosted by the Office of Digital Learning will be held at Cockeysville Middle School.  Registration isn’t open yet, but it’s never too soon to start planning for this unique professional learning opportunity.

What is an edcamp?  Edcamp is an unconference; where sessions are developed by the participants the day of the event.   It is an organic, participant-driven professional learning experience that is completely free of charge.  Everyone is welcome to propose and lead a session where conversation and collaboration are paramount.

For more information and to stay informed, visit http://tinyurl.com/edcampbcps17

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Using Emojis in Your Classroom

You probably know what an emoji is; those little digital images used on your phone and online.  Many students use them in their personal communication every day.  So how can we leverage those little yellow faces to promote critical thinking?

Emoji Summaries: Have students summarize a text, science concept, or historical event using only emojis.  Students must clearly understand the main idea and use critical thinking skills to match it to available emojis.  As an extension, have peers try and decode each others’ summaries.

Emoji Summary of Photosynthesis

Emoji Summary of Photosynthesis from Eric Curtis

Emoji Summary of Charlottes Web

Emoji Summary of Charlottes Web from Eric Curtis

Emoji Writing Prompts: Instead of giving a traditional writing prompt, try giving students several emoji’s.  Each students will interpret the emojis differently and come up with awesome stories.

Random Emoji Prompt

Random Emoji Prompt created using Byrdseed.com/emoji

Emoji Rebus’– Rebus stories are created by replacing certain words or sounds with images.  Emojis are perfect for this.  Check out this fairy tale!

Sample Fairy Tale Rebus

Sample Fairy Tale Rebus from Davyhulme Primary School

Emoji Feelings: Use an emoji anchor chart to guide discussion of a character’s feelings throughout a text.  Students can also use emojis to respond to close reading questions about how a character’s feelings change throughout a text.  Students might also use emojis for annotating texts.

Emoji Anchor Chart and Responding Sheet

Emoji Anchor Chart and Responding Sheet from ERINtegration

Self Assessment– Use emojis to help students articulate how they are feeling about a particular standard.  This can help you identify students that need small group reteaching.

Self-Assessment Emojis

Self-Assessment Emojis

So how do students find emojis?  There is actually an emoji keyboard built into their device.  Students need to open the on screen keyboard and then switch to the emoji keyboard.


Students can also access the following sites to copy and paste additional emojis in a simplified form:

What are some other ways you can use emojis in the classroom?

Skype in Education

Want to connect with experts around the world?  Want to take your students on virtual field trips? Skype in Education makes it easy to leverage the power of Skype in your instruction.  Check out Skype in Education on the ODL Resource Wiki.

In the Media

How the Internet is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth

The New York Times · Farhad Manjoo

“Next week, if all goes well, someone will win the presidency. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. Will the losing side believe the results? Will the bulk of Americans recognize the legitimacy of the new president?” Read more

Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds

The Wall Street Journal · Sue Shellenbarger

“Preteens and teens may appear dazzlingly fluent, flitting among social-media sites, uploading selfies and texting friends. But they’re often clueless about evaluating the accuracy and trustworthiness of what they find.” Read more

Information Literacy Lessons Crucial in a Post-Truth World

American Association of School Librarians · Sara Stevenson

“In the aftermath of the US presidential election, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to live in a post-truth world. I was shocked to read several accounts explaining that a majority of Americans receive their news via Facebook.” Read more

For More on Fake News:

The Smell Test: Educators can counter fake news with information literacy. Here’s how. · School Library Journal

Faked Out | Editorial · School Library Journal

Upcoming Events:

(check the Online Registration System for registration information and availability)

  • (Ongoing) Digital Learning University Workshops
  • January 12:
    • Evidence-Based Practice Workshop for Library Media Specialists, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Greenwood, Board Room A&B
  • January 17:
    • Library PSD Day, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. @Dundalk High School
  • February 7:
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @online
  • February 8:
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. @online
  • February 9:
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
  • February 10:
    • High School Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
    • Middle School Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 12:00 – 2:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
  • February 15:
    • Liaison Hangout, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. @online
  • February 21:
    • MISA Refresher Course, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @online
  • February 24:
    • Deadline for CD 2017 Library Book Orders

Our New Year’s Resolution

Happy New Year!

As we turn the calendar to another year, the Office of Digital Learning would like to share one New Year’s Resolution that we are making.  We resolve to expand #TeamBCPS student access to computer science skills.  To do this we will continue to…

  • partner with other BCPS offices involved in this work.
  • expand our coding and computational thinking resources for classroom teachers.
  • promote events like the #HourofCode.
  • showcase ongoing efforts through our various social media platforms.

Coding shouldn’t be limited to one hour or one week.  We hope you will join us on this lifelong journey!  Be sure to visit our Hour of Code page for resources!

Hour of Code Recap

The Details:


The Tweets:

November/ December 2016

November/ December Edition at a Glance

At a Glance

  • Seeking DLU Instructors
  • What is Digital Literacy?
  • New tools and information on the ODL Wiki
  • Infographics to tell your Library’s Story 

Inside BCPS

Seeking DLU InstructorsDigital Learning University

Digital Learning University is growing! We need passionate and enthusiastic teachers to join our squad of DLU Instructors. Please fill out the Online Form by 11/30/16 to indicate your interest. Contact Amanda Lanza (alanza@bcps.org) with questions.

And the Winner is…

Congratulations to Kazia Patterson (Chapel Hill ES), Kathleen Cave (Oakleigh ES), and Gwendolyn Gilliam-Price (Arbutus ES) for winning our October ODL Digest hidden contest.  Be on the lookout for more opportunities to win!

Other Highlights:

Food for Thought

Periodically, we will feature an article that asks you to think about a topic more closely. Please feel free to share your insights in the comment section at the bottom of this newsletter.

Digital Literacy


BCPS Grades 9-12 Research Glossary defines digital literacy as: ability to understand, evaluate, create, and integrate information in multiple digital formats via the computer and Internet (Gilster 1997).

Students still need to be able to read and write, but technology adds another layer to the reading and writing process. Included in this is the ability to read on a Kindle, evaluate websites, and create YouTube videos.

Reading by itself offers challenges when done on the Internet. Pages may contain embedded videos and audio, links, and images. This offers a myriad of options for the reader. The reader decides what to click on—thus providing a different reading experience for each reader.

Creating content is another part of digital literacy. Writing in digital format includes creating a blog, sending an e-mail, and Tweeting. With the ability to post on the InterneRevolve Devicet, students must be taught appropriate Internet behavior.

Since digital literacy encompasses reading and writing to design, create, play, and problem solve, the term digital literacies may be deemed more appropriate.

No matter what we call it, students need to be as comfortable with evaluating websites and reading and writing online as they are with opening a book.

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Find New Information About Your Favorite Tools


Have you noticed anything different on the ODL Resource Wiki lately?  If you visit the Toolbox Index, you will notice that some new icons have been added to the table of tools.  As part of the BCPS commitment to protecting student data, we have assigned each digital tool a visual code to represent its level of data privacy.  In addition, the headers of individual tool pages have been revised to include this information.  The transformation is still in progress with plans to include more details such as links to terms of use and privacy policies, as well as advertising policies.

 New Assistive Technology Wiki

Have you seen the new Office of Assistive Technology Resource Wiki?  This amazing new resource offers tips, tricks and technology tools can support and provide classroom modifications for students with significant oral, written communication and motor disabilities.  The wiki offers specific classroom supports, visual strategies, forms, etc.  Check it out!

It’s a Storm! A Dotstorm

Introducing Dotstorming; a free online tool that allows groups of people to collaborate and vote online!  Similar to Padlet, Dotstorming allows users to create a collaborative “board” where each member can add their own thoughts and ideas.  Then each user can vote for the idea that is their favorite.  Check it out at www.dotstorming.com and stay tuned for an ODL Resource Wiki page.

In the Media

State of America’s Libraries Report 2016

American Library Association:School Libraries Transform Learning

“Academic, school, and public libraries continue to face an uncertain economy as they shift resources and services to meet the needs of the 21st-century digital world.” Read more

The Superhero Librarian Within–Take the Lead

School Library Journal · Dedra Van Gelder · November 16, 2016:

“The day you became a school librarian, the universe put a spectacular opportunity into your hands, giving you the power to affect what people believe about libraries and librarians. If you think that makes you sound a bit like a superhero, you’re right. You possess unique knowledge and skills—no one else in the school does exactly what you do.” Read more

Worth a Thousand Words: Infographics can help tell your library’s story 

American Library Association · Meredith Farkas · November 1, 2016:

“In an effort to make evidence-based decisions, librarians collect a lot of data, but data must be shared and used to be most effective. In our sound-bite culture, finding ways to turn raw data into something concise and compelling is critical. An infographic, a graphical display of data, allows the creator to tell a story through visually engaging representations of information.” Read more

Are you a BCPS school library media specialist?  Create an infographic for your school library and email it to Jennifer Weaver by 12/20 to be entered to win a prize.  Select infographics will be featured in the next ODL Digest.

User-Designed Libraries: Design4Impact

Library Journal · Ian Chant · October 26, 2016:

“These days, collecting deep public input before the design phase of a new construction or renovation of a library is de rigueur, with methods ranging from focus groups to community outreach to social media. But a few libraries are taking it to the next level, not just finding out what patrons need or value and filtering that through the lens of librarian and architect expertise but also letting users directly drive design decisions in collaboration with the professionals.” Read more

Upcoming Events:

(check the Online Registration System for registration information and availability)

  • Grading & Reporting Forums/Edcamps
    • Nov 29: 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. @Loch Raven HS Cafeteria
    • Dec 7: 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. @Chesapeake HS Cafeteria
    • Dec 8: 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. @New Town HS Cafeteria
  • November 30: Liaison Hangout, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. @online
  • December 1Night of Innovation
  • December 4:
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Catonsville High School Library
  • December 7:
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. @Loch Raven Academy Library
  • December 8:
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Joppa View Elementary Library
    • Liaison Hangout, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. @online
  • December 12 deadline: Laura Bush Foundation grants for school libraries
  • December 13: Online Make-Up Meeting for Liaisons, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. @online
  • December 20: HSA January Refresher, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. @online

October 2016

october2016October Edition at a Glance

  • What’s the most important teaching skill for modern educators?
  • Top five edtech trends
  • Mock election resources
  • Join our community of readers in a Reading Relay!
  • Professional development opportunities


Inside BCPS

Team BCPS Reading Relay

readingrelayIn an effort to create a community of readers in BCPS, the Offices of Digital Learning and English Language Arts have partnered to sponsor a new district-wide reading initiative called the Team BCPS Reading Relay. BCPS TV is filming video book talks by BCPS readers, which will be featured on the bcps.org website each week. Readers in each video “pass the reading relay baton” by encouraging students and staff to read and recommend a great book or other favorite reading selection. The Team BCPS Reading Relay website includes a featured video, archived videos, tips for finding reading materials, tools for creating a book talk or book review, and instructions for submitting a text, video, or audio book review to Destiny. Check out the featured video and Dr. Dance’s book talk on The Crossover, under Archived videos!

Lighthouse High School Guest Speaker

Jeff Yalden, a renowned teen motivational speaker and author, spent yalden1three days visiting Baltimore County Public School’s lighthouse high schools; Owings Mills, Pikesville, and Chesapeake.  In addition to leading two large group assemblies at each school, Mr. Yalden spent time connecting with students one-on-one and in small groups. After school hours, he spoke with teachers and parents about teen suicide prevention.  His overall message of digital safety, integrity, and self-respect resonated with everyone who heard his message.

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Who Are You Voting For?mockelection

Want to incorporate the 2016 Presidential election into your classroom?  You can with the Youth Leadership Initiative’s Mock Election.  The Youth Leadership Initiative “…conducts the largest secure, student only, online mock election in the nation…” You can get lesson plans, free online resources, and of course your students’ official 2016 mock election ballots here.

A Growth Mindset

Is your school doing work around mindset?  Check out these videos from ClassDojo.  There are 5 episodes talking to students about a positive, growth mindset.  These videos do utilize YouTube so they can only be shown to students through a teacher’s device.

In the Media

Technology Trends in Education

EdTech Magazine · D. Frank Smith · September 22, 2016:

We think of trends as here today and gone tomorrow. Oftentimes trends in education are no different. Enter the 21st century where students have access to the world via a few clicks or taps.  In order to better understand what students have available, here are four of the latest trends for 2016.

Virtual Reality

Bringing virtual reality into the classroom offers students an entirely new way to experience learning. VR allows for the teaching of complex problems in ways not possible in a traditional classroom. It provides authentic learning and sensory learning to the students. Currently, five of our high schools in Baltimore County are participating in the Digital Promise – About 360 VR Challenge. They will be creating VR videos to showcase their communities.

3D Printing

Imagine being able to bring a concept to life. With 3D printing students are able to concretely comprehend concepts such as geometry. Currently, 3D printing is often found in makerspaces where students are able to create their own ideas and bring them to life.

Wearable Technology

Imagine students wearing their learning on their wrists. Their learning is right at their fingertips. Imagine no lost instruction time due to snow days or heat-related closures.

Robotic Toys

Robotic toys can help counselors reach students. They can serve as playmates to children with various learning disabilities. Having a non-judgmental robot as a playmate could help them adjust to social experiences.  Read More…

The Most Important Teaching Skill for the Modern Educator to Master

The Global Digital Citizen Foundation · September 20, 2016:

“What is the most important teaching skill to have as a modern educator in the digital age? It’s a tough question that deserves some consideration . . . This skill will serve you (and your students) in many aspects of life. It’s certainly indispensable in the field of teaching, where stress abounds.”

“That skill is: the ability to turn things around. That problem student? You need to be able to reach him. That bad day? You’ll need to recover from it and carry on the next. Unit plans not effective? You’ll need to change direction. It begins with your mindset. You start by knowing that failure is an opportunity to turn things around.” Read More…

What do you think is the most important skill? Email Jennifer Weaver by Friday with your response and be entered in a drawing for a small prize.

Extra Professional Learning Opportunities

  • The Digital Shift Virtual Conference, October 19
    • Library Journal, School Library Journal, and thousands of library professionals from around the world will gather for the eighth annual Digital Shift virtual conference to focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital transition’s impact on libraries and their communities. As technology evolves, so do the needs of communities, and more than ever, libraries are uniquely positioned to provide services to lead their communities and beyond. The “digital shift” continues to press libraries forward as it allows and compels them to create and improve library service through the smart and coherent application of technology to mission.
  • Make.It.Work. Conference, November 5
    • The Maryland State Department of Education in partnership with the Digital Harbor Foundation and Baltimore County Public Schools will be hosting the first Make. IT. Work. Conference on November 5, 2016 at Eastern Technical High School. This conference is intended to share information, resources, best practices, and experiences in the areas of Making, Instructional Technology, and Workforce Readiness in the Education realm. Visit http://www.digitalharbor.org/make-it-work-conference/ for more information or to register.
  • Twitter Chats: Are you looking for a new way to expand your Professional Learning Network (PLN)? Consider participating in a Twitter chat:

Upcoming Events:

(check the Online Registration System for registration information and availability)