February 2014

February Edition at a Glanceheart

  1. NBC Learn, a BCPS-licensed online database, is bringing STEM to the winter Olympics.  Find out how in the Inside BCPS feature.
  2. Food for Thought: what would be your top ten list of tech skills that every teacher should have?
  3. Meet the instructional technology specialists in this month’s Getting to Know feature.
  4. Article topics include S.T.A.T., a new infographic, PBS Learning Media, library collection development, making mice easier to use, leveraging libraries during digital transitions, and models for blended learning.
  5. Have you found some new Folks to Follow?  Grow your PLN even further with our February suggestions.

Inside BCPS

BCPS students want their learning S.T.A.T.

“With flourish and fanfare, and after much deliberation by a student panel, Baltimore County Public Schools students on Friday unveiled their new name for the school system’s instructional digital conversion initiative — Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow, or S.T.A.T.”   Read More…

Teaching the Winter Olympics

Just in time for the Winter Olympics in Sochi – NBC Learn, one of our BCPS-licensed online databases, has partnered with the National Science Foundation to create a new video series exploring the Science and Engineering of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The videos mark the latest installment in NBC Learn’s Emmy Award winning “Science of Sports” series. Narrated by NBC Olympics hockey host Liam McHugh, this 10-part video collection delves into the physics, engineering, chemistry, design, and mathematics behind the Winter Olympics events. Titles include “Shaun White and Engineering the Half-Pipe” and “Physics of Figure Skating.”

Other Highlights:

Food for Thought: 10 Tech Skills Every Educator Should Have

What would you put on your top ten list? Please feel free to share your insights in the comment section at the bottom of this newsletter.

THE Journal · Greg Thompson · January 22nd, 2014:

“In an online survey, we asked our readers a simple question: “What tech skills should every educator have?” From nearly a hundred responses, we compiled a list of the 10 most popular.”  Read More…

Getting to Know: Instructional Technology Specialists

Michael Fort

Sharon Gallagher

David Robb

Michael Sharon DavidRobb

  • BS, Elementary Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • MS, Education, Johns Hopkins University
  • 3rd and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher, Edmonson Heights Elementary School
  • Technology Integration Teacher, Campfield Early Learning Center
  • Resource Teacher, Department of Technology
  • Team Leader, Department of Technology

Family: Proud father of three children; Benjamin (14) Harris (12) and Abby (10)

Hobbies: Part time rock star; drummer in a party rock band called Don’t Stop

Interests: Pittsburgh Steelers

Favorite Reading: Steelers Digest

Favorite Tech Tool: “Symbaloo allows teachers to organize links to any online resources in a fast and simple way. The interface is a set of tiles that can be assigned, color coded, and embellished with graphics. These tiles can be organized for ease of use. Teachers can easily share “webmixes” with their students allowing them to easily access digital resources needed for any objective.”


  • BS, Museum Studies, Rutgers/Newark
  • MA, Teaching, Towson University
  • 2nd and 4th grade Classroom Teacher, Deep Creek Elementary School
  • Magnet Coordinator, Deep Creek Middle School
  • Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, Office of Instructional Technology

Family: Husband Steve, daughter Katrin (JHU researcher) and son Daniel (Fire Protection Engineer)

Hobbies & Interests: She likes to paint, sew, and volunteer in the community

Favorite Book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Currently Reading: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Favorite Tech Tool: “I don’t have a favorite, but I don’t know how I could function without all of the organization tools in Outlook and Evernote.  I also don’t know how I would know anything, including the amazing things BCPS teachers and students are doing, without Facebook and Twitter.”


  • BA, Psychology, Muhlenberg College
  • MA, Curriculum & Instruction with Focus in Educational Technology, Loyola University
  • Administration and Supervision Certification Program, Johns Hopkins University
  • 12 years in Howard County Public Schools in various positions including 3rd Grade Classroom Teacher, G/T Resource Teacher, and Technology Teacher
  • Part time instructor at Loyola and Johns Hopkins Universities

Family: Married 10 years to Laura; Two beautiful daughters, Morgan (8) and Casey (6)

Hobbies:”Redditing,” “Flipboarding,”
and “Feedlying”

Interests: Philadelphia Eagles,  Weather,  Instructional Technology and Web Tools

Unusual Fact: He was an extra in the HBO movie, Game Change

Recently Read Book: The Circle by Dave Eggers

Favorite Tech Tool: “Google Maps on my iPhone. I use the navigation feature all the time when I travel to schools around the county.”

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

PBS Learning Media

PBS LearningMedia™ is your destination for direct access to thousands of classroom-ready, curriculum-targeted digital resources. PBS LearningMedia builds on the strength of public media and is designed to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Resources are aligned to Common Core and national standards and include videos and interactives, as well as audio, documents, and in-depth lesson plans. You can browse by standards, grade level, subject area, and special collections. You can also favorite, and share resources with your class and colleagues through folders and social media. Best of all, PBS LearningMedia’s basic service is free for PreK12 educators.”

School Library Journal’s Collection Development

SLJ’s Collection Development section offers “Best Books” lists, reviews of award-winning titles, booktalks, book trailers and more.  Library media specialists might find this useful in developing their consideration lists for purchasing library books.

Computer Access for All!  Part 2- The Mouse

EaseofAccessRead Part 1 in the December 2013/January 2014 issue.  The second most common challenge in using the computer is mouse control. In Part 2 of this series, we will look at many ways to make the mouse functions more accessible. Most of these features can be found in the Ease of Access Center. You can reach this folder under the control panel or you can search for it under the start button.

Make the Mouse Easier to Use options include:Mouse

  • Mouse Pointers:  The size and type of pointer can be changed. Changing the size and color of the mouse helps some students to see or attend to it.
  • Mouse Keys: This allows a user who cannot control the mouse but is able to type the ability to control the mouse through the keyboard.
  • Other mouse settings: This link takes you to the mouse folder and gives you access to more features that help refine control of the mouse actions.  We’ll look at these settings more closely next month in Part 3 of this series.

In the Media

How 3 districts leverage librarians’ digital knowledge

eSchool News · Laura Devaney · January 29th, 2014

“Librarians and libraries are in a unique position to help schools and districts prepare for and progress through the digital transition, according to a just-released Alliance for Excellent Education report.”

“Librarians and school leaders can partner to create strategic technology purchasing and implementation plans, and librarians and educators are able to work together on technology integration when it comes to teaching and learning. School libraries, then, become critical to digital learning experiences.” Read More…

Four must-read blended learning models

eSchool News · Laura Devaney · October 22nd, 2013

“Blended learning–a combination of face-to-face and online learning–is piloted in schools and districts across the nation. Advocates note that students are able to learn at a more individualized pace, and they also can access courses that might not be offered at their own brick-and-mortar school.”  Read More…

Folks to Follow

Twitter pinterest_logo_red blogbutton
Organizations on Twitter:

Library-centric Pinterest Boards:

Disclaimer: Inclusion of these “folks to follow” is not a unilateral endorsement of a site, its content, or its authors. It just means they might generally be of interest to members of the Department of Digital Learning.

Upcoming Events:

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

  • February 6: Blackboard Collaborate Essentials: Web Conferencing, 4—6 p.m. @ Online
  • February 11:
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 9—11 a.m. @ Pulaski Park II e-classroom
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30—6:30 p.m. @ Hillcrest Elementary School
  • February 12:
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 9—11 a.m. @ Pulaski Park II e-classroom
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30—6:30 p.m. @ Cromwell Valley Elementary School
    • Boardmaker Studio, 3—5 p.m. @ Kenwood Administrative Offices Lab
  • February 13:
    • Beyond the Basics of Blackboard Collaborate, 4—6 p.m. @ Online
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 9—11 a.m. @ Pulaski Park II e-classroom
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 1—3 p.m. @ Pulaski Park II e-classroom
  • February 18:
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 9—11 a.m. @ Pulaski Park II e-classroom
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 3:30—5:30 p.m. @ Pulaski Park II e-classroom
    • Kurzweil 3000 Level 2, 3—5 p.m. @ Kenwood Administrative Offices Lab
  • February 20:
    • Putting It All Together in Blackboard Collaborate, 4—6 p.m. @ Online
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30—6:30 p.m. @ Joppa View Elementary School
  • February 22: EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit, 8:30—3:30 p.m. @Four Seasons, Baltimore
  • February 28: Deadline for MSET Student and Teacher Contests
  • March 3: Boardmaker V.6 Level 1, 3—5 p.m. @ Kenwood Administrative Offices Lab
  • March 4 – May 9: Online Teaching in Maryland, online with a mandatory face to face orientation to the course management system on March 4 from 4:30—6:30 p.m. @ Pulaski Park II Lab, 307
  • March 5, 12, 19, 26, April 2: ActivInspire and the Interactive Whiteboard- Level 2, 4—7 p.m. @Rogers Forge Elementary School
  • March 5: Kurzweil 3000 Level 1, 3—5 p.m. @ Kenwood Administrative Offices Lab
  • March 12: Clicker 6, 3—5 p.m. @ Kenwood Administrative Offices Lab


One thought on “February 2014

  1. Hello; Thank you for you email to us. I was so excited to hear during the news last night, one of the Olympians was speaking and she mentioned NBC Learn several times. NBC Learn contains a wonderful wealth of learning. It is a powerful tool that I have been so impressed with throughout the years working as a Library Media Specialist.

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